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It's A Beautiful Day - It's A Beautiful Day...Today CD (album) cover

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY...TODAY

It's A Beautiful Day

 

Proto-Prog

3.36 | 24 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I picked this up at a genuine throwback dusty old used record store in a sleepy little college town in upstate New York while on business trip a while back. I have to say I enjoyed the hour or so I spent flipping through the stacks more than I did this album and I was very happy to have to lug a big brown-paper package full of vinyl on the plane home, even if some of the discs turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. There aren’t many used record stores left anymore, and none worth talking about within driving distance of my home, so the experience was both nostalgic and rewarding.

As far as I know this is the only It’s a Beautiful Day album that’s never been reissued on CD. Not surprising since it’s also the only one without band founder and violinist David LaFlamme. I don’t know the whole story but I believe there were legal issues with the band’s manager Matthew Katz, who at the time held the copyright to the band name. LaFlamme was replaced on the album by Greg Bloch, who also contributes a bit of mandolin here and there. Bloch does a pretty good job, particularly on the wispy solo that bridges “”Watching You, Watching Me” and “Mississippi Delta”, but I kind of prefer LaFlamme’s unique violin and tuning.

The feel of this album is quite different than IABD’s more well-known first two albums. The band was born in the San Francisco during the Haight-Ashbury days, and their early music carries that West Coast sound and free-flowing hippy vibe. This record has a decidedly southern blues base, and Fredd Webb and Bud Cockrell’s vocals lean closer to .38 Special than Quicksilver Messenger Service and the like. Tracks like “Down on the Bayou” and “Mississippi Delta” make clear the changing direction of the band. That said I like the guitar work and easy gait of the latter, although it’s clear the group should have chosen a different band name for this record.

Considering the band’s signature sound had always been Linda LaFlamme’s voice and her former husband’s strings, the heavy use of male vocals here is another detractor for a record issued under the name It’s a Beautiful Day. Webb’s piano (especially on side 2 of the record) is quite good but also unexpected for this band.

There aren’t any standout tracks, although none are really bad either. Patti Santos puts some emotion and color into the laconic “Child”, and drummer Val Fuentes comes pretty close to recapturing the late sixties San Francisco sound with his vocals fronting the Webb- penned “Time”. And the closing “Creator” is pure hippy-based stuff as well, with Bloch offering up another decent extended violin performance. The rest is a mixed bag and, like I said, mostly blues-based fare.

I’m tempted to say this is a collectors-only piece, but after having spun it several times over the past few months I have to say several of the songs have grown on me, which is more than can be said of its reception by fans when it was first released. I’m going with three stars instead, with the disclaimer that folks looking for anything akin to “White Bird” should adjust their expectations before playing this one. A decent record, and one that might have done better at the time had the group not tried to pass it off as a genuine It’s a Beautiful Day studio work.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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