Peace & Quiet
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1971)
- Reuben David Ferguson - vocals, percussion, synthesizers
- Steve Hatch - drums, percussion
- Brad Peed - lead guitar, backing vocals
- Rick Steele - lead vocals
- Jim Tolliver - bass, backing vocals
line up 2 (1971-72)
NEW - Dennis Gent (RIP 2002) - drums, vocals (replaced
NEW - Roger Pavlica - lead guitar (replaced Brad Peed)
- Rick Steele - lead vocals
- Jim Tolliver - bass, backing vocals
NEW - Chuck Witherow - keyboards, backing vocals (replaced
Reuben David Ferguson)
NEW - Gregg Williams - drums, percussion (replaced Steve Hatch)
- The Bad Boys
- The Birdwatchers (Jim Tolliver)
- Reuben David Ferguson (solo efforts)
- Razor's Edge (Jim Tolliver)
- The Villagers (Rick Steele)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Peace & Quiet
Catalog: Z 30315
Country/State: Miami, Florida
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 4345
Sporting a pretty nifty cover (courtesy of Henrietta Condak and Robert Grossman), here's another one I bought without knowing anything about the band. Turns out my 25 cent investment was a pretty good move.
Unfortunately like many early-1970s outfits, there simply isn't a great deal of bibliographical information out there on this outfit. Luckily, keyboardist Chuck Witherow stumbled on this website and was kind enough to fill in some of the gaps: "The group originated from a band in Miami called the "Bad Boys" (1967), also known as "The Nervous System" (see the Rock Pow Wow). The members of that band were Roger Pavlica (guitar), Greg Williams (drums), Chuck Witherow (keyboards) and Jim Keegan (bass). Jim Keegan was let go when Jim Tolliver (bass) and Rick Steele (vocals) were added and the name changed to Peace & Quiet."
Prior to joining Peace & Quiet singer Steele had kicked around with a number of Southern Florida bands, including The Villagers. Bassist Tolliver had followed a similar path, recording with The Birdwatchers and Razor's Edge.
By the time the band attracted the attention of CBS's Kinetic label, the line up featured Steele, Tolliver, guitarist Roger Pavlica, keyboardist Chuck Witherow and drummer Gregg Williams. Relocating to Massachusetts their debut "Peace & Quiet" was recorded in New York with Larry Fallon producing. It's a surprisingly impressive collection. I've seen a couple of dealers describe it as being psych, but that's not a particularly descriptive tag. Featuring six extended tracks, material such as 'You Can Wait Till Tomorrow' and 'Country Thing' is more along the lines of hard rock, with occasional progressive moves. Probably doesn't sound very promising, but Steele had a good voice (occasionally giving the band a Deep Purple-ish feel - I've seen a couple of reviews draw comparisons to David Coverdale) and all six tracks boasted strong melodies and enthusiastic performances. Stand out track is the closing instrumental 'Looney Tunes'. One truly commercial pop-ish song and I would have given this four stars.
"Peace & Quiet" track listing:
1.) You Can Wait Till Tomorrow (Jim Tollver) - 3:10 rating: **** stars
'You Can Wait Till Tomorrow' opened the album with a first rate slice of FM rock. Steele's growling delivery and the combination of Roger Pavlica screeching lead guitar and Chuck Witherow's Hammond should have provided the band with a massive radio hit.
2.) Margo's Leaving Song (Got To Go Away) (Jim Tolliver - Rick Steele) - 7:44
The opening violin solo made me wonder if I'd mistakenly put on something out of The It's a Beautiful Day catalog. That impression was underscored by the straining lyrics "got away real soon; got away next moon; got a way real soon ...". From there the ballad morphed into what could have simply been a bad Uriah Heep tune. I will tell you the tune got better as it rolled along and the band showed off some nice harmony vocals. .
3.) Country Thing (Roger Pavlica - Rick Steele - Jim Tolliver - Chuck Witherow - Gregg Williams) - 7:44 rating: **** stars
Luckily the title wasn't an accurate indicator of the sound. Instead, 'Country Thing' started out sounding like a slice of Weather Report-styled jazz-rock fusion, before opening up into a surprisingly tuneful rocker. The tune was kicked along by a nifty Roger Pavlica lead guitar. Maybe it's just my beat ears, but around the 4:20 mark Pavlica introduced some stunning Allman Brothers styled soloing. One of the album standout performances.
1.) Hear My Love (Jim Tolliver - Chuck Witherow) - 6:12 rating: ** stars
The first disappointment, 'Hear My Love' sounded like the band was trying too hard to underscore their soul roots. I'm guessing Steele and keyboardist Chuck Witherow shared the lead vocals, with each sounding like the were trying to out-screech the other. This was also a tune where Pavlica's jazz-rock solo didn't help the proceedings.
2.) Black Mountain ( Roger Pavlica - Rick Steele) - 3:39 rating: **** stars
The combination of Pavlica's blazing lead guitar and Witherow's stabbing Hammond gave the rocker 'Black Mountain' a nice sound straddling Allman Brothers FM credentials and Three Dog Night top-40 sound. Another tune where you had to wonder why the song was tapped as a single.
3.) Looney Tunes (instrumental) ( Roger Pavlica - Rick Steele - Jim Tolliver - Chuck Witherow - Gregg Williams) - 8:05 rating: **** stars
It may not have been more than a studio jam intended to fill up time on their album, but the closing instrumental 'Loney Tunes' was one of the album highlights with the band given an opportunity to stretchi out; each member given a shot at the spotlight. Yeah, 8 plus minutes may have been a little bit on the long side, but for the most part they managed to avoid the dead zone that most extended jams fall into.
As far as I can tell, this is their entire catalog. No follow-on album and no singles. Chuck Witherow confirmed that fact. "Not long after the album was released the band broke up and moved back to south Florida."
Original keyboard player Ferguson has released quite a bit of solo stuff, though I've never heard any of it. Not sure about the rest of the crew ...
And speak of the devil ....
I just stumbled onto your website after doing a Google search for Jim Tolliver. Lo and behold, I am mentioned on your site! Wonders will never cease. I have no idea if you still have contact with Jim or know how to contact him, but if you do, I’d appreciate the information. If you haven’t already run across my web site, you might want to take a look. It’s www.arkrat.net. You’ll see a page on Peace & Quiet, but there’s not much there. I had forgotten that Jim was a member of the Birdwatchers, and really had no idea that Peace & Quiet reformed after I left. You mentioned that I had done “quite a bit of solo work”, but that you had never heard any of it. Not surprising, since I could never get a label to release anything. I just posted a CD titled “Electron Man – Love in the Electronic Age” on CD Baby if you are interested. I’m soon going to post another CD of instrumental works (see Twelve Scientists/Antipodes on my web site).
Reuben D. Ferguson
Another interesting email:
Thank you for being there with info on the band Peace and Quiet. Been searching for years now. You may be interested in the following:
In 1972-73 I was living in West Palm Beach, Florida and renting one of three bedrooms in a nice ranch-style house from Gus, a friend whose wife had left him. To further the effort to keep up with the mortgage payments, Gus one day showed me the Peace and Quiet LP and announced he'd rented out the remaining bedroom to these guys as a rehearsal space for a short time. Since I was working long hours and didn't get home until after one in the morning, I never heard them play as a unit, or really got to know them. Also, they were not there long. I got from Gus that there had been one of the standard band "realignments", and that at least one of the group was formerly with The Amboy Dukes. On at least two occasions I heard a couple of them rehearse acoustic material in our living room with pioneering feminist folk singer Willie Tyson. They served as the backing band on her first (and only?) LP (recorded in a downtown West Palm studio), with Gus contributing some harp. Somewhere I have pictures of those rehearsals. Regarding the Peace and Quiet LP: As I remember it, at least one member of Weather Report backed them up and can be heard on that effort.
Thanks Bad Cat Records for bringing back the memories.
Jim Mann April 2012
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