Bethlehem Asylum - Commit Yourself (70 us jazz rock)
The first time I played this album I guessed they were a New York-based outfit, but then I noticed that the album had been recorded in Macon, Georgia's Capricorn Studios ... That said, it turns out they were actually from the Clearwater/Tampa area of Florida where drummer Buddy Helm had been a member of Those Five. I also know that the band toured extensively and regularly opened for The Allman Brothers Band.
So what else can I tell you? Well, the line up that recorded "Commit Yourself" consisted of sax player Charles Dechant, keyboardist Christian Gandhi, lead guitarist Danny Finley, bassist Jimm Neiman, and drummer Helm. Signed by the New York-based Ampex label, there 1970 debut was produced by Dechant. Featuring six original works, the predominant sound's horn-propelled jazz-rock. That description won't exactly endear it to many folks and I'll readily admit that it left me somewhat cold. That said, there are at least a couple of interesting moments including the atypical folk-ish 'Child of the Mountain', 'Talkin' 'Bout Love' which was an attractive slice of blue-eyed soul, and Finley's nice guitar throughout the rocking 'It's About'' (easily the standout track). Elsewhere Ampex released 'Child of the Mountain' b/w 'Talkin' 'Bout Love' as a single (Ampex catalog number 110298).
"Commit Yourself" track listing:
1.) Child of the Mountain (Danny Finley) - 3:15
2.) Sailboat Ride (Danny Finley) - 3:10
3.) Earth (Robert Christian Gandhi) - 9:50
1.) Sea Rider (instrumental) (Charles Dechant) - 6:43
2.) Talkin' 'Bout Love (Charles Dechant) - 2:06
3.) It's About (Danny Finley) - 5:13
I've never heard it, but the following year the band recorded a sophomore LP; 1971's "Bethlehem Asylum".
Helm briefly played with Tim Buckley and then Frank Zappa. Dechant was a member of Hall and Oates touring band. Finley hooked up with Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.