Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-70)

- David Gates - vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion

- James Griffin (RIP 2005) - vocals, lead guitar, bass, keyboards

- Robb Wilson Royer - bass, guitar, flute, backing vocals


  line up 2 (1970-71)

NEW - Michael Botts (RIP 2005) - drums, percussion

- David Gates - vocals, guitar, keyboards

- James Griffin (RIP 2005) - vocals, lead guitar, bass, keyboards

- Larry Knechtel - (RIP 2009) - keyboards

- Robb Wilson Royer - bass, guitar, flute, backing vocals

- The Accents (David Gates)

- The Avalanches (David Gates)

- Black Tie (James Griffin)

- Mike Botts (solo effforts)

- The Ceyleib People  (Larry Knechtel)

- Jerry Cole and His Spacemen (Larry Knechtel)

- The Country Boys (David Gates)

- David and Lee (David Gates)

- Duane Eddy and the Rebels (Larry Knechtel)

- The Fencemen (David Gates)

David Gates (solo efforts)

- The Glaciers (David Gates)

- Griffin and Sylvester (James Griffin)

- James Griffin (solo efforts)

- Mr. Gasser & the Weirdoes (David Gates)

- Larry Knechtel (solo efforts)

- Henry Mancini and His Orchestra (Larry Knechtel)

- The Manchesters (David Gates)

- The Morning Glories (Robb Royer)

- Pleasure Fair (Robb Royer)

- The Mike Post Coalition (Larry Knechtel)

- The Rainy Day People (Robb Royer)

- The Rebels (Larry Knechtel)

- The Remingtons (James Griffin)

- Robb Royer (solo efforts)

- Lalo Schifrin & Orchestra (Larry Knechtel)

- The Travelers Three (Michael Botts)

- Kip Tyler and the Flips (Larry Knechtel)






Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  On the Waters

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKS-74076

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap; crease on front cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4644

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00


Bread is one of those acts that deserves far more credit that accorded them by critics.  During their early-to-mid 1970s heyday they were routinely savaged by critics who saw them as corporate sellouts, while today they're largely remembered for David Gates sappy hit ballads. What's interesting about these guys if that anyone willing to check out their catalog will see that they were an exceptionally talented outfit - far more than sappy ballads..  


Given their debut wasn't a big seller, it was surprising to see Elektra allow the band to self-produced "On the Waters".  In terms of personnel the album was noteworthy for the addition of long time sessions drummer Michael Botts to the line up.  With Gates, Griffin and Royer again responsible for all of the material (the latter two collaborating on five of the twelve selections), the album sported a slightly tougher edge than the debut.  Mind you, I'm using the term loosely since virtually every one of the twelve tracks would have made a dandy single.  That commerciality probably didn't help the band with the critics, but the fact of the matter is that these guys were writing some of the best music on the early 1970s market.  Like country-rock contemporaries such as CSN and Poco their material featured great melodies, fantastic harmony vocals and an often overlooked ability to rock.  Anyone doubting the latter only needed check out Gates' 'Blue Satin Pillow', 'Been Too Long On the Road' or 'Easy Love'. Exemplified by this album Bread turned out better and more diverse country-rock than such luminaries as early-Eagles and their harmonies and arrangements were as good as anything CS&N put out.  Naturally Elektra and radio gravitated to the sure fire Gates hits like the classic soft pop ballad 'Make It with You'.  That was a shame since it categorized these guys as a soft-pop band.  Griffin and Royer's 'Look What You've Done' was actually the better ballad.  A wonderful album that's a pleasure to hear from start almost to the end.  The sappy closing ballad 'The Other Side of Life' being the lone disappointment. You just have to wonder about the fickle marketplace where this one's been overlooked.


Backed by a national tour and the hit single, the album sold gold, hitting # 12 of the US Billboard charts and kicking the group into the commercial big time.  

"On the Waters" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Why Do You Keep Me Waiting (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 2:29 rating: **** stars

Perhaps I'm alone in this view, but it's the James Griffin and  Robb Royer compositions that frequently saved Bread album's from oblivion.  'Why Do You Keep Me Waiting' was the perfect example.  A rollicking country-rocker, the track had everything needed to be a hit - great melody; nice multi-tracked Griffin vocals and a tasty Griffin fuzz guitar.  The Latin percussion touches would have made Stephen Still smile.  How such a good song got relegated to the "B" side of 'Make It with You' has always puzzled me.

2.) Make It with You (David Gates) - 3:15 rating:**** stars

By all rights I should detest this song.  It is sappy beyond words; almost saccharine and the string arrangement pushed it very close to MOR.  The problem is I grew up with this song - it may have been the first song slow dance and a school sponsored dance.  Like millions of Baby Boomers, for better, or worse the darn thing is part of our DNA. I've always wondered why, but for some reason only Gates and drummer Botts played on the studio version. Released as a single, it was Bread's first top-10 song and their first and only number 1 in the states.  Neither the sound or video quality are very good, but YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the tine for The Andy Williams television program: Bread - Make It With You (1970) (very rare) - YouTube

- 1970's "Make It with You' b/w 'Why Do You Keep Me Waiting' (Elektra catalog number EKM 45686-A/B)

3.) Blue Satin Pillow (David Gates) - 2:26 rating: **** stars

Hearing a Gates rocker is always a surprise and a treat.  Hearing one as good as 'Blue Satin Pillow' is even a bigger treat.  Complete with searing Griffin lead guitar and Botts knocking the crap out of his drum kit, you could almost hear the band breathing a sigh of relief being allowed to break away from top-10 ballads.

4.) Look What You've Done (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 3:10 rating: **** stars

One of the prettiest songs the band ever recorded, 'Look What You've Done' managed to bridge a stunning ballad with a nice up-tempo mid-section and a return to the main melody. And that melody is as catchy as fly paper  If anyone had any doubt as to who the best singer in the band was, this performance should give them pause.  No idea where or when it was recorded, but YouTube has a live performance of the song at: Bread - Look What You've Done (Live) - YouTube

5.) I Am That I Am (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 3:18 rating: **** stars

The more I hear Griffin's voice the more impressed I am with him.  Cool, jazzy chords and an interesting lyric made this another standout performance.

6.) Been Too Long On the Road (David Gates) - 4:49 rating: **** stars

"Life is tough on the road" songs are a dime a dozen, but few were as interesting as the rocking 'Been Too Long On the Road'.  Gates again rocking and a nice framework to hear the band's overlooked harmonies.


(side 2)
1.) I Want You With Me (David Gates - James Griffin) -2:48
rating: **** stars

The pretty country-tinged acoustic ballad, 'I Want You With Me' was interesting for the chance to hear Gates and Griffin sharing lead vocals.  Their harmonies were nothing short of amazing; easily matching, if not surpassing CS&N, early-Eagles, or America.  .

2.) Coming Apart (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 3:25 rating: *** stars

Another spotlight moment for Griffin who demonstrated he could do "heartbreak ballads as well as Gates. 

3.) Easy Love (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 2:26 rating: **** stars

Opening with some awesome George Harrison-styled  folk-rock guitar moves,  the rocker 'Easy Love' has always reminded me of something Mike Nesmith might have crafted for The Monkess.  The "secret sauce" on this one were actually drummer Botts and Royer's fretless bass solo. This was a track I would have kicked out as a single.

4.) In the Afterglow (David Gates) -2:34 rating: *** stars

A patented Gates ballad, 'In the Afterglow' was interesting for its interesting, slightly jazzy melody.  Not an album standout, but still worth hearing. Darn this band could harmonize.

5.) Call On Me (James Griffin - Robb Royer) - 4:00 rating: **** stars

A darker, almost bluesy ballad, 'Call On Me' was one of my favorite performances with a great Griffin vocal and an even better guitar solo.

6.) The Other Side of Life (David Gates) - 2:02 rating: ** stars

Pretty and forgettable acoustic ballad ... not hard to imagine young lovelorn girls sighing at this one.