Neil Merryweather, John Richardson and Boers (1970)

Though Merryweather had started to attract something of a following in late 1969, ironically, the group played probably its best-received show on the day it broke up, October 12. On the day in question, Merryweather had travelled down the coast to perform at the Balboa Stadium in San Diego on a bill that also featured Country Joe & The Fish, Poco and Chicago. According to Burt, Merryweather pretty much stole the show. "It was probably our biggest success and we were at least second on the bill," he recalls. "The crowd was already pumped up for us.

"[After we had played] they were screaming for us to come up for a third or fourth encore I believe and Neil was yelling at me, "Do you hear that? Do you hear that?' I said, 'Yeah, I hear it', but by this time some of the business stuff was very shady with the band. Also by this time Rick James had shown up."

Burt's relationship with Merryweather had been deteriorating for some time and the two musicians had increasingly been coming to blows. "Dave Burt lived with some chick in the valley, while Roth, Hall and I lived at our rehearsal facility," says Merryweather, who has his own take on the final split. "Burt was always late for rehearsals and became less a member and more of a burden. I was going to fire him and replace him with the guitarist from a Canadian group called Lighthouse.

"We were staying at a motel in Hollywood when Burt showed up and we had a fight. I'd had enough, so I quit. When I was going out the door, Rick James was about to knock. He was coming over to see me. I said, 'Rick, here's a ready-made band – they're yours.' "

For Merryweather, there was a sad footnote to the whole saga. "The piss off is three weeks [before Rick James turned up] Chris Sarns, the road manager for Crosby, Stills & Nash came to see me on behalf of Stephen Stills to ask me and Ed to join their band. I had jammed with Stephen when we hung out together some months before. Our double album had just been released, so I was loyal to the thought that Merryweather had a shot, so I turned down the CSN bass job. At that time, Rick James blew in to town with Greg Reeves. Reeves took the gig with CSN and I gave Rick my band."

Left without a group Merryweather secured a one-off album deal with Kent Records and rounded up some Canadian friends from the Toronto music scene to help pull an album together in L.A. The guitarist was John Richardson, formerly a member of The Lords of London and Nucleus, while the drummer, Robin Boers, was from the Ugly Ducklings. Keyboard player J J Velker meanwhile was a brief member of Calgary group The 49th Parallel and was working in Los Angeles at the time.

Credited to Merryweather, Richardson and Boers, the record, while patchy, does include some excellent material, most notably, the Merryweather, Richardson and Boers collaboration, "Flat Black", Merryweather and girlfriend Lynn Carey's "You Must Live It" and Merryweather's "Aren't You Glad That You Know".

Very few copies of the album appeared to have been pressed and soon afterwards, Merryweather abandoned the project to look for new musical partners. (canadianbands.com)


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BBA Zizou France said...

Neil Merryweather: one of my first favorite group. Of course, do not forgot Lynn Carey and their Mama Lion or CK Strong Or Ivar Avenue Reunion. However, good choice.
BBA Zizou France