Surf the web for We Five, and a remarkable number of comments appear from our fans, all still musically and emotionally connecting with the band years after ‘You Were On My Mind’ became one of the defining songs of the folk rock era. In addition to raves about Bev Bivens’ remarkable voice, or the group’s musical range and creativity - which stood us apart from the other artists emerging from San Francisco at the time - a common theme is curiosity as to why more material was never released.
“There Stands The Door - The Best of We Five” is a new anthology on Big Beat that will delight almost anyone hungering for more songs and information about the band. Masterfully prepared by producer and Bay Area music historian Alec Palao, it includes 22 tracks, along with a 20-page booklet packed with rare photos and loaded with interviews with the surviving band members, much of which addresses questions left largely unanswered for over forty years.
The CD begins, as you might expect, with ‘You Were On My Mind’ in the original AM radio mix that hit the charts in June 1965. But what makes this package collectable is the content you can’t get anywhere else - including two tracks from the impossible-to-find 1968 album “The Return Of We Five” (1968), and the title song, ‘There Stands The Door’, a stunning blend of power vocals, folk and rock with raga influences that was previously unavailable on anything but a 45 rpm record! As a somewhat surreal bonus, amongst the eight unreleased tracks featured, there’s even a sampling of the infamous and unused - yet, at times, musically adventurous! - soft drink commercials that consumed much of the band’s energy in its most crucial season.
As a part of the We Five musical adventure from the time Michael Stewart and I began singing together in school, right up until to our most recent concert, I still marvel at how our vision has connected with fans over the years. This CD captures our musical creativity at work in the mid 1960s, and it brought experiences from the Trident studio back to life for me. On behalf of the band and our fans, thanks to Alec and Ace Records for making it happen!
By Jerry Burgan