San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 1972:



Clover Catching On

A Fresh and Jaunty
Sound Packs 'Em In

By Joel Selvin

From San Anselmo to Berkeley, Clover's sprightly, original rock has been winning fans in the Bay Area night clubs.

At Berkeley's Longbranch last Thursday night, Clover displayed thight instrumental licks, a fresh, jaunty sound and nifty, enjoyable songs.

The six-piece combo from Marin County is highlighted, but not dominated, by the brilliant guitar work of John McFee, who doubles on standard guitar and pedal steel. The real strength of the group, however, is its ensemble playing.

Whether playing blues, rock or country, the band swings together, often with McFee and mouth harpist Hugh Creeg leading the way in unison. Pianist Sean Hopper pitches in, displaying a cheerful ragtime bent in his playing.

Clover's regular Monday night dates at San Anselmo's Lion Share fill the small club every week. Though their drawing power across the bay is not equal, the Longbranch crowd is building for them.

John McFee
John McFee
Following two unsuccessful albums on Fantasy Records, the group and Fantasy parted ways. Clover is currently unsigned to any company, but Creedence Clearwater bassist Stu Cook, who has been in to see them every Thursday the past couple of months, wants to produce their next record.

Clover fits right into the local night clubs. Easy to dance to, rocking and with a touch of calculated funkiness, Clover adds a bright touch to the area music scene.

Last Thursday the Frank Biner Band, an East Bay unit of considerable grit and muscle, appeared with Clover. Like Tower Of Power, Biner specializes in a contemporary soul sound - not recreations of old r&b, but up-to-the-minute funk.

Biner who is white, sings convincingly in a style like that of many black singers, notably Tyrone Davis and Wilson Pickett. The trumpet-sax horn section honks admirably, led by saxist Mark Baum, whose tasty licks are reminiscent of Jr. Walker.

Unlike Tower, this group forsakes precision for raunch. The thumping raunch chunk-a-chunk is the all important element and the Biner Band plays it to the hilt.


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