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Mad River

Among the oddest SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA Bay Area rings of the past due ’60s, Berkeley-based Mad River lower two albums which are respectable by psychedelic enthusiasts. After launching a uncommon EP on a little regional label in 1967, the music group agreed upon with Capitol and released their self-titled debut the next year. Possibly the most ominous SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA band of that time period, the group frequently sounded as an incredibly dark edition of Quicksilver Messenger Provider with a little bit of Nation Joe & the Fish’s minor-key melodies tossed in. Their materials veered between drawn-out angst jams and frenetic quantities, spotlighting David Robinson’s shimmering, blistering electric guitar leads and head/songwriter Lawrence Hammond’s mournful, quavering vocals. Unpredictably, their second and last LP (1969’s Heaven Bar & Barbeque grill) discovered the music group drifting into laid-back country-rock with much less memorable results.

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