Wednesday, March 11, 2015


While John Ciambotti was at the University of California in Los Angeles, he joined a bluegrass group called The Valley Boys who were well known around the Los Angeles bluegrass circuit. After a two day visit to San Francisco, Ciambotti was so excited by what he saw that he left Los Angeles and moved to San Francisco with his family.

There, he played bass for a band called The Outfit (managed by Bard Dupont, ex-bass player with Great Society) who at one time used the same rehearsal venue as Moby Grape, and they jammed together regularly with The Tiny Hearing Aid Company at the Muir Beach Tavern. When Ciambotti joined the latter they changed their name to Clover.

Clover’s first gig was on 4 July 1967. They spent a couple of years gigging around the Bay Area basing themselves in Mill Valley. They played venues like the Avalon and Fillmore, before they signed to Fantasy in the summer of 1969.

Clover were never really recognised as part of the San Francisco Sound - in ‘Frisco itself they were regarded as a Mill Valley band.

The album "Clover" was recorded under primitive conditions. It is full of original compositions with the exception of "Shotgun". Most of these were competent numbers like "Southbound Train" and "Stealin’". They also made one 45 for Fantasy "Wade In The Water/Stealin’" in 1970.

The second album "Fourty Niner" was a progression on "Clover". It’s music is more varied and mature. It’s best tracks are "Mr. Moon", "Chicken Butt" and "Keep On Trying". After this album, Clover left Fantasy in 1971 and did little of note until they moved to England to launch a new career in 1976.

The Band:
    * Johnny Ciambotti
    * John McFee
    * Alex Call
    * Mitch Howie 

Songs: Debut LP
   1. Shotgun
   2. Southbound Train
   3. Going To The Country
   4. Monopoly
   5. Stealin'
   6. Wade In The Water
   7. No Vacancy
   8. Lizard Rock'n'Roll Band
   9. Come
  10. Could You Call It Love'

Songs: LP 2 - Forty Niner

  1. Harvest
   2. Keep On Trying
   3. Old Man Blues
   4. Fourty Niner
   5. Sound Of Thunder
   6. Chicken Butt
   7. Mr. Moon
   8. Love Is Gone
   9. Mitch’s Tune
  10. Sunny Mexico
  11. If I Had My Way 


Anonymous said...

Not to mention being the backup band to Elvis Costello on his debut, My Aim Is True . . .

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