The Modern Folk Quartet
Listen/Download – Modern Folk Quartet – If All You Think
I hope all is groovy in your neck of the woods.
The tune I bring you today is one of those records that kind of bubbled up from inside my collection in a way that I can’t even remember where I got it.
Aside from the fact that it is clearly an indicator that I buy way too many records (yes, the first step is admitting you have a problem….My name is Larry and I have a vinyl monkey on my back and in my wallet), but sometimes I get said records in clumps, i.e. via a “lot” purchase and don’t always get the time to examine the fruits of such a purchase as closely as I’d like.
As a result, when a spare hour or two pops up, I wade into the stacks and start giving these records a spin in an effort to dig up undiscovered gold and to pare down the piles of wax, of only a little bit at a time.
That said, for years the Modern Folk Quartet were little more than a name to me, eventually evolving into a stack of footnotes, with the group being the starting point for folks like Jerry Yester, Chip Douglas and uber LA-scene photographer Henry Diltz.
They recorded a couple of folkie albums for Warner Brothers in 1963 and 1964 and then some non-LP 45s for WB and Dunhill. It was during the 45-only period that their sound started to evolve and got a little less purely folk and a little bit more folk rock.
I haven’t been able to date the 45 that gives us today’s track, but I’m making an educated guess that it was issued some time in 1965 or early 1966 (the year the group broke up).
‘If All You Think’ is a very groovy bit of jangle that has that west coast 65/66, Beau Brummels/Nitty Gritty Dirt Band feel to it, with 12-string guitar, tight group harmonies and just enough “rock” in the foundation to move it from the coffee house on to the Sunset Strip.
After the group split in 1966, Jerry Yester (whose brother Jim was in the Association) went on to join Judy Henske in recording the sought after freak folk/psych LP ‘Farewell Aldebaran’, Chip Douglas went on to a career as a studio musician recording with the Monkees among others, Cyrus Faryar had a career as a producer and performer, and Henry Diltz and his camera went on to capture some of the most memorable images of the Laurel Canyon rock world, including the covers of albums like the first Crosby Stills and Nash LP, the Doors ‘Morrison Hotel’ as well as countless famous images of CSNY, the Eagles and just about everyone else who ever entered a recording studio or trod a stage in LA.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back next week.
PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.