Jessie Colin Young/Youngbloods recommendations

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Greg Carrier, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Six String

    Six String Senior Member

    Agreed. Everything else sounds slick after this one. I like Song For Julie and Songbird though I don't own the latter anymore and rarely play the former. The Soul Of A City Boy is the one I grab most often.
    zongo likes this.
  2. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Montrose, CO
    One of the great singer/songwriter's to emerge from the 1960s was Jesse Colin Young. He formed a band, The Youngbloods, and they put out several outstanding albums. Unfortunately, they become pidgon-holed as a "one-hit wonder", mainly by the song "Come Together," which was not initially a hit, but became one several years later. This song was a cover song for the Youngbloods, originally written by Chet Powers (AKA Dino Valenti, who later played in QMS).

    A song of great emotional depth, written by Jesse and performed by the Youngbloods, was the song "Darkness, Darkness." I don't remember when I first heard this song. It was released in 1969 (when I was 16 years old). I do remember that it has always been a song that I loved, and never tired of. Appearing on the album Elephant Mountain, it is distinctive from the very first note--a violin part (played by Charlie Daniels, who also produced this album). Here you go:

    Of course, we didn't understand exactly what the lyrics meant, other than he was talking about something "dark", and about "things I cannot see." According to the Wikipedia entry, "During the Vietnam War it was considered an "anthem" to the soldiers for it described what they felt while in the jungles" (no citation provided).

    In an interview published on line, Jesse states the following about the song:

    <I wrote “Darkness Darkness” in New York. When I was in San Francisco, David Lindley was in a band and spent a lot of time as an accompanist with Jackson Browne and is a beautiful slide player and violinist. We played with him at the Avalon once upon a time. The band had Oud players and it was the time for people experimenting with all kinds of instruments and music. You could turn on KSAN Radio and listen for 24 hours and never hear the same song … it was wide open. National musicians like myself could listen to the radio and learn all kinds of things because there was a lot of great music going on back then. The beginnings of “Darkness Darkness” were there from listening to KSAN Radio while I was in San Francisco and was completed in New York. I spent one sleepless night thinking about my friends who were in Viet Nam and how terrifying it must be. So much of the fighting was done at night and “Darkness Darkness” came out of that sleepless night. I tried to put myself in their shoes.”>
    The Classic Rock Music Reporter: Jesse Colin Young Exclusive Interview: Legendary Performer Reveals Longtime Struggles with Lyme Disease

    Whatever, "Darkness, Darkness" is certainly a sober song and starkly different than almost all pop music at the time of its release.

    And the song doesn't let up. It starts out more of an acoustic number, and slowly builds in intensity, to a climax at the end, with Young's soulful vocals and a searing, biting fuzz-drenched guitar tone. Robert Plant did a fine cover of the song, but for me, the original version by the Youngbloods "takes no prisoners." By the time the song is over, as a listener I feel emotionally exhausted and drained.

    Here is Jesse performing the song live in 2009. (I still prefer the original). He was born in 1941, which would make him about 68 years old at this performance. His voice still sounds fantastic. He still has great vocal range.
    Jesse Colin Young - Darkness Darkness (live 2009)
    zongo and jamesmaya like this.
  3. footlooseman

    footlooseman Forum Resident

  4. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Senior Member

    Mudwest, CA
    Nice interview, thanks. So that's David Lindley playing the fiddle part on Darkness Darkness - cool! Good on Jesse for his work in support of our veterans. :thumbsup:
    weaselriot likes this.
  5. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Ironically, Charlie Daniels was a close friend of Jerry Corbitt, co-founder of the Youngbloods, who had already left the band by the time Charlie Daniels was involved in "Elephant Mountain". But Jerry Corbitt (after a not half bad solo LP from 1969 that Christgau rated highly) went on to continue working with Charlie Daniels from time to time over many years until he died a few years ago. In 1971 he was in a duo called Corbitt & Daniels with Charlie Daniels.

    Even more amazing, Jerry Corbitt apparently co-wrote (according to Wikipedia) the song "Insane in the Brain" as a hip-hop hit for Cypress Hill(!), which is pretty far out there for a guy who started out as a bluegrass musician from south Georgia. "Insane in the membrane" indeed, though I think the "co-wrote" was a result of one of Jerry's songs being sampled in that Cypress Hill hit.
    jamesmaya likes this.
  6. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Montrose, CO
    When I was putting this info together, it occurred to me that --though not explicitly stated in Jesse's interview--David Lindley could be the fiddle player, not Charlie. But then again, Charlie (to the best of my knowledge) produced the album Elephant Mountain. So yes, it was not completely clear to me who played that violin part.

    As a final aside, somewhere around the mid-1970s, I went to a triple-bill concert at Jeppeson stadium in Houston. This was the first (and last) outdoor concert I ever went to -- hot, sticky, high humidity summer, typical of Houston. At any rate, Jesse opened for the Beach Boys and CSNY. I am stunned to find a site online that has some photos. Here is one of them:

    Jesse Colin Young, Jul 28, 1974, Jeppesen Stadium

    Jesse Colin Young - Rockin Houston

    footlooseman and jamesmaya like this.
  7. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Montrose, CO
    This is quite a find to me, but it may have been there all along. Here is Jesse performing an acoustic version of Darkness, Darkness, by himself. It suggests to me, what I kind of suspected, that the song is played in a drop D tuning. I base this on the sound, but also, a couple of times (e.g., toward the end) you can see him play a G chord with a fingering that points to a drop D tuning.

  8. StevenTounsand

    StevenTounsand Well-Known Member

    Austin, TX
    I was just listening to the live "Ride The Wind" lp while BBQ-ing on a beautiful spring evening last night. Perfect - especially Jesse's voice and Banana's keys/guitar.

    I also wanted to post right after another Townsend from Texas on here!
  9. raphph

    raphph Forum Resident

    The BGO CD of Rock Concert / Ride The Wind / Good And Dusty just arrived

    mild compression on Ride The wind - was probably acquired from a digital source - other two don't seem compressed or peak limited
  10. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Soul Of A City Boy is wonderful, yes!! I have a NM mono vinyl copy...sweet. On Capitol.

    And these are essential...

    with Get Together...


    My fave!!

    Wonderful and highly rated--considered his solo zenith.


    Love Jesse!
  11. Instant Karma

    Instant Karma Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    Can anyone recommend a good Youngbloods compilation cd from a sound quality standpoint and song selection. A Youngbloods box set would be nice with some rare and live tracks !
  12. Joefarrell

    Joefarrell Forum Resident

    Ride The Wind is one of my favorite LP's ever. Jesse's singing is fabulous and he is not too shabby at all on bass. After that - Elephant Mountain and Song For Juli (solo JYC) really nice. Some later stuff such as Rock Festival is inconsistent putting it charitably. Would love to find that Banana and the Bunch LP.
    jamesmaya and footlooseman like this.
  13. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Those two are the best and would act as the best compilation, period! Jesse walking bass line is amazing on Elephant Mountain.
  14. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Forum Resident

    A Youngbloods box set would be quite welcome. I got turned on to then by the early 70s double album This Is the Youngbloods which knocked me out.

    In the digital age I have
    Copyright 1980 I’m assuming a Late 80s or early 90s reissue.

    copyright 1998 comp with both albums

    A 2002 comp with 21 tracks

    a 2007 reissue of all three albums over two discs AAD
    Made in Great Britain

    Now I’ll have to relisten to all of them to see how there are sonically.
  15. FangfossFlyer

    FangfossFlyer Forum Resident

    York, U.K.
    My top three Jessie Young LPs are those with the Youngbloods:

    - Ride The Wind
    - Elephant Mountain
    - Rock Festival

    jamesmaya likes this.
  16. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Forum Resident

    Also currently has several Youngbloods albums out on CD, Ride the Wind is one. I don’t have that, is that a live album?
  17. awizard

    awizard Forum Resident

    The currently available collection on BMG Heritage is the best quality and the best song selection to cover the RCA years and it's cheap! The Edsel and Sundazed releases of all the individual albums are good quality as is the hard to find MFSL "Elephant Mountain". The Sundazed versions of the later albums are of high quality but I wish I could say the same for the albums themselves. They are very spotty and sloppy compared to the RCA stuff. Too many weak cover songs. The exception to that rule is "Ride the Wind", which was actually recorded live during the RCA period but not released until later.
    Instant Karma likes this.
  18. Javed Jafri

    Javed Jafri Forum Resident

    I just uploaded this to YT from a tape recorded from KSAN FM in 1971. I edited out the initial song Six Days on The Road as I believe it's the same live version that was released on CD/record.

    lemonade kid and jmcinnis like this.
  19. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Youngstown, Ohio
    You've got it pretty much right. It would indeed be "insane" to say Jerry Corbitt had anything to do with composing Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain."

    The composer credit comes from the fact that the song ends with an excerpt of "All Over the World (La-La)," a Jerry Corbitt-composed song that appears on the Youngbloods' self-titled debut LP. The portion sampled is the opening line, "I think I'm goin' crazy..." so it fits with the theme.

    For some time, many online resources said the song sampled was "Four in the Morning," but that is incorrect. Don't know if it's still out there on some sites or not. I know I corrected several I found many years ago.

    How Cypress Hill stumbled upon this Youngbloods album track and decided to use it is one of life's great mysteries. I wonder if anyone in the group ever commented on it.
  20. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Youngstown, Ohio
    As always, I have no comment whatsoever on the sound quality of this set (I'll leave that to others).

    But this is my favorite Youngbloods comp, as it not only has the best tracks from their three RCA albums (along with the non-LP single "Merry-Go-Round") — but also, all but one of the three pre-RCA Youngbloods songs that appeared on Mercury's Two Trips album. Two of them, "Hey Babe" and "Sometimes," are among the finest songs they ever recorded.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
    Instant Karma likes this.
  21. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Youngstown, Ohio
    Actually, this was the second of two Michael Hurley albums released on Raccoon Records. The first was Armchair Boogie. Both are absolutely wonderful, as is Michael generally. I agree with what you've written below as well.

  22. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Eastern Shore
    New JCY album due any day!

Share This Page