Dakota Midday: The Sunny Sounds of the Free Design
The late 1960s were a golden age for what today is called sunshine pop. This was a time when vocal groups like the Association, the Mamas and Papas, Fifth Dimension and others hit the top of the charts with cheerful songs about riding in beautiful balloons and winsome girls handing out rainbows.
Perhaps the sunniest group of all was a quartet of siblings from rural New York who called themselves the Free Design. With arranger and songwriter Chris Dedrick at the helm, brother Bruce and sisters Sandra and Ellen created music that was lyrically happy and playful, yet also musically sophisticated and adventurous.
Unfortunately the Free Design never found much commercial success, but some 25 years after calling it quits, the group’s music was rediscovered and today has a cult following. Chris lost a battle to cancer five years ago, but Sandra Dedrick is still performing and recording. She’s just released a new album called Love You. She joined Dakota' Midday's Fifth Friday and discussed the Free Design's magical music.