Goose Creek Symphony found its roots in the Phoenix, AZ, area originally as a countrified side project for Richie Hart and the Heart Beats. Vocalist and guitarist Charles Gearheart (aka Richie Hart) spent his childhood "up Goose Creek Hollow" in Floyd County, KY, and when he put together his good-time country-rock group, he drew upon his home's rich musical heritage as well as its name. In 1970, Gearheart and a group of local studio musicians assembled a handful of songs and presented them to Capitol Records. Capitol signed his project, forcing Gearheart to assemble a touring group. Banjo player and fiddler Fred Wise was brought in to compliment existing guitarists Paul Spradlin (listed as "Paul Howard" on the album), Bob Henke ("Williard"), Mike McFadden (following the breakup of his psychedelic group Superfine Dandelion), as well as a rotating cast of bassists and drummers.
With a sound very similar to what the Band was doing at the same time, Goose Creek Symphony were rock & rollers who played a very faithful brand of country music, all the while layering rhythms and harmonies along the same lines as Buffalo Springfield and the Grateful Dead. They released albums through the mid-'70s, with that streak ending in a long hiatus from 1976 to 1990, when the group decided to re-form and record again.
Their marriage of earthy instrumentation and easygoing vibes have been able to give the group a longevity. Into their third decade, Goose Creek Symphony is drawing strong groups of fans to their summer festival appearances, similar to what the Dead and Jimmy Buffett have known.
If the Grateful Dead had come from Kentucky instead of San Francisco, they might have sounded much like these guys. "This song might sound kinda strange, but it's got more soul than Home on the Range," they accurately sing in "Talk About Goose Creek and Other Important Places," an eight-minute psychedelic showstopper complete with Beatles-style tape tricks. This album is a fun listen that can suck even a city slicker into a stoned, good-time, backhills vibe.
Charles Gearheart "Ritchie Hart" -- lead vocal,acoustic guitar
Paul Spradlin "Paul Howard" -- electric guitar,dobro, vocals
Bob Henke "Willard" -- electric guitar, piano,organ, vocals
Dave Birkett -- bass
Mike McFadden -- guitar
1. I'll Fly Away (1:19)
2. Charlie's Tune (4:34)
3. A Satisfied Mind (3:25)
4. Confusion (3:29)
5. No News Is Good News (3:52)
6. Talk About Goose Creek and Other Important Places (8:22)
7. Beautiful Bertha (3:09)
8. Raid On Brush Creek '39 (1:40)
9. Big Time Saturday Night (3:22)
10. Symphony Music (4:44)
Charles R. Gearheart 2,4,6,7,8,9,10
Mike McFadden 5
Albert E. Brumley 1
Jack Rhodes & Red Hayes 3
Recorded winter 1968-69 @ Audio Recorders, Phoenix, Arizona
CD released November 1997
Vinyl and CA released on March 3, 1970