Formed in 1965 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the Youngbloods evolved from the city's thriving traditional music circuit. The band was formed by folk singers Jesse Colin Young and Jerry Corbitt who together completed a single, 'My Babe', prior to the arrival of aspiring jazz drummer Joe Bauer and guitarist/pianist Lowell Levinger III, better known simply as Banana. Young began playing bass when several candidates, including Felix Pappalardi and Harvey Brooks, proved incompatible, and the quartet took the name 'Youngbloods' from the singer's second solo album. Having secured a residency at New York's famed Cafe Au Go-Go, the band established itself as a leading folk rock-cum-good time attraction. Their 1966 debut, The Youngbloods, captures this formative era and mixed excellent original songs, including the ebullient 'Grizzly Bear', with several choice cover versions. The band's reading of Dino Valenti's 'Get Together' subsequently became a hit in California where it was adopted as a counter-culture anthem. The lyric: 'Come on now people, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try and love one another right now', perfectly captured the mood of late-60s Californian rock music.
The Youngbloods then settled on the west coast. 1969's Elephant Mountain, their most popular album, reflected a new-found peace of mind and included several of the band's best-known songs, including 'Darkness, Darkness' and 'Sunlight'. Jerry Corbitt had left the line-up during the early stages of recording allowing Bauer and Banana space to indulge in improvisational interludes. The Youngbloods gained complete artistic freedom with their own label, Raccoon. However releases by Bauer, Banana and Young dissipated the strengths of the parent unit, whose final releases were marred by inconsistency. A friend from the Boston days, Michael Kane, joined the band in the spring of 1971, but they split the following year when Young resumed his solo career. Banana, Bauer and Kane continued as Banana And The Bunch, but this part-time venture subsequently folded. The original members re-formed during subsequent decades for occasional live dates.
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