The Goose Creek Symphony is an American rock band with roots in Arizona and Kentucky. They were formed in 1968 in Phoenix, Arizona as an outlet for the songs of Charlie Gearheart, aka Ritchie Hart, and were best known for their 1972 cover of Janis Joplin’s song, “Mercedes Benz”. The band recorded their first album at Audio Recorders in 1968-69 and were subsequently signed to Capitol Records in 1970. They continued recording until 1976, then reformed in 1990. The band is considered one of the tightest, musically, of its genre and has continued touring to popular acclaim.
Goose Creek Symphony’s frontman Charles Gearhart continues his admirable imitation of the Band’s warm country-rock on their second album, Words of Earnest. The opening track, “Gearhart and God,” finds the singer good-naturedly pleading with the man upstairs for help writing a song, promising to split the royalties 50/50.
The whole album is full of slightly tongue-in-cheek stories about fishin’ holes and the good life livin’ in the country, each warmly backed by Fred Wise’s loose fiddle or the occasional Dixieland/Salvation Army brass band. Similar to a lot of the Grateful Dead’s more countrified stuff, these down-home rockers make for great summertime porch music.
Self-produced 1972 ‘s “Words of Earnest” appeared in the wake of a personnel shake up that saw bassist Birkett replaced by Pat Moore.
Guitarist McFadden was also gone. Musically the set found Gearheart and company adding horn arrangements (courtesy of Randall Bramblett and Harold Williams), while moving in a distinctive country direction.
We’ll readily admit to not being big country-rock fans and much of the album doesn’t do much for us, but highlights include a nice cover of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” and the pretty ballad “Guitars Pickin, Fiddles Playin'”.
01. “Gearheart & God” (Charles Gearheart) – 1:58
02. “Me & Him” (Paul Spradlin) – 2:50
03. “Words Of Earnest” (Charles Gearheart) – 5:22
04. “Rush Of Love” (Paul Spradlin) – 2:40
05. “Mercedes Benz” (J. Joplin, M. McClure) – 3:14
06. “Guitars Pickin’, Fiddles Playin’ (Interpolating “Orange Blossom Special”)” (Charles Gearheart) – 4:01
07. “hupin’ It” (Charles Gearheart) – 2:26
08. “Speakin’ Of” (Paul Spradlin) – 4:05
09. “Broken Creek Goose Down” (Jim Tolles) – 2:14
10. “The Gospel” (Charles Gearheart) – 2:24
- Manufactured By – Capitol Records, Inc
Release Date: 1972
Genre: Folk, Country
Styles: Contemporary Folk
Label – Capitol Records