60s Music

Friend and Lover – “Reach Out of the Darkness”

Friend and LoverShort career summary of Friend and Lover

Friend & Lover were a husband-and-wife folk duo consisting of Jim Post and Cathy Post. “Reach Out Of The Darkness” was their only hit single, breaking into the Top 10 pop chart in June 1968. Jim Post (born in 1939 in Texas) had previously been with another folk act The Rum Runners. Cathy Conn (born in 1945 in Chicago, Illinois) was part of a dancing company. After Conn an Post met at a state fair, they married, and eventually formed Friend & Lover in 1965. After their first label Verve Records, the couple moved to Cadet Records as Jim and Cathy. But the act was short-lived, and so was their marriage. Post went on performing and recording for a number of labels (Flying Fish Records and Fantasy Records) and getting involved into theatrical writing and production, while Cathy Conn re-married and is now living in New Mexico.

Meeting, marriage and musical partnership of Jim Post and Cathy Conn as Friend and Lover

Friend and Lover traced its origins back right from the meeting of two Americans Jim Post (born in Houston, Texas in 1939) and Cathy Conn (born in Chicago, Illinois in 1945) 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.

Post and Conn fell in love with each other and eveuntually the two got married. Before marrying Post, Conn gave up her dancer ambitions, while getting coached a bit more by her husband about singing. They eventually made themselves as a credible singing duo on stage. Post would sing in his agreeable tenor, while Conn had the ability to belt out really big on chorus.

 

The duo’s lone major hit single “Reach Out of the Darkness”

Post and Conn named their act as Friend and Lover, and they played around clubs while slowly developing their sound, style and following. The married pair released their debut single “If Tomorrow,” produced by Joe South. It didn’t make an impression either on the audience or on the charts, though it was good enough for Friend and Lover to earn a support act slot for the Buckinghams and Cream.

Other than that, Friend and Lover’s career seemed to be going nowhere until the head of MGM/Verve Jerry Schoenbaum chanced upon the duo’s song called “Reach Out of the Darkness” and liked it. It had echoes of the early Jefferson Airplane with a dash of Spanky and Our Gang, which made it perfect as one of the anthems in the summer of 1968.

“Reach Out of the Darkness” was written by Post, inspired by the love-in gathering in New York City, as well as the sense of freedom pervading in the air. The song was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and released on Verve Forecast imprint.

“Reach Out of the Darkness” paced the Billboard pop charts and eventually peaked at #10 in 1968. It was also used as anthem as a protest towards American politics, especially those protesting on the US involvement in the Vietnam War.

Later struggles, divorce of Post and Conn, and life after Friend and Lover

However, “Reach Out of the Darkness” was to be Friend and Lover’s only significant hit, and they were able to follow it up with two more singles and an LP. Their contract at Verve expired, and they had lost their chance to a lucrative contract from Columbia Records while in the process that Verve wouldn’t want to release them. Their second and last charting single, “If Love Is in Your Heart,” only reached #86 on the Hot 100 later in 1968.

Eventually, Post and Conn divorced, effectively ending their musical and professional partnership as well. After Friend and Lover, Post continued to write and record for other labels and also ventured into stage production and play writing. Conn, on the other hand, became Cat Conn. She went on to have children and grandchildren and now lives in the mountains of New Mexico.

 

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