The Daily Flash – live – various venues – Approximately October 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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The Daily Flash to kick off the week. A band that had a solid reputation on the West Coast, even though their singles failed to make much dent in what was a pretty crowded playing field at the time.
This set of live recordings from late 1967 runs the sonic-gamut, from very good to pretty poor. But there is precious little documentation on the band live, so almost any example is appreciated.
From the outset, two things characterized The Daily Flash. Their eclectic blend of folk, blues, pop and jazz set them apart from the “garage band” sound that dominated the Pacific Northwest. Their flair for publicity was such as to get the band press before they even got their first gig. They devised a sound system that suited their tight harmonies, pioneered new venues and aimed beyond a teen audience, and aligned themselves with the emergent hippie counterculture.
Around the end of 1965, local record distributor Ron Saul got the group a deal with Parrot Records, a division of London Records. Their first single was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately”. The B-side was originally supposed to be Dino Valenti’s “Birdses”, but Saul shelved that, releasing the funkier “Jack of Diamonds,” recorded at the same Tacoma, Washington studio favored by The Wailers. The latter track would eventually find its way onto the 1998 CD re-issue of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968.
The single, released in spring 1966, was not a commercial success. However, it did get them the attention of Sonny & Cher’s then-manager Charlie Greene. On the lookout for additional acts to manage, that year he signed both The Daily Flash and Buffalo Springfield. The band headed to Los Angeles to record a stronger version of “Queen Jane Approximately,” but that also met a lukewarm response in the market.
Still, their reputation as a live act was growing. On the way south they headlined a pair of Chet Helms-promoted shows at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom, supported both nights by the Rising Sons (a band that included future stars Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal); the additional act on Friday night was a pre-Janis Joplin version of Big Brother & The Holding Company and on Saturday The Charlatans (featuring Dan Hicks). At the end of July 1966 they played the Vancouver Trips Festival. According to Keliehor, that was the only time they ever played a gig under the influence of a mind-altering substance (LSD provided by Owsley Stanley).
The band—now based in Los Angeles but probably more popular in San Francisco and viewed as hometown heroes in Seattle—traveled the West Coast, supporting acts such as The Byrds, The Doors and The Turtles in Los Angeles and playing repeatedly in San Francisco at the Avalon Ballroom on bills with such bands as Country Joe & The Fish and the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Their repertoire ranged from Dylan and Eric Andersen to Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley and Gabor Szabo.
Early in 1967 their second single was released: Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker’s “French Girl” b/w Dave Van Ronk’s “Green Rocky Road” on the L.A.-based UNI Records. Greene arranged the band’s first East Coast tour to coincide with the release, kicking off with a successful one-month residency at the Club Ondine in Manhattan. They also played a gig with the Jefferson Airplane at Stony Brook University.
The single did well in California (though less so elsewhere), netting the band a guest appearance on the TV show The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., which in turn led to a regular spot as a house band on a local Los Angeles teen-oriented TV show Boss City. They continued to gig, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle playing on bills with British supergroup Cream, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steve Miller Band, The Doors and, in Seattle, The Seeds and Paul Revere & The Raiders.
If you missed them the first time around, a lot of their material, both issued and previously unissued, has been making the rounds, so it should be easy to find stuff. Certainly worth a listen and definitely one of the backbone bands of the West Coast 60s Psych period.