Saturday, April 2, 2011


I once read that the time when there were the most active bands in the US was 1967, right after the release of Sgt. Peppers. Basically, everyone heard that record and started a band. Literally, everyone. If that's a true statistic or an urban legend I'm not sure, but each month there are more reissues of late '60s "Private Press" records. Amazing unearthed artifacts of raw obscurities and dog-eared jams by bands that never made it out of the basement, let alone their hometowns. The RFD's Lead Me Home is a standout example of a truly sick private press record in the ways it both follows the aesthetic of this phenomenon and also befuddles. Okay, under 500 copies originally released on a private label in 1971? Check. Ridiculous non-self conscious band name (RFD stood for "Russ, Fred and Dan", the founding members of the group)? Check. Tripped-out record cover, low-budget home recording, naive lyrics shouldered in astute-yet-understated mellow acid folk songs? All this checks out, but the RFD was also apparently a Christian rock band? Lead track "He Is Coming" fits the mold perfectly for a sub-categorical d.i.y./post-Byrds/stoned at home jam except for the male/female reverb-touched harmonies about Christ "coming in his golden glory." Oh, yeah, a lady named Debbie adds a lot to the record but somehow she and drummer Larry got left out of the acronym. Despite the possible conflict between the heavily hippie/drugged-out underpinnings of the album and the Christian need to walk a straight and narrow path, there also seems to be a conflict in the songs between God's glory and a deep sense of Vietnam-era alienation. Simply stated tunes like "Why Do I Feel Alone?" and "On the Outside Looking In" don't do a lot to obfuscate this theme. Much like the Tony Caro & John record, another stunning private press item that found wider re-release a few years back, the RFD finds textures and ideas that would have been impossible within the confines of record labels, professional equipment and legitimate studios, even in 1971. There's a sense of passion and excitement that's unique to the homespun world of self-edited, self-informed, self-everything songwriting. Contradictions abound and those confounding moments are some of the best parts.

-Fred Thomas (September 26, 2008)

A really groovy early 70s spiritual folk rock record from RFD – with emotionally resonant male & female vocals – and lightly rollicking backdrop of guitar, bass & drums. There's kind of a mix of east coast and west coast folk rock influences – the harmonies have a Byrdsy quality, but the acoustic guitar playing has the feel of east coast troubadours. Quiet and a little eerie in a way, and an all around enjoyable rarity worth checking out! Titles include "He Is Coming", "Loner", "Why Do I Feel Alone", "Take Time", "It Seems", "Rap It Out" and more. (Limited edition.)

Tracks :

He is Coming
Why Do I Feel Alone
Back Into My Mind
Lead Me Home
Take Time
No Man is a Mountain
Long Time in the Rain
It Seems
On the Outside Looking In
Rap It Out

Artwork Included

No comments:

Post a Comment

tracker tracker