Band members Related acts
line-up 1 (1969)
- Ted Ashford -- keyboards
- Erick Scott Filipowitz -- bass
- Barry Mraz (RIP 1989) -- drums, percussion
- Steve White -- vocals
- Bill Wukovich
(aka Billy Steele) -- guitar, vocals
- Ted Ashford (solo effort)
- Heartsfield (Ted Ashford)
- Hot Club Quartet (Billy Steele)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Forever Is a Dream
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap; cut out hole in top right corner
Catalog ID: SOLD 4209
Price: SOLD $250.00
This one's always been a mystery to me. First off, for a band signed to a major label there doesn't seem to be a great deal of biographical info on these guys. They certainly didn't leave behind an extensive recording catalog - one album; no singles. Besides, how come the cover shows four guys, while the liner notes and the back cover photo show the band to be a five piece ... who's missing on the cover? The disconnect is apparently producer/keyboard player Ted Ashford. Though the liner notes seemingly listed him as a band member and he contributed to the songwriting, Ashford wasn't actually a band member - perhaps explaining his absence from the the front cover. Speaking of the the liner notes, the Food lineup featured bassist Erick Scott Flipowitz, drummer Barry Mraz, singer Steve White and guitarist Bill Wukovich.
If you subscribe to the popular story, Ashford took an early interest in the quartet and started flogging some of the demos they'd recorded. The tapes caught the attention of the same folks who promoted Grand Funk Railroad. Along with Grand Funk, they were signed by Capitol, but with Grand Funk generating strong sales, Capitol seemingly lost interest in Food. That decision is strange given the album was quite enjoyable and judging by the sound which included considerable orchestration, Capital must have invested quite a bit of time and money in the recording sessions.
Produced by Ashford "Forever Is a Dream" was inconsistent, but had some interesting moments. True, it may not have been the year's most original offering, but with three people contributing to the songwriting chores, material such as the floawing, extended title track, 'What It Seems To Be' and 'Marbled Wings' were drenched in a dense and dreamy acid-tinged aura. Those tracks also exbibited attractive melodies, intriguing lyrics, coupled with occasional bits of Wukovich's tasty fuzz guitar. Elsewhere the album showcased Mraz's whacked out drumming and interesting bits of orchestration, including some surprisingly funky horn charts on tunes like 'Coming Back.' On material such as 'Naive Prayers' and 'Fountains of My Mind' vocalist White sounded like he had been partying pretty hard. The downside was these guys couldn't settle on a sound. Exemplified by 'Fountains of My Mind' and 'Leaves' there were several lysergic-tinged performances, but Food dabbled in all kinds of other genres. 'No' came off as second-tier Crow-styled blues rock. The title track recalled an American take on The Moody Blues. 'Lady Miss Ann' had a fey English ballad feel. 'No' and 'Coming Back' offered up a slice of BS&T-styled horn rock. These guys were just all over the musical spectrum. Maybe a little short of being a classic, but it is sought after in collector circles. Good headphone album !!!
Opening up with some pretty Ted Ashford keyboard chords, the heavily orchestrated title track offered up an intriguing mixture of '60s baroque-pop and acid-soaked social commentary. Steve White's voice was well suited to the genre, adding a perfect touch of "anguish" to the mournful melody while guitarist Bill Wukovich got to showcase his chops on the tune. His solos actually sounded las if they were being played backwards. Imagine an American version of The Moody Blues and you won't be too far off the mark.
2.) Naive Prayers (Bill Wukovich) - 4:45 rating: *** stars
A slice of no-frills molten blues-rock, 'Naive Prayers' sounded like they were recording in a large cave. Recalling something out of David Wagner & Crow, or Grand Funk Railroad catalog, the focus was clearly on Wukovich's blazing fuzz guitar and Mraz's wild drums. The orchestral ending was somewhat odd.
3.) No (Ted Ashford) - 2:43 rating: *** stars
To my ears the big band horns simply detracted from Eric Scott Filipowitz's awesome bass line and Ashford's rugged voice. Buried under the horns was a tasty funky rocker.
4.) Lady Miss Ann (Steve White - Bill Wukovich) - 3:03 rating: **** stars
Another jarring switch in direction, 'Lady Miss Ann' offered up a pretty; almost fragile ballad. Based on the lyrics it appeared to be a paen to a lady of the night. Wukovich's jazzy guitar licks provided the song's highlights. The feel has always reminded me a bit of The Stones 'Lady Jane.'
5.) Fountains of My Mind (Ted Ashford - Steve White) - 3:03 rating: *** stars
As you might have guessed from the title, 'Fountains of My Mind' found the band diving headlong into lysergic territory. Propelled by Ashford "church organ" fills the tune reflected a slow, acid-soaked melody that was momentarily diverting, but just never developed into anything particularly interesting.
6.) Coming Back (Steve White - Bill Wukovich) - 2:50 rating: *** stars
Geez, did I put on a Blood, Sweat and Tears album by accident? The horns were mildly funky, but I'm not a big horn-rock fan. Wukvovich's backwards fuzz guitar was coo, but buried in the background, though it became more prominent in the song's fade out
Perhaps White's best performance, the acid-tinged ballad 'What It Seems To Be' was the perfect soundtrack of a stoned Sunday afternoon. Slowly building up intensity, this was one where the sweet orchestration carried the melody and actually added to the fuzzy "summer of love" vibe.
2.) Inside the Mirror (Bill Wukovich) - 2:17 rating: **** stars
The album's prettiest performance, 'Inside the Mirror' featured White's multi-tracked, effects treated vocals over a pretty melody showcasing Wukovich's acoustic guitar work.
3.) Marbled Wings (Bill Wukovich) - 2:10
Opening up with some of Wukovich's best work, 'Marbled Wings' was a bit short in the melody department, but gave each band member a chance to spotlight their technical prowess.
4.) Traveling Light (Ted Ashford - Steve White - Bill Wukovich) - 2:44 rating: *** stars
With horns, a Mraz drum solo, and plenty of Wukobich' fuzz guitar, 'Traveling Light' was one of the album's "heavier" numbers. It was also kind of an aural mess with White left to try to navigate through the disjointed mess.
5.) Leaves (Ted Ashford - Steve White) - 3:22 rating: *** stars
Highlighting White's voice, 'Leaves' offered up another droning, acid-tinged ballad.
6.) Here We Go Again (Steve White) - 3:58 rating: **** stars
Bassist Filipowitz and drummer Mraz stole the spotlight on the dazed rocker 'Here We Go Again.' With Wukovich firing off rounds of fuzz guitar and backward guitar effects scattered throughout, this was the perfect song to accompany one of the "B" flicks that singer White stared appearing in.
The band had a cameo role (as a rock band) in the 1969 Don Henderson produced film "The Babysitter" and a couple of their songs were used in the film's soundtrack
With a doctorate for Julliard, following the collapse of Food, Ashford took a job teaching music theaory at The University of Wisconsin. He released an obscure single on the small Bump label: In case you were wondering, the "A" side was a funky tune recalling a mash-up of Tom Waits and James Brown. Pretty cool !!! Relocating to California he found work as a studio musician supporting the likes of Country Joe McDonald, John Cipollina and the band Heartsfield. Suffering a heart attack, Ashford died in 1987.
- 1973's 'Walk with the Man' b/w 'Carousel' (Bump catalog number B 4340-A/B)
Mraz went into the engineering and production side of the house, working with acts ranging from Styx to The Ohio Players. He passed on in 1989.
Shortening his name to Eric Scott, bassist Filipowitz turned to studio sessions and touring working with acts like Alice Cooper and former Turtles Flo and Eddy.
Previously interested in films, White dropped out of music, focusing his on acting. Working with the late director/actor Herschel "Godfather of Gore" Gordon Lewis, he appeared in a couple of B flicks including "For the Hell of It" and "She Devils On Wheels.'
Under the alias BIlly Steele, Wukovich also turned to sessions and touring working with a wide range of acts ranging from Alice Cooper to Steve Perry.
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