The Front Line were from San Rafael in Marin County, California and released their debut single in October 1965 on the York label. Keyboard player Gary Philippet had earlier been in The Pullice, who have two previously unreleased tracks on the Big Beat Good Things Are Happening compilation – including a high energy cover of The Kinks’ ‘I’m a Lover Not a Figher’. Both Philippet and drummer Bill Bowen had also been part of Electric Train; both sides of their very good acetate can be heard on You Gotta Have Moxie Volume 2.
‘I Don’t Care’ is a West Coast-style folk rock ballad with harpsichord on the verse (well, it sounds like one to my untrained ear anyway), impassioned vocals, a breezy organ solo, and an uplifting chorus bolstered by fuzz guitar.
‘I Don’t Care’
It is with ‘Got Love’ that we find true gold though – it fair flies along with forceful keyboards, a very catchy melody, and some impressive reverb-heavy lead guitar flourishes.
York Records was owned by Charlie Green and Brian Stone, who managed Sonny and Cher (and had worked with The Daily Flash and Buffalo Springfield) – which accounts for The Front Line opening the bill on one of Sonny and Cher’s tours. The label was distributed by Atco, which led to the 45 also being released in the UK on Atlantic.
Reissues: ‘Got Love’ is on Mayhem and Psychosis Volume 1. The 45 version of ‘I Don’t Care’ hasn’t been compiled but an earlier take appears on Sing Me a Rainbow, along with an earlier recording of ‘Got Love’ and the previously unheard ‘Need You No More’.
- I Don’t Care / Got Love (York, 1965)
- Saigon Girl / Three Day Pass (Titan, 1967)