McKendree Spring - America's answer to prog in 1969.
McKendree Spring – America‘s answer to prog in 1969.

McKendree Spring – In Session for The Show – NET-TV – March 1, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

A live session tonight from early American Prog. Although they reformed in 2009 and are still performing, McKendree Spring began life in 1969 – America’ answer to the burgeoning Progressive Rock movement going on in Europe. Admittedly a hard-sell, along mixed reviews but an interested and growing audience, Mckendree Spring in the first incarnation kept the ball rolling from until 1976 when they called it quits.

An artistic success rather than a commercial one, McKendree Spring represented a handful of U.S. bands going the prog route and would probably be considered at the forefront of that movement during the early days. Their sound, more closely associated with Folk than with free-form Jazz and Psychedelia had no drummer, bears a slight resemblance to early 70s Jethro Tull and late 60s New York Rock N’Roll Ensemble. So they were on the right track.

This session, part of a live TV variety show from pre-PBS NET. Called simply The Show, it was a Public Television entertainment mashup before an audience. It appears to have been short-lived and doesn’t appear in any search engines – so how long the show lasted is anyone’s guess (unless you have information to the contrary).

In any event, this is a live rare appearance from McKendree Spring, aired on March 1, 1970 – and even though it’s a little under 12 minutes, it’s an interesting slice of what late 60s progressive music was up to around this time. It’s interesting too, that McKendree Spring have released some 9 albums during the two phases of their careers – 1969-1976 and 2009-present. It says something about sticking with it

The sound on this session isn’t high fidelity, but the performance is spirited. So, it’s a trade off.

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