ZEPHYR – ZEPHYR – 1969
Zephyr was another of those groups that really pissed me off. Like Frijid Pink, Rumplestitlskin and unfortunately many other bands who for personal reasons, management and/or record label “mishandling” or just plain bad luck/timing seemed to be prevented from their rightful place in Rock History.
Formed in 1968/69 in Boulder, Colorado by guitarist Tommy Bolin, keyboardist John Faris, bassist David Givens, drummer Robbie Chamberlin and VOCALIST Candy Givens, this band was totally innovative with roots in jazz, blues and the cosmic and had all the right moves to take them to the top.
Zephyr’s two unsung Rock Heroes; Tommy Bolin and Candy Givens, like Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison took on the mystique that in order to evolve they had to move on.
Bolin was a born Rock Star, with the talent to back it. His virtuoso style and ability was in demand from rock groups like Deep Purple to world-class session work to jazz-fusion collaborations to solo LPs – his work on Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” LP is astonishing and on the track “Quadrant” he becomes super-human and is likely one of the reasons he had to move on – when you reach this level with your talent on this plane of existence, well, …
Candy was, for my mind, much better than Janis, really. Ms Givens had a far better range and could whisper/sing like an angel and belt out the blues like Big Mama Thornton, Nina Simone and Janis herself. Candy was the real deal.
Side two of their debut self-titled album killed and is why I’m sad and pissed off. Having been a rack jobber and record store manager in the early to mid-‘70s, I saw which record companies promoted and advertised successfully and at the other end was ABC records. Unless the public made a successful artist out of their roster (Jim Croce, Dunhill (ABC) artists Mamas and the Papas, etc.) they didn’t seem to promote. Zephyr was on ABC (Probe) and therefore I never heard of them until working the counter at Crane’s famous record store in Inglewood, the home of the Fabulous Forum, and played a copy someone had traded in. Once I heard side two, I was an instant fan; I just loved it – Hard Chargin’ for sure!
Everyone in the band were exceptional musicians and Zephyr seemed destined to make Rock History – and for those of us who have listened to this LP over the years, the decades, they did.
We will be able and happy to include them with all the top bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s as they may be unknown to many but they impressed those of us true discerning Rock ‘n’ Roll fans: the ultimate judges of those who deserve Rock Icon status, like; ZEPHYR!
“Sail on” (Tommy Bolin, Candy Givens) – 7:22
“Sun’s a Risin'” (Bolin, David Givens) – 4:45
“Raindrops” (Dee Clark) – 2:40
“Boom-Ba-Boom” (D. Givens) – 1.20
“Somebody Listen” (D. Givens, C. Givens, Bolin, John Faris) – 6:10
“Cross the River” (C. Givens, D. Givens) – 4:43
“St. James Infirmary” (Joe Primrose) – 5:15
“Huna Buna” (C. Givens, Bolin) – 2:26
“Hard Chargin’ Woman” (Bolin, Robbie Chamberlin, Faris, C. Givens, D. Givens) – 8:40
(This track gives me instant chills – too good!)
Bonus: “Night Fades Softly” from the “Going Back to Colorado” album: a tasty bit of psychedelia and Candy’s vocal/voice toward the end is ethereal and the lyrics that finally break in, “and yet, it shows me where my . . . . . .” has been locked in my brain crystal clear for decades; a passage from a Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel.