Exhaling On Spring Street, Part One

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.)

Love Should Be Free (McGoverns 9-4-96)

Livin’ For The City (McGoverns 9-4-96)

Cornbread Wednesday

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Happy Valentine’s Day (Belatedly) !

Howdy, Folks! Dave here.

For a great live Native listening experience, I find myself coming back to this Wetlands show (2-28-96) from the era right around the time we put out Live From Marmfington Farm, Vol. 1.

This particular show comes right before that, but it shows me three things:

1) We could have taken any of so many shows from that period, and it would have been just a great as it is! And…

2) It came down to recording quality, really, because in 1996 Native was absolutely on fire! This Jon Leteurza board recording is just silky smooth, balanced. And…

3) It’s so very interesting to hear songs from our John Epstein era, as interpreted by John Watts, and the way the songs had evolved in the intervening year and a half. And…

4) There’s no such thing as too much Matt Lyons bass solo!

Okay, that’s four things!

Never mind all that — just kick back and crank it.

Morning After
Island
Down To The River

Cornbread Wednesday

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Preemptively)

Yep! We’re back, because Dave has returned to the fold with a new batch of tracks that we love to the max! So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Firstly, these tunes hail from a tape we keep turning to because it has perhaps the best sound of all the tapes in our vast library. Could it be because it’s on cassette, and not DAT?

Prolly!

But, it is evident that the talents of Wetland’s legendary soundman, John Letuerza, was at the helm, delivering the definitive Native mix!

Today’s first tune, Go, is a live version of the lead-off track from our eponymously-named first album. It’s light-hearted fun, poppin’ fresh from the oven! And it shows that our roots were as firmly in the pop songcraft soil, as they were in Jamband land.

The second song, Just Want To Love You, is especially perfect for Valentine’s Day. Written and sung by Mike Jaimes, this version shows off the subtle, but abundant, stylings of John Watts, and, Mike delivers as succinct and wondrous a solo as ever was played by mortal hands.

Our third submission today is a little song that’s perfect for that 24-hour/7 day party person hiding in your life. Trash is aptly named, because whenever it’s playing — it’s time to get trashed! So, get to playing it!

Here’s hoping these tunes warm you up, even as the blizzard rages outside – and, remember, if you’re buying that special someone chocolates for Valentine’s Day, you probably haven’t given the matter enough thought.

Go (Wetlands 2-28-96)

Just Want To Love You (Wetlands 2-28-96)

Trash (Wetlands 2-28-96)

Cornbread Wednesday