Hoyt Axton – Thunder’N Lightnin’ (1963)

FrontCover1Hoyt Wayne Axton (March 25, 1938 – October 26, 1999) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor. He became prominent in the early 1960s, establishing himself on the West Coast as a folk singer with an earthy style and powerful voice. Among his best-known songs are “Joy to the World”, “The Pusher”, “No No Song”, “Greenback Dollar”, “Della and the Dealer”, and “Never Been to Spain”.

He was a prolific character actor, appearing in dozens of film and television roles over several decades, memorably as a father figure in a number of films, including The Black Stallion (1979) and Gremlins (1984).

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Born in Duncan, Oklahoma, Axton spent his preteen years in Comanche, Oklahoma, with his brother, John. His mother, Mae Boren Axton, a songwriter, co-wrote the classic rock ‘n’ roll song “Heartbreak Hotel”, which became a major hit for Elvis Presley. Some of Hoyt’s own songs were later recorded by Presley. Axton’s father, John Thomas Axton, was a naval officer stationed in Jacksonville, Florida; the family joined him there in 1949.

Axton graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1956 and left town after Knauer’s Hardware Store burned down on graduation night, a prank gone wrong.

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He attended Oklahoma State University on a scholarship,[4] and he played football for the school, but he left to enlist in the US Navy. In the Navy, Axton held the rank of petty officer second class and served on two ships, the USS Princeton (CV-37) and the USS Ranger (CVA-61)

Axton was the first cousin of David Boren, who served as governor of Oklahoma and three terms in the United States Senate, and as president of the University of Oklahoma.

After his discharge from the Navy, Axton began singing folk songs in San Francisco nightclubs. In the early 1960s, he released his first folk album, The Balladeer (recorded at The Troubadour), which included his song “Greenback Dollar”. It became a 1963 hit for The Kingston Trio.

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Axton released numerous albums throughout the 1960s and ’70s. He had many minor hits of his own, such as “Boney Fingers”, “When the Morning Comes”, and 1979’s “Della and the Dealer”. His vocal style featured his distinctive bass-baritone (which later deepened to near-bass) and use of characterization.

Axton first appeared on television in a David L. Wolper ABC production of The Story of a Folksinger (1963). He appeared on Hootenanny, hosted by Jack Linkletter, during this period. In 1965, he was in an episode of Bonanza where he sang duets with Pernell Roberts. In 1966, he made his film debut in the film Smoky playing the role of Fred Denton, the evil brother of the character played by actor Fess Parker. He became well known in the 1970s and 1980s through his film roles, including The Black Stallion (1979), Heart Like a Wheel (1983), and Gremlins (1984). His television appearances included WKRP In Cincinnati (1979) and Diff’rent Strokes (1984, 1985).

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In 1980, he sang the theme song to the short-lived series Flo, and he appeared in the episode “You Gotta Have Hoyt”. Axton sang the jingle “The Ballad of Big Mac”, touting McDonald’s Big Mac onscreen in a 1969 commercial he filmed for the hamburger franchise, as well as “Head For the Mountains” in voice-overs for Busch Beer in the 1980s. He appeared in a Pizza Hut commercial in 1985, and in a TV spot for FTD Florists with Merlin Olsen in 1989.

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Axton’s most lasting contributions were songs made famous by others: “Joy to the World” (Three Dog Night) and “Never Been to Spain” (Three Dog Night, Elvis Presley); “Greenback Dollar” (the Kingston Trio); “The Pusher” and “Snowblind Friend” (Steppenwolf); “No No Song” (Ringo Starr); and an array of other songs covered by singers such as Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, John Denver, Nina Simone, Waylon Jennings, Martha Reeves, Jonathan Edwards, Glen Campbell, and Anne Murray. Axton sang duets with Linda Ronstadt on the songs “Lion in the Winter” and “When the Morning Comes” (a top-40 country hit), and with Tanya Tucker on “You Taught Me How To Cry.” His composition “Joy to the World”, as performed by Three Dog Night, was number one on the charts for six straight weeks in 1971, making it the top hit of the year. He named his record label Jeremiah after the bullfrog mentioned in the song.

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Axton was married four times; the first three ended in divorce. He had five children.

Axton struggled with cocaine addiction, and several of his songs, including “The Pusher”, “Snowblind Friend”, and “No No Song”, partly reflect his negative drug experiences. He was a proponent of medical marijuana use for many years until his wife Deborah and he were arrested in February 1997 at their Montana home for possession of about 500 g (1.1 lb) of marijuana.


His wife later explained that she offered Axton marijuana to relieve his pain and stress following his 1995 stroke. They were fined and given deferred sentences. Axton never fully recovered from his stroke, and he used a wheelchair much of the time afterwards. Axton died at age 61 at his home in Victor, Montana, on October 26, 1999, after suffering two heart attacks in two weeks.

On November 1, 2007, Axton and his mother Mae were both inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Oklahoma

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And here´s his second solo album:

Hoyt delivers a respectable album from 1963 that combines folk, gospel and blues. With pretty much just Hoyt and a guitar it has an honest feel to it. He does some of the oldest versions of songs like “Cocaine” and “Midnight Special” that I am familiar with. He likes to hoot and holler on several songs which I guess was popular with the times. He manages to contribute three of his own songs with “Gypsey Woman”, a Bo Diddley tribute, being a stand out. (otismidnight)

It is indeed a wonderful album … an impressive mixture as Country, Gospel, Folk & Blues … very intimate and also very personal


Hoyt Axton (guitar, vocals)
Sharky Hall (drums)
Billy Cheatwood (on 03.,05. + 10.)
Jimmy Bond (bass on 01. + 08.)
background vocals:
The Chambers Brothers on 04. + 07.)

An alternate edition from Australia:
AlternateEdition (Australia)

01. Thunder ‘n’ Lightnin’ (Axton) 2.40
02. Blue Prelude (Jenkins/Bishop) 2.43
03. Woman At The Well (Traditional) 3.52
04. Grizzly Bear (Traditional) 1.52
05. I Never Knew My Father (Bunham) 4.05
06. Midnight Special (Traditional) 3.19
07. I´m Gonna Let My Little Light Shine (Traditional) 2.32
08. Gypsy Woman (Axton) 3.38
09. Water Boy (Hootchie Coochie Man) (Morganfield) 3.38
10. Daddy Walked In Darkness (Axton) 2.47
11. Cocaine (Traditional) 2.45
12. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 2.42



Press Release

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The official website (now deleted):

Quicksilver Messenger Service – Live At Fillmore West (1967)

FrontCover1Quicksilver Messenger Service (sometimes credited as simply Quicksilver) is an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band achieved wide popularity in the San Francisco Bay Area and through their recordings, with psychedelic rock enthusiasts around the globe, and several of their albums ranked in the Top 30 of the Billboard Pop charts. They were part of the new wave of album-oriented bands, achieving renown and popularity despite an almost complete lack of success with their singles (apart from “Fresh Air”, which reached number 49 in 1970). Though not as commercially successful as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver was integral to the beginnings of their genre. With their jazz and classical influences and a strong folk background, the band attempted to create an individual, innovative sound. Music historian Colin Larkin wrote: “Of all the bands that came out of the San Francisco area during the late ’60s, Quicksilver typified most the style, attitude and sound of that era.”


Member Dino Valenti drew heavily on musical influences he picked up during the folk revival of his formative musical years. The style he developed from these sources is evident in Quicksilver Messenger Service’s swing rhythms and twanging guitar sounds. After many years, the band has attempted to reform despite the deaths of several members. In 2009, original members Gary Duncan and David Freiberg toured as the Quicksilver Messenger Service, using various backing musicians. (wikipedia)


And here´s a pretty good bootleg from the early days of Quicksilver Messenger Service

Hearing the band onstage during its most primal stage was to hear all the elements of the San Francisco Sound coming together. Freely mixing elements of folk, blues, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll and just beginning to embrace spontaneous improvisation, QMS was ahead of the curve, and along with the Dead, the Airplane, and Big Brother, forging a sound that would make San Francisco the epicenter of the psychedelic music universe during the following year. (wolfgangs.com)

Enjoy their unique sound !

Recorded live at theFillmore West, San Francisco, CA , September 14, 1967
(excellent soundboard recording)


John Cipolina (guitar)
Gary Duncan (vocals, guitar)
Greg Elmore (drums)
David Freiberg (bass, vocals)

Early set:
01. Got My Mojo Working (Morganfield) 5.35
02. Dino’s Song (Valenti) 3.34
03. Yellow Headed Woman (unknown) / Long Distance Call (Morganfield) 5.57
04. Acapulco Gold And Silver (Duncan/Schuster) 3.06
05. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Bredon ) 4.37
06. Smokestack Lightningb(Hooker/Wolf) 12.28
07. If You Live, Your Time Will Come (Allison)  66.11
08. All Night Worker (Thomas) 3.41

Late Set:
09. I Hear You Knocking (Bunn/Lewis/Robinson) 4.59
10. Acapulco Gold and Silver (Duncan/Schuster) 3.47
11. Codine Blues ( Sainte-Marie) 5.36
12. Susie Q (Hawkins/Broadwater/Lewis) 4.06
13. Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (McDaniel) 2.32



More from Quicksilver Messenger Service:

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