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Apple Pie Motherhood Band


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Apple Pie Motherhood Band was an American psychedelic rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1967. One of the several groups involved in the "Bosstown Sound", a commercial ploy designed to compete with the San Francisco Sound, the band developed a blend of psychedelia, blues rock, and hard rock, which was exemplified and expanded upon on their two albums. The group went through several line-up changes before disbanding in 1970.

The band originated from the garage rock outfit, C. C. and the Chasers, who became the house band at the Unicorn Coffeehouse in Boston, and released an obscure single, "Put the Clock Back on the Wall", for the small Cori label, in 1964. The first line-up consisted of Ted Demos (lead guitar), Joe Castagno (rhythm guitar), Richard Barnaby (bass guitar), Jeff Labes (keyboards), and Jack Bruno (drums), all of whom shared vocals duties. After relocating, briefly, in 1965, to New York City the group adopted the moniker, Sacred Mushroom, and dwelled in psychedelic music. They, again, became a house band, this time for the Bitter End Cafe, and supporting musical acts such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. The band recruited female singer Anne Tansey, who Labes described as "a powerhouse, kind of a Janis Joplin with a sweeter voice, but sultry dynamic energy." Her connections in the music industry were responsible for finding their manager Marv Lagunoff and the group's signing to a record label. As a deal with Atlantic Records was pending, the name Sacred Mushroom was deemed too drug-orientated, and, after a humorous remark by Demos, the band was prompted to change it to Apple Pie Motherhood Band in 1967.

The group recorded their first single, "Long Live Apple Pie", with Felix Pappalardi, who is perhaps best known for his work with the psychedelic rock band, Cream. Though the single did not break the national charts, it did receive extensive airplay by DJ Dick Summer on Boston's WBZ Radio, as well as several alternative music stations just beginning to emerge across the US. The band proceeded to record their debut album, which, in one instance, was interrupted by Tarzay's friend, Jimi Hendrix, who taught and played with the band in jam sessions. However, Tarzay soon departed the band, and was replaced by Marilyn Lundquist, who performed backing vocals on her co-written composition, "Ice", and a baroque version of David Blue's song, "I'd Like to Know". In some way, all the band members had a share in the writing credits, but Labes composed the majority of the original material, which he amplifies, "I had been writing songs for several years at that point, and found it easy to create appropriate songs for the band. We sounded more like the energy of an East Coast version of what was up in San Francisco at that time." The resulting album, The Apple Pie Motherhood Band, was released in 1968, and mixed extended instrumentals, heavy blues rock, influences of psychedelia and vocal harmonies, and became somewhat of an underground favorite in Boston.

Apple Pie Motherhood Band spent the large portion of 1968 performing in the Greenwich Village and Chicago, opening for musical acts such as Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and The Chambers Brothers.[5] All the while, the group experienced a set of line-up changes, first with Lundquist leaving and Castagno departing, citing an inability to travel for gigs. The band recruited singer Bruce Paine, along with guitarist Michael Sorafine and harmonica player Adam Myers. Paine previously worked as a folk singer, but, after contractual issues with RCA Records' development of his own album, he was encouraged to join the band. Sorafine and Myers were added in Chicago while the group was performing at the Rush Club, with the latter of the two introducing the members to LSD. When it came time for the group to record for their second album, Apple Pie, the LSD was negatively affecting the sessions, and, consequently, there was a lack of written material. Though Labes composed the majority of original songs, he only penned one track, "Super Music Man", with the rest, more or less, evenly formulated from the other band members. It was more derived in psychedelic rock, but still contained R&B-derived cover versions of "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "Get Ready", and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man". However, Apple Pie's 1969 release was delayed, after their manager disagreed with the group's relocation to a communal farm in Vermont, and, as a result, the band disbanded in the summer of that year to play in the counterculture musical production, Hair.

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