Feb 3, 2009
SWEETWATER - FIRST ALBUM (REPRISE 1968)
An unusual rock group in both the size of their lineup (which numbered eight), the instr/tation employed, and the eclectic scope of their material. Lead singer Nansi Nevins was backed not just by conventional guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, but also flute (Albert Moore), conga (Elpidio Cobian), and cello (August Burns). Their debut album was the kind of release that could have only been the product of the late '60s, with the music flying off in all directions, and a major label willing to put it out. They blended Californian psychedelia with jazzy keyboards and a classical bent, especially in the flute and cello. Sweetwater was formed from a group of friends that jammed at coffee houses in Los Angeles in the mid '60s. Harvey Gerst, who had written a Byrds song with Roger McGuinn ("It Won't Be Wrong"), was an unofficial member of sorts, sometimes acting as road manager and playing guitar. For their debut album they were produced by Dave Hassinger, who had worked, as recording engineer and producer, with the Rolling Stones, Electric Prunes, and the Grateful Dead. In the late '60s they opened for a lot of big-time acts, and played a bunch of festivals without breaking into the headliner ranks. In fact, they were the very first band to take the stage at Woodstock.
In December 1969, twenty year old Nansi Nevins was in a serious car accident in which she suffered severe brain trauma and damaged her vocal cords, putting her in a coma for weeks and necessitating physical therapy for years. Although she had recorded a couple of tracks on their second Reprise album, she was unable to rejoin the band, which had to stop touring and lost any career momentum it had developed...[net]