Above & Below: Double Sided US Picture Sleeve
Listen: Grizzly Bear / The Youngbloods
I want to say I got turned on to The Youngbloods around the time of those late night summer ’67 transistor-under-the-pillow listening experiences; but I’m not certain, as ‘Grizzly Bear’ picked up a lot of daytime Top 40 play in my hometown pretty quickly.
I consistently seem to forget them as well as Country Joe & The Fish, who I did first hear on late night AM, when recalling favorite west coast bands during a period of primarily preferring English acts. But I always appreciated their sound, even when veering dangerously close to The Grateful Dead’s more country, mellow stuff. I guess the difference was the near magical combination of Jesse Colin Young’s voice and Lowell Banana Levinger’s guitar technique. I liked that instantly, yet it wasn’t until a few years later I could admit it to my Anglofile friends, shockingly even more prejudice than me.
A bunch of us went to see The Youngbloods at the Hamilton Collage gymnasium around the time of ‘Get Together’, chugging cheap strawberry wine during the ride. Never a dull moment. A loose, fun and spontaneous set will always be the way I remember their greatness.
This, the band’s first single, as with a few that followed, were considerably more pop than the albums and The Youngbloods’ general m.o. Presumably some record company arm twisting went down here, looking for singles. And why not, check out the result.
‘Grizzly Bear’ was issued in a now pretty scarce double front cover picture sleeve. At the time, it was impossible to find. All the copies that made it into the local Syracuse shops were bagged in stock RCA sleeves. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 90′s, at a Seattle record fair, that my luck finally changed. Took that long to find one.