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Shop  >>  Music  >>  Rock/Pop

Barry McGuire & "Doctor" Eric Hord

Barry McGuire & The Doctor

Barry Mcguire & "doctor" Eric Hord Barry Mcguire & The Doctor
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Who hasn't heard "Eve of Destruction?"  Certainly no one who lived through the Sixties.  It's one of the most iconic protest songs of the era, sung by one of the most instantly recognizable voices of a generation...Barry McGuire.  But here's an album that came a wee bit later-1970, to be specific-that's unlike anything McGuire had done before or has done since. Produced by Lou Adler and two of Barry's former pals from the New Christy Minstrels (Nick Woods and Art Podell,) Barry McGuire and the Doctor was a freewheeling collaboration with blues guitarist "Doctor" Eric Hord, so called because of his wizardry on guitar.  It was recorded at a dark time in Barry's life when he was, in his words, "out of control."  There was a lot...a lot...of white powder at the sessions, but in spite of that (and, perhaps, a wee bit because of that) the album stands as Barry's finest work in the opinions of blues/rock critics.  Essentially a series of country blues jam sessions reminiscent of some of Fred Neil's more outre work, the music is a marriage of Hord's artistry on blues guitar and McGuire's storytelling charms.  Hord had been lead guitarist for The Mamas and The Papas, and his name carried weight among rock musicians in Los Angeles at the time; thus, the project attracted an all-star cast of country rock pioneers. Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke of The Byrds, "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow of The Flying Burrito Brothers, Byron Berline of Dillard and Clark, and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles all played on the sessions.  Even Herb Alpert (uncredited) added a haunting trumpet accent to one track, "South of the Border."  

Upon its release in November 1970, sales were dismal.   Barry remembers, "The album got no airplay... Could be it was ahead of its time...could be it was too raw...too loose..." But, it generated the most positive reviews of Barry's career.  In a 2013 review, the No Depression website called it "McGuire's best album and a lost treasure of the era... It is a masterfully engineered series of live-in-the-studio sessions focused on Hord playing a variety of stringed instruments including slide and lap steel, while McGuire holds forth on his 12-string and some seriously earthy and passionate blues-harp... Songs like 'Train,' 'Electric Train,' and 'Meet Me at the Bottom' rock with a Piedmont feel that's fresh and original."   
Barry McGuire and the Doctor captures a fascinating, if bittersweet, moment in Barry's life, his last "secular" recording before re-emerging as a Christian artist.  While his memories of those recording sessions are still dark, even a bit frightening, the music that remains is anything but...providing reassuring evidence that there can indeed be something to this notion of silver linings.  The liner notes, written by Tom Pickles, include an interesting chronicle of Barry's career and behind the scenes recollections of the sessions from Barry himself and producer Art Podell, along with a bunch of rare photos.  Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, this release marks a long-overdue CD debut for a true cult classic.

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