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The Flock

Forming in late-'60s Chicago, the Flock forever languished in the shadow of the Chicago Transit Authority (later famous as just plain Chicago), whose peculiar approach to art rock -- incorporating horns and other unorthodox instrumentation into rock and jazz forms -- they also pursued. But though they clearly lacked Chicago's smash-hit-penning abilities, the Flock possessed a secret weapon in masterful violinist Jerry Goodman, and their genre-smashing compositions were often even more extreme, if not exactly Top 40 material.

Rick Canoff (vocals, saxophone) and Fred Glickstein (vocals, guitar, organ) were already performing in a garage band called the Exclusives in 1965 when they decided to rename themselves the Flock. The duo recorded a number of independent singles with various backing musicians over the next few years, but it wasn't until they discovered that their guitar tech, one Jerry Goodman, also happened to be a virtuoso violinist and invited him into the fold that the Flock's sound truly began to take shape. By 1969, the septet was completed by Jerry Smith (bass), Ron Karpman (drums), John Gerber (sax, flute, banjo), and Tom Webb (sax, flute), and had scored a deal with Columbia Records, for whom they recorded their groundbreaking eponymous debut that same year. But, not even enthusiastic endorsements from some of the era's most respected musicians (including English blues legend John Mayall, who famously dubbed them the "best American band" he'd heard and wrote the album's liner notes) could help sell the Flock's complicated music, which simply proved too unusual and inaccessible for most consumers. The band continued to plug along on the live circuit, including a stint at the prestigious 1970 Bath Festival (where they performed before a then-skyrocketing Led Zeppelin), but their label, Columbia, was already beginning to lose faith. Complicating matters further, 1971's Dinosaur Swamps proved a disappointing second effort, falling well short of its predecessor's inspirational flights; it is perhaps best-remembered for its beautiful cover artwork, rather than the songs contained within. A third LP, reportedly to be called "Flock Rock," was summarily shelved uncompleted, and the Flock had fallen apart by 1972. Violinist Goodman later worked with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Dixie Dregs, among others, but except for a brief, disastrous reunion which yielded 1975's ill-received Inside Out album, the remaining members of the Flock soon faded into rock & roll obscurity. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Comments

pgp131
saw 'em at the Electric Factory bout 1970 . . . def one of the best live performances . . Jerry is a manic violinist !
Great artists. Great music. Definitely different but listened to compared to the rich bounty of odd musical arrangements and perfomances available today . . . far better than most odd stuff today. And yeah, I loved the album art on Dinosaur Swamps, but I disagree . . . I thought it was great, though I do admit that when I first listened, it was definitely a different direction than the Jazzy first album. Wish I could hear that one again. Jerry Goodman was truly the standout member.
I got The Flock's first album when I joined the Columbia Record Club when I was 13. I had to fill out my list of a dozen albums and I liked the album cover. I got Dinosaur Swamps when it came out the next year. I'd forgotten about The Flock until I heard them here, on Pandora, not to mention all the other great, obscure music generated by Pandora.
Wish more people knew about tis group
Please add Dinosaur Swamps.
one of my favorite albums in early 70's
dombrowski.r . a
The first and best in there own way.
rcloud0
bought this album when it 1st came out - still one of my favorites.
jerry is the best
love this album...grea t musicianship , great then...great now.
Amazing group...way before their time. There is nothing bad one could say about the Flock......t h e y are amazing still to this day...

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