I’ll Be There

In 1968, the song ‘Reach Out of the Darkness’ by Friend & Lover charted #10 in the US and it came out on their album which had the same name.  Friend and Lover was a husband-and-wife duo made up of two Americans Jim Post (born in Houston, Texas in 1939) and Cathy Conn (born in Chicago, Illinois in 1945) who met each other at a Canadian provincial fair in 1964.  At the time of their first encounter Post was a member of the Canadian folk group the Rum Runners, while Conn was a dancer who was a member of the dance company which participated at the same provincial fair.  Conn also had some background in singing and the ability to belt out really big on chorus.

Jim Post wrote two lines from the song ‘Reach Out of the Darkness’ on a napkin after attending a love-in in Central Park.  There is a saying that says, “If you can remember the 60s, you weren’t there”, because the whole generation was stoned out.  In 1960, the birth control pill was approved for contraceptive use.  It became very popular and with the chance of becoming pregnant being greatly reduced, women became liberated and a groovy kind of love followed.  This one-hit wonder song became popular in San Francisco after a Selective Service sit-in (a form of direct action where protestors gather to promote political, social, or economic change).   Joe South and Bill Lowery produced the song and Ray Stevens played keyboards on it and also arranged the strings.  The hippie counterculture movement in San Francisco was started by Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters who participated in the Human Be In, where political radicals from Berkeley, Beatniks, hippies, Hells Angels, and curious teenagers were brought together to connect through the use of drugs, peaceful anti-war protest, and personal empowerment resulting in the formation of the Love Generation, which included sexual revolution, flower power, and psychedelic drugs.

The people who participated in the Summer of Love which took place in San Francisco in 1967 related to the line, “I think it’s so groovy, now, that people are finally gettin’ together”, and they viewed this as one of the many anthems of this time period.  This song is seen as a gift to the protest movement and it has shown an impressive amount of staying power, due to the way it connected to the universal themes of friendship, love and freedom that pervaded the 60sAlthough the title of this song is ‘Reach Out of the Darkness’, that line is never sung, but Friend & Lover sings “reach out” and “reach out to me” throughout the tune.

Post and Conn fell in love with each other and eventually the two got married.  Jim said the he saw this wonderful woman jumping off a balcony and two other dancers were catching her, and then she flipped five or six times across the stage, which made an impression on him.  The husband-wife team married only a few months after they met and started playing the local Chicago folk clubs.  Before they married, Conn gave up her dancer ambitions and the pop rock group Friend & Lover was formed in 1965.  They signed with Verve Records, after walking into MGM-Verve and telling Jerry Schoenbaum that they wanted to sing for him.  Schoen­baum told them that he only takes tapes, because he didn’t want to be influenced by the way anyone looked.  Jim said, ‘Good, turn around and look out the window” where they were singing ‘Reach Out of the Darkness’.  Ray Stevens was only a studio musician for the group, but when they went out on tour, they were backed by Curt Bachman on bass and Chazz DeMeyer on keyboards.

Jim Post wrote all of the songs on this album, and the Posts charted one more single a few months later, but that was it for them, as their marriage and the band eventually broke up.  Cathy remarried two more times, became Cat Conn, had three children and five grandchildren, and lived for a short time in the mountains of New Mexico, before she came back to Evanston, Illinois sometime around 2015 or 2016.  She died in Evanston, Illinois, on July 4, 2018, at the age of 73.  Jim Post tried to have a solo career with his 1974 album Colorado Exile on Fantasy, the label that had Creedence Clearwater Revival, but it didn’t sell.  Undaunted by the lack of commercial success of his debut, Post continued to create indie albums recording for a number of labels, and he even branched out into children’s books.  Jim remarried and his wife Janet is also a children’s book author.  Jim got involved in theatrical writing and production and worked as a Mark Twain imitator.  Jim Post has had a moderately successful performing career since.

The free love and live and let live movement of the 60s is long gone and all the happiness that came out of this era is just an illusion.  I never went to a love in, but it sounds nice being in a gathering of hippies at a party where everyone was encouraged to express their feelings of friendship and physical attraction, being peaceful having sex, listening to music while using psychedelic drugs and possibly focusing on meditation.  It sounds like a perfect world to me, wearing bell bottoms, a tie-dyed shirt, getting stoned, dancing around to music and making love, well at least pot is legal now in some places.

Now if you feel that you can’t go on
Because all of your hope is gone
And your life is filled with much confusion
Until happiness is just an illusion
And your world around is crumblin’ down
Darling, reach out, come on girl, reach on out for me
Reach out, reach out for me
I’ll be there, with a love that will shelter you
I’ll be there, with a love that will see you through

When you feel lost and about to give up
‘Cause your best just ain’t good enough
And you feel the world has grown cold
And you’re drifting out all on your own
And you need a hand to hold
Darling, reach out, come on girl, reach out for me
Reach out, reach out for me
I’ll be there, to love and comfort you
And I’ll be there, to cherish and care for you
I’ll be there, with a love that will see you through
I’ll be there to love and comfort you

I can tell the way you hang your head
You’re without love and now you’re afraid
And through your tears you look around
But there’s no peace of mind to be found
I know what you’re thinkin’
You’re alone now, no love of your own
But darling, reach out, come on girl, reach out for me
Reach out
Just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there, to give you all the love you need
And I’ll be there, you can always depend on me

I’ll be there, to give you all the love you need
I’ll be there, you can always depend on me

I’ll be there

Written for Thursday Inspiration #114 Reach Out I’ll Be There.

8 thoughts on “I’ll Be There

  1. I’ve heard the song a lot but never knew who did it….if only the world was like that. Nothing would get done but happiness would be everywhere.

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