(cover/record): VG / VG+
label promo copy; DJ stamp on back cover
catalog ID: 4963
I've always been
amazed at how many great (and often unknown) bands spring from Minnesota.
Must have something to do with the long, cold winters that force folks into
indoor activities ... That said, this is an album where the isolated reviews
I'd read really didn't say much of note - the effort was described as
likeable, but extremely rare. Not much to go on ...
Well I found a reasonably priced copy and here's what we think.
In terms of biographical information I know very little about this outfit.
Drummer Rick LiaBraaten and keyboardist John Meisen had been members of the
St.Paul-based The Good Idea (who survived long enough to
record one obscure 1968 single - 'Inside, Outside' b/w 'Patterns In Life'
(Good Idea catalog number 2889). When the band called it quits in
1969, LiaBratten and Meisen formed The Final Assembly with guitarist Bill
Halliquist. The trio began reworking some Good Idea material, with one
of their demos catching the attention of Roulette Records which promptly
signed them to a recording contract. The trio promptly added bass player Terry Tilley
and vocalist Dervin Wallin to the line up. I also know the album was recorded at UA
Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was produced by Meisen.
Musically 1970's "Thundertree"
was pretty impressive. Featuring all original material (several tracks
co-written by former Good Idea singer Bob Blank), tracks such as 'Head Embers',
'Summertime Children' and 'In the
Morning' (the latter including a great fuzz guitar solo), offered up an
attractive mix of psych and more rock oriented moves. Admittedly it wasn't
exactly an earth shattering set and Wallin wasn't any great shakes as lead singer,
but his occasionally screechy voice was well suited to the band's guitar and
keyboard propelled repertoire. It's also one of those records that grows on
you with each spin. Highlights included 'Dusty Road'
(always liked the stabbing organ and church chorus) and the side long suite
'1225' which powered by Hallquist's solo, started out like a ton of bricks
before eventually settling down into an interesting concept piece with a
religious theme (look at the title as a date 12/25). (By the way, it is a pretty rare LP. I've seen two copies in 20
"Thundertree" track listing:
1.) Head Embers
- John Meisen) -
2.) At the Top of the Stairs (Thundertree - John Meisen) -
3.) Summertime Children (John Meisen) -
4.) In the Morning (Thundertree - John Meisen) -
5.) Dusty Road (Thundertree - John Meisen) -
1.) 1225 (John Meisen -
Bob Blank) - Alone I Am (John Meisen - Bob Blank) -
i.) Softly (John Meisen - Bob Blank) -
ii.) I Travel Alone (John Meisen - Bob Blank) -
iii.) Not Well Liked (John Meisen - Bob Blank) -
iv.) With a Tailored Image (John Meisen - Bob Blank) -
v.) The Sun Is Shinin' for Me (John Meisen -
Bob Blank) -
Two years later Hallquist reappeared with an obscure solo effort (see