Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Moby Grape, Listen My Friends

“Listen My Friends” is a career retrospective of the ’60s San Francisco band, Moby Grape.  The initial version of the band included guitar players Skip Spence, Jerry Miller, moby grapeand Peter Lewis, bass player Bob Mosley and drummer Don Stevenson.  All five band members sang.  At first it appeared that they could do almost any kind of music, be it blues, traditional rock, psychedelic rock, folk, or country, and do it well.  They wrote some terrific songs and their five part vocal harmonies were superb.  Their first album, released in 1967 and titled “Moby Grape”, is outstanding.  Unfortunately nothing else they did comes close.  The band was stupidly over-hyped by their record label (Columbia Records) which released five singles simultaneously from the first album giving the audience no chance to get to know the band over time.  Moby Grape was initially built around Skip Spence who was highly talented but also mentally unstable.  He suffered from schizophrenia and was hospitalized while the band was trying to record their second album.  Mosley left to join the marines in 1969.

The problems with the band are reflected on “Listen My Friends” the six tracks (out of 20) from “Moby Grape” are excellent and then the quality declines as the CD progresses until we get to the last track which is an idiotic commercial for one of the band’s later albums.  If you are a fan of Moby Grape the disc is worth it for the remastering of the tracks from their first album alone.  As far as I know, the entire album has never been remastered and the sound quality of the standard CD version is poor.  The band and it’s fans would have been much better served if Columbia had remastered the first album in its entirety and left most of the rest of this stuff in the vault.  If you are not a committed fan and just want to hear the band, I’d recommend picking up “Moby Grape” even with its poor sound quality rather than “Listen My Friends”.  There’s not a bad track on “Moby Grape”, there’s a whole lot of bad tracks here.

Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 007 – 1960s San Francisco (Part 1)

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07/18/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | ,

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