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20 Nov 2016

McKendree Spring “Spring Suite” 1973 US Prog Folk Rock












McKendree Spring “Spring Suite” 1973 US Prog Folk Rock
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   Hailing from upstate New York and blending synthesizers and electric strings with strong acoustic frameworks this little known band produced a few interesting album along the way. With a former member of the Cleveland Symphony on board the band had great chops and opened for none other than ELP once upon a time. I don’t know if this record has the same impact today as when it was originally released, but it’s still a fun listen. But the primary reason that this worked its way into my collection is the wonderful cover art by Roger Dean (he sure gets around doesn’t he?) ………… 

“This American group was a bit different from other rock bands as they used no drums. If you can imagine a less progressive Cressida with electric violin instead of organ, a stronger folk-influence and without the drums, then you’ll have a slight idea about what McKendree Spring sounds like. The two leading musicians in the band were singer and guitarist Fran McKendree and violinist Michael Dreyfuss. "Spring Suite” was McKendree Spring’s 5th album, and probably their best. The songwriting is more distinctive than on earlier albums, and the addition of Moog and piano to the sound made it more interesting and varied. The record seems to have a very loose concept about thoughts and feelings that people goes through in the time from winter to spring. It opens with the instrumental “Equinox” that is driven forward by acoustic guitar, electric wah-wah guitar and of course Dreyfuss’ violin. “Winter” is a pleasant and cosy song with nice lyrics and harmonies. “I Was Born” is a lot more energetic and dramatic, but slows down in the middle where the Moog gives it an almost spacey feel. The most beautiful song on the album is probably the mellow “The Madman” where Dreyfuss plays with his fingers on the violin instead of the bow. “The Girl” is a laidback, folky ballad where the band lets their American roots shine through. The same goes for the catchy “Today’s the Day” and “The Storm”. “Growing” features a beautiful violin-solo from Dreyfuss, and the album finally closes with the melodic and atmospheric “Spring”…………… 

Line Up: 

Fran McKendree: acoustic guitar, vocals, piano, Fender bass 
Christopher Bishop: Fender bass, vocals, piano 
Martin Slutsky: electric guitars, acoustic guitar 
Dr. Michael Dreyfuss: electric violin, electric viola, Arp and Moog synthesizers 

Track Listing 

Side 1 

Equinox 
Winter 
I Was Born 
The Madman 
The Girl 

Side 2 

Today’s the Day 
The Storm 
Growing 
Spring 

Discography: 

McKendree Spring (1969) (Decca DL 75104) 
Second Thoughts (1970) (Decca DL 75230) 
McKendree Spring 3 (1972)(Decca DL 75332) 
Tracks (1972) (Decca DL 75385) 
Spring Suite (1973) (MCA 370) 
Get Me to the Country (1975) (Pye 12108) 
Too Young to Feel This Old (1976) (Pye 12124) 
Live at the Beachland Ballroom (2007) (McKendree Spring Records 700261208701) 
Recording No. 9 (2010) (McKendree Spring Records 845121029130) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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