Monday, 21 February 2011

The Farm Band - The Farm Band US 1972 Hippie West Coast Psych Rock

Kind of a given here, don't you think? The Farm Band (also operatingas Stephen & The Farm Band and the TennesseeFarm Band) was the houseband at The Farm, flagship of all hippie communes. I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in the rural revolution to check out this amazing place more; the book "Voices From The Farm" (Rupert Fike, ed.) is a good start. This massive 2LP set was the Farm Band's first release and also by some miles their finest moment (later LPs are pretty good too, though, and I wouldn't want to let go of any of them). A nine-piece outfit, the standard rock setting is augmented by flute, electric fiddle, and French horn(!); mixed vocals and long, jam-oriented material give this an undeniable late-stage West Coast feel (not much of a surprise, really, as most of the Farm residents originated from San Francisco). The mood is one of joy and spontaneity, where you easily can imagine a few hundred longhaired freaks out in the fields groovin' all night long into the morning sun, as the last jam slowly fades away. This spontaneity also resultsin performances that are perhaps a tad "loose", shall we say, or even sloppy, with vocal harmonies going all over the place. Songwriting never was the Farm Band's forte either. What they do succeed in is creatinga sort of tribal Earth Rock, where the leadguitar of Walter Rabideau cuts through time and spaceleading the band further and further away into holy man jam land; the rhythmguitarist steps on his wah-wah, the violinist comes sweeping in from the cornfield ready to push things into even higher grounds, and eventually it's a wall of sound-effect that soarshigh above the watertower, leavingSummertown, TN, as nothing but a tiny dot on the map that stretches out far below. Get the picture? When the jams here really gel it's an amazing power at work, a psychedelic testimony with a groove that appears to be endless. This being a very communal effort it feels contradictory to single out any specific player, but I can't let the opportunity passto praise Walter Rabideau's guitarplaying. One of rock's unsungguitarheroes, his solos have a rich tone, an amazing flow & if you like me have an inclination towards air guitar-moves, Walter's all you need for a night of good fun. Ok, the last statement may not really be serving his reputation much good, but he really is fantastic, and an Acid Rock Legend in this household. On this album he also benefits from having some hot rhythmguitar to play against, by someone named Joseph (last name unknown to me), who wasn't on any of the subsequent LPs. In all, this is a document of a time where possibilities seemed endless (the heading on the Farm Band's touring busread "Out To Save The World"), the music beingonly a fracture of what it was all about. The Farm is still there though, with some 300 members, but the Farm Band called it quits in the late 70sor so. Like any other Farm product the packaging here is awesome; a thick gatefold cover, huge poster and printed inners. A piece of art, a statement and an essential piece of underground head sounds.
(by http://


01.Om -Farm Band,
02.Loving You
03.Lord's Work -Farm Band, Dotzler, Thomas
04.Keep your Head Up High
05.Being Here With you -Farm Band, Dotzler, Thomas
06.Let It Ride
08.I Believe It

The Farm Band
Read more about The Farm community: * The_Farm_(Tennessee) * history/


hello, i'm johnny clash said...

i lived there a number of years and the place was a nightmare. a long haired subdivision that if you didn't go along with everything they disappeared people in the dead of night. they worked you to death and denied you medical care. they let you starve. it was horrible.

Anonymous said...

well there johnny boy...I'm a quadriplegic who lived there 13 years and was well cared for and loved, with 4 daughters that were
home-birthed by midwifes...sure there were mistakes and hard times,but as far as my experiences go the finest people I've ever known
lived and some still live there 40 years later!

nolan voyd said...

Were you there for wheat berry winter? or soy souffle winter? I am happy for your good experiences. I had some too. Most folks I met were pretty cool and I am still friends with most of them. There were many, many mistakes. My quote about the long haired subdivision is from Stephen himself. I do know of several people taken away at night. I was one. I was busted at a meeting of young people talking about getting a commune of our own. I was part of the construction crew. The construction crew was founded by four of us who only went to work off the farm to build our own house. All they did was take the money away to give to other people to build their houses. Then when we built a house, after years of work, they took that away and gave it to someone else. I then moved a house there and they took that away. My children wound up sick, with no running water, no hot water, no electricity. I got in trouble for taking a day off to go into town to get a hot water heater by being reported as an "independent operator" by someone who had left the farm for 5 years because he didn't want to work. I lived in a house that burned down and a baby died because of no sheet rock. The same couples other kid almost died and lost some toes from living in a house that had been used to house chickens. The independent operator thing was interesting as in my household I had three different families of single mothers with 3 or 4 kids and one single man with kids who was afraid to work. It was great to work all day and come home and chop firewood in the dark. Then come in and fulfill my duties on my dish washing nights even they never saved any food. They are all fine people, just most didn't share the same sense of urgency about covering others as much as themselves. My guess is that you lived with one of the "in crowd" i.e. Joel Kachinsky, or Leslie Hunt...someone with some juice. I was sixteen when I moved there and was sent to work. No school. It's funny I brought a station wagon with me when i moved there....of course they were given that. It was given to the guy who lived next door to me. They had 11 vehicles already. I tried to borrow my own car and was told they didn't know if I was "together" enough to Didn't offer to drop it off or anything and hemmed and hawed when asked. Some people had awesome lifestyles. Plate of food handed to them when they got home, fire wood done for them, a full time staff of single people to change diapers. Others had next to nothing. It was who you knew. A few people still live there but by the sweat of the brows of thousands of others who passed through. Some living there for years who have nothing to show for it. Now they charge to live well they should....but they should remember and be grateful. Be well.