PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG
Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from a 1967 Playboy magazine.
THE PLYMOUTH ROCKERS – ’Girl From The North Country’/’Roll Over Stephen Foster’ (Valiant Records V-729) October 1965
Both sides of this disc are pure ’Flower Bomb Songs’ with that gorgeous folk-rock sound, so typical of USA 1965. I actually held off from putting this track on my recent ’Dylanisms’ compilation because it was lined up for my forthcoming Valiant Records 2CD set.
It’s believed that The Plymouth Rockers were from the State of Arizona, some online sources have even suggested Phoenix. How they came to record two singles for Los Angeles label Valiant Records is uncertain but it’s clear that the group possess the ’65 Sunset Strip sound.
’Girl From The North Country’ is a fabulous version of the Bob Dylan tune. I actually heard a version of the song by The Blue Things first before I’d even heard Dylan’s original. The Plymouth Rockers certainly capture that sound I love and need to hear daily. The flip ’Roll Over Stephen Foster’, a Tim Rose composition, has a much more aggressive jangle folk-rock attack..
Both songs have never appeared on any compilations in the past.
Colin – I know there were a bunch of Plymouth Rockers. I have also heard that this band was from the Phoenix area. Do you know from where the Plymouth Rockers that recorded Brown Eyed Handsome Man/Around and Around for Warner Bros. happened to be? Not the same band is it? Thanks in advance, See you On The Flip-Side.
Morgan – The record you speak of is the same Plymouth Rockers. ”Around And Around” / ”Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was released in November 1964. They are listed in ‘Teenbeat Mayhem’ as being from the AZ area, nothing more specific.
Thanks Colin. I see the Addrisi Brothers — who wrote That’s When Happiness Began for The Grains of Sand (the next release on Valiant) – also wrote Walk A Lonely Mile, the flip of the Plymouth Rockers’ Don’t Say Why.
The Plymouth Rockers’ producer emphatically told me that the group was formed in Los Angeles. They played Tucson on New Year’s Eve 1965 and ”Don’t Say Why” got some airplay in Phoenix (appears as ”Hit Bound” on a 1966 KRUX radio survey), but he says none of the members were from Arizona and he didn’t know of any other links to the state. A couple of the guys turned up later in the group Summerhill on Tetragrammaton.
Matthew Moore was a member of The Plymouth Rockers. He joined later the Psych Band ”Moon”
THE LORDS – ’She Belongs To Me’/’On The Road Again’ (Valiant Records V-725) September 1965
The Lords are a mystery, virtually nothing has ever been written about them although they did get a mention in both ’Fuzz, Acid and Flowers’ and ’Teenbeat Mayhem’ but it appears that their line-up is a mystery and both sides of their one and only 45 have yet to see a compilation appearance.
’She Belongs To Me’ and ’On The Road Again’ are successful Bob Dylan cover versions done in the folk-rock style with 12 string jangle, clattering tambourine and in the case of ’On The Road Again’ some sneering vocals and harmonica.
Hopefully one day someone from the group will read this review and get in touch.
Hi I stumbled on this on YouTube and commented there as well. My father is the person singing on this song. ”The Lords” AKA \”The Lords of London” and AKA The Bundys were originally from Durango, Colorado (a different band from Toronto called themselves The Lords of London also a couple years later, not the same band).
The members were my father Tommy Beuten guitar and vocals, Gerry Jimerfield guitar and vocals, Rodger Jones bass and vocals or Jerry Schoenfeld bass and vocals and Sid Levell Drums.
I have stumbled on two other songs on you tube they did as the Lords of London ”Little Lonely Summer Girl” and ”Stay Away”. Do you have a post of the B side?? Thank you Darrell Beuten email@example.com
THE MOTLEYS – ’Louisiana’/’I’ll See Your Light’ (Valiant Records V-724) September 1965
The Motleys are believed to have originated from Los Angeles, I’d like to think that they were a group in their own right but they may have been simply a studio creation fronted by Barry DeVorzon who founded Valiant Records.
’Louisiana’ was co written by DeVorzon and is a pleasant folk-rock made pop rocker with a fabulous guitar break which was re-hashed from The Lost Ones song ’Little Annie’ (also co-written by the same song writing team).
The flip ’I’ll See Your Light’ is a superlative folk-pop winner with some compelling vocal harmonies and a dramatic edge. It’s a curio that both sides remain uncompiled. I’ll make them available on my Valiant Records 2CD compilation coming soon.
A second 45 was released on Valiant during March 1966, this one appears to be quite difficult to locate. ’You’/’My Race Is Run’ can be found on those horrible ’Turds On A Bum Ride’ comps.
THE LOST ONES – ‘Trouble In The Streets’/’Little Annie’ (Valiant Records V-721) August 1965
I’m a sucker for 60s style instros so it comes as no surprise that I’ve got this 45 by The Lost Ones tucked away in one of my record boxes. I haven’t been able to establish if they were a group working the Sunset Strip or if The Lost Ones are merely a studio creation working away on possible incidental music for exploitation films.
’Trouble In The Streets’ is an organ charged instro with reverb and snappy tambourine throughout and ends with wailing police sirens….super cool this one and is strangely the same backing used for Cory Wells and the Enemy’s ’Sinner Man’.
The flip is almost as good especially the kickin’ lead guitar break. Another curio emerges as the instro was used in ’Louisiana’ by The Motleys, another Valiant Records label recording group.
CORY WELLS AND THE ENEMYS – ’Sinner Man’/’Say Goodbye To Donna’ (Valiant Records V-714) April 1965
I wrote about The Enemys way back in October 2009, go here for the posting that includes label scans of all future releases after this one and a band picture. At that time I did not have their first 45 released on Valiant but credited as Cory Well & The Enemys but have since added a copy to my collection last year.
’Sinner Man’ is quite an intense rocker with crunchy Ventures style guitars, organ twists and clattering tambourine. The vocals are moody and perfect for the backbeat, I’d say killer early 1965 Sunset Strip beatsville.
I’m not certain if the group had secured their residency at the Whiskey A Go Go at this point.
DENNY PROVISOR – ’It Really Tears Me Up’/’She’s Not Mine Anymore’ (Valiant Records V-728) October 1965
Here’s a real sort after 45 from Denny Provisor, and quite rightly so in my opinion. ’It Really Tears Me Up’ is a forceful folk-rocker with jangle and is pure Sunset Strip style ear candy. The vocal attack is akin to the gruff tones of Barry McGuire….an absolute killer and pure ’Flower Bomb Songs.’
The flip ’She’s Not Mine Anymore’ is a soul tinged pop ballad that holds my interest.
Denny Provisor released a few earlier singles which I’ve not heard. Both do not feature in Teenbeat Mayhem which leads me to believe that they lack the garage or teenbeat sound.
He ended up in a later line-up of The Hook and played for many years with The Grass Roots.
THE LITTER – ’Distortions’ (Warick WM-671) 1967
One of my most played 60s garage albums has gotta be ’Distortions’, over the years I’ve listened to this many times, too many to remember. Strange how it never seems to get much praise amongst collectors and 60s freaks, often overlooked in favour of releases by The Shadows Of Knight or The Chocolate Watch Band etc…
I’ve got a 70s re-issue on the Warick label bought mail order from Funhouse Records back in the mid eighties. The album has been re-issued/bootlegged many times since on labels like Eva and Arf Arf. I recently read that Sundazed were gonna re-issue ’Distortions’ on vinyl and no doubt if it ever gets a release I’ll be first in line to buy another copy.
Here’s some history about The Litter (taken from the booklet of the CD release on K-Tel)
In the mid 60s members of two Twin Cities rock bands merged and became The Litter. From The Tabs came the guitars of Dan Rinaldi and Bill Strandlof. They were joined by two departing members of The Victors, keyboard/vocalist Denny Waite and bass player Jim Kane.
While attending a local teen band contest at the Minnesota State Fair they met drummer Tom Murray and The Litter was born.
What set The Litter apart from the other local groups at the time was their focus on album cuts and obscure material by the ’British Invasion’ groups (The Yardbirds, Small Faces, The Who).
While playing around the Twin Cities they came to the attention of producer/songwriter Warren Kendrick who took the group into his studio in late 1966 and recorded their first three songs. Two of them, ’Action Woman’ and ’Soul Searchin’, were originals written by Kendrick. The third, ’A Legal Matter’ was a cover of a Who song. ’Action Woman’/’A Legal Matter’ were chosen for the single and released in 1967 on the Scotty label. The 45 got excellent reaction in the Twin Cities.
Around this time St. Paul native Tom ’Zip’ Caplan had returned from a year long stint in Los Angeles where he was doing studio work and cutting demos with songwriter Larry Loofbourrow. Caplan knew bassist Kane from earlier days when ’Zip’ played guitar with local favourites The Escapades, Froggy & His Friends and The Accents.
Shortly after a gig at St. Paul’s Prom Ballroom, Bill Strandlof left The Litter and ’Zip’ Caplan was asked to join the band as lead guitarist, solidifying the line-up. By then the ’Action Woman’ single had broken out of the Twin Cities and was getting airplay throughout the Midwest.
This led to bookings at a couple of clubs in Chicago’s Old Town district. Their live performances were very well received and led to many more appearances and a large following in the Windy City.
Their next logical step was to cut an album. The group utilized both Dove Recording Studios and Warren Kendrick’s Lake Street Studio as they began work on the songs and sounds that would eventually become ’Distortions’.
Three tunes ’Action Woman’. ’A Legal Matter’ and ’Soul Searchin’ were already in the can. ’Somebody Help Me’ (Spencer Davis Group). ’Whatcha Gonna Do About It’ (Small Faces) and ’Rack My Mind’ (The Yardbirds) were songs that had gotten great reaction live, so studio version were recorded.
’Codine’ was a Buffy St. Marie song the group had been playing for some time, so it was included as the album’s one slow number. The group learned ’I’m So Glad’ from Cream after sharing the bill with them at the New City Opera House in Minneapolis. A cover of The Who’s ’Substitute’ was paired as a medley with a ’Zip’ Caplan original called ’The Mummy’ (inspired by the Boris Karloff movie).
They had been closing their gigs with a chaotic version of The Yardbirds ’I’m A Man’. That song was therefore chosen to close the album.
’Distortions’ was released on the Warick label in 1967 to exceptional response. As momentum built, a second single ’Somebody To Love’/’I’m A Man’ was also released on Warick. Touring escalated to a national level and included venues like The Peppermint Lounge in New York, The Cheetah in Los Angeles and everywhere in between.
THE TROPICS – ’You Better Move’/’It’s You I Miss’ (Laurie LR-3330) February 1966
’You Better Move’ is probably the most sought after Tropics 45 among vintage garage punk collectors. This scorching harmonica wailin’ punker first came to my attention in the 80s when it was compiled on ’I Was A Teenage Caveman’ and quite naturally is favourably rated in ’Teenbeat Mayhem.’
The rarely heard folk-rock ballad ’It’s You I Miss’ on the flip is a gem and is perfect for ’Flower Bomb Songs’….this one comes straight outta The Searchers songbook….coolsville…
The Tropics were the best band I`ve ever seen! I opened for them twice, once in Jr High with my band at the Attic in Bessemer, and in college with my band Elijah. Also really great guys!
THE TROPICS – ’This Must Be The Place’/’Summertime Blues / Land Of A Thousand Dances’ (Columbia 4-44248) August 1967
This tough sounding garage offering from The Tropics on Columbia is becoming more sought after these days and it’s price appears to reflect this.
’This Must Be The Place’ is something of a fuzz raver and at under two minutes is gone before the listener can catch breath.
The flip is a mix of two songs that I’m not that keen on who ever remakes them especially ’Land Of A Thousand Dances’ which is total boresville but both songs were live favourites at gigs. I would have preferred another original song.
The group actually won a recording contract with Columbia Records after coming out on top in an International Battle of the Bands held in Chicago. Their previous release ’As Time’s Gone’/’Time’ is much more legendary, maybe one day I’ll own a copy.
Production was handled by famed jazz saxophonist and producer Teo Macero who stayed mostly within the jazz and orchestrated music field for Columbia but also worked on the ’Graduate’ soundtrack for Simon and Garfunkel.
I wonder what he made of these teenagers with their trebly guitars and fuzz.
THE TROPICS – ’Tired Of Waiting’/’Talking ’Bout Love’ (Malaco 2003) January 1969
This was the final Tropics single released in the 60s and gone is their garage and folk-rock jangle sound of earlier releases replaced with the progressive heavy dirge sound made popular by Vanilla Fudge.
I’m not convinced by their heavy reading of The Kinks classic ’Tired Of Waiting’ although it got a major thumbs up in a Cashbox review..
”Time back Kinks hit returns in a progressiv-ized rendering that could give the side another hot run on the pop sales lists. Track may score.”
The heavy organ and fuzz of the flip ’Talking \’Bout Love’ is far superior and still remains uncompiled. If and when any label decides to create a comp of Vanilla Fudge influenced 45s I’m sure this one will feature.
Months later and towards the end of 1969 The Tropics changed their name to White Witch. Their line-up to begin with was:
Beau Fisher (bass)
Ron Godert (vocals)
Bobby Shea (drums)
Buddy Richardson (guitar)
Buddy Pendergrass (keyboards)
CONLON & THE CRAWLERS – ’I Won’t Tell’/’You’re Comin’ On’ (Marlin 45-16006) March 1967
Charlie Conlon was the singer/songwriter and bass player for The Nightcrawlers who had a big hit with ’Little Black Egg’ in 1965. According to the liners of the Nightcrawlers CD on Big Beat, Charlie was asked to leave the group in late ’66 because he was causing some friction, preferring to hang out with his girlfriend than rehearse.
He duly left The Nightcrawlers and relocated from Daytona Beach, Florida to Miami, where he was attending University and formed a new group called Conlon & The Crawlers. This combo only released two 45s on the Marlin label which are very good indeed and yet surprisingly they haven’t enjoyed much attention.
’You’re Comin’ On’ is a broody fuzz punker whilst the other side ’I Won’t Tell’ is clearly influenced by Conlon’s earlier hit ’Little Black Egg’….Both songs were produced by Steve Alaimo.
FROM THE NEW WORLD – American Folk-Rock, Volume One, 1965-69 (Strange Things STZ 5004) 1990
I’ve been playing this classic 60s folk-rock compilation on a regular basis this month, even spending some hours mastering the vinyl to the digital format. It sounds very impressive, according to the liners on the back of the cover Phil Smee used mostly original 45s, mentioning that some mastertapes were long since missing.
I doubt that he had access to any of the mastertapes.
Since I bought this LP way back in 1990 I’ve purchased most of the 45s used, they’re not that hard to find, especially from American dealers.
Some are a little tricky though. I’ve still not managed to find a copy of ’Forever Eyes’ by Peabody or The Palace Guard ’A Girl You Can Depend On’…..I must rectify those missing pieces from my jigsaw as I’d like to own every single used on this comp.
Some 60s freaks collect their ’Back From The Grave’ style punkers but I’m mostly interested in folk-rock janglers and for my money, ’From The New World’ is one of my favourite all time collections
Over the years I’ve even exchanged emails with band members from some of the groups featured….. Art Steinman from The Jagged Edge and John Darmiento from The Chozen Few….I got some cool information from them both, they couldn’t believe anyone would be interested in their long forgotten records from the flipped-out decade.
I wonder why Strange Things never got around to compiling a volume two?
Side 1 1. The Webs - You Pretty Fool 2. The Fountain Of Youth - Take A Giant Step 3. The Shaggs - Ring Around The Rosie 4. The Palace Guard - All Night Long 5. Corporate Image - I'm Not The Same 6. Christopher & The Chaps - They Just Don't Care 7. Peabody - Forever Eyes 8. The Peppermint Trolley Co. - Baby, You Come Rollin' Across My Mind 9. The Left Banke - coke ad Side 2 1. The Sheppards - When Johnny Comes Marching Home 2. The Onion Rings - I Feel Teardrops 3. Uncle Sam & The War Machine - Hold On 4. Dave & The Customs - I Ask You Why 5. The Penthouse 5 - In His Shadow 6. The Jagged Edge - How She's Hurtin' Me 7. Evil Encorporated - All I Really Wanna Do 8. The Chozen Ones - How Many Times 9. The Palace Guard - A Girl You Can Depend On
Valiant Records, an independent record label from Los Angeles released some interesting 45s between 1965 – 1967. I’ll list a selected discography of the records with the 60s garage, folk-rock, sunshine pop and psychedelic sound…
My plan is to create a compilation of these discs which will probably become 2 CDRs. I’ve got most of the selected 45s but still need to add those marked *
COREY WELLS AND THE ENEMYS – ’Say Goodbye To Donna’/’Sinner Man’ (714) 1965
LOST ONES – ’Trouble In The Streets’/’Little Annie’ (721) 1965
CANADIAN CLASSICS – ’I Don’t Know’/’Gone Away’ (723) 1965 *
MOTLEYS – ’I See Your Light’/’Louisiana’ (724) 1965
LORDS – ’She Belongs To Me’/’On The Road Again’ (725) 1965
DENNY PROVISOR – ’It Really Tears Me Up’/’She’s Not Mine Anymore’ (728) 1965
PLYMOUTH ROCKERS – ’Girl From The North Country’/’Roll Over Stephen Foster’ (729) 1965
ASSOCIATION – ’One Too Many Mornings’/’Forty Times’ (730) 1965
GRAINS OF SAND – ’She Needs Me’/’That’s When Happiness Began’ (736) 1966
PLYMOUTH ROCKERS – ’Don’t Say Why’/’Walk A Lonely Mile’ (737) 1966
MOTLEYS – ’My Race Is Run’/You’ (739) 1966 *
ASSOCIATION – ’Along Comes Mary’/’Your Own Love’ (741) 1966
STARBUCK & the RAINMAKERS – ’I (Who Have Nothing)’/’Let Your Hair Hang Long’ (743) 1966
ASSOCIATION – ’Cherish’/’Don’t Blame It On Me’ (747) 1966
ALLIES – ’I’ll Sell My Soul’/’Burning Flask’ (748) 1966
LOOKING GLASS – ’Silver And Sunshine (How Wonderful My Love)’/’If I Never Love Again’ (750) 1966
LEE MALLORY – ’That’s The Way It’s Gonna Be’/’Many Are The Times’ (751) 1966
PEPPERMINT TROLLEY COMPANY – ’Peppermint Train’/’Bored To Tears’ (752) 1966
WEST COAST BRANCH – ’Spoonful’/’Linda’s Gone’ (753) 1966
FASTEST GROUP ALIVE – ’The Bears’/’Beside’ (754) 1966
ASSOCIATION – ’Pandoras Golden Heebie Geebies’/’Standing Still’ (755) 1966
TERRY RANDALL – ’S.O.S’/’Tell Her’ (756) 1966
ASSOCIATION – ’No Fair At All’/’Looking Glass’ (758) 1967
FASTEST GROUP ALIVE – ’Lullabye’/’5:15 Sports’ (759) 1967
COLLECTORS – ’Old Man’/’Looking At A Baby’ (760) 1967
LEE MALLORY – ’Love Song’/’Take My Hand’ (761) 1967
ART GUY – ’Teenage Millionaire’/’Where You Gonna Go’ (762) 1967
P.F. SLOAN – ’From A Distance’/’Patterns Seg. 4’ (Dunhill 45-D-4024) January 1966
First time on ’Flower Bomb Songs’ for the prolific singer/songwriter P.F. Sloan and I don’t quite know why it’s taken me so long! It’s fair to say that Mr Sloan had greater success from his songs when other groups were recording them, which is a very strange situation indeed.
’From A Distance’ is a perfect example of commercialized folk-rock and should have been huge in ’66 but I don’t think it sold that well, apart from in a handful of US States. I believe it was a big hit in Japan though where P.F. Sloan always maintained a high level of worship….at least according to the liners of the Big Beat retrospective CD titled ’Here’s Where I Belong’…..a recommended release that regular visitors to my website will enjoy.
The oddly named flip ’Patterns Seg. 4’ is quite an obscure song and was not compiled on the previously mentioned CD release. This cut is a Dylan inspired word play, though not in the slightest a political rant but a tongue-in-cheek humorous pastiche…..
BILL SODEN – ’An Echo In Your Mind’/’Rainy Day’ (Compass CO-7004) April 1967
Every now and again I hear a song that really eats away into my mynd, this one by Bill Soden, because it’s so beautiful and created by a singer/songwriter that is so obscure that even in 2013 hardly anything has been written about him.
I first heard Bill Soden on a Fading Yellow compilation when his sitar infused folk psycher ’My Mermaid And Me’ was given some deserved acclaim. I’ve since did some research and over ten years ago Mr Soden was located by someone from the yahoo group ’spectorpop’ and some pickings of information was gleaned from him.
It turns out that Bill Soden hailed from New York and released several 45s on different labels between 1967-69 that went nowhere. He even recorded under the alias of Jessie Cochran but I’ve found no releases by this name.
Both sides of this 1967 disc on the fledgling Compass label are recommended, but for me, the stand-out is the exquisite ’Rainy Day’ on the flip. This has a stunning melancholic melody dripping in the orchestrated psychedelic folk sound that would become popular in late ’67 when David McWilliams had a big hit with ’The Days Of Pearly Spencer’…
Bill Soden was ahead of his time, shame that few would have heard ’Rainy Day’ back then because as I mentioned earlier this was a B-Side.
Susan Christie kicks off her ”Paint A Lady” album with this song… her voice is perfect for this song… Thanks for the info on the writer.
THE EIGHTH DAY – ’Building With A Steeple’/’Glory’ (Kapp K-916) May 1968
The Eighth Day hailed from Ohio (originally called The Sons Of Liberty) and after signing with Kapp Records starting recording songs that would make up their one and only album. I’ve not heard the latter but I’m led to believe that there are a couple of stand out cuts amongst a great deal of light pop filler.
I’ve already covered the original version of ’Building With A Steeple’ by The Village East that was released in July 1967. Almost a year later in mid 1968, a version by The Eighth Day was unleashed to the public that went to no-wheres-ville.
Perhaps the times had moved on from the Mamas and the Papas influenced sunshine pop and this kind of sound was no longer in vogue. Whatever the reason, ’Building With A Steeple’ most definitely captured the hippie sound for me with it’s glorious male/female vox, acoustic guitars, clavas, bah bah bah harmonies and lyrics about meditation.
“There’s a place where I can go when I’m feeling very low.
When my mind is all hung up with worldly cares
I go there.”
Both sides of this disc were produced by the same team that worked with The Village East with Ronnie Dante and Gene Allen taking care of the controls. Arrangement by Artie Butler. Truth be told both versions sound almost identical….
The Story of the 8th Day as told by Sons of Liberty band leader, Frank DeFede. (written by John Fluharty)
I heard that a man from Cadiz, Ohio, Joe Gorlock, who had a club called Club 22 had music connections in New York City and that he was involved in helping Bobby Vinton getting his start. I called Mr. Gorlock to set up an audition at his club for The Sons of Liberty, and told him that we were interested in recording and making the big time. Another band, the Opus 4, were regulars at Club 22 and had a single at the time called ”5 Minutes To Train Time”.
So we went to Cadiz to the Club 22 for an audition. Mr. Gorlock really seemed impressed, especially with the vocals, and later on while we were jamming around on some originals, he called someone on the phone. I asked him what that was all about and he just said; ”Oh nothing! I was just letting someone hear you!”
The Sons of Liberty became regulars at Club 22 and over a period of a few months heard about some people from New York that were pretty big in the music business. The company was called Fireplace Productions and the producer was Bob Feldman of Hang on Sloppy, and I Want Candy, fame. The song writers were Gene Allen, who wrote many of Bobby Vinton’s songs, and Ron Dante, who was the voice behind the Archies hit Sugar Sugar, and then went on to produce Barry Manilow.
The next day, while the group was all together at a practice at Glenn Reasner’s house, the phone rang and it was Mr. Gorlock asking for me. I’ll never forget that day, how excited we were. He said, ”Do you remember when I was holding up the phone?” One of his contacts in New York City liked the vocals he was hearing and he said that we needed to rent a u-haul and drive up to New York City as soon as possible for a live audition.
Within a few days we were on our way to New York City. John Rasz borrowed his dad\’s car and we hitched up the trailer. When we got there, we were directed to an audition hall that must have been like eight stories up a narrow flight of steps. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Gene Allen and Ronnie Dante were there to audition us. We sang our hearts out doing a lot of originals. When we were done, they came up to us and said that they absolutely loved our voices and that they were going to sign us. It was that quick.
The producer’s added two terrific female singers, Melanie Ross, and Nancy Petite, both from Cadiz, Ohio. The girls were also associates of Joe Gorlock. They wanted to put together an act to compete with The Mamas and Papas, and felt they could sell the act to a major label. They changed our name to The 8th Day.
We then spent several months in New York. At first our parents paid for the hotel. We stayed at the President Hotel, right across from Mama Leone’s famous Italian Restaurant. It was located at 48th west Broadway, just a half a block off of Broadway. We were only a few blocks away from the famous Brill Building where we would go to rehearse everyday. Fireplace productions, owned by Bob Feldman was located right next door to Liber Stollerman, the famous writers and producers of major hits. We used to go in there often and look at the awards etc. on the walls.
Jay of Jay and the Americans would come into Fireplace productions and listen to us. One time he was kind of rubbing his arms. I asked him what was wrong and he said, man you guys give me goose bumps. He loved our vocals.
After a short while, perhaps a few weeks, we went into Mayfair studio and recorded a demo of Brandy and Raining Sunshine with just a guitar and vocals. It sounded unbelievable. Feldman, and the writers were most excited about it. However, they said that we sang so well that they felt it would be best if we auditioned live for the major record companies
I remember auditioning for Capital, Mercury, Decca, and many others including Kapp. Every one of the companies offered to sign us and they were actually trying to outbid each other. Finally Kapp records gave the best offer, which included a full color 45. This was the deal breaker. This 8th Day was the first group in history to get a full color release on their first record.
The contact also included a complete album deal, with full orchestration with one of the up and coming great arrangers, the now legendary, Artie Butler.
They music tracks were recorded at Bell Sound, which was and may still be one of the famous studios in the World. We added the vocals later at Mayfair Studios. We spent the entire summer in New York City . Things started to sour as we couldn’t understand why it was taking so darn long to complete this album. It was just ridiculous.
Glenn Reasner was only 16, and he needed to get back into school. The other thing that was frustrating was that we wanted to do our own songs. Davy didn’t get to sing any of his raw rock songs that he was so good at. We were young and impatient. They did tell us to just take it slow and that all of that would happen for us in time.
It was the end of summer and we had driven all night to get back up to New York City after a labor day weekend at home. We got in late and missed rehearsal, and showed up at the studio just in time. Our voices were rough as we just woke up. Feldman was not happy. After a some words, the SOL minus Jim Brandilino and the girls, who decided to stay, left Mayfair studios and headed home.
They told us that we would regret this some day. Joe Gorlock got The Opus 4 to replace the Sons Of Liberty. They recorded five more songs to finish the Album. The album was finally released, and the SOL got no credit for any of it. However there are six songs that are on the album that are clearly the SOL, and featured below on this page.
Additionally, when the 45 came out, the SOL photo was used. This was taken at Central Park and it was suppose to be the main song for the album called Raining Sunshine. That is why we are holding up the umbrella’s.
The Opus 4 were saying that they re-recorded all of our songs, but that is not true. You can clearly hear Davey, Glenn, and me especially on Brandy, and Raining Sunshine. Also, I spoke with Nancy and Melanie about this during our 40-year reunion concert, and they said that they definitely did not re-record anything.
In fact, she said that the group was never the same after we left. Feldman was always upset with the Opus 4 vocals, he especially did not like Rob Parrisi’s voice. Which is something as he went on to write and produce one of the biggest hits ever at that point in time, ”Play That Funky Music White Boy” when in the group Wild Cherry.
We stopped on our way home to get gas and John asked me, what the heck did we just do. I said we quit. We just looked at each other, shook our heads and got back in the car.
The SOL was pretty much shot then for a while. I finally got us back together and booked us time at Gateway Records in Pittsburgh and we recorded three of my songs, (Love Babe, There’s A Little Girls, I Should Go to The Doctor) and one of Davey Buhl’s songs (Do You Need Someonel).
Sometimes I regret that we left New York City, but we came back and went on to do our own material. We did very well for a local group with no backing to be able to get Love Babe played and number one on many charts in the valley, and even in Huntington, WV, Arkon, OH. etc. I had even heard of it getting Air Play in Florida and California. The record died though as I didn’t know how to get distribution at the time.
According to Melanie and Nancy, they never made a dime. They actually got to be number one in some cities, but as I remember the Bill Board Charts only showed the Hey Boy as getting into the top 100 or maybe it was the top 50. It never went any higher.
(Note: None of the songs made the top 100 at least in Cash Box). The SOL was pretty much stuck as we tried to get out of the contract, but they held us up for six years.
Dave Buhl and I went to Nashville. I went on and had a few songs published by Screen Gems Music, and I was about to get a recording contract with Screen Gems, but then gave up on the music business. I headed home to get married to Linda Shaffer, and to get a real job at Weirton Steel and then later at Sears.
Davey Buhl stayed a little longer than me as he was able to get a recording contract and an album deal with a producer name Bob Tubert. Davey even cut one of my songs on his album called ”You Don’t Need To Make Me Happy.”
I am happy to say the SOL was one of the only groups in the valley to have such an interesting story to tell. We were only like 16 – 20 years old and got further than really anyone else I know of around here. Who knows, if we would have stayed, I think the rest of the album would have been better. The girls told me that they never got along with the Opus 4, as they did with us.
If we would of stayed things may have turned out differently. Raining Sunshine would have been the single, and then followed up with Brandy. They also recently told me that we were scheduled to go on the Ed Sullivan show, but when the new group didn’t do that well that was cancelled.
What happened next! (By John Fluharty from a conversation with Nancy Petit and Melanie Ross and emails from Jim Brandolino)
After the breakup, the Opus 4 and the three remaining original members of The 8th Day (Jim, Melanie and Nancy) completed the album. Six of the songs were done by the original group and five by the replacements. Melanie and Nancy said that Ronnie Dante did a lot of singing on the final five cuts. He was the main writer of all the songs recorded by The 8th Day (Teamed with George Allen)
Ron Dante was lead singer for The Archies, whose recording of Sugar, Sugar was the #1 hit of 1969. But he was also lead singer (actually, all the singers!) on The Cufflinks’ Tracy, which was in the Top Ten at the same time that ”Sugar” was in the top spot. Enough about Ronnie now back to the 8th Day.
We can deduce that the first single was supposed to be Raining Sunshine. Note the umbrella’s in the full color photo taken in New York’s Central Park. The actual first release, Hey Boy! (The Girl’s In Love With You!) did quite well in several eastern and mid-western markets. The magazine Record World gave it a bullet predicting The 8th Day as a group to watch.
The 8th Day played concerts in Ohio, New York, Tennessee and Illinois. They headlined a show with Billy Joe Royal and Bobby Goldsboro at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. They were featured on shows with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Vogues, and others.
The 8th Day possibly would have gone much further if Dave Kapp had not sold his record label to MCA. Kapp was committed to making The 8th Day one of America’s top groups. But then he sold the label. After the sale, MCA stopped all promotions and things fell apart. Before the year was over both Nancy and Melanie were married and had started families.
If the original group with the SOL had stuck with The 8th Day, the first release may have been earlier and a bigger success before MCA took over. We will never know.
”Hey Boy (The Girl’s In Love With You)” / A Million Lights” (Kapp K-862) October 1967
”Raining Sunshine” / That Good Old Fashioned Way” (Kapp K-894) February 1968
”Building With A Steeple” / ”Glory” (Kapp K-916) May 1968
I am originally from Follansbee, WV and also played in many bands in the Upper Ohio Valley until I moved to North Carolina 30 years ago. I remember the Sons of Liberty and The Eighth Day very well and am glad that neither group has been forgotten.
Soon as I heard ”Mess Around” by the Opus IV (drummer Bill Gunion was the first person I ever met who had ”outrageously” long hair and actually made a record), and I remember ”Love Babe” on Gateway getting a lot of airplay in the area.
Of course I thought it was going to be a super-duper smash….but it was on Gateway for goshhakes.
I own all recordings by the Opus IV (but not the Epiks…don’t know if they ever made one), the Sons Of Liberty, and The Eighth Day (singles AND the album).
I ultimately played saxophone in a disco band called Whyte Lyte Rhythm Band for a couple of years, chasing Wild Cherry’s tail on the 2000 Club circuit…usually them on Fridays or Saturdays and us on Thursdays or Fridays).
I also ended up being primarily a bass player and have played in a LOT of country, blues, bluegrass, etc. bands. Thanks for the memories!