Mixed Mead-Ear


Fifth Estate # 62, Sept. 19-Oct. 2, 1968

I think that it is about time that the people in this town stopped paying vast amounts of money to see out-of-town groups purely because they are an out-of-town group, and start to take some notice of local people, who are generally putting out music and shows as good, if not better than, many of the top imports. I have been of this opinion for some time but I have generally left the criticism and appraisal of local talent to my learned co-editors, who, having been in the area somewhat longer than myself, are more adept in the local scene. However one group in particular I have seen twice within the space of two weeks and I feel duty bound to give them some of the praise and publicity that they deserve.

The Frost are one of the finest new groups I have ever seen. Regular readers of this column will undoubtedly realize that I am not a person to give out compliments easily or without reason, but I must say that I was very surprised and pleased to hear, once again, a young group who know what they are doing and are professional in their approach to their music.

At the Grande Ballroom, the Frost gave a fragment of their ability and shone out where many “locals” have been left in the shadows of the name group of the evening. The organized harmonies of their songs fully compliment the melodies (remember melodies?) and lyrics (remember lyrics?).

Although the first number that they did sounded vaguely familiar, from then on it was all new stuff played and sung very well and, generally, with great taste. The group did a trilogy-style number incorporating “Take My Hand,” “Mystery Man,” and “Sunshine” which was, in itself, a complete act; the culmination of which was the ethereal “Mystery Man.”

The majority of the set reminded me of a combination of the tightness and musical ability of Sly and the Family Stone and the vocal power of the Chambers Brothers. I really like the way that someone remembered that once upon a time it was possible to hear the voices over the instruments and I was glad that the same person revived the habit.

And just for the fans—the Frost played “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” I like this song—I like the drums—I like the power—it’s a good closing number. I must admit that seeing Dick fornicating on the floor of the Grande stage with his guitar does not particularly impress me, but mainly because I think of what he could be saying by playing his guitar instead of playing with it. Still, it was one of the best sets I have seen at the Grande. In fact, the only bad aspect of that particular night was that with the power of the Frost and the old time authenticity of B.B. King’s voice and new look (rehashed feedback guitar style of B.B. Bloomfield), that the authenticity of the Thyme passed virtually unnoticed, which is a shame since they are another consistently hard-working and professional local group who refuse to say anything musically other than what they want to say.

All in all, I firmly believe that if more people concentrated on appreciating local talent (for what it is rather than their idea that anyone who has lived in their area for any length of time can’t be as good as someone from out of town), then the American music scene may become a music scene rather than merely a bad collage of second rate drama and stagnant musical ability.