CD Ranch Recording is pleased to announce the release of VINTAGE DRIFTER, the only digital recording of the original group consisting of Cyrus Clarke, Bill Griffin, and David West with Tom Lee on bass. It is a live set recorded at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, Fall of 1979. This recording captures the energy, style, and grooves of one of
Ranch Recording is pleased to announce the release of VINTAGE DRIFTER, the only digital recording of the original group consisting of Cyrus Clarke, Bill Griffin, and David West with Tom Lee on bass. It is a live set recorded at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, Fall of 1979. This recording captures the energy, style, and grooves of one of California’s finest acoustic bands…..even more so than their three LPs released by Flying Fish!
The set was recorded from the mixing board by Alan Kantor and Peter Cutler, engineers for KPFK’s FolkScene Radio Show and is beautifully mastered by Lurssen Mastering in LA. This disc features many band favorites as well as four unreleased songs, including the show stopping, “Limehouse Blues”.
LINER NOTES FROM THE DISC:
The Cache Valley Drifters started their life together in the summer of 1972 as a band of buskers, folksingers, deadheads, trekkies, and aficionados of bluegrass; the perfect modern acoustic ensemble looking for a place to exist....
IN THE BEGINNING....it started as a friendship between David West and myself. The genesis began at the Bluebird Cafe on Anapamu street in Santa Barbara, but we first met at a bar in a hotel near East Beach, Santa Barbara on a fateful summer night.
There were two clubs in that hotel; a hippie beer bar, The Brewery, and a mellow acoustic room the size of a shoe known as Blackbeards West. Blackbeard’s featured music six nights a week. David and his partner, Chris Clayton played three and Steve DeGroodt and I played the other three.
One night I decided to wander down to the bar to check out Dave and Chris. David was handling the night without his partner and in a moment of pure serendipity, he invited me to sit in. We played the night, mined each other’s song lists and after the gig, hightailed it up Highway 101 to Atascadero to meet aone of Dave’s friends who worked at the State Hospital.
It was a crazy thing to do, but we were getting to know each other, becoming buddies and starting a discussion of the universe.
That discussion continued for the next twelve years and formed the basis of our careers as friends, players, and Drifters. As the next few months progressed, we started gigging and busking, and things started sounding quite good. We loved what we were doing together, but realized we needed another voice, another ingredient. Within a year we picked up a partner; mandolinist and vocalist, Bill Griffin, and the die was cast for one of the great acoustic bands of all time.
The essence of the group was a deep appreciation for acoustic music. The style didn’t really matter; our specialty was putting modern treatments (long arrangements, jamming) to contemporary music. The band loved bluegrass, swing, folk, blues, rock and we played it all without reservation.
A component which made this a special group was a solid respect for each other. This was reflected in our work and music. We three boys lived, ate, drank, and played Drifter music for twelve years nonstop. We managed the band, recorded three LPs for Flying Fish, coined concepts of contemporary acoustic music, and performed thousands of gigs throughout California and across the country. It took an enormous amount of time, patience, and camaradrerie to pull it off, but we had plenty of all three.
The material on this recording was gratefully sourced from a compact disk copy of a tape recording done at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in late 1979 by Alan Kantor and Peter Cutler. It is not a fine audiophile quality recording of the group, but the disk captures the essence and energy of the Drifters as we make our way through a genre busting set.
The Cache Valley Drifters is one of the great things in my life. We were a group of friends bound by fellowship, music, excellence, respect, and a willingness to climb the mountain everyday (even though some days we were kinda stoned). Those who knew us in those days would also know that throughout our history we maintained our respect, fellowship, and music until we just couldn't do it anymore...it actually takes quite a bit of energy to keep this sort of thing going.
Twelve years after we started the group, Dave, Bill, and myself, along with Tom Lee, our bass player, mutually decided to retire our band, our name, and our music to move into different aspects of what we had learned as Drifters. We left the band behind but not our friendships and legacy.
LOOKING BACK.....whatever incarnations or reincarnations our incredible energy may have spawned, it is the result and design of an amazing band, made by hand, a long time ago, with an incredible spirit that was well played, hard-working, and proper.
Cyrus Clarke, Maui, 2015