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Monday, May 01, 2006

Reach Out of the Darkness

Feelin' nostalgic:

Friend & Lover: Reach Out Of The Darkness, summer, 1968

I think it's so groovy now
That people are finally getting together
I thinks it's so wonderful and how
That people are finally getting together
Reach out in the darkness
Reach out in the darkness
Reach out in the darkness
And you may find a friend

I knew a man that I did not care for
And then one day this man gave me a call
We sat and talked about things on our mind
And now this man he is a friend of mine
Don't be afraid of love
Don't be afraid, don't be afraid to love
Everybody needs a little love
Everybody needs somebody
That they can be thinking of



Interesting:
With its captivating bass line, anthemic chorus, male-female vocal interplay, and lyrics entirely in tune with the swell of cooperative spirit engulfing American youth in the late 1960s, Friend & Lover's "Reach Out of the Darkness" became a Top Ten hit in the summer of 1968...[and] would be Friend & Lover's sole album, though the male half of the duo, Jim Post, went on to a long and ongoing career in folk, children's music, and the theater...Like hundreds if not thousands of fellow American folk musicians of the '60s, the pair would soon move into rock music as Friend & Lover, Post (who wrote their material) being the "Friend" and [Cathy] Conn the "Lover." ...

Post's composition "Reach Out of the Darkness" was recorded in Nashville, the production credited to Joe South--not long before South, already an established session musician, songwriter, and producer on the Southern recording scene, would himself become a star artist--and Bill Lowery...Ray Stevens" --also a busy session musician, in addition to recording hit records under his own name-- "played all the keyboards, and arranged the strings."

The single took a long time to take off, adds Post, as initially, "the only place that played 'Reach Out of the Darkness' was [the small Northern California town] Chico. It sold about twice as many as the #1 song normally sells in a little town." Nationwide, however, "the record just sat there, I don't know, six, seven months, and didn't do anything. We figured the record was gone and dead. But they had a Selective Service sit-in in California, because there was a hearing on Selective Service or something like that, and they arrested 3,000 people. They took them out to Kezar field [then used as the San Francisco 49ers' football stadium, in Golden Gate Park]." As Jim remembers, it was at that point where a promo man who "had had faith in 'Reach Out' for a long time sent copies to every radio station in the Bay Area with a letter. Then he grabbed a sound truck, went out to Kezar field, and started playing the music on the sound truck. About six o'clock that afternoon, they were playing it almost back-to-back in San Francisco, and that's what started it."

After the ball was rolling, continues Post, "it hit up and down the west coast, and hit in the Midwest. The first time I heard it, we were driving down the Outer Drive in Chicago and turned the radio on, and there's 'Reach Out of the Darkness.' It totally blew our minds. But New York wouldn't go on it, so it started down the charts. Then someone shot Martin Luther King, and it went back up the charts. It sold enough to be a #1 record, but hit at different parts of the country at different times. So it never got to be #1, except on certain radio stations."...Much of the album boasted full arrangements drawing from various influences in late-'60s pop-rock, soul, and psychedelia...Post hardly gave up on music itself...More information on Jim's music, concerts, and other activities can be found on his website,
Jim Post dot com.

--Richie Unterberger
Here's the liner notes complete.

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