The United States Of America Biography

Formed in 1967 by New York-born electronics composer Joseph Byrd (Tucson, Arizona, USA). The rest of the line-up comprised University of California Los Angeles students Dorothy Moskowitz (vocals), Gordon Marron (electric violin), Rand Forbes (bass) and Craig Woodson (drums). The quintet’s lone, self-titled album, a biting satire on contemporary America, featured several haunting compositions including ‘Love Song For The Dead Che’ and ‘The Garden Of Earthly Delights’. The humorous ‘I Won’t Leave My Wooden Wife For You Sugar’ (which appeared on the landmark UK album Rock Machine Turns You On) received most airplay as disc jockeys found them hard to categorize. At times reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane, the innovative use of electronic effects gave the collection its chilling factor and it remains one of the era’s more lasting works and had since become a cult favourite. Byrd was also responsible for arranging Phil Ochs’ powerful composition ‘Pleasures Of The Harbor’ and later formed a new group, the Field Hippies. However, the resultant The American Metaphysical Circus lacked the discipline of his first release. Moscovitz subsequently re-emerged in Country Joe McDonald’s All Star Band while Byrd was responsible for producing Ry Cooder’s 1978 release, Jazz, and recording two quirky synthesizer solo albums. A reissue of the United States Of America album in 2004 included three credible extra tracks.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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