March Through Time: Moby Grape

I’m not alone in my belief that Moby Grape was the Great Lost ‘60s Rock Band. For myriad reasons both internal and external, the group never capitalized on its staggering breadth of talent. But – a certain former manager be damned – when we can find them, we have the albums. Even the least of these records is well worth seeking out.

  • Moby Grape (1967) – The debut showcased an embarrassment of riches: a band stuffed with musicians who could sing lead, write and play like mad. If CSN&Y had rocked hard, they might have held a candle to Moby Grape. The legendary hype threatened to overshadow the record’s greatness.

  • Wow/Grape Jam (1968) – A double album at this point was a misfire, as Grape Jam is as unfocused as, say, the third LP in George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass set. But Wow has more than its share of great songs.

  • Moby Grape ’69 (1969) – The band was flailing by this point, but the best moments on this record could easily convince you otherwise.

  • Truly Fine Citizen (1969) – Yes, this record leans in more of a countrified direction, but it till has flashes of the early lineup’s brilliance.

  • 20 Granite Creek (1971) – Effectively a reunion project (there would be many of these), 20 Granite Creek is a more modest outing. Subtle in character, it’s nonetheless an undiscovered gem.

Special notice goes to a 1993 2CD compilation called The Very Best of Moby Grape: Vintage. If CDs are your thing, this now hard-to-find set is essential, and that’s understating the case. It includes the entirety of the debut plus essential tracks from the band’s Columbia era.