It’s a Beautiful Day – Marrying Maiden (1970)

Artist Credit
Don Bowman Composer
Rudy Clark Composer
Val Fuentes Drums, Vocals
Jerry Garcia Banjo, Guitar
Hal Composer
Mitchell Holman Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
It’s a Beautiful Day Primary Artist
Matthew Katz Producer
David LaFlamme Composer, Flute, Violin, Vocals
Robert Lewis Composer
Fred Neil Composer
Richard Olsen Clarinet
Sid Page Violin
Arthur Resnick Composer
Pattie Santos Percussion, Vocals
Bruce Steinberg Art Direction, Cover Design, Photography
Hal Wagenet Composer, Guitar, Vocals
Fred Webb Keyboards, Vocals

The second long-player from It’s a Beautiful Day is an exceedingly more pastoral effort than the band’s self-titled debut. As many of the Bay Area groups — most notably the Grateful Dead with Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty — had begun to do, the band realigns its sound from the dark psychedelia and proto-prog of its earlier works and into a lighter and earthier country-flavored rock. Marrying Maiden does, however, continue highlighting both the sextet’s stellar instrumental proficiencies as well as vocals — featuring the entire band — throughout. “Don and Dewey,” the album’s opener, is a hot-steppin’ spotlight for David LaFlamme’s classically trained violin work. Presumably, the tune is an ode to the late-’50s/early-’60s R&B duo of the same name. The track has distinct hints of the concurrent contributions that LaFlamme had been making in an incipient incarnation of Dan Hick & His Hot Licks. It likewise sets the tenor for the remainder of the disc’s down-home feel. The cover of folkie Fred Neil’s “The Dolphins” is notable for Fred Webb’s honky tonk piano fills and LaFlamme’s vocals, recalling some of the earliest New Riders of the Purple Sage sides. One of the more solidly unifying factors linking the NRPS and It’s a Beautiful Day is the guest appearance by Jerry Garcia, who is featured on two numbers. As he had done on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children,” Garcia lends a few distinct pedal steel guitar riffs to the perky “It Comes Right Down to You.” The track also features former Charlatan Richard Olsen on, of all things, clarinet. Another sign of the times is the pickin’ and grinnin’ on the appropriately titled “Hoedown” — on which Garcia adds some fiery banjo fretwork.

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