Heavyfeather


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1962 - 63) as The Furies

- Tom Casey (RIP) -- guitar, percussion

- Paul Ross (RIP 2014) -- bass

- Dave Shader -- vibraphone, guitar, percussion

- John Wilson -- drums, guitar

 

  line up 2 (1963 - 64) 

NEW - Lew Adams -- (replaced Dave Shader)

- Tom Casey (RIP) -- guitar, percussion

- Paul Ross (RIP 2014) -- bass

- John Wilson -- drums, guitar

 

  line up 3 (1964-70) 

- Tom Casey (RIP) -- guitar, percussion

NEW - Bill Collier -- guitar (replaced Lew Adams)

- Paul Ross (RIP 2014) -- bass

- John Wilson -- drums, guitar

 

  line up 4 (1972-74 ) as Heavyfeather

- Tom Casey (RIP) -- bass, guitar, percussion

NEW - Ronnie Folk -- keyboards, guitar

NEW - Dave Shader -- vibes, guitar, percussion

- John Wilson -- drums, guitar

 

  line up 3 (1985-) as The Furies

NEW - Warren Castaneira -- guitar

- Bill Collier -- guitar

NEW  -  Jack Miller -- bass

- John Wilson -- drums, guitar

 

 

- The Caravans

- The Cyclones

- Easy (Bill Collier and John Wilson)

- The Furys (Tom Casey, Dave Shader, and John Wilson)

- The Princemen (Lew Adams)

- John Wilson (solo efforts)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Soft Hard and Heavy

Company: Ace of Hearts

Catalog: LP 0226
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: white label promo copy

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2243

Price: $90.00

 

Formed in 1962, guitarist Tom Casey, bassist Paul Ross, vibes player Dave Shader, and  drummer John Wilson were all members of The Furys.  Hailing from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, the group started out playing parties, school dances and small clubs throughout Central Pennsylvania.  Picking up a mentor in the form of  manager Curt Whitcomb, eventually scoring a recording contract with the small Boston, Massachusetts based Fleetwood label.  

- 1966's 'I Walk Away' b/w 'Gone In the Night' (Fleetwood catalog number FL 4569)

 

Offering up a pair of brooding, '50s flavored ballads, while the single did little outside of their native Pennsylvania, it attracted enough attention for Laurie Records to reissue it nationally.

 

- 1967's  'I Walk Away' b/w 'Gone In the Night' (Laurie catalog number 3382)

 

The following year found the band releasing a single for the New York-based Diamond label:

 

- 1968's 'That's All Right, You're In Love' b/w 'You're My Little Baby' (Diamond catalog number D-424)

 

The single did well enough to get the band exposed as a touring opening act for a number of national bands, including Badfinger, Brenda & the Tabulations, and Lou Christie, but by 1970 The Furys had run out of steam.  Casey and Wilson decided to continue their musical collaboration and  through manager Richard O'Bitts, were introduced t to producer Charlie Daniels.   Recruiting original Furys member Dave Shader and keyboard player Ronnie Folk, the band spent the next two years, occasionally working with Daniels with whom the eventually ended up recording several demos.   By 1972 they were living in Nashville, Tennessee (explaining why a couple of references tag them as being from Tennessee).  Working under the name Heavyfeather (I've also seen it shown as Heavy Feather), their relationship with Daniels undoubtedly helped them score a recording deal with Roy Acuff's Ace of Hearts label.

 

Recorded in Nashville's N.A.R. Studios, 1972's "Soft Hard and Heavy" was co-produced by manager O'Bitts, Thomas Wayne Perkins, and Darrell Glenn.  (Given the album liner notes included a dedication to Perkins, I'm guessing he passed on during the recording sessions.)  With all four members contributing to the writing chores, the album featured all original material, at least some of these tracks apparently coming from the earlier sessions working with Charlie Daniels.  You certainly couldn't call this one a lost masterpiece with way too many of the tunes geared to conventional and mundane pop ballads. That said, there was only two truly horrible tracks on the album - the sappy ballads 'The Way I Do' and 'So Glad It's Over.'  Exemplified by songs like 'So Long, Farewell, Goodbye' and Badfinger-esque 'Magic Days' the rest of the ballads were at least worth hearing.   These guys were far better on the up-tempo rockers.  Again, nothing here was all that original, but their influences were all impressive, making for one of those fun spot-the-influences collections.   'Let There Be a Change' had a nice Four Seasons vibe.  'Can You Help' and 'Happiness Runs In Circles' both reminded me of early The Guess Who and 'Rock and Roll Man' sounded like a good Spirit track.  Another tune with a bit of Badfinger influence, the single 'Brand New Day' was my pick for best performance.  

 

Still largely unknown and worth looking for.

 

"Soft Hard and Heavy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) So Long, Farewell, Goodbye   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 3:18

Wow, certainly not what I was expecting - 'So Long, Farewell, Goodbye' was a very pop-flavored tune ... Imagine sweet Association-styled harmonies packaged with a slightly more rock oriented melody, or maybe The Classics IV with a little less MOR gloss.  Always loved the orchestration on this one and those wonderful harmonies.   Probably too MOR for most rockers, but a nice relaxing opener.   rating: **** stars

2.) Let There By a Change   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 3:55

Opening up with a nice combination of Folk's keyboards and Casey's fuzz guitar, 'Let There By a Change' has always reminded me of what The Four Seasons would have sounded like had they been able to record a true rock song - just check out those harmony vocals.   rating: ***** stars

3.) The Way I Do   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 3:42

Whatever momentum they'd built up to this point was lost with the sappy ballad 'The Way I Do'.   Other than Casey's nice jangle-rock guitar and a George Harrison-styled slide guitar solo, this one didn't have much going for it.   rating: ** stars

4.) So Glad It's Over    (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 3:01 

'So Glad It's Over' was another sappy and flat sounding ballad - yeah the lead vocals on this one literally sounded flat, or stoned and there just wasn't much to the melody.   rating: ** stars 

5.) Can You Help?   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 2:44

The first time I heard this one I could've sworn it was early Burton Cummings and the Guess Who. There was just something about the lead vocal and the guitar and organ interplay ...  That was actually meant as a compliment since I love early Guess Who.  Side one's hardest rocking tune, this one was actually quite good.   rating: ***** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Rock and Roll Man
   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 2:51

'Rock and Roll Man' wasn't the most original tune you've ever heard, but after the ballad heavy side one it was kind of nice to hear a slice of mindless hard rock.   It was also kind of cool to hear the lead singer shred his voice on this one.   A good Spirit tune would say as a nice baseline for comparison.  Shame the song ended so soon.   rating: **** stars

2.) Brand New Day   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 2:24

With a shimmering melody and sweet vocals, 'Brand New Day' was easily the album's most commercial and mainstream release.  To my ears the track had a distinctive English rock sound - touch of Badfinger perhaps?    It was released as an instantly obscure single:

- 1972's 'Brand New Day' b/w 'So Long, Farewell, Goodbye' (Ace of Hearts catalog number #0453)  rating: ***** stars

3.) Magic Days   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 3:56

Another ballad with kind of a Badfinger vibe to it (particularly in the vocals department).  Nice with a cool treated guitar solo.  Extra star for Folk's harpsichord accompaniment.   rating: *** stars

4.) Belongs To Me   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 5:08

Nice, pop tune that was saved by the unexpectedly tough guitar solo.  Always wondered how they got that effect ...  Lesley speakers?    Elsewhere congrats to John Wilson for turning in a drum solo that didn't outlast its welcome !!!    rating: **** stars

5.) Happiness Runs In Circles   (Tom Casey - Dave Shader - John Wilson - Ronnie Folk) - 2:26 

'With a  breezy, almost tropical rhythm and melody, 'Happiness Runs In Circles' was another song that reminded me of The Guess Who.   rating: *** stars

 

 

By the mid-'70s Collier and Wilson were back in Pennsylvania earning livings working for a paper company, playing in a string of local cover bands.   With a steady stream of lineup changes, they eventually reformed The Furys, playing locally on and off  through 2015.

 

 

 

 

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