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'Gasp at the mad orgies! . . . Shock at the dangerous unknown drugs that destroy them! . . . Laugh at their dirt, actions and freakish clothes!' read the ads that promoted the film. The film apparently featured a blonde starlet called Today Malone (real name Louise) dropping acid and hawking hippy newspapers, but that’s about all that anyone seems to know about the film. Certainly, no-one I know has actually seen it. Luckily it isn’t even on YouTube; I say luckily, because there is only so much bare-breasted, lysergic madness that one can take in the line of duty.
One online pundit notes: 'Like all exploitative commerce based around the trippy era, it has an appealing tackiness. Those eager for a real revolution in the recording industry should look no further than the word "revolution" itself, which has been the title of literally dozens of albums.”
But the soundtrack is something else entirely. It mines the deep and mellifluously rich vein of blues, which ran fairly close to the surface throughout the culture of psychedelic bands in the San Francisco Scene. And this soundtrack album features three of the best:
STEVE MILLER BAND
The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in San Francisco, California. The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is known for a string of (mainly) mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of the classic rock radio format. Although the Steve Miller Band had limited peak commercial success, his ongoing popularity has been notable. In 1978 Greatest Hits 1974-1978 was released, featuring the big hits from his two most popular albums, Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams along with the title track from The Joker. This popularity also fuelled successful concert tours throughout the 1980s and 1990s, often with large numbers of younger people being present at the concerts, many of whom were fans of the big hits and inevitably purchased the greatest hits album. Miller would often headline shows with other classic rock acts, and played a variety of his music, including a selection of his blues work dating from the late 1960s.
QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE
Quicksilver Messenger Service gained wide popularity in the San Francisco Bay Area and through their recordings with psychedelic rock enthusiasts around the globe, and several of their albums ranked in the Top 30 of the Billboard Pop charts. Though not as commercially successful as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver was integral to the beginnings of their genre. With their jazz and classical influences and a strong folk background, the band attempted to create a sound that was individual and innovative. Member Dino Valenti drew heavily on musical influences he picked up during the folk revival of his formative musical years. The style he developed from these sources is evident in Quicksilver Messenger Service's swung rhythms and twanging guitar sounds.
Mother Earth was an eclectic American blues-rock band formed in California, fronted by Tracy Nelson.
Nelson, who hailed from Madison, Wisconsin, began her career as a solo artist but formed the Mother Earth ensemble after moving to San Francisco. The group performed at the Fillmore West in the late 1960s alongside Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Burdon, and was included on the soundtrack to the 1968 film Revolution. The group signed to Mercury Records, recording four albums. Mike Bloomfield played guitar on their 1968 release Living with the Animals and Boz Scaggs was a member of the group on their 1969 release Make A Joyful Noise. After the first album, Mother Earth moved their base of operations from the Bay Area to a farm outside Nashville.
Paul Krassner wrote: 'Next time you use the word revolution, you'd better include in your concept a beautiful blonde who went to San Francisco and illegally changed her name from Louise to Today.'
Probably the actress and the film were forgotten moments after the first release; 17 years ago she was a nurse in Albuquerque, NM, and looked back upon her days as a starlet with amusement: "Back then I was making a statement to the world. I believed with all my heart we were making a difference in a world of dull conformity filled with selfish people, and I still believe that the hippies, the freaks, made a difference."
Personally I tend to agree with her, but although I still have no desire to see the film, the music is undeniably fantastic and really should be enjoyed by all. JON DOWNES
l. REVOLUTION - Mother Earth
2. CODINE - Quicksilver Messenger Service
3. SUPERBYRD - Steve Miller Band
4. YOUR OLD LADY - Steve Miller Band
5. BABE, I M GONNA LEAVE YOU - Quicksilver Messenger Service
6. WITHOUT LOVE - Mother Earth
7. MERCURY BLUES - Steve Miller Band
8. STRANGER IN MY OWN HOME TOWN - Mother Earth