Mother Earth

Band members               Related acts

- John Andrews - guitar

- Bob Arthur - bass

- Mark Naftalin - keyboards

- Tracy Nelson - vocals

- R. Powell St. John Jr. - vocals, harmonica

- George Rains - drums



Tracy Nelson (solo efforts)

- The Wigs (John Andrews, Bob Arthur and R. Powell 

  St. John Jr.)




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Living with the Animals

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SR-61194

Year: 1968

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve with insert; minor ring wear on cover

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4437

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.00


Today Tracy Nelson's largely known as a solo artist.  Her mid-1960s work with the San Francisco-based Mother Earth having been largely forgotten.  That's unfortunate, since Nelson and Mother Earth turned in some excellent material.


Co-produced by Dan Healy, Mark Naftalin and the band (Barry Goldberg was listed as the executive producer), 1968's "Living with the Animals" is a true band effort.  Showcasing a mixture of originals and covers, the predominant sound is blues, though there are elements of soul and even rock scattered throughout.  The focus is clearly on Nelson, whose deep bluesy voice literally tears apart material such as the 'Mother Earth', 'Down So Low' and 'Cry On'.  R. Powell St. John Jr. handles a couple of tracks ('Marvel Group', 'Living with the Animals' and 'Kingdom of Heaven (Is Within You)'), but his weak, waivery voice just can't hold up next to Nelson.  This may sound heretical, but to my ears Nelson's actually at her best when she loosens up, abandoning the blues for a more soulful turn - check out 'I Did My Part' and 'It Won't Be Long'.  Elsewhere Michael Bloomfield provided guitar on 'Mother Earth' (under the name Makal Blumfeld).  Mercury also tapped 'Goodnight Nelda Grebe' b/w 'Down So Low' (Mercury catalog number 72878) as a single.


"Living with the Animals" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Marvel Group   (R. Powell St. John Jr.) - 3:14

2.) Mother Earth   (Memphis Slim) - 6:03

3.) I Did My Part   (Neville) - 2:53

4.) Living with the Animals   (R. Powell St. John Jr.) - 4:46

5.) Down So Low   (Tracy Nelson) - 3:34


(side 2)

1.) Cry On   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:26

2.) It Won't Be Long   (McFarland) - 3:343

3.) My Love Will Never Die   (Willie Dixon) - 4:48

4.) Goodnight Nelda Greb (The Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off)   (Caldwell - Tracy Nelson) - 2:39

5.) Kingdom of Heaven (Is Within You)   (R. Powell St. John Jr.) - 4:59 







Genre: country-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Mother Earth Present Tracy Nelson Country

Company: Mercury 

Catalog: SR-61230

Year: 1969

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4438

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.00



Having ditched San Francisco for a farm outside of Nashville, it probably wasn't a major surprise to see Mother Earth changing their musical direction from blues to country.  I'll be the first one to tell you I don't particularly like country music and I approached 1969's "Mother Earth Present Tracy Nelson Country" with a great deal of skepticism.  Recorded with an all star cast of country sessions players, this could have been much worse.  Nelson's voice is in fine form and she turns in several performances that should appeal to even non-country fans - check out the original 'Stay as Sweet as You Are', 'That's All Right Mama' and 'I Can't Go On Loving You'.  That said, fans of her blues catalog probably won't find much of interest here.


"Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sad Situation   (C. Pitts) - 3:35

2.) I Fall to Pieces   (H. Howard - H. Cochran) - 2:58

3.) Stay as Sweet as You Are   (Bob Arthur - Tracy Nelson) - 2:30

4.) Stand By Your Man   (G. Sutton - Billy Sherrill) - 2:33

5.) Blue, Blue Day   (Don Gibson) - 1:56

6.) That's All Right Mama   (Arthur Crudup) - 2:22


(side 2)

1.) I Can't Go On Loving You   (H. Mills) - 2:45

2.) You're Still My Baby   (Chuck Willis) - 3:36

3.) Now You're Gone   W. Boz Skaggs) - 4:11

4.) Why, Why, Why   (Buck Owens - Dolly Parton) - 1:58

5.) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry   (Hank Williams) - 3:07





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