Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails

Happy Trails to you.....

Happy Trails ~ Some of the best cover art of all time?

I picked this one up in an Oxfam while on my travels just the other day and it reminded me about just why I loved Acid Rock for so long and why in the past I collected Lps like this avidly.

For a start it has a 25 minute long tune ‘Who Do You Love’, the old Bo Diddley number, and variations thereof on side A, in which the band meanders through just about everything you can do sonically with an electric guitar. Bursting into the tune, working into and through a sometimes muddy, but never boring Jam session and bursting back out into the sunlight of the song again for a reprise. You just have to admire any band with the testicles large enough to put 25 minutes of one track on side A of an Lp.

The tremello’ed Guitar work of John Cipollina is a mighty thing to behold too and though like all noodler bands, where the moment is king and you never know what will happen next, you will exchange moments of mud laden playing with it’s missed notes and stumbling coherence for the shining brilliance of the here and now and playing that,… well… will never be played quite the same way again, for it is LIVE.

This is therefore a kind of music you will probably (unless there is a ground swell of protest over the computer generated ‘In the box’ construction of pop music) never hear again. It is quite possible that were a young man or woman of today’s restricted palate to taste the vinyl blotting papaer of this particular ‘trip’ they would have their musical minds well and truly blown. When I put this on, having not listened to it for probably 20 years, it refreshed my senses like a slap in the face with a cold mountain. I want you to hear it!

Horny Old Stack

Here just to illustrate a point is a picture of Cipollina’s Amps and outboard, with his custom built Gibson SG and Bigsby Tremolo arm. I mean where would you find anyone but Willy Wonka playing through something that looked like this these days!

Quicksilver Messenger Service were on the top of their game alongside other now more famous members of the San Fran Acid Rock scene, claiming that they only started playing in order to be able to afford more easily the drugs of their numerous choices they were nonetheless an incredibly highly respected outfit in their time. They played alongside the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and they feature somewhere on most of those beautiful posters advertising nights at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East.

Quicksilver never really recovered from their trip, after the days of the late 60s and early 70s had passed. The few that were really there and could remember it would hold them dear in their hearts but those that grew to know of Janis and Carlos and Jimi from Movies and Soundtrack Lps knew little of many of the seminal bands of the 60s West Coast scene and QMS were just one such band. All but forgotten now.

sliarT yppaH

You can imagine therfore my joy in finding this and reminding myself of those wonderful excesses in music that only 60s psychedelia could give us.


Side A

1. “Who Do You Love – Part 1” – 3:32 (McDaniel)
2. “When You Love” – 5:15 (Duncan)
3. “Where You Love” – 6:07 (Quicksilver Messenger Service / Fillmore Audience)
4. “How You Love” – 2:45 (Cipollina)
5. “Which Do You Love” – 4:38 (Freiberg)
6. “Who Do You Love – Part 2” – 3:05 (McDaniel)

Side B

1. “Mona” – 7:01 (McDaniel)
2. “Maiden of the Cancer Moon” – 2:54 (Duncan)
3. “Calvary” – 13:31 (Duncan)
4. “Happy Trails” – 1:29 (Evans)

2 thoughts on “Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails”

  1. You won’t hear very much guitar playing like this these days. Rock like this is dead. I pull out Quicksilver and ask them if they think Gun ‘N’ Roses could play it, or if all their cosmic synthesized riffs ever got a good as “Calvary”.

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