Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fillmore East March 29-30, 1968: Richie Havens/The Troggs/United States Of America

(this post is part of a series cataloging every performance at The Fillmore East)

Richie Havens was a popular East Village folkie, with a unique style of singing.  His free form covers of songs, accompanied by endless strumming, do not hold up particularly well today, but Havens was well-regarded at the time.  His current album was Something Else Again (Verve/Folkways Feb 68). According to Kostelanetz, Havens, who was managed by Albert Grossman, was heavily promoted during this period.  The Joshua Light Show limited its activity when he performed, possibly as a mark of Haven’s perceived seriousness as a performer.  Still, the Friday late show that Kostelanetz attended was only half-full.

The Troggs were an English band ahead of their time.  They had the original hit with "Wild Thing", among others.  The Troggs were a sort of British Invasion proto-AC/DC (good natured macho hard rockers) but they were too daring for AM and too uncool for FM.  Their album Love Is All Around (Fontana May 68) would come out somewhat later.

The United States of America had one album on CBS (Mar 68).  They featured the academically trained composer Joseph Byrd and lead singer Dorothy Moskowitz, and their music was self-consciously avant-garde.  Apparently their live performances were rare and poorly received, except by Richard Kostelanetz, who really liked them. Dorothy Moskowitz ended up playing with Country Joe McDonald in the early 1970s. In an interview in 2003, she said that Troggs fans were particularly unimpressed with the oblique compositions of the USA, and heckled the band. The USA broke up a few weeks after these dates. Dorothy Moskowitz led a different version of the group (without Byrd) through a few dates later in the Summer, but that lineup had folded by Labor Day.

next: April 5-6, 1968: The Who/Buddy Guy/Free Spirits

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