The International Submarine Band - Safe At Home LP
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In 1965, aspiring folk singer Gram Parsons was busy cutting classes at Harvard in order to explore the fertile Cambridge/Boston music scene. There, he met guitarist John Nuese, who urged Parsons to pursue a country rock sound. Enlisting Ian Dunlop on bass and Mickey Gauvin on bass, they began exploring that direction in earnest. Appropriating their name from a classic "Our Gang" skit, the International Submarine Band left Boston for New York, eager to find a supportive label for their new sound. After recording two poorly selling singles (the first of which, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" b/w "Truck Driving Man" is a available on a Sundazed 7" vinyl reissue), the group left New York for Los Angeles, hoping to find success there. Following several false starts and missed opportunities in L.A., Dunlop and Gavin left the group, going on to found the Flying Burrito Brothers. At this point, producer Suzi Jane Hokom, who had seen the band before the breakup, convinced Lee Hazlewood to sign Parsons and Nuese to a contract for Hazlewood's LHI Records. Newly signed, the duo searched for musicians to form a new ISB lineup. Recruiting guitarist Bob Buchanan, drummer Jon Corneal, bassists Joe Osborne and Chris Etheridge, pianist Earl Ball and steel guitarist Jay Dee Maness, the group began recording Safe at Home under Hokom's direction in July 1967.The album's final track listing included a mix of country and rock standards along with four strong Parsons-penned songs. One of those songs, "Luxury Liner," would later become an album-title-track hit for future Parsons protégé Emmylou Harris. Sessions for Safe at Home were completed in December 1967, with a possible release date of February 1968. However, Parsons abruptly left the group prior to the album's release in order to join The Byrds, who were busy recording their own country rock album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Parsons' departure upset Hazlewood and caused the release of Safe at Home to be delayed.