Rockin' the Country
By JOEL SELVIN - SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE POP MUSIC CRITIC 1985 Talent Talk: Pete Charles got a little press for making 49er Russ Francis late to practice earlier this season, when Francis was sitting in with his band on drums. His country-rock band is something of a house favorite among the Super Bowl champions. Charles has been working around Bay Area honky-tonks for the past five years, holding down steady gigs like his regular Wednesdays at Woodside's Pioneer Inn or the BBQ cruises on the bay by the Red and White fleet, looking for the elusive recognition and proverbial big break. Music business types keep telling him to make up his mind and go either rock or country, not both. So far, Charles has ignored the advice. He got his first break as a teenager. He belonged to Crazy Horse for a few years, the band that used to back Neil Young. He produced the demo tape that won Marin County-based the Judds a major recording contract that led to the mother-daughter duo becoming big time country stars, but he did not get to produce the album. He did finally produce and release an album of his own, 'Rockin' the Country.' It offers eloquent testimony that, yes, it is possible to play both rock and country, and Charles is distributing the LP on his own Ridin' High Records. The Band: PETE CHARLES - lead vocals, guitar, fiddle, piano, harmonica PAUL BRANIN - saxophone, guitar WILLIE RISER - bass RICK SANKEY - drums, linn drum, synthesizer TED STRATTON - organ, piano, sythesizer Other Players: Skip Holcombe - harmonica (Daytime Nighttime, Give Me That Country Life) Dan Tyack - pedal steel guitar George Whitsell - rhythm guitar (Daytime Nighttime) Backup Vocals: Pete Charles, Skip Holcombe, Lynn Rae, Anne Stocking Mixing Consultant: George Whitsell PRODUCED BY PETE CHARLES.