Maxfield Parrish “It’s A Cinch To Give Legs To Old Hard-Boiled Eggs”

It's A Cinch To Give Legs To Hard-Boiled Eggs

Maxfield Parrish’s only album was released in 1972, well after the band had split up. Members from the great California band Kaleidoscope produced and played on this underappreciated record which was originally recorded in early 1969. Had this album seen release in 1969, it would have been regarded today, as an early, innovative slab of country-rock.

It’s A Cinch strongly recalls the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers/Easy Rider era or even the New Riders early material (great stuff!!), with strong songwriting, superb musicianship and a few nifty psych/space rock moves. There are some great, catchy acoustic rock songs in “Julie Columbus” and “Cruel Deception.”  The weirder creations, “The Widow,” an 8 minute mantra, and “The Untransmuted Child” work really well too. In particular, “The Untransmuted Child” is excellent, sounding like a trippy mountain hymn with hillbilly vocals, organ, harmonica and hallucinary guitar sustain.

Fans of the Byrds, Dillards, and Euphoria should not miss this one before it goes out of print forever!

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“The Untransmuted Child”

[ Available as Import ]

EDIT: Read the comments below to hear the story direct from lead singer David Biasotti and some of the other folks behind the creation of this record.

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  • Hey THis track is a Killer!!!! It sounds like a must have- would be good on my show since I get lots of requests for psych country and there is very little out there.

  • David Biasotti

    It was a pleasant surprise to find this the other day. “The Untransmuted Child” was not included on the original Maxfield Parrish LP, which pissed off me and my songwriting partner David Muir no end, when the record was finally released, as Jason notes, in 1972. We thought it an integral track when we recorded it in 1969, but so much stuff happened in the three years it took to get the record released. (There was no band by that time, for one thing!) The remix for the LP was pretty weird, I’ve always thought. For the Taxim reissue, we restored two abandoned tracks, most importantly this one. Overall, we jettisoned that LP remix and presented the original one, the one we actually liked.

    I was genuinely gratified that Jason name-checks the very songs I myself think are the ones worth remembering, and am overall really flattered to be included in the present company. I like the way you guys do what you do, and wish you all the best.

    David Biasotti

  • Jason

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the compliments and support. We couldn’t do this sort of thing without the music though, so we owe you thanks. I was shocked that a band member would contact us – it was definitely a nice surprise and we are glad you approve of the song selection and proceedings. Just out of curiosity, did you guys make any recordings (singles or albums) before or after Maxfield Parrish? Were you in other bands? There was very little information about the history of Maxfield Parrish – or even what they sounded like, so I figured it necessary to put the album up here – but the quality of the songs stand for themselves and have not aged. It’s a very good album and we hope you’re still making music today.


  • David Biasotti

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks again for your kind words. They mean a lot to me (and, by extension, my longtime friend and songwriting partner, David Muir). It was, first, very dispiriting that, by the time the album was released, what we’d done in ’69 seemed a lot less “cutting edge” in the southern California musical climate of ’72. Then there was the small matter of there being no band anymore. It was, after the long wait, very exciting to hear, say, “Cruel Deception” on the local underground radio station while I was washing the dishes one evening. And the sight of an actual _display_ at Wallach’s Music City in Hollywood. But, within days, the silence was deafening. None of us ever saw a word in print about us, and it went straight to the bargain bins. (Decades later, I was amazed to see us not only name-checked, but weirdly incorporated into the Kaleidoscope 3-parter Zigzag magazine did in the early ’70s. (And to learn, 30 some years later, from Pete Frame that our album was in heavy rotation in the Zigzag office was rather breathtaking).

    Anyway, Jason, to answer your question: It was the first time in a professional recording studio for all the members of the group. And it was certainly wise of Chris Darrow to bring in David Lindley and Chester Crill from Kaleidoscope, along with Bernie Leadon, John London, and John Ware, who were then in the Corvettes with Chris.

    It’s worth noting that “The Untransmuted Child,” which was one of our favorites, was left off the LP — none of us had much if any input into the eventual album — about which we’re not very happy, to say the least. The 1999 Taxim CD reissue restores the track to its rightful place, and uses the first, to my ears superior mix, not the somewhat gimmicky and dated 2nd mix that was used for the LP.

    The rough demos appended to the Taxim CD would have been included on a 2nd album, theoretically, though most likely not under the name Maxfield Parrish. It was down to Muir and myself, really. We were very high on the songs we were writing, c. ’72, and we were _this_ close to getting a deal for an album, with David Lindley producing. It didn’t happen, obviously, and David M. entered monkhood at the Self-Realization Fellowship, and I went back to the Bay Area for some frustrating years of demos and bands that went nowhere. Eventually, I settled on music as a recreation, and not an avocation!

    Inspired by the Taxim reissue, David and I started writing prolifically again, and did one six-song EP under the name Mad Meg. Anyone curious can here some of the stuff at Garage Band:

    I doubt anyone would recognize it as the same guys from Maxfield Parrish, but, I don’t think it would be too alarming, either!

    All the best,


  • It sounds great!
    A kind of music from a cult!
    Thanks biasotti & Muir

  • Adam Kent

    I was in a band with David in the early 70’s, along with the late, lamented Randy Groenke, a wonderful banjo and guitar player who played on the Maxfield Parrish album and was instrumental (pardon the pun) in getting the album released, with the help of Howard Hinckley. Our band was not great, but we had fun (particularly the gig at the Livermore Airport Lounge, in 1975, if you’re reading this, Dave). Shortly after that experience I packed it in and became a lawyer, and I understand David went into teaching. Randy passed away at 55. Darrow is making nearly unlistenable “New Age” music in Germany, and I hear Lindley did okay backing up Jackson Browne.

  • Howard Hinckley

    I was the executive producer on this record. As the money man I had the final say in all decisions surrounding the release. I insisted on “the Widow” being included. I was probably on drugs. Due to space limitations on the vinyl, one of the other recorded tracks had to be omitted. The unanimous decision by all involved was to eliminate “The Untransmuted Child”. Just before the album was to go into production I was wisked away by my friends at my local draft board to complete alternate service as a conscientious objector. Chris Darrow took this opportunity to return to the studio to remix the record. He later told me that his objective was to bring the mix up to 1972 standards. His remix ripped the soul from the record. The vinyl version of the record ended at “The Widow”. The Taxim version includes 5 additional songs which were recorded long after the original sessions. None of these songs were recorded with the original backing musicians. The original recording was ground-breaking – one of the first country rock records. Biasotti and Muir should be tremendously proud of their accomplishment.

  • Becky J

    I recall hearing about this group in 1969 and thinking the name was odd – since it sounded more like something in an art museaum. Jim Woller told me they were the best thing since well, just about anything. I remember meeting Randy and am sorry to hear he is no longer with us. Would love to turn up the amps, hear the good music and smell the incense – and perhaps regain some of my soul. Your web site is great and puts me back in a better time and place………..Hey Howard and Adam, hope you are well. Becky

  • Adam Kent

    Hi, Becky. Jim Woller is no longer with us, either, although I think he would prefer to be known as “metaphysically challenged.” This is turning into a Claremont chat room. I may turn in my bar card and start playing in cheap dives again.

  • Becky J

    Adam – sad to hear about Jim. Was it he who originated the “turtle theory” about Claremont? I was there in May for a reunion. Cheap dives are always fun – or at least interesting. Take care. in case you wish to get out of this chat room.

  • Despite a previous comment earlier, and following the obvious tangent that someone’s taste is just that, “their taste”.. I’d suggest that Chris Darrow is making all sorts of music, multiple variations of damn fine music.

    Had this album come out in 1969, it would have been in the first real batch of country-rock albums 1968-69, before the genre began to crack through into popular culture in 1970 to make it to the charts (Poco, Matthews Southern Comfort, Linda Ronstadt, Mike Nesmith’s First National Band, Neil Young, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, etc)

    After ’72 the psyche aspect of country-rock all but dissapeared, a few obscure rual rock albums aside. The wonderful solo albums of Chris Darrow are somewhat of a high point of the post ’72 scene, blending Brit-folk and Americana, country-rock and old timey music in a genre that was becoming more strictly defined and commercially streamlined.

    So, as much as I get that it wasn’t the original vision, I’d certainly like to hear Chris’ updated vision on what was essentially a boutique reissue. Had the dice rolled differently perhaps Cur Non may have evolved into the famous Curnon label with digital downloads of their early roster. Maybe in a paralell world Curnon is known worldwide as a classic roots label, while say Rounder Records never came to be as the young hippies who founded the Rounder Collective in a bedroom in 1971 folded shop in less that a year.

    Yes, I’d liked to have heard all the mixes on the Maxfield Parrish reissue, as while I totally get the artistic itegrity of wanting the original mix, I also desire to hear what it came out as, mainly because I want to hear a something from it’s enviroment warts and all.

    So yes to all mixes I’d say, but that’s me.

  • Hi, I picked a copy of the original vinyl on the Sur Con label last week. Never heard of the band or album before but obviously knew the players. Great album, way ahead of it’s time – can’t see a reference to value on either Record Collector or Popsike, anybody got any idea? Sleeve Excellent /Vinyl Excellent + Picture inner. Chris McGranaghan – Those Old Records Lichfield England – September 6th 2009

  • Ken Salisbury

    I learned to play the 5 string banjo from Randy Groenke in Portola Valley around 68 or 69. One day he brought by this cool demo of the album, with pictures of the band in a train station with a very high ceiling. It was the original mix, not the mix on the album. I have to admit I was disappointed with the final version, which I still have. I would have left off the Widow. Randy was a great guy, I’m sorry to hear he’s gone to that celestial bluegrass band so soon. He learned banjo from Jerry Garcia, and after Garcia picked up pedal steel, Randy decided to learn it as well. He related to me an encounter he had with Jerry: When Jerry learned that Randy was playing pedal steel, he inquired: “Is that hard enough for you?” Randy was an incredible player, and insisted on practicing until it was down perfect. He had an incredible banjo, as well. I remember the back of the resonator was covered entirely with four pieces of genuine tortoise shell. About financing the album, I remember Randy telling me he sold his sports car (MG?) to pay for it. What else? Nothing left in the brain cells. Aum, peace, amen. Ken

  • Len Liechti

    What an amazing album. This is why I subscribe to The Rising Storm! I’m dumbfounded that it took three years to release it, and that someone thought an “up-to-date” remix was really necessary. Brilliant vocalists – and what a supporting cast! And imagine having Jerry Garcia as your guitar or banjo teacher!! The Taxim CD from Germany is still available, mine arrived last week. This is right up there with Dillard & Clark and Clarence White-era Byrds. Miss it at your peril.

  • tamcat3030

    i chanced upon this as i was searching for prints of maxfield parrish (my all time favourite artist) on google images. i went to youtube and looked it up and was pleasantly surprised by “bottle of reds”, of which i immediately favourited and posted on facebook to share with my friends. from there i found “julie columbus” and now hearing “the untransmuted child’, i am hooked. it’s a wrap. i know many others who would jive with this treasure as well.

  • tamcat3030

    p.s. album title and cover art – brilliant!

  • Mercury

    Does anyone have the guitar chords to The Lighthouse is Falling? Thanks.

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