Clover's Story

While Ciambotti was at the University of California in Los Angeles, he joined a bluegrass group called The Valley Boys who were well known around the Los Angeles bluegrass circuit. After a two day visit to San Francisco, Ciambotti was so excited by what he saw that he left Los Angeles and moved to San Francisco with his family.

There, he played bass for a band called The Outfit (managed by Bard Dupont, ex-bass player with Great Society) who at one time used the same rehearsal venue as Moby Grape, and they jammed together regularly with The Tiny Hearing Aid Company at the Muir Beach Tavern. When Ciambotti joined the latter they changed their name to Clover.

Cloverís first gig was on 4 July 1967. They spent a couple of years gigging around the Bay Area basing themselves in Mill Valley. They played venues like the Avalon and Fillmore, before they signed to Fantasy in the summer of 1969.

Clover were never really recognised as part of the San Francisco Sound - in ĎFrisco itself they were regarded as a Mill Valley band.

The album "Clover" was recorded under primitive conditions. It is full of original compositions with the exception of "Shotgun". Most of these were competent numbers like "Southbound Train" and "Stealiní". They also made one 45 for Fantasy "Wade In The Water/Stealiní" in 1970.

The second album "Fourty Niner" was a progression on "Clover". Itís music is more varied and mature. Itís best tracks are "Mr. Moon", "Chicken Butt" and "Keep On Trying". After this album, Clover left Fantasy in 1971 and did little of note until they moved to England to launch a new career in 1976.

"Unavailable", Clover's first album for Phonogram, followed shortly after in 1977. Although Clover toured Britain, supporting successful bands like Graham Parker And The Rumour, Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd, they failed to find their audience. The upcoming punk movement (the Sex Pistols took England by storm) might be one explanation.

Their last album "Love On The Wire" appeared in 1977 and they disintegrated completely the following year. The band is best remembered now as the launching pad for Lewis and Hopper, who achieved astonishing commercial success in the early eighties as part of Huey Lewis and The News.

In 1978 Fantasy released the retrospective "The Clover Chronicle - The Best Of The Fantasy Years", which contains remixes of the best Fantasy tracks.

The album "The Best Of Clover - An American Band In London" was released in 1986 as a retrospective of the Vertigo material (incl. Route 66 from Levis jeans commercial).

Further information on Clover's history, albums, etc. can be found on this website.

 

Great parts of the story above were taken from the book "An American Rock History -- Part One 1963 -1985 -- California The Golden State" written by Hugh MacLean and Vernon Joynson, corrections and information was added, though.

 

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