Tuesday, March 17, 2015


In 1968, a record producer named Alan Lorber started hyping “the Bosstown Sound” as a marketing concept. Other American cities had their influential scenes — Detroit, Memphis, San Francisco — so why not Boston? The Bosstown Sound is remembered today as a bad hype gone wrong, but the reality is, as reality tends to be, more subtle.
Lorber had signed a group of artists to MGM Records, and he believed Boston was a fertile place to launch their careers because of its heavy concentration of college students. But he ran into trouble after MGM took out trade-paper ads hyping the Bosstown Sound and its first three acts, Orpheus, Ultimate Spinach, and Beacon Street Union. Prominent rock critics promptly accused MGM, Lorber, and their bands of being commercial sellouts. A year or two later, when MGM set about to purge its roster of “drug-oriented” acts, the Bosstown acts were the first to go, although their lack of sales helped usher them out the door.
Lost in the controversy was the music and the bands themselves, some of which found an audience and left a mark. Orpheus opened for a number of top acts during its brief lifespan, including Janis Joplin and  Cream. Beacon Street Union, despite being produced by Partridge Family auteur Wes Ferrell, had chops enough to back Chuck Berry in their early days, and eventually went fully psychedelic. Ultimate Spinach, famed for its use of the theremin, counted among its members  Jeff Baxter, later to play with the Doobie Brothers and  Steely Dan. Earth Opera was fronted by bluegrass mavens Peter Rowan and  David Grisman. In years that followed, many Boston-area artists cited the Bosstown bands of the late ’60s as influences.

The most successful bit of the Bosstown Sound was probably “Can’t Find the Time” by Orpheus, a lovely sunshine-pop song that charted briefly in the fall of 1969. If you don’t know it, get acquainted.


behold and see( guildedlight of the cosmos)
mind flowers
where your at
don't cry for me
just like romeo and juliet


home to you
the great american eagle tragedy
it's love
home of the brave
the child bride
the red sox are winning


can't find the time
congress alley
door knob song
mine's yours
never in my life
the dream


like people
wake up sun
can't you see
please don't set me free
symphonic psyche
crystalescent heaven


Anonymous said...

Great Collection! Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing these back to our attention. I was never very impressed with most of the "Bosstown" sound, but liked a bit of the Ultimate Spinach. I believe Chevy Chase was involved with one of the Boston bands briefly as a drummer, or it might have been just a rumor. Does anyone remember that story? Larry

24HOURDEJAVU said...

If my sources are correct I believe Chevy was the drummer for Chameleon Church for a short time

john said...

thanks for taking the time for the Boston compilation. nice job.

Post a Comment