THE NOVA LOCAL – \’Nova 1\’ (MCA MUPS 377) 1969

The Nova Local have featured on \’Flower Bomb Songs\’ before when I reviewed their debut single \’If You Only Had The Time\’. For the purpose of having everything about The Noval Local in one place on my blog I\’ve copied that entry from February 2011 with this posting.

I was recently delighted to acquire an original copy of The Noval Local. I\’ve bought this a few times over the years on dubious bootleg vinyl and CD but there\’s NOTHING as good as a vintage copy on vinyl.

The copy I managed to find, at a reasonable price, is the rare UK release on MCA. This stereo album was released sometime in 1969 in Britain, which is a little strange as The Noval Local had long since disbanded the previous year.

\’Nova 1\’ was first released in USA on Decca during April 1968 and appears to have missed out on any attention at the time, which is a shame as the material is first rate, varied and interesting. The original songs are really strong psychedelic contenders including the lysergic and West Coast sounding opener \’$5 A Ticket\’ which kicks the album off in fine style. The listener expects it\’s gonna be one long trip.

Another winning original song is the very Lovin\’ Spoonful(esque) \’A Visit From It, The King\’ this then leads into some brilliant tripped out psych with versions of \’Tobacco Road\’, \’Hitch Hike\’ and \’Morning Dew\’. These three songs alone are worth buying the album for.
Dig the seriously far-out psych leads on \’Morning Dew\’ especially. Actually, I\’ve decided that The Nova Local sound more like a \’67 English psych group than American. Maybe that\’s why their album got a belated release in England.  

The orchestrated and dreamy \’Forgotten Man\’ was compiled in the late 80s on \’Baubles Volume 1\’ and is probably where I first heard anything by The Nova Local. Other songs to receive the compilation treatment include the non-album \’Games\’, which was the flip of \’If You Only Had The Time\’, \’Other Girls\’, another non-album flip side, is avaiable on \’Wyld Sydes Volume 5\’.


other information:

Randy Winburn (rhythm guitar / vocals)
Joe Mendyk (lead guitar)
Cam Schinhan (organ)
Jim Opton (bass)
Bill LeVasseur (drums)

Phil Lambeth (guitar)
B.B. Saunders and Elliot Mazer (producers)

From Buffalo Billycan,
\”This band were students at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Their album, which was recorded in New York in December 1966, is definitely worth investigating and is a minor collectable. Its very Anglophile sound garner
ed it a U.K. release, although the band had split by April 1967.

Bassist Jim Opton told U-Spaces:- 
\”We were a band that was making a pretty good living playing fraternity parties around the campus, and a few cellar clubs in Chapel Hill. My fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, was sponsoring a charity concert for our scholarship fund, and we decided to go for broke that year and book a big name. 

We contacted William Morris Agency in New York, and booked Chad and Jeremy. We needed an opening act, so I booked my own band… got us real cheap. The deal was that Rob Heller, who was with the Morris Agency would come and hear us play. He signed us immedately after the concert. A week later he hooked us up with Elliot Mazer, who became our producer. Elliot also worked as a song peddler for E.B. Marks Music, who published the music. We got a recording contract with Decca, I don\’t know how, but Rob put that deal together with Elliot, and the next thing I know, we are in the studio with all kinds of famous people that had us in awe for the first 35 seconds or so. I do know that somebody thought we were kind of special, because the studio was absolutely closed to visitors while we were there, and we were not allowed to take home raw tape to play for anyone. 

We did a lot of things that were pretty advanced for our time. Listen carefully to Morning Dew for example. The strange vocal effects were done by feeding the vocals through a Leslie Tone Cabinet from a Hammond B3. Also, the bass lead is the first bass feedback lead I think I can remember in a rock song. I blew up the amp doing it!! Cost me $750 (a LOT of money I didn\’t have in 1966)!! But, it was a hell of a lick. The album was essentially recorded by five of us: Randy, Bill, Joe, Cam and me. Phil had departed for law school. I believe he is alive and well, and practicing law in Charlotte, N.C.\”

\”Actually, there is one little piece or two of rock and roll history that goes with that album. It was the first ever recorded using the very new, and relatively unknown, Dolby NR System. It took up a good size room at the time. The engineer for the album, Fred Catero, was also the engineer for Simon and Garfunkel.\” (thanks to Paul Jacob Boller)

THE NOVA LOCAL – \’If You Only Had The Time\’/\’Games\’ (Decca 32138) May 1967

Decca Records had a lot of faith in teenage group The Nova Local offering them an album deal and taking out a full page colour advert in Billboard trade magazine in May 1967. A couple of singles were also released, \’If You Only Had The Time\’ is on the long player but the flip \’Games\’ is not.

By all accounts the group formed at Chapel Hill College in North Caroline and quickly established themselves on the local circuit but outside of NC they were virtually unknown.

\’If You Only Had The Time\’ is a delightful pop psych tune written and sung by Randy Winburn who now goes by the name Rand Winburn.

Billboard advert May 1967

THE NOVA LOCAL – \’John Knight\’s Body\’/\’Other Girls\’ (Decca 32194) September 1967

The second and last Nova Local single paired \’John Knight\’s Body\’ with the garage pop of  \’Other Girls\’. Both songs were written and sung by Randy Winburn.
\’John Knight\’s Body\’ is quite a weird little pop song with it\’s jaunty rhythm in stark contrast with dark lyrics about someone being framed for a murder he did not commit and pondering his life in a prison cell while waiting on death row for execution. Heavy shit for a pop record.


One thought on “THE NOVA LOCAL – NOVA 1

  1. I found the Nova Local LP in a thrift store some months back and I too thought they were British upon just reading their name; imagine my surprise… It's a great great record and I listen to it A LOT. As a perhaps-interesting aside, I had already heard \”If You Only Had The Time\” sampled into a hip hop song by Dangerdoom long before I bought this record. The sample wasn't credited that I remember, but it's unmistakable.


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