JEFF BLACKBURN - LACY J. DALTON - DUANE "BEANS" SOUSA - LARRY HOSFORD
JIMMY JACKSON - CACHE VALLEY DRIFTERS - DAVID JOHN & THE COMSTOCK COWBOYS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackburn & Snow - Something Good For Your Head [CD]
(Jeff) Blackburn and (Sherry) Snow were an obscure duo whose sound typified the folksier end of the San Francisco sound. At their best they sound like The Mamas And The Papas with fuzz guitar or Country Joe And The Fish with gorgeous harmonies -- bloody good in other words. At their worst, they were pretty good and very sweet. If they were famous for anything it was the single "Stranger In A Strange Land" and it is fantastic: imagine H.P. Lovecraft's "Wayfaring Stranger" performed by The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. Presentation and sleeve notes are up to Big Beat's usual high standards.If, like me, you freak-out over the San Francisco sound you'll want this.
Big Beat, UK -Chris Williams

JEFF BLACKBURN with NEIL YOUNG

by Cameron Crowe

In the summer of 1977, a rumor shot through California music circles that Neil Young was appearing nightly in the bars around Santa Cruz. It was disregarded by most as typical gossip, but a trip up the coast one Friday night found a crowd milling around the entrance to a small bar called the Catalyst. The marquee simply read: DUCKS. Inside, the place was filled with the dull roar of zoo people quacking and blowing duck calls. After a while, out wandered four musicians. On lead guitar was Young, his painter's hat pulled down low. The Ducks opened with a scorching version of "Mr. Soul" and played through an hour of simple, hard Chuck Berry-esque rock & roll. The songs, only a few of which were Young's, celebrated trucks, girls and bars. The Ducks became a secret, local institution. For a buck, you came in and Neil Young burned up the frets, then joined you at the bar for a drink.

Young had turned up in Santa Cruz to visit an old friend from the Springfield days, singer/songwriter Jeff Blackburn. Once part of the San Francisco duo Blackburn and Snow, he'd been playing around the quiet coastal town with a band that included ex-Moby Grape member Bob Mosley and drummer Johnny C. Craviotto. When the group lost its lead guitarist, Young joined up. They decided to call themselves the Ducks and within weeks every duck call within miles had been purchased.

"These guys play some great music," Neil told one local. "Sure they want to go out and do something, but all I want to do is play some music right now, and not go out and do anything. You see, I haven't lived in a town for eight years. I stayed on my ranch for about four years and then I just started traveling all over, never really staying anywhere. Moving into Santa Cruz is like my reemergence back into civilization. I like this town. If the situation remains cool, we can do this all summer long."

This exchange was later written up as a front-page story in a local newspaper. Crowds began to arrive from everywhere. Record companies even sent scouts. Word got out about the house that the band lived in. There was a robbery. And one day Neil Young disappeared again.

"I still have the team spirit," said Jeff Blackburn when I called him recently. "It's almost hard to comprehend it ever happened. We all knew Neil had commitments and everything.... I guess we were in the fairy tale and unable to see out of it."

Copyright ROLLING STONE, February 8, 1979

 
 
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