Bugaloos, The

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Caroline "Joy" Ellis  -- lead vocals, percussion 
- Danny "Wayne" Laryea -- vocals, keyboards
- John McIndoe  -- lead vocals, guitar
- John Philpott  -- vocals, drums, percussion 





- none known




Genre: pop

Rating: **** (3 stars)

Title:  Bugaloos

Company: Capitol

Catalog: 621

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4614

Price: $70.00

Cost: $1.00


Many folks now in their mid-'50s probably have fond memories of late 1960s and early-1970s Saturday morning children's' television.  In terms of creativity and quality it marked a timeframe that has seldom been matched.  Among the era treasures were The Bugaloos.  A concept out of the Sid and Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf) empire, The Bugaloos marketing concept pulled a page out of The Monkees playbook.  After holding a massive UK wide talent search, the Krofts settled on four young English actors to star in The Bugaloos.  Caroline "Joy" Ellis was the butterfly, Danny "Wayne" Laryea was a bumblebee, John "Big John" McIndoe was a grasshopper and John "Little John" Philpott was a ladybug.  

In the show each of the characters was blessed with a unique power (Ellis represented joy, Laryea was harmony, Philpott was courage and McIndoe had intelligence.  Living in Tranquility Forest, over the show's thirteen episode run the four Bugaloos used their wings, a cool dune buggy, surfboards and their natural talents to fight the witch Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye) in a series of sensitive, socially, politically and ecologically correct adventures. Naturally each episode was accompanied by music - what else would you expected from Tranquility Forest?   And of course Capitol Records saw to it that Bugaloo fans were able to invest some of their disposable income (or their parent's disposable income) on a Bugaloos album.

Produced by Hal Yoergler (who also contributed the majority of the eleven tracks), 1970's "Bugaloos" is actually a pretty cool period piece. Musically the album sported a sound reminiscent of The New Seekers having overdosed on pure oxygen and happy pills.  Others have drawn comparisons to Enoch Light's The Free Design project which I definitely hear on performances like the thought provoking '
If You Become a Bugaloo' and the glistening 'Believe'.  None of the four actors were particularly gifted or memorable vocalist.  Similarly they were not particularly gifted actors.  Of course what would you expect from folks who were expected to sport little insect wings on the show?   Musically this wasn't cutting edge in any sense.  While Ellis was supposedly the lead singer, but exemplified by 'Senses of Our World' and 'Castles In the Air' she didn't have much of a voice which meant most of the eleven selections featured a happy-go-lucky group sing-along sound.  Material such as 'Just the Memory Stays Around', the single 'For a Friend' and 'Believe' boasted uniformly upbeat and positive lyrics that were guaranteed to irritate any "A" type personalities.  Curiously the melodies were marginal at best and frequently surrounded by extensive orchestration which gave the set kind of a middle-of-the-road sensitivity. Still, 'Fly Away with Us' and 'Senses of Our World' exhibited a kinda' cool pseudo-psychedelic touch.  And then there was always Ms. Ellis - you can only guess how many eight year olds went to bed dreaming about the young, squeaky clean Ms. Ellis; her perky smile and dance moves.

"Bugaloos" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) If You Become a Bugaloo   (Hal Yoergler) - 2:09   rating: *** stars

'If You Become a Bugaloo' was an interesting introduction to the Buggles world.  I guess it was uplifting in an odd Bugaloos fashion, after all remember "If you become a Bugaloo there's so much more that you can do to make out world a better place to be." Heavily orchestrated, there wasn't a great deal to the melody, but the "buga-buga-buga-buga" chorus was a hoot.  Imagine The Free Design having decided they wanted a top-40 hit and decided to so they would dress up like insects who had been sipping a bit too much nectar from poppy plants.   YouTube has a bunch of Bugaloos television clips including a performance of this tune: The Bugaloos If You Become A Bugaloos 1970 - YouTube   For some reason the song was released as a single in Venezuela: 

- 1971's 'Si Eres Un Bugaloo' (If You Become a Bugaloo') b/w 'Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna' (Capitol catalog number 4-2183)
2.) Senses of Our World   (Hal Yoergler) - 3:02  
rating: *** stars

Musically the ballad 'Senses of Our World' only had one thing going for it.  It wasn't the bland, mildly lysergic melody, or environmentally sensitive lyrics.  Yeah it was lead singer Caroline Ellis.  Her voice wasn't particularly strong and to my ears she had a strange accent, but I'll let you judge for yourself:  The Bugaloos - Senses Of Our World - YouTube
3.) For a Friend   (Joel Hirschhorn - Alfred Kasha) - 2:28 
rating: **** stars

'For a Friend' found the quartet going full-out for top-40 power pop.  Surprisingly it was quite good, explaining why it was tapped as a single:

- 1971's 'For a Friend' b/w 'The Senses of Our World' (Capitol catalog number 2946)  
4.) Believe   (Hal Yoergler) - 2:40
  rating: **** stars

With a giddy, organ propelled melody, 'Believe' was another track that mixed surprisingly thoughtful lyrics with another Free Design-styled arrangement.  In spite of myself, I'll admit to loving this track.
5.) It's New To You   (Charles Fox - Norman Gimble) - 2:25
  rating: **** stars

'It's New To You' was an example of a track where there really wasn't much to the song.  The melody just kind of wandered around with the horns and woodwinds going their own way.  And in spite of those criticisms, it was another tune that stuck in your head. Hum, a love ballad for seven year old ...   It would have made a nice single.  
6.) Fly Away with Us   (Hal Yoergler) - 2:39  
rating: *** stars

A good example of their "group voices", I suspect that if parents had been paying attention they might have been a little surprised by Hal Yoergler's lyrics.  

(side 2)

1.) Older Woman   (Hal Yoergler) - 2:30  rating: *** stars

In spite of the song title, the track was used in an episode to celebrate Joy's birthday. Lyrically it was pretty much the title sung by the guys over and over and over and over and was about as threatening as a chewing gum ad.   Is it just me or did Joy only have one dance move?    The Bugaloos Older Woman (1970) - YouTube
2.) Just the Memory Stays Around   (Hal Yoergler) - 3:00 
rating: *** stars

One of the album's prettiest songs, the heavily orchestrated ballad 'Just the Memory Stays Around' had kind of an Association vibe going on.  
3.) Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna   (Charles Fox - Ross) - 2:14 
rating: *** stars

Even if you are a massive bubblegum pop fan, there's a good chance 'Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna' will piss you off.  Judge it yourself: The Bugaloos - Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna - YouTube
4.) Castles In the Air   (Joel Hirschhorn - Alfred Kasha) - 2:25 
rating: ** stars

Ellis was featured on 'Castles In the Air' and her slightly performance made it clear why most of the songs featured group harmonies.  This one sounded like a bad Seekers, or We Five performance.  The Bugaloos 1970 Castles In The Air - YouTube
5.) The Bugaloos   (Charles Fox - Norman Gimble) - 2:09 
rating: **** stars

Powered by a kazoo the show's theme song was mindless and criminally catchy.  The track was released as a single in New Zealand:





- 1971's 'Theme from the Bugaloos' b/w 'Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna' (Capitol catalog number CP.540)






Want to know what happened to The Bugaloos?  Following the first season of the television show Columbia financed a Bugaloos movie. The film was actually shot, but shelved when the company ran into financial difficulties.  In the meantime the four actors returned to England for a brief break. Plans for a second season of shows were subsequently cancelled based on poor ratings. 

Ellis did some stage and English TV work; got married, had a daughter, divorced and eventually moved to Spain. 

McIndoe briefly played in the Band The Washington Flyers before appearing in a couple of English soap operas. He then turned his attention to building models, puppets and animatronics for movies and theme parks.

Philpott spent 15 years touring in a cabaret show and is apparently living in London.

Laryea is alive and lives in the States (Arizona), though he seems interested in keeping his Bugaloos life in the past.

There are a couple of active Bugaloo websites. Among the best is Bill Ung's at:  http://www.bugaloos.com/index.shtml




Gawd only knows why, but Capitol released a Bugaloos EP in Southeast Asia (Capitol catalog number EAP 21794).

"The Bugaloos" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) The Bugaloos   (Charles Fox - Norman Gimble) - 2:09

2.) Castles In the Air   (Joel Hirschhorn - Alfred Kasha) - 2:25 

3.) Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna   (Charles Fox - Ross) - 2:14


(side 2)

1.) If You Become a Bugaloo   (Hal Yoergler) - 2:09

2.) Senses of Our World   (Hal Yoergler) - 3:02

3.) For a Friend   (Joel Hirschhorn - Alfred Kasha) - 2:28