First off, at least one reference work erroneously links this outfit to Iowa's fabulous Truth and Janey. There's no connection and anyone expecting to hear a set of similarly styled hard rock is in for a major disappointment. That warning out of the way this is another one of those obscure late-1960s/early-1970s acts that fans are beginning to latch on to as a minor collectable.
To be truthful, the first couple of times I listened to the LP it didn't do much for me. That said, I've gone back to it several times and it does have a distinctive charm that grows on you.
Given the absence of performance information, the writing credits indicated the line up consisted of Mike DeGreve, Bob Doran and J. Kerr. Gawd only knows how this outfit managed to attract the attention of James Brown's People Records. Signed by People their cleverly titled 1970 debut "Truth" was recorded in L.A. Interestingly, the album found the trio working separately with soul producers Clarence Paul, Mickey Stevenson and Leon Ware. Largely self-penned, musically the trio bounced all over the place. Most of the first side reflected a harmony rich folk-rock sound with tracks such as 'Far Out', 'Let It Out, Let It In' and 'Contributin'' recalling a weird hybrid of Peter, Paul and Mary-meet-Grace Slick and The Jefferson Airplane. A number of selections were also surprisingly secular (check out their cover of Stevenson's 'Anybody Here Know How To Pray'). In contrast, the flip side offered up a much more rock oriented sound. Probably the basis for some references giving the trio a psych label, on the sitar-propelled 'Thoughts' (the collection's stand out effort), 'Lizzie' and their cover of Joe South's 'Walk a Mile In My Shoes' the trio bore a stronger resemblance to The Jefferson Airplane. Needless to say, the set sold zilch and quickly vanished into oblivion, followed in short order by the group.
By an odd quirk of fate I learned some more about this group from bassist John Latini.
"Starting in early 1970 Bob Smith, James Curtis, Mike Degreve and I hung out together for about a year and half. At the time Mike [Degreve] and I were recording "The Visit" we were in actually in another group. That group was called Truth, and it included a husband and wife from New York who were singers and actors. The vocals sounded similar to The Mama & Papas. We had an album on James Brown's People label, which was run by former Motown Vice President Mickey Stevenson who was dabbling in "hippie" (for lack of a better word), type music, after he moved to LA. We did a promo concert at the Palladium in Hollywood, with Blue Cheer and Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids. Unfortunately, the husband and wife split from each other and that group went by the wayside. That's an album you might want to look for. I'm sure it's hard to find. It had a lot of Eastern Religion ideas combined with 60's social stuff, mixed with oddball songs and even a touch of Southern Gospel." John Latini (April 2005)
|publicity shot courtesy of Mike DeGreve|
Always interesting to hear from someone associated with one of these groups ...
Michael DeGreve here. My friend John Latini recently got in touch and we've been talking about the old days. He told me about your site. I played on both [Bob Smith's] "The Visit" and the Truth records. I was one of the 3 members of Truth. It was produced by Mickey Stevenson (Motown) and it was quite an adventure for a 20 year old beginner. Great memories. Bob Smith was my closest friend in those days and we kept in touch until his passing. If you'd like, I could post a story or two about those days, some interesting times.
I've performed as an acoustic act since then and in 1989 did a solo album which featured Graham Nash and Randy Meisner (Eagles) on vocals and David Lyndley (aka Lindley] on guitar and Leland Sklar on bass. Produced by Don Gooch, who engineered a lot of the Crosby Nash duo stuff. Probably don't want my life's story here, but if you want, my website is: MichaelDeGreve.com:
Take care, my friend.