Meridian West was formed in early 1967 by Julie Iger, a flautist with a classical music background, and Harriet Carter, a vocalist and guitarist. Julie was living in San Francisco and Harriet resided in Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. The repertoire consisted of American folk songs and Israeli folk songs. After playing a few shows in the Bay area, the group was augmented by Allan Pimental, percussion, and Nat Johnson, bass. Nat and Al were veterans of the jazz scene in the area, having performed with artists such as George Duke, pianist.
Later in 1967, the group added guitarist Larry Vogt, a musician with classical training and also experience in jazz and folk music. Larry and Julie had performed as a duo in the San Francisco scene during 1965 and had also recorded some improvised music for the film, "Two Photographers," a documentary film by Fred Padula. Larry brought a 12-string guitar as well as the classical guitar and now the group needed a name. The name Meridian West was chosen because of the blending of several musical genres on the West Coast, with the jazz, folk, classical, and international Middle Eastern influences.
The group played at several coffee houses around the Bay area, starting with The Lion's Share, thereby being noticed by the clientele of artists and music lovers from around the region. Runway Five, a new coffee house in Sausalito, featured Meridian West on its opening weekend and the group became popular for its varied repertoire. Other venues opened up, including performances at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco.
Late in 1967 Harriet left the band to spend more time with her growing family and Meridian West went on as a quartet. By 1968 the group was performing at The Trident, a prominent jazz club in Sausalito and the group became a regular performer at Glide Memorial on Sundays. By March of 1968, Meridian West had been noticed by Steve McQueen, the actor, who was captivated by a performance at The Trident. McQueen gave the group a visual cameo appearance in the movie, "Bullitt," which was being filmed in San Francisco in April. Many performances around the Bay area followed as well as a concert tour to the Pacific Northwest by 1969. Harriet rejoined the band for occasional performances during this time period.
By 1970 Meridian West had played every major club in the Bay area including The Hungry I. Performances in Reno, Pasadena, and another set of concerts in the Seattle area rounded out the year. Meanwhile, the band performed every Sunday at Glide Memorial. The jazz pianist Jean Hoffman played with the band on Sundays for a few months during this time period. By late 1970 the band was joined by George Fore, keyboard player, and Francisco Obligasion, percussionist, both from San Francisco.