It’s a Beautiful Day

Artist: It’s a Beautiful Day

Album: It’s a Beautiful Day

The road of popular music is strewn with the charred corpses of one-hit wonders or bands that spectacularly flamed out in an orgy of drug abuse and inflated egos.

This, in my opinion, is one of those one-hit wonders.

It’s a Beautiful Day… well, right there you have to wonder about the conversation happening around the Persian rug as the water pipe was passed from hand to hand when the group decided on a band name.

Yes, that’s right, It’s a Beautiful Day (or as I shall refer to it henceforth: IABD) is yet another of those San Francisco bands that sprung up in the heady days of the mid-1960s. Fronted by husband and wife team, David and Linda LaFlamme, IABD’s music is a typical mix of pyschedelia and blues from which eventually sprang progressive rock.

David LaFlamme was a violinist soloist with the Utah Symphony, and uses the instrument extensively, albeit by the sounds of it, um, untraditionally (in some cases, the sound is almost unrecognizable through the feedback). LaFlamme was a bit of a fixture on the San Francisco scene, moving to the area in 1962 and jamming around with the likes of Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin.

Now, referring to IABD as ‘one-hit’ may be kind of harsh. Certainly from this album – the band’s self-titled debut produced in 1969 – I’m referring to the first track, the light and ethereal White Bird, a tune that you’d likely still catch in the playlist on a Sunday when a certain Toronto classic radio station runs through the music of the ’60s and ’70s.

The rest, believe it or not, is pretty good (though perhaps not as well known), and made distinct through the instrumentation; while David plays violin, Linda puts in various turns on the organ, piano, celeste, and harpsichord. Linda also does her fair share on the vocals, her sound a mix of Mama Cass and Sylvia Tyson.

But it’s pretty obvious where this is going; on Girl With No Eyes, David and Linda sing “she’s just a reflection of all the time I’ve been high.”

Yes, that’s the feeling. It’s ethereal, languid, eerie, hypnotic, and you can almost sense the sweet heavy smell of cannabis and smoke washing over you as the album plays (that last part, however, is wrong, and I can’t emphasize enough the dangers of marijuana use… ahem…).

Afterward, David and Linda split, Linda going on to form a band called Titus’ Mother; other musicians also exited the band at various stages over the next two years – typical of the revolving door of many groups of that era. David Laflamme was eventually forced from the group as well; he would go on to form his own band called, what else, White Bird.