Home Read Now Hear This: Farm | Farm (Remastered)

Now Hear This: Farm | Farm (Remastered)

This 1971 blues / boogie / psychdelic / jam band gem has come around once again.

Hey, man. Yeah, you. In the tie-dyed T-shirt and fringe vest. You like old-school Allman Brothers? How about classic Canned Heat? Vintage Santana? Alvin Lee and Ten Years After? Quicksilver Messenger Service? Big Brother and The Holding Company? Or even The Band and Crazy Horse at their most animated? If any of these ring a bell / float yer boat / get yer mojo working, here’s a newly resurfaced oldie / goodie you should get your hands on. Though honestly, I’m kinda surprised you don’t have it already.

Released way back in the bell-bottom glory days of 1971, this self-titled debut (and only) album by the southern Illinois sextet Farm has been resurrected, refurbished, remastered and reissued umpteen times since then. I’m pretty sure I got my first copy back in the early ’80s, in a massive stack of vintage Yankee wax I scored from an uncle during a trip to Milwaukee (much to the seething chagrin of the cousin who came home to find his record collection gutted, I suspect). And I remember selling plenty of import copies during my record store days. But I digress.

Point is, it’s easy to see why this sucker keeps popping up every few years: It’s a solid, enjoyable little platter that basically distills the whole blues-rock / boogie / psychedelic / progressive / jam / roots / underground / West Coast / jazz-rock / Latin / post-Woodstock whatever scene down into 28 minutes of groovy hippie-commune / VW van / incense-stick / speedway festival guitar-rock. Emphasis on the guitar. There are two of them, and they’re the undisputed stars of this show; every one of these five cuts comes loaded with killer fretwork — lengthy meandering solos, tasty licks and tons of inspired, near-psychic interplay from frontman Gary Gordon and six-stringer Del Herbert. Honestly, they’re pretty much worth the price of admission on their own.

But they’re not alone. When you toss in the rest of the band — drummer Mike Young, wailing and flailing away at his tom-toms like the hyperactive love child of Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon; bassist Jim Elwyn working the pocket way down low; keyboardist Roger Greenwalt supportively tickling the ivories and organ; and percussionist / harpist Steve Evanchik filling in the gaps as he accents and decorates the results — you’ve got a band that could go toe-to-toe with anybody. And an album that stands as both an underappreciated landmark of the times and a bridge to the hard-driving boogie of ’70s acts like AC/DC. But I digress again.

Bottom line: If you missed it before, get it now. Then grab yourself some incense, a little Boone’s Farm and a bean-bag chair, and take a trip back to the Farm. It’s high time.