David LaFlamme - violin, vocals; Linda LaFlamme - keyboards; Patti Santos - vocals, percussion; Hal Wagenet - guitar; Mitchell Holman - bass; Val Fuentes - drums
Upon one listen to this rare and well captured recording of It's A Beautiful Day in their late '60s prime, it is clear just how innovative and cutting edge they were as a rock group. They were indicative of the times—a well balanced mix of intelligent lyrical themes, well versed musicality, and rock adventurism. Like the Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & the Holding Company, they were among the first bands to feature a female vocalist as an equal member of the overall ensemble, and Linda LaFlamme remained a dynamic vocal presence throughout her time with the group.
All the key songs from the band are represented here, including "Wasted Union Blues," "White Bird," "Bombay Calling," "Girl With No Eyes," and "Hot Summer Day."
Although they were one of the earliest and most important San Francisco bands to emerge from the Summer of Love, It's A Beautiful Day never quite saw the success that so many of their fellow local musicians achieved. Launched in 1967 by violinist/vocalist David LaFlamme (a former soloist with the Utah Symphony Orchestra) and his wife, Linda, on keyboards, It's A Beautiful Day created a unique blend of rock, jazz, folk, classical, and world beat styles during the seven years the band was officially together. "Hot Summer Day" and "White Bird" would be their best known FM radio hits, but neither song had major impact as singles.
This recording was made at the Fillmore Auditorium prior to the making of the group's self-titled debut album for Columbia Records. It features the original lineup and showcases It's A Beautiful Day in their San Francisco hippie prime. The band created long, dream-like musical voyages that were often a vehicle for David LaFlamme's distinctive electric violin. During this period, Linda LaFlamme's organ playing was integral to the band's sound, but it was the harmonic blending of David and singer Pattie Santos' voices that was arguably the band's strongest asset.
Shortly after this concert and the release of the debut album, Linda LaFlamme left to form her own group, Titus Mother, and was replaced by Fred Webb. The group endured other personnel changes, but in a 1973 dispute over songwriting royalties, David LaFlamme was ousted from the band. The group continued through 1974 and then folded. David LaFlamme did a solo album 1977, where he reprised much of the classic It's A Beautiful Day material, but it received little attention. Singer Pattie Santos died tragically in 1989 in an auto accident. In 1977, It's a Beautiful Day essentially reunited under the name David LaFlamme Band.