Artist: Gene Clark
Album: The American Dreamer
Song: "Outlaw Song"
When the sky grows dark, our souls must grow light.
Album: Spreadin' It
Song: "Some Other Road"
Fifty songs into Corduroy Mountain, and the time has come to recognize the genesis record for this pursuit of forgotten albums and unknown musicians. Lost in a row of dollar-bin overflow at Vinyl Solution in 2002 was Pott. County Pork & Bean Band, a name so ridiculous and captivating that I fell prey to its immediate charm. The hirstute band members on the cover—four in all—are holding court in a pig pen, the earth as dark as the pigs' coarse hair. They are clothed in denim and plaids, cowboy hippies stuck in their tiny Kansas farm community. But a flip of the cover proves more revealing and tantalizing; Jim Richardson's photography captured the local kids gathering at the local auditorium for a Saturday night of music, dancing and other shenanigans among the discarded cans of Colorado Kool-Aid.
I wanted into this world, circa 1975, where the success of a weekend night could be quantified by the number of hoots, hollers, and handclaps. Until Doc Brown makes his DeLorean available for sale, Pott. County Pork & Bean Band's Spreadin' It album will have to serve as my auditory time machine. Mixed between their set of covers—songs by Merle Haggard, Peter Rowan, and David Bromberg—were two original compositions, including "Some Other Road." The back cover features the subtitle "Alive in Belvue (pop. 176)." Listening to this song I imagine that population increasing by one.
Artist: William Truckaway
Song: "Be the One"
Walk onto the porch at Corduroy Mountain. Yesterday's clothes, a western shirt and Levi's bellbottoms, feel better today. An arid breeze pushes through wild grass and causes the unbuttoned shirt to flutter. Draw a deep pull from the jar of sweet tea, pulling the sugary residue from your upper lip with the lower. The barn and its jacket of fading paint rests at the bottom of the slope. That ol' mother can still host an all-night Saturday dance. The tandem Schwinn stands propped against the side of the house. Meandering across the scrub field like an unfurled lariat is the dirt road, its soft curves forever a siren call. A gentle moan announces the arrival of the One on the porch. She's wearing an embroidered tunic and a calico skirt. Swoon. Step down to the ground and hear the crunch of gravel under boot. A nod toward the bicycle is invitation enough.
Artist: Diane Kolby
Album: Diane Kolby
The small couch, shoved against the wall, cradled my tired, sprawling body. Steel-gray clouds drew their heavy curtain across the afternoon sky. A steady percussion of rain drops collided against the window; a cyclical drop echoed in the chimney like an amplified cowbell. I struggled from my prone position to put Diane Kolby's record on the turntable. The needle slipped into the groove, and an audible dawn swept from the speakers and filled the room. Was this an LP or a choir of sweet-voiced birds? Soon Diane began singing in tongues, her joy palpable in the nonsensical words. When the song reached its ecstatic peak, I looked outside. A phalanx of nourishing God rays streamed through the storm clouds.
Artists: The Bernie Leadon + Michael Georgiades Band
Album: Natural Progressions
Yacht rock as a genre designation has only one flaw—the concept identifies the millionaire musicians, not its blue-collar audience. Who would have been listening to Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, and Loggins and Messina and buying their records in copious quantities? The florists, chefs, and secretaries of 1970s America. For these nubile fans, a yacht would have been a dream docked beyond the fence of an exclusive marina. Water wouldn't have been a dominion to own, but rather savor as a refuge from the week's monotony. These individuals would have turned to a more affordable means of aquatic transportation—the catamaran. Much like the boogie van on land and the hang glider in the sky, the catamaran created enough of a craze in the 1970s that clubs formed wherever an inviting body of water and a sweet breeze could be found. The men would wear OP cord shorts and the women bikini tops and Daisy Dukes. After the day's rigorous sailing had come to a satisfactory end, the randy participants would unfurl blankets on the shore and watch the pink and violent sunset as they cuddled and sipped wine. Perhaps their transistor radio would be dialed to the one local station cool enough to be playing "How Can You Live Without Love?" And all would be righteous in their world.
Artist: Bubba Fowler
Album: ...and Then Came Bubba
Your resume couldn't have been more impeccable: the acerbic talking political blues; a recording contract with Columbia records and production by Bob Johnston; a credited spot on Bob Dylan's underrated Self Portrait album. Bubba Fowler, you could have been the new Dylan. Hell, even your initials are almost the same. Only one problem. Any new Dylan's best song mustn't be an instrumental, even when the bayou romp is so funky that Jerry Reed may have turned his head and yipped, "Son!" But thanks for applying.