Liner notes from 'Garrison Anthology': It's the summer of 1975. My first band, The Patron Saints, had broken up a few years earlier, after recording Fohhoh Bohob in 1969 and it's follow-up The Latimer Sessions in 1971. Former Patron Saint Joe Ivins had just moved back to New York, and he and I were anxious to re-group. I happened to run into old friend Jim Behnke, a formidable guitarist and very capable keyboardist, who was looking to start something serious as well. On New Years Day, 1976, Joe lured us up to Garrison, NY, just across the Hudson River from West Point. Joe, his family, and good friend Don Kratzke had rented a great house (once used by Barbra Streisand while filming Hello Dolly) in the center of town. It had a suitably large basement for practicing and willing tenants, and cost us next to nothing; what else could you ask for? We needed a fourth member to round out the group, so we put an ad in a local newspaper. We got a number of responses, but one really stood out. Dan Brown, not only played bass and guitar, but was a singer/songwriter as well, effectively doubling our creative output. So, sometime in the early months of 1976, after naming the band after the town we had adopted as our own, the final piece was now in place; or so we thought. Jim had to quit unexpectedly, so we were soon once again down to three looking for a fourth. We felt that we well taken care of in the guitar/bass department, so enter Chris Suchmann, the then 17-year-old keyboard wizard who became the newest member of Garrison. When the recording bug bit again, we converted our practice area into a recording studio and laid down nine original tracks. We decided that we didn't have enough money to actually put out an album, so we settled on a 45 RPM single instead: You Opened My Eyes b/w It's In De Blood. Although the single received a fair amount of local airplay (it was also popular in Texas and Australia, of all places!), Garrison as we knew it then broke up in 1977. I took this opportunity to record my solo album, Modern Phonography, which contained three of the tracks we had recorded for our aborted Garrison project. CD One of this compilation contains a wide assortment of music from the early period in Garrison's history, 1976-1978. After a shot at resurrecting the original band, Dan and I decided to reform the group with new personnel. In January 1979, a friend turned us on to guitarist extraordinaire Roy Ellingsen, late of MCA recording artists Jericho, who happened to be between groups at the time. And, as luck and fate would have it, Dan's brother James knew an incredible drummer: we played one song with Kevin Brennan, and that was it. A new Garrison, with a harder-edged, more contemporary sound, was born. Eric Bergman, May, 2001 = = = = = = = = = = For a long while, it seemed that Garrison would be little more than a footnote in the career of Patron Saints mainman Eric Bergman; the entirety of the late seventies group's released output was a sole self-released single in 1976. As with the Patron Saints, though, much more was recorded than was released at the time, and the two-disc Anthology covers three years and two different lineups of the group. As with Jon Tuttle in the early days of the Patron Saints, Bergman had a songwriting foil in Garrison, Dan Brown; in his as-always thorough liner notes, Bergman notes that the collection is slanted towards Brown's contributions intentionally since many Garrison songs ended up on Bergman's own two solo efforts. Collating a variety of demos, live cuts and full studio efforts, plus both sides of the one single, 'You Opened My Eyes' and 'It's In De Blood,' Anthology is in general a step away from the accomplished fragility of the Patron Saints days towards a more conventional but just as sweet form of power-pop. Brown's work in particular fits this model throughout. 'You Opened My Eyes' hits a neo-Byrds jangle with some Phil Spector drumfills to boot, while other songs have a warm if not always remarkable feel that touches on country-rock, hard rock and mainstream folk a la Dan Fogelberg, if more engagingly so. Bergman's work in contrast harkens back to the more complex song structures familiar from his earlier work - 'It's In De Blood' throws in some sudden time shifts on the chorus while otherwise playing around with an agreeable light funk arrangement. Some moments are even downright progged-out (at least if the keyboard fills on 'Borrowed Time' are any indication!). The appearance of some Patron Saints obscurities like 'Spring Forth' and an exuberant full-band take on 'Valiant Attempts', as well as the participation of other members of the earlier band in the varying lineups, nicely continues a connection from the past in turn. Meanwhile, early keyboardist Chris Suchmann's one songwriting contribution, 'She's My Sister (And I'd Love To Love Her),' somehow predicts both Spinal Tap and South Park while also sounding like Cheap Trick - not a bad feat! Ned Raggett.
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