Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Hard Times - Blew Mind (60s GARAGE FOLK-ROCK US 1967)

The Hard Times - Blew Mind (60s GARAGE FOLK-ROCK US 1967)


"The Hard Times" originally hailed from San Diego and consisted of "Bill Richardson" (lead guitar), "Rudy Romero" (12-string guitar), "Lee Keifer" (harmonica, tambourine), "Larry Byrom" (bass guitar, guitar), "Bob Morris" (bass guitar) and "Paul Wheatbread" (drums).
"The Hard Times" formed in 1965 as a 60s Garage/Folk-Rock outfit that by 1966 had relocated to Los Angeles and hooked up with manager "Florence Stanley".
"The Hard Times" became a house band at the prestigious "Whisky A Go-Go" and shared the same stage with other more famous bands like "Love", "Buffalo Springfield" and "The Doors".
They were also regulars on "Dick Clark"'s "Pop Music TV" show, "Where The Action Is" with "The Robbs", "Paul Revere and The Raiders" and "The Knickerbockers".

Later in 1966, "The Hard Times" signed with the "World Pacific Records" label (a division of "Liberty Records") and began issuing singles, starting with "They'll Be A Time" / "You're Bound To Cry" (World Pacific WP 463, 1966).
A second single ("Come To Your Window" / "That's All I'll Do", World Pacific 77826, 1966) was also released around this time.
Before the end of 1966, the band released a third single "Fortune Teller" / "Goodbye", (World Pacific 77851, 1966) with the A-side becoming their biggest seller, reaching #97 on the US charts.

In 1968, they issued their sole LP, titled "Blew Mind" (World Pacific WPS-21867 Stereo, and World Pacific WP-1867 Mono, 1967) which surprisingly doesn't include the four songs on their first two 45s.
A couple more singles were also released around this time, with their fourth including the upbeat, non-LP track "They Said No" on its B-side.

The Hard Times: "Sad, Sad Sunshine" / "They Said No", World Pacific 77864, 1967

By the end of 1968, "The Hard Times" had broken up with "Bill Richardson" and "Larry Byrom" going on to form the group "T.I.M.E" (Trust In Men Everywhere).
"Rudy Romero" and other remaining members of "The Hard Times" went on to issue one more excellent single "Give To Me Your Love" / "Thanks" (World Pacific 77884, 1968) on the "World Pacific" label under the band name the "New Phoenix" (produced by Mama "Cass Elliot").
There's a lot to like, certainly, from lovely covers of "Bob Lind"'s "Come To Your Window" and "Al Kooper"'s "Sad Sad Sunshine" to the spooky, "Blew Mind", a "Bill Richardson" original, and "Rudy Romero"'s "Give To Me Your Love".
There's also a lot to scratch one's head about, as well, like the odd, overly baroque version of "Fred Neil"'s "Candy Man" which opens this collection, a production approach that is also repeated on "Hard Times"' ill-advised cover of Donovan's "Colours".
"Goodbye" has wonderful harmonies and Folk-Rock guitar work in a Beatles-que way.
"Fortune Teller" was the closest "The Hard Times" came to a hit.
"I'm Not A Rock" is another Donovan styled rocker, which isn't half bad.

"Under The Sunlight" is an interesting attempt at a more Psychedelic / Folk-Rock tune, which doesn't wholly work, but does end up with some interesting pop guitar work.
"Blew Mind" itself is something of a Psychedelic experiment, accompanied by what sounds like garbled police radio message in the background.
Their records were produced at various times by legendary Jazz producer and "World Pacific Records" boss "Dick Bock", and Byrds' manager/producer "Jim Dickson".
Like so many groups like "The Remains", "Bill Richardson" claims "The Hard Times" were better live than on record and that the album doesn't really capture them very well, not least because of label interference on song selection and the use of session players.
Early in 1968 "Nick St. Nicholas", "Larry Byrom" and "Bill Richardson" were joined by drummer "Steve Rumph" and "T.I.M.E." was formed.

see also T.I.M.E. - T.I.M.E. (PSYCHEDELIC POP US 1968)
T.I.M.E. - Smooth Ball (PSYCHEDELIC HARD-ROCK US 1969).


Peedady said...


Psychedelic-Rocknroll said...

Thank you for your words!!

see you soon!