By Jeremy Roberts
On Saturday evening The Lovin’ Spoonful, one of the greatest bands of the 1960s, will be making a special appearance in South Georgia at the relatively new Sasser Flea Market, located on Highway 82, about nine miles west of Albany.
Different Than The Rest: Beginnings
Combining pop, rock, folk, country, blues, & jug band music into a unique hybrid purely their own, The Spoonful have been in the spotlight since their first hit single, “Do You Believe In Magic,” came crashing onto the charts back in July 1965.
Featuring songwriter & lead vocalist John Sebastian, lead guitarist Zal Yanovsky, bassist Steve Boone, & drummer/sometime singer Joe Butler, the band had its origins in the early 1960s folk scene in Greenwich Village, New York.
Simply put, The Spoonful was a talented multi-instrumentalist band with a great songwriter & distinctive, honey-rich voice in Sebastian, although all the members contributed lyrics on occasion. With the British Invasion at full pitch in the mid ’60s, The Spoonful proved that America still possessed great bands.
Summer In The City: The Hits Keep On Comin’
1966 was the golden year for The Spoonful, as ten singles eventually reached Billboard’s Top 30, with the first seven singles all making the Top 10, including such standards as “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind,” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice,” “Daydream,” “Nashville Cats,” & the immortal “Summer In The City.”
- Do You Believe In Magic [#9 POP July 1965]
- You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice [#10 POP November 1965]
- Daydream [#2 POP February 1966]
- Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind? [#2 POP May 1966]
- Summer In The City [#1 POP July 1966]
- Rain On The Roof [#10 POP October 1966]
- Nashville Cats [#8 POP December 1966]
- Full Measure [#87 POP December 1966; B-side of "Nashville Cats"]
- Darling Be Home Soon [#15 POP February 1967]
10. Six O’Clock [#18 POP April 1967]
11. She Is Still A Mystery [#27 POP October 1967]
12. Money [#48 POP November 1967]
13. Never Going Back [#73 POP July 1968]
14. Me About You [#91 POP January 1969]
In fact, to this day I am still amazed that “Summer In The City” was recorded in 1966, as its progressive and state-of-the-art sound are brilliant.
Change In The Weather
Yanovsky, a zany, often underrated guitarist, left the band in mid 1967 after a controversial San Francisco marijuana bust. Replaced by Jerry Yester, a member of the Modern Folk Quartet & friend of the band since its earliest days (Yester played piano on “Do You Believe In Magic,” among others), the band soldiered on, notching several more hits, including “Six O’Clock” & “She Is Still A Mystery.”
By June 1968, John Sebastian had left the band to go solo, effectively signaling the end of the band as a studio outfit, although one more album, Revelation Revolution ’69, & several excellent singles (think “Me About You”), featuring Butler on lead vocals, appeared on Kama Sutra Records.
Other Well-Known Songs
- Fishin’ Blues [from the "Do You Believe In Magic" LP, November 1965]
- Lovin’ You [from the "Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful" LP, November 1966]
- Darlin’ Companion [B-side of "Darling Be Home Soon:" from the "Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful" LP]
- Coconut Grove [from the "Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful" LP, November 1966]
- You’re A Big Boy Now [A-side: on the same April 1967 soundtrack]
- Younger Generation [A-side: on January 1968 "Everything Playing" LP]
- (Till I) Run With You [A-side October 1968: from "Revelation Revolution" final LP in March 1969]
Only Yesterday: The Spoonful Resumes Touring
Years of legal wrangling with the now-shortened title Sutra Records finally came to a halt in 1991, enabling original members Boone & Butler to contact Yester. Subsequently, the guys resumed touring, visiting hundreds of cities and countries, and 2011 will celebrate their 20th year as the reformed Lovin’ Spoonful. For their longtime fans, this was a dream come true.
Sept. 18: In Concert
The Lovin’ Spoonful will take the stage around 9:30 PM this Saturday, September 18th, at Sasser Flea Market, halfway between Albany and Dawson, Georgia, for a 90-minute show full of their hits along with a number of choice album cuts.
Venue gates will open at 7 p.m. Local musicians and artists will serve as opening acts, with Landis Frier of Albany performing first at 7:30 p.m. followed by Jeff Taylor of Dawson, around 8:15 p.m. with The East Beach Blues Band of Tifton capping things off around 8:45 p.m. This night of great music will undoubted provide the perfect ending to an excruciating, definitely hot summer.
- Venue: Sasser Flea Market & Antique Mall, Sasser.
- Gates open at 7:00 PM; Bring your lawn chair
- 7:30 PM: Landis Frier (Albany)
- 8:15 PM: Jeff Taylor (Dawson)
- 8:45 PM: The East Beach Blues Band (Tifton)
- 9:30 PM: THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL
- Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 day of the show
- Children 12 & under are free
- Ticket outlets include The Albany Visitors’ Center & Leesburg Flowers & Gifts
- Call The Sasser Flea at 698-4578 for more info
(Roberts is a freelance writer in Alapaha, Ga. This article originally appeared on Examiner.com.)