Late 1969, The InRhodes broke up and the three Jims formed "Future" with Wally as our manager and Norm Ratner continuing as our producer on two other labels. In 1969 we signed with UNI Records and recorded “52%” and “The Shape of Things to Come.” Other bands on UNI at the time were the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Olivia Newton-John.
“52%” and “Shape of Things to Come” were covers of songs from the movie "Wild in the Streets." The film’s producers were lukewarm to the versions performed in the film and released by a fictional group “Max Frost and the Troopers.” The band in the movie features Richard Pryor as the drummer! Mike Deasy’s guitar work on our versions of the songs was amazing but perhaps a bit too "far out" for listeners at the time.
"Raggedy Jack" is the first cut on side A. It starts with a strong pedal steel guitar part - with some tasty fills on acoustic guitar by Jimmy Burton, and piano by Mike Rubini. The song is about a railroad "hobo" and a drug-crazed train engineer.
"Love is All You've Got" like Raggedy Jack, is a Holmes/Bunnell composition. It's a poignant lyric about, well, ultimately love is all we really have and it's what we do with it that counts.
"Bittersweet" is one of Wally's songs that let the studio guys really cut loose. Mike Rubini's piano intro kicks it off with Jim Odom on lead vocals. The guitar solo is is Red Rhodes on pedal steel guitar with a fuzz tone (that's a distortion pedal) over Jimmy Burton - what a combination!
"Grabbers and Takers" is a song about the contrast between the "haves" and "have nots" of the world. It's basically a one-sided conversation between a "beggar" and someone he's approaching. Runs through all the challenges and responses up to and including a threat of suicide, all in a light-hearted way. Red Rhodes has some great "dripping with sugar" pedal steel guitar fills.
The last tune on side one is "Silver Chalice." Not the weirdest song on our album but close. Wally plays some really sweet muted trumpet fills. The switch in style at the chorus certainly gets your attention after the drone almost monotone versus. Dr. John on piano sets off the vocal and again New Orleans style rhythm of the chorus. Toward the end Norm Ratner, our producer, insisted on joining us with some screams that I think he called "Jewish charismatic."
The "B" side of "Down That Country Road" starts with the song :"Down That Country Road." Just realize some of you may not know what a "B" side is. Records (albums) have two sides, so to distinguish between the "front" and "back" which wouldn't be obvious, the sides were identified as "A" or "B." Anyway, the "back" side of an album often holds "treats" to reward the listener - sometimes they were unlabeled tracks - like the reward you get for sitting through the credits at a movie - some extra footage, outtakes or whatever. Anyway, our B side didn't have anything hidden, just some of the better songs on the album in my opinion.
"Girls Around the World" is a song dedicated to every young man's dreams - a girl in every port. The weird "horn" sounding part behind the chorus vocals is again Red Rhodes with a "fuzz" pedal steel (he really got into this!)
"Away with Women" is a song we always argued about with Wally. Was it "away with women" or "a WAY with women?" Wally would never confirm which he meant. Jimmy Gordon was our drummer on the album - amazing musician, played with Eric Clapton (Derek and the Dominoes), Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Leon Russell, among many others. But he really had trouble with the time change in the chorus (it actually just changes to triplets - the 4/4 time is the same).
"Thank You Father, Thank You Mother" is the song picked by the record company to push from the album. I don't think it was a good choice and neither did ladies from the PTA in Bakersfield, CA who objected to the lyrics and started calling radio stations and complaining. In those days it didn't take much for a radio station to back down. Anyway, song starts with a beautiful intro by Mike Rubini on piano.
"And Have Not Charity" is 1st Corinthians 3:1-3 put to music. It features Vic Briggs on guitar and just us "Jim's" on the vocal. Religion was an interesting aspect of the InRhodes and even more Future. Wally's parents were itinerant preachers and he had some pretty negative experiences growing up, so while a spiritual guy he was pretty anti organized religion (hope that's fair to say Wally.) Jim, Jim and I had all grown up going to church (Baptist, Christian Science and Methodist), so Wally challenged us to reexamine many of our views. Of course that sort of naturally happens as you transition to young adulthood . . . and frankly it was the late 1960's so EVERYTHING was being questioned. Anyway, here's "And Have Not Charity."
In addition to the singles, Future recorded an album - "Down That Country Road." It's an unusual complication of country, rock, psychodelic with a little Christian message thrown in. Vic Briggs, guitar player with Eric Burton and the Animals, co-produced and co-arranged the songs. He played guitar on "And Have Not Charity."
For some reason “Thank You Father, Thank You Mother” – was the single Shamley Records, our newest label, selected to promote off our album. Sung by me, it misses the strength of the music we were playing in exchange for more of a novelty feel. While there was initially a great response on the radio it was rapidly squashed when the PTA in Bakersfield, CA started a campaign complaining about the lyrics related to the kid in the song thanking his parents for giving him a “water pipe.” Ahead of our time, yet again . . . Anyway, “Thank You . . . “got pulled from the radio playlists and “Future’s” future was over.