Hearts and Flowers
The summer is in full gear, and though the digging, electronic and otherwise has slowed down, the backlog of that gooey, black, musical licorice is so significant that I could probably never buy another record and still have enough to keep the blog(s) going for a good long time.
That said, I did have a sweet little burst of acquisatory glee a few months back during which I scored a couple of very interesting, extremely Iron Leg-gy things, one of which I bring you today.
Having been a longtime devotee of the Californ-y 1960s sound, especially the folk rock and budding country rock sound of the Sunset Strip and the various and sundry inhabited canyons around LA, I had known of (and read about) the band Hearts and Flowers for years.
I only actually heard their music earlier this year, thanks to the efforts of my man Tommy at the Devil’s Music blog who posted a couple of tracks by the band, that later included in its ranks a young fellow named Bernie Leadon, who went on to join both the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles, making him a significant cog in the early days of the LA country rock machine.
After I heard those tracks I set out in search of some/any of their records, which proved (in the beginning) to be an unusually daunting task.
Their albums are scarce (they had no success during the bands lifetime) and when I found them they were prohibitively costly.
Then, one day I stumbled upon one of their 45s, ‘The View From Ward 3’. I met the opening bid of two-dollars and eventually won it at that price.
When the record fell through the mail slot I flipped it over and saw that the B-side was a song called ‘Please’. When I saw the name ‘Feldhouse’ in the author credits, I suspected that it might be a cover of the song of the same name by the Kaleidoscope, and when I dropped the needle on the record my suspicions were confirmed.
The Hearts and Flowers version of ‘Please’ – one of my favorite songs from the Kaleidoscope’s debut LP ‘Side Trips’ — is taken at a slightly more relaxed pace than the original, but the sound, oddly enough, is a little rougher, maybe earthier than the Kaleidoscope original.
Hearts and Flowers was formed by Larry Murray, a guitarist who played in a bluegrass combo called the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, which coincidentally also featured two other up and comers by the name of Chris Hillman (as in Byrds bassist Chris Hillman!) and Bernie Leadon.
Murray was eventually joined by Rick Cunha and Dave Dawson and they recorded their first album for Capitol in 1967 (Leadon would not join the group until their second record), which included their version of ‘Please’.
The band broke up after two Lps, with Murray working as a guitarist and producer, and having his song ‘Hard To be Friends’ covered by Kris Kristofferson, Percy Sledge and the 70s comeback version of the Walker Brothers. Rick Cunha went on to play with Emmylou Harris.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’m gonna go keep looking for those LPs.
See you Monday