Bangor Flying Circus

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Alan De Carlo (RIP 2012) -- vocals , guitars, percussion
- Tom Shiffour -- drums, percussion
- David Wolinski -- vocals, keyboards, bass


  line up 2 (1968-69)

- Alan De Carlo (RIP 2012) -- vocals , guitars, percussion
NEW - Michael Tegza -- drums, percussion (replaced Tom Shiffour)
- David Wolinski -- vocals, keyboards, bass


  line up 3 (1969)

- Alan De Carlo (RIP 2012) -- vocals , guitars, percussion
NEW - Ross Salomone -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Michael Tegza)
- David Wolinski -- vocals, keyboards, bass





- Chicago (Hawk Wolinski)

- Elixir

- Flying Circus (Mike Tegza)
- H.P. Lovecraft (Tom Shiffour and Mike Tegza)

- Lovecraft (Mike Tegza)
- Madura (Alan De Carlo and David Wolinski)

- The Nomads (Alan De Carlo and David Wolinski)
- Rufus (David Wolinski)

- Shadows of the Knight (Tom Shiffour and David Wolinski)

- Jimmy Stella and the Ambassadors (Ross Salomone)

- The Wild Horses (David Wolinski)
- David Wolinski (solo efforts)



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Bangor Flying Circus

Company: Dunhill

Catalog: DS-50069

Year: 1969

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5088

Price: $30.00



Chicago's Bangor Flying Circus formed in 1967, featuring the talents of ex- Nomands guitarist Alan De Carlo,  former Shadows of the Knight drummer Tom Shiffour and singer/keyboardist David Wolinski.  Wolinski had been a member of The Nomads and Shadows of the Knight.

By the time the band signed with Dunhill Records, Shiffour and been replaced by former H.P Lovecraft drummer Mike Tegza.  Teamed them with producer George Badonsky, musically 1969's "Bangor Flying Circus" wasn't anything spectacular.  On the positive side the album was heavily geared to original material, large penned by Wolinsky. De Carlo and Wolinski were both decent, if slightly anonymous singers.  Reminding me of Felix Cavaliere's blue-eyed soul delivery, De Carlo was the better of the two vocalists.  Finally the trio's performances were never less than professional, with the bulk of spotlight  time going to Wolinsky's keyboards, followed by De Carlo's tasteful lead guitar.. Unfortunately, with Wolinski writing the majority of material (De Carlo credited with one song), selections such as 'Violent Man', 'A Change In Our Lives' and their seemingly endless jazz-rock instrumental interpretation of The Beatles' 'Norwegian Wood' reflected a surprisingly pedestrian AOR feel.  Occasional jazzy touches on tracks like 'In the Woods' and  the skat segments in 'Ode To Sadness' and 'Someday I'll Find' didn't help much either.  In spite of those shortcomings the album still managed to sell, peaking at # 190.


Shortly after the album was released Tegza quit in order to join a late inning increment of H.P. Lovecraft operating under the nameplate Lovecraft. He was briefly replaced by former Jimmy Stella & the Ambassadors drummer Ross Salomone.  Poor management, the lack of commercial success and growing internal disagreements between De Carlo and Wolinski saw the band split up in 1969.  Along with Salomone, De Carlo and Wolinski managed to briefly repair the professional relationship recording a pair of albums for the Chicago-based horn band Madura.  The mid-1970s saw Tegza briefly reactivate the band under the name Flying Circus.


"Bangor Flying Circus" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Violent Man (David Wolinski) - 6:05  rating: *** stars

Hearing 'Violent Man' the first couple of times I imagined a cross between The Rascals' blue-eyed soul moves and Vanilla Fudge-styled sludge rock.  On this one Alan De Carlo actually sounded quite attractive until he hit the scatting section of the song.  The song also lost some energy when Wolinski plunged into his Hammond B3 and piano solos.  Minus a star for the scatting.
2.) Come On People (David Wolinski) - 4:02
  rating: *** stars

With De Carlo and Wolinski splitting lead vocals, 'Come On People' had the album's poppiest melody and included De Carlo's most commercial soloing. The track was released as the debut single:

- 1969's 'Come On People' b/w 'A Change In Our Lives' (Dunhill catalog number 45-D-4220)
3.) Ode To Sadness (David Wolinski) - 6:02  
rating: * star

Wolinski's opening organ sounded like this would find the trio heading down a progressive road, but the song quickly went into "big ballad" territory.  Showcasing Wolinski's "lounge singer" vocals, the first part of 'Ode To Sadness' really didn't sound all that different than something The Spiral Staircase would have churned out.  About two minutes in the track slipped into far less appealing Young-Holt Trio jazz-soul supper club territory.  Docked an extra star for the extended scatting section.
4.) Concerto Four Clouds (David Wolinski) - 5:23 
rating: **** stars

Well the title sounded like it was going something pompous and overblown that would have fit on an ELP, or Nice album.  While the ever changing structure include some progressive moments, 'Concerto Four Clouds' was surprisingly commercial boasting a couple of nice melodies, one of De Carlo best vocals and some nice lead guitar workouts.

(side 2)

1.) A Change In Our Lives  (Alan De Carlo) - 3:45  rating: **** stars

De Carlo's sole contribution to the album's writing chores, 'A Change In Our Lives' has always reminded me of a Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals tune.  De Carlo had a pleasant blue-eyed soul voice and the track had a breezy, quite commercial feel with a gorgeous fuzz solo.  This is probably the track I would have picked as the single.

2.) Someday I'll Find (David Wolinski) - 4:25  rating: *** stars

The ballad 'Someday I'll Find' initially reminded me of an early Chicago tune (sans the irritating horns).  This one was a nice forum for hearing drummer Michael Tegza's chops.  It also showed De Carlo's flexibility via some tasty country-rock fills.  Wish I could understand their fascination with scatting ...
3.) Mama Don't You Know (That Your Daughter's Acting Might Strange) (David Wolinski) - 3:15
  rating: **** stars

Opening up Wolinsky's Hammond B3 (he also provided the bass keys), 'Mama Don't You Know (That Your Daughter's Acting Might Strange)' found the trio taking a stab at a country-rock sound.  More Wet Willie than Allman Brothers, but it wasn't nearly as bad as you would have expected.  The song was also worth checking out as an example of how well De Carlo and Wolinsky could harmonize.  The refrain was lovely.  Shame the tune was so short.  Dunhill tapped the song as the second single:





- 1969's 'Mama Don't You Know' b/w 'Someday I'll Find' (Dunhill catalog number D-4323)





3.) In the Woods (David Wolinski) - 4:18   rating: *** stars

Opening with Hammond B3 and keyboards 'In the Woods' briefly recalled a Uriah Heep tune.  Once again De Carlo and Wolinksy shared lead vocals, but De Carlo's wild guitar solo provided the song's highlights.
4.) Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (instrumental) (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 6:00 
rating: ** stars

Well, it took almost a minute before I could recognize the original melody and then it came and went like a winter storm.  Lots of Wolinski's Hammond B3; lots of Tegza's raging drums; and crap, more De Carlo scatting to go with his jazz riffs.  Lots going on here, but little that was memorable.




De Carlo struggled on in music and his personal life.  His marriage broke up, and he found himself reduced to recording a couple of commercials for Coors beer and working as a toll booth collector.  Only 69, De Carlo passed on in 2012. There's a FaceBook page dedicated to the late guitarist at: (2) Al De Carlo | Facebook   


Credited to Daniel E. Meza and titled "The Unfamous Life of Alan De Carlo" YouTube has an interesting, if depressing two part "documentary" on De Carlo's life.  Warning - much of the second segment focuses on producer James Guercio:


The Unfamous Life of Alan DeCarlo [Episode. I: Plain As Day] - YouTube

The Unfamous Life of Alan DeCarlo [Ep. II: The Guercio Factor] - YouTube