A LOOK BACK
by Mike Somavilla
From 1966 until 1973 Country Weather played all throughout Northern California and the Pacific
Northwest. In their early days they were known as The Virtues. Original members were Dave Carter on Bass guitar
and vocals and his long time friend from grade school, Steve Derr, on rhythm guitar and vocals (It was Steve who taught Dave
how to play bass), with Paul White on Lead Guitar and Craig T. Nelson (not "Coach") on drums.
Greg Douglass was one of the hottest guitarists in Contra Costa County at the time, previously
with the Statics and The Vibrants. Greg replaced Paul White on lead guitar, adding his song writing and vocal skills
to the band's sound. Craig, who didn't like to practice, was eventually replaced by Bill Baron. Bill was a powerhouse
of a drummer and when he played it sounded like there were two distinct drummers up on stage.
It was this line-up of the Virtues - Bill Baron, Dave Carter, Steve Derr and Greg Douglass
that would later change their name to Country Weather, after Chet Helms suggested that they needed a better name. So
after an eye-opening experience one afternoon in 1967, they came up with the name Country Weather.
Country Weather soon attracted the fascination of the San Francisco Bay area music scene as
well as the attention of Bill Graham. Graham decided to book them through his Millard Agency, where upon he put them
on many bills at the Fillmore, Winterland and other high profile gigs as well.
In 1969 County Weather relased a five song-one sided record as a way to get gigs. It
also got them some air play and they received some press from Ralph J. Gleason. Unfortunately only fifty copies were made
making it one of the most sought after relics of the San Francisco music scene. "Fly to New York" and "Carry A Spare"
are just two songs from the record that reveived air play on the bay area's underground radio stations.
Also in 1969 they did a session which received considerable air play on KMPX and KSAN for
singer songwriter Terry Dolan with John Cipollina from the Quicksilver Messenger Service and Nicky Hopkins, veteran piano
player for the Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Steve Miller Band, and countless others. The two songs, "Inlaws
and Outlaws" and "Angie" can be heard on the Terry & the Pirates CD "Too Close for Comfort."
During their hey-day Country Weather opened and headlined at various concerts with Creedence
Clearwater Revival, Spirit, Joe Cocker, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Paul Butterfield, Sly and the Family Stone,
Sons of Champlin, Boz Scaggs, Ten Years After, Big Brother and the Holding Company, John Lee Hooker, Country Joe and the Fish,
Dan Hicks, Steve Miller, Dino Valenti, Muddy Waters, Beggars Opera , Frumious Bandersnatch, Kaleidescope, The Sir Douglass
Quintet, Flatt & Scruggs, and Jeff Beck with Nick Hopkins, Mickey Waller, Ron Wood and Rod Stewart. On one particular
night while hanging out backstage at the Fillmore, Rod was moaning and groaning that somebody had drank his bottle of some
special imported wine. It was Dave and Steve. Rod never found out.....
[In 2002 Country Weather released a double vinyl LP compilation] of their old recordings.
They had a great time tripping down memory lane listening to the tapes and recalling their youth, the gigs, the chicks, and
all of the other trappings that rock n roll offers a young man in his early twenties. It was during a time when they
were briefly "Almost" on top of the rock world.
The band, their old manager and road manager share some of the experiences about the recording
sessions, the concerns, the scene and just being alive, playing music and being a part of San Francisco's music history, in
a time and place forever to be revered and known as "The Summer of Love." Th[e] album is in celebration of the same
energy and spirit.
[The music on the LP was] years in the making [and includes] Country Weather cool unreleased
and vintage music. [It also includes] other long forgotten studio tracks, as well as some explosive live performances.
There are a lot of gems and great music on the [LP].