THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘Penny Arcade’/’Ordinary Girl’ (Dunhill 45-D-4027) March 1966
The Thomas Group, for whatever reason, have rarely been compiled and are unknowns to most. They were a group of clean cut teenagers that formed in 1965 at Beverley Hills High School, their style of play was not influenced by the so called Brit Invasion but pure pop with surf and folk rock overtones.
They were talent spotted by Dunhill Records and put under the tutorage of famed songwriters P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri who wrote, arranged and produced most of their material. The Los Angeles ‘Wrecking Crew’ of Hal Blaine (drums), Joe Osborne (bass) and Larry Knechtel (keyboards) laid down the backbeats. What The Thomas Group contributed in the studio is therefore unclear, probably just the vocals.
Curiously no Thomas Group songs were compiled on the recent Sloan & Barri CD collection released by Ace in 2010.
Both sides are sunshine pop charmers, well written and executed as you would expect. The falsetto on the chorus of ‘Penny Arcade’ is P.F. Sloan.
THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘Autumn’/’Don’t Start Me Talkin’ ‘Bout My Baby’ (Dunhill 45-D-4030) May 1966
The second Thomas Group 45 was released a few months after their debut and sold well in some markets. Their profile was raised when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed ‘Autumn’…Dear ‘Old Ed’ introduced them as having a ‘groovy, smooth rock sound’….
Once again P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri wrote and produced both sides adding background vocals. The sound of ‘Autumn’ is uplifting pure pop and should have been a massive hit, especially with the Ed Sullivan Show exposure.
THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘I’ve Got No More To Say’/’Then It Begins’ (RCA Victor D-4062) January 1967 (Canadian release)
The third Thomas Group single was released during the first month of 1967, some copies were housed in a picture sleeve. The back of the sleeve contained information about the group and it’s members. It also confirmed that P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were writing and producing exclusively for The Thomas Group. As it turned out, this 45 would be the last one written by the famous songwriting duo.
‘I’ve Got No More To Say’ has a passing Beatles influence and is probably the only song they recorded with an ‘English’ sound. The flip ‘Then It Begins’ comes across like a clever re-write of ‘Red Rubber Ball’.
Tony Thomas (drums)
Greg Gilford (organ/lead vocals)
Marty Howard (lead guitar)
Robert Wallerstein (rhythm guitar)
David Goldsmith (bass)
In late 1967, Steven Gaines replaced Marty Howard on lead guitar.
12″ singles were very popular during the eighties and I acquired perhaps a dozen or so, they weren’t something I’d immediately want preferring the good old fashioned 7″ single. I suppose the good thing about the twelve inch record was the chance to hear obscure tracks not on the single or even on the album at the time each group were promoting.
The Cult‘s “Spiritwalker” has the goth blues number “Flower In The Desert” on the B-side, which was probably why I bought this record in 1984.
I’m a key-worker and have been travelling to and from my Office since the first UK lock-down during the middle of March 2020. OK, you don’t all have to send me emails of congratulations and payments of love to my Paypal account.
Well, it’s taken a whole eleven months for my Employer to get around to ‘awarding’ me the luxury of working from home. On the 17th of March 2021, I made my Office space inside my spare bedroom a.k.a. EXPO67 HQ. One thing remained the same though, my admin work is still absolutely shite no matter where I unhappily indulge in its tediousness. That personal viewpoint has dogged my mind for many years, but my work pays the bills and has enabled me to amass quite an incredible CD and record collection.
The huge bonus of now working from home, inside EXPO67 HQ, is that I’m thoroughly enjoying catching up on my CD playlist, or casually picking an item from the shelf and hearing sonic magic contained within the plastic.
On heavy rotation today was a Byrds CD I’ve had for a couple of decades, came out in the early 90s. The first thing that knocked me back somewhat is that all of the tracks are stereo mixes of the well known and most beautiful numbers I’m more familiar with in mono.
The Monkees ‘Changes’ album is completely new to me, I was always put off by it because it was released in 1970. I’ve never really gone beyond 1968 for sixties recordings. So, put my tentativeness down to my ‘village idiot’ tendencies and judging a book by it’s cover.
‘Changes’ is a worthy Monkees release that doesn’t appear to resonate with fans. Perhaps it was because by 1970 only Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz were left, they play no instruments on these recordings, only adding their vocals.
The huge surprise for me though is that a few of the numbers date from 1967 and one track in particular is an absolute BEAST. “99 Pounds” simply roars outta the cage, what a fabulous sounding garage rocker complete with some way-out organ and phenomenal Davy Jones punk screams. Davy has never sounded so gritty. A brilliant tune.