John Sebastian / Lovin' Spoonful

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by albabe, Jun 17, 2022.

  1. albabe

    albabe Forum Resident Thread Starter

    San Francisco
    I figured I'd start a John Sebastian / Lovin' Spoonful Thread to get some info and talk with all you Historians out there about John and the Boys.

    I was a huge fan of the Spoonful when I was just a kid around age 12... hard to believe... Just 2 years after I saw the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show and immediately went into the Bathroom and tried to comb my Butch Haircut down... very unsuccessfully.

    John really influenced my weird Existential Being by one of his earliest tunes: "Darlin' Be Home Soon." That song kicked my little **** with the lyric, "And now, a Quarter of my life is almost past..." Heavy stuff for a 14 year old. Personally I think John has written some of the best songs in my Lifetime.

    Recently it's been a bit of a Sebastian Goldmine out there. I've seen some cool Live Shows on YT and even a couple of Odd discs with Lovin' Spoonful Demos and Outtakes that I've never seen or heard of before.

    I'll start with the first question: I think I have virtually everything John has done that's been Commercially available (even the LP for "The Devil and Daniel Mouse: A Nelvana Story Album...") except this odd Live Show he did September 9, 1979. I see it a lot as, "John Sebastian: King Biscuit Hour." The Cover has him in his usual Tie-Dyed regalia, but I think he was a bit more button-down by the end of the 70s.

    Wiki says:
    "Recording of a live concert in Brookhaven, NY, Sept. 9. 1979. Reissued several times with different running order and/or some tracks omitted as:
    From the Front Row ... Live! (DVD Audio, Silverline, 2003)
    John Sebastian Live (CD, EMI-Capitol Special Markets, 2006; not the same as the 1970 MGM vinyl LP of the same name)
    Nashville Cats (CD, Disky (Netherlands), 2001)."

    I'm curious what any of you might know about it. Was it Filmed or just Recorded?
    (I can never get the Tags to work here... it tells me "John Sebastian" and "Lovin' Spoonful would be "New Tags." If you folks can help me out there...)
  2. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    At first I thought this was an R.I.P. thread.
    Glad to see it isn't.
  3. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    they had an excellent run for a while there. a very nice string of hits, i do believer that john sebastian's performance at woodstock hurt him more than helped him on his solo career. it was just tooo..........hokey (if you will).
  4. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    "Night Owl Blues" was the best song they ever did (imo). They had chops, when they were not over-concerned about making "hits" for the radio...
    fr in sc, BEBOPALULA and albabe like this.
  5. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Detroit Mi USA
    Hums Of The Loving Spoonful is absolutely indispensable to me. Loving You, Best Friends and Coconut Grove even more than the hits.
  6. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Senior Member

    I think the Lovin' Spoonful's brief run at the top was close to stellar. People only familiar with the hits (and there were a bunch of them '65 ~ '66) need to check out the albums. Do You Believe In Magic, Daydream and Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful are solid, first rate examples of the poprock of the era. And I think they were more influential than they're given credit for. McCartney said in an interview I came across long ago that Daydream fed directly into Good Day Sunshine, and the jug band ethos filtered into a lot of the SF bands into '67, even if the band's hip cache took a fatal hit with the bust, etc.
  7. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Senior Member

    Here's Robert Christgau's take on the Lovin' Spoonful from ten years ago:
    Robert Christgau: Expert Witness: March 2013

    The Lovin' Spoonful

    Before he had to make up his mind
    Friday, March 29, 2013

    The Lovin' Spoonful: Greatest Hits (Buddha '00)
    So what happened to John Sebastian, anyway? Was it the drug busts, the drugs themselves, group hassles, mob-based management? All these and more, but listening back to this slight improvement on Rhino's Anthology, I infer something more fundamental. Figure the reason no one was better at translating the flowery optimism of the middle '60s into folk-flavored pop song--"Do You Believe in Magic," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Daydream," "Summer in the City," "Rain on the Roof," just look at those titles--was as much spirit as talent. Figure he was so eager, so well-meaning, so fun-loving, so warmhearted, such a simpleton, that when the times demanded cynicism this John--unlike natural-born reprobate Phillips or designated reality principle Lennon--didn't have it in him. The three-four-five dogs among this album's 26 selections barely slow down its historical mission of evoking the balmy upsurge to the Summer of Love like no other body of music. A MINUS

    The Lovin' Spoonful: Do You Believe in Magic (Buddha/BMG Heritage '02)
    The great originals--keynoted by the title song, which commenced their 1965-66 run of seven straight top 10 singles--are all on the best-of. But on their debut album the filler was prime too, because unlike the Dylan-chiming Byrds, their folk-rock revved a jug-band strain that was plenty lively to begin with. Their "Blues in the Bottle" owed the Holy Modal Rounders and contended with them. And on the best bonus track, Will Shade sneaks away from Beale Street to mastermind the Hollywood Argyles. A MINUS
  8. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Senior Member

    Their debut LP earned a 4.5 out of 5 from the reviewer at AllMusic:

    The Lovin' Spoonful Do You Believe in Magic Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic

    Do You Believe in Magic Review

    by William Ruhlmann

    By the time of its release, the Lovin' Spoonful's debut album was already a significant record because of the inclusion of its title track, John Sebastian's timeless anthem to love and music, which had been one of the major hits of the summer of 1965. The album elaborated upon Sebastian's gentle, winning songwriting style with the humorous "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," which was released as a single in the spring of 1966 and became another Spoonful hit, and the wistful "Younger Girl," which became a chart hit for the Critters. The album also revealed the group's jug band roots in its arrangements of traditional songs like "Fishin' Blues" and "Wild About My Lovin'" and revealed that lead guitarist Zal Yanovsky and drummer Joe Butler, while not quite in Sebastian's league, were good singers as well. The Spoonful would be remembered as a vehicle for Sebastian's songwriting, but Do You Believe in Magic was a well-rounded collection that demonstrated their effectiveness as a group.
  9. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    back in the 60's a friend of mine sat in on drums with the LS ...he had some nice details of the experience and of John he said was a great guy...
  10. Headfone

    Headfone Nothing Tops A Martin

    Love me some Spoonful. It was previously said, but I just have to chime in on the excellence of Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. A stellar album. Three huge singles and a bunch of other goodies. Everyone should own a copy.

    As a kid, I was once sick in bed and missed school for a week. My mom felt bad for me and got me the 45 of You Didn't Have To Be So Nice. It was on the Kama Sutra label that looked like flames of fire (as opposed to the later label that was primarily yellow).
  11. mavisgold

    mavisgold Senior Member

    bellingham wa
  12. mavisgold

    mavisgold Senior Member

    bellingham wa
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    JDeanB, sjaca, phillyal1 and 10 others like this.
  13. SPF2001

    SPF2001 pathologically pithy

    St. Petersburg,Fl.
    One of my favorite bands ever,they really
    exemplify what was so great about 60's music. Never got to see the original band,
    but saw them w/o John several years ago
    and they were very good. I've seen John solo
    a couple of times including on my 40th
    birthday,and I have a photo taken with him
    to mark the occasion. He couldn't have been nicer and even commented on how good I
    looked for 40,if he could only see me now.
    Just to show how timeless their music is,
    a couple of months ago when we were in Austin at the Saxon Pub,one of the regular
    happy hour bands named The Drakes did a killer version of "Darling Be Home Soon".
    It was one of the highlights of our trip.
  14. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    The south
    I just watched Do You Believe In Magic on the Ed Sullivan Show.

    It was trippy. Individual players would disappear from the screen as the song played. Must have been cutting edge video at the time.
    Boom Operator, D.B., ajsmith and 3 others like this.
  15. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    The south
    I remember watching an interview with Clapton. He said one of his earliest influences was Zal Yanovsky and his guitar in DYBIM.
  16. Headfone

    Headfone Nothing Tops A Martin

    Cool. Thank you.
    Boom Operator and bumbletort like this.
  17. Headfone

    Headfone Nothing Tops A Martin

    Hey! Didn't notice that you're my (2 hour) neighbor. So, double thank you!
    Boom Operator and bumbletort like this.
  18. apple-richard

    apple-richard Overnight Sensation

    Love the band. I bought their 45s and LPs as a kid. The pictures in the Best of were a nice bonus.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  19. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    Welcome Back was my introduction. I have the 26 track Buddha Greatest Hits CD and this NRBQ disc with John as special guest on a few Spoonful songs.
  20. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

  21. loosehandlebars

    loosehandlebars Forum Resident

    The Spoonful came to the UK in April 66, played the Marquee Club, met the Beatles and appeared on the "Ready Steady Go" TV show, John playing the autoharp, all four of them very cool. We had missed out on the early classic singles but "Daydream" and "Summer In The City" were part of a pretty good Summer soundtrack. In 1967 "Darling Be Home Soon" was, as noted in the original post, pretty thought provoking for a young teenager, there was something special about "Six O'Clock" when it was played on our soon to be gone pirate radio stations and I was obsessed with the brilliant "She's Still A Mystery" - still am. [​IMG]
  22. Cryptical17

    Cryptical17 Forum Resident

    New York
    Check out the spaced out “Revelation Revolution 69” album, which was recorded without Sebastian and Yanofsky! Joe Butler did most of the singing, which really wasn’t his forte. I don’t have a clue why it had Lovin Spoonful on the cover. By the way, check out the absolutely horrid cover if you get a chance!
    Boom Operator and albabe like this.
  23. UnderTheFloorboards'66

    UnderTheFloorboards'66 Forum Resident

    San Francisco, CA
    I've always liked the Lovin' Spoonful, but mostly stuck to that nice greatest hits compilation, only recently have I acquired all their John Sebastian era albums. Excited to listen to them all.

    What's fascinated me recently with the Lovin' Spoonful is realizing how unique their 'vibe' is. Their songs often have a childlike optimism running through them, and John Sebastian seems really genuine. Once you kind of understand what they were going for, their music reaches a new level of enjoyment.

    Other things I find interesting about them is their lack of artistic evolution and the manner in which the band ended (John Sebastian leaving). "Summer In The City" seems like a real mid 1960s pushing-the-envelope type song yet they never really made anything quite like that again. It's a real shame because I think John Sebastian had the talent to further push musical boundaries, but I get the impression that he strictly adhered to that jugband-rock type music. The band also seems to have ended instantaneously with Zal's drug bust. I've seen some interviews where John really glosses over this period, and it makes me wonder if he didn't already have plans on going solo.
    sjaca, John B, Boom Operator and 4 others like this.
  24. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    I was there. It was the 1979 woodstock reunion with many of the original artists. It was recorded for the king biscuit flower hour. Here's a photo from that day of John.

    <a href='John Sebastian 1979 — Postimages ' target='_blank'><img src='John Sebastian 1979 — Postimages ' border='0' alt='John-Sebastian-1979'/></a>
    D.B., Mr5D and albabe like this.
  25. simoncm

    simoncm Forum Resident

    I always liked The Lovin' Spoonful in the 60s, and over the decades picked up some of their stuff (mainly compilations).

    A while ago I was planning an article on the short-lived group The Mugwumps, which featured Zal Yanovsky and two future Mamas and Papas members (Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty). With the success of the two bands, a nine-track LP was put out by The Mugwumps (which I think isn't at all bad). It was rumoured that John Sebastian had played on the session, uncredited. I Googled JS, found he had his own website (not surprisingly) and there was a "Contact" facility. So I did a message, asking if he'd played on the session - and was amazed to get a charming reply within 20 minutes, explaining that he'd simply been in the control room and not actually played. I thought it was so good of him to take the time and trouble to reply (not everyone does, as I've found) - and of course the quotes really elevated the piece! A very nice man, as well as a great singer/songwriter/guitarist.

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