Get this crazy baby off my head!


John Sebastian

John Sebastian (John B. Sebastian) - John B. Sebastian - 1970 - Reprise

When he led the Lovin' Spoonful from 1965 to 1967, John Sebastian experimented with a variety of styles, expanding from the folk, jug band, and rock & roll that were the band's basic mixture to include everything from country ("Nashville Cats") to orchestrated movie scoring ("Darling, Be Home Soon"). Freed from the confines of a four-piece band, he stretched further on his debut solo album, including the samba-flavored "Magical Connection" and the R&B-styled "Baby, Don't Ya Get Crazy" (complete with the Ikettes on backup vocals) in addition to traditional country on "Rainbows All Over Your Blues," which spotlighted Buddy Emmons on pedal steel guitar. But there were also delicate ballads like the string-filled "She's a Lady," a stripped-down remake of "You're a Big Boy Now," and "The Room Nobody Lives In," the last performed with only a harmonium and bass guitar. And there were pop/rock songs like "Red-Eye Express," "What She Thinks About," and the utopian "I Had a Dream" that you could imagine having fitted easily into the Spoonful's repertoire. The songs continued Sebastian's trend toward a more personal writing style, many of them containing images of travel that corresponded to his peripatetic lifestyle. Like Paul McCartney's McCartney, which followed it into the marketplace by a few months, the album was an eclectic but low-key introduction to the solo career of a former group member whose band was known for more elaborate productions, and all the more effective for that. (John B. Sebastian was the subject of a legal dispute between MGM records and Reprise records, with Reprise winning out, although MGM briefly issued its own version of the LP, apparently taken from a second-generation master. The MGM version is sonically inferior to the Reprise one and has different artwork, but the contents of the two LPs are identical.) © William Ruhlmann, allmusic.com, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:k9fexqy5ldse

John Sebastian's first post-Lovin' Spoonful solo album was released by Warner/Reprise in 1970 (and reissued on CD in 2007), and yielded the Top-20 hit ballad, "I Had a Dream," but the lesser-known tracks are also terrific, and demonstrate why Sebastian was considered a songwriter's songwriter. "Red Eye Express" is a bit of sloppy garage rock, while the gorgeous "She's a Lady," and the Dylanesque "How Have You Been" are perfect folk songs. "What She Thinks About" rocks like a glam band, "Rainbows All Over Your Blues" flirts with country, and "Magical Connection" is like a psychedelic Burt Bacharach tune. Younger fans will be surprised at how well this material has traversed the years. © 1996 - 2009 CD Universe

Another great artist who we don'y hear enough of nowadays. John Sebastian seems to have been around forever. "John B. Sebastian" is a good album from 1970, and a good example of John's eclectic songs. Always a great songwriter, "She's a Lady" and "I Had a Dream" are now regarded as standards, and have been recorded by numerous artists. Many of John's songs are optimistic, upbeat and cheerful, and "Red-Eye Express," is a good example of that style. This album is now forty years old, and one or two songs may sound dated. "How Have You Been" is a good song, but somehow it sounded better during the sixties era. However, don't let that put you off the album. It's purely an opinion, and not a major criticism, and "dated" certainly doesn't mean bad! When asked about his great sixties band, "The Lovin' Spoonful ", John Sebastian said "it sounded like a combination of "Mississippi John Hurt and Chuck Berry". These influences can be heard on this album, which is full of eclectism. There are folk, country, jug band, blues, and pop rock sounds throughout the album. John Sebastian's solo career was never as successful as his Lovin' Spoonful days, and much of his lack of success was due to contractual crap, and delays in releasing his albums by record companies. John Sebastian is a great artist, and "John B. Sebastian" is a rewarding listen. Try and listen to his "Cheapo-Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian". If you are interested in this album, please contact A.O.O.F.C.


1."Red-Eye Express" – 2:57
2."She's a Lady" – 1:45
3."What She Thinks About" – 3:04
4."Magical Connection" – 2:49
5."You're a Big Boy Now" – 2:49
6."Rainbows All Over Your Blues" – 2:27
7."How Have You Been" – 4:12
8."Baby, Don't Ya Get Crazy" – 3:00
9."The Room Nobody Lives In" – 3:13
10."Fa-Fana-Fa" – 2:48
11."I Had a Dream" – 2:46

All songs composed by John Sebastian

N.B: Detailed track info can be found @ http://www.tctv.ne.jp/m-site/johnsebastian/JB7002.html


John Sebastian – vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion
Stephen Stills – guitar, harmony vocals
David Crosby – guitar, harmony vocals
Danny Weiss – guitar
Buddy Emmons – pedal steel guitar, Moog synthesizer
Harvey Brooks, Ray Neopolitan – bass
Paul Harris – organ, keyboards
Dallas Taylor – drums
Reinol Andino – conga
Bruce Langhorne – tambourine
Jose Cuervo, Burt Collins – horn
Buzzy Linhart – vibraphone
Mr. Beutens and Mrs. Stanley and Friends – flute, lute, viol
Gayle Levant – harp
The Ikettes – background vocals
Graham Nash – harmony vocals


When John Sebastian started his solo career in the late 1960s, Warner Brothers seemed like a logical home for him, as the label was at the forefront of signing artists who were part of the emerging singer-songwriter boom. His debut solo album unfortunately got delayed, and its impact diluted, by a contract dispute whose details are peculiar even by the idiosyncratic standards the record business brings to such situations. Fortunately, however, the characteristic good-natured cheer of Sebastian's music remained unaffected, and the record was the most commercially successful of his solo LPs, reaching #20 upon its release in 1970. The album, however, had been done for a while before it found release. To get to the bottom of that knot, it's necessary to backtrack to around 1968, when Sebastian was leaving both the Lovin' Spoonful and that group's label, Kama Sutra Records. A couple of tracks that ended up on John B. Sebastian, "She's a Lady" and "The Room Nobody Lives In," were released as a single on Kama Sutra during this transitional period. Sebastian, however, wanted to begin his career as a solo act with Warner Brothers, and worked on his debut LP with that label in mind for its release. "MGM [Kama Sutra's parent company] was asking me for more Lovin' Spoonful albums, claiming that I owed them," remembers Sebastian today. "At that point, [manager] Bob Cavallo went to [Warner Brothers executive] Mo Ostin. They had a very good relationship, and it was Mo's feeling that MGM was asking me for something that wasn't theirs to ask. He said, 'Look, I'll buy this contract out.' That was really what happened." For his part, Sebastian was eager to do an album with some of the musician friends he'd long admired. With the Spoonful, he explains, "Although it had been a tremendously popular thing, what we were finding at the point at which we were sort of on our last record was it felt like we were at the upper limits of our own musical abilities. I wanted this opportunity to play with the same guys I'd been playing with when we were all broke"—Sebastian, it's sometimes forgotten, having been a session musician himself in New York before the Lovin' Spoonful took off, contributing to recordings by key early folk-rockers such as Fred Neil and Tim Hardin. "That included [drummer] Dallas Taylor, Steve Stills, [bassist] Harvey Brooks, [keyboardist] Paul Harris. These were very often New York buds from before all of this. I felt like, well, wait a minute, if I was playing with Dallas Taylor, I can play a syncopated beat! It all made a lot of sense to me, that I could kind of move on musically." Another old friend, Paul Rothchild (who'd produced some sessions for Elektra Records on which Sebastian played in his early days, including ones for Fred Neil), would produce the album, mostly recorded in Elektra's Los Angeles studios. "I would say that familiarity is really valuable in these kind of relationships, and I had had a terrific run with [Lovin' Spoonful producer] Erik Jacobsen," observes John. "However, towards the tail end of the Spoonful, there were some kind of, I think, bad feelings. The Spoonful, essentially, had fired Erik from one last project, and it took me a few years to regain my friendship the same way. By the time Tarzana Kid [Sebastian's 1974 album, co-produced by John and Erik] came along, we managed to work it out. But that first album was totally because the other producer that I was really familiar and comfortable [with]—and he'd seen me at my worst already—was Paul Rothchild. I know that it was also a project Paul wanted to do." In addition to using Taylor (most famous for drumming with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young in the late 1960s and early 1970s), Brooks, and Harris on many of the tracks, John B. Sebastian also had notable guest appearances from Stephen Stills (who played guitar on "Baby, Don't Ya Get Crazy" and "She's a Lady"), David Crosby (who also played guitar on "She's a Lady"), Graham Nash (who contributed a high harmony vocal to "What She Thinks About"), pedal steel player Buddy Emmons, and Buzz Linhart. As he expected, the tracks allowed Sebastian to go into some directions he hadn't been able to explore in the Lovin' Spoonful, even on a remake of "You're a Big Boy Now," which the Spoonful had released as the soundtrack theme to the Francis Ford Coppola-directed movie of the same name. "Ones that would work were the only ones I'd do, I think," responds Sebastian when asked why he occasionally revisited Spoonful songs on his solo records. "'You're a Big Boy Now' was great fun as a one-guitar-one-voice thing, because I'd already had the opportunity to hear it orchestrated and kinda big on the soundtrack album." Another song on the LP, "The Room Nobody Lives In," would be the recipient of two quite different cover versions by fellow stars, many years apart. Cass Elliot interpreted it on her 1968 solo album, Dream a Little Dream of Me, which ended up coming out far in advance of John B. Sebastian. "We were very, very tight as friends, and it was sort of frustrating that her record-making process was so tied up," remarks John. "It was a big deal to get Cass to wrap that voice around that song, 'cause I knew she could do it beautifully." Then in 1989, Elvis Costello put it out as a single-only track, though it's now available as a bonus cut on the expanded CD reissue of his Spike album. "I like both of them," says Sebastian of Elliot and Costello's covers. "Elvis's version is more wrenching in some ways, just 'cause of the quality of his voice." Certainly the most well-known song on John B. Sebastian is "I Had a Dream," famous for its inclusion (as the opening track no less) on the Woodstock soundtrack, where it was performed by Sebastian with just voice and acoustic guitar. John hadn't expected to be performing at the festival, and played as a spur-of-the-moment favor when the stage's rainwater had to be swept off, necessitating an unplugged performer if any music was to be heard at all. The studio version is considerably lusher, with not just a full band, but also harp and a Paul Harris orchestral arrangement. "'I Had a Dream' is probably a really well-realized style that was really going out right about then," he laughs. "I really enjoyed having the swing of a jazz waltz, the way that Dallas played it, and being able to arrange a little bit. I believe Paul and I did that; Paul Harris, mostly. And 'She's a Lady' was kind of an attempt at bringing Renaissance instruments to something vaguely rock'n'roll. Again, an idea whose time has definitely passed! Everybody wanted to be tough and mean by now." "By now" being January 1970, when the album found release, though it had been recorded considerably earlier. MGM contended that the Lovin' Spoonful, though now defunct, owed it another album, and that it had the right to release the LP. An MGM version of John B. Sebastian (with a different cover than the one used on the Reprise version) appeared, unauthorized by the artist. While the Reprise edition is by far the more common one, the availability of the MGM version couldn't help but cause confusion and hurt Sebastian commercially. "It hurt everything," emphasizes John. "It made for confusion that didn't need to be there. Who knows, it might have done a little better [if MGM hadn't put out its LP]. But the important thing was losing that year and a half. Because music, especially our popular music, changes so fast that the shelf life on a style can be six months, and I was very aware of that. It was one of the first [albums] of the sort of singer-songwriter guys out of the box, but you couldn't realize it by the time the album came out, 'cause so many other guys with the same approach by then had gotten out there." MGM wasn't done with its troublemaking, putting out an unauthorized live Sebastian album shortly afterward. That inspired Sebastian and Reprise to counteract with a concert album of their own, 1971's Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live, also issued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music. © Richie Unterberger, contents copyright Richie Unterberger, 2000-2009 unless otherwise specified. http://www.richieunterberger.com/sebastian1.html


John Sebastian has had a varied career as a singer, songwriter, and musician. As the leader of the folk-rock band the Lovin' Spoonful, he was responsible for a string of Top Ten hits in 1965-1967 that included the chart-toppers "Daydream" and "Summer in the City," and he returned to number one in 1976 as a solo artist with "Welcome Back." He wrote or co-wrote those hits as well as many others, along with songs used on Broadway and in the movies. And as an instrumentalist, primarily playing harmonica, he has accompanied a wide range of artists including Judy Collins, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Doors, Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, Art Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Laura Nyro, Graham Parker, Dolly Parton, Peter, Paul & Mary, John Prine, and Bonnie Raitt. Sebastian's father was a classical harmonica player, his mother a writer of radio shows. He grew up in Greenwich Village, where he applied the knowledge of the harmonica he gleaned from his father to the music of the folk revival that was taking place in his neighborhood in the late '50s and early '60s. By the age of 16, he was stepping onto the stages of coffeehouses and folk clubs, and by the age of 18 he was appearing as a sideman on recordings. In 1964, he joined the Even Dozen Jug Band, which made a self-titled album for Elektra Records before splitting up. He was also briefly in the Mugwumps, along with future Lovin' Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky and future members of the Mamas and the Papas Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. In the winter of 1964-1965, he and Yanovsky began assembling the quartet that would become the Lovin' Spoonful, eventually adding bass player Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler. In the meantime, he continued his session work, including playing bass on Bob Dylan's first electric album, Bringing It All Back Home. The Lovin' Spoonful signed to Kama Sutra Records (an offshoot of MGM Records) and in the summer of 1965 released their first single, "Do You Believe in Magic," on which he sang lead vocals (as he did on all the group's singles while he was a member, in addition to writing or co-writing all their hits). It peaked in the Top Ten, and so did its follow-up, "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," while a Do You Believe in Magic album, released in the fall, spent eight months in the charts. The third Lovin' Spoonful single, "Daydream," was a number one hit, accompanied by a Daydream LP that reached the Top Ten. The group's fourth single, "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?," had already appeared on Do You Believe in Magic, but that didn't keep it from reaching the Top Five, and the fifth single, the timely "Summer in the City," became a gold-selling number one hit upon its release in the summer of 1966. The next Lovin' Spoonful release was a soundtrack album for the Woody Allen film What's Up, Tiger Lily?, released in September. Then came their sixth consecutive Top Ten hit, "Rain on the Roof," followed by their seventh, "Nashville Cats," which reached its peak in January 1967, simultaneous with a Top 20 showing for the band's third album, Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, which spent six months in the charts. In the spring, the Lovin' Spoonful scored a second motion picture, Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now, from which came their next single, the Top 20 hit "Darling, Be Home Soon." "Six O'Clock" gave them another Top 20 hit by June. That summer, the band ran into difficulties. Yanovsky and Boone were arrested on drug charges, resulting in Yanovsky's departure from the group; his replacement was Jerry Yester. They also parted ways with their producer, Erik Jacobsen. "She's Still a Mystery" became their eleventh consecutive Top 20 hit in November, but Sebastian was becoming dissatisfied, and after completing a fourth LP, Everything Playing (which produced a minor chart entry in "Money"), released at the end of the year, he quit the band. During 1968, he began working on solo material, considering, but ultimately rejecting, an offer to join a trio of his friends who went on to become Crosby, Stills & Nash. He also wrote some songs used in a Broadway play, Jimmy Shine, starring Dustin Hoffman; among them was "She's a Lady," a minor chart entry for him at the end of 1968. That single was released on Kama Sutra, but Sebastian had determined to leave the label and he signed to Warner Bros. Records' Reprise subsidiary. Kama Sutra, however, felt he still owed them an album, and a legal battle ensued which delayed the release of his debut solo album for a year. Although Reprise won the right to release John B. Sebastian, and did so in January 1970, Kama Sutra's parent company, MGM, using second-generation tapes of the record in its possession, also put out its own version of the LP, which was then withdrawn. In the meantime, Sebastian had made an inadvertent but memorable appearance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. Not scheduled to appear, but nevertheless present backstage (and somewhat the worse for wear due to recreational drug use), he was pressed into service during a set change and gave a brief, well-received performance. Hobbled by the MGM counterfeit, John B. Sebastian nevertheless managed to make the Top 20 in the spring of 1970 and Sebastian's solo career really took off when he was featured on the chart-topping Woodstock soundtrack album in May and in the documentary film that opened in August. Unfortunately, MGM wasn't through harassing him. The label obtained a tape of a concert he performed in July 1970 and released it under the title John Sebastian Live. Another legal battle ensued, and this album too was withdrawn. But Sebastian was determined to put out a competing album as well, and the result was Cheapo-Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian, released in March 1971. Both albums took advantage of the singer's iconic status as a rock festival favorite, brandishing his acoustic guitar, wearing a tie-dyed denim suit, and pleasing giant crowds at such Woodstock-like events as the Atlanta Pop Festival, the Isle of Wight Festival, and the Festival of Life in 1970-1971. Sebastian released his second studio album, The Four of Us, in August 1971, featuring the ambitious title track, which took up all of side two; it sold disappointingly. Tarzana Kid, which followed in September 1974, missed the charts entirely, and Sebastian's recording career was virtually moribund when he was asked to write a theme song for a new television series, Welcome Back, Kotter, which premiered in September 1975. Sebastian was also heard singing his song, "Welcome Back," over the credits each week. Welcome Back, Kotter became a success, and Reprise released a single version of the song, which topped the charts in May 1976 and went gold. A Welcome Back LP also returned Sebastian to the album charts. But that disc completed his recording contract, and "Welcome Back" proved to be a one-off success rather than a real commercial comeback. For the next 17 years, Sebastian performed concerts, made guest appearances on other artists' records, and did occasional soundtrack work. In 1993, the independent Shanachie Records label finally put out his fifth studio album, Tar Beach. He then teamed up with a group of old friends and returned to playing the jug band music he had started with back in Greenwich Village more than 30 years before, forming a group he called John Sebastian and the J-Band and issuing I Want My Roots (1996) and Chasin' Gus' Ghost (1999). As part of the Lovin' Spoonful, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. © William Ruhlmann, allmusic.com, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifixqr5ldke~T1


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


p/w aoofc

miles said...

i haven't heard this in years, but remember it as being a very pleasant recording. the list of contributors reads like a virtual who's who of the day, along with the unsung talent of keyboardist, paul harris. thank you for sharing it.

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

Hi, miles. Not to everybody's taste, but full of interesting influences. Thanks, and TTU soon

Anonymous said...

it's a shame about his voice-i wish he could sing like this now!

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

Hi,Anon. I know what you mean. I saw Bob Dylan recently. The great man has no voice anymore! We'll stick to the CD's! Thanks for comment. Keep in touch

dzonipascal said...

I can't describe how happy i was when i found this album, and that after 4 years the link is still working. I tried to find it on the whole internet, but this is the only place where i managed to download it. I can't thank you enough, keep on doing what you're doing, fight for the real music. Cheers!

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

Hi,dzonipascal. I'm also amazed that the link still works. They must have fallen asleep in Hotfile! I'm glad you found your album. Thanks a million for your interest and keep in touch! ATB...Paul