It's so unfortunately true that the whole hippie movement fragmented and fell apart in the year of 1969 and decade that followed the Altamont and Kent State atrocities. In England a whole different disaster happened in 1969- the beginning of Operation Banner known to most, but not enough of you, as British soldiers trying to hold the smashed pieces together in Northern Ireland. IRA attacks would hit soldiers and home soil for decades to come and the whole idea worldwide as every peace movement fractured that peace could be attained through flowers and love died out and got aggressive.
So where do Junco Partners fit in you may ask? They were formed in the mid 60s as a Mod/pop kind of band, but in 1970 when an album appeared in England, France, Germany, and Canada all at once they were long haired, wild, boisterous rockers Hell bent on seizing the title of top heavy progressive band and their lone album stands as the strongest and most enduring underground hard rock meets progressive and late psychedelic rock album ever made. I simply have loved this album for years! Having said that I love dark, hard, driving, music and something about the growing trend towards more serious subject matter and other ways of turning on really appeals to me. It has gained appeal over the years when my days of floral patterned clothes and the donning of a frilled yellow shirt dwindled into tastefully less bombastic apparel.
Unfortunately, the good days of my life now seem past, gone, and dead. It was only yesterday I turned violent and destructive for no reason except my illnesses (all of them mental) and it was horrible and drove my mother violent. Both of us are gonna need to love a lot over the coming months and years and I can't lose control like that again! I was horrible this morning until I finally calmed down, but I bear the scars of this experience and I don't think time will heal so take your little Hallmark card reassurances away from me because I CAN'T BE REASSURED. I have to change my life. No one is going to do it for me. When I start getting out of control I should not let it escalate to the massive spillovers I've had to deal with from me.
Nowadays I'm either all the way feeling good or so down that lines like some of the ones in "Minotaur' on Junco Partners and "Black Widow" on the same album are very relevant to me. "Minotaur" includes a shocking second verse: "Like Rats They're Caught/Their Bodies Are Smoldering As Though In A Net/Disenchanted By The Way They're All Left There To Rot." If that isn't dark, heavy, mean, and grotesque what is!!!!!!!? There are a lot of very cheerful songs on Junco Partners too including a few great R&B leaning numbers and by R&B I mean raw rhythm and blues not the modern definition which is sappy watered down soul rubbish! Of course we get soul influences too- good soul. "Fly Me High" follows "Minotaur" and is quite a change of pace almost sounding James Brown influenced. In fact it does. Bob Sergeant's vocals and organ work are really solid throughout and Charlie Harcourt's guitar and the tough, tight rhythm section are stunning. If you are looking for a lost classic you are far better off with this than with quite a few over hyped travesties and while you're at it if you find some obscure looking albums from Canada and America of this same vintage with freaky covers of long haired guys (Cat) or twisted looking lions eating people (Amish) dig in!
Things had changed, but except the good music from that era this was not a good change. The political movements turned into a whole bunch of angry people who didn't know how to vent their anger at what was going on and the whole notion of "Peace" was too much of the time associated with something lost and destroyed- that was the biggest mistake of later movements. A notion of "We tried peace and it didn't work now let's mow them all down!" was oftentimes the battle cry of these misguided people and it was the disaster that became synonymous not just with badly acted out pointless warfare in the streets, but also the police weren't showing any signs of improvement as evidenced by the Stonewall Riots where pigs (they really were pigs) opened fire and killed gay protesters because they were gay and that's different and this disgusting fabrication named "Uncle Sam" doesn't like that. I, too, would have involved myself in things like the Vietnam protests and Gay Rights protests happily, but not in a Weathermen bombing IRA bombing scenario there is no place and no excuse for that. The IRA have been around for a million years, but they went from bad to completely disgusting. Having said that, I can see the spoken argument back before Operation Banner, but not during it when things got sick-in-the-head. As for what was going on in America it was another kind of tragedy and one that revolved around the horrible tragedy of Vietnam. I still cringe thinking about it. "Minotaur" may have been brought on by a news flash for all I know.
I've talked a lot about doom and violence and gloom here so you must be getting it into your head that Junco Partners is a downer record. Not entirely, but it most certainly conveys an obvious depressed and desperate angle to early 70s progressive underground rock. Look at who was popular, though. Were Sabbath joyful? NO. What about Jethro Tull? NO. Then you may try Emerson, Lake and Palmer and King Crimson? MOST CERTAINLY NOT. If there just had been the serious music and better ways of solving problems and troubles it would have been brilliant, but it wasn't like that. Peace looks like as long as there is human nature and there are humans something that will never transpire and people have their own selfishness and disgusting greed for power and authoritarianism to blame for that sad simple fact. Junco Partners have a recurring theme of solitude and disassociation from other people and I'm that way myself. To think a couple birds together spawned all this heavy shit! No, I just could see in some of the experiences I've had and some of my favourite music that things had changed.
In the 60s trashy meant trashy. In the 70s it meant cool. To be slovenly and pretty much without an image was brought on by The Band and their ilk and definitely had its beginnings in Canada. Also, let's remember The Doors and the increasingly disheveled appearance of Jim Morrison although he wasn't acting it out he was seriously damaged. The Band, Procol Harum, scruffy groups started to get recognition based solely on great music.
Let's end with the thought that music was the good part of the growing worldwide spiritual and social impoverishment. Music meant all the riches in the world compared to what politics and violent uprisings turned everybody into. There would be changes in coming years with music getting to be a serious part of political movements based on the right ethos and let's thank Neil Young and Zappa for a huge part of that. Peter Gabriel can't be left out either. I can still recollect seeing all the protests in the 80s against Apartheid which is something that really horrifies me. As long as people use intimidation as an excuse for acting violently and childishly there will be revolts against the power hungry bastards getting to kick heads in and abuse their corruptly earned places in society. Now with those kinds of people as a vast majority maybe the time is here for kicking their heads in, but I say find other ways of stripping them of their power. All the "Eye For An Eye" rubbish gets really tiresome. The world post 9/11 is the worst atrocity of them all. I can think of all the good things that went straight out the window and all the bad things that came in. What a sad way for the world to end up. If you want to smile fine. If you start laughing maybe somebody should ask you "What on earth is funny about injustice?" Do your part, but do it without corruption. I'll finish with that philosophy.