Toni Brown - piano, vocals; Terry Garthwaite - guitar, vocals; Matt Cridland - bass; Steve Mitchell - drums
The Berkeley-based band, Joy Of Cooking, were quite the anomaly in the late 1960s; a band fronted by two women, who wrote and arranged the songs, sang lead vocals, and played the frontline instruments, with three men providing the backup. Led by two talented songwriters, pianist Toni Brown and guitarist, Terry Garthwaite, their music blended elements of folk, rock, country, jazz, and blues into a sound uniquely their own. One of the first bands to deal with feminist and environmental topics, they were ahead of their time and deserve credit for laying the groundwork for more commercially successful bands like Heart and latter-day Fleetwood Mac.
Following three compelling but modestly successful Joy Of Cooking albums, Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite headed to Nashville. There they recorded the long out of print Cross Country album, released in 1973 under the name Toni & Terry, before pursuing separate paths, each recording solo projects over the next several years. Although these albums failed to achieve commercial success, and were heard by relatively few, they each contained a wealth of new material that retained the integrity and variety of their previous work. In 1977, Brown and Garthwaite teamed up again for an album released on Fantasy Records titled The Joy. The chemistry between the two had not diminished and the album contained new originals, several choice covers (including a take on Van Morrison's "Come Running"), as well as a revamped version of Brown's "Beginning Tomorrow." The album also featured the talent of legendary bass man Reggie McBride and contributions from Taj Mahal and Elvin Bishop to the recording sessions. Despite this, the album received minimal promotion and soon hit the cut out bins, fading into obscurity.
A very brief tour occurred in support of the album, including four performances at New York City's Bottom Line. Performing under the shortened moniker, the Joy, which they humorously acknowledged at the time as "less cooking, more joy," the pair were now accompanied by the tight rhythm section of Matt Cridland on bass and Steve Mitchell on drums, performing engaging live sets that featured material spanning their careers together and individually. Other than the first 20 minutes of the opening show, all four performances were professionally recorded in their entirety by the King Biscuit Flower Hour, but were unfortunately never edited for broadcast. Here we present the recordings from the second of their four Bottom Line performances, taped on a cold December night in 1977.