I got this album recently and I knew absolutely nothing about the band and I only bought the record because the band were on the Elektra label from the early 70s.
And, like I have said, I will give anything a go on Elektra … well, anything up to about the mid-70s.
As it turns out it seems I have struck "gold" on paper, vinyl, paper, err on first impressions.
The band has a cult following, thought not from people at the time, but from record collectors subsequently or from people into early 70s prog country rock.
Cult or not there is little information out there on the band but there is a bit of detail on their pedigree …
Members, Danny Mansolino, Mike Rosa and Dave Palmer were from New Jersey garage band (and another cult favourite) The Myddle Class. Dave Palmer went on to some success as an early vocalist with Steely Dan. Kenny Pine was in The Fugs and Jerry Burnham had worked with acts like, The Strangers, James Taylor and The Flying Machine, Jake and the Family Jewels, and The Fifth Avenue Band.
They were probably formed in New York City though New Jersey is home ground and Martha's Vineyard, in Massachusetts comes up as a possible formation point.
The sound is country rock as was popular at the time though it is of a East Coast nature. We (or at least I) tend to associate country rock with California and the south-west and I think that is fair but there is a whole branch of country rock that came up through the sounds of the South, the Appalachian mountain country and up into the north-east of the United States. The Band, southern by nature (despite the overwhelming number of Canadians in the band) set up shop in upstate New York and there is something of the Catskill Mountains in their sound, at least there is when they are playing with Bob Dylan.
The country rock of the East is country rock but without all the familiar country rock stylings … it's older (and more old sounding like The Band), or, more urban with jazz, psych or funk sounds introduced, or, quirkier with more traditional or folk elements in the music, or, more humorous.
It's a bit of a hodgepodge as you would expect form any music overflowing into the country surrounds from the melting pots that are New York City or Boston. What is important is the "feel" of the country … the sense that there was an escape (real or imagined) from the cities in which most of the bands, no doubt, resided and gigged in.
Arlo Guthrie, James Taylor, Rowan Brothers, later Seatrain, early Dr Hook also play in this "rural rock" paddock.
The Quinaimes Band (a naff name) are a good example of this. There are country stylings, with psych and rock elements or are they rock with psych and country elements?.
Either way they come across as a cross between The Band, The Byrds, The Statler Brothers, Al Kooper, and maybe Steppenwolf.
There is a multitude of styles in here but they are all merged which is good and bad. I hate the band that plays each song in a different style … that's just a covers band. The Quinaimes are not that. They have their style and their sound with each song merging elements of all of their core sounds … there is a lot going on … maybe too much. For me, it's fun but for the casual listener it may be too much. Hey, I'm not better than anyone else, I'm just saying this is a potpourri of influences played in virtuoso style and part of the fun is in deciphering it.
Recorded in New York City, this was their only album.
It is of its time but as I have said before, if you like that time and you like that sound then so what?
And whatever goes around …
The sound has come back. Not mainstream but certainly, around the edges of music. Quirky alt country, as I write is everywhere , at least it in Brisbane (and Australia generally … we are following the American lead)
The album included collaborations of some great session musicians such as Danny Kortchmar, Richard Greene among others.
All tracks by Danny Mansolino, David Palmer unless noted.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Try Me One More Time – (David Bromberg) – written by singer-songwriter Bromberg though he didn't release a version till 2007. A gently humorous song as you would expect from Bromberg with some chicken scratching guitar you would expect from Dr Hook.
- Look To Yourself – quite different to the last tune. Slight funky psych elements introduced. A good tune but fark there is a lot going on here.
- Green Rolling Hills Of West Virginia – (Bruce Phillips) – Written by political folksinger Utah Phillips The Quinaimes may have been the first to record it but the song is forever identified with the Phillips or Emmylou Harris who recorded it, and made it famous, in 1978 for her album "Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town". This is an about face to the last track, a laid back ballad done in a laid back way with shades of The Byrds without their ethereal voices,
- Visions Of Johanna – (Bob Dylan) – from Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" (1966) album. A great song and a beautiful cover.
- Don't Take No – much The Band like from The Band circa 1971 not surprisingly. And, it's quite good. Actually, really good. I think the song may be about the band
- Love Brings The Best Out In A Man – (Gus Andrews) – I don't have any detail on who Gus Andrews is. A Grams Parsons like country rock song. Very well done.
- Don't Knock – (Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Wesley Westbrook) – a gospel done by the Staples Singers in 1960. Interesting.
- Tell Me What You See From There – A gentle Blood Sweat and Tears vibe going on hear without he big sound.
- Queequeg (Roll Them Bones) – A good old country thumper, piano and keyboards up front with 50s influences.
- Falling Star – A country rock ballad. Perfect for late nights.
A minor gem … I'm keeping it.
Look To Yourself
Green Rolling Hills Of West Virginia
Visions Of Johanna
Love Brings The Best Out In A Man
The Myddle Class
The Myddle Class
- Recording:Electric Lady Studios,New York,NY The Record Plant
- Produced by Zachary. Production supervisor Jac Holzman.
- The Quinaimes Band: David Palmer – Vocals / Jerry Burnham – Bass, Fiddle, Vocals / Danny Mansolino – Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Vocals / Kenny Pine – Guitar, Vocals / Mike Rosa – Drums
- Guest Musicians: Richard Greene – Fiddle, Violin / Richard Grando – Saxophone / Allan "Jake" Jacobs – Guitar / Danny Kortchmar – Guitar / Daniel Ben Zebulon – Drums, Congas / Bill Keith – Pedal Steel Guitar
- David Palmer went on to be the vocalist for the Big WhaKoo in the late 70s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wha-Koo