Recorded in just a week, Lambert & Nuttycombe’s At Home was released in 1970. Unlike Simon & Garfunkel, who flavored their album with an array of instruments and sometimes ornate arrangements, Craig and Denis attempted to keep their album as musically uncomplicated as possible. With “Lambert & Nuttycombe” written at the top of the album cover and Craig pictured at the left, the sleeve might have generated confusion regarding the members’ names.
The album featured eleven original songs, plus a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles,” which would become a hit for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band later in the year. The sound was direct and easily accessible, as Denis’s guitar and voice occupied the left channel and Craig’s the right. No other musicians or instruments were used in the making of the album.
In typical folk tradition, the lyrics dealt with everyday topics and occasionally used nature as a form of symbolism. Protest songs, common in the folk genre, were nowhere to be found in Lambert & Nuttycombe’s repertoire. With “Morning,” the album’s opener, Denis added the song’s bridge after Craig completed the verses and basic melody, and then the two added vocal harmonies to the song. The result was arguably the best representation of Lambert & Nuttycombe’s essence. Nuttycombe wrote “Something on My Mind” while in Sausalito thinking about home. “Ode to Drugan” featured music by Craig and lyrics by Denis about one of Nuttycombe’s guitar mentors who Craig worked with at Fife & Nichols.
“Mouse” and “Putting Myself Together Again” both dealt with the trials and tribulations of relationships. Lambert’s “Time” addressed the uncertainty of the future, while Nuttycombe’s “My Own Beat” offered a more optimistic view of life in unpredictable times. “Heaven Knows” dealt with Lambert’s struggle with heroin, a drug that would soon seriously affect his creativity and performance.
Drug experimentation is often a common part of the culture surrounding musicians of popular music, regardless of era or location. How the music is affected by the experimentation varies. While most of Lambert & Nuttycombe’s music didn’t contain obvious drug references and wasn’t the result of drug-induced performances, Denis’s addiction to heroin was present as early as the duo’s first album.
At Home became a minor hit on the west coast, selling around 30,000 copies. Although it failed to sell in other areas, Lambert & Nuttycombe made a connection with a small but loyal group of fans. In 1970, the duo began performing at the Ice House in Pasadena, located in northern Los Angeles. Comedians such as Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin performed at the club early in their career, often opening for more popular musical acts. Denis and Craig would play there consistently until their split, opening for such artists as local folk legend Tim Morgon.
With the help of their manager, Howard Wolf, Lambert & Nuttycombe began playing shows outside California. The duo played a handful of shows in Hawaii including the Crater Festival, sharing the bill with Little Feat and Steve Miller. As their popularity increased, Lambert & Nuttycombe were invited to open for the blues-rock band Canned Heat on their European tour.
If interested, a great bio is here:
03. Bird Song
04. My Own Beat
05. Something On My Mind
07. Ode To Drugan
08. Putting Myself Together Again
09. Mr. Bojangles
10. Country Song
11. Heaven Knows (Where I've Been)
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