Robert Lester Folsom
Abacus Atlanta SessionsOctober 7, 2020 Anthology Recordings
In 1975, Robert Lester Folsom assembled Abacus, a rock n’ roll band made up of his hometown and college friends from southern Georgia. Inspired by the sounds and vibes the band was producing, Folsom dropped out of college to pursue his true passion of music. Spurred on by lead guitarist Hans VanBrackle (also Folsom’s sidekick on the reel-to-reel recordings that would eventually become the album Ode to a Rainy Day), who attended school in Auburn, Alabama, Folsom convinced the entire band to relocate there. Leaving a major, southeastern college town, their time in Auburn was unfortunately uneventful. Abacus was only able to book one solid gig in their new homebase, in part due to the rising popularity of disco as well as a string of failed managers.
To show promoters and club owners that their brand of above average southern tinged rock could attract a crowd given the stage, Robert and the band were encouraged to cut a demo. Bass player Sparky Smith came across the LeFevre Studio in Atlanta, originally built for the gospel singing family The LeFevres. Enticed by Mylon LeFevre’s association with George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Alvin Lee, and Ron Wood, Smith and Folsom toured the studio and decided it was the perfect fit for them. Although they did not initially have the money to pay for the recording, they were graciously fronted the funds by Smith’s mother. The band holed up at VanBrackle’s Auburn home rigorously rehearsing the seven original songs that make up the until now unreleased Abacus Atlanta Sessions.
The session greatly impressed Stan Dacus, the head engineer at LeFevre, who only met the band the day they began recording. Recognizing the potential in Folsom and Abacus, he encouraged Robert to return to the studio. Dacus would later become the producer on Folsom’s legendary lost album, Music and Dreams (recorded with fellow Abacus members). But way before that album was released, these tracks were an indication of the musical direction that Folsom would eventually master—a psychedelic melange of folk, rock, and pop—all imbued with a southern feel. Despite its characterization as a demo, Sessions plays like a fully fleshed out album. The musicians play, and sound, like the seasoned band and friends they were.
Although the demo recording did the trick of securing a number of gigs in 1976 after returning to Georgia, Sessions was the only record the band would produce under the Abacus name, with the group dissolving not long after. But without the fortuitous timing of Abacus Atlanta Sessions, it would never have led to the opus that is Music and Dreams. Digitally released for the first time ever by Anthology Recordings, this album adds a crucial chapter to Robert Lester Folsom’s wild and wonderful musical journey.
|1 Singing In The Shower|
|2 I Want To Tell You|
|3 Are You The Answer?|
|4 Jericho (My Quiet Place)|
|5 Rock 'n' Roll (With You On My Mind)|
|6 Lunar Pie|
|7 Truck Stop|