Homestead and Wolfe

Homestead & Wolfe

– Produced by Ernie Bringas

Homestead and Wolfe was an early 1970s band with a rich melodic folk-rock-country style sound that recorded 15 original songs at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood with instrumentation provided by the legendary ‘Wrecking Crew’ studio musicians.

L-R: Brian, Ernie, Janice, Dave, Ted, JoAnne

Originally called Sound of Celebration, Homestead and Wolfe was a group of friends who met in the youth group of the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, performed music in worship and in the youth group, and toured the United States in 1972. They were organized and led by Ernie Bringas, the youth pastor who earlier in his career was a founding member of the Rip Chords, a 1960s beach and car group with five hit singles on the Billboard top 100, including ‘Hey Little Cobra’. The group performed original material in a rich, melodic folk-rock-country style that was well executed, as well as earnest and personal.

Our group was so good that I contacted my old friends the Wrecking Crew and with their instrumental backing recorded 15 original tracks between 1973 and 1975 at the preeminent Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. The  album was titled Our Times.

– Ernie Bringas, in his autobiography “Mexican Roots, American Soil“, June 2016, Phantasm Press, page 244-246, ISBN 0692721584

Our Times – The 33-1/3 LP Record


Homestead & Wolfe album entitled Our Times
Back cover of H&W original album.

Originally released in 1975, Homestead & Wolfe’s lone and unknown privately pressed LP is an artifact so lost to time, it has never appeared in any discography, list of rare records, or catalog, anywhere. However, exist it does, and now their story can be told.

As a Minister of Youth and master planner- motivator at Good Sam UMC in Cupertino, CA. from 1969-75, Bringas gave the band the ultimate “leg up” in the business, producing this finely crafted recording using his old Hollywood connections.

Image of JoAnne Avery Neish a lead singer and the arranger of all Homestead & Wolfe songs
JoAnne Avery Neish

From 1973-76, Homestead and Wolfe went at Gold Star Recording Studios several times a year to record their songs.

The original songs were written by all of the group members themselves, and were arranged by group member JoAnne Avery Neish. Ernie took the lead to write and perfect lyrics with the band members on each song.

The Wrecking Crew – Hollywood’s Premier Studio Musicians

Picture of Stan Ross and Ernie Bringas at the recording console in Gold Star Studios
Stan Ross and Ernie Bringas, in Gold Star Recording Studio. Photo credit: Ted Larson.
image of the band Homestead and Wolfe in front of Gold Star Recording Studios
L-R: Ernie, Jo, Brian, Janice, Dave, and Ted – outside Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. Photo Credit: Ray Pohlman using Ted’s camera.

Engineered by Stan Ross, co-owner of Gold Star Recording Studios in Los Angeles, these recordings featured top flight studio musicianship from legendary “Wrecking Crew” – drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Ben Benay (Goldenrod, Darius), acoustic guitarist Al Casey, monster bass player Ray Pohlman, and the world’s most renowned and respected pedal steel guitar players, Jay Dee Maness (Buck Owens, the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo LP). 

Anopheles Records discovers the old LP

The original LP was re-discovered by Karl Ikola of Anopheles Records (San Francisco) in 2004. The goal of his record company is to archive and release unknown and under-appreciated music. Karl found a way to contact group member, Ted Larson, who linked him to Ernie Bringas, and together all agreed to work with Karl to re-release the LP as a CD.

The original 16-track, 2″ tapes were brought to Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and the old taped were ‘baked’ in preparation to get all of the original tracks moved to digital. The album, plus the five additional singles, were made into a CD which was distributed by Anopheles Records as release number: Anopheles 008.

Harmonies and Arrangements

The harmonies and arrangements of H&W recall both the Mamas and the Papas and the Carpenters at times, but much of the music deals with darker themes: the story of Wounded Knee told in “See The Children Die”, the organ fueled psychedelia of “Your Freedom’s In Question”, aimed at the Nixon administration at the time, remains apropos today. 

Karl Ikola of Anopheles Records

CRITIC’S RESPONSES



San Diego Village Voice

image of Brian Dave Janice and Ernie recording vocals inside Gold Star Studio
L-R: Brian, Dave, Janice, and Ernie laying down background vocals at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. Photo credit: Ted Larson.

Homestead & Wolfe makes the year list – Music article in Village Voice on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 4 a.m.

https://www.villagevoice.com/music/music-6398735



Mitch at KFJC 89.7 FM www.kfjc.org (Los Altos)

Hi Karl – here’s that review and a huge thanks for releasing this masterpiece….
I love this so much, and am still just amazed at what these kids did – wow.
Favorites = 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13.  These tracks originally saw only a private release – until now.
Surpassing and revelatory genius.      –  MITCH



Cesar Montesano

Date: May 27, 2005 5:40:27 AM PDT   –  psychedelica
Subject: Re: [psychedelica]
Re: HOMESTEAD & WOLFE (mini-view)

Karl !!! & !! Ooops, but the psych mafia should be praising him heavily for H&W !  Whweee, thanks for the info, the CD hath me MESMERIZADO-MIKADO.  Now to figure out a little time adjustment and listen.

Pics from JoAnne's scrapbook during tour
H&W on tour. JoAnne’s photo page.

My favorite discovery of the year!   A little background on my listening habits:  The influx here is absolutely ridiculous, dozens of new things a week!   I listen liberally to different albums ad infinitum. Very rarely doth something get sticky in the player.  When it does, watch out, swingle-sister – I tend to want to sing its praises.  Being a member of the Gnosis Project, I am always ranking music. This BADMOFO (H&W) has charmed me to my bones.
I am going into the database and giving it the highest honors:  15 out of 15 = Perfect.    Karl: I would like to get in touch with the band to offer a review.   Truly blessed now, Cesar

My favorite discovery of the year!



Phil X Milstein

Date: May 3, 2005 2:21:18 PM PDT
To: spectropop
Subject: Rip Chords counterrevisionism

Janice recording a lead vocal inside Gold Star Studios
Janice listening to playback of her lead vocal. Photo credit: Ted Larson.

Someone here recently posted a link to a Rip Chords history, at https://ripchords.info  I reiterate it now just to make sure that no one who might be interested inadvertently overlooks it. It’s written by Rev. Ernie Bringas, co-founder of the group, and aims primarily at clarifying who exactly sang what on the group’s recording sessions, in order to correct the historical record on those matters.

The richness of Bringas’ detail, his pride in the group’s accomplishments, and his lack of bitterness at what seems to have been a somewhat inimical aftermath, are commendable, and the autographed photo of Doris Day is real fine, as well.
Gone, –Phil M.



NewBrutonTown

From: “moecurlythanu”
Date: May 9, 2005 9:08:18 PM PDT       Subject: [NewBrutonTown] Homestead & Wolfe

“Our Times.” Just got this CD in from Karl, and listened to it for the first time. Only a first impression, but I’m really knocked out by this CD, and amazed that there isn’t a buzz about it. Not what I expect from American Folk/FolkRock, especially xian. I wouldn’t call it wyrdfolk (though I’m starting to wonder if I really have the term pinned down after looking at Mark’s ‘History of’ pages) but for the most part is brilliant 70s Folk/FolkRock that I would expect would appeal to almost everybody here.

image of Homestead and Wolfe album cover
Back row L-R: Janice, Dave, JoAnne, Brian. Front row L-R: BJ, and Ernie. Not pictured: Ted (away at school and not told about the picture). Photo credit: Album Cover

“Our Times.” Just got this CD in from Karl, and listened to it for the first time. Only a first impression, but I’m really knocked out by this CD, and amazed that there isn’t a buzz about it. Not what I expect from American Folk/FolkRock, especially xian.

I wouldn’t call it wyrdfolk (though I’m starting to wonder if I really have the term pinned down after looking at Mark’s ‘History of’ pages) but for the most part is brilliant 70s Folk/FolkRock that I would expect would appeal to almost everybody here.

Who to compare it to? Well, I vastly favor the UK scene, and am less enamored of the Dylan/Guthrie US wing of American Folk, and the tendency to interject country elements by many US artists. Having said that, there are a couple songs that do tend to the countryish side, and one rock track, (which is good, btw.)

brilliant 70s Folk/FolkRock



Mark’s Response

photo taken over the head of Stan Ross of his hand on the recording console
The mixing board in Gold Star Studios, showing the hand of mixing engineer Stan Ross. Photo credit: Ted Larson.

They are not part of the Dylan/Guthrie wing, however. Other than those 3 tracks it’s a mix of dreamy Folk and outstanding FolkRock, drawing comparisons at times with Tudor Lodge, the 1st Bread, Love & Dreams, and faint hints at some of what Spriguns did later on (think “Time Will Pass.”) Also, much of the female vocals bear some resemblance to Sandy Denny, in the phrasing, and especially when notes are sustained. I also hear a bit of what the Byrds might have sounded like if they hadn’t relied on 12 string, in some of the uptempo numbers.

Again, a first listen, but it’s among my favorite American Folk/FolkRock/FolkPsych albums. Like it better than These Trails at first listen (not that that’s my fave American Folk album.) My favorite tracks at first listen are “Mary Jane” & “See The Children Die.”

I would think this CD would be of interest to most folks here. If it wasn’t for the country-ish tracks (2 out of 13 on the original album,) I would call this an unqualified masterpiece. Very much recommended. (And no, Karl didn’t put me up to this.) – Mark

it’s among my favorite American Folk/FolkRock/FolkPsych albums



AcidSanctuary

image of Brian Gundy recording a lead vocal inside Gold Star Studios with a red light shining on his head
Brian listening to a playback of his solo. Photo credit: Ted Larson

From: “LamaSivartDoz”
Date: October 18, 2004 1:43:01 AM PDT

Yeah, there is a certain similarity with all those items, but H & W has a strong urban westcoast finish to it IMO, not rooted in rural soil like most Brit-folkers tend to be… Mellow Candle is perhaps the closest of those, but I would really be inclined to compare it to California-style bands from a slightly earlier era… they did have trad folk moves too, often.

The most rocking tracks on H & W remind me of Ill Wind, both in terms of the powerful female vocals and the flowing band. Also Yankee Dollar, Carolyn Hester Coalition, even Neighbrhood Childrn. 8.5 / 10 at this point, really hard to find any weaknesses in it.

Great stories in the liner notes about the talented young lady handing out sheet notes to Hal Blaine & Al Casey on how the music should be played 🙂  // Patrick



Discography

Our Times – The Gold Star Tapes (1973-75) CD: (Anopheles Records 008, 2004, CD adding six previously non-released songs).

  • “Slow Down”
  • “Love Comes Through My Door”
  • “King Of The Mountain”
  • “If I Never Show”
  • “See The Children Die”
  • “Do I Love You?”
  • “Your Freedom’s In Question”
  • “I Am Cain”
  • “Roll On, Tumbleweed”
  • “Beat Of The Drum” (previously unreleased)
  • “Rhythm Of The Wind” (previously unreleased)
  • “You’re All That I See” (previously unreleased)
  • “Mary Jane” (previously unreleased)
  • “See The Children Die” (previously unreleased)
  • “Beat Of The Drum” (Instrumental Version) (previously unreleased)

Buy the CD:

Homestead & Wolfe: Our Times – The Gold Star Tapes (1973-75) CD

  • cat #: Anopheles 008
  • $15 ppd in the US
  • genre: folk-rock-country-psych-pop
  • Available at www.AnophelesRecords.com
  • Karl Ikola / Anopheles Records
  • Countries that have a H&W CD in their borders: S. Korea, Japan, Greece, Sweden, Cyprus, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Portugal, Canada.   – Karl

Sample of the Songs:

Embedded MP3 short 30 sec sound bites:

  • Slow Down –
    Music: Sheryl Johnson, Lyrics: Ernie Bringas & Sheryl Johnson

  • Your Freedom’s In Question
    Music: Ted Larson & JoAnne Avery, Lyrics: Ted Larson & Ernie Bringas

  • Beat of the Drum
    Music: Brian Gundy & JoAnne Avery, Lyrics: Brian Gundy & Ernie Bringas

  • King of the Mountain
    Music & Lyrics:  Brian Gundy, JoAnne Avery, & Ernie Bringas


  • Listen to some of our songs on YouTube