Homestead & Wolfe

Our Times -- The Gold Star Tapes (1973-75)

Now here's an obscure one. South Bay folk-rock outfit Homestead & Wolfe took its name from the Cupertino intersection where lies the group's home base: the United Methodist Good Samaritan church. Youth minister Ernie Bringas (of '60s surf hot-rod duo the Rip Chords) mentored this crew of talented teens, which featured three lead vocalists -- two female, one male -- and euphonious songwriting and harmonies. Using industry connections, Bringas booked H&W into Hollywood's Gold Star Studios with A-list musicians, resulting in these long-lost, pro-caliber recordings. While utterly of their era, most of the songs have aged well: The haunting, countrified arrangements offer retro bliss; "Beat of the Drum" is one groovy wah-pedal workout; and the anti-Nixon anthem "Your Freedom's in Question" is more apropos than ever. Redolent of everyone from the Byrds to the Carpenters, Our Times is a shimmering time capsule of frothy California soul.

 
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