Good Earth Trio, The

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968)

- Jim Dawson -- vocals

- Bob Hinkle -- vocals

- Bill Oliver Swofford (RIP 2000) -- vocals


  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Jim Dawson -- vocals

- Bob Hinkle -- vocals

NEW - Dan Shepherd -- vocals (replaced Jim Dawson)

- Bill Oliver Swofford (RIP 2000) -- vocals



- Jim Dawson (solo efforts)

- Bob Hinkle (solo efforts)

- Mt. Airy (Bob Hinkle)

- Oliver (Bill Oliver Swofford)

- The Virginians (Bob Hinkle)





Genre: pop

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  How Deep Is the Ocean

Company: DynoVoice

Catalog: DY 31903

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut out notch along edge; 2" split along bottom edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 857

Price: $15.00


Folks tend to forget that music is a business and like all aspects of business, quality is frequently discarded in favor of quantity.  That certainly seems to have been the underlying creed when it came to Bob Crewe's view of the industry.


As far as I can tell, The Good Earth formed in New York City, starting out on the city's coffeehouse circuit as a folk trio before being discovered and promoted by Crewe on his DynoVoice label.  Originally showcasing the talents of Jim Dawson, Bill Hinkle, and Bill Oliver Swofford, by the time the group released their debut LP, Dawson had bailed (artistic differences), replaced by Dan Shepherd.   Produced by Crewe (Artie Schroek handling four songs), no matter how you looked at it, 1968's "How Deep Is the Ocean" was pretty lame.  In spite of the vaguely psych-ish cover, Crewe's intention seems to have been to market them as a clean-cut, sensitive act that could appeal to folks who found rock and roll dirty and offensive.  (If you looked closely at the cover photo,  all three members were dressed neatly.)  Needless to say, that marketing strategy didn't do these guys any favors.  While all three members had decent enough voices, saddled with simply atrocious material (including three originals), there simply wasn't much they guys could do to salvage this one.  With the exception of the bouncy 'Goodbye Girl' (not the David Gates tune) and the Righteous Brothers-styled 'River Is Wide', musically this was uniformly inept, harmony rich pop that was far too often cloying, rather than entertaining.  Hard to believe it, but tracks like 'Young Birds Fly' and 'Now That You're Leaving' somehow managed to make The Association and other soft-pop outfits sound like heavy metal FM bands.


"How Deep Is the Ocean" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Young Birds Fly   (Bill Oliver Swofford ) - 2:34

Painfully sincere pop lyrics with a forgettable, over-orchestration melody that sounded like a really bad Association tune.   rating: * star

2.) How Deep Is the Ocean   (Irving Berlin) - 2:46

Geez, this one just reeks '60s pop ...   complete with ocean sound effects and some of the most strained vocals you'll hear (the piercing falsetto is jarring), this one had an okay melody and some nice backing vocals, but sank under the angst-ridden lead vocal.   rating: ** stars

3.) Now That You're Leaving   (Bill Oliver Swofford) - 2:20

Hum, sensitive singer/songwriter material that probably sent thousands of lonely English majors into spasms of tear filled passion ...   maybe not since it would have had to sell thousands of copies. which it didn't.  This one sounded very much like an Oliver solo effort.   rating: ** stars

4.) Goodbye Girl  (Bob Crewe - Bob Gaudio) - 3:03

Bolstered by a bouncy melody and some nice effects-treated electric guitar, 'Goodbye Girl' was probably side one's best song - imagine the Four Seasons trying to sound a bit more contemporary and you'd have a feel for what this one sounded like.  rating: *** stars

5.) River Is Wide   (Knigrt - Admire) - 3:20

The thunder storm sound effects and horns were surprising, as was the group's stab at The Righteous Brothers-meet-Phil Spector-styled, kitchen-sink pop.   Not sure why, but this one was actually kind of nifty.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Stand By Me   (Carole King - Glick) - 3:35

Judging by the arrangement, I'm guessing 'Stand By Me' had been part of their folk-trio, coffee club repertoire.   Surprisingly, Swofford's baritone, the nice harmony vocals, and some subtle organ made this one an unexpected surprising.   rating: *** stars

2.) Louise   (Bob Crewe - Knight) - 2:28

Tapped as the album's single, 'Lousie' found Swofford and company apparently trying out their best Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons impressions.   Bad move.   All three sounded uncomfortable in the song's high key.   rating: ** stars

3.) The Spring of My Mind  (Bob Hinkle - Artie Schroek) - 3:00

One of three originals on the album, 'The Spring of My Mind' was co-written by Hinkle and producer Schroek.  With Hinkle handling the lead vocals, kicked along by some nice acoustic guitar and harpsichord, this one actually rocked a tad harder than the rest of the album, having kind of an Association-meets-Spanky and Our Gang vibe.  Probably would have been a better choice for the single.   rating: *** stars

4.) The World Through a Tear   (P. Allen- C. Allen - D. Everett) - 2:49

Back to throwaway MOR sunshine-pop.  rating: ** stars

5.) Laia Ladain   (Lobo - Guerra - Gimbel) - 3:25

Geez, easily the album's strangest song ...   not sure how to describe this one; fake Portuguese words; funky melody ...   I think this was another one with Hinkle handling the lead vocals (you can hear a distinctive North Carolina accent).   So strange it was actually worth hearing.   rating: *** stars


As mentioned, the album spun off a 45:


- 1968's 'Louise' b/w 'How Deep Is The Ocean' (DynoVoice catalog number 907) 



There was also a pair of non-LP singles credited to The Good Earth:


- 1968's 'I Can See A Light' b/w ' Funny Thing Happened (Anytime)' (DynoVoice catalog number 924)

- 1969's 'Must I Really Go Thru This Again ' b/w 'here's More Than One Road To Philadelphia' (DynoVoice catalog 929)


Always on the lookout for a way to make a buck, Crewe decided to focus his attention on Swofford. pushing him as a solo act.   


Dawson went on to a solo career and has a website at:


Hinkle recorded some solo material, played in the band Mt. Airy and remained engaged in the business end of music (his career would take a couple of pages to cover), eventually returning to North Carolina where he owns  White Horse Black Mountain music and arts venue.  He has a web presence at:


o Black Mountain NC.

Sadly, Swofford died on cancer in February 2000.