Moby Grape – The Place and the Time

January 01, 1970




Ever since 1993’s Vintage:
The Very Best of Moby Grape,
various unissued tracks from the San Francisco band’s late
1960s/early 1970s heyday on Columbia Records have been tacked onto reissues as
bonus cuts. Then some of those reissues, like Vintage, get discontinued
themselves, orphaning the rare material. So Sundazed has put all of those
“extra” tracks on one album, The Place and the Time. These come from Moby
Grape, Wow, Moby Grape ‘69
and Truly Fine Citizen – audition and
demo recordings, instrumental outtakes, live recordings, alternate versions.


With its often-rugged takes,
it’s certainly not a replacement for a good greatest-hits package or the
group’s sublime first album; it’s basically for those so into the Grape they
want to have multiple versions of tracks. But for Sundazed, Place is a
valiant attempt to try to salvage a problem. The label had reissued the first
four Grape studio albums on CD in 2007 with extras, but was forced to
discontinue the first two (plus Wow’s companion, Live Grape), when a legal problem over the recordings arose. Apparently, it was able to free
the bonus tracks at least.


Moby Grape is so revered
because the original quintet was filled with good singers and songwriters, plus
had three guitarists – Skip Spence, Peter Lewis and Jerry Miller – capable of
piercingly melodic inventiveness. Spence, beset with mental problems, left
after Wow, so it’s good to have anything at all additional by him made
available. This has the audition recording of “Indifference” and an alternate
version of “Seeing.” But Moby Grape’s bassist Bob Mosley, who stuck around for
three albums before joining the Marines, was a flat-out great soul singer and
sharp, smart songwriter. The acoustic demo version of his “It’s a Beautiful Day
Today” is this album’s hands-down standout, and a demo of his “Bitter Wind” is
a close second.



Standout tracks: “Bitter Wind,” “It’s a Beautiful Day Today” STEVEN ROSEN





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