Welcome to my It's A Beautiful Day site. This site is basically a tribute to this unique, ethereal San Francisco band that drew critical acclaim in the late 60s/70s. The site provides an overview of the band and has links to discography, fan sites, and some "Real Audio" tunes from then and now.
Also I have a page for subscribing to the "White Bird Mailing List" for those of you who may want to subscribe and discuss the music of IABD. So, take the tour and if you have questions, comments or you want to add something contact me at email@example.com
It's A Beautiful Day along with Santana are considered to be "2nd wave" bands that emereged from the San Francisco bay area in the late sixties. Moreover, like Santana, IABD headlined at the Fillmore West prior to recording an album.
The Fillmore West is where I first heard and saw the band. I was stationed at the Presdio in 1968 waiting for my orders to come through. You see I was selected by "Uncle Sam" to do 2 years in Uncle's army for the crime of being young and poor. Nevertheless, I was at the Fillmore when I first heard this otherworldly sound from this group with a wierder than usual name.
IABD had a unique style and in San Francisco that was a real accomplishment. The band would move from an almost folksie sound to ethereal to psychedelic to straight on rock & roll. Led by David Laflamme (Violin/vocals) and his wife Linda (keyboards) complimented by Pattie Santos (vocals), Hal Wagonet (guitar), Mitchell Holman (bass) and Val Fuentes (drums) the band could take you on an evening trip with their pot-pourri of musical styles and intricate melodies.
IABD did get a recording contract with Columbia records in 1968 based primarily on its appearance on Cream's farewell concert bill. The debut LP, the self titled It's A Beautiful Day was laced with classic cuts such as "White Bird", "Bombay Calling", "Wasted Union Blues" and "Time Is" The single off the LP..."White Bird" quickly became part of the FM play lists nationwide.
However, fame and popularity can be fleeting and by 1970 the Laflamme's had split up with Linda leaving the band and David remaining. At that point Fred Webb was added on keyboards for the 2nd LP Marrying Maiden. This LP was much more idyllic and lighter than the debut, yet the vocals and instrumentation remained intact and the LP was even countryfied helped by the appearance of Jerry Garcia on pedal steel and banjo along with Fred Webb's honky tonk piano. Highlights of the LP include "Don & Dewey," a tribute to the R&B duo of the same name and a cover of Fred Neil's "The Dolphins."
By 1971-72 the band was starting to unravel given differing opinions on musical direction and with legal battles waged with the Band's ex-manager, Mathew Katz. However, even with the personnel changes during the recording of Choice Quality Stuff/Anytime, the band was still able to produce some very good tunes. This LP went in a different direction than the previous LP's. It had a harder rock sound with contributions from such bay area stalwarts the likes of Jose Chepito Areas (percussion), Coke Escovedo (percussion), Gregg Rolie (piano), and Bill Atwood (trumpet).
By 1972 the revolving door of band members was taking its toll and the writing was on the wall regarding the demise of the group. However, there was a formidable live album in the works. Live At Carnegy Hall illustrated that the band, like other icons from the bay area such as the The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service, must be sampled live.
The cuts on this LP were primarily tunes where the band stretched out and re-invented some of the classics as well as introduced some new tunes. There is an internet rumour that the cuts on the LP were selected by the record company (Columbia) and that there are a number of tunes from the Carnegy Hall sets in the vaults that may never see the light of day. By 1973 litigation forced Laflamme out of the group and essentially the band could be pronounced dead. There was one more forgettable LP by the remnants of the group, "1001 Nights" released in 1974. After the release, the band was disolved.
David Laflamme did do solo work and released 2 LP's in the late seventies. There have also been reunions over the years with various groupings of original members, but nothing permanent has evolved. Currently David Laflamme & his wife, Linda (different Linda) do tour on occasion with Toby Gray (bass), Rob Espinosa (guitar), Gary Thomas (keyboards) and original drummer Val Fuentes. Check out my Tunes link to hear the sound of the new millenium. Sadly both Fred Webb and Pattie Santos have passed away.
January 23, 2003
Web Author: JW Anderson
Saturday, July 26, 2003