I came across the song “Grazin’ In The Grass” while listening to an episode of a Bob Dylan radio show. Each episode of the show (I’ve only heard one) has a theme, and all the music Dylan picks somehow relates to the chosen theme, which was flowers in this case. Flowers also formed the basis for Dylan’s between-song gabbing, so if you happen to be looking for a quick history of the tulip, this is probably your jam. I’d never heard most of the songs, but most of them didn’t do much for me. This track stood out, by the group Friends Of Distinction, a soul group formed in LA in 1968. Apparently two of its members were in Ray Charles’ backing band before going out on their own. It’s got vocals that remind me sometimes of the Rascals’ “Groovin,” and a jumping horn section.
“Grazin’ In The Grass” did well on the R&B charts. The rest of the Friends Of Distinction’s album, entitled Grazin’, is solid but not as exciting as its opener. Friends do a cover of Eddie Floyd’s Stax classic, “Never Found Me A Girl,” and a version of the Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” both of which are overshadowed by the original. They also do the song “Goin’ In Circles,” but their version pales in comparison to Isaac Hayes’ take on the song, from his album Black Moses.