International Submarine Band, The

Band members               Related acts

- Earl 'Les' Ball -- keyboards (1967-68)
- Bob Buchanan -- guitar, backing vocals (1967-68)
- Jon Corneal -- drums (1967-68)
- Ian Dunlop -- drums, backing vocals (1965-67)
- Mickey Gauvin -- drums (1966-67)
- J.D. Maness -- steel guitar (1967-68)
- John Nuese -- lead guitar (1965-68)
- Gram Parsons (RIP 1974) -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Tom Snow -- keyboards (1965)



- The Byrds (Gram Parsons)
- The Flying Burrito Brothers (Gram Parsons)
- Gram Parsons (solo efforts)  




Genre: country rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Safe At Home

Company: LHI

Catalog: LHS-12001

Year: 1968

Country/State: USA

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor cover wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4462

Price: $110.00

Cost: $59.55


Raised on country music (Hank Williams was a lifetime hero), by the time he entered Harvard (as a divinity student !!!), singer/guitarist Gram Parsons had been in a string of bands (The Pacers, The Legends and The Shilohs). Having formed a band with bassist Ian Dunlop, former Troll guitarist John Nuese and keyboard player Tom Snow, Parsons quickly came to the conclusion his academic efforts were a waste of time. In 1966 he formally quit school and with the rest of the band (drummer Mickey Gauvin replacing Snow), relocated to New York.

In New York the quartet came up with their name (reportedly a reference taken from an old Our Gang television series) and began working on their unique country-rock sound. Paying their bills as a studio group brought them into contact with ex-child star Brandon DeWilde. DeWilde's television and film connections earned the band an opportunity to record a one-shot single for the small San Francisco-based Ascot label. Recorded for the soundtrack of a quickie B flick, "The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming" b/w "Truck Driving Man" (Ascot catalog number 2218) vanished without a trace. A follow-on single for Columbia ("Sum Up Broke" b/w "One Day Week" Columbia catalog number 4-43935) proved equally obscure. Frustrated with their lack of progress, 1966 saw the quartet take advantage of DeWilde's offer to help them make it in California. Relocating to Los Angeles, the decision appeared promising when they were hired to perform in a throwaway Roger Corman film "The Trip". While they had a brief performance role in the film, their musical contribution was erased from the final product; an Electric Flag track overdubbed in its place. Regardless, the band benefited from the resulting publicity and their friendship with "The Trip" star Peter Fonda. Unfortunately, personal frictions and disagreements over musical direction reared their ugly heads. The end result saw Dunlop and Gauvin calling it quits; quickly replaced by Chris Etheridge and Parsons' buddy/drummer Jon Corneal. 

An audition for eccentric Lee Hazlewood's newly formed LHI label won the band a contract and within a matter of weeks they were in the studio with producer Suzi Jane Hokom. If nothing else, 1967's "Safe At Home" deserved immediate notice as one of the first true country-rock outings. Offering up a mixture of covers and original material (penned by Parsons), tracks such as "I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known", "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Still Miss Someone" left no doubts as to the the band's country roots and interests. That shouldn't scare anyone off, since the combination of Parsons' melancholy voice and a rhythm section with one foot firmly in the rock camp (in the middle of recording sessions bassist Etheridge was replaced by Bob Buchanan), made for a thoroughly entertaining effort. Parsons-penned originals such as "Blue Eyes" (first song we're aware of to make reference to getting stoned) and "Luxury Liner" were genre standards. While the album generated a buzz among critics and with musicians themselves, it was simply too odd for mainstream radio - too rock for country audiences and too country for rock audiences. Sales proved non-existent.

"Safe At Home" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Blue Eyes (Gram Parsons) - 2:45
2.) I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known (Merle Haggard) - 2:15
3.) A Satisfied Mind (J.R. Hayes - J. Rhodes) - 2:30
4.) Folsom Prison Blues/That's All Right (John R. Cash / Arthur Crudup) - 4:23
5.) Miller's Cave (J. Clement) - 2:45
(side 2)

1.) I Still Miss Someone (John R. Cash) - 2:45
2.) Luxury Liner (Gram Parsons) - 2:43
3.) Strong Boy (Gram Parsons) - 2:01
4.) Do You Know How It Feels To Be So Lonesome? (Gram Parsons - Barry Goldberg) - 3:33

Interestingly, by the time the album was released, Parsons' was no longer involved in the band, having accepted an offer to join The Byrds (see separate entry). While the remaining members attempted to keep the band afloat, auditions for a replacement failed and they called it quits shortly after the album was released. The decision also proved costly for Parsons. Caught off guard by Parson's sudden defection, claiming he was still under contract, Hazlewood threatened to slap the singer with a costly lawsuit. Settling out of court, Parson's waived rights to the ISB name. Columbia (The Byrd's parent label) also reacted with concern, insisting that Parson's vocals be stripped from his first effort with the band - 1969's "Sweetheart of the Rodeo".


Following Parsons death the small California based Shiloh label reissued the album as a Parsons' solo side - 1979's "Gram Parsons".