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Listen to The Drambuies (recorded 1971) | Listen to Bear Hug (recorded 1976)

Many people who only knew Dick from the 1980's or after may not have been aware of his history as an accomplished musician and songwriter (or his brief stint as a standup comedian who was given advice from Pat Paulson in the early 70's). They might be surprised to know that Dick founded bands that performed and toured both in the US and Europe during the late 1960's and through the mid 1970's. He was greatly influenced by The Kingston Trio and other folk bands of the era, and his music reflected their style. His bands played folk and bluegrass cover songs, traditional ballads and original works that were enjoyed by a wide following.

The 3 BearsWhile a freshman at Rollins College in 1966 he played in a band called The 3 Bears (Dick is center in the image to the left), who played locally around Winter Park, FL. That same year he formed the band The Drambuies, and was joined in 1968 by Casey Law, who would later become his wife. Under the name The Drambuies they were the National Collegiate Champions in the Folk division in 1970 (in competition with over 1500 other bands), and recorded an album called The Drambuies (captured live at a Rollins College performance) in 1971. They even played the Ryman Theater at the Grand Ole Opry that same year, and performed on national television broadcasts in both the US and Canada.

After moving to Boulder in late 1971, Dick formed the band Bear Hug with his wife Casey, and they played local and national venues. By then the feeling of their music leaned more towards 'Country Rock', but covered a much wider range. They also performed more original works by both Dick and Tom Sampson, who joined Bear Hug in November 1974 and was with them until the end. In March 1976, Bear Hug was "discovered" by a Hollywood TV producer while they were performing in Vail. She was so smitten that she invited them to send a demo to her as an initial step in securing a place on a variety show (Dinah Shore's summer replacement for the Carol Burnett Show). The band went to Applewood Studios in Golden to record a demo that included I'm A Woman (Maria Muldaur) and Fairweather Friend (Tom Sampson), both of which would really highlight Casey's spectacular voice. Applewood catered to artists of the caliber of Joe Walsh, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Firefall, Sugarloaf and Michael Murphy, and offered a 24 channel console and recorder, Dolby and other advanced features. They did one or two live takes with no multi-tracking, since that was all they could afford. The demo went off to CBS, but ultimately was rejected. However, it does highlight the charisma of Dick and the band and Casey's singing that was the basis for Bear Hug's unrealized potential. The band played their last gig at the Denver Playboy Club in September of 1976, who themselves closed just a few months later. Bear Hug broke up, and Dick and Casey's marriage dissolved soon after. Dick went on to manage other performers in the industry, and eventually to own the Boulder Theater before moving on to writing opinion columns for several Colorado publications and broadcasting a long-running weekly commentary about anything on his mind on local NPR radio station KGNU.

Following is what is known of Dick's work as a musician and performer.

The Drambuies

Thanks to Tonja Loendorf, Dark Cloud's longtime announcer on KGNU,for providing the Drambuies album that was digitized for publication on this site.

The Drambuies at Rollins College

Dick MacLeod (right) and Casey Law (center) at Rollins College in 1970, with Jeff Danys (left) of The Drambuies.

Note: Since the songs are on a single, large file, the time stamp in parenthesis denotes where the song starts

The Drambuies - Side one:

Corey, Corey (:34)
An Appalachian-based song that derives its present form from the Prohibition Era

Caribbean Medley (2:56)
In Trinidad, these are sung at "Fetes", distinguished from "parties" because at the end nobody knows who gave them.

Colors (7:50)
By Donovan. One of his finest works

Sea at Night (10:50)
A Dick MacLeod original

Worried Man (14:07)
Taught to us by a friend of Jeff's who never could remember the right words. Thusly, ladies and gentlemen, dost the trove of folk music enlarge itself. Dedicated to the Monas of this world.

Time of Man (17:25)
A song that originally was probably meant to refer to nuclear holocaust. We figured it makes a better statement for mankind's quaint ability to poison itself and everything around it (except the common cold and the cockroach), and delude itself into thinking that it's progressing. We do it as a slow waltz. It could be done as a dirge. Dance to it while you can.

Side two:

The Camel Song (21:45)
This came from somewhere, but we can't find it. Amazing what you'll learn in Costa Rica

If I Had My Way (22:32)
Yes, I did forget the words.

Let It Be (26:06)
Casey Law, front and center.

Shuckin' the Corn (32:45)
Jeff Shows how it's done.

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On my Head (35:35)
The most requested song of the last year.

Wynkon, Blynkon and Nod (38:36)
A lullaby from the poem by Eugene Field. He, in turn, had gotten it from Dutch folklore.

Salty Dog (43:02)
From Flatt and Scruggs. Slightly different rendition all around.

Muddy River (45:42)
We got this from the Osborne Brothers and their group.

Notes by Dick MacLeod

 

Many thanks to Tom Sampson for providing images and his recordings of the group, as well as his knowledge and memories of the years he was with the band. Apologies for the poor quality of the recordings, which were recorded live on basic equipment and have been converted to different formats multiple times over the years.

Bear Hug images

Bear Hug
Live at the Hungry Farmer (May 1976), Set 1:

Midnight Flyer
The Eagles

Silverton (4:09)
Original song by Tom Sampson

Mexico (7:55)
James Taylor

Shooting Star (11:07)
Harry Chapin

Only Love is Real (15:36)
Carole King

The Biggest Whatever (20:48)
The Dillards

Carey (23:38)
Joni Mitchell

Lighthouse (28:39)
James Taylor

Part of the Plan (32:45)
Dan Fogelberg

Feelin' Single, Seein' Double (37:04)
Emmy Lou Harris

Midnight Blue (40:00)
Melissa Manchester

Already Gone (43:49)
The Eagles


Bear Hug
Live at the Hungry Farmer (May 1976), Set 2:

Morning Sky
Dan Fogelberg

I've Just Seen a Face (3:36)
The Beatles

Amie (7:18)
Pure Prairie League

Two Hangmen (11:16)
Mason Proffit

Colorado On the Rag (14:43)
Original song by Dick MacLeod

Bluebird Wine (16:43)
Emmy Lou Harris

As the Raven Flies (19:37)
Dan Fogelberg

Runaway Fool of Love (23:25)
John Stewart

After the Gold Rush (25:33)
Neil Young

Raised On Robbery(29:41)
Joni Mitchell

Someday Soon (32:51)
Judy Collins

Wheatfield Lady (36:04)
John Stewart

Recorded at Applewood Studios:

Fairweather Friend
Original song by Tom Sampson

I'm a Woman
Maria Muldaur

Other Bear Hug songs:

Mr Bojangles
Jerry Jeff Walker

I Am The Mercury
Jimmie Spheeris

The Eagle and the Hawk / Fallen Eagle
John Denver / Stephen Stills