John Stewart “California Bloodlines”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#310 in the Series) is John Stewart, California Bloodlines

By 1969 , John Stewart was 29 years old and had packed in a fair bit of living. He co-founded The Cumberland 3 , released three albums with them and moved on to become a member of  The Kingston Trio , releasing numerous discs and playing hundreds of live shows . Fast forward to 1968 and we find him recording an album with his wife Buffy Ford and , just for good measure , he also managed to write a little song you may have heard of , “Daydream Believer” , a smash hit for The Monkees in ’67. For most people that would be a good career but John was just warming up !

Decamping to Nashville , John teamed up with some of the finest session musicians that the city had to offer and recorded his masterpiece ; California Bloodlines.

Take the best singer/songwriter album you ever heard , cross it with a Country Rock classic and get a guy who sounds like a grizzlier Gene Clark to sing on it and you’re getting close to the sound of this album !

Here we have songs of : childhood memories , being in love , travelling across America , loss , heartbreak , freedom , keeping a positive spirit….it’s all here , wrapped in a musically sublime package. Why this classic didn’t make John Stewart a household name is anyone’s guess , it’s on a par with anything else you could name from the same period. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes i guess.

John went on to have a fine career as one of America’s greatest (relatively) unsung treasures and sadly passed away a couple of years ago , he left many fine albums behind but none quite as good as California Bloodlines , a real gem.

— Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland

Track Listing

Side one

  1. California Bloodlines
  2. Razorback Woman
  3. She Believes In Me
  4. Omaha Rainbow
  5. The Pirates Of Stone County Road
  6. Shackles And Chains

Side two

  1. Mother Country
  2. Some Lonesome Picker
  3. You Can’t Look Back
  4. Missouri Birds
  5. July You’re A Woman
  6. Never Goin’ Back

Personnel

  • John Stewart – Vocals , Guitar
  • Fred Carter – Guitar
  • Kelso Herston – Guitar
  • Charlie McCoy – Harmonica
  • Norbert Putnam – Bass
  • Buddy Harman – Drums
  • Hargus Robbins – Piano
  • Jerry Smith – Keyboards
  • Lloyd Green – Pedal Steel Guitar

Produced by Nick Venet

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Posted by Stephen Dalrymple
I was so much older then , i'm younger than that now.........


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