Baron, Steve Quintet

Band members               Related acts

- Steve Baron -- vocals, acoustic guitar (1969-71)

- Bill Davidson -- lead guitar (1969-70)

- Bill La Vorgna -- drums, percussion (1969-70)

- Herb Lovelle -- drums, percussion (1969-70)

- Jef Lowell -- bass (1969-71)

- Tom Winer -- keyboards (1969-70)




Gas Mask (Bill Davidson)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Mother of Us All

Company: Tetragrammaton

Catalog: T-123
Year: 1969

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5475

Price: $80.00


I've got to tell you I wasn't sure what to think about this one the first couple of times I heard it.  Sensitive singer/songwriter?  Jazz-rock pioneer?  Plain weird?  


Namesake Steve Barron's actually a guy I'd like to know a little more about.  Along with Bill Minkin, Dennis Wholey, and Carol Morley he apparently started his professional musical career as a member of the Boston-based The Hardly Worth-It Players - a comedy group best known for scoring an oddball hit with the gimmick 45 'Wild Thing (Senator Bobby Kennedy)' b/w 'Wild Thing (Senator Everett McKinley ' (Parkway catalog number P-127-A/B).  



Powered by the hit The Hardly Worth-It Players enjoyed a brief run of success, releasing a pair of LPs and several follow-on singles before calling it quits.



Barron subsequently reappeared as front man for the cleverly-titled The Steve Barron Quartet (the rest of the line up rounded out by lead guitarist Bill Davidson, bassist Jef Lowell ad keyboardist Tom Winer).  Signed to Tetragrammaton, the band debuted with 1969's "The Mother of Us All".   Produced by jazz musician Mike Berniker, the album served as a showcase for Baron who handled lead vocals and wrote all ten tracks (two co-written with Winer).  In spite of some of the reviews you may read that slapped a psychedelic label on the LP, propelled by Baron's likeable voice, the best description for the collection falls under the heading of sensitive singer/songwriter fair.  Yeah, there were occasional jazzy interludes (largely a result of Davidson's classy solos - check out 'Shadow Man'), but surrounded by elaborate string arrangements tracks like 'Bertha was the Mother of Us All', 'Don't You Hate the Feeling' and 'Mr. Green' showcased Baron's active social and political conceous.  True the sentiments may sound somewhat dated, but they're no less apt some forty years downstream.  Equally sensitive, though occasionally on the fey and cloying side  I Sang About My Lady'', 'Lonely River' and 'Love Me Laura' found Barron turning his attention to the burdens of love (mostly gone horribly wrong).  In sharp contrast 'In the Middle' was a wonderful slice of commercial pop that would have sounded great on am radio.  The album seems to have attracted some favorable reviews from critics (check out Pete Towshend's liner notes), but in spite of touring including and opening slot for a touring version of the play Jesus Christ Superstar, sales were non-existent.


"The Mother of Us All" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Bertha was the Mother of Us All   (Steve Baron) - 3:35

2.) Don't You Hate the Feeling   (Steve Baron) - 5:54

3.) I Sang About My Lady   (Steve Baron) - 3:15

4.) In the Middle   (Steve Baron - Tom Winer) - 2:35

5.) Lonely River   (Steve Baron) - 3:21

6.) Goodbye Road   (Steve Baron) - 2:45


(side 2)
1.) Mr. Green   (Steve Baron) - 3:57

2.) Love Me Laura   (Steve Baron) - 2:47

3.) God Never Lived For Me   (Steve Baron) - 2:10

4.) Shadow Man   (Steve Baron - Tom Winer) - 11:06


I have no idea if it's a legitimate reissue, but the Fallout label's released a CD version (Fallout catalog FCO 2067CD).


I've never seen or heard a copy, but there's also a Baron-Lowell follow-on LP - 1971's "Sessions with Jef Lowell" (Otherway Records catalog number ES-101).   Anyone got a copy they want to sell?



Davidson reappeared as a member of the band Gas Mask.



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