And no, I don't mean Don and Sylvia. Mad Men musical director David Carbonara continues to mine the era for appropriate songs. For last week's episode, which took place in the spring of 1968, he reached back three years earlier for Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels' 1965 "Baby Jane."
This week, a darker, foreboding mixture of change, upheaval and uncertainty, he went back to the period covered, June '68, for the virtually forgotten folk-rock ballad "Reach Out Of The Darkness" by Friend & Lover, a single (on the progressive rock oriented Verve Forecast label, for whom the late Richie Havens also recorded) that made it to # 10. Part of the song runs under the authentic soundtrack of TV news reports of Bobby Kennedy's shooting in LA. As usual, there's more to the story.
Friend & Lover were the husband-wife team of Jim and Cathy Post, the song itself a product of the times. Folk-rock authority Richie Unterberger's typically outstanding notes to a CD reissue of the Reach Out of the Darkness LP reveals that and much more.
Was this tune a favorite of mine in the summer of 1968, my Junior year in high school recently finished? Nope. I considered "Reach Out of the Darkness" lightweight crap. Back then I was discovering the blues in all its permutations (records then hard to find), the blossoming genius of Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Dylan, the Stones, the then-disintegrating Buffalo Springfield, etc.
Nearly 45 years haven't changed my view of the song. But that's me.
Carbonara chose brilliantly as usual.