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IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY

Proto-Prog • United States


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It's A Beautiful Day biography
Way back in 1969, a haunting little song called "White Bird" could be heard on just about every classic-rock radio station across North America. The song is intrinsically linked to this band, brainchild of David LaFlamme, a virtuoso violinist who frequently jammed alongside the likes of Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin. Their original line-up included Patti Santos on vocals, David's own wife Linda LaFlamme on keyboards, Hal Wagenet on guitar, Mitchell Holman on bass and Val Fluentes on drums. Through numerous personnel changes, ongoing legal disputes over royalties and various setbacks (the LaFlamme's own divorce and then Linda Laflamme having to hand over her keyboard duties after being struck in the head by a bottle thrown from the audience), the group released three studio albums. A nasty lawsuit then saw David LaFlamme forced out of the band he had created. With a new violinist, keyboard player and still more musicians passing through the revolving doors, the band eventually issued two rather disappointing albums and then fizzled out of the picture. Late-period members such as bassist Bud Cockrell and guitarist David Jenkins resurfaced in PABLO CRUISE while David LaFlamme and Patti Santos enjoyed low-key solo careers. Patti (the voice of "White Bird") was killed in a car accident in 1989.

Their eponymous first album is an American masterpiece of finely crafted, classically inspired folk-rock structured around violinist LaFlamme's virtuosity. A combination of San Francisco Bay Area psychedelia, folk, classical and jazz, it has a very 60ish 'trippy' feel. "Marrying Maiden", their second release, is exceedingly pastoral compared to the first, as the band switched to earthier, country-flavoured rock with cajun spices, bits of jazz and good old-time rock'n roll. By the time the third album "Choice Quality Stuff / Anytime" was released in '72, David LaFlamme was being ousted and the band altogether had seen so many personnel changes it was becoming something of a loose aggregate of the Bay Area 'all stars' (among whom were several members from SANTANA). Although not a bad album, "Choice Quality Stuff" with its distinctly blues-based rock'n roll is nothing remotely similar to the first. Two subsequent LPs, released in '73 and '74 respectively, feature yet another string of new musicians and don't have much to offer to progheads.

The first album is a true American classic and is highly recommended to fans of early RENAISSANCE and ILLUSION. The light...
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It's A Beautiful Day / Marrying MaidenIt's A Beautiful Day / Marrying Maiden
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IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 109 ratings
It's A Beautiful Day
1969
2.66 | 28 ratings
Marrying Maiden
1970
3.28 | 18 ratings
Choice Quality Stuff / Anytime
1972
3.27 | 15 ratings
It's a Beautiful Day...Today
1973
2.95 | 3 ratings
Beyond Dreams
2003

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.07 | 12 ratings
At Carnegie Hall
1972

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
A Thousand And One Nights
1974
4.00 | 2 ratings
It's A Beautiful Day / Marrying Maiden
1998

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars This band emerged from 'The Summer Of Love' during the hippie days of the late 60s in San Francisco. They played an interesting mix of psychedelic rock mixed with folk and some classical in a very original way. The male and female vocals add an interesting flavor that give this album a very unique sound. The songwriting here is outstanding and really brings to mind the times in which they were in. Musically I find them more interesting than some of the other bands around that scene.

The band never really achieved the success of other SF psychedelic bands of the same era. In fact they were almost invited to play at Woodstock. Michael Lang, one of the co-creators of the event was pressured by Bill Graham to put on one of two acts that Bill managed. He then listened to a tape of both IABD and Santana and couldn't decide so he flipped a coin. Guess who lost and guess who won and became instantly famous. Lots of experimenting on this one. Another great album from a great year in music.

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's a Beautiful Day's debut album finds the band offering up a high-quality prototype for progressive rock, with some experiments reminiscent of less heavy versions of some of the ideas Deep Purple would play with around this time. In particular, take a listen to Bombay Calling, the intro to which Deep Purple would slow down a little and turn into the basic structure of Child In Time. When an album's so good even peak-era Deep Purple are borrowing from it you know you're dealing with something extra-special, right? Further psychedelic jams round out this charming era from the San Fransisco scene of the 1960s.

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars San Francisco spawned some great bands in the late sixties', and although It's a Beautiful Day rarely gets as much recognition as Jefferson Airplane, Santana, or Blue Cheer, they are not one to forget about when discussing the city's musical landscape. Formed during the 1967 'summer of love', It's a Beautiful Day went on to release this self-titled debut in 1969 and, as it would turn out, this release would be remembered in history as the group's defining statement. Its charming mix of psychedelia, folk, jazz, and mildly progressive songwriting ideas makes for a unique listen, and although It's a Beautiful Day is not without some flaws, it is a strong and adventurous debut that still holds up over forty years after its release.

The tracks that you'll find here are actually quite varied - on one hand, there are light and flowery psychedelic tunes like "White Bird" (one of my favorites) and "Hot Summer Day", but on the other hand there are also songs like the experimental and menacing "Bulgaria" and the jam-oriented "Time Is". Somewhere in the middle you have the hauntingly beautiful "Girl With No Eyes", progressive instrumental "Bombay Calling", and the hard-rocking "Wasted Union Blues". If you listen to this one on vinyl (as I have been over the past few days), you'll probably notice that side two seems to be the more experimental and progressive half of the album. I don't care much for the extended jamming in "Time Is" and actually prefer the first side to the second one, although the quality is objectively high throughout the entire listen. In terms of musicianship, these guys (and gal) were certainly above what many of their psychedelic contemporaries were doing at the time - the vocal harmonies between David LaFlamme and his wife Linda are excellent, and David's virtuous violin playing in particular gives the album a very unique flavor. The ensemble is solid across the board, though, and when one also factors in the crisp production, it's clear that this is a very professional and well-made observation.

It's a Beautiful Day is the sort of album that every psychedelic connoisseur should take a listen to at some point or another; its unique style and charming arrangements are certainly different from anything you would've heard back in 1969, and although I personally don't care for "Time Is" (which takes up nearly one-fourth of the album's playing time), fans of free-form jams should enjoy it more than I do anyway. While some of the melodies feel a bit bland and song structures a tad clumsy, this is still a well-put together album that has aged surprisingly well. I've yet to hear any of the band's subsequent releases, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where It's a Beautiful Day went from here!

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 Marrying Maiden by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.66 | 28 ratings

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Marrying Maiden
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Their debut album was quite a good psyche one, and since most of the reviews were quite good as well on this one, was rather keen to discover their sophomore record.

Needless to say that I was quite disillusioned while I heard some bloody stuff as "The Dolphins", which is nothing else than a poor Presley rock ballad. The great (but scarce) psyche parts of their debut album are unfortunately forgotten in this album.

OK: "Essence Of Now" is a delightful track which belongs to the best of the late sixties track of the genre. But it is frankly the only one from this album. When I listen to the dreadful but so US oriented "Hoedown", I can only recommend to "press next". But some other songs are quite wild and decent like "Soapstone Mountain".

At times, this work sounds as a very poor and early "Purple" stuff and I am not overall too enthusiastic about this album. Let us be realistic: there is NOTHING prog in here. At times: some fluting, some violin. But is this enough to describe this work as prog?

A song as "Let A Woman Flow" is sufficient to tell you all of the contrary. This album is not a good one, either in terms of prog music or just rock music. Two stars is a VERY generous rating, believe me. When I listen to the lousy "It Comes Right Down To You", the one star rating is even a subsequent suggestion.

As you might have understood, I don't like this album very much even if the sweet "Good Lovin'' offers a fine approach.. Psychedelic is mainly next door. Some decent "Bolero" feeling can still be taken under consideration ("Galileo"). Two stars overall.

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have only discovered this band some seven years ago. Even if the San Fran scene was rather interesting, it was quite alien to this side of the Atlantic (except JA, but thanks to "Woodstock" mainly).

The music featured on this debut does remind an awful lot to the "Airplane" + some wonderful violin moments ("White Bird"). This debut is quite an interesting album: dramatically psychedelic, wonderfully melodic, and passionate: you name it all.

The extremely positive points about this release are the vocal harmonies which are combined with superb violin and harpsichord. Some over forty years after release, this album sounds fresh and modern. Of course, I am profoundly driven into the psychedelic years. A song as "Hot Summer Day" sounds just as an enchantment to my ears. A second highlight probably. The first being the great "White Bird".

I have to confess that "Waste union Blues" and "Girl With No Eyes" are not on par. To be fully honest (as I have always been), I came up to know this band thanks to "Bombay Calling". THE original opening part of the superb, gigantic, phenomenal, gorgeous, splendid "Child In Time".

Purple borrowed it as led Zep did with plenty of their songs from their first two albums. This instrumental is just crazy and deserve a listen. I guess that MANY "Purple" fans don't know anything about this previous act to "Child In Time".

As such, this version is really worth your listening: great violin that provides some nice Oriental flavour and beautiful beat (even if Ritchie's guitar is one of the best available on this side of the rocking planet).

This album closes on the good "Time Is" which is a long psyche ecstasy: loose, chaotic and totally out of the norms?

I would say that it was about time because "Bulgaria" was rather weak (third one of the type). As a conclusion, I would say that this is a good album. Few people have listened to it and I can only recommend you to do so.

Three stars.

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's a Beautiful Day - st (1969)

The late sixties have so much to offer, when it comes to early progressive music. 'It's a Beautiful Day's debut is one of these album that captures what the music of the time is about. Organ-chord progressions, folksy arrangements, some mild & heavy electric guitars, psychedelic vocals and duets and of course some exciting and atmospheric song-writing. The combined vocals of David Laflamme and Pattie Santos are really a winner, as they seem to complete each other perfectly in these melodic songs. The violins of David Laflamme give the music it's folksy sound (at times) whilst his sister Linda Laflamme does a great job on all key instruments.

The song-writing of this album is the main attraction here, but the musicianship is also strong. 'White Bird' is a melodic folk song with beautiful duo vocals. It is said this song became a big hit at the time. 'Hot Summer Day' reminds me a bit of the The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, but with less extrovert vocals. 'Wasted Union Blues' is at least as heavy as Led Zeppelin with it's very heavy distorted guitar licks that sound amazing. 'Girl with no Eyes' is an atmospheric, psychedelic song with nice ghost-house vocals and classy harpsichord sounds. On side two 'Bombay Calling' is easy recognized as the song that Deep Purple would jam on and eventually wright the all-time classic Child on Time on. The main theme and melody is however written by It's a Beautiful Day. The song itself is a bit folk-like, a bit like White Bird. The instrumental parts are particularly strong on this one. On 'Bulgaria' and 'Time is' the band has less focus on song-writing and we get to listen to some improvisations, solo's and the like.

My only complaint about this album is slightly flat sound, but it's recorded in '69 so I can't be to harsh on it. On my stereo the music really becomes alive when I put my treble full open and I have the CBS reprint; whose later pressings usually have a great sound.

Conclusion. This is one of these great proto-prog records that are both innovative, stylish and well played. The vocals are a real treat, whilst the rest of the band catches up during instrumental passages. I would strongly recommend this to fans of early prog, late '60 psychedelic rock and folk rock. Four stars. Don't be bothered by the 'Sound of Music'-like cover!

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars This is my pot. Being grown up in the 60s I'm still fascinated by the hippy flavor. The fact that the songs are well built-up, never trivial, skillfully played and longer than the standard radio- size makes it very interesting.

This is mainly a flower-power psychedelic band, I think the reason why it's classified as proto-prog is mainly in the use of violin and the strong presence of organ so technically speaking a sort of instrumentation that appears more British than American.

What I consider being the most progressive track is "Girl With No Eyes". It's a folk tune to which harpsichord, violin and the vocals of David LaFlamme and Patti Santos give a medieval mood. Very hippy but also very prog, ut let's go track by track.

The opener "White Bird" can be considered a hippy song, but I think it's not much different in the style from early Renaissance, I mean the first two albums.

"Hot Summer Day" proceeds on the same line plus the wah-wah, the vibrato organ and some harmonica which make it bluesy.

"Wasted Union Blues" is heavy psychedelic. In the beginning the lead guitar is very acid so while the theme is typically blues it sounds Hendirxian. David's violin is not so much different from the cello of Caravan's Geoff Richardson when it plays the solo parts. The song is chaotic and acid, It's curious that it recalls to my mind the three 'J's Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

I've already said of Girl with no eyes so let's move to the most famous song of this album. "Bombay Calling" is Deep Purple's Child in Time. I opened a thread on the forum about this without knowing that another one had been opened before. The story is quite complicated and effectively also this song was originally written by an old bluesman, Vince Wallace in 1962 and "stolen" by David LaFlamme. I don't know much of this story that I've learned from PA.

However it fades seamlessly into "Bulgaria" which has a very psychedelic opening which initially reminds to early Pink Floyd. "Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun" as reference. It has the same oriental mood increased by the violin as lead instrument.

To be honest, also the closer "Time Is" reminds me to something already listened, but I can't identify it. However it's a very good long song and an excellent closer almost psychedelic with some relations to the Doors, but I think it's good for Krautrock fans, too. In few words other than being an interesting document of a period and a place it's first of all a good album which deserves to be included in a prog collection.

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 Marrying Maiden by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.66 | 28 ratings

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Marrying Maiden
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars An album the time passed by.

Some albums does not age well at all. This, the second album from It's A Beautiful Day is one of them the time passed by. The music on Marrying Maiden is romantic late 1960s pop/rock, largely influenced by late 1950s/early 1960s pop music, pre The Beatles. Add a lot of country'n'western too and some of the songs Elvis Presley were forced to record at that time. Most of all; this album is full of innocence and flower power. That without the space rock elements which later dominated that scene. In short; It's A Beautiful Day, music wise.

The quality is not good though. A song like The Dolphins is so bad it makes me blush with embarrassment like a virgin on the wedding night. But the album rises to the challenge at the end though without really becoming good. I cannot find a single good song on this album at all. The sound though is good and the album is not particular offensive bad in any way, with the exception of the above mentioned song. So a good two stars will make do for this album which I may suspect is a hate/love album.

2 stars

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars This band is mostly known for the influence they had on other bands............ and songs. There is no secret that Deep Purple borrowed most of Bombay Calling for their masterpiece Child In Time. It's A Beautiful Day did retaliate later on though by borrowing a large chunk of one of Deep Purple's songs for a song they released on another album. Both bands agreed not to pursue these matters any further.

Hence, I purchased this album.

This album is a San Fransisco type of psych album with all the hippie trappings. Yes, the proto prog label is very much fitting here. Jefferson Airplane is a good reference. This album has the Woodstock feeling all over it. The difference is the use of violin throughout the album. This album, with the excellent and iconic art work is superb for a day out on a field. Preferable not on the same field as an angry bull, I hasten to add in these health and safety obsessed times. The music is pretty good throughout. It is obvious that not only Deep Purple has been inspired by this album. Check out Faithless massive hit Insomnia from 1995 and compare it with this album's nine minutes long epic Time Is. I think It's A Beautiful Day has a good case if they would claim royalties from Faithless.

Overall, this album is a good album with the two above mentioned songs as the best songs. I am not that much of a hippie so it really does not capture my heart. Three stars it is then.

3 stars

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 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 109 ratings

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It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is one album I had heard a lot about over the years but only recently I had the opportunity to fully appreciate it through a friend who was kind enough to lend it to me for a few weeks. It´s a Beautiful Day´s debut work is very impressive and promised a lot (which, unfortunately, was not fulfilled). Although there is not much prog in here, it was nevertheless an excellent CD for such new band and it did contain some very strong and sometimes unusual music for the period.

Side A of the vinyl is surely the best with the classic standout track opening: White Bird is surely their most remarkable song. A nice, haunting tune led by the dual voices of David LaFlamme and Pattie Santos, fine Hammond organ lines and very effective acoustic guitar and fiddle solos. This beautiful song deserved to become such a celebrated item since. A Hot Summer´s Day follows through similar patterns and its melody , feeling and harmonica opening reminds me a lot of another hit around the time, the much more famous Sunny. The third track, Wasted Union Blues, is quite heavier than the previous two, with a strident intro I didn´t like. However, as the tune develops it turns out to be a good number (it might have sounded great live). Girl With No Eyes is another gem: a gorgeous ballad with a delicate, inspired melody, mysterious lyrics and poignant vocals. One of their best.

Side B is not as powerful, but still shows the band´s enormous potential anyway. Highlights are the instrumental Bombay Calling and some interesting parts of the longest track, Time is (not the drum solo on it). David LaFlamme has a nice and soulful voice, but I´d like to hear Pattie Santos sing at least one solo, which she does not here. She only harmonizes and her singing is also quite nice and reminds a lot of the way Grace Slick´s harmonies on the Jefferson Airplanes stuff (an obvious influence).

All in all it was clear that the band had very talented musicians and could go very far had they developed from this electrifying start. It is only a pity that internal squabbles and frequent line up changes would prevent it until they faded away altogether. Nevertheless, they did produce some great songs and most of them are here. Rating: 3,5 stars that I´ll round up to four because it was a really good effort for a new band and it left a lasting impression.

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