Last year Jeffrey Silverstein kicked in an excellent collection of Cosmic Americana and water-cooled country and folk. His cassette for Arrowhawk was a sly gem among a good year for the genres and he’s coming ‘round to double down on that with a new EP, Torii Gates for the label again this year. You can check the video for “Trip Sitter,” off of the EP below, an essential bout of mind melt if there ever was one, dripping in melted wax slides and a hypnotic beat. In the run up to the new EP, I’d reached out to Jeffrey to see what gems might be sitting on is shelves and haunting his turntable. Check out how this ‘70s prog-country classic from found its way into Jeffrey’s collection and the impact its had once it hit the speakers.
“My hidden gems pick is the 1973 self-titled, “double” LP from Sand,” reveals Silverstein. “In May of 2020 Scott Hirsch posted that he’d ripped this ‘magical’ album from vinyl and was offering a download to interested parties. Now a highly sought after and expensive record, I appreciated the gesture. Between exceptional album art and a stamp of approval from one of my favorite songwriters, my interest grew quickly.”
“Before Hirsch replied with a link, a Youtube search brought me to the opening track ‘Who Ya Tryin’to Fool.’ I’ve grown increasingly enamored with pedal-steel guitar and it’s midlife renaissance the past few years. A toke of steel at :07 got my attention. CS&N style harmonies entering mere seconds later had me wondering how I’d ever let this one slip past me. It just kept getting better. Dead-adjacent prog-country with notes of Poco, The Eagles and Steely Dan? Count me in. Finding out they’d formed here in Portland, Oregon in the early 70s was (chef’s kiss noise)” he notes. “Sand featured Jack Meussdorffer as chief songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist. He would be joined by bassist Rich Gooch as founding members along with Marv and Rindy Ross of the band Quarterflash.”
“Cut in October of 1972 in Los Angeles, Sand was released on Barnaby Records, an American label founded by singer and variety show host Andy Williams coinciding with his purchase of soon-to-be liquidated Cadence Records. Named after his beloved dog, Barnaby, he sought to revive songs from the Cadence archive, primarily long out of print yet highly in demand albums from The Everly Brothers. Barnaby pivoted to work with new artists including Ray Stevens, Jimmy Buffett and Sand.”
“Distributed by MGM, Sand featured two single-sided LPs in a gatefold cover with a sticker that read ‘One Record Album on Two Discs For Continuous Flowing SAND,’ with the intention that both discs could be put on a turntable with a changer and played straight through without having to flip the record. The gimmick backfired when oil prices went up making manufacturing costs increasingly prohibitive. Combined with Williams’s lack of experience promoting rock albums and poor timing (MGM was in the midst of its infamous artist purge and in preliminary sale talks with PolyGram) the album sank and quietly floated into obscurity.”
“A tremendous debut, Sand offered an expansive sound featuring stirring harmonies (‘Mystery’), intertwining guitar (’Eagles Claw’), and Meussdorffer’s intricate steel work (‘Destined Road’). There is a fine line between an artist being ‘eclectic’ and ‘gimmicky.’ Akron/Family are my favorite example of a band who cast a wide net yet always sounded like themselves. Listening to Sand reminds me of hearing early Ak/Fam LPs, a surprise at every turn, each one paying off tenfold.”
“This is an album I’ve had on heavy rotation both at home and on Felt Time, my bi-weekly show for Dune Buggy Radio. Head here for a full-album rip on Youtube. Was just made aware it’s available to stream on Spotify as well. Can’t recommend this one enough. Big thanks to Scott Hirsch for turning me onto it.”
Check out the video for Jeffrey’s “Trip Sitter” from his Torii Gates EP below.
Discogs copies of the Sand album HERE.