July 10, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 72: McKendree Spring ~ Tracks




















In addition to my vinyl LP record collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes as well. This is an entry about one of them that is for sale on eBay (see link below). Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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McKendree Spring is a progressive folk-rock band based in Glen Falls, New York, that was originally founded in 1969. Although still active, they were mainly popular in the early 1970s. 



McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box cover
cover design by David Edward Byrd
photo by Styrous®



The band originally consisted of Fran McKendree (vocals and guitar), Fred Holman (bass), Dr. Michael Dreyfuss (electric violin, viola, Moog, Arp, Mellotron), Martin Slutsky (electric guitar). Christopher Bishop replaced Holman on bass as of the 1973 release Spring Suite. Some of their music ventured into avante-garde or experimental territory, such as God Bless the Conspiracy from their album 3, with its violin/viola/synthesizer solo by Dreyfuss. It was different from other rock bands as they generally used no drums.





McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Michael Malone
photo of tape box back by Styrous®



The group did release 2 singles, with neither one of them making it onto Billboard's Hot 100 chart, but both did hit the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. In 1971, they peaked at #105 with Because It's Time from their album, Second Thoughts. The second single released in 1976, Too Young To Feel This Old, taken from the album of the same name, didn't do any better. That song only got as high as #110.




McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Michael Malone
detail photo by Styrous®



Martin Slutsky ventured into television in which his production work landed him seven Emmys. McKendree went solo, and Dreyfuss relocated to Cleveland, contributing magazine stories to the now defunct, Northern Ohio Live, and performing occasionally with local rocker Cletus Black.




McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Michael Malone
detail photo by Styrous®



The Music

The music on the album is distinguished by the great viola work of Michael Dreyfuss who also plays violin and synthesizer. The pedal steel guitar of Hank DeVito gives the music a gentle country feeling. Andy Newmark provides the rhythm for the group with his distinctive drumming. Newmark was drummer for Sly and the Family Stone, John Lennon, Pink Floyd and Roxy Music amongst other great groups.




McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Michael Malone
detail photo by Styrous®



Don't Keep Me Waiting is a moderately slow ballad.  The melody on this song is really lovely, an interesting counterpoint to the very sad lyrics. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. The second being the last song on side two, Light Up The Skies.

Similar in feeling is The Man In Me but the lyrics are not as sad. It has a lovely violin backing to the vocal by Fran McKendree.



McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Michael Malone
detail photo by Styrous®


Watch Those Pennies is a bouncy, kind of saloon ditty that is infectiously fun and the lyrics are as well. The swinging violin during the instrumental break is a nice touch.

Shoot Me breaks the country aspect of the album and is out and out rock and features a backing vocal by Jo Ann Vent.



McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Michael Malone
detail photo by Styrous®



Two Of Me has a very dramatic but quiet guitar chord, synthesizer and violin start. It is a mellow tune witha wistful feeling.

Train To Dixie has a syncopated beat and, the organ by Ron MacKinnon and tenor sax by Artie Kaplan, give it a funk quality that is quite nice.

Friends Die Easy II is fast, syncopated and accompanied by bongos. It is mostly an instrumental.  This song really rocks, but quietly. I researched but could not find a Friends Die Easy I.

Road To Somewhere is another mellow tune.




McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape
detail photo by Styrous®




Light Up The Skies opens with a strange synthesizer and violin intro that is a bit eerie with a subtle sound of wind backing them up. Based on the The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, the violin adds a wonderful baroque feeling to it which eventually goes into a waltz beat that is is truly beautiful. It is entirely instrumental with many musical surprises in the course of its amazingly short 5 minutes. This is a brilliant piece and my favorite on the album.




McKendree Spring ~ Tracks
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®



Track List:

Side 1:

A1 - Don't Keep Me Waiting - written by F. McKendree* - 3:51
A2 - Underground Railroad - 3:16
A3 - The Man In Me - written by B. Dylan* - 3:24
A4 - Watch Those Pennies - Backing Vocals – Bob Hipwell, John Montgomery - 3:05
A5 - Shoot Me - written by K. Sykes - 3:34

Side 2:

B1 - Two Of Me - 3:55
B2 - Train To Dixie - written by K. Sykes - 3:30
B3 - Friends Die Easy II - written by F. McKendree* - 4:10
B4 - Road To Somewhere - written by F. Holman* - 3:25
B5 - Light Up The Skies - written by M. Dreyfuss* - 5:00


Personnel:

Credits



Discography:

McKendree Spring (1969) (Decca DL 75104)
Second Thoughts (1970) (Decca DL 75230)
McKendree Spring 3 (1972)(Decca DL 75332)
Tracks (1972) (Decca DL 75385)
Spring Suite (1973) (MCA 370)
Get Me to the Country (1975) (Pye 12108)
Too Young to Feel This Old (1976) (Pye 12124)
Live at the Beachland Ballroom (2007) (McKendree Spring Records 700261208701)
Recording No. 9 (2010) (McKendree Spring Records 845121029130)


McKendree Spring ~ Tracks reel-to-reel tape is for sale on eBay 

reel-to-reel tapes on eBay



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