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Quicksilver Messenger Service - Live at the Summer of Love

  by Andrew Carver

published: 26 / 2 / 2012

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Live at the Summer of Love
Label: Floating World Records
Format: CD


Fantastic live double CD of covers and original numbers from 60's San Francisco-based psychedelic act Quicksilver Messenger Service, which provides an excellent introduction to their early career

Quicksilver Messenger Service are widely regarded as one of the 1960's San Francisco acid rock scene’s lost opportunities. Although they were among the first to convene, they were sidetracked by the imprisonment of founder Dino Valente on drug charges and didn’t get around to releasing their self-titled debut album until 1968. That said, they’ve acquired a dedicated following thanks to the signature work of guitarists John Cippolina (much-admired by such players as Ghost member and Boris associate Michio Kurihara, among others) and Gary Duncan. Fortunately for their devotees, soundman and acid guru Owsley Stanley recorded many of their shows, allowing fans to check out their sound prior to their official (and some say best) album ‘Happy Trails’ from 1969. The recordings on ‘Live At The Summer Of Love’ predate their debut’s May 1968 release (in the case of the latest of the three shows, by only a month) and come from the Fillmore Auditorium and the Carousel Ballroom (to be purchased and renamed the Fillmore West by Billy Graham just a few months later). The two-disc set kicks of with QMS’s trademark workout of Bo Diddley’s ‘Mona’, which gets stretched out past the eight-minute mark, and starts off with an introduction promising a few numbers from their oft-incarcerated leader Dino Valenti and a following set from Jefferson Airplane. Then it jumps ahead in time to a ‘Walkin’ Blues’ taken from a later Carousel show before romping through a varied set of heavily reconfigured and distended blues tunes (such as the Willie Dixon penned Howlin’ Wolf tune ‘Back Door Man’, ‘ Smiley Lewis’ evergreen ‘I Hear You Knocking’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’). They also play several of their own compositions, such as their instrumental mainstay ‘Gold and Silver’, ‘Dino’s Song’ and some folk tunes - the San Francisco staple ‘Codeine’ and Ann Bredon’s ‘I’m Gonna Leave You’, given later life by Joan Baez and later given its most histrionic treatment by Led Zeppelin on their 1969 debut, the trad murder ballad ‘Duncan and Brady’ and folkie Hamilton Camp’s classic ‘Pride Of Man’. There’s also at least one obscurity to tantalize the QMS fan (not that they will need much more encouragement to pick up the set), in ‘Year Of The Outrage’. There’s more of the same on the second CD, with Cippolina and Duncan’s guitars twining and turning through another Bo Diddley stomper, ‘Who Do You Love?’ Rufus Thomas’ ‘All Night Worker’, Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’ ‘Drivin’ Wheel (It’s Been Too Long)’ and ‘You Don’t Love Me’ among others. While not the first place to stop for those unfamiliar with Quicksilver Messenger Service, ‘Live At The Summer Love’ is an excellent introduction to the group’s live output and a good window into their early years.

Track Listing:-
1 Mona
2 Walkin' Blues
3 Codeine
4 Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
5 Gold And Silver
6 Dino's Song
7 Back Door Man
8 I Hear You Knocking
9 Pride Of Man
10 Light Your Windows
11 Hoochie Coochie Man
12 Year Of The Outrage
13 Duncan And Brady
14 The Fool
15 I Can't Believe It
16 Who Do You Love
17 All Night Worker
18 Drivin' Wheel (It's Been Too Long)
19 Stand By Me
20 A Fool For You
21 You Don't Love Me
22 Hey Mama

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