Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1978)

- Jay Blue -- sax, flute, guitar keyboards
- Josef Brinkman -- piano, harmonica, vibraharp
- Ashbolt "Tom" Stewart -- drums, percussion, vocals
- Jerry Wonder -- bass acoustic guitar, vocals




- Bolt Upright (Ashbolt Stewar)

- The Next Five (Tom Stewart)

- Ashbolt Stewart (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Feather

Company: Magic

Catalog:  LPS 133308

Country/State: Guerneville, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1683

Price: $50.00

Can't say I know much about this Sonoma County, California quartet.   I also know drummer Ashbolt "Tom" Stewart had been a member of the Brookfield Wisconsin-based The Next Five (which morphed in The Toy Factory).


As Feather, the band featured guitarist/sax player Jay Blue, keyboardist Josef Brinkman, drummer Stewart, and bassist/guitarist Jerry Wonder.  No idea how they got together, but an educated guess was their 1978 self-titled album was a vanity project, pressed in small quantities and sod at band shows and local music stores.   Self-produced, the album was recorded at John Altmanns' 16 Track Studios in San Francisco.  With all four members contributing material, the collection espoused a mid-'70s California hippy band vibe with the band taking stabs at a variety of genres (occasionally on the same song), including country-rock ('Wisconsin Win', jazz, west coast jam, reggae ('Thelema;), and even a bit of disco ('Free and Wild').  It was all quite professional and even occasionally engaging, but there wasn't much in the way of originality to make it stand apart from the rest of the competition.  I will admit that engineers John Altmann and Steve O''Hare gave the collection a surprisingly nice sound for a small budget production.   


"Feather" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Right To the Heart    (Josef Brinkman) - 5:00

Wow, talk about a song that had a little bit of everything going on ...  'Right To the Heart' opened and closed with some atmospheric new age sounds (crashing ocean waves, birds, chimes), while making stops along the way for a breezy Caribbean-lilted pop tune and a west coast, Santana-styled jam.   Strange, but also oddly fascinating.   rating: **** stars

2.) Smile   (Jay Blue - Nicholson) - 5:45

Showcasing Stewart's tribal drumming and percussion, 'Smile' offered up an unexpectedly funky slice of new-age-meets jazzy moves.  Wonder turned in some nice burp bass moves.  Didn't care for Blue's flute and sax moves  though.   Sound weird?  It was, but again was kind of cool.   rating: **** stars

3.) Free and Wild    (Josef Brinkman) - 3:31

Hum, the disco whistle was momentarily disconcerting ...   upbeat, almost frenetic synthesizer powered dance number that sounded sort of out of place on this album.   rating: ** stars

4. Wisconsin Wind    (Jerry Wonder) - 5;56

Side one's standout performance, 'Wisconsin Wind' found the band delving into country-rock.  Nice bouncy melody with some tasty Josef Brinkman keyboards and nice harmony vocals.  rating: **** stars


(side 2)
1.) Sweet Angel  
(Josef Brinkman) - 3:34

Side two opened up with one of the album's more conventional pop--oriented tunes - something along the lines of a ragged Pablo Cruise.   This one actually sounded like a raw demo that had never been finished.  Way too much sax ...   rating: ** stars

2.) Thelema  (Jerry Wonder)  - 3:35

Reggae-meets-nervous new wave ...    rating: *** stars

3.) Where We Belong  (Jay Blue) - 6:30

Adult contemporary tinged ballad that had a couple of moments, but ultimately was too long and too jazzy for its own good.  rating: *** stars

4.) Love the World   (Ashbolt "Tom" Stewart) -  6:57

Drummer Stewart's lone contribution, 'Love the World' was a pretty, piano-based ballad.   Stewart's rustic vocals were also featured on this one.  rating: *** stars



I don't know where it fits in their discography, but there's at least one non-LP single:

- 'Be Real' b/w 'Trips' (Eye and Eye Productions catalog number 7014-18)