Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More On The Buckinghams, The Mob, The Ides Of March and The Chicago Sound

As mentioned the other day, Clark Besch flooded us with a wave of cool Buckinghams stuff this past week ... so we're going to run a little bit more of it today ... along with some of your comments regarding The Mob, The Ides of March and several of the other lesser-known groups that helped to shape the sound of our city in the '60's and '70's!     

Kent - 
Thanks for getting Carl to clarify about the early USA releases!  Great Answer!  
Colossus Records had a lot of hit records in a very short window of time in 1969 - 1971.  The distributor that I worked for at that time (Best / Gold in Buffalo, NY) was the Colossus distributor at that time, and they had Venus and Mighty Joe by the Shocking Blue, Ma Belle Amie and If You Do Believe in Love by the Tee Set, Little Green Bag by George Baker group.  The label was a classic example of having a bunch of big hits, releasing a lot of records and running out of money.  I remember the record by the Mob - great record but never got the airplay it deserved  In light of when it was released, properly promoted (you can read into that any way you wish) it would have been a substantial hit ... and it DID have that 'Chicago Sound!  
I remember the big "Dutch Invasion" of 1970 ... "Venus" by Shocking Blue, "Ma Belle Amie" by The Tee Set and "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection ALL made The Top Ten (#1, #7 and #3) here in Chicago ... and just that quickly, it was over.  I think The Mob should have had a much bigger hit, too.  (kk)   

>>>I was a little upset that The MOB was not given much credit (or even mentioned) for the contribution or inspiration that we provided to a lot of bands in the Windy City, considering we were the first band in Chicago that had a full horn section.  (Jim Holvay)    
Oh Jim,  
Nobody should be left out ... and for sure we were attempting just the opposite.  I believe in the "Know Thyself" motto.  So who better to bring me feedback, but people who lived it.  ALL the people who lived it.  I am so excited that this discussion grew to include as many comments as it has.  
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

If you are talking about Chicago area bands how can you not mention “Oscar and the Majestics”.  They are still playing and still have the original four members from the 60’s.  Check them out on Facebook and check out their website and on Sundazed records.   
RL Wheeler   

Hey Kent,
I may have been in error about The Buckinghams' "Time and Charges" album being the inspiration of the formation of Chicago. I do know the guys were fans of the album. I read somewhere that it WAS a major influence, though.
This is from the liner notes from the double CD set, "The Best of Blood, Sweat, & Tears: What Goes Up", written by Al Quagliari:  "An Idea Coalesces - (Steve) Katz and friend, Bobby Columby, a jazz drummer, are listening to the Buckinghams' 'Time and Charges' LP, and saying, 'Jeez, I wish we could do that kind of thing.' That specific 'kind of thing' is a pop group attached to the ambitious horn and string arrangements of producer James Guercio."
As for the recording of the legendary album, "Blood, Sweat, & Tears", by Blood, Sweat & Tears, the liner notes continue with, "Out from under (Al) Kooper's musical domination, B,S,&T hire Buckinghams producer James Guercio to oversee the second album.  (Columby: "Guercio really didn't stick around for a lot of that record. He left before the thing was really done ... he lost interest; he hated David (Clayton-Thomas), he hated Steve, it was like 'these guys are prima donnas, I can't stand it, I gotta get outta here.')
It's still cool that all three bands are linked together in this way; two from the windy city and one from the big apple.
- John LaPuzza 

Wow!  I wasn't aware of this!  How VERY cool that our very own Buckinghams may have, in fact, been the inspiration behind Blood, Sweat and Tears changing up their sound from Al Kooper's vision to what can best be described as "the hit years"!!!  Our boys should be pretty proud of themselves!  (kk)   

>>>Of course we were in shock like everybody else when the “psychedelic section” came up that Jimmy Guercio had added, which I assume was inspired by “A Day In The Life”.  It had no relevance to what the song was about but we understood that everyone wanted to emulate The Beatles at that time.  It was only recently that a musician told me that Guercio had lifted the whole track from a classical piece. When Gary and I first heard it, we thought he had orchestrated that interlude. I assume he paid a “licensing fee” in order to borrow that piece ... or maybe not. I don’t think there was any credit given to the classical composer on the album notes What really got us upset was when the record came out and Jim Guercio’s name appeared as one of the writers of “Susan”. He had a tendency to do that (i.e. “Don’t You Care”). His justification was that he added the “psychedelic part”. OMG! Welcome to the record industry.  (Jim Holvay)  
Here's the cut that Guercio took the psychedelic effects from for Susan -- it comes from a Columbia classical album I have. 
Clark Besch 


>>>I wonder if anybody out there has a copy of The Centuries' tracks ... as these, apparently, never found their way to CD.  Would love to hear them!  (kk) 

And, of course, Clark had THESE, too!  Photos AND Audio!  Read on!  

Here are some pictures for you from my collection.  The Buckinghams' first single on Spectra Sound, Canadian 45s (some interesting writing credits), as well as The Centuries tracks.  Note that the Centuries "Yeh; It's Alright" is a Saturday's Children-penned song that was later reincarnated by the Cryan' Shames for their "Synthesis" album as "It's All Right" after Saturday's Children had folded and their guitarist, Dave Carter had joined the Shames.
As Carl said, these were early tracks and if you listen to them, you'll find the true meaning of "garage band."  From the first guitar chord of "Yeh It's Alright" to the awkward vocals and distortion of the recording, it's a true feel of what a garage bad was in 1965. 
Clark Besch

Buckinghams Manager Carl Bonafede also sent us a YouTube link to this early Centuries track ... check out the "reunion photos" of the band included in this clip!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmEVzpPtS3M   

One thing that I didn't see mentioned in your recent writeup of the Mob was a radio promo campaign that I remember in the very late 1960s, or maybe 1970 at the latest. For a (short) while I was hearing commercials about them on a daily basis, read in a rough voice like a Chicago mobster, plugging them as "a great new recording group." One thing I don't recall in the commercials was a sample of the group's music. I don't think there was any indication that the Mob was a Chicago band,
either. I kept waiting for their songs to show up on the radio, but apart from a couple of spins of "I Dig Everything About You" there wasn't even crickets. That was a helluva shame.
I'd be very interested in this sort of backstory for The Capes of Good Hope, a Chicago band that you discussed here in 2009:
I've cornered both of their 45s since then. Fine stuff. Like the Mob, they should have done much better than they actually did.
-- Jeff Duntemann
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
Unfortunately, I'm the wrong one to provide much in the way of info on these guys ... I just wasn't aware of them at the time.
Another group that earned quite a few mentions (along with a whole lot of credit with inspiring some of our local talent) was Saturday's Children ... so hopefully someone can provide some more information on these two acts.  
As for the Mob promo spots, I've asked around and nobody seems to have them ... but everybody would LOVE to hear them ... so if ANYBODY out there has access to these, please let us know! (kk)  

Last week Clark Besch mentioned Jim Peterik's upcoming biography.  (He, like Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams, have been documenting their years as key players on The Chicago Music Scene back in the day.)  Now comes more word on the book (and even an official release date!)  kk   
Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Survivor’s Founding Member [Paperback]

As the founding member of Survivor and co-writer of one of the most inspirational songs in rock history, Jim Peterik easily fits into the category of “rock star.” But a closer look at Peterik’s life and career reveal that he is anything but your typical rock star. Forgoing a life of meaningless sex and drugs, Peterik married his high school sweetheart and focused on the music, becoming one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation.
Here, for the first time, Peterik shares the stories behind his iconic songs — from touring with Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin on the heels of the Ides of March number one classic “Vehicle” to his Grammy-winning, triple platinum “Eye of the Tiger” with Survivor and beyond. He explores the often torturous power struggles within the band contrasted by the giddy highs that accompany a trail of worldwide hits.
Peterik has also co-written songs with some of the most famous bands and artists in rock-and-roll, including .38 Special (Rockin’ Into the Night, Caught Up In You, Hold On Loosely), Sammy Hagar (Heavy Metal), Brian Wilson, The Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, the platinum comeback of The Beach Boys (That’s Why God Made the Radio), and many more.
Through the Eye of the Tiger is more than just a memoir of a songwriting legend; it’s a classic rock-and-roll story, told through the eyes of someone who has lived through it all- and through the Eye Of The Tiger.
Paperback:  480 pages   
Publisher:  BenBella Books (September 23, 2014) 
Language:  English   
Glad to hear there is a date for the book now.  I've read it and it is fascinating stuff and I helped with it some.  A great companion piece to all the Ides / Survivor / .38 Special stuff out there already.  Lots of ups and downs in a great career that has Jim on the go daily in many directions -- and loving it!  They are still opening up new websites and such yearly with new info.  
Clark Besch   

Clark also tells us about an up-coming Ides Of March reissue CD on Real Gone Records ...   

Ides Of March- Vehicle (Expanded Edition) CD 
With our release of well-received titles by Blood, Sweat & Tears and Tower of Power, we at Real Gone have become something of a home for the great horn bands of the late '60s and early 70s, and with our reissue of The Ides of March's classic Vehicle album on the 50th anniversary of the band's founding, we are bringing another one into the fold.
The Ides began in a basement in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn on October 16th, 1964, and have stayed together ever since; only the Rolling Stones really rival them for longevity.
And this album, Vehicle, was their commercial high-water mark; its title track went to #2 and the album to #55 on the 1970 charts. It's a happy collision (no pun intended) of the band s garage-y British pop influences and the more progressive sounds of Chicago and BS&T that were sweeping through FM radio at the time; our Expanded Edition features four single bonus tracks and notes by Richie Unterberger featuring quotes from the band's Jim Peterik and Larry Millas. Highly recommended!
1. Vehicle
2. Factory Band
3. The Sky Is Falling
4. Home
5. Wooden Ships/Dharma for One
6. Bald Medusa
7. Aire of Good Feeling
8. Time for Thinking
9. One Woman Man
10. Symphony for Eleanor (Eleanor Rigby)
11. High on a Hillside
12. Lead Me Home, Gently
13. Melody
14. Vehicle (single version)  
Audio CD  (September 2, 2014)  
Label:  Real Gone Music

Why don't they include the original version of Vehicle for once before they added the extra answer "Love you (LOVE YOU), I Need You (NEED YOU" etc.??  Then, it would be worth it!  As you will read in Jim Peterik's upcoming autobiography, the "answers" were suggested by WLS' Art Roberts to make it a hit.  This above stuff has all been on Rhino's Ides double CD already.  
Clark Besch