The only picture I could find of The Road
Listen – The Road – Mr. Soul – MP3
The end of the week is nigh, and I’m ready to throw in the towel. The period of the last few weeks has seen me engaged in an epic battle with tree pollen, and I’m sad to say that I think I’m losing.
At first it was only a seemingly endless series of sinus headaches. Then my eyes started itching, the congestion expanded and now I find myself on the verge of a rotten case of laryngitis.
It’s almost as if the trees are exacting their revenge for some long forgotten slight by filling my head with thousands (millions) of tiny little soldiers bent on my destruction. I know that this has to end sometime, but honestly…
Anyway, I haven’t lost my ability to write (yet…), so post I must.
The tune I bring you today is by a group that I haven’t been able to track down much info about.
What I can tell you is that The Road hailed from upstate New York (Buffalo to be exact) and that they released a number of 45s on UA and Kama Sutra, as well as one (maybe two) LP for the latter label between 1967 and 1970.
The band, featuring Phil and Jerry Hudson on vocals, Joe and Jim Hesse on bass and keyboards, Ralph Parker on guitar and Nick DeStefano on drums hit the charts (Top 40 in several markets) with their cover of the Zombies’ ‘She’s Not There’ in the early part of 1969.
Their eponymous 1969 LP was composed largely of cover tunes (including two Buffalo Springfield songs). Their version of ‘Mr. Soul’ may not be on the level of the original (one of my favorite songs by one of my two favorite 60’s bands), but it’s still a pretty respectable effort. The Road’s take on ‘Mr Soul’ is a great illustration of how much the rock landscape had changed in the two years since the Buffalo Springfield originally recorded the song, stretching the tune out with a certain era-specific vibe redolent of slightly longer hair, freer love and a somewhat, dare I say ‘Woodstock-ian’ (that’s not really a word, but I think you know what I’m trying to say) aesthetic. There are certainly still ties – especially the lead guitar – to the original (if say Stephen Stills had taken the lead vocal instead of Neil Young), and I dig how the organ kind of percolates under the rhythm section without getting in the way. It’s a great example of the very brief period when rock was starting to loosen up just a bit, before unraveling almost irrevocably in a stinky, denim-patched fog of patchouli, weed smoke and self indulgence.
The folks at Kama Sutra must have thought they had a hit on their hands, with the Road’s version of ‘Mr Soul’ being released on not one, but two different 45s.
I hope you dig it and I’ll see you all on Monday.