April 5, 2010

Monday music

In 1964 a self-titled album by a band with the unlikely name, The AU GO GO Singers, was released by Roulette Records. The AU GO GO Singers got their name from Greenwich Village coffee shop, the CafĂ© Au Go Go, a favorite of such musicians as Jimi Hendris and Jerry Garcia.  This is the club where Lenny Bruce was arrested by New York police on obscenity charges.

The band was an auspicious beginning for two musicians who would go on to give us some of the best music of the 60’s and 70’s. Obviously this profound event was overshadowed somewhat by the arrival of those mop-heads from England. The album was the Au Go Go Singers’ first and only release. The sound was akin to that of The Serendipity Singers, or The New Christy Minstrels.

Only two cuts on an otherwise bland album were stand out. First there was the Billy Ed Wheeler tune, High Flying’ Bird, showcasing the soulful voice of Stephen Stills… a voice we would later learn to love in performances by Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Manassas. The album introduced a new talent, singer Richie Furay, who performed the folk ballad, Where I’m Bound.  Richie used the Au Go Go experience to launch a stellar music career.

Stills and Furay met Neil Young the same year the Au Go Go album was released. Just two years later, these epochal musicians would join with bassist Bruce Palmer and drummer Dewey Martin to form the band that better represented that era than any other – Buffalo Springfield.

Here is Richie Furay singing my favorite cut from the band’s first album, Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.

Buffalo Springfield lasted only two years, cutting only three albums (four, if you count Retrospective). Furay matured greatly over that time, and his musical interests expanded. In 1969 he and Jim Messina joined steel guitarist Rusty Young, bassist Randy Meisner, and drummer George Grantham to form the country rock band, Poco. Good, early videos are impossible to find, but here is one of Furay in 2004, doing a couple of Poco classics.

In 2009, original members of Poco reunited and played a memorable set at the Indio, California Stagecoach Festival.  Here they are performing their 1969 signature song, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, With Richie Furay sharing the microphone with George Grantham.



Old NFO said...

Oh yeah, I remember Poco! :-)