Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove (1969)

Quicksilver Messenger Service were an American rock band originally formed in the 1960s, part of San Francisco's famous psychedelic rock scene.

After QMS's successful Happy Trails album, guitarist Gary Duncan left the band. Reduced to a trio, they decided to bring in English piano virtuoso Nicky Hopkins to replace him. Hopkins was best known as a session musician, playing keyboards on records for all the hip British bands in the 60s (The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, etc). However he was also active as part of the San Francisco sound - the same year he joined Quicksilver he contributed his distinctive piano to Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers album.
Hopkin's arrival gave them the new line-up of John Cipollina (lead guitar/vocals), David Freiburg (bass/viola/guitar/vocals), Hopkins (keyboards) and Greg Elmore (drums/percussion). Unsurprisingly it resulted in a very different sound to what their fans were previously used to - Hopkin's piano dominated throughout Shady Grove, culminating in the stunning near-10 minute instrumental "Edward, The Mad Shirt Grinder" (written by Hopkins). Ending the album this way almost suggests the band were simply in awe of their new member and let him take center stage to do his thing for the last part of their record. Elsewhere however the album moved around between various psychedelic, bluesy and folky rock sounds (a far cry from the guitar-driven jam band sound they had perfected on their earlier releases). Songwriting assistance came from band associate Nick Gravenites (who produced their debut album, and sang with The Electric Flag), who is credited as co-author of two songs with Cipollina and Freiburg, and contributed his own song "Holy Moly". Shady Grove was a bit of an oddity in the Quicksilver discography, but it's nonetheless a great record.

Happy Trails (1969) <|> Just For Love (1970)
More from Quicksilver Messenger Service



viagra online said...

What a nostalgic release, I wonder if you have all the discography of this band.

KDNYfm said...

Great album, despite missing Gary duncan. Nicky Hopkins' contributions are tremendous. thanx for Sharing!

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