Elephant Mountain – The Youngbloods (1969)

Album no. 164/1001

The Youngbloods are your classic ‘despite critical acclaim, they never sold any albums’ band. Why not? Let’s find out.

This is the band’s third album, and they’re branching out a bit. It’s described as containing ‘jazzy acoustic ballads’, ‘country/folk pop’, and ‘bluesy hard rock’. Quite a range.

The Youngbloods were made up of Jesse Colin Young, Jerry Corbitt, Lowell Levinger (nicknamed ‘Banana’) and Joe Bauer. Corbitt left while this album was being put together, and even though he played on a couple of tracks he didn’t get credited. All the guitar was put down to Banana Levinger, bless him. Just a little bit of fruit trivia for you.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: Never heard of these guys.

NK: Never heard of them at all. I know The Young Knives, does that count?

Standout track

CL: I’m disappointed, again. The Youngbloods had such promise! Great band name! But much like The Young Rascals, they’ve come up short. This is so bland and boring, it’s hard to believe just a few years ago we were seeing anything even remotely exciting.

NK: This is weird! It’s a bit all over the shop, all sorts of different things thrown together. ‘On Sir Francis Drake’ is a weird piano waltz jam for the first half and then a bass led blues jam for the second, ‘Quicksand’ is a folk rock number, ‘Sham’ is straight blues-rock, and ‘Trillium’ reminds me of old mate Jimmy Smith, way back at the chicken shack. All jazzy, bluesey jamming. It’s not bad, but it’s kind of a strange thing to find here. This reminds me of the early sixties stuff when albums were put together as a collection of songs rather than a cohesive whole.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: Maybe on a mountain? But a dangerous one, so if you were listening to this you could easily just fall over the edge and greet your death quickly and painlessly. Because it would be a sight better than listening to this album again.

NK: I didn’t hate this the way you did. I didn’t love it, it wasn’t really interesting enough to have a strong feeling about. Listen to this when you don’t want to have to pay too much attention.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: ‘Darkness Darkness’ sounds like it should be on Game of Thrones. But then ‘Smug’ sounds like it should be soundtracking a sitcom set in the Old West. Maybe that’s what they were going for? Creating songs that would work on very specific niche genre television shows?

NK: That is a better answer than anything I have. I am not sure what this is doing here. I certainly didn’t hear anything that stood out as original or new.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: I absolutely will not be.

NK: Nope.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

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