Here’s a pair to beat a full-house: two great, ultra rare versions of Youngbloods songs that would eventually become hallmarks of the band’s Earth Music and Elephant Mountain albums. The rare single only version of “All My Dreams Blue,” a haunting tune, written and sung by Jesse Colin Young and backed by Banana’s jazzy acoustic piano and the close-knit harmony vocals of Jerry Corbitt on Earth Music, has a much different vibe here. Jesse’s vocals are more urgent, especially when accompanied by Banana’s Wurlitzer electric piano, a mesmerizing sound that would become a trademark element of later Youngbloods albums. “Sham,” in its earliest, unreleased incarnation here spotlights the passionate, R&B-fueled vocals of Jesse, backed by Banana’s driving Guild M-75 electric guitar. It’s that early, patented Youngbloods sound that caught everyone’s ear in 1967 and would soon become an essential part of San Francisco’s new musical landscape.
“It’s amazing how you (well, me) remember the mixing sessions more than the actual recording sessions. I guess partially because they take so much more time.
We pushed those Pultecs and UREI’s in weird ways which those staid RCA engineers had not thought of and even objected to in some cases.
And they also couldn’t believe how much time we spent tweaking stuff! But we were oblivious to the reality that this time was actually going to be charged to us before we ever saw a dime of royalties so we were gaily willing to take ‘as long as it took. So innocent.”
-Banana of the Youngbloods
Sundazed: Banana, what prompted you to use that beautiful Guild M-75 guitar on the Youngbloods’ recordings? It had such an identifiable sound–unique, and linked forever to the texture of the Youngbloods’ recordings….
Banana: I’ve got a great – fairly long – story about the Guild endorsement. It culminates in me getting the guitar you see in the pictures … 1953 Guild M-75, while the other guys got brand new guitars from the showroom. Oh, what the heck–I’ll go for it!
So, our manager gets us the endorsement deal and we are invited over to Guild in Hoboken to ‘choose any guitar (or in Jesse’s case .. bass) that we want’.
We get there and while everybody is making a fuss over Jesse and Jerry, I sneak off to have a look around. I find an unlocked old storeroom and in the corner is this beautiful old case and in it is the ’53 M-75 (later called the Guild Bluesbird). I take it back to the showroom and say … “Well I’ve found the guitar I want”. And they respond “No you don’t understand–what we meant was you could have any NEW guitar from the showroom that is currently in production”. Says I (being a young smart-ass kid), “That’s not what you said.” And I quote the offer. We go back and forth for awhile and finally they get tired of arguing with the wise ass kid and let me keep the guitar!
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