Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Elysian Field - s/t

Garage/Hard rock band Elysian Field, from Louisville, KY,  was spawned from the ashes of Soul Inc. in 1969. With a sensationally gritty sound that was only enhanced by the band members' 'studio-musician' virtuosity on their instruments. Guitarists Wayne Young and Frank Bugbee were just as revered locally as Hendrix or Beck was nationally, Marvin Maxwell could hold down a deep-pocket groove as well as Al Jackson, and bass player Jim Settle had a soul filled throat that let fly granular vocals akin to Felix Cavalier's.

In early '68, the band had a hit with "I Belong to Nobody", a song by Bugbee that featured a more sophisticated pop sound than the band usually employed. By spring of that year, Bugbee, Maxwell, and Settle left the band to form their own supergroup of sorts. The new band entered the stidio almost immediately and emerged with "Kind of Man" which was released nationally as a single on Imperial records. While shopping for a record deal, the trio had begun playing gigs around Louisville, relying on their old Soul Inc. repertoire. Settle left the band and was replaced by bassist/vocalist Gary Johnson who had been part of the popular Louisville band The Oxfords. Imperial records asked the band to change it's name, and so they became Elysian Field.

The bands sound was completely different than that of Soul Inc., and they gained a reputation for their musical prowess. However the record company wanted to mold Elysian Field into a more
pop/rock outfit, and all but one of the many demos submitted to the record company were rejected and in their place, Imperial sent down other songs for the band to record, prompting Bugbee to leave the band. He was replaced by two guitarists, Mark Miceli and Dennis Ledford. By the time recording had resumed in 1969, Settle had returned to the band, and Bugbee had assumed the role of producer. The discrepancy between the band's live sound and their studio work frustrated the group, who had by now taken a more hard rock stance. With their live set becoming more and more energetic. But Imperial records wasn't interested in the approach the band was taking and cancelled their contract. They auditioned for Capitol, but nothing ever became of it, prompting Miceli and Ledford to leave in 1970. Elysian Field became a four piece wit the addition of Rudy Helm,. Again, more recordings were made, but none of them were ever picked up, and Elysian Field was laid to rest in 1971.

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