Hearts & Flowers: Country Rock

Back when I did the daily commute to Baltimore and my car radio had better reception, I used to enjoy a great community radio station that shares programming with its owner, WXPN, the Philadelphia radio station known for its “World Cafe” program, and yet operates out of a high school from just across the Chesapeake Bay.  You would think a signal of 17,500 watts would reach folks in Silver Spring, but sadly that’s not the case.

I remember phoning the late, great Charlie Coleman from the road, after I’d stumbled upon Worton, Maryland’s WKHS FM, to tell him how much I enjoyed his show, and Charlie asking me right off the bat if I was a fan of “country rock” — the first time I had ever stopped to consider that term.

Front & rear cover – 1967 LP Now Is the Time for Hearts and Flowers

I have since renewed my appreciation for 1995 retrospective, Legends of Country Rock, Volume 5 of Rhino’s “Hillbilly Fever!” series. Besides the opening track, 1967’s International Submarine Band’s “Luxury Liner” (written by Gram Parsons and released on Lee Hazlewood‘s LHI label), I am also taken with a song – “Rock and Roll Gypsies” by trailblazing Los Angeles country rockers, The Hearts and Flowers – that is almost tied for earliest recording on this CD compilation (i.e., “Grizzly Bear” – an RCA single by The Youngbloods, released in December of 1966, whose A-side would be misspelled on the rear cover of 1967’s The Youngbloods album):

“Rock and Roll Gypsies”      Hearts and Flowers      Recorded Dec. 20, 1966

Larry Murray:  Vocal & Guitar
Rick Cunha:  Guitar & Backing Vocal
Dave Dawson:  Autoharp & Backing Vocalr
Bernie Leadon:  Guitar
John Forsha:  Guitar
Ray Pohlman:  Bass
Toxey Sewell:  Drums
Joe Porcaro:  Percussion
Jimmy Bond:  Arranger
Nik Venet:  Producer

Grammar police strike again – Rear Cover of 1967’s Youngbloods LP

Rich Kienzle, in his liner notes for Legends of Country Rock, as you would expect, delivers on the history:

The mid-’60s L.A. band Hearts and Flowers featured songwriter Larry Murray and future Burrito Brother and Eagles charter member Bernie Leadon.  This group, all but forgotten today, exemplified the talented if commercially unsuccessful country-rock pioneers.  Their harmonies were far more bluegrass than folk, not diluted in any way to grab a pop audience.  The use of mandolin on a pop record was unusual, as was the use of autoharp, the push-button instrument played by Mother Maybelle Carter.  Aside from the Hearts & Flowers, only The Lovin’ Spoonful‘s John Sebastian used one.

Their producer Nik Venet, who’d worked with Lou Rawls, Bobby Darin, and The Beach Boys, hoped the group could fuse country music with politically liberal themes.  “Larry Murray was really a country boy,” Venet recalls. “He wanted to be a country artist-writer.”   “Rock and Roll Gypsies,” from their 1967 debut album, Now Is the Time for Hearts and Flowers, sold well regionally but didn’t break out nationally.  The chaotic sound effects at the song’s end, says Venet, were real.  Armed with a portable monaural recorder, Venet went up to Sunset Boulevard and recorded the sounds of an actual 1966 hippies-versus-LAPD riot near a rock club called Pandora’s Box.  The group made two albums for Capitol before disbanding.

Look what turned up in Popsike – this promotional 45 insert – when I searched for auction sales related to Hearts and Flowers:

For your eyes only:  $50 at auction

“Rock & Roll Gyspies”.  This is a hit!  This is a hit!  This is a hit!  The song, although written some time ago, is strangely applicable to the happenings on the many ‘Sunset Strips’ across the nation today.  On the ending repeat of the song, actual crowd sounds are used from recent Sunset Strip riots in Los Angeles.  The Hearts & Flowers, a very popular group from Los Angeles, was being very heavily bid on by many of the major labels based there.  Their vocal sound is a unique combination of rock, folk and country, and they utilize strange old instruments, such as the autoharp and dobro in creating new Top 40 instrumental sounds.  ‘Road to Nowhere’ is an exceptionally strong back-up side for the debut disc of a group that is definitely going to happen!

Historical note:  Release Date indicated above (January 16, 1966) must be a typo if the song was recorded, as Rhino asserts, near the end of December in 1966.

Recordings mostly distributed in US, UK & Canada – except one Dutch picture sleeve

Remember 4 Track Stereo Tape Cartridges?

This is the 8th Zero to 180 piece tagged as Country Rock

Lee Hazlewood vs. Don Nix: ’73

I discovered another musical coincidence recently — two albums with similarly-constructed titles released the same year by two hip and influential songwriter-producer-arrangers:  Poet, Fool or Bum by Lee Hazlewood -vs.- Hobos, Heroes & Street Corner Clowns by Don Nix, both from 1973.

Lee Hazlewood LP-1Don Nix LP

On his one and only album for Capitol, Hazlewood surprisingly (or not) turns over production reins to Jimmy Bowen (vinyl copies would later fetch decent money).   Hazlewood would then find himself ejected from the cover of the UK edition of Poet, Fool or Bum – could it have been the prospect of having to market Hazlewood without his trademark mustache?  Hazlewood and Tim Buckley, it bears noting, would be the first among many artists to record “Martha” off the debut album by Tom Waits.

UK cover

Lee Hazlewood LP-2In 1973, Capitol would issue a pair of singles:  “Nancy and Me” b/w “Kari” in May, followed by a promo 45 in November of “Feathers” b/w “The Performer“:  an especially powerful B-side — “a stark and somewhat autobiographical picture of a singer who’s sick of the game”  as writes Michael Erlewine in All Music Guide to Country:

“The Performer”     Lee Hazlewood     1973

Stax, meanwhile, would issue two singles from Hoboes, Heroes and Street Corner Clowns — “Black Cat Moan” b/w “The Train Don’t Stop Here No More” (released in 1973 in the US, UK & Germany), followed by “She’s a Friend of Mine” b/w “When I Lay My Burden Down” in October.  I’m only sorry Stax didn’t put more promotional heft into the latter 45, which would have sounded great on the radio in 1973, especially when the strings kick in at the chorus:

“She’s a Friend of Mine”     Don Nix     1973

How fascinating to discover that “Black Cat Moan” would be the lead-off song for the famous John Peel broadcast of May 29, 1973 on which he played side one of Tubular Bells by a then unknown Mike Oldfield on tiny indie label, Virgin Records – a radio first (and “the show that launched the Branson empire!“)

 Pretend it’s the B-side “The Performer”        Written, performed & produced by Don Nix

Lee Hazlewood 45-aDon Nix 45-a

Charles Shaar Murray vs. Barton Lee Hazlewood

Financial Times grimly reported last July that the New Musical Express — the first magazine, in 1952, to publish the pop charts in the UK, and one which once boasted a circulation of 270,000 during its 1970s peak — has now been turned into a freebie publication by its owner, Time Inc. UK (worse:  content is no longer solely devoted to music).  NME, nevertheless, will always have its own distinctive place in Lee Hazlewood history, as noted here:

“In 1952 the NME greeted the arrival of rock and roll with the breezy exclamation: “Guitars are news!”  Two decades later its star writers behaved as though they were rock stars themselves, chief among them Nick Kent, who extended his worship of Keith Richards to contracting a severe heroin addiction.  Reviews toughened up, such as Charles Shaar Murray’s one-word dismissal of a 1974 album called Poet, Fool or Bum by the US singer Lee Hazelwood:  ‘Bum.'”

German 45

Don Nix 45-b

(Son of) Plays Guitar Like a Piano

I finally got around to learning how to convert VHS into DVD so that I could preserve a rare piece of Ameri-music-ana:  a live performance of “Tulsa Trot” by noted western swing outfit, Tex Williams and His Western Caravan, that offers a second startling peek at the unorthodox technique of Dickie Phillips who plays guitar in “lap” fashion — like a piano.

“Tulsa Trot”     Tex Williams and His Western Caravan     195?

[note:  Look for drummer, muddy berry, who pulls a great face at song’s end]

Capitol Records would pay for a full-page ad in Billboard’s February 24, 1951 edition that identified “Tulsa Trot” — first mentioned two weeks earlier as a new “folk” release — as a “hot seller.”

Tex Williams 78-bBillboard’s Country & Western (Folk) Record Reviews in the February 17, 1951 edition would include this (terse) write-up:  “Williams hands a danceable ditty his usual virile rendition while the ork maintains a fine terp tempo via swinging strings.”  Music Weird blog rightly asks:  what is aterptempo?

As it turned out, it would be Jimmy Bryant – not Phillips – who joined Dean Eacker and Smokey Rogers on guitar at the January 8, 1951 Capitol recording session, along with Fred Tavares on steel guitar, Ossie Godson on piano, Pedro DePaul on accordion & Deuce Spriggins on bass.

Smokey Rogers – a recording artist in his own right, who also co-wrote “Tulsa Trot” along with steel guitar wiz, EarlJoaquinMurphey – would release his own version soon after, as reported in the April 14, 1951 edition of Billboard.  Check out Joaquin Murphey’s hot steel guitar riffing on Rogers’ somewhat more polite version:

“Tulsa Trot”     Smokey Rogers     1951

Link to previous piece on Dickie Phillips.

THIS JUST IN:  Late-breaking news (June 16, 2017)

An electric violin that was developed by Leo Fender, in partnership with Dickie Phillips, was purchased in 2004 Ben Heaney (of DeltaViolin – deltaviolin.com) on Ebay but “took me a long time to get my head round what I’d bought.”  As it turns out, the story has taken on considerable historic significance, as this 1958 production prototype is the world’s rarest electric violin!   One of two of its kind — and “500 times more rare than a Stradivarius” according to Heaney, who adds that “the BBC just broadcast a recording of the 1958 Fender Electric Violin – no samples, no synths, no loops… – a single take divided into three sections and multi-layered.”

UK music fans will hear this electric violin for the first time, essentially, as Heaney prepares to take this instrument on tour, as well as in the recording studio, in the coming months.  The instrument can already be heard on a track called “Where’s the Fire Gone” by The August List — the first recording “to feature this particular age of Fender violin,” according to Heaney, who also enthuses to Zero to 180:

“The sound is fantastic. Totally unlike ANY electric violin on the market today … with the possible exception of a prototype I’ve helped a new maker develop…

The reason is simple, seemingly no one has used Fender’s pickup solution.  That’s why it sounds different.  Almost every other violin is using a piezo, so ultimately share a root sound” — save this prototype.

Click on this link to hear a solo recording of the world’s rarest electric violin.

The Surf Symphony’s Sole 7-Inch

Who are/were The Surf Symphony — and why just the one Capitol 45?

“Night of the Lions”     The Surf Symphony     1969

Wait!  As it turns out, the joke’s on us:   This is a “supercharged” instrumental version of the song “Night of the Lions” from Mark Eric‘s A Midsummer’s Day Dream. released in 1969.  Imagine your first album is coming out – on a major label – so you release your first 45 … under a completely different name!  It actually happened, but why — was it a bid to stir up controversy?

Mark Eric Malmborg

Mark Eric LP

Much more intriguing, however, is the flip side “That Bluebird of Summer,” a composition that embodies Brian Wilson’s distinctive ‘West Coast’ musical sensibility to an uncanny degree – as if it were some so well long lost track from Smile (actually, more like Friends).

True or False:  “That Bluebird of Summer” is a non-LP B-side.
Answer:  True

This Surf Symphony B-side is included on 2013’s Book a Trip 2:  More Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records — wish I had the liner notes to refer to.

45Cat identifies Mike Rubini & Vic Briggs as producers, with Jan Rubini & Viv Briggs tagged as arrangers.  Discogs.com, meanwhile, indicates Jan Rubini to be the conductor.

Impossible not to notice that A Midsummer’s Day Dream would be released on a different label, Revue.  As Rockasteria explains, “Eric and his collaborator/arranger, former Animals guitarist Vic Briggs, apparently wrote these twelve tracks intending to place them with other acts.  The sessions were apparently only intended to demo the material, but the results were so impressive that Revue decided to release it as a Marc Eric effort.”

Note use of “Future Shock” typeface for label name, Revue

Mark Eric LP-aMark Eric LP-b

One other 45 from that album would be released – “Where Do the Girls of the Summer Go” b/w “California Home” – however, it would be issued under the name ‘Mark Eric‘!

This one album and two 45s would be Mark Eric Malmborg’s entire recorded output.

Gaffe Alert!

Mark Eric, as it turns out, is not actually involved with the Surf Symphony — Zero to 180 missed the boat on this one, as the comment appended below attests.  Musician credits for this album reveal Mark Eric to have merely authored the album’s closing track.

Bass:  Lyle Ritz & Ray Pohlman
Cello:  Anne Goodman, Frederick Seykora, Jesse Ehrlich & Raymond Kelley
Drums:  Jim Gordon
French Horn:  Arthur Maebe, George Price, Henry Sigismonti, Richard Perissi, Vincent Da Rosa & William Hinshaw
Guitar:  Ben Benay, Mike Deasy & Vic Briggs
Harp:  Gail Laughton
Keyboards:  John Myles & Mike Rubini
Percussion:  Gary Coleman
Trombone:  Dick Hyde & Lou McCreary
Trumpet:  Olliver Mitchell & Virgil Evans
Viola:  Gareth Nuttycombe, Joseph Di Fiore, Louis Kievman & Samuel Boghossian
Violin:  Arnold Belnick, Assa Drori, Darrel Terwilliger, Herman Clebanoff, John De Voogdt, Leonard Malarsky, Lou Klass, Lou Raderman, Marshall Sosson, Michael Nutt & Nathan Ross
Woodwind:  Jim Horn & Jules Jacob

  • Concertmaster:  James Getzoff
  • Conductor:  Jan Rubini
  • Copyist:  Barbara Caton, Norman Bartold, Roy Caton & Virgil Evans
  • Engineer:  Jack E. Hunt
  • Producer:  Michel Rubini & Victor Briggs

Burton & Mooney’s Diesel Classic

I once played a sweet little instrumental by James Burton and Ralph Mooney on an all-truck-driving radio show, even though it’s not actually a “trucker tune” — and yet nobody called me out on it, because the song – “Corn Pickin‘ – fit like a glove.  Later when I “back-announced” the set over the air, I re-named the song “Corn Pickin’ and Rig Ridin'” – to my great relief, the switchboard at WKHS did not light up in anger.   This was in 2004.

James Burton & Ralph Mooney LP

I happened to be checking the Washington Post website on March 23, 2011 when I was stunned to see Ralph Mooney’s name at the top of the home page — as one of the top “trending” stories!  As it turned out, Mooney – one of the “chief architects of the Bakersfield sound” – had left us at the age of 82.  The Post’s Melissa Bell was kind enough to add my Ralph Mooney recommendation to her musical tribute, the aforementioned “Corn Pickin'” from Burton and Mooney’s 1968 LP collaboration, Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin’.  But then that audio clip disappeared from YouTube and never returned.  Until a fortnight ago!

“Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin'”     James Burton & Ralph Mooney     1968

From a “musical acrobatics” standpoint, this is not particularly ‘flash’ guitar work — and yet the relaxed exchange between the two accomplished musicians is supremely satisfying.  John Beland of the Flying Burrito Brothers, in his review for Amazon.com (entitled “Ground Zero for the Bakersfield Sound of the 60s”) preaches the gospel:

“This album was my bible for Tele[caster] playing … Recorded at Capitol in the mid-60s, this album, while perhaps sounding corny to some, laid down a true blueprint for west coast country playing.”

At the time of release, Billboard would give the album a “four-star” review in its February 17, 1968 edition.

A-side                                                              B-side

James Burton & Ralph Mooney 45-aJames Burton & Ralph Mooney 45-b

Sadly, this is only the 16th Zero to 180 piece to feature a truck driving song

Dune Buggy Racing Instrumentals

Interesting to see Kelly Gordon and (especially) Shorty Rogers attempt to muscle in on the hot rod scene with a late 60s concept album — contemporaneously titled Bug-In! — that pays musical tribute to the hot rod’s off-road counterpart, the dune buggy.  Gordon and Rogers splurge on a gatefold album design packed with photos – but alas, no musician credits.  Can only conclude that Los Angeles studio musicians (á la., “Wrecking Crew”) are the unnamed members of Gordon ‘n’ Rogers’ Inter-Urban Electric A & E Pit Crew and Rhythm Band.

Capitol LP – 1969

Bug In LP

The final track on side one, “Baja Boot,” caught my ear — here is an edited version (just under two minutes) that makes the song even more radio-friendly:

Pssst!   Click on the link above to play a (shortened) version of “Baja Boot” by Gordon n’ Rogers’ Inter-Urban Electric A & E Pit Crew and Rhythm Band

The barely-legible text on the front cover points out how Gordon & Rogers’ contribution to the racing community fills a dunester niche that only now is being filled:

“The newest [illegible] on wheels … actual sounds of the various buggies in action … musical themes capturing the total emotional input of the drivers … music recreating the unique visual characteristics of the different dunesters.”

Silodrome – a website that highlights aspects of our “Gasoline Culture” – reveals the fascinating story behind the Baja Boot:  a 450 hp dune buggy built in complete secrecy by top GM automotive engineer, Vic Hickey (in just under 4 weeks) and then raced by Steve McQueen in 1968 and then again in 1969.  How did the “King of Cool” (and cinema’s own Cincinnati Kid) fare with the massive 4×4 dune buggy, the ‘Baja Boot’?  Click here to learn the hilarious outcomes of both events – more info at Steve McQueen Online.

Steve McQueen (or possibly Mad Max) racing his Baja Boot

Steve McQueen & the Baja Boot

James Glickenhaus would buy Steve McQueen’s renowned dune buggy in 2010 – although ScoutDude would loudly question its authenticity on this blog’s comment section.

Sad to discover that the dune buggy is the neglected stepchild of the musical hot rod world, as very little has been written since The Surfaris released “Dune Buggy” in 1964.  Other notable songs that celebrate the lowly dune buggy?  Zero to 180 wants to know.

Shorty Rogers (Zero to 180 readers might recall) released a “Tequila” cash-in 45, “Cerveza,” in 1958, using the alter ego, Boots Brown.

Alvino Rey: Steel Guitarist Bandleader

Thanks to Andy Volk of the Steel Guitar Forum for pointing me to Anne Miller’s fascinating profile of steel guitarist bandleader Alvino Rey for the Smithsonian in which we learn Rey, as a consultant for Gibson in the 1930s, helped develop the prototype for the ES-150 (made famous by Charlie Christian), the first modern electric guitar.  Alvino Rey, therefore, is an un(der)-acknowledged “father of the electric guitar.”

Alvino Rey:  musical bat advocate

Alvino Rey - bat fanCan you name any other pop bandleaders who played the steel guitar besides Alvino Rey? I didn’t think so.

In this TV clip, Lawrence Welk informs his audience that Alvino Rey is(was) a Capitol recording artist whose latest album is Ping Pong — and then insists that Rey play a song not even on the album!   Rey’s musicianship in this performance is masterful:

“Hindustan”     Alvino Rey on The Lawrence Welk Show     1959?

The Smithsonian article also pointed out the reason for the facial resemblance between Alvino Rey and Win (& Will) Butler of Arcade Fire:  it’s genetic.  Rey is the Butler brothers’ grandfather – a fact that becomes quite clear when you look at the photo that accompanies this tribute page from the Gibson Guitars website:

“Built by Alvino Rey and John Kutilek as a test bed for their new pickup, the instrument pictured here (below) comprises a simple frame to which a vestigial ‘body’, fingerboard and headstock – all of which are fabricated from sheet brass – are attached.  Hardware includes a brass nut and bridge, inexpensive tuners and a basic trapeze tailpiece.  The pickup itself consists of two magnets with the strings running between the top magnet and a coil of wire.  The pickup was hardwired with no jack socket or controls.”

Alvino Rey with gibson es-150 prototype in 1997     (gibson guitars website)

Alvino Rey with ES-150 Prototype

Alvino Rey:  A Futuristic Musical Coda

Alvino Rey would pass in 2004, and the following year, Arcade Fire would release a split single, with a 1940 radio broadcast of the Alvino Rey Orchestra used for the flip side.  This performance of the song, “My Buddy,” would also feature Win & Will Butler’s grandmother, Luise King Rey (of The King Sisters) on the Sono-Vox, a 1930s electronic precursor to the “talk box” that Rey himself pioneered and was “rediscovered” in the 1960s & 70s by the two Petes:  Drake & Frampton.

“My Buddy” (live)     Alvino Rey Orchestra     1940

Lucille Ball would use a Sono-Vox to emulate the sound of a freight train whistle in this fascinating Pathe newsreel snippet.

1960 Capitol LP

Alvino Rey LP

“Move It on Over”: Banished to LP

I love how the staccato guitars emulate the sound of scratching fleas as a result of the song’s protagonist being banished to the doghouse in this retooling of Hank Williams:

Rose Maddox     “Move It on Over”     1960

John Maddox & John Newman:  Guitar
Henry Maddox:  Mandolin
Allen Williams:  Bass
Henry Shropspire:  Drums

The indispensible Rockin’ Country Style website answers the burning question as to why this surefire winner of a 45 is not listed in any of the singles discographies:  LP track only.  Why Capitol didn’t issue this stellar track from Rose’s first solo album as the A-side of a 7-inch release is a mystery to me.

Rose Maddox LP

The One Rose LP — recorded June, 1959 at Capitol’s Hollywood studio, with producer Ken Nelson at the helm — was released January, 1960.

Hager Twins: Holding the World’s Hands

Jim and John Hager – like the Chaparral Brothers – were (1) identical twins, who (2) once recorded for Capitol.  Unlike the Chaparral Brothers, the Hager Twins (1) would perform on TV’s Hee Haw from 1969 to 1986, and (2) get close to a Top 40 Country hit in 1969 with “Gotta Get to Oklahoma (‘Cause California’s Gettin’ to Me)” which has a nice lyrical twist.

At the Arbutus Record Show I also took home 1970’s Two Hagers Are Better Than One, the duo’s second album, and I discovered (in a spooky twist) that this major label recording – like the debut album from Capitol’s other twins, the Chaparral Brothers – was not listed in Discogs.com for some quizzical reason.

The Hagers - front coverThe Hager Twins would record three albums for Capitol, yet – like the Chaparral Brothers – these albums have not been reissued or anthologized.  Searching for recordings by The Hagers on Amazon is a maddeningly elusive task unless you employ the search phrase “Hagers Capitol,” which then pulls up any Capitol LPs & 45s currently being traded by other vendors.

The Hagers - rear coverSays K. Vincent in his liner notes to 1970’s Two Hagers Are Better Than One:

“Freddie [Hart]’s ‘The Whole World Holding Hands’ stands out with just the kind of lyric John and Jim can believe in.  It hopes for shoes for everybody’s feet, green grass, and love that children can understand.”

Capitol would release two singles from Two Hagers Are Better Than One, and neither would include “The Whole World Holding Hands“:

[Psst:  Click on the triangle to hear “The Whole World Holding Hands” by The Hagers]

Hagers 45Thanks (yet) again to PragueFrank for the discographical details.

The Hagers:  Capitol 45s

  • “Gotta Get To Oklahoma” / “Your Tender Loving Care”  [10-1969]
  • “Loneliness Without You” / “Give It Time”  [02-1970]
  • “Goin’ Home To Your Mother” / “I’m Not Going Back To Jackson”  [05-1970]
  • “Silver Wings” / “Flowers Need Sun, Too”  [ca. 09-1970]
  • “I’m Miles Away” / “Loony Caboose”  [01-1971]
  • “White Line Fever” / “Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag”  [05-1971]

The Hagers:  Capitol LPs

  • The Hagers:  Loneliness Without You; I’m Her Fun; Tracks; Your Tender Loving Care; I Don’t Wanna Make It; Gotta Get To Oklahoma (‘Cause California’s Gettin’ To Me); With Lonely; I’m Not Going Back To Jackson; Give It Time; Goin’ Home To Your Mother  [03-1970]
  • Two Hagers Are Better Than One:  Silver Wings; The Whole World Holding Hands; I’m Jesse James; Flowers Need Sun, Too; Loony Caboose; That’s My Love; Second Fiddle; The Last Time; I’m Miles Away; Gamblin’ Man  [09-1970]
  • Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag:  Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag; White Line Fever; Silver Threads And Golden Needles; Four Strong Winds; Ft. Worth I Love You; Freight Train Fever; Break My Mind; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; California On My Mind; Back Out On The Road Again  [03-1971]

The Chaparral Brothers: Shattered Men

At last weekend’s Arbutus Record Show, I picked up some interesting long-players, including one each by a pair of unsung Capitol country artists – both, as I discovered, identical twins:  The Chaparral Brothers and The Hagers.

Paul Vorhaben + John Vorhaben = The Chaparral Brothers

Chaparral Brothers - front cover

Indeed, I was happy to acquire Introducing the Chaparral Brothers for a modest sum – especially when I saw that the music was “arranged and conducted” by one of my musical heroes, Jimmy Bryant.

And yet YouTube is bereft of any Chaparral Brothers songs (save one, “Jesus Loves You, Rosemary,” a 45 not included on either of their two albums for Capitol).  Neither can you find this 1968 album cataloged* on Discogs.com, nor are there any Chaparral Brothers reissues or anthologies for sale on Amazon – only listings of second-hand LPs & 45s that you can buy from private vendors.  What gives?

Chaparral Brothers - back cover x*November 11, 2019 Update1968 debut + 1970 follow-up LPs both listed in Discogs

I am flummoxed as to why music of this quality released on a label of such stature would remain overlooked still.   I am also a little embarrassed to discover that the band released its own version of “Hello L.A., Bye-Bye Birmingham” (the A-side of a 1970 Capitol single), but I failed to mention that in my original blog piece about John Randolph Marr.

One stand-out track from this fine debut album – “Shattered Man” – seems rife with crossover potential and sounds like an obvious radio hit to me:

[Psst:  Click on the triangle above to hear “Shattered Man” by the Chaparral Brothers]

Billboard‘s July 13, 1968 edition contains this positive assessment:

This debut album by the group has some strong attributes.  It is fresh in sound, and it obviously reflects fine musicianship.  The style of the lads will appeal to more than strictly country buyers.  The material and performances have in them much that interests the contemporary general record buyer.  “Standing in the Rain” and “Shattered Man” are typical.

WorldCat and its combined library catalogs worldwide informs me that the British Library is the only member library with a musical score for “Shattered Man” – click here for proof.

PragueFrank’s righteous recording data includes information about Chaparral singles not listed in 45Cat (though, sadly, not about the accompanying studio musicians):

Chaparral Brothers:  Capitol 45s

  • “Standing In The Rain” b/w “Just One More Time”  [04-1968]
  • “The Rain” b/w “Follow Your Drum”  [11-1968]
  • “I’m Not Even Missing You” / “Maybe Could Find Way Back Home Again”  [06-1969]
  • “Jesus Loves You, Rosemary” / “Then Darling I Could Forget You”  [09-1969]
  • “Runnin’ From A Memory” / “Curly Brown”  [12-1969]
  • “Hello L.A. (Bye Bye Birmingham)” / “I Must Have Been Out Of My Mind”  [02-1970]
  • “Foolin’ Around” / “Life Has Its Little Ups And Downs”  [06-1970]
  • “Let Somebody Love You” / “I Believe In You”  [11-1970]

Chaparral Brothers:  Capitol LPs

  • Introducing The Chaparral Brothers:  Standing in the Rain; Leave; Love Of The Common People; Out Of My Mind; Shattered Man; Tahiti Joe; Just One More Time; Hard Times Come Easy For Me; For The Last Time; Down Came The World; Winner Take All  [05-1968]
  • Just For The Record:  Foolin’ Around; Hello L.A. (Bye, Bye, Birmingham); Life Has Its Little Ups And Downs; Let Somebody Love You; Try A Little Kindness; Running From A Memory; Brown Eyed Handsome Man; The Days Of Sand And Shovels; Born High; I’m Not Even Missing You  [09-1970]

Pair of non-LP tracks “produced and arranged by Al de Lory” – not Jimmy Bryant

Chaparall Bros 45

Yaphet Kotto, coincidentally enough, would appear as Sgt. Major Creason in television series, The High Chaparral in 1968 – the same year Capitol would unleash the Chaparral Brothers on the world.