Our story starts one evening in 1965 in the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago where crowds had gathered to see the battle of the bands.The finalists were the New Colony Six and a group from England called the Robin Hoods. Fred Glickstein approached the Robin Hoods and asked them where they got their name from and they said they had a choice between the Robin Hoods or the Flock. Glickstein immediately phoned fellow group member Rick Canoff and expelled the joyful news that they had found a new name for the group that was then operating as the Exclusives. The Flock added violinist Jerry Goodman and blew the minds of the audience at their debut performance at the Kinetic Playground (Theatre). The feathered gathering comprised of Tom Webb (sax, flute, vocals & lyricist), Jerry Smith (bass & vocals), Frank Posa (trumpet & posaphone), Ron Karpman (drums & vocals), Jerry Goodman (violin, guitar & vocals), Fred Glickstein (Hammond organ, vocals, guitar & lyricist), John Gerber (sax, flute & banjo) and Rick Canoff (vocals, sax & lyricist).
The group’s official West Coast debut blasted off at the Whisky A Go-Go, Los Angeles on 9 July 1969 evolving into major festivals alongside Hendrix, Zeppelin, Grateful Dead and The Who. Their fusion of jazz, gospel, rock, country, and progressive blues gave them an exclusive hallmark as one of the top five exponents of this style worldwide.The boys continually moved between the continent and the States, renowned for creative jamming and free form improvisation. John Mayall once quoted ’best band that he had seen in America.’ The Flock was exhilarating as a live experience normally opening with the thunderous “Clown” which explodes into a fusion of brass and urgent vocal. Jerry’s violin slashes like a sabre decapitating the “Clown” with changing momentum that eases into a slowed down avant-garde rhythm with acute brush snare drumming by Ron Karpman. Fine examples of this interplay can be sourced on “I Am The Tall Tree”, “Introduction” and the brilliantly harmonised “Lollipops and Rainbows”. The group was also capable of breaking into stagnating blues such as the fifteen-minute delta fusion entitled “Truth”, which encompasses some of the finest blues vocal that rustled the sixties.
Fred Glickstein could splinter the shit out of Jerry’s violin as they continually venture deeper and deeper into the abyss avant-garde jazz. Imaginative compositions such as the five-minute “Lighthouse” from the Dinosaur Swamp offerings, although complex maintains a forceful rock overflow never losing sight of the afflicting brass fusion. Rick Canoff (like Heckstall-Smith) waddles his saxophone through the rhythms of Jerry’s winding sabra, changing tempo without warning. It is this style of fusion that Jerry embraced more aggressively in his next association the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Flock was diverse, often trickling into an acoustic stream of majestic harmony with the continual translucent Goodman violin, ambiently shrouding the rhythms. Described as an embryo that continuously wields its energy at various given points the Flock could be devastatingly lavish and overindulgent, yet quieten from the storm to a gentle breeze. Improvised jamming spiralled out of “Afrika” and “Atlantians Trucking Home” until Jerry continued to spin with Dixie Dreggs.
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