Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Old School

The things you can find on the intertubes.

The short version: Back in 1968, while dodging the draft by attending what I refer to as an unidentified college on Long Island, I met a fellow student -- a musician who I occasionally jammed with -- whose claim to fame was that he'd been in a pop band that had an East Coast (and NYC) radio hit the previous year. Said hit, alas, had been nationally eclipsed by a simultaneous cover version by some West Coast group, thus putting the brakes on his rock star future. For years, I've been trying to remember what the song was, who the kid was and what the name of his band was -- all info that apparently dribbled out of my brain sometime during the Ford administration.

The only thing I COULD remember, distinctly, is that at the time I kind of half suspected the kid might have been jiving me about the hit record thing, but no -- it (and he) were for real. As I discovered when I found his album, with his photo unmistakable on the cover, in the library of the college radio station.

Anyway, thanks to said intertubes I just stumbled upon the record again, at last. So, from 1967, please enjoy my long ago chum Dave Gordon and his pals in The Blades of Grass, with their East Coast hit version of the winsomely Harpers Bizarre-ish "Happy."

A record, I have since learned, that is very highly regarded by devotees of the rock genre now known as Sunshine Pop.

That's Dave on the right, with the glasses.

According to All-Music, these guys were "a real band from the New York metropolitan area, with two of the members coming from Maplewood, NY, and the other two from South Orange, NJ. They were finishing high school around the time they recorded their only album, and unlike many groups from the time (even high school-aged ones), they boasted the clean-cut, short-ish-haired look that was actually much more common among average high schoolers in 1967 than long hair."


As for Dave himself, a little Facebook detective work turned up the fact that he's currently teaching music at Columbia University, which isn't too shabby. If I can find an e-mail addy for him, perhaps I'll update the story in a few days.

Hey -- I didn't say this would necessarily be all that interesting.