Episode 1 - Who Cares for the City? Communal psych and the hippie rural movement


In this episode we're exploring some of the music that came out of the hippie communes in the early '70s. The communal living was nothing new but the 1970s saw an increase of new communes spread out in the countryside across the US and marks the start of the hippie rural movement, where the intense kaleidoscope colors of Height-Ashbury was replaced by a reconnection to nature and the more laid-back lifestyle of the 1970s. The rural movement was partly a response to the decay of the hippie neighborhoods and the loss of spiritual clearness of the cities. Most of the communes came to existence through a shared spiritual awareness among people seeking a way of continuing their psychedelic lifestyle or the will to follow certain religious and political beliefs. All of this could be seen as social experiments which gave people a chance to distance them self from the rest of society and create their own way of living with rules only applying within the constraints of the collective. The need of detachment from the society could very well be a part of the growing distrust of the western civilization with the raging of the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and governmental brutality during protests and manifestations.

The music was a major part of the communal living and in many cases used to spread the word of their newfound way of living and to recruit new members but as we are going to hear most of them still kept the creativity and artistic integrity while doing this. The majority of the communes did not last so long due to the hardship of living that close to so many people and following the sometimes unconventional and strict rules, which I can imagine requires true dedication from the members. Another problem, which became clear for many of the communes discussed in the episode, was the increasing power of the spiritual leaders that usually took God-like proportions resulting in delusions of grandeur, so the saying that “power corrupts” holds true, even for hippies. Anyway, the music that came out of this was usually as pure as the ideal that founded the communes and we hope you enjoy the selection.   

The Farm Band-same (Mantra 1972)
-Let It Ride
Greenwood, Curlee and Thompson-One Time, One Place (No label 1972)
-The Brother(s) song
Father Yod and the Spirit of 76 (Higher Key 1974)
-Fire In the Sky
The Apostles-The Living Gospel (The Divine Mission 1973)
Sun (Up-Sun Down 197?)
-Memories of the Mind