The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 24, 2022

427) The Lewis & Clarke Expedition — “Blue Revelations”

The rousing flip side to the LCE’s ’67 “hit” (reaching #64) “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad).” Richie Unterberger calls “Blue Revelations” a “gorgeous folk-psych rocker . . . with . . . enchanting reverbed guitar and harmonies”. (https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-lewis-clarke-expedition-mw0000842184) Richie wasn’t so kind about the rest of the band’s sole album, saying that “[o]ften the group plumb for a happy, good-time pop/rock sound, but their material in that vein isn’t so strong; the production is cluttered with too many gimmicky period flourishes, most disagreeably when vaudevillian touches are used, and the attempts at wry, humorous social observation . . . are almost painfully strained.”

Peter Marston writes that “[n]ot unlike Paul Revere and the Raiders, they were a bit of a costume band, with all the members donning buckskin and fringe.” (https://www.popgeekheaven.com/music-discovery/lost-treasures-lewis-clark-expedition) The band’s name? As the original LP’s liner notes explain: “Travis Lewis and Boomer Clarke are explorers in the field of songwriting and, like the original Lewis and Clarke, they guide the expedition. . . . Their songs are a way of sharing a few moments with you in the midst of the joyful and bewildering experience of being young and very much alive.” Ah, OK.

John Bush give some background:

The [LCE] evolved out of several folk bands operating around Los Angeles during the mid-’60s. [The band was f]ormed by Dallas songwriter Michael Martin Murphey (under the guise of Travis Lewis) with Owen Castleman (performing as Boomer Clarke), [who, along with] bassist John London were all old friends of country-minded Monkee Michael Nesmith . . . . Well before Nesmith was hired to the Monkees . . . London performed with him in San Antonio as a folk duo, and after moving to California, all four native Texans appeared in a large folk group called the Survivors. Nesmith dropped out because of a commitment to the Air Force, and the remaining trio added guitarist Ken Bloom and drummer John Raines, coming together in 1966 as the Lewis & Clarke Expedition. . . . The band was hyped not only to young girls as another version of the Monkees, but also to older rock fans as a cutting-edge country-rock band that played up their association with Native American[s].

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lewis-clarke-expedition-mn0001537456

Thus, in the October ’67 issue of 16 magazine appeared Monkees Pick for Stardom — Lewis & Clarke Expedition, announcing that:

Not so long ago Boomer Clarke, Travis Lewis and Monkee buddy John London got together and decided to form a group . . . and soon they were belting out such a groovy sound that the Monkees themselves became the number one fans of the group . . . . [W]e hope you dug their first release I Feel Good, I Feel Bad backed by Blue Revelation. Hang loose now, luvvies—Davy, Mike, Micky and Peter introduce you to America’s fastest-rising new group!

https://monkees.coolcherrycream.com/articles/1967/10/16/monkees-pick-for-stardom-lewis-and-clarke-expedition

As to Boomer Clarke, the article says:

Lead singer and second lead guitar player for the group is adorable Boomer Clarke. He has just turned 20, is an inch under six feet tall and has ash blond hair and blue eyes. Boomer spent his childhood in Texas, and he now lives in a bachelor apartment in Hollywood. He’s very single—as are all the guys in the group—and likes tall girls who are natural, friendly and who have a streak of the “pioneer woman” in them. On a date, Boomer likes to visit jazz clubs, go to concerts and have dinner at his favorite restaurant—Player’s Choice on the Sunset Strip (where Southern-fried chicken and down-home cookin’ are the specialty).

Peter Marston adds that:

Two singles were released from the album, “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)” b/w “Blue Revelations” and “Freedom Bird” b/w “Destination Unknown.” Neither single hit and shortly following the release of the album, the band members went their separate ways. Murphey, of course, went on to a very successful solo career, first as an outlaw cosmic cowboy and then as a mainstream pop and country artist.

“Lost time, lost years, wasted lives, wasted tears. It was so clear in the night. [S]aw you, saw your eyes, saw the truth in your heart. I fell apart. I saw it all in a blue revelation. I saw it all in a flash of light. I saw it all in a blue revelation. I saw it all in the night. I was right. . . .”

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