“Free Creek” Super Session (Earl Dowd, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Moogy Klingman) — “Getting Back to Molly”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 21, 2023


769) “Free Creek” Super Session (Earl Dowd, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Moogy Klingman) — “Getting Back to Molly”

When I first heard this Bayou funk slow burner, I could swear that Dr. John (see #177) was growling out the vocals. Well, the good doctor was on the record, but he was actually playing guitar — trading solos with Eric Clapton! WTF?

Turns out this is from the supposedly mythical “Free Creek” super session in ‘69. The song was written by Moogy Klingman, with Earl Dowd doing the Dr. John impression, Clapton and Dr. John on guitars, and Klingman contributing harmonica (+ the Free Creeks Singers). (https://brain-salad.com/Digest/back-issues/2003/elp-digest-13-05.txt)

Moogy recalls that:

It was late but I told everyone I had one more song. I pulled out my harmonica and playing a one chord blues riff I had been working on with some words I had that went, “Getting Back to Molly”. Dr. John picked up a guitar and we had our third song. Two guitars battling with my wailing blues harp. Everyone had a great time. By the time we left the studio, it was light outside and we all had smiles on all our faces.


Silly Puppy writes that:

Tracks like “Getting Back To Molly” exemplify the free spirit mood . . . . With a jamming bluesy groove of Eric Clapton on guitar with Dr John joining in as a second guitarist, the baritone vocal deliveries of Earl Down and the backing Free Creeks Singers offer the perfect glimpse into the sounds of an undisclosed bayou in Louisiana as if Parliament, Three Dog Night and Taj Mahal had secretly gotten together to record.


Joe Viglione notes that “When Family producer Earl Dowd got recording time at The Record Plant and Todd Rundgren walked away from a proposed project, Klingman got to produce and direct sessions that came to be known as Music from Free Creek.”(https://www.allmusic.com/artist/mark-moogy-klingman-mn0000590090/biography) Easy Livin tells us more:

“Music from Free Creek” is . . . very strange and bizarre . . . . Quite how or why it came about is something of a mystery. It was recorded in New York in the new Record Plant recording studios in 1969. About 50 musicians were involved in this “behind closed doors” affair, many of whom were either famous at the time, or have gone on to find fame. Reportedly, none have ever been paid for their contribution. Two performers, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, were not named on the original release for contractual reasons, but this still leaves the likes of Keith Emerson, Delaney Bramlett, Todd Rundgren, Chris Wood, and Linda Ronstadt. The album is essentially a “Super session” primarily consisting of jams based on sometimes well known songs. About half a dozen different artists lead a session of three or four songs. These range from the jazz orientated Emerson session, to the country folk of Linda Ronstadt. Apart from the occasional overdub, the music is pretty much as it was recorded, warts and all. At times, the unstructured nature of the sessions becomes apparent, a young Moogy Klingman doing his best to keep in order the major artists he had been thrown in a the deep end with. . . . It was never officially released in the US . . . . Even in the UK, it took three years to sort out the legal situation to the extent that the album could be released, finally appearing in 1973.


As does Viglione:

[A] simply amazing collection of marquee talent recorded at the Record Plant in June through August of 1969. . . . While record labels were looking for something of this enormity — keep the alleged “jam” between Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan that never happened in mind . . . the public had little clue that something on that scale actually did exist. . . . Broken up into six divisions — the Eric Clapton session, the Jeff Beck session, the Keith Emerson session, the Harvey Mandel session, Moogy Klingman’s odds & sods, and the Linda Ronatadt session . . . . Music from Free Creek is a super session album where the musicians are playing for the fun of it, and that comes across. The material doesn’t get bogged down in “names”; it just flows.


As to Klingman, Joe Viglione says:

Mark “Moogy” Klingman, produced Bette Midler’s third album . . . co-wrote with Buzzy Linhart [see #346, 647] the song that could be considered her theme, “(You Got to Have) Friends”; co-founded Utopia with Todd Rundgren; and was a legendary figure in the music industry, having written, produced, performed, and organized for over four decades. . . . At 16, he was a member of Jimmy James & the Blue Flames, the original Jimi Hendrix group . . . . A year later, Klingman caught a break when one of the hottest producers in the industry, Bob Crew, produced his first signed band, Glitterhouse (formerly the Justice League) . . . . Glitterhouse also recorded the soundtrack to the hip Roger Vadim science-fiction film starring Jane Fonda, Barbarella . . . . Klingman was in a jug band with Andy Kaufman . . . performing in a civil rights concert that got Klingman expelled from high school. He met Todd Rundgren . . . circa 1969 and played on many Rundgren-produced discs by artists such as Ian & Sylvia, co-producing some like the James Cotton Blues Band and Klingman’s own two albums for Capitol/EMI. . . . Klingman appeared on about ten to 12 Rundgren albums . . . .


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