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Boomkat Product Review:
Dreamy US folk and psych-pop obscurity rescued from oblivion by Finders Keepers, massively recommended if you dig early Tim Buckley, Arthur Lee, Donovan, David Wiffen, etc. Don & Stevie was husband-wife duo Don and Stevie Gere, and they wrote and recorded the songs collected here in the late 60s beneath the shadows of - where else? - the Hollywood Hills. Like all the best material from this storied place and time, Don & Stevie's songs combine an open-road, free-loving innocence and sense of possibility with a feel of pipe-half-empty ennui, and faint but unmistakeable intimations of darkness to come. Their close but rugged harmonies - anchored by Gere's preternaturally rich baritone - at times bringing to mind those of Richard and Linda Thompson (not least on on courtly, slow-cooked ballad 'Live Our Life'). Given this record's home on Finders Keepers, it should come as no surprise that Gere has form in a seedier subsection of the underground: he made the stoner psych soundtrack for cult movie Werewolves On Wheels, and there are foreshadowings of that work in the Faustian, amphetamine-fuelled gallop of 'Sweet Sugar' and the electrified shock-out 'Keep An Eye On You'. The fabulously arranged 'Kindly', 'Another Blue Day' and 'What Do You Think Of Me' conjure both the Sunset Strip swagger and acid-spiked inner flight of Love's Forever Changes, while the woodwind-accented 'Talked About World' crossbreeds the modal neo-medievalism of a Pentangle or Fairport with bluesy Laurel Canyon confessional. The songwriting and performances - captured on walk-in sessions at various LA studios - are consistently strong throughout, easily the equal of more established and canonised albums from the era; it's chastening to think that for over 40 years they sat untouched and unplayed in a box of unmarked studio tapes in the Gere family home. "Buried treasure" doesn't come close.