(originally published December 16, 2015)
“They don’t write ’em like that anymore…”
..sang Greg Kihn in 1981. So true. For most of the 1970’s I was fully entrenched in the folk/country rock “movement” primarily coming out of California. The lyrics, the guitar-predominant sound, everything just sounded right. The music dripped with sparkling rivers, mountains and clear air. Raptors flying overhead. Evergreens and snow. Everything I wanted to be around instead of the dirty, overcrowded, urban nightmare in which I lived (North Bergen, I am one of the few who have no great memories of you.)
It began with Jackson Browne, Eagles (they weren’t know as THE Eagles back then), Poco, CSN, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Marshall Tucker Band, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, The Outlaws, Pure Prairie League, the wonderful but almost unknown one-album-wonders Sand, and Nicolette Larson and Dan Fogelberg-the subjects of today’s musings.
Nicolette Larson got her start as a backup singer with Commander Cody on his Tales From the Ozone album. Her gorgeous voice got her plenty of work with big names including Neil Young. She had a big hit with her version of Young’s Lotta Love in 1979. She evolved a purer country sound in the mid 80’s but—still that voice!
Dan Fogelberg’s solo career began in 1972 with Home Free and went through 2009’s Love in Time. Home Free was pretty much ignored, but his second record Souvenirs was huge with the big hit “Part of the Plan”, complete with Graham Nash’s signature backing vocals. Subsequent multi-platinum albums Captured Angel, Nether Lands, and Phoenix closed out the 70’s for Fogelberg. These records were constantly on my turntable. All of them were. They still are a big part of my music playing and my life. I’m still yearning to get to those mountains…
Nicolette Larson and Dan Fogelberg are no longer with us. They died exactly 10 years apart on December 16th-Larson in 1997 and Fogelberg in 2007 but their music still survives.