Feather


Band members                             Related acts

  line-up 1 (1969-70)

- Mike Collings -- vocals, guitar

- Dan Greer -- drums, percussion 

- Johnny Townshend -- vocals, keyboards

- Roger White -- vocals, guitar

- Thom Walls -- ???

- Steve Woodward -- bass

 

 

 

- Catch (Mike Collings and Rodger White)

- Heart (Johnny Townshend)

- The Ribber Band (Johnny Townshend)

- Sanford Townshend Band (John Townshend)

- Toler/Townshend (John Townshend)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Friend By Feather

Company: Columbia

Catalog: C 30137
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Los Angeles

Grade (cover/record): VGVG+

Comments: minor cover and edge wear; cut top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 802

Price: $20.00

 

Typically albums released on a major label such as Columbia aren't particularly rare, or hard to locate.   That 's no the case with 1970's "Friends By Feather".    You can find copies, but they are scarce and finding one in mint shape is a chore.

 

Feather promo photo

 

Feather actually has an interesting history.   The line-up featured the talents of  singers/guitarists Mike Collings and Roger White, along with drummer Dan Greer, singer/keyboardist Johnny Townshend, and bass player Steve Woodward.  Collins and Rogers had previously recorded an album and a pair of singles for Dot Records under the name Catch.  Townshend had been a member of the Alabama-based The Rubber Band and a band called Heart (not to be confused with the Wilson sisters) which recorded a couple of obscure singles and opened for Jimi Hendrix on a brief US tour.  After their respective bands had collapsed, Collings, White, and Townshend apparently ran into each other in Southern California and started jamming and writing.   With the other members, they recorded some demo material and as Feather were originally signed to the small Viva label, making their debut with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- 1969's 'Moccasin' b/w 'Kiss of Fire' (Visa catalog number 367)

 

That was followed by a 1970 single for the small Nice label:

 

- 1970's 'Friends' b/w 'Salli' (Nice catalog number 004/005)

 

The White Whale label subsequently acquired distribution rights to the single reissuing it nationally:

 

- 1969's 'Friends' b/w ' Salli' (White Whale catalog number WWS 353)

 

Columbia Records then came calling signing the group to a contract which saw the release of the Adam Ross produced "Friend By Feather".   In addition to the earlier single, the album contained a likable mixture of country-rock moves and more commercially-oriented pop moves.  Collings and White were again responsible for the majority of the ten tracks, but drummer Greer and bassist Woodward also contributed to the songwriting chores.   Musically the set wasn't particularly original with individual songs reflecting such influences and CSN&Y, Loggins and Messina, Poco, and Mark Lindsay and The Raiders (it was one of those fun spot-the-influences albums).   In this case the absence of creativity wasn't a major drawbackl since the album was packed with energetic performances, catchy melodies, and some great vocals. Being blessed with at least three strong singers in Collings, Townshend, and White certainly didn't hurt the band.   At least to my ears, at least half of the tracks had top-40 potential with the classic kiss-off tune 'What You Will', the Loggins and Messina-styled rocker 'Roll Me Daddy', The Raiders-styled 'Along Too Long To Be Lonely', and the funky single 'The Fifth Stone'  providing some of the highlights.  Fun from start to finish and an album you can still find on the cheap.

 

"Friends By Feather" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Friends   (Mike Collings - Roger White - Steve Woodard) - 2:43

As far as I can tell, this version of 'Friends' is essentially the same song as the earlier singles.   A nice, upbeat country-rockiish number, the song sounds a bit like a cross between CSN&Y and Poco.   Not a bad comparison.   rating: **** stars

2.) What You Will   (Steve Woodard) - 2:23

A major surprise, 'What You Will' retained the group's country-rock leanings, but this time around wrapped them up in a much heavier rock arrangement, including an intriguing set of "kiss-off" lyrics, a great melody, nice harmony vocals, and one of the album's best guitar solos.    This is one of the tunes I would have tapped as the single.   rating: **** stars

3.) Roll Me Daddy   (Mike Collings) - 3:30

'Roll Me Daddy' aptly demonstrated the band could handle a straight-ahead rocker.   Great title track refrain.   This one's always reminded me of a good Loggins and Messina tune.   rating: **** stars

4.) Along Too Long To Be Lonely   (Mike Collings - Roger White) - 3:45

A heavy pop tune with more hooks than most albums contain, 'Along Too Long To Be Lonely' definitely had top-40 slapped across it.   Imagine the kind of song Mark Lindsay and the Raiders always wanted to write and you'd have a feel for how good this one was.   Geez, I simply can't shake the double timed chorus out of my head.   rating: ***** stars

5.) A Week Away   (Dan Greer) - 3:22

Penned by drummer Greer, 'A Week Away' returned the band to country-rock territory (do I detect a touch of Allman Brothers ?); albiet with another catchy and radio-ready melody (check out the wonderful harmony vocals on this one).   To my ears this one sure sounded like John Townshend on lead vocals (in fact it sounded a lot like a forthcoming Sanford-Townshend Band song).    rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) L.A. Meantime 
   (Mike Collings - Roger White - Steve Woodard) - 4:03

Nice country-rock with some interesting time changes.   rating: *** stars

2.) Promised Land   (Mike Collings) - 3:24

'Promised Land' was one of the album's more pop-oriented tunes.  Nice group vocals and Woodward turned in a killer bass line throughout.   rating: *** stars

3.) The Bible Way Mission Band   (Mike Collings - Roger White - Steve Woodard) - 4:12

With a "cutesy" lyric, and a blue-eyed soul vibe,'The Bible Way Mission Band' was another one that sounded like something out of The Raiders catalog.  I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff so I loved it.   rating.

4.) The Fifth Stone   (Mike Collings - Roger White - Steve Woodard) - 4:25

The lyric's always been a puzzle to me, but 'The Fifth Stone' had a wonderfully funky groove that suddenly exploded into a nifty folk-rock feel and then piled on the album's best fuzz guitar work.   Easy to see why this one was tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

5.) No Time for Sorrow   (Mike Collings) - 3:24  

 

 

As mentioned, the album spun off an obscure single:

 

- 1970's 'The Fifth Stone' b/w 'No Time for Sorrow' (Columbia catalog number 4-45231)

 

One last non-LP single and the band was history:

 

- 1971's 'Choo Choo Nairobi' b/w 'Down the Wire' (Columbia catalog number 4-45405)

 

And then it gets a bit cloudy.   

 

Collings and White became part of the Loggins and Messina recording and touring band.

 

Townshend hooked up with Ed Sanford in what became The Sanford-Townshend Band.  He's also recorded with Danny Toler in The Tolber/Townshend Band and has an interetsing website at: http://johntown.com/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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