Marin County Cowboys is a double-disc bootleg package compiling fragments of several previously uncirculated Quicksilver Messenger Service live recordings. Due to the nature of this set, there are occasional tape edits and sound dropouts, however the overall sonic quality is very good to excellent and the track selection is premium. In addition, this volume contains previously unissued titles, a pair of untitled instrumentals, as well as a few rarely performed cover tunes. Disc one commences with the first of two vintage radio advertisements. The first of these promotes the November 25th and 26th, 1966 performances featuring Quicksilver Messenger Service supported by Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe & the Fish at the Avalon Ballroom. What follows are professionally documented fragments from several sets in the Bay Area circa '66/'67. Quicksilver Messenger Service devotees will inevitably want to seek out complete copies of these sets. However, for those who can't track them down, Marin County Cowboys is not only compiled with impeccable taste, it also includes hard to find studio and one-off live cuts as well -- including "If You Live" from the band's appearance at the Monterey Pop festival. The first disc concludes with the second of two radio ads. Although the group is not mentioned by name in this Chevrolet Camaro ad, John Cipollina's guitar is unmistakeable. Disc two focuses on material from Happy Trails and slightly beyond. The opening, aptly titled "Blues Jam," is an extended highlight that features the stratospheric group dynamic which Quicksilver Messenger Service became legendary for. Especially tasty are the conversations between bassist David Freiberg and Cipollina. This non-Bay Area appearance -- at Bill "Uncle Bobo" Graham's Fillmore East -- is also featured on the legit Unreleased Quicksilver: Lost Gold and Silver.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer