The Electric Flag was a blues, psychedelic rock and soul band started in San Francisco, California in 1967. The three main members of the band were, Mike Bloomfield(guitar), Barry Goldberg(keyboard), and Buddy Miles(drums). They are considered psychedelic rock, because of the time period when they were active, and the associations with some of the band members with other psychedelic musicians. Buddy Miles, for instance, was to play with Jimi Hendrix, in The Band of Gypsies after leaving The Electric Flag. However, in my opinion, they were less psychedelic rock, and more blues, jazz, and at times soul. They were an important part of the psychedelic scene however, playing at The Monterey Pop Festival, and making a soundtrack for the movie, The Trip, in 1967, before releasing A Long Time Comin’.
The first song on the record is Killing Floor, and was a cover song, as was many of the songs that The Electric Flag recorded. This is a jazzy blues piece, very well played, as was all of the covers by the band. Though very short lived, The Electric Flag did very well, and may have had a longer career, except for the fact that some of it’s members had drug problems, particularly heroin. Nonetheless, the band recorded very tight on the record, and every song sounds great.
The next song on the record is Groovin’ Is Easy, a song with a lot of horns, which the band uses a lot throughout the album. I sounds to me like a quintessential sixties pop song at the beginning. Many of the songs on A Long Time Comin’ sounds like other bands that were popular around this time, such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago, who took some of the elements that were used by The Electric Flag, and made them their own. The Electric Flag made use of horns and keyboards before these other bands, which makes them somewhat pioneers of the sound, precursors of sounds that would emerge in other bands later on.
The song, Wine, is a jazzy song with a southern feel, and there is a great video of the band playing it at the Monterey Pop Festival, before it was released on record.
Mike Bloomfield was a great guitarist, he is one of my favorites, and he is featured throughout the album with some screeching blues solos that give the album that deep bluesy feel. This is why I think this record is more of a blues and jazz oriented album, as opposed to being psychedelic. Though there are moments on the record where a bit of psychedelia comes through.
Sunny is a cover version of the song written by Bobby Hebb, and it is one of the most recorded songs of all time. This Electric Flag version is one of the greatest covers of this song, they did an awesome job. Look Into My Eyes is a tune that reminds me of the band Chicago, another great song on the album. All the music on A Long Time Comin’ is excellent, and Bloomfield really shines on guitar, and the horn arrangements are really stellar. One of the best records of 1968 in my opinion. It is unfortunate the core of the band was so short lived, but they made some really memorable music. Well worth a listen.