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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - A New Series Created By William Mesnik, The Mind Behind “Mesmerized”- EPISODE # 12 - "MY GUILTY PLEASURE" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN" By THE YOUNGBLOODS IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE

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“CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL

“MY GUILTY PLEASURE

EPISODE #12 ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN by The Youngbloods (RCA, 1969)

The Youngbloods don’t usually spring to mind when making a list of the most significant groups of the late 60s – early 70s. I discovered them by accident when I received their first two albums in a bulk delivery from the Columbia record club. Their good-timey, Jug band sound was engaging, Jesse Colin Young’s falsetto was refreshing, and of course their biggest hit, Come Together was an acknowledged radio anthem of the day. They exuded “niceness” – not the highest compliment at the time, but I dug ‘em.

Elephant Mountain was different. Jerry Corbitt, the fourth member of the quartet, had departed, and Jesse Colin Young was allowed to stretch out, writing 7 of the tracks, clearly emerging as the guiding visionary of the group. Songs like Darkness, Darkness (with its existential dread), Sunlight (whose greatness I defy anyone to deny), Sham, and Smug (where Jesse calls out the hypocrisy of the age) – proved that he was a force with which to be reckoned. He went on to record a series of solo albums for WB and his own Raccoon label.

Elephant Mountain was produced by none other than Charlie Daniels, the fiddle wizard, before the Devil went down to Georgia, and he weaves the transitions between tunes with the flowing purity of clear mountain water. The album retains the group’s signature relaxed feeling, but now there were undeniable gems scattered across the meadow among the cow pies (a huge one is featured front and center on the cover art).

Liking the Youngbloods is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m coming out of the closet with my admiration for Jesse, Banana, and Joe Bauer. As Lester Bangs noted in his review: “…This album exudes that supremely rare commodity in these dark, bored, destructive times – joy.” That is good medicine at any time.

“Darkness, Darkness” (Jesse Colin Young) – 3:51 “Smug” (Young) – 2:13 “On Sir Francis Drake” (Lowell Levinger) – 6:44 “Sunlight” (Young) – 3:07 “Double Sunlight” (Levinger, Young, Joe Bauer) – 0:41 “Beautiful” (Young) – 3:49 “Turn It Over” (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:15 “Rain Song (Don’t Let the Rain Bring You Down)” (Jerry Corbitt, Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:13 “Trillium” (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 3:08 “Quicksand”* (Young) – 2:41 “Black Mountain Breakdown” (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:40 “Sham”* (Young) – 2:44 “Ride the Wind” (Young) – 6:37


By Rich Buckland 05/30/2021 01:34 PM

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