Quicksilver Messenger Service - Just For Love (1970)

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

Guitarist Gary Duncan had been absent from 1969's Shady Grove album, and pianist Nicky Hopkins had been brought in to make up the numbers. However in early 1970 Duncan returned, and brought with him Dino Valenti - the elusive singer-songwriter who had been part of an early lineup of Quicksilver, but had been sent to prison for marijuana possession and missed out when the band took off. Valenti had also written the counter-culture anthem "Get Together" (recorded by The Youngbloods, Jefferson Airplane, The Kingston Trio and others), but had been forced to sell the song to the manager of the Kingston Trio to pay for his court defence. On his release he had tried to start a new group with Duncan in New York, but it had not worked out. So Duncan returned to Quicksilver, and Valenti went with him.
This gave the band the new big line-up of Dino Valenti (vocals/guitar/percussion/flute), Gary Duncan (guitar/bass/vocals), John Cipollina (guitar/steel guitar/vocals), David Freiburg (bass/guitar/vocals), Nicky Hopkins (piano/keyboards) and Greg Elmore (drums/percussion). With Valenti seemingly in charge, their sound changed. They recorded the album Just For Love in Hawaii in the summer of 1970. With the exception of the instrumental "Cobra" (by Cipollina), all the songs were written by Valenti under the pseudonym of Jesse Oris Farrow. He also took all the lead vocal roles. With the extended lineup (and Hopkins' piano still a very dominant part of the sound), the twin guitars of Duncan and Cipollina (which had defined their 'classic' early records) were not so prominent. There was less focus on instrumental jams - rather the band formed a loose folk-rock backing for Valenti, and this upset and alienated many of their fans. To many the Quicksilver Messenger Service they had known and loved was over when Valenti took the reigns, but others enjoyed the new sound. Indeed the album included their closest thing to a hit - "Fresh Air", which reached #49 on the singles chart.
However it is undeniable that Just For Love was a patchy and uneven album. It had a few very good songs, and a great distinctive style, but overall it wasn't consistent, and perhaps gave an unfairly negative representation of this line-up of the band.

Shady Grove (1969) <|> What About Me (1970)
More from Quicksilver Messenger Service


No comments: