Obscure Grooves #10

howdy moon - st 1974

The technicolor mystery tour that was the psychedelic era ended with the Beatles' White Album.... everyone had had enough electrical bananas, incense and peppermints, and were ready for something mellow.  In other words, LSD was out, and marijuana was in.... way in.  Time to mellow out.

The Byrds released a country & western album, James Taylor was on the cover of TIME, and the Lonely Hearts Club Band had broken up.  It was time to make way for mellow, Laurel Canyon soft rock.  And since this is an "obscure grooves" post, I won't hit you with songs by America, Neil Young, or Joni Mitchell - you've heard them all before.  But have you heard of Howdy Moon?

I f***ing love this album.  It's a crying shame they broke up shortly after its release, because there is some real talent here.  Band member, Jon Lind (the dude in the center on the album cover), went on to write songs for Vanessa Williams ("Save the Best for Last"), Earth, Wind and Fire ("Boogie Wonderland"), Madonna ("Crazy for You") and even (gasp!) the Jonas Brothers ("Before the Storm").  Here's a couple tracks from the album.

"Machine" [download]

"Cook With Honey" [download] BTW this song would become a minor hit for Judy Collins

I don't really know a whole lot about Rig, other than that their drummer, Kenny Buttrey, was "one of the most influential session musicians in Nashville history" according to CMT. My understanding is that they broke up early on - in fact, they didn't even make it long enough to see the album released.

The standout track is undoubtedly "Have a Cigar" (not the well known song by Pink Floyd).  Download or listen to the track.


  1. "The technicolor mystery tour that was the psychedelic era ended with the Beatles' White Album...."

    Gilligan, that's a VERY subjective opinion !
    I'm tempted to lapse into a multi-paragraph rant against that perception (not unlike the many comments left by others regarding your recent Women's Lib post ).

    But, as they say in Texas, I smell what yer steppin' in.

    Indeed, post-'67 rock took a country-western shift with a lot of the big bands whipping out twangy tunes and mellower concept albums. Suffice it to say, however, the big paisley Technicolour acid balloon did not burst and crash into the ocean only to clog some hapless porpoise's blow-hole. Rather, it sailed of into the stratosphere, took on spacier forms, found new electronic wizards to practice sonorous alchemy, and even garnered more than a few artists exploring the occult and darker themes in the coming decade.

    Alas, there was a wee paradigm shift in music, and the Laurel Canyon Socene was quite influential for the transition into 70s Pop music.
    A great book on this phenomenon is Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood by Michael Walker. A fascinating peek into another sub-culture of the hippie music trend. Great music was made by dozens of bands and artists who were nurtured by Mama Cass and her California cohorts.
    As we all know, many groups and relationships ( as well as sounds) were eventually ruined by in-fighting, record industry competition and commercialism, and most off all, cocaine.

  2. Sure, psychedelia morphed into prog, and not ALL psychedelic music vanished - there's still some today i.e. The Flaming Lips. I'm referring to what was popular - and psychedelia went out with The White Album.

    By this time the Maharishi was exposed as a fraud, the Stones had abandoned their foray into the genre via their Satanic Majesty album, and psychedelia had become OVER popularized. Saturday morning kids shows were featuring psychedelic songs - it was now old hat, and way too mainstream to be considered cool.

    No, the Beatles didn't singlehandedly end the psychedelic era, it was already doomed; however, The White Album seems as good a bookmark as any to defining the point where it was officially "out".

  3. I think psychedelia had at least a couple more years on it past the white album, but point taken.

    For an awesome Web site that features more "obscure grooves," try The Rising Storm (http://therisingstorm.net/). Great stuff there!

  4. here is an interesting and short page regaurding the whole Laurel Canyon scene and a who's who of who has resided there .Just like my last post Giligan about Jack Parsons,,these intertwine in a weird way with that whole art crowd post this and that scene Check this one out ,, a short but cool read.