Americana Highways is pleased to be hosting this video premiere of The Love Valets’ song “Yesterday’s Tomorrow.” This song is part of the recently released album Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating the Winston-Salem Combo Scene (Omnivore). This is the history of the North Carolina scene that begat Sneakers, dB’s, Don Dixon and Let’s Active. The album includes live music from the May 2018 at the Ramkat in Winston-Salem with original members of bands that performed decades ago reuniting for this recording.
The album was produced and mixed by Chris Stamey. Musicians on the album include Lynn Blakey (Les Chicas) and Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Teutonic Griffin, Chris Stamey (producer) with Peter Holsapple (The dbs), Don Dixon (Arrogance, studio musician), Will Rigby (drummer with The dbs), and many others.
This song is The Love Valets: Doug Davis (vocals, guitar), Mitch Easter (lead guitar), Corky McMillan (bass), and Robin Borthwick (drums). It was written by B. Carlisle/Copyright Control. This video was filmed by John Gessner, Justin Reich, and Greg Silva; edited by Michael Harrison Sparks, with audio mix by Chris Stamey. There were two performances of this key song that day. The earlier one was chosen for the album (but no video exists of it); this video is actually of the second performance.
Photos of the original 1968 band
This song was never heard outside of Winston-Salem, NC, but those of us who heard it, and the band that originally did it, were endlessly inspired by this. I wrote about it in my book, A Spy in the House of Loud (Univ. of Texas Press):
A duck, tethered to a kick drum by a forty-foot piece of twine and flying through the air in time to the pounding rhythm. A 150-watt bulb in a box, its illumination interrupted by the slowly revolving blades of an electric fan: a poor man’s strobe light. Yours truly, cowering in fascination as the cavernous acoustics in the cafeteria of the Bishop McGuinness Catholic high school for girls swallowed up what coherence there was in the improvisatory fury of Captain Speed and the Fungi Electric Mothers. It was 1968, I was thirteen, and Winston-Salem was being forever transformed. Psychedelia, on the wings of a water fowl, had flown into our little tobacco town. We watched Steve Hutchison blur into a many-limbed beast as he rolled around the toms, while Buddy Carlisle traveled all over the neck of a Fender Precision bass (shaped like a “year-zero”—i.e., 1951—Telecaster) as he sang. Guitarist Mike Greer had taken the underground phonograph sounds of Cream, the Amboy Dukes, Vanilla Fudge, and Hendrix and conjured them into life on his way to transmuting them into the band’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrow” b/w “Reptilian Disaster” single (of which there were only three or four copies ever made, reference lacquers only). This was a seismic event for our town, and as the dust cleared, everything looked different.
Now, sadly, Bud Carlisle is no longer with us, so it couldn’t be an encore performance of the original band. But we absolutely wanted to perform this song! So we assembled “The Love Valets” (named after 1970’s locally infamous “Love Valley Peace Festival”) here for that purpose. Robin Borthwick (drums), Mitch Easter (lead guitar), and Corky McMillan (bass) had all been in related bands in Winston-Salem that were inspired by Carlisle and company. Doug Davis (from the Vagabond Saints’ Society, who sings lead and plays guitar here) was a relative newcomer to the tune but was able to absorb and embody its spirit, hats off to him! — Chris Stamey
Step into an echo of the Winston-Salem past and rock with the Love Valets like you’re backstage. The levels on this are nice, there’s no blaring, just clean sound. For more info: http://www.winstonsalemsound.com