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Gentle Soul, The

While much folk-rock (and rock in general) was getting noisier and more psychedelic in the late 1960s, a few Los Angeles folk-rockers were moving in a rather calmer, rootsier direction.

The Gentle Soul took the latter approach for their producer Terry Melcher, most famous for his work on the first two albums by the greatest folk-rock act of all time, The Byrds.

gentlesoul2

Though a few musicians (including, briefly, the young Jackson Browne) passed in and out of The Gentle Soul, the band centered around the male-female harmonising duo of Rick Stanley and Pamela Polland.

The single Our National Anthem was a multi-hued studio tour de force that in a perfect world would have shot to the top of the charts. The gorgeous flipside, Song For Three, was the closest Pollard and Stanley ever came to their heroes, The Everly Brothers.

Inexplicably, the single sank without trace, as did 2:10 Train, released in February 1969 on Columbia’s sister label, Epic.

It took quite a while for Melcher and the band – who had made their first recordings together back in late 1966 – to get an album assembled, and by the time their self-titled debut LP came out on Columbia’s Epic subsidiary in 1968, the Gentle Soul had just split up.

Like several other worthy folk-rockers on Columbia, the group were buried by an avalanche of under-promotion. Barely distributed at the time, copies of The Gentle Soul were going for three-figure sums 30 years later.

Rick Stanley
Pamela Polland