(cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Singer/guitarist Al Anderson occupies a special place in the heart of NRBQ
fans. That said, Anderson's pre-NRBQ career remains unknown to scores of his NRBQ devotees. Growing up in Windsor Connecticut, Anderson wasn't even in his teens when he started forming bands, including The Visuals, The Altones, The Blues Messengers and The Six-Packs. Sporting a lineup consisting of Anderson, drummer Bob Dudek, bassist Andy Lepak Jr. , percussionist Martin 'Skip' Yakatis and keyboardist Ray Zeiner, by 1966 The Six-Packs had morphed into The Wildweeds. Playing local talent shows, battles of the bands, clubs and frat parties quickly generated a large regional following.
The band's big break came in the summer of 1967 when Chess Records' Cadet subsidiary picked up rights to Anderson's "No Good To Cry". Released as a single the song was a gigantic hit throughout the Northeast, even hitting the national top100 charts (it peaked at #88). Over the next two years the band released a string of five
poorly selling follow ups. By the time the band signed with Vanguard, Lepak (replaced by his brother Al) and Zeiner had tendered their notices.
Produced by Maynard Soloman, Jack Lothrop and David Wilkes (the latter two credited as 'associate producers'), 1970's
"Wildweeds" served as a showcase for Anderson. Credited with penning 11 of the 12 selections, he also provided lead vocals on the majority of the set. In the wake of the band's first six singles, musically the set came as somewhat of a surprise. Exemplified by tracks such as "Baby Please Don't Leave Me Today", "And When She Smiles", "Can't Sit and Watch Little Susie Laugh" and "And When She Smiles" (just missing the top-100 as a single), the majority of the album reflected a distinctive country flavor. Mind you, we're not talking Buck Owens, but it was certainly a change in direction.
"Wildweeds" track listing:
1.) Baby Please Don't Leave Me Today (Al Anderson) - 2:12
2.) Can't Sit and Watch Little Susie Laugh (Al Anderson) - 3:25
3.) John King's Fai (Al Anderson)r - 2:50
4.) Belle (Al Anderson) - 1:41
5.) An Overnight Guest (Al Anderson) - 3:32
6.) Nobody's here To Help Me Cry (Al Anderson) - 2:47
7.) And When She Smiled (Al Anderson) - 2:28
8.) Pain and Powder Ladies No. 2 (Al Anderson) - 1:50
9.) Fantasy Child (Al Anderson)- 2:32
10.) My Baby Left Me (Arthur Crudup) - 2:05
11.) Don't Ask me How or Why (Al Anderson)- 3:25
12.) Mare, Take Me Home (Al Anderson) - 3:26
Releasing one post-album single (1971's "C'mon If You're Comin'" b/w "Goin' Back To Indiana"), the band's career came to an end when Anderson released a couple of solo singles and was asked to replace Steve Ferguson in NRBQ (see separate entries).