Friendsound – Joyride: Time to chill.

A lovely little retro pleasure for you today.

Self-produced, 1969’s “Friendsound” makes absolutely no attempt to go down the commercial road and to ours ears may deserve to be noted as one of the first real “jam” albums.  I’ve got the album in toto for you here – lets take a listen-peek at side the first…

Now don’t that just float your boat? Check out the liner notes:

“A musical free-for-all … The idea for Friendsound came to us when we were in the early stages of creating our first album. We rounded up all out musician friends in the area and headed for a recording studio to have a musical free-for-all.”

That pretty much says it all.

Upon leaving Paul Revere & The Raiders, Drake Levin, Phil Volk & Michael Smith formed Brotherhood who released two albums for RCA. In between those two releases, the trio teamed up with a few session musicians as Friend Sound, releasing “Joyride” A wild batch of instrumental psychedelia — with plenty of avant garde touches thrown in! The enigmatic Joyride are kind of a loose collective of hippie jazz musicians — playing flute, organ, guitars, percussion, piano, recorder, shovel (shovel?), finger cymbals, and just about anything else that seemed to be handy — and they had a style that was kind of like free-jamming jam band stuff, but with out the skill of most jam bands.

Exemplified by material such as the title track and “Childhood’s End”, the six extended numbers were largely instrumental in nature. Credited as group compositions, songs such as “Childsong” and “Empire of Light” are full of studio experimentation, including backward tapes, sound effects and acid-influenced ramblings. Raiders members Levin, Smith and Volk were too grounded in top-40 pop to totally abandon such concepts as rhythm and melody, but it’s pretty clear late night parting imbued them with a lot more freedom and creative latitude than your typical Paul Revere and the Raiders session.

Here is a go at side 2

It’s kind of like the band and the engineers took a bucketful of drugs — so many that they got really mellow and dark — then went into the studio to cut a tripped-out album of instrumentals. The whole thing comes across with the same “anything goes” spirit of the NY 60s underground film scene — but with none of the silliness of bands like The Fugs — and it’s that kind of energy that makes us love this one, and be proud that we’re just giving it a space to exist.

Remember, Elvis was huge at this time, having staged the come back tour and taking up residency in Las Vegas. That gives you a little perspective on how out-of-the-water and ahead of its time this little album was. Of course, this album made the Nurse With Wound List so that means it’ll never really die.  You can even BUY it these days!