John Sebastian In Concert at Tanglewood – July 21, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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John Sebastian tonight. Until all the footage is assembled and cut together, the landmark concert this past weekend in Glendale featuring The Wild Honey Orchestra and a reunited Lovin’ Spoonful (minus Zal who left us in 2002), playing a benefit concert for The Autism Think Tank, will have to exist in the realm of “you should’ve been there” and in the exchange of excited stories about the 4-hour tour de force which some of us missed (sorry – I can’t be everywhere all the time).
But for those of you, like myself, who missed the concert, I was reminded what a truly good and talented band The Lovin’ Spoonful were and how they’ve been somewhat underrated and overlooked in recent years, despite an induction in the Rock n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. They’ve wound up on just about every 60’s greatest hits package, but relegated to footnotes in deference to the “big picture”. I think some of that comes from their association with Kama Sutra Records; a label more associated with Bubblegum than with pivotal and essential music – it’s an association that I think did more harm than good in the long run. When John Sebastian left The Spoonful in 1968 to pursue a solo career he was signed by Warner/Reprise; a label known for its artistic integrity and a hands-off approach with Artists. And its during this point that John Sebastian flourished as an artist and continued making albums as well as branching out into other genres.
This concert, recorded in Tanglewood on July 21, 1970 is a mix of his older Spoonful material and material from his debut album (the album appeared on both Reprise and MGM and caused a flood of lawsuits as the result – MGM lost and their album was withdrawn). Although it’s no replacement for what will be an extraordinary 4-hour feast when it’s finally edited and released later on this year, it’s still a reminder what a great talent John Sebastian is, and how essential The Lovin’ Spoonful is to any music library. If you haven’t become familiar, please do – you owe yourself.
In the meantime, dig in and enjoy.