Martin Margulies aka Johnny Legend (above), Bill Cowsill (below)
Listen/Download – Lightmyth – Across the Universe
The logo above indicates what I hope is the beginning of an ongoing look into the interesting, back alleys of the Cowsills discography.
I recently put together a mix CD for a friend that I jokingly called ‘The Cowsills: None of the Hits’.
It was composed of rare 45s, LP tracks and rarities, the title a nod in the direction of the amazing variety in the group’s catalog that most people haven’t heard.
Included in the latter category were a couple of cuts produced by Bill Cowsill after his unceremonious ejection from the group by his father.
The first few years of the 1970s saw Bill recording an excellent solo album, as well as producing a few other bands.
The track you see before you today is a one-off 45 by an LA group called Lightmyth.
Lightmyth has its roots in a Sunset Strip band called the Seeds of Time, and featured in their ranks a young fellow named Martin Margulies.
I mention this because in a few years Margulies would become better known under the name Johnny Legend, an important early rockabilly revivalist, character and all round bon vivant.
As the story goes, Lightmyth got their hands on an early release of the Beatles ‘Across the Universe’ and their 45 hit the racks here in the States before the Fabs did.
I haven’t been able to run down the dates on the two releases, but in the end it is a moot point, since almost no one heard or bought the Lightmyth 45, rendering it the intriguing obscurity that it is.
Their version of the song is pretty cool, opening up with sparse acoustic guitar and piano, and working its way to a thundering climax at the end.
The production is cool, with an obvious ear turned toward George Martin’s work with the Beatles.
It’s perfectly groovy 1970 hippie rock, and while the lead vocal isn’t likely to make you forget the Beatles, I dig it.
My copy of the 45 is a promo with ‘Across the Universe’ on both sides (mono/stereo but I have seen a reference that indicates there are stock copies with a song called ‘Quest of the Golden Horde’ on the b-side.
I hope you dig the tune, and stay tuned for periodic installments of the Cowsills Project.
See you next week.