Penny Nichols iTunes Tracks Penny Nichols Official Website

Penny Nichols

Born December 26, 1947, Orange County, California, this mainly freelance back-up singer was a 60s folkie, a player who once shared stages with the likes of JACKSON BROWNE, LINDA RONSTADT’s STONE PONEYS, JENNIFER WARNES and Mary McCaslin; Penny also sang with an embryonic NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND via John, Bill and Alice McEuen. In 1966, and with bluegrass going through a tentative revival stage, she was half of the Greasy Mountain Butterballs (alongside Kathy Smith), who performed in Vietnam. Riding into San Francisco (from Hollywood) on the back of a Harley motorbike the following spring, Penny supported such psychedelic luminaries as BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING CO. (w/ JANIS JOPLIN), QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, the STEVE MILLER BAND, CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND, The 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS and JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, culminating in a spot at the Big Sur Festival in ’68.
A one-off Buddah Records LP, PENNY’S ARCADE (1968) {*6}, was promoted on both sides of the big pond; while in London she stayed with the HARRISONs (aka GEORGE and Patty). Complemented by top sessioners Bruce Langhorne, Al Gorgoni, Vincent Bell, et al., her singer-songwriter sound sat neatly alongside a chirpy JONI MITCHELL or even LAURA NYRO in places; indeed the set would be hard to pigeonhole, and harder to pin down, although it sold in good numbers. Pleasant, unassuming and wistful, NICHOLS’ psych-to-jazz folk dirges have an appeal all of their own (check out rare single `Look Around Rock’, B-side `Farina’ and `Salton Sea Song’).
The 70s saw her marry Harry Shearer (from ’74-’77), form a jazz band, session for Elektra Records (EMITT RHODES et al) and side-line with JIMMY BUFFET & The Coral Reefers; other periodical and subsequent 80s sing sessions came via ART GARFUNKEL, YVONNE ELLIMAN, SUZI QUATRO, JENNIFER WARNES, STEVE GILLETTE, among many others. A teacher in the Hudson Valley area of New York, the 90s have produced a handful of other self-distributed sets; her most recent (with book) THE 8 VOYAGES OF NEP {*5} positively chronicles her experiences as a cancer patient with chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and beyond.
© MC Strong/MCS 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Oct2016

~ Penny Nichols – vocals, acoustic guitar (+ session people)
// US // UK
// Buddah // PYE International
* Feb 68.~ (7”) ~ (BDA-28} (7N 25451) ~ LOOK AROUND ROCK. / Farina // // //Mar68
* Mar 68.~ (lp; mono/stereo) ~ {BDM 1007/BDS 5007} ~ PENNY’S ARCADE // //-
~ Wash day / Moon song / Color of love / Games / Salton sea song / Sunshine blues / Rainy days / Summer rain / Yellow chimes / Look around rock / Mountain song / Holy holy / Farina. ~ {(cd-iss.Oct06 on `Fallout’; ~ FALL 2018)}
// Karma Kagyu // unsigned
* 1990.~ (lp) ~ {none} ~ ALL LIFE IS ONE // //-
~ Pioneer woman / Gates of time / New moon refugees / Big sandy lake / Rock me and roll me over / Open your heart / On the Hudson / Dear one / Weirdo from Mars / All life is one. {cd-iss.Nov02; ~ none}
* 1994.~ (cd) ~ {30112} ~ SONGS OF THE JATAKA TALES // //-
~ Sit by me / The monkey king / The grateful elephant / Jataka beat / The golden goose / The fowler and the quails / The woodpecker, tortoise and antelope / Three little fishes / Run, rabbit, run! / Jataka dance.
// Pensongs // unsigned
* Jul 02.~ (d-cd) ~ {none} ~ HARMONY SINGING & BACKGROUND VOCAL ARRANGING VOL.1 (instructional) // //-
~ Open your heart / Michael row the boat ashore / Motherless child / A sailor’s life / Water // How will you know? / Darlene.
* Nov 03.~ (cd) ~ {none} ~ I’LL NEVER BE THAT OLD AGAIN // //-
~ I’ll never be that old again / Darcy Farrow / Strawberries / Stranded (in the wake of your goodbye) / Sleeping beauty / Shady grove / High flyin’ dove / The water is wide / The lighthouse / A sailor’s life / Gone to sorrow / Beautiful world.
* Jul 08.~ (cd+book) ~ {none} ~ THE 8 VOYAGES OF NEP // //-
~ 4 seasons road / Grist for the mill / The sands of time / The pumpkin field / Thank you (for sharing your love) / Meet the sun halfway / No matter what / Calvin / Tayatah / The air we breathe / Grapefruit / The healing light of love.

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