10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The story goes that record exec David Geffen brought John David Souther, Chris Hillman and Richie Furay together in a deliberate attempt to recreate the chemistry of Crosby, Stills and Nash. From the start, this alliance of three mismatched country-rock talents seemed a dubious proposition, and though The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band’s 1974 self-titled debut does have merit, it fails to cohere into a unified statement. The best way to appreciate the album is by sampling the individual contributions of its members. Souther’s tunes range from wry sketches of jaded gigolos (“The Heartbreaker”) to afterhours meditations on faithless love (“Pretty Goodbyes,””Deep, Dark and Dreamless”). Furay brings the same sort of genial energy he displayed as Poco’s leader to the galloping “Fallin’ in Love” and the tender-hearted “Believe Me.” Ex-Byrd Hillman’s offerings have a bluegrass-meets-Bakersfield quality — “Heavenly Fire” and “Rise and Fall” anticipate his subsequent (and stronger) work with the Desert Rose Band. The group’s support players — particularly keyboardist Paul Harris and drummer Jim Gordon — add sonic definition to these mostly guitar-centered songs. Though it flounders as a whole, the SHF Band’s first effort provides moments worth picking out and savoring.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The story goes that record exec David Geffen brought John David Souther, Chris Hillman and Richie Furay together in a deliberate attempt to recreate the chemistry of Crosby, Stills and Nash. From the start, this alliance of three mismatched country-rock talents seemed a dubious proposition, and though The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band’s 1974 self-titled debut does have merit, it fails to cohere into a unified statement. The best way to appreciate the album is by sampling the individual contributions of its members. Souther’s tunes range from wry sketches of jaded gigolos (“The Heartbreaker”) to afterhours meditations on faithless love (“Pretty Goodbyes,””Deep, Dark and Dreamless”). Furay brings the same sort of genial energy he displayed as Poco’s leader to the galloping “Fallin’ in Love” and the tender-hearted “Believe Me.” Ex-Byrd Hillman’s offerings have a bluegrass-meets-Bakersfield quality — “Heavenly Fire” and “Rise and Fall” anticipate his subsequent (and stronger) work with the Desert Rose Band. The group’s support players — particularly keyboardist Paul Harris and drummer Jim Gordon — add sonic definition to these mostly guitar-centered songs. Though it flounders as a whole, the SHF Band’s first effort provides moments worth picking out and savoring.

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About The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band

Formed in 1973 at the urging of Asylum Records president David Geffen, Souther-Hillman-Furay was the offspring of just about every notable country-rock band. Richie Furay was a founding member of both Buffalo Springfield and Poco; Chris Hillman had been with the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Stephen Stills' Manassas; and J.D. Souther formed Longbranch Pennywhistle with Eagle Glenn Frey, as well as recording a solo record for Asylum and penning tunes for artists like Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and the Eagles. S-H-F's supporting cast also came with impressive credentials, including studio stalwart Paul Harris on piano, Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas) on pedal steel guitar, and former Derek & the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon (who also wrote the piano piece that concludes "Layla").

Although the band, which was meant to be a sort of country-rock version of Crosby, Stills & Nash, received a great deal of hype and promotion, things never really gelled. Their debut sold reasonably well, but the aptly titled Trouble in Paradise was poorly received. S-H-F broke up shortly thereafter with each member going on to solo careers. Souther released a couple of solo efforts, achieving a minor success with "You're Only Lonely"; Hillman recorded unsuccessfully for Asylum before teaming with former Byrd-mates Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark in McGuinn, Clark & Hillman, and then forming the popular country-rock Desert Rose Band; and Furay, who became a minister in Colorado, made three Christian-influenced albums, as well as re-joining Poco for their 20th-anniversary recording. ~ Brett Hartenbach

ORIGIN
Los Angeles, CA
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1973

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