“The wind in the forest does far more for me than your plastic society…”
The United Travel Service were from Portland, OR and formed in late 1966 with the idea of bringing the new sound of San Francisco to the North West area. In their time together they opened for the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Doors, and released two great psychedelic folk-rock singles.
I’ll make no bones about it. I love ‘Wind and Stone’ with its intelligent lyrics about abandoning mainstream society and embracing the natural world, a classic 60s counter-cultural concern of course. The guitar solo is almost raga-like, though it was apparently influenced by bagpipe music! The song was a local hit, reaching number 3 on the KFLY charts in Portland.
‘Drummer of Your Mind’ was inspired by the famous quotation from Henry David Thoreau: “if a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer”. The drums give the song a marching band feel but at it its heart it is another splendid folk rocker, and there is even an effective spoken word section.
‘Wind and Stone’
‘Drummer of Your Mind’
Guitarist and vocalist Benjamin Hoff later wrote the bestselling book The Tao of Pooh.
The single isn’t that expensive. You could pick one up for $40 or so. Or even easier, there is an excellent recent compilation called Wind and Stone 1967-1970 that has both sides of the two singles plus previously unreleased material.
- Wind and Stone / Drummer of Your Mind (Ridon / Rust, 1967)
- Gypsy Eyes / Echo of You (Ridon, 1968)