Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969-71)
- Bob Garrett (RIP) -- lead vocals, keyboards, trumpet
- Bobby Golden (aka Robert Goldne) -- lead guitar, vocals
- Kenny Golden -- bass
- Richard Hughes -- drums, percussion
- Nick Jones -- vocals, trumpet
- Dale MIller - sax
- Bob Spearman (RIP 2002) -- vocals, keyboards
backing musicians: (1971)
- Calvin Arline -- bass
- Stanley Kimball -- guitar
- John Simmons --
- Stilllwater (Bobby Golden - Bill Spearman)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Macon, Georgia
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 3343
Funny how the Coldwater Army story sounds like the plotline for 90 percent of band histories ...
Singer/guitarist Bobby Golden and his older brother/bassist Kenny Golden grew up outside of Macon, Georgia. While in their teens, they started forming and playing in local bans such as The Golden Boys and The Golden Arcade. By 1969 they'd expanded their repertoire beyond top-40 covers and soul revue, to include original material as the Coldwater Army. I'm guessing the name was inspired by the American temperance movement, though it was interesting name choice for a band that was formed near Warner Robbins Air Force Base.
1971 found Coldwater Army signed to the Nashville-based Starday-King affiliated Agape label. With a line-up consisting of singer Bob Garrett, lead guitarist Bobby Golden, bassist Kenny Golden, drummer Richard Hughes, trumpet player Nick Jones, sax player Dale Miller, and keyboardist Bob Spearman, the band went into the studios with producer Bobby Smith. Allowing an unknown band to record an album of original material seemingly reflected one of two things- Agape had significant faith in the band's commercial potential or, 2.) Agape had no interest in the band. Having listened to "Coldwtaer Army" dozens of times over the years, my guess is the latter category.
Not that you're going to find a lot of on-line reviews for this obscurity, but the ones you'll stumble across routinely tag this one as Southern rock. On tracks like 'Dreams' and 'Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday' there were clearly Southern rock influences, but don't be mislead, this really wasn't a Southern rock album. Remember that when the album was recorded, the majority of the band members were still in their late teens. They had come out of bands that focused on top-40 and soul covers so originality wasn't something they'd necessarily gotten around to. That made much of this album one of those fun, spot-the-influences collections. It's all here - Blood, Sweat and Tears horn charts, Chicago blues-rock ('Away'), even Paul Revere and the Raiders top-40 ('Smiling Faces').
The album carried a dedication - "Dedicated to :David M. Allen - Killed in Vietnam, October 10, 1970". I live outside of Washington, D.C. and have visited the Vietnam War Memorial several times so I looked Allen up on the Virtually Vietnam Wall project. Allen can be found there with a brief description of the circumstances of his death. Sadly, one of 58,000 ... http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/647/DAVID-M-ALLEN Speculation on my part, but I'm guessing the album title was related to Allen's death.
"Peace" track listing:
1.) I Just Can See You Anymore (Bob Garrett ) - 2:02 rating: ** stars
The ballad 'I Just Can See You Anymore" opened the album up with a strange mash-up that's always reminded me of a mixture of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons backed by a Southern rock band ... Seriously strange and left me hoping the rest of the album wasn't more of the same.
2.) Away (Bobby Golden - Richard Hughes - Nick Jones - Bill Spearman) - 3:41 rating: ** stars
Showcasing Golden's blazing lead guitar and the band's small horn section, 'Away' found the band seemingly trying to channel Chicago blues. Garrett was certainly a decent enough singer, but on this one he sounded like he was trying too hard, giving the song kind of a forced field. And what the hell was with the bizarre son-of-BS&T mid-song horn section ? Only song I've ever heard that includes a lyric "I pee on the ground ..."
3.) Dreams (Bob Garrett - Rick Hughes - Bobby Golden) - 4:59 rating: **** stars
Opening up with a funky little guitar riff, 'Dreams' found the band dipping their collective toes into the blues-rock arena - imagine a hybrid of The Allman Brothers and The Atlanta Rhythm Section. Awesome track that more than made up for the first two songs.
4.) To Pamela (Bobby Golden - Nick Jones - Bill Spearman) - 3:06 rating: *** stars
'Sporting a very '60s pop feel (a touch of The Association perhaps), 'To Pamela' was a hyper-sensitive ballad that included a touch of Cream influence in the middle of the song.
5.) Hey, People (Bob Garrett - Bobby Golden) - 2:29 rating: **** stars
The bouncy, blue-eyed soul-ish 'Hey People' was side one's most commercially feasible song. Imagine The Young Rascals had they grown up in Macon, Georgia rather than New Jersey. I'm not a big fan for social relevancy, but I'll make an exception for this one. The lyrics may not have been the most subtle you've ever heard, but kudos to an early '70s Southern band being willing to taken on the subject of equality. Always liked Golden's melodic solo on this one.
6.) Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday (Bob Garrett - Bobby Golden) - 2:50 rating: **** stars
'Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday' was a nice baseline for another sound of spot-the-influences - My answer was Spooky Tooth's 'Evil Woman' meets The Dixie Dregs. Again, not particularly original, but I liked Garrett's growling vocals and the song's jamming flavor.
1.) Smiling Faces (Bob Garrett) - 2:39 rating: *** stars
'Smiling Faces' was a radio-friendly pop ballad that could have easily slotted on a Paul Revere and the Raiders album. Seriously, the lead vocal actually reminded me of Mark Lindsay. Very catchy refrain ...
2.) By Your Side (Bob Garrett - Bobby Golden) - 4:03 rating: *** stars
Opening up with horns and some martial drumming 'By Your Side' went from a mildly progressive vibe to a Bill Spearman Hammond B-3 powered rocker. One of the album's heaviest rocker.
3.) In Thought (Richard Hughes) - 4:53 rating: **** stars
Penned by drummer Hughes, 'In Thought ' was another Bobby Golden and Bill Spearman-powered rocker. Complete with lots of church organ, the lyrics also seemed inspired by the loss of their friend David Allen.
4.) Get It Together (Bob Garrett - Bobby Golden) - 3:39 rating: *** stars
Back to a mildly funky sound with Golden turning in another nice performance and the mid-song section highlighting some jazzy Spearman keyboards.
5.) Time for Reason (Bob Garrett) - 3:52 rating: **** stars
Powered by some of Spearman's prettiest keyboards and Golden's sustained fuzz guitar, 'Time for Reason' probably came the closest to showing off the band's true musical orientation. With a haunting, slightly lysergic edge, once again, Dale Miller's jazzy, discordant sax solo was at odds with the rest of the song, but it was such a strange juxtaposition that it was kind of neat. Shame the song faded out so early.
With little promotional support from their record label, shortly after the album was released, the band split up.
Interestingly, in an April 2003 interview with Luc Brunot, Golden mentioned the band had actually recorded material for a planned sophomore album: "The second version of Coldwater Army did a more rock oriented album (no horns) but it was never released."
Bobby Golden and Bob Spearman subsequently reappeared in the band Stillwater.
After Stillwater, Golden largely dropped out of music, focusing his career on software design for military aircraft. He spent 35 years working on programs like the F-16, F-22, and the Eurofighter (spending three years in Italy). After retiring, he moved back to Macon and plays at occasional Stillwater reunions.
Lead singer Garrett has passed on.
A victim of cancer, Spearman died in October, 2002.
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