283. Fred Field and Friends – Fred Field
FRED FIELD AND FRIENDS (1976)
There may have never been a fifth Beatle, but there was certainly a fifth, sixth or seventh Love Song(er). Fred Field was the original lyricist for Love Song and played an integral role in their early success and positive response. The most “countrified” sounds were impacted by Fred Field fascination and love for the “fiddle” and the kind of music that can be made with such an instrument.
His earliest group, the Starfires, opened up for the likes of the Byrds, the Turtles, the Temptations and host of other luminaries. He was quite gifted from a young age playing violin and it would always influence the music he created or took part in. He was a founding member of Love Song and was responsible for much of their early material though never being an official “recorded” member of the group.
The album is truly a Fred Field “and Friends” project with help from Love Song members John Mehler and Jay Truax. The album also featured the legendary Al Perkins. It is clearly a diverse project with 60’s vocal harmony influences, traditional county instrumentation and a nearly “praise like” quality reminiscent of the early Maranatha Praise albums.
The production was top notch for the time and many may find it similar to Richie Furay, Chuck Girard and, of course, Love Song. But there also touches of The Eagles, Buffalo Springfield and Daniel Amos’ “Shotgun Angel. The addition of saxophone and and electric guitars make songs like “Good Old California” sound much more contemporary and influenced by The Beach Boys then just obvious country influences.
The album was important for the Jesus Music scene as its quality was so far above its peers that it really forced the issue to create higher quality music. It also was legitimate and could stand side by side with other country releases without excuse. It also gave the industry one more product with Field’s wonderful songwriting and performance.