Bold traces its roots back to the mid-1960s when band members met while attending the University of Massachusetts. As The Esquires the group recorded a one-off 1965 single for Tom Salem's Salem label ('Shake a Tail Feather' b/w 'Down the Track' (Salem catalog number SR-003). As 'Steve Walker & the Bold' the group reappeared with a 1966 single on Cameo ('Gotta Get Some' b/w 'Robin Hood' (Cameo catalog number C-430)). That was followed by a 1967 release for Dynovoice (Train Kept a-Rollin'' b/w ''I Found What I Was Looking For (Dynvoice catalog number 232).
Opening slots supporting Boston dates for nationally recognized acts like Big Brother and the Trucking Company and Taj Mahal brought the group local recognition, as well as a new name - 'The Bold'. 1969 found the band (now streamlined to 'Bold') signed to ABC. With a line-up comprised of singer/bassist Walker, keyboardist Mike Chmura, guitarists Dick La Freniere and Robert La Palm and drummer Timothy Griffin, their cleverly titled debut album "Bold" teamed them with producer Bill Szymczyk.
Featuring a mixture of covers and original material with contributions from everyone but Griffin, musically the album was quite different from their earlier garage sides. A nice example of then-prevailing popular tastes, most of the collection wasn't particularly original, but showcased a pleasant mixture of Buffalo Springfield-styled country-rock (including an enthusiastic cover of Stephen Stills' 'For What It's Worth'), folk-rock (a nifty cover of Dylan's 'All I Really Want To Do'), some surprisingly accomplished progressive moves (the instrumental 'Lullaby Opus Four') and some decent West Cost-ish psych moves (the jazzy 'Crystal Chambers' was quite impressive).
Other highlights include Walker's Beatles-flavored 'Friendly Smile' and complete with backwards guitar fadeout, the dreamy 'Factory (Version 3)'. The one truly amazing track is side two's 'Free Fugue'. If I'd heard this ambient instrumental on a Brian Eno album I probably wouldn't have thought squat about it, but hearing it on an album a full ten years before this kind of stuff became popular is pretty amazing.
1. Lullaby Opus Four (instrumental) (Mike Chmura) - 2:08
2. All I Really Want To Do (Bob Dylan) - 4:52
3. Friendly Smile (Steve Walker) - 2:52
4. Changing Seasons (Dick La Freniere) - 2:54
5. Factory (Version 3) (Steve Walker) - 3:43
6. Crystal Chambers (Crystal Chambers) - 7:21
7. Free Fugue (instrumental) (Robert La Palm) - 2:44
8. Child of Love (Steve Walker) - 4:47
9. For What It's Worth (Stephen Stills) - 3:53
10.It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 5:01
11.Words Don't Make It (Steve Walker) - 4:17
*Mike Chmura - Keyboards
*Dick La Freniere - Rhythm Guitar
*Robert La Palm - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Timothy Griffin - Drums, Percussion
*Stephen Walker - Vocals, Bass