Merryweather - Word of Mouth (1968)

One of the less known Canadian groups to work on the 1960s US West Coast scene was the short-lived Merryweather, a talented bunch of Ontario musicians, fronted by former Mynah Birds member, bass player Neil Lillie (today better known as Neil Merryweather).

Slightly reminiscent of the early Steve Miller Band, Merryweather also shared the same label, Capitol Records, with whom they had signed with in January 1969 and produced two albums, including the double "super-jam" record, Word of Mouth before imploding later that year.

Merryweather made a prestigious appearance at Newport '69, a huge rock festival held at Devonshire Downs in Northridge on the weekend of 20-22 June. The three-day festivities also featured The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds and Poco among others.

"We opened up on the Sunday morning and it was great," remembers Neil Merryweather. "I had this guy in the audience that had an American flag with the peace symbol in the middle climb the hundred foot sound speaker towers and put it up at the top and everybody went ballistic. That was a great thing for us."

Back in Los Angeles, Merryweather returned to the Whisky A Go Go for a show opening for Leslie West's group, Mountain on 29 July. Earlier that month, work had begun on the band's second album, which was produced once again by John Gross. On this occasion, Merryweather were joined by various musicians, including Steve Miller, Howard Roberts, Barry Goldberg, Charlie Musselwhite and former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason to record a "super jam" album. As Ed Roth explains, aside from Mason who the band met on the street, the others were introduced to Merryweather on the day of the session in the studio.

The album kicks off in fine form with Merryweather's heavy-rock workout, "I Found Love", which features tasty guitar and organ solos and an amazing throat shredding vocal from Neil Merryweather. Other highlights include the catchy, "Teach You How To Fly", a band collaboration with guitarist Howard Roberts and the Merryweather-Roth co-write, "Where I Am", with stirring violin from Bobby Notkoff.

By this time, the band was starting to establish a following around the L.A area. On 21-23 September, Merryweather played one of their most high profile concerts to date, headlining at Thee Experience. Incidentally, it was at this gig that Neil Merryweather introduced his future girlfriend and musical partner, Lynn Carey, then singer with blues-rock band, C K Strong and invited her up on stage to jam with the group.

Burt remembers the three-night stand for different reasons. On the first night, Jimi Hendrix and The Band of Gypsies dropped by for an after hours jam after spending the day recording in a nearby studio. "Coffi Hall told me that they used to sit at the back of the club and listen to us until we finished our show," says the band's guitarist. "The first night, I get a tap on my shoulder and there's Jimi Hendrix standing beside me with his guitar asking to use my amp." (canadianbands.com)


andre said...

Great Post.Thanks

StevenK said...

Another good album! Thanks for this!

Steven K