Buy / sample at Other Music Digital, Amazon, and iTunes (available worldwide)
For our second release, we present the 1976 AM radio classic Music and Dreams by Robert Lester Folsom. Lester, as he's known by friends and family, is about the sweetest person I've ever encountered, and that sweetness is apparent from each cool, laid back, sometimes goofy, but always unassumingly brilliant song on this album. The description from Other Music Digital is worth quoting:
Stylistically, it's straight outta the mellow gold school of '70s folk rock. CS&N, Todd Rundgren and Steve Miller are all good references, but there's also a mysterious vibe to the tunes (a la Merrell Fankhauser) and a healthy dose of yacht rock thrown in as well.
This is a private press release that sounds like it came out of a Hollywood studio; the production is crystal clear and every note sings with incredible vibrancy. In particular lead guitarist Hans VanBrackle kills it. Check out 'Jericho' and try not to be moved by the guitar solo on this track. Beautiful. Friends, this album is not available on CD and has never been reissued until now. An original LP copy sells for $250 on the rare occasions that one comes available. Have a listen and find out why.
How I Met Lester... by Sparky Smith
My high school band was on the verge of disbanding when guitarist Jimmy Atkinson brought this (soft spoken, long haired, bearded) guitarist to our practice. Our practice space was an old abandoned 2nd floor court room in Broxton, GA. I don't think that Lester even played that night. Needless to say... I was not impressed. Time passed... the band disbanded... More time passed... I enrolled at South GA College.
The 2nd student I met at SGC turned out to be a very talkative drummer, Bob Jones. We discussed the possiblity of jamming. A short time later an excited Bob informed me that he had located not one but two guitarists. When Bob brought us together, I realized, "Oh that's the same guy that Jimmy had brought to Broxton." Once again... I was not impressed.
As we practiced and tried to find out where each of us were musically, what I discovered was... Lester was very nice, smart, 2nd biggest Beatle fan I have ever met, and most of all... Unique. His music compositions that he constructed by "ping ponging" his reel to reel amazed me. While most of us were concerned with volume, this amp, that guitar, Lester was concerned with the "music". He played around with flange, phase shifting, rotary speakers... maintaining a musical, but unique sound. We spent many hours either recording at Peterson Hall of his dorm room. Lester was good to share his original songs with us. He gave us the freedom to create our own lines, but if the lines didn't work... he could always provide a musical direction that usually worked better. One would probibly never guess when listening to some of our music that we stayed sober and grounded (not high). Our band slowly began to gel, we learned enough cover songs to balance Lester's originals. We played often, which was unusual for an unknown band that presented as much original material as we did. Also, Disco was big on radio and with the DJs, but not with us. I truely believe that Abacus/Lester was a really good thing that came along at the wrong time to see any real success... Oh I have I mentioned that by now... I have been impressed!
Abacus had a very full sound. At times we had a front man, 2 guitarists, 1 bassest, 2 keyboardist (both carried B3s & Leslies), and 2 drummers. Atlanta's LeFevre Sound was Lester's chosen studio, he liked the people and the results. Stan Dacus was both helpful and encouraging. He kept everything relaxed and never seemed to make fun of our/my studio inexperience. You need to remember that this is the 70s. Bands like ours didn't have access to grand pianos, we had a choice of Wirlitzer or Fender Rhodes. Stan let us use the mellatron (tempermental strings in a box). Back in the SGC dorm... strings in a box was unimaginable! Everything was analog... and Stan was a Wizard at "slice & splice". If was a show in itself to watch him disect and remove the undesirable.
I remember driving on Walker Street, when I first heard a cut from "music and dreams" on the radio... again words are weak to express that kind of excitement. Lester and I traveled around GA and FL trying to get air play. Many stations were very helpful and we would even make their top 10 lists. Many stations ignored us... but then... we were not disco! (and proud of it!) Two memorable moments for me at this time... first sitting with a large group of people in a Valdosta resturant (Shoneys) and hearing them discuss how much they like the song currently being piped over the resturant system. It was "Stove" and they had no idea of my involvement. (I must have grinned like the Chesire Cat!) The second moment was watching Lester hand a "music and dreams" album to Wolfman Jack. (awooooooo!)
Those were exciting years for us and I treasure every one. I have yet to share the fact that I was... how should I say... a weak bassist. (I'm sure Lester was not impressed at any time, but kept me around anyway.) But through the years since... I have had my picture published (in a "coffee table" book) only one page away from the Rolling Stones, my name was posted in a temporary 6 month exhibit in the GA Music Hall of Fame, I have had the pleasure to either play with or provide sound for Jennifer Nettles/Sugarland, Percy Sledge, Black Oak Arkansas, Sammy Kershaw, Molly Hatchet and members of Heart, Bad Company and 38 special. For the past 20 years I have been a member of The Bushmen. A band that has had a regional popularity since the '60s. I feel that Lester is responsible for my last 33 years of involvement and enjoyment of music. I probably would have dropped music after high school if I had not met that "soft spoken, long haired, bearded guy."
Thanks Lester for letting me be a part of your "music and dreams" and thanks even more for being my friend.