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It’s a Beautiful Day: It’s a Beautiful Day (1969)

click for more info or to purchase!When you talk about the Bay Area scene, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane are obviously the most talked about bands. Here’s another Bay Area band worth trying, It’s a Beautiful Day. They were a bit of a latecomer in the psychedelic scene, as their debut album was released in 1969, an era where the Beatles and Stones turned to more down home roots rock (and many new roots rock bands like The Band and CSN appeared), and an era where the prog rock scene started to emerge.

It’s a Beautiful Day was lead by vocalist and violinst David LaFlamme, with backing female vocals from Pattie Santos. Their best known song is “White Bird” which was a minor hit on FM radio, and is included on this album. If you’ve heard the song, you know that it’s a rather moody song. The music on this album is a combination of Bay Area psychedelia, folk, classical, jazz, and perhaps even prog rock.

Let’s examine some of the other songs on this album. “Hot Summer Day” has that nice, jazzy, pleasant atmosphere, as the title might suggest. “Wasted Union Blues” is a hard rocker and of course the most rocking number on this album. One of my favorites. “Girl With No Eyes” is a more classical-influenced number complete with harpsichord and violin, the lyrics dealing with a painting on the wall. The next cut is “Bombay Calling” which is a totally amazing instrumental showcasing David LaFlamme’s violin. “Bulgaria” is a very mystical, atmospheric piece. I can’t really describe this piece, other than I think it’s totally unbelievable in its mood. The last one, “Time Is”, is also the longest cut, which features some lengthy solos, as well as a very interesting drum solo.

Unfortunately, It’s a Beautiful Day, like Moby Grape, fell victim to the greedy and unethical practices of Matthew Katz who was their manager (Jefferson Airplane almost fell victim to him, luckily they got out, because they knew). Eventually he started his own label, San Francisco Sound and reissued It’s A Beautiful Day and Moby Grape albums, but he never gives the members of the bands royalties for sales of the albums, plus he always like giving out one bogus lawsuit after another (I am surprised Matthew Katz hadn’t served any jail time). So, as things go, keep your turntables, as I suggest you buy the original Columbia Records version of It’s a Beautiful Day’s debut.

I am actually surprised by the amount of people I’ve met who heard of It’s a Beautiful Day, mostly from people who grew up in the 1960s. It seems like they grew to really appreciate their music. Sadly, It’s a Beautiful Day went downhill not long thereafter, because of constantly changing band members (at one point, the band featured Tom Fowler, later of Frank Zappa, and even future members of Pablo Cruise), meaning the quality of their music suffered because of it (but I do admit that 1970’s Marrying Maiden and 1971’s Choice Quality Stuff do have some very good material on it as well). But their debut is a wonderful classic album and my favorite from the Bay Area.
– David LaFlamme: lead vocals, violin
– Linda LaFlamme: organ, piano, electric piano, harsichord, celeste
– Hal Wagenet: guitar
– Val Fuentes: drums
– Mitchell Holman: bass
– Pattie Santos: vocals, percussion

11 Responses to It’s a Beautiful Day: It’s a Beautiful Day (1969)

  • If you want to know more of what kind of an asshole Matthew Katz is, try this site:

    https://www.matthewkatzisajerk.com

    This site reveals what this guy had done to screw with the lives of many of the musicians involved in the Bay Area psychedelic scene of the 1960s.

  • This recording is one of the great gems to come out of the S.F. psychedelic scene. It’s also one of my favorite albums from the period. When I first heard this, it blew me away with their awesome, unique sound. At the time few bands were incorporating violin in their arrangements, and none to such an intense effect.

    White Bird is a masterpiece of music, playing with your emotions and lifting your consciousness while taking you on such a psychedelic journey.

    The other tunes on this album likewise assault you, embrace you, rip your head off, play with you, even kiss you. And they ALL seem to take up residence in you subconscious and never leave.

    If you can get your hands on this, get it!

    It’s truly a pity that greedy media types had to ripoff this band. Their potential was enormous, and we’ll never know what else they might’ve produced.

  • I bought this album a while back. I got rid of it not long after. This just isn’t my kind of music. It’s dated and corny, and belongs back in the decade it came from. A good album for nostalgia junkies, though.

    Sorry, but I just can’t get into a good deal of this hippy music. It sounds way too corny, some of it. I like revolutionary music that with stands the test of time, and this isn’t that.

    When it comes to American psychedelia, give me some Spirit. They are probably the only American psychedelic band I can really respect, and that’s because they weren’t playing the same cliche shit that all these other bands were playing.

  • Also see, https://www.DavidLaFlamme.com for current band performances and recordings and a link to the yahoo fan base group Whitre-Bird.
    The music is alive and well.

  • Please look at this site on the band,

    https://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/gramophone/873/hist.html

    It’s an alternate history on the band from the viewpoint of the other
    members of the original group, minus the late Pat Santos and David
    LaFlamme’s viewpoint.

    gymanime, old time acid head of Honolulu.

  • This is a thoughtful and accurate review. Thank you.

    I saw It’s A Wonderful Day in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1972 at the West High Gym. It was my first rock concert and was sensorily overwhelming. I glowed for a day afterward. I was 15 years old. Very few groups came to Anchorage then. I shortly after purchased this album, but disgarded it some years later, sadly, thinking that as a Christian, I should leave such worldly things behind.

    While I am still a Christian, I have been drawn back to this music as something beautiful and memorable in many ways. (I’m 50 and getting nostalgic, a guess.) This group was short-lived, but produced some hauntingly majestic music. I’m still looking for a CD of this album for a decent price. I got “Live at Carnegie Hall,” but it doesn’t really capture the ambience of the first album.

    Humans, made in God’s image, are capable of creating works of art that say with us over the years. “White Bird” has often resurfaced in my mind over the years, and occasionally I hear it on the radio or in a store. It is truly captivating and inspiring in a hopelessly romantic/tragic way. “She must fly…”

  • Having read all the comments, I must tell you all this. I was there in Seattle at the former Encore Ballroom, later named “The San Francisco Sound” Ballroom by the DMT smoking Matthew Katz. He also had a 5 story mansion across from Volunteer Park. It was at the Ballroom that “Its a Beautiful Day” practiced the music and preformed what wqas to become their first album (minus Hal Wagenet). I sometimes sat alone on the ballroom floor at their practice sessions. Linda was very pregnant and had to be helped on to the stage. Pattie, my friend, gave me the nickname the band knew me by: Fuzzy. When I heard that Pattie died in a car wreck, I cried all day. She was from Spain and her parents, who were so proud of her could be seen, standing in fine dress, in the crowd before the stage. Its a Beautiful Day was “THE” band most loved by the people in Seattle. From time to time, if I wasn’t too stoned, would introduce the Band. Most of the time I just sat in front of a speaker on stage listening. I had a little shop down the street where some friends and I made some Band Clothes. Mike wore a fancy shirt I made. He looked great wearing it. I didn’t like Matthew Katz for how he behaved. The band were left to fend for themselves while he would go through a gram or more of DMT (for those who have never heard of DMT, one hit in a pipe gave you a rush 1,000 times that of acid, and right now), a very dangerous chemical used in the tire industry. Matthew owed his bands more and thats for sure. I miss those days and everyone in Its A Beautiful Day and many others who took care of them in the house, where many bands stayed. I saw the remade band many years later. I was standing near the stage when they were coming off, and I heard Pattie yell ‘FUZZY!’ I went backstage and got caught up on things. Everyone knew it wasn’t like Seattle, but they played on anyway. FUZZY

  • I am SOOOO old!!!! I saw IABD in Norfolk, VA in about 1973 in the front row, and Pattie was singing directly to me!!! My girlfriend told me to wink at her, it was so obvious! Now I’m trying to find out anything I can about her– does anyone have any information about her? I know she’s passed away, sadly, what a nice voice….

    Glory Days

  • I saw them at the VCU girls gym in ’71 or ’72. I just remember Pattie Santoz saying somehting like ‘he’s been around alot longer than any of you’ For somew reason I never forgot it.

  • One of the most nostalgic albums I can remember. Finally found it on the pirate bay after a real exhaustive search

  • I’m so glad to hear Pattie was loved.
    Some things are wrong that have been published.
    I grew up with Pattie in San Francisco from the time we were 8 years old. We went to the same elementary school–St. Teresa’s in Potrero and later Presentation High School. We graduated in 1967. Her name was Patricia Santos (I forget her middle name).
    Her family was my extended family. They lived in a very small apartment on Pennsylvania Avenue in SF. Her father passed when she was young and her and her mother Mary were very close. Pattie had a wire haired terrier as her childhood pet. Her mother was an exquisite tailor and made most of Pattie’s clothes which were to die for. But, she was also an amazing cook and I remember the Mexican food she used to cook for us. She had two cousins (one named Alex) who would visit on break from college in Arizona. He would take us for rides in his KharminGhia.
    Pattie was not from Spain. She was a San Francisco born native.
    She was a complicated and very talented person in all areas. My friendship with her forged a large portion of my life.
    When she got so involved in the band and I decided to get married, we drifted apart and I did not see her after 1972.
    At the time the band joined with Matthew Katz, I worked for him for a few months during the Monterey Pop festival time period in 1967. He is a royal a**hole and fired me after I refused him sex. I was just 18 years old and he was ancient in my eyes.
    The way Pattie got discovered was this. We went together to an audition with Dino Valenti. He fell in love with Patti’s voice–which was very strong and had been because her father (before his untimely death) had her take voice lessons. We both sang in the church choir and she was its best voice. She got a gig and I didn’t. I don’t ever remember her working at Safeway as some page reports that how she was discovered.
    She always wanted to be an entertainer. If things didn’t work out with auditions in SF, she planned to go to Los Angeles to be discovered.
    David LaFlamme is a flaming a**hole and never let Pattie show off her talent. She was always stuck in the background and it really pissed me off.
    BTW, both of us are in “Summer of Love” with full close-up face shots. You have to be quick to find her but there she is (and me too). I remember them filming us.
    The two of us would talk about driving and thought that we would be killed in a car crash. It was like a blow to my chest when I found out she had been killed that way. I am sorry I didn’t see her before her death.
    So, bless those who love her. She had a huge heart. She rescued me in her own way from a devastating childhood of abuse. She will always live in my heart. She was my childhood best friend.
    I can be contacted at northdweller@hotmail.com if you have questions.

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