Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Grass Roots--Midnight Confessions (1968)

     When asked my favorite groups of the late 60's/early 70's, a lot of the normal names come up, Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zeppelin, and a few that maybe not so well known; Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Steeleye Span, 13th Floor Elevators, and so on. But the Grass Roots never come up in conversation. On first blush I"m not sure why they don't come up because you look at the hits, "Let's Live For Today", "Sooner or Later", "Temptation Eyes", and of course, "Midnight Confessions". Part of the reason is there were no Lennon/McCartney, Mick Jagger, or Robert Plant to associate with. Much of that comes from the fact that there were so many incarnations of the band, it was almost impossible to keep up with.
    Here is the (very) short version. The idea started with the songwriting team of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri who were working for Dunhill Records in 1965. They wrote a song called, "Where Were You When I Needed You" and demoed it with a studio band under the name Grassroots.  After sending it to several San Francisco radio stations and getting positive feedback, it was decided to look for a group to incorporate the name. One was found by the name of "The Bedouins" and the song was re-recorded by the group and a tweaking of the name to "The Grass Roots". This was the version that became a top 40 hit in 1966. This version of the group lasted for a short time when they were jettisoned because of wanting to play some of their more blues/rock oriented material.
     The third incarnation of the band came through a group called, "The 13th Floor" from LA. This band didn't play on their records (although they did play in concert), the material being written by Dunhill staff for the most part. This was the group that was by far the most successful, starting out with, "Let's Live For Today" which reached #8 on the charts in mid-1967.
     Can you tell me the lead singers name of this version? Yeah...I didn't know either. His name was Creed Bratton who is probably best known now from his role in the US version of the television show, "The Office". He left in 1969 after getting tired of not having their own material used as singles. Sloan left Dunhill early on, and Barri cut ties with the group in 1973, in which Rob Grill took basically took over the group and was truly the thread which connects all of different versions of the group up until his death in 2011.
     The song itself was written by Lou T. Josie and originally performed by The Ever-Green Blues Band....below is that version, and the one below it is the Grass Roots.


Post a Comment