20 Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the Sixties That You've Never Heard

We praised them 45 years ago — and you should listen to them today!

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Mother Earth, 'Make a Joyful Noise'
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Wounded Bird Records13/20

Mother Earth, 'Make a Joyful Noise'

Named after a Memphis Slim song and born of the San Francisco scene that spawned the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, Mother Earth opted to move from the Bay Area to Nashville following the release of their debut Living With Animals, which featured guitar great Mike Bloomfield (using the name Makal Blumfeld for contractual reasons). Frontwoman Tracy Nelson successfully assembled a versatile new crew for the band's sophomore LP. Make a Joyful Noise cleverly split the album to showcase Mother Earth's talents: Side A was the R&B-tinged "City Side," the flipside was the honky tonk-leaning "Country Side." Singer Boz Scaggs contributes some vocals to this album, making his lone appearance with the band. Eventually, Mother Earth pretty much turned into a vehicle for Tracy Nelson, who eventually just pursued a solo career, which included "After the Fire Is Gone," a Grammy-nominated duet with Willie Nelson (no relation).

What We Said Then: "Their sound is down home in a way that lets fiddles come across like fiddles, rather than like what some engineers always thought fiddles should sound like. It's easy enough to accuse Mother Earth of being eclectic, to call them the greatest variety show on vinyl. But that's only an accusation when you can't pull it off. They can." By Patrick Thomas, November 15th, 1969

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