>>>With regards to "The New Colony Six", I recall them being on some of the shows we were on when touring the midwest. At the time I guess I paid them no real attention as we were intoxicated with what we were about and the business at hand. As of late I've been Youtubing, listening to their songs, and I have to say that they had some kickass songs. Whoever wrote them had real skills, and the harmonies are spot on. So you can chalk up some sales of their CD's to me. All of this writing is of course my humble opinion. (Alex Valdez / Yellow Balloon)
>>>For some reason, the impact of The New Colony Six seems to have been diminished in hindsight over the years ... but during the '60's, they scored more Top 40 Chicagoland Hits than ANY other local act ... an incredible 17 in all ... and they STILL sound great today. And these guys wrote ALL their own songs ... pretty impressive indeed! (kk)
Please send my kudos back to Alex – always did love the time change in their eponymous single, Yellow Balloon, and their harmonies as well. Please extend thanks from Gerry, Ronnie, Les, Chuck, Chic, Pat and me since, as you know, we all took our share of writers’ credits. Stay warm; take care of the crew and thanks, as always, for keeping me (and thousands of others – tens of 1,000s?) informed and entertained through FH.
Wishing a prosperous New Year for all of us,
Ray Graffia, Jr. /
The New Colony Six
Hi Kent -
I've got a question that's probably been covered here before at some point. A friend of mine me a song via email by The New Colony Six entitled ''Someone's Waiting For You''. I'm a huge NC6 fan but I'd never heard this lovely song before. Could you or some of our readers give me some particulars on this tune. What year was it recorded, lead singer, record label, group personnel at the time, etc.
This is my all time favorite group of the late 60's but I have no knowledge about this song.
Help please!! Thanks to all!
Happy New Year and Rock On!
I'm not familiar with a song by The New Colony Six with that title ... but I think the song you're referring to is most likely "Never Be Lonely", one of their last singles. Originally released as the B-Side of "Long Time To Be Alone" when the single was first released on Sunlight Records (1004), it got a fair amount of airplay on WBBM-FM back when it was a soft-rock station. The song was originally done by The Boyz, another local Chicagoland band. When The New Colony Six got picked up by a major label in the early '70's (MCA Records), that single, "Long Time To Be Alone" / "Never Be Lonely" was released again (this time as MCA 40215) but on this go 'round the sides were reversed and "Never Be Lonely" was promoted as the A-Side. Great track ... but it never officially charted. Here in Chicago, "Long Time To Be Alone" (one of their very best ballads ever) reached #13 on the old WCFL Chart ... and, if I'm not mistaken, it was a Top Ten Hit in Hawaii, too, allowing the band to travel there for some live appearances (and one heck of a vacation!!!)
First released as a single in 1971 on Sunlight, the band at the time consisted of Gerry Van Kollenburg on guitar, Chuck Jobes on Keyboards, Billy Herman on Drums, Pat McBride on percussion and, on this one, the beautiful lead vocal of Ronnie Rice. From here, the line-up gets a little muddy. Conversations with a number of the NC6 band members (and with band historian Jerry Schollenberger) only made things MORE difficult to understand!!! (You'll see our notes on tracking this information down for you at the end of this piece ... but I've gotta warn you ... even with a scorecard it's confusing as hell!!! lol)
Reportedly new onboard was Bob Wilson, formerly of The Boyz, who had written and first recorded "Never Be Lonely" (which is how The New Colony Six came to be in possession of this great song.) He also wrote their 1970 Hit "People And Me" ... but, his tenure in the band is suspect at best ... while researching this piece I was told that he ... "WAS" ... "was NOT" ... and "was for about a heartbeat" ... an official member of the band. It sounds to me like he may have been supplying them with material but was never "officially" a band member. (More of this is explained below!)
The only OTHER title I can think of that you might be thinking of is "Someone Sometime", their last charted hit. (#109 Billboard, #19, WCFL, 1972.) It's a much more up-tempo tune, written by new member Skip Griparis (whose unreleased NC6 track "Muddy Feet On The Mississippi" became all the rage here in Forgotten Hits a year or so ago when it was released on the "Signs" / rarities CD.)
Just to be sure that ONE of these is the song you're referring to ... and in an effort to avoid any further confusion ... as well as appease some of the many OTHER New Colony Six fans on the list ... I'm featuring ALL of these tracks here today!!!
I mentioned the other day that we once did a month-long tribute to The New Colony Six here in Forgotten Hits. Here are some excerpts from that piece as they pertain to these specific tracks:
Their next release, "Long Time To Be Alone", just may be the prettiest ballad the band EVER recorded. In fact, now comparisons to artists like Bread would be the ultimate compliment. It was Ronnie Rice's crowning moment as lead vocalist, eclipsing all of his otherwise excellent performances on record. (If any Ronnie Rice vocal is capable of bringing a tear to your eye, this is the one that'll do it ... and it's also one of his personal favorites ... yet for some reason he refuses to perform it today!)
This one absolutely should have been a MONSTER ... yet it tanked at #93. Again, WLS passed on the single, but WCFL played it enough to rank #13 on their Top 40 Chart.
JERRY SCHOLLENBERGER: When I put together the "Colonized" CD for Rhino Records, the Greatest Hits CD, I got more mail about "Long Time To Be Alone" than any other track on the CD. People just LOVED that song and many were hearing it for the very first time. It was, by far, the favorite, most singled-out track on the whole album.
And the flip side was nearly as pretty. "Never Be Lonely" didn't really get much airplay when it was first released as the B-Side but, a few years later, the single got picked up by MCA Records and they flipped it over and made "Never Be Lonely" the A-Side. I remember hearing this one quite often on WBBM-FM, the soft-rock station at the time. Both songs are amongst the best examples of latter-day New Colony Six ballads and BOTH deserved a far-better fate than they received. (Incredibly the band was doing their best to SHAKE their ballad-image ... when clearly it was their greatest strength at the time.)
FORGOTTEN HITS: What's the New Colony Six song that SHOULD have been the hit ... should have been noticed?
RONNIE RICE: As far as record-wise you mean?
FH: Yeah, what's the one that SHOULD have been given the chance?
RR: "Long Time To Be Alone", I think, should have been a great New Colony hit. I don't know if it ever really had the potential. I love the song. I mean, it did get a minimum amount of airplay here at home. On WBBM-FM. And unfortunately it goes to show you that even with legitimate hits, it was still hard to get something played on the radio. But ultimately it's up to the people ... the audience ... they're the answer. If you hear something twice on a radio station, you know whether you like it or not ... or whether it continues to grow on you. But if you just get a minimum amount of exposure, that can make it or break it. "I Will Always Think About You" is a great example. When you get a record that's debuted at 3:00 in the afternoon and it's the #1 Request of that evening, what does that tell you? So that shows you that "Long Time To Be Alone" did not have that behind it 'cause if it DID have it, it would have been a hit, too.
FH: Now that's funny because in talking to Jerry Schollenberger, once the Greatest Hits CD came out, he got more mail about that one song ("Long Time To Be Alone") than ANY other song on the album ... as people were discovering it for the very first time.
RR: Now that's interesting. I've always loved "Long Time To Be Alone" and maybe it just didn't get enough airplay, who knows.
FH: But that kind of surprised me ... because when the people bought the Greatest Hits CD, that's the one they latched on to ... because they HADN'T heard it before ... it never got the airplay it should have gotten. People who were buying the Greatest Hits CD were buying it for the songs that they knew ... yet they were blown away by this one ... a track many of them probably hadn't heard before. I think "Long Time To Be Alone" could still be a hit today if given a chance.
RR: Well, you never know ... there are exceptions ... sort of like TV shows that need the time to grow on you .. I don't know ... maybe that WOULD have been a bigger hit if it were given a chance. "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say" were IMMEDIATE hits ... I mean, a week later, "I Will Always Think About You" was #1 in Louisville. So why didn't "Long Time To Be Alone" catch on with the amount of airplay it got ... maybe it just needed a little more airplay. It'd be nice if someone did it over again.
FH: Well, they actually did that right? I mean, it first came out on Sunlight and then a while later MCA picked it up and put it out again. Were they trying to give it another chance at being a hit?
RR: Yeah, it came out again, but as a B-Side.
FH: Yeah, they plugged "Never Be Lonely" instead the second time around, which is also a great song.
RR: Yeah, Bob Wilson wrote that, too ... and "People And Me".
DIDJAKNOW: Despite its lack of success on both the Chicagoland and the national charts, "Long Time To Be Alone" was a Top Ten Record in Hawaii!!! In fact, our FH Buddy Clark Besch found a couple of Hawaiian Charts from KPOI to reflect the success of this record and their earlier hit, "Roll On", each of which performed better in HAWAII than they did here back home in Chicago!!!
I was just going thru deleting emails from the past two weeks and found the one from the weekend asking for Hawaiian charts with the NC6 song! OOPS! I forgot and it got buried by the time I got home Monday. Anyway, HERE they are! Note that "Roll On" set the stage with its' charting near (or in) the top 10 on KPOI. A few months later, "Long Time" was at least #4 (see last week position here) on KPOI. Hawaiian top 40 stations played some cool FH's judging by their charts, especially in the 60's. Obviously, the NC6 were known, by the chart I sent with "Can't You See Me Cry" also. One FH fave I spot on the 72 chart is "Daisy Mae" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds -- a great tune.
THE SUNLIGHT / MCA DISCOGRAPHY:
Sunlight 1001 - Roll On / If You Could See (1971)
Sunlight 1004 - Long Time To Be Alone / Never Be Lonely (1972)
Sunlight 1005 - Someone, Sometime / Come On Down (1972)
MCA 40215 - Never Be Lonely / Long Time To Be Alone (1974)
MCA 40288 - I Don't Really Want To Go / Run (1974)
Here is ALL the info that Skip Griparis left on my answering machine last night regarding the NC6...
(1.) Skip says that he WAS NOT in The New Colony when the songs "Long Time To Be Alone" and "Never Be Lonely" were recorded. Skip states that he did not officially join the band until the end of 1972. (Something doesn't add up here, since the 45 of "Someone Sometime" was released in April 1972, which Skip co-wrote with Billy Herman, and also sang lead on.) However, Skip also said that he "unofficially" wrote songs for the New Colony (as well as recorded with them) prior to "officially" joining the group. It's possible that Skip DID write and record "Someone Sometime" before he actually became a member of The New Colony Six.
This era of the New Colony Six is still as clear as mud to me. A lot of unclear and conflicting facts STILL remain.
Gerry Van Kollenburg was in the original lineup. Bruce Gordon joined early on, replacing Wally Kemp, and Chuck Job — fantastically talented and creative guy — joined early on replacing Craig Kemp — whom you saw at the Bolingbrook show sitting in with us as the original keyboardist on “Last Night”. Wally was there at the Colony party you attended, playing and singing great. He’s the one who still knew all the arrangements. I had heard Bruce Mattey was asked to join the band and did so, but soon thereafter received an offer to join the Robbs, whose hit “Race With The Wind” was getting national airplay, so he went on the road with them.
Hope that helps. If anything more comes to mind, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, best to you and yours in 2010.