Farm


Band members                         Related acts

- Jim Elwyn -- vocals, bass (1971)

- Steve Evanchik -- percussion, harmonica (1971)

- Gary Gordon -- vocals, guitar (1971)

- Roger Greenwalt -- keyboards (1971)

- Del Herbert -- guitar (1971)

- Mike Young -- drums (1971)

   

 

 

- none known

 

 


 

Genre: psych/blues

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Farm

Company: Crusade Enterprises

Catalog: LP 465

Year: 1971

Country/State: Flora, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: initials "JDJ" on top right corner of front cover; minor ring wear

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 2537

Price: SOLD $350.00

Cost: $59.55

 

For what it's worth, my experience is that a lot of hyped, high-priced rarities are nowhere near as good as dealers would have you believe.  This is one of those releases that falls somewhere in the middle ground - not the masterpiece dealers would have you believe, but several notches above the rank and file competition.  That said, wish I could tell you more about this early-1970s' Illinois-based sextet.

 

The line up consisted of bassist Jim Elwyn, percussionist Steve Evanchik, singer/guitarist Gary Gordon, keyboard player  Roger Greenwalt, guitarist Del Herbert and drummer Mike Young.  I also know that their 1971 debut "Farm" was recorded at Golden Voice Studios in South Perkin, Illinois and was limited to a 500 copy pressing.  Featuring largely original material, the set was fairly varied.  The opening instrumental 'Jungle Song' and 'Sunshine In My Window' were both strong guitar-propelled numbers that sounded heavily influenced by both The Allman Brothers and Santana.  Elsewhere, 'Cottonfield Woman' was a nice slice of blues-rock, while as you'd probably expect from the title, 'Let the Boy Boogie' and a cover of 'Statesboro Blues' were okay slices of boogie rock.  (Quoting from the liner notes - "Many thanks to George Leeman, our friend and spiritual guide" - anyone know who Leeman was?)  Kudos to engineer Jerry Milam for the quality sound - you normally don;t hear anything nearly as bright and clear on such albums.

 

- 'Jungle Song' opened the album up with a catchy Allman Brothers-meet-Carlos Santana-styled instrumental.   (Okay there were some wordless vocal harmonies on the track so technically it may not have been an instrumental.)   I'm not sure if the song featured a multi-tracked Greenwalt lead guitar, or it was Greenwalt and Gordon playing together, but the results were surprisingly melodic making for one of those rock song's you unexpectedly found yourself humming.  It was also one of those rare songs that didn't start to get boring over the near eight minute running time.  As for the title, if you were expecting to hear something with a tropical lilt, this wasn't the place to go.  Nice leadoff ...   rating: **** stars

- Give the band 'truth-in-advertising' kudos since 'Let That Boy Boogie' was a 100% accurate description.  As far as bar band boogie went, this wasn't bad, but there wasn't a great deal of originality here.  Greenwalt's speed-of-light guitar funs provided most of the highlights.  The mysterious George Leeman provided squawking harmonica.   rating: ** stars

- Opening up with a blazing lead guitar segment, 'Sunshine In My Window' morphed into the album's most conventional AOR performance (and the shortest song).  Very nice.   rating: **** stars 

- Gary Gordon's best vocal, 'Cottonfield Woman' was a tasty country-tinged rocker (emphasis on rock) that had everything required to have been an FM staple.  Great melody, rollicking lead guitar, pounding rhythm section (Mike Young's drums were particularly impressive), what wasn't to like on this one.  My pick for standout performance.   rating: **** stars

- For anyone doubting The Allman Brothers influence, there was always the band's cover of 'Statesboro Blues'.  So here's the thing about this one ...their cover was great; easily one of the best I've ever heard, but at least to my ears the problem was that if you wanted to hear this song, why bother with any cover.  The Allmans cut the definitive version so that's where I'd go.  Course if I was in a mid-western club and had a couple of cold ones, this would probably have sounded pretty darn good to me.   rating: *** stars

 

Can't say I'd be willing pay the asking price for an original copy, but it was definitely a nice-to-have item in the collection.

 

"Farm" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Jungle Song (instrumental)   (The Farm) - 7:45

2.) Let That Boy Boogie   (The Farm) - 7:13

 

(side 2)

1.) Sunshine In My Window  (The Farm) - 3:47

2.) Cottonfield Woman  (The Farm) - 3:57

3.) Statesboro Blues - 3:24

 

The band toured, opening for a number of nationally known bands including Canned Heat, but never could catch a real break.  A couple of the band members reappeared providing support to Gene Hood on his 1980 album "Out of the Clouds".  

 

 

According to drummer Mike Young (see below), the band's occasionally reunited and recorded additional material over the years which may explain the existence of a bootleg live recording that  I'd love to hear ... these guys were reputedly quite a live act - '"Farm Live (11-24-2007 At the Living Room, Mt. Vernoi, IL)".

 

I'm not sure of it's legality, but in 2000 the Italian Arkama label reissued the set as a 10" EP under catalog number Akarma AK2012.

 

Thanks to drummer Young for letting be know that I wasn't quite right with my career summation:

 

"As far as the end of our recording career, you are mostly correct.  All original members did re-record these same tunes in a 90's style a few years ago but never released it.  We do have that option given it was recorded in one the member's own studio.  It is a totally different flare to the same tunes.  Actually, we never could catch the true "hype" of the band in the studio but did very well at holding our own with bands such as Canned Heat--and not the remake floating around now.

 

Mike Young (February 2004)

 

P.S. Yes we are all still alive and kicking in Southern Illinois except for George who is in California."

 

Mike Young recently dropped me an update:

 

The original members of Farm have been practicing and will do a reunion concert this year. The week after Labor Day weekend is the target date at this time. We did just have the original LP digitally remastered and put on CD in Nashville and have been selling those locally. There is a website up and running --- not ours officially but a guy locally has been playing with it and doing the work on it. It's not a professional job but he is getting better. :)

 

 http://farmforever.com 

 

We still never did anything with the songs we re-recorded in 95. Mike Young

 

Mike Young (April 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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