Saturday, April 7, 2012

ZACHARIAH - "A Head Of His Time" (1971)

I liked this movie so much after I saw it when it was first released, that I named the next dawg I got, a little caca-poo, "ZACHARIAH!"

I had never seen a surreal musical western before "ZACHARIAH," and not only did it have, as seen here, the James Gang in it, it also starred one of the best bands of all time, Country Joe and the Fish!

On the left is Don (Miami Vice) Johnson as Matthew, and on the right is John Rubenstein as Zachariah, best buddies about to go on the adventure of their life! Both Don and John are still actively working today and have works in production! No musical slouch, John Rubenstein is also a singer, and has composed the music for a quite a few movies himself, like "The Candidate" and "Kid Blue!"

Here's Country Joe McDonald as the leader of bad-guy gang, The Crackers. How can you not love a movie that just takes it for granted that there were rock bands and electricity in the 1800's? What a beautiful concept! Country Joe and the Fish released their first LP in 1967, and it was called "Electric Music For Mind And Body" and is arguably one of the most psychedelic albums ever! How is it even possible that they are not in The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame? But then of course, you could say the same thing about Link Wray or Steve Miller!! Abba is in the Hall of Fame, and Guns and Roses is in there, but not Country Joe and the Fish, what a travesty of justice!

This is Barry Melton, amazing guitarist and sometimes vocalist for The Fish!

Much to the chagrin of nice guys all over the world, even back in the olde west it was true that the chicks dug the bad boys!

Chicken Hirsch and David Cohen were the original drummer and keyboard player for The Fish, but by the time this movie was made, they had been replaced by Duke Dewey and Mark Kapner!

"ZACHARIAH" is a film about trials and tribulations and is based on the book "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse! At the beginning of the movie Zachariah has just gotten himself a shiny new pistol, and he and Matthew set off to make something of themselves, and the first thing they do is join up with The Crackers!

The boys devise a plan where they go into a new town, and The Crackers set up and start playing on one end of town, and while all the town folk are distracted, Zachariah and Matthew rob the bank on the other side of town!

Joe Massot wrote the main script, but all the jokes and one liners were written by our favourite band of zanies, The Firesign Theatre. The four members of The Firesign Theatre were Phillip Austin, Phil Proctor, David Ossman, and seen here in a small role as the bank teller is Peter Bergman, who I'm saddened to say, just passed away a couple of months ago on February 9th. R.I.P. Peter, we're sure gonna miss you!!

"ZACHARIAH" is a cornucopia of musical talent that you'll never see in one place again. The Ragin' Cajun Doug Kershaw has the role of 'The Fiddler,' and performs a manic version of a song also written by him, the "Ballad Of Job Cain!"

Job Cain is the baddest gunfighter in the West, and Zachariah thinks he's the one who can take him down, even though 'The Fiddler' told him that "20 man tried, and 20 men died, and you've killed only one!" When Zach and Matthew arrive at the lair of Job Cain, the house band is ironically enough, the James Gang!

Joining Joe Walsh on guitar were drummer Jim Foxx, and bassist Tom Kriss! After Joe Walsh left the band in 1971, he was replaced for a while by the fantastic Domenic Troiano, who two years later was replaced by the brilliant but troubled Tommy Bolin! The two awesome songs the James Gang perform are "Country Fever," and "Laguna Salada!"

Here he is, the man himself, one of the most dynamic drummers in the world, Elvin Jones, as Job Cain!

Elvin Jones played the traps with John Coltrane for six years, and recorded with the quartet one of the most beautiful jazz records ever put to vinyl titled "A Love Supreme!" Elvin also performed with other legends Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. He also played with his two talented brothers, Hank, and Thad Jones!

After polishing off some nitwit in a showdown, Job Cain takes over from Jim Foxx and plays a powerful drum solo that just accentuates how bad he really is!

Zachariah wasn't ready to take on Job Cain just yet, and Zach and Matthew have a parting of the ways, and Zachariah heads off to Belle Starr's to become a man!

Talk about your cult musicals, Patricia Quinn who has the role of Belle Starr, was also Alice, in Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant!" The music at Belle Starr's joint is a song called "Grave Digger" and is provided by yet another great but mostly unheralded band, The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble! Before he passed away in 2002, Ensemble keyboard player Mark Kamen founded the now legendary Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation!!

Two round pegs in square holes were the duo of Byard Ray and Obray Ramsey from North Carolina who performed as White Lightnin'. Their musical contributions to "ZACHARIAH" were two great tunes called "Shy Ann" and "Down In The Willow Garden." They recorded at least two LP's, "Fresh Air" which was fairly traditional material, and "File Under Rock!" that features an odd amalgam of musicians including bassist extraordinaire Chuck Rainey and jazz trumpeter Jimmy Owens among others!

I well imagine that you're familiar with the expression "to ride off into the sunset," well, what kind of ending were you really expecting? Do something nice for yourself, you can get the movie from Netflix, or buy the soundtrack from Amazon, either way you can't go wrong!


TABONGA! said...

Bugs me about Peter...

zillagord said...

R.I.P. Lt. Alvin Bradshaw.

Retro Hound said...

"A HEAD of his time." HA! Get the drug reference there? Of course, Country Joe wouldn't have anything to do with drug references would he? The movie sounds like a trip all it's own. I'll have to look up the soundtrack at the very least.

Anonymous said...

In 1975 I was in Boulder Colorado and my band "Apathy" was asked to play a set before an all night movie marathon at the Red Rocks Drive in which included Woodstock, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Ned Kelly, Gimme Shelter and Zachariah. That's where I first saw it. We were paid with all the soda and popcorn we could eat so after several movies and a quart of Jim Beam we had an epic popcorn fight.It was a great night and a great way to be introduced to this film.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Now THAT'S a GOOD story!!!

Unknown said...

Funny, I was in Apathy and have the same memory. The drive in is gone but the u store it is still there

Unknown said...

You don't have the picture of us playing there by any chance?

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Boy, you got me on that one Daniel, what scene was that?!

Jerry Prager said...

I named my dog Zach after I saw this film too, a Siberian Husky

Jerry Prager said...

I had a Siberian husky pup that I named Zach after this movie. Thanks for this, haven't come back to this subject in 40 years.

EEGAH!! said...

Pretty Cool Jerry! Thanx!

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