Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1967-68)
- Brian Davies -- vocals, guitar, banjo
- Clark Maffitt -- vocals, guitar
supporting musicians (1967)
- Jimmy Bind -- bass
- Jim Gordon - drums
- Milt Holland -- tabla
- Michael Lang - piano
- Joe Osborne -- bass
supporting musicians (1978)
- Bob Applebaum -- mandolin
- Matthew Betton -- drums
- Gary Clontz -- guitar
- Jeff Gilkinson -- cello, banjo, harmonica
- Jim Gordon -- drums
- David Jackson -- bass
- Frank Marocco -- piano accordion
- Red Rhodes -- pedal steel guitar
- Red Young -- keyboards
- Clark Maffitt (solo efforts)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: The Rise and Fall of Honesty
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 355
I've owned a copy of the Maffitt/Davis LP for years and for some reason just never got around to listening to it. Anyhow, it eventually floated up to the top of the pile ...
The cover art certainly gave me the impression these guys were going to be wallowing in psychedelic influences ... Naturally, in spite of the intriguing title, 1967's Nik Venet produced "The Rise and Fall of Honesty" was a largely acoustic folk enterprise. And having done a bit of research on these guys, that makes perfect sense. After working together for a number of years, singer/guitarists Brian Davies and Clark Maffitt got their initial break when folk singer Glenn Yarbrough spotted them playing at LA's Troubadour Club. Yarbrough initially hired the pair as his warm up act, but was so impressed by them, he brought them on as part of his touring band. They apparently recorded this one-off LP during their Yarbrough period which goes along way to explaining the album's folk influences. Yeah, there were occasional lysergic influences (Milt Holland's tablas on 'Kingswood Manor' and the psychedelic guitar effects on 'Landscape Grown Cold'), but exemplified by tracks like 'Big Time Man', 'Time of Towns' and 'City Sidewalks' the overall feel was distinctly folk-oriented (today you'd call it Americana). Offering up a mixture of cover material (Dylan and Hoyt Axton were represented by two covers each), and a couple of originals, Brian Davies and Clark Maffitt were clearly talented guys. Their voices blended together exceptionally well and the lyrics and general vibe captured the mid-'60s like few other albums. I can certainly see the set's charms, but I'll be honest and tell you it was simply too folk-ish for my pedestrian tastes.
and Fall of Honesty" track listing:
1.) Just Like a Woman (Bob Dylan) - 5:00 rating: ** stars
My initial thoughts .. crap, another Dylan cover. Probably the song their best known for, their vocals blended nicely on the arrangement, but their slowed down, painfully intimate version was enough to make Simon and Garfunkel sound positively upbeat and dance worthy. The string and horn arrangement that kicked in during the second half of the song were pretty, but didn't really help much. I will admit it did get better after a couple of cold beers.
2.) Landscape Grown Cold (John Hartford) - 4:22 rating: *** stars
Imagine a pair of folkies trying to record something deep and sensitive while using Tommy James and the Shondells 'Crystal Blue Persuasion' master tapes as their base. Disconcerting and not nearly as cool and happenin' as they may have thought it was.
3.) Big Time Man (M, Whalen) - 2:43 rating: ** stars
Irritating acoustic folk number made even more irritating by the way-too-clever lyrics ... sounded like something you would have expected to hear The Smothers Brothers play (assuming you were old enough to know who The Smothers Brothers were).
4.) Kingswood Manor (Hoyt Axton - P. Steinberg) - 3:56
The jangling 12 strings were nice; the tablas added a touch of lysergic flavor as did the druggy lyrics (cotton cloudy clouds); the harmonies were gorgeous, and the song actually generated a bit of energy as it rolled along; especially when the orchestration kicked in. All told it was one of the standout performances which probably explains why it was tapped as an instantly obscure single.
- 1967's 'Kingswood Manor' b/w 'Forest Lawn' (Capitol catalog number P-2311) rating: **** stars
5.) Time of Towns (Hoyt Axton) - 3:10 rating: ** stars
As much as I disliked this acoustic folk number, I have to admit their voices melded together like few duos I've ever heard - almost as good as Simon and Garfunkel.
Geez, talk about a strange and disconcerting folk song ... set to a bouncy and breezy acoustic melody it really was about a cemetery - apparently inspired by burying someone they didn't know all that way. The closing freak-out church organ was a hoot.
2.) Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob Dylan) - 5:29 rating: **** stars
Giving the album's second Dylan cover a bouncy, acoustic guitar powered arrangement the underscored their wonderful blended vocals was clever, making it one of the album's most enjoyable performances. This is the track that should have been tapped as the single.
3.) City Sidewalks (Tim Anderson) - 3:24 rating: *** stars
Nice laidback folk-rock number ...
4.) You'll Never Know (Bob Gibson - Shel Silverstein) - 4:04 rating: ** stars
Bland, acoustic sensitive singer/songwriter ballad that should send English majors and other sensitive types into a frenzy. The rest of you will want to skip it after one spin.
5.) Lungi Dai Caro Beni (instrumental) (Giuseppe Sarti - Clark Maffitt - Brian Davies) - 2:44
rating: *** stars
The album closed with a beautiful acoustic ballad, just the pair, acoustic guitars, autoharp, and what sounded like a cello. Very Christmas sounding.
Maffitt quit after a couple of years, starting a solo career. Davies stayed with Yarbrough for twenty years, finally quitting in 1986. He went on to a twenty year career in nursing and after retiring from that profession, rejoined Yarbrough in 2006.
In 2010 the Rev Ola label reissued the album in CD format (catalog number CRREV301), adding seven bonus tracks:
(Phil Ochs) - 2:46
Title: October In Oxnard
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: --
I've never tracked down a copy of it, but there's a second Maffitt/Davies LP - 1978's "October In Oxnard".
1.) October In Oxnard - 2:14
2.) Tribute To Hank Williams = 4:39
3.) Conversation - 3:30
4.) Ballad of Dan Moody - 3:20
5.) Alberta Wind - 3:39
1.) Louise - 4:13
2.) Buckdancers Choice - 2:53
3.) Wisconsin - 3:06
4.) Angeline - 1:56
5.) Mendocino Lady - 2:23
6.) Brother John - 3:29
BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION