Every time I took the 5 train up to Bronx, I would stare at large map on the wall of the subway, following the green line to a stop that I would never travel up to: Gun Hill Road. It was a long stretch of road that went from Van Cortland Park to the Hutchinson Parkway. I wondered if the band of the same name had lived there, grew up there, formed the band and struggled there. But I found out many years later that the Westchester, NY band named themselves after the stop and had nothing else to do with that thoroughfare except passing it on the IRT trains they rode in the late 60s.
This version was from their 3rd and final LP which itself was a re-recording of a track from their 2nd LP, produced by the groovy cat from the First Edition, Kenny Rogers, back when his hair was long and his fingers weren’t greasy from roasted chickens. The original lyrics had lots of drug references, including selling weed to kids, and tripping on acid. Talking about being a hippie freak whacked out on drugs, all the while doling out the love, but having short hair was just another way of saying that ‘it ain’t about what grows out of your head, but what grows out of your heart, man.’ A hippie? With short hair? How can that be…harumph, harumph….
They cleaned up the track and made it sound like a guy who has grown up and is reminiscing about life as a teenager and wouldn’t you know it, it hit #40 in June of 1973. Aw shucks, Richie.
But that would be it for the trio who disappeared with no new recordings or whereabouts. Maybe they’re riding the 5 train into work down to the financial district, writing a new tune called Back When I Had Some Hair…..