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Country Funk

Though Country Funk's short lifetime came during the first flowering of country-rock, the band's music reflected psychedelia, hard rock, and blue-eyed R&B as much as rootsy Nashville sounds. While often cited as part of the Boston rock scene of the late '60s, Country Funk first came together in Los Angeles, CA, where songwriters and longtime friends Adam Taylor (who played lead guitar) and Hal Paris (rhythm guitar and piano) met up with the rhythm section of Jeff Lockwood (bass) and Joe Pfeifer (drums) and formed a band in 1968. Early gigs proved volatile, and after a residency at the famous Sunset Strip nightclub Gazzari's, Lockwood and Pfeifer left the group, while Paris and Taylor opted to start something new. Pfeifer was recruited to join Paris and Taylor's new outfit after they met bassist Jim Lanham, who could also play pedal steel guitar, but shortly before the new act could play its first gig, Pfeifer got cold feet and new drummer Verne Johnson came on board. After a few dates In L.A., the band headed to Vermont to play a string of shows at ski lodges. Country Funk then hit the road for Boston, where they became regulars on the city's club scene and opened for the Velvet Underground at the Boston Tea Party, though for a spell Johnson headed back to California and Pfeifer was persuaded to replace him. In 1969, the group landed a record deal with Polydor, and with Johnson back behind the drums, Country Funk headed to the Record Plant in Hollywood, where they cut their self-titled debut album. (True to the group's shifting lineup, Pfeifer played drums on four of the album's 12 songs.) Despite a strong reception, the album's sales were poor, and it proved to be the group's only record. Verne Johnson later played with the Illinois Speed Press. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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