Oddly, before even playing any live concerts, Electric Flag recorded the soundtrack for the 1967 psychedelic exploitation movie The Trip, which afforded them the opportunity to experiment with some of their ideas without much pressure. Their live debut was at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (although they didn't make it into the documentary film of the event; they do appear in the bonus footage on the DVD version), but their first proper studio album didn't come out until the spring of 1968.
A Long Time Comin' was an erratic affair, predating Blood, Sweat & Tears
as a sort of attempt at a big-band rock sound. Calling it an early jazz-rock outing is not exactly accurate; it was more like late-'60s soul-rock-psychedelia that sometimes (but not always) employed prominent horns. Indeed, it sometimes didn't always sound like the work of the same band -- or, at least, you could say that it seemed torn between blues-rock, soul-rock, and California psychedelic influences. The album's success is even harder to judge in light of the facts that Gravenites
really wasn't a top-notch vocalist, and that the bandmembers' instrumental skills outshone their songwriting ones.
There was enough promise on the album to merit further exploration, but it had hardly been released before the Flag began to droop. Goldberg
left, followed shortly by Bloomfield
, the most important component of the group's vision. A fragmented band recorded an inferior follow-up, but by 1969 Electric Flag had split up. They did reunite (with Bloomfield
) in 1974 for a Jerry Wexler
-produced album that got little notice. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi