Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove, and Wally Heider Studios

Quicksilver Messenger Service...Shady Grove is a 1969 album by Quicksilver Messenger Service.  It was one of the first records recorded at Wally Heider Studios.  WHS was the go-to recording studio in San Fransiicco from 1969 to about 1980.  Look it up and see all the great albums made there.  Nicky Hopkins, (who I read all about last summer, and played piano on tons of great albums by the Stones, The Who, The Beatles, Steve Miller, etc.) joined the QMS for just this one album.  Hopkins later went and re-recorded the album closer Edward on his solo album, The Tin Man Was a Dreamer, which features members of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.  Joseph's Coat, co-written by John Cipollina and Nick Gravenites, who also appears on Big Brother and the Holding Company's album Be a Brother, which featured Gravenites on vocals.  Original guitarist Gary Duncan does not appear on this album.  QMS was first popular, not surprisingly, in and around theuir home turf of the Bay Area, and less so nationally.  They were one of the first psychedelic rock bands, yet not as commercially successful as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and the Dead.  QMS was in important and vital member of that genre, blending jazz, classical, folk music from their influencers.  Apparently, the band has recently attempted to reform despite the deaths of several members.   Original members Gary Duncan and David Freiberg have toured together, as the "Quicksilver Messenger Service," using different musicians to back them up.


  1. The album cover apparently depicts a "shady grove" in California. Our ecological analog in the Midwest is the oak savanna. In the Chicago area, loads of restorationists & volunteers actively restore these savannas. Settlers called them "groves", hence the Chicago suburbs of Downer's Grove, Buffalo Grove, Long Grove, Boone Grove, etc....these were all originally oak savannas, thankfully now coming back to full ecological glory (except of course no bison/buffalo).

  2. Nick Gravenites is a local out here in Sonoma's west county town of Occidental.

  3. Just picked this up a few weeks ago from Reckless Records ...awesome stuff !!



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