Thursday, November 5, 2015

Zephyr - 1969 [1990] "Zephyr"

Zephyr is the debut album by the band Zephyr, released in 1969.

Zephyr was a blues-based hard rock band formed in 1969 in Boulder, Colorado by guitarist Tommy Bolin, keyboardist John Faris, David Givens on bass guitar, Robbie Chamberlin on drums and Candy Givens on vocals. Although the charismatic performances by Candy Givens were originally the focal point for the band, it was the flashy guitar work of Tommy Bolin that the band is best remembered for.[1] After Bolin left, he was replaced by Jock Bartley, and the band recorded the album Sunset Ride, their second for Warner Brothers Records. The album is still in print and is much loved by a small but loyal following. On Sunset Ride, Candy Givens displayed her gifts as a singer, composer, and harmonica player. The album was produced by David Givens who also authored the majority of the tunes. As a result of his stint with Zephyr, Bartley went on to a successful career with Gram Parsons and Firefall and drummer, Michael Wooten, went on to play for several years with Carole King. Various versions of Zephyr continued to play in Colorado until Candy's death in 1984. The release of "Heartbeat" in 1982 was promoted by a video that incorporated very early examples of analog computer animation combined with live action.
Other Zephyr members of note include trance blues maven, Otis Taylor, who played bass during the mid-1970s, Kenny Wilkins (Drums) and also later on as (guitarist), guitarist Zack Smith (founder of Columbia Records band Scandal), and blues guitarist, Eddie Turner, who played guitar in the last incarnation during the early 1980s. Candie and David, Tommy, and John Faris were all founding members of The Legendary 4Nikators, Boulder's oldest and best loved party band. Taylor and Turner were later additions to The Legendary 4Nikators - Taylor noted for playing motorcycle on stage during "Leader Of The Pack" and performing in a kilt and Turner for his renditions of Jimi Hendrix classics.
40 years after, Zephyr's music is still in print and continues to be played in the various media. YouTube has brought new eyes and ears to the band.
In 2014, record producer, Greg Hampton and David Givens collaborated on a project that resulted in the release of a limited edition boxed set that included a remastered version of the "bathtub" album, two albums of live material - mostly previously unreleased, and a booklet featuring liner notes by Givens and photos from his private collection. The remastered first album is an unqualified improvement over the original and the live material justifies the high esteem the band accrued with the audiences that witnessed their performances. The boxes sold out in less than a month.

I saw this band on PBS when i was 12. They played Cross The River then St. James Infirmary, complete with the 'echoplex' segue (i can still see Tommy siding the 'speed' bar). I was hooked. Bought the album a short time later. Side 2 opens with the tracks i saw them play on tv and i still spin that first. Always seemed right to me.

Great band, Tommy doing the chameleon thing on guitar. Rock, blues, jazz? All present and accounted for.
I know Candy doesn't have many fans here. Heck, my Mom didn't like her and neither does my Wife. No matter-mind to me. I love the sheer abandon when she sings. Plus, i always thought she was cute.

Great start for Tommy. He formed this band when he was 17 or 18.
I have Spectrum, Teaser and Private Eyes. This First Zephyr release will always be my fave.

This was Tommy Bolin's first album, and his playing on this heavy blues rock album is pretty impressive. He had a great guitar tone, and occasionally his playing really reminds me of Jimmy Page's style on some of the slower early Zeppelin blues numbers. The rest of the band is impressive as well, and I really have to give kudos to the organist for some pretty wild soloing. The songwriting is generally strong, and will appeal to fans of early 70's progressive blues rock. In my opinion, the only thing holding this band back from true greatness are the really grating vocals of Candy Givens. She tries to sound like Janis Joplin, along with the blues moaning of Robert Plant. The problem is with her Robert Plant fixation. Plant was usually successful in escaping total embarrassment with his vocal excesses simply because he had a strong voice. Candy Givens sings on-key and all, but she sings too much from the throat when she does her Plant-style moaning, thus producing an irritating, thin tone that sounds more like screaching rather than blues-moaning. Simply put, it's absolutely horrible. If you can get past this, then by all means, check out this album. Like I say....the band rocks! 

Track listing

    "Sail on" (Tommy Bolin, Candy Givens) – 7:22
    "Sun's a Risin'" (Bolin, David Givens) – 4:45
    "Raindrops" (Dee Clark) – 2:40
    "Boom-Ba-Boom" (D. Givens) – 1.20
    "Somebody Listen" (D. Givens, C. Givens, Bolin, John Faris) – 6:10
    "Cross the River" (C. Givens, D. Givens) – 4:43
    "St. James Infirmary" (Joe Primrose) – 5:15
    "Huna Buna" (C. Givens, Bolin) – 2:26
    "Hard Chargin' Woman" (Bolin, Robbie Chamberlin, Faris, C. Givens, D. Givens) – 8:40


    Candy Givens – lead vocals, harmonica
    Robbie Chamberlin – drums, backing vocals
    David Givens – bass, backing vocals
    John Faris – keyboards, flute
    Tommy Bolin – guitar, backing vocals

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