Pure Food and Drug Act (listed in The All Music Guide to the Blues, the Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music) was a band that was formed in the early 1970s by Don “Sugarcane” Harris. The band began with Paul Lagos on drums, Larry Taylor on bass and Randy Resnick on guitar. Resnick was at that time experimenting with a one and two handed tapping technique which later became a standard guitarist’s tool. The group played small rooms in the Los Angeles area, such as the Troubadour and the Ash Grove, for several months.
While the band was searching for a record deal, Larry Taylor allegedly began to tire of Don’s constant lateness and irresponsibility and decided to continue his career with John Mayall. At the same time, Harvey Mandel, a Mayall alumnus, was brought in to beef up the accompaniment and to stimulate record label interest, as he already had a following from his Chicago blues days. To replace Taylor on bass, a relative newcomer, Victor Conte, was recruited from Common Ground, a funk band in Fresno that Resnick had played in. Conte went on to play in Tower of Power and with Herbie Hancock in his Monster Band.
Choice Cuts was the band’s only album, recorded live in Seattle in 1972, but it was mostly unsuccessful. Allegedly because of Don’s unreliable nature, the band rarely rehearsed. Live performances included extended solos and improvised ensemble sections, and one song would often last 20 minutes or more. Various line-up changes took place until the band broke up a few years after releasing its first album.
01. Introduction: Jim’s Message — 1:43
02. My Soul’s On Fire — 4:11
03. ‘Till The Day I Die — 7:07
04. Eleanor Rigby — 11:47
05. A Little Soul Food — 4:02
06. Do It Yourself — 4:20
07. Where’s My Sunshine? — 8:54
08. What Comes Around Goes Around — 4:20
Don «Sugarcane» Harris — electric violin, vocals
Harvey Mandel — lead guitar
Randy Resnick — rhythm guitar, solo guitar (06)
Victor Conte — bass
Paul Lagos — drums, steel drums (07)