Quicksilver Messenger Service: John Cipollina, Gary Duncan, Greg Elmore, David Freiberg.
Photographers: Jerry Wainwright; Jim Smircich; Fred Roth; Greg Elmore.
If the quintessential San Francisco Sound is defined by lengthy improvised guitarwork and near-telepathic interplay, then HAPPY TRAILS crystallizes the genre on record. Extemporizing mightily two Bo Diddley songs ("Who Do You Love" and "Mona," the quartet introduces new realms of expression to rock music. Guitarists John Cipollina and Gary Duncan offer contrasting textures and sound, goading each other to greater heights. Largely recorded live in concert, HAPPY TRAILS encapsulates an era of experimentation, employing images that embodied the outlaw chic of the hippie subculture. Its strengths are not, however, bound to that era; the album's mesmerizing power remains as true as ever. The George Hunter cover painting is also indispensible.
Rolling Stone (4/11/02, p.108) - Ranked #44 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.136) - Ranked #189 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"
Rolling Stone (5/3/69) - "...It begins with an entire side dedictated to Bo Diddley's `Who Do You Love,' superbly recorded at the Fillmores East and West...a beautiful example of the kind of communication rock'n'roll is all about..." -Greil Marcus
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