The summer of 1996 was a great one for Native.
We had put out a cd in late summer of live tracks from late spring that our manager, Paul Ducharme, had compiled. And it was selling like hot cakes. Which caught us off guard, actually.
Our self-titled debut record, released in ’94, had a big budget, was recorded at a mega-cool studio, was distributed heavily to radio, &c. But, it had not sold that well. To this day, we still have boxes of that ill-fated disc.
In the wake of that disappointment, we had gone DIY with Six Bucks, aka Ten Bucks, aka Live At Marmfington Farm, Vol. 1.
Done on a budget so low, the word ‘budget’ called and wanted its integrity back, distributed by nobody but us at our gigs, and kicking major ass – it was the little record that could! And, it did. (And, you can still get it at our Bandcamp site here)
We were playing well, and we got to do it often – 1996 was our most heavily-booked year. In our trusty van, The Silver Cloud, we traversed the northeast, and retraversed it. We were headlining Wetlands at least once a month, and if they needed some powerhouse players for the Powerjams they were putting on, well, they knew who to call.
But, there existed in the back of our minds the niggling thought that, given the success of the live cd, we really should make a proper studio album, only this time we should be produce it, and we should call all the shots, despite having no idea how to do these things.
After spending a long time way up in Maine, at Bar Harbor, where we had the luxury of extended gigs, and about as idyllic a setting as anyone could imagine, we returned rested, tanned, and rejuvenated. We also came back with a new batch of songs, and immediately starting gigging them – it was a moment that heralded the start of a production that would take over a year to complete, and turn out to be our best album – Exhale On Spring Street.
Today’s selections are from September 4, 1996. The first is an early rendition of a tune that was originally titled, Love Should Be Free, Or At Least Have Discount Coupons, but that was too long so we shortened it.
The second tune is the famous Stevie Wonder song, sung to perfection by a guy with his arm in a cast, John Wood. (Note that there is no percussion on these tracks, as Woody had broken his hand in a bizarre gardening incident in John D. Rockefeller’s potting shed.)