Get this crazy baby off my head!


Moby Grape

Moby Grape - Moby Grape '69 - 1969 - Columbia Records

This 1969 album was a commercial failure for Moby Grape. It has received many more poor, than favourable reviews. Arguably, one of the album's best songs is "Seeing," a Skip Spence composition. Spence, the original Jefferson Airplane's drummer, was not involved in the recording of the album as he was under psychiatric care at the time, and the recording definitely lacked his touch. Even though MG always had slight folk/country rock influences, the country rock vibe throughout this album was somewhat overpowering to many MG fans at the time. Much of the album is reminiscent of the early Eagles, or Poco. It is slightly ironic that if you like the two aforementioned bands, then you will probably like this album! It's a very good album. There is no faulting the great playing, and most of the songs are well written, but it definitely needed a bigger injection of rock 'n' roll. Listen to their 1967 self titled album. For what it's worth, this 1967 debut album, "Moby Grape," was given a 5 Star rating by.David Fricke in a 1999 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. He called it the perfect album in his Rs Library Review. A.O.O.F.C would welcome your comments on this great band.



"Ooh Mama Ooh" (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) – 2:26
"Ain't That a Shame" (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson, Peter Lewis) – 2:28
"I Am Not Willing" (Peter Lewis) – 2:58
"It's a Beautiful Day Today" (Bob Mosley) – 3:06
"Hoochie" (Bob Mosley) – 4:21


Trucking Man" (Bob Mosley) – 2:00
"If You Can't Learn from My Mistakes" (Peter Lewis) – 2:33
"Captain Nemo" (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) – 1:43 "
What's to Choose" (Peter Lewis) – 1:57
"Going Nowhere" (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) – 2:01
"Seeing" (Skip Spence) – 3:44


"Soul Stew" (Bob Mosley) – 2:16
"If You Can't Learn from My Mistakes" [Demo] (Peter Lewis) – 1:23
"You Can Do Anything" [Demo] (Skip Spence) – 3:35
"It's a Beautiful Day Today" [Demo] (Bob Mosley) – 4:12 [Previously unreleased ]
"What's to Choose" [Demo] (Peter Lewis) – 3:19 [Previously unreleased ]
"Big" [Demo] (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) – 2:19
"Hoochie" [Demo] (Bob Mosley) – 3:18 [Previously unreleased ]


Peter Lewis – rhythm guitar, vocals
Bob Mosley – bass, vocals
Jerry Miller – lead guitar, vocals
Don Stevenson – drums, vocals


After the top-heavy overproduction of Wow and the meandering, aimless improvisations on Grape Jam, Moby Grape seemed to be getting back into the groove with their fourth album, simply titled Moby Grape '69. The liner notes by producer David Rubinson refer to the promotional hype that soured many fans to the virtues of Moby Grape and the excesses that had dogged the group since, and while his mea culpa goes a great deal further than it needs to, it does accompany an album that clearly found Moby Grape eager to get back to the business of playing straightforward, heartfelt rock & roll. Moby Grape '69 is concise enough — most of the songs are under three minutes and the whole thing clocks in at a shade under a half-hour — and the high points come close to recapturing the electric magic of the group's nearly flawless debut, especially the gritty groove of "Hoochie," the doo wop influenced boogie of "Ooh Mama Ooh," the beatific joy of "It's a Beautiful Day Today," the raucous celebration of one "Trucking Man," and the folk-tinged wisdom of "If You Can't Learn from My Mistakes." However, even though these sessions found guitarists Peter Lewis and Jerry Miller, bassist Bob Mosley and drummer Don Stevenson playing and singing at the top of their game and writing fine songs, the absence of Skip Spence, who left the band after Wow, robs Moby Grape '69 of a significant share of the energy and drive that was the hallmark of their finest studio work. It's significant that the album's most striking cut, the closer "Seeing," was written by Spence during the Wow sessions; it's a harrowing meditation of madness that may well be Spence's greatest song. Despite the obstacles presented by Spence's absence, Moby Grape '69 was a genuine step in the right direction for the band, and it's a shame they didn't get the chance to take greater advantage of their new clarity. Moby Grape '69 made its debut on compact disc in 2007 with a newly remastered and expanded edition from Sundazed Music. The original album sounds superb on disc thanks to Bob Irwin's new mastering, and seven bonus tracks fill out the disc. Three are demos from the pre-production on Moby Grape '69 that previously appeared on the out-of-print Grape anthology Vintage — "Soul Stew," "You Can Do Anything," and the goofy campfire singalong "Big." The remainder are early versions of four tunes that later appeared on the LP. The packaging beautifully re-creates Moby Grape '69's original artwork, and Gene Sculatti contributes an intelligent, well-written new liner essay. In short, Moby Grape fans who've been wondering when this album would finally get a digital upgrade will find this disc was well worth the wait. © Mark Deming, www.allmusic.com

BIO (Wikipedia)

Moby Grape was an American rock group of the 1960s that was known for having all five members contribute to singing and songwriting and that collectively merged elements of folk music, blues, country, and jazz together with rock. Due to the strength of their debut album, several critics consider Moby Grape to be the best rock band to emerge from the San Francisco music scene in the late sixties. The group was formed in late 1966 in San Francisco. (Although the origin of the name is uncertain, it is likely from the punch line of the joke "What's big and purple and lives in the ocean?") Frontman and rhythm guitarist Skip Spence (the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane), lead guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson (both formerly of the Frantics), rhythm guitarist (and son of actress Loretta Young) Peter Lewis (of The Cornells), and bassist Bob Mosley all wrote songs for their debut album Moby Grape (1967). Moby Grape has today achieved the status of a highly respected rock album. In a marketing stunt, Columbia Records immediately released five singles at once, and the band was perceived as being over-hyped. This was during a period in which mainstream record labels were giving unheard of levels of promotion to what was then considered counter-cultural music genres. Nonetheless, the record was critically acclaimed, and fairly successful commercially, with The Move covering its sardonic ode to hippiedom, "Hey Grandma." Spence's "Omaha" reached the lower rungs of the American singles charts in 1967, and Miller-Stevenson's "8:05" became a country rock standard (covered by Robert Plant, Guy Burlage, and others). During the summer of 1967 the group appeared at the now legendary Monterey Pop Festival. Due to legal and managerial disputes the group was not included in the D.A. Pennebaker produced film of the event, Monterey Pop. Moby Grape's Monterey recordings and film remain unreleased. In addition to the marketing backlash, band members found themselves in legal trouble for charges (later dropped) of consorting with underage females, and the band's relationship with their manager rapidly deteriorated. The second album, Wow/Grape Jam, was generally viewed as a critical and commercial disappointment even though the album charted at #20 in the Billboard Pop Albums charts, partially due to the unusual 2 albums for the price of 1 double-album packaging. Though Wow added strings and horns to some songs, their basic sound remained consistent from the debut album, featuring tight harmonies, multiple guitars, imaginative songwriting, and a strong level of musicianship. The Grape Jam LP was one of loose improvised studio jams; this detracted from the stronger tunes on Wow such as the room-shaking shuffle "Can't Be So Bad." Spence was supposedly never the same after ingesting large quantities of LSD (see also the biographies of Peter Green, Syd Barrett, and Roky Erickson). In the words of Miller: "Skippy changed radically when we were in New York. There were some people there that were into harder drugs and a harder lifestyle, and some very weird shit. And so he kind of flew off with those people. Skippy kind of disappeared for a little while. Next time we saw him he had cut off his beard, and he had a black leather jacket on, with his chest hanging out, with some chains and just sweating like a son of a gun. I don't know what the hell he got a hold of, man, but it just whacked him. And the next thing I know, he axed my door down in the Albert Hotel. They said at the reception area that this crazy guy had held an ax to the doorman's head." Spence was committed to New York's Bellevue Hospital; on the day of his release, he drove a motorcycle dressed in only his pajamas directly to Nashville to record his only solo album, Oar. After the departure of Spence, the remaining 4 members released Moby Grape '69 in early 1969. Bob Mosley then left the group and the remaining 3 released their final album for Columbia in late 1969 Truly Fine Citizen. The original 5 members re-united in 1971 and released 20 Granite Creek for Reprise Records. With Spence gone again the remainder soldiered on for a few years, but save for a reunion or two, essentially joining Miller's band in Santa Cruz, the group never returned to the level of excellence and popularity they enjoyed in the early Avalon Ballroom/Fillmore Auditorium days. The debut album and Wow/Grape Jam were first released on CD during the late 1980's by the San Francisco Sound label, a company owned by their former manager Matthew Katz. These releases suffer from mediocre sound and poor quality packaging. As the group has never been properly compensated for recordings released by this label these releases should be avoided. The 2 CD 1993 Legacy Recordings compilation Vintage: The Very Best of Moby Grape includes their entire first album and most of Moby Grape '69, selected tracks from Wow and Truly Fine Citizen, as well as studio outtakes and alternate versions. This compilation attracted new attention to the band and helped to re-introduce their music to a new audience. In 2005 the group was successful in a lawsuit against the former manager and won back the legal ownership of their name, which they had lost in 1967. Miller carries on today (2007) as the Jerry Miller Band, playing rockin' blues and the occasional Grape song. Homeless for years and suffering from long-term mental illness and a multitude of health ailments, the mercurial and brilliant Spence died in Santa Cruz, California, in 1999. In 2006, after three decades of court battles, the band finally won back its name from its much-hated (in the music industry) former manager Matthew Katz and in celebration announced a reunion show with all of its living members, bolstered by drummer Aynsley Dunbar (John Mayall, Frank Zappa, Journey) and keyboardist Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship), to be performed in January 2007 at San Francisco's Fillmore. However, the reunion show did not take place due to scheduling conflicts. The Jerry Miller Band performed in Monterey for the 40th Anniversary of Monterey Pop in July of 2007. Finally, the reunited Moby Grape converged to perform a twenty-five minute set for over 40,000 fans at the Summer of Love 40th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in September of 2007. In October 2007, Sundazed Records reissued the Grape's first five albums (with bonus tracks) on CD and vinyl . The following month, the label was forced withdraw and recall Moby Grape, Wow and Grape Jam from print on both vinyl and CD because of a new lawsuit by former manager Matthew Katz. Sundazed stated on their site that they were directed to withdraw the three titles by Sony BMG (inheritors of the band's original label, Columbia), from whom Sundazed had licensed the recordings. Moby Grape was an example of a talented band that, through a combination of mismanagement and inexperience, never fully realized its potential. Along with the Flamin' Groovies, they were somewhat of an anomaly in the San Francisco rock scene; their concision and their strong roots in country music and early rock and roll seemed to work against them. In addition, perhaps because they were so versatile, their image was somewhat nebulous; as writer Robert Christgau put it, "All they really lacked was a boss, and what could be more American than that?"


Anonymous said...

Hello A.O.O.F.C!!

I agree with the review...but nothing is going to beat their first great album. Some bands come out of the box blasting, only to fade away pretty quick. But there are some good tunes here nevertheless.


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi again, -->D.Moose. TVM for all your comments. It's amazing how many bands have released brilliant debut albums, little knowing that it was all downhill after that. People have high expectations, and some bands have released excellent follow up albums that are unfairly criticised. Moby Grape is one example. I could list a hundred similar albums! Keep in touch!

bulfrog said...

link is dead, will you re-post please, thanks

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bulfrog. Try


All credit to that blog. Thanks