January 11, 2011

Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1969 featuring the brief appearance of Nicky Hopkins, piano virtuoso.

One of the sadly underrated albums from the illustrious (and still going) career of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Universally acknowledged as one of the leading lights and pioneers in the San Francisco Psychedelia period, QMS went through a number of personnel changes, breakups, patchups and direction shifts over the years. Tonights track, Edward (The Mad Shirt Grinder) comes from the Shady Grove album, recorded in July and August of 1969 and released toward the end of that year. It features the brief appearance of the late Nicky Hopkins on piano along with remaining founding members Gregory Elmore, John Cipollina and David Frieberg. Hopkins, who was a much in demand session player in England, settled in the Bay area and joined QMS and much of Shady Grove is a showcase for his considerable talents. The collaboration didn't last long and Hopkins left the band shortly after to continue his session work.

Shady Grove marks something of a transitional period for the band - going from the end of one era and the beginning of a new one until their first extended breakup in 1975. But like everything, you just can't keep a good band down for very long.

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