Hearts And Flowers

Stemming from folk, bluegrass and country roots, this L.A.-based trio of Rick Cunha, Dave Dawson and Larry Murray had arrived on the mid-60s scene from various sources: the latter with the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers (who contained country rock gods Chris Hillman and Bernie Leadon), the former two as an acoustic duo working in Hawaii.
Predominantly echoing The BYRDS, their post-psych-grass dabbling first emerged on the harmony-driven debut LP, NOW IS THE TIME FOR HEARTS AND FLOWERS (1967) {*7}, many pundits citing the set (issued on Capitol Records) as the first attempt to move the folk-rock genre into country. Combining covers of earthy stars of the day such as DONOVAN (`Try For The Sun’), TIM HARDIN (`Reason To Believe’), KALEIDOSCOPE (`Please’), HOYT AXTON (`10,000 Sunsets’) and GOFFIN-KING (`Road To Nowhere’), it was their own self-penned songs, and a few from The Shacklefords plus Casey and Liz Anderson, that set them apart from the pack.
To compensate for their lack of instrumentation on tour, the rhythm section of Terry Paul and Dan Woody were added to the line-up, although the pair had gone to ground by the time the trio – with the aforementioned Leadon, not Cunha – came up with their sophomore set: OF HORSES – KIDS – AND FORGOTTEN WOMEN (1968) {*7}. With the emphasis this time on writing original songs (check out Murray’s `Ode To A Tin Angel’ and `Second-Hand Sundown Queen’), the group still had room for ARLO GUTHRIE’s `Highway In The Wind’, Jesse Lee Kincaid’s `She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune’ and trad tune `Two Little Boys’ (a sophisticated version rather than Rolf Harris’ UK chart-topper). From this point onwards, all three split up and branched out in various country-rock directions, Leadon to The FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS and, later, EAGLES; Murray on a solo LP, `Sweet Country Style’ (1971).
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Mar2017

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