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8 May 2017

Clover “Love On The Wire” 1977 US Country Rock






Clover “Love On The Wire”  1977 US Country Rock
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Clover was a band out of San Francisco that ended up in London, courtesy of Nick Lowe. They provided backup to Elvis Costello on “My Aim is True.” The band was filled with members who would go on to become major players in popular music: John McFee to the Doobie Brothers, Alex Call, best known as the songwriter of Tommy Tutone’s 867-5309 (Jenny), and Huey Lewis and Sean Hopper of Huey Lewis & the News. Clover’s sound was characterized by what was then known as the California Sound - uptempo, strong songwriting with a bit of country influence - something like a cross between Little Feat and the Eagles.

“Love on a Wire” was one of two albums recorded by the group in London, the other being “Unavailable.” The two albums have rather divergent sounds, with “Unavailable” boasting lots of harmonies and McFee’s steel guitar, which “Love on a Wire” has more of a power rock sound featuring lead guitar (McFee) and Lewis’s harmonica. Both albums are excellent examples of late-1970s pop rock and display a refined sensibility and lots of musical talent.

With music that is as good as the best of the genre, it’s fascinating to listen to these albums and think about what might have been had Clover managed to make it big. Perhaps there’s a parallel universe somewhere where Clover dominated the airwaves in 1978 and 79, no one has heard of Huey Lewis & the News and “Child of the Streets” and “Santa Fe” are as overplayed on the radio as “I Want a New Drug” and “Do You Believe in Love” are in ours. Ah, well, what could have been!…..By A. Sky………..
This hard-to-find final album from 1970s country rockers Clover, whose members included John McFee and a pre-News Huey Lewis, sports the production of Robert “Mutt” Lange.

Not surprisingly, Clover’s fourth and final album, the second of its British sojourn, had a harder rock edge than its predecessors. Clover had come over to England as a California country-rock outfit, only to land in the middle of the punk rock revolt. Its first British album, Clover (or Unavailable, as it was called in the U.K.) retained the country sound, but by the end of 1977, the band was all up-tempo rock and twin guitar leads, courtesy of Alex Call and John McFee. The music wasn’t punk, exactly, but it was more aggressive. Still, Clover remained an essentially good-natured musicians’ band, as the loose a cappella version of Leiber & Stoller’s “Keep on Rolling” demonstrated. In another time and place, maybe that would have mattered. ~ William Ruhlmann………

Clover was an American country rock band formed in Mill Valley, California, in 1967. They are best known as the backup band for Elvis Costello’s 1977 debut album My Aim Is True (recorded in the UK), and for members later forming or joining more successful acts, including Huey Lewis and the News, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, and Lucinda Williams. Clover originally disbanded in 1978. Three members reunited for two concerts backing Costello in San Francisco on November 8, 2007.

History
Formed by members of the band Tiny Hearing Aid Company, Clover’s sound moved on from Bay Area psychedelia to the burgeoning country rock sound, similar to Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970 saw their debut self-titled album released on Fantasy Records (also Creedence’s label), and a 1971 follow-up entitled Fourty Niner [sic]. Later the band moved to the UK and recorded Unavailable and Love on the Wire (both in 1977 and early efforts by producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange), before McFee, Ciambotti, Hopper and Shine backed Elvis Costello on his debut album My Aim Is True. Clover toured as the support group for Thin Lizzy in the UK during the late 1970s.

After Clover
After Clover originally disbanded in 1978 the ex-members returned home to the USA. Alex Call recorded as a solo artist and wrote hits for Huey Lewis and many other artists, including Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny”. Lewis and Hopper formed Huey Lewis and the News, later recording hits with Lange. McFee joined Southern Pacific and The Doobie Brothers, and also played sessions for Elvis Costello. Ciambotti played sessions for Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and Carlene Carter, and became a chiropractor in Toluca Lake, California. Porcaro had a prolific career as a session musician and co-founded the band Toto. Shine briefly became a member of Tommy Tutone but left the band before they recorded Call’s “867-5309”.

Carlene Carter covered two of Clover’s songs (“Love Is Gone” and “Mr. Moon,” both written by Call), then later recorded two songs, “Ring Of Fire” and “Too Proud,” with McFee, Ciambotti and Hopper.

Three members of Clover — McFee, Ciambotti, and Hopper — reunited for two concerts backing Elvis Costello in San Francisco on November 8, 2007. The concerts raised funds for the Richard de Lone Special Housing Fund, a non-profit organization designed to help those with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Founding member Dr. John P. Ciambotti died on March 24, 2010, in Glendale, California, at the age of 67. He had undergone surgery for an abdominal aneurysm………………………..

Alex Call: Lead Vocals, Guitar
Huey Louis: Lead Vocals, Harmonicas
John McFee: Lead, Slide & Pedal Steel Guitars, Vocals
Ciambotti: Fender Bass Guitar, Vocals
Sean Hopper: Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
Tony Braunagel: Drum
Founding members (1967–1978)
Alex Call - lead vocals, guitar
John McFee - guitar, steel guitar
John Ciambotti - bass
Mitch Howie - drums (left c 1971)
Later members
Huey Lewis - harmonica, vocals
Jeff Porcaro - drums
Sean Hopper - keyboards
Marcus Grossman (aka Marcus David) - drums
Kirk Harwood - drums
Micky Shine - drums
Tony Braunagel - drums
Kevin Wells - drums
Daniel Lenard - drums

Tracklist
A1 Hearts Under Fire 5:37
A2 Southern Belles 3:24
A3 Oh Señorita 4:24
A4 Still Alive 3:51
A5 Keep On Rollin 2:40
B1 California Kid 3:40
B2 Easy Love 3:56
B3 Ain’t Nobody Own Nobody’s Soul 3:47
B4 From Now On 3:37
B5 Travellin’ Man 4:10

Discography


Singles
“Wade In The Water” / “Stealin’” (Liberty #LBF 15341, UK) (Fantasy #639, US) (1970)
“Shotgun” / “Wade In The Water” (America-Records/Fantasy #17016) (France, 1970)
“Come” / “Monopoly” (America-Records/Fantasy #M 20-174) (Spain, 1971)
“Summer’s Here” / “Leavin’ Is” (PAC Records) (unreleased, US, 1976)
“Chicken Funk” / “Show Me Your Love” (Vertigo #6059 157) (UK, 1976)
“I Lie Awake” / “Take Another Look” (Vertigo #6059 164) (UK, 1977)
“Love Love” / “Leavin’ Is” (Vertigo #6059 171) (UK, 1977)
“Chain Gang” / “Streets Of London” (Vertigo #6059 175) (UK, 1977)
“Oh Señorita” / “Ain’t Nobody” (Vertigo #6059 188) (UK, 1977)
“Take Another Look”/ “Take another Look” (Mercury #DJ-504-73935) (promotional issue (promo), US, 1977)
“Hearts Under Fire” / “Still Alive” (Mercury #73978) (US, 1977) (“Hearts Under Fire” reached #129 in Record World, spring 1978)
“Hearts Under Fire” (edited version) / Hearts Under Fire" (Mercury #DJ-538-73978) (promo, US, 1977)
“There Is No Substitute For Real Magic” (Vertigo #4277) (UK, 1977) (promo flexi disc with information and song samples from their album Unavailable)


Albums
Clover (Fantasy) (1970)
Fourty Niner [sic] (Fantasy) (1971)
Unavailable (Mercury/Vertigo) (1976)
Love On The Wire (Mercury/Vertigo) (1977)
Chronicle (Fantasy) (1979)
The Best Of Clover: An American Band In London (Mercury) (1986)
Various Artists: San Francisco Nights (Magnum Music #CDTB-167) (1996) (three songs)
Live At The Paradiso (Sustainable Music) (2006)
The Sound City Sessions (Sonic Past Music) (2006)
Live Concert At Winterland - December 20, 1975 (Wolfgang’s Concert Vault) (8 songs) (streaming audio) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..