Ashes, The

Band members               Related acts

- Al Brackett -- bass, vocals (1965-68)

- Jim Cherniss -- guitar, vocals (1965-66)

- Spencer Dryden (RIP 2005) -- drums (1965-66)

- John Merrill -- guitar, vocals (1965-68)

- Barbara Robison (aka Sandi Robison, aka Sandi Peanut

  Butter) (RIP 1988) -- vocals (1965-66)

- Pat Taylor -- vocals (1968) 

- Jim Voight -- drums (1968)



- A Letter Home (Pat Taylor)

- The Jefferson Airplane (Spencer Dryden)

- Peanut Butter Conspiracy (Al Brackett, John Merrill,

  Sandi Robison and John Voight)

- The Young Swingers





Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ashes

Company: Vault

Catalog: 125

Year: 1971

Country/State: Santa Monica, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

GEMM catalog ID: 4618

Price: $150.00

Cost: $67.00


Formed in Santa Monica, California, The Young Swingers (great name), bassist Alan Brackett, singer/guitarist Jim Cherniss, drummer Spencer Dryden, singer/guitarist John Merrill and singer Barbara Robinson began playing local clubs, eventually releasing a pair of instantly obscure singles:


- 1965's 'Love Her Every Day' b/w 'Or Else You'll Cry' (Courtney Records catalog 746

- 1965's 'Let's Take Our Love' b/w 'The Winds up High' (Portofina Records catalog number 901).


By 1966 the band had opted on a name change, along with a change in personnel - original bassist Cherniss dropping out, while drummer Dryden quit in order to join The Jefferson Airplane.  The band continued on, signing a contract with Vault Records that saw them debut with the 1966 single 'Is There Anything I Can Do' b/w 'Every Little Prayer' (Vault catalog number 924).  Unfortunately, neither the debut nor the follow-up 'Dark On You Now' b/w 'Roses Gone' (Vault catalog number 936) did anything and within a couple of months Brackett and Merrill had abandoned the project, instead forming The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.



left to right Alan Brackett, Spencer Dryden, Barbara Robison, Jim Cherniss, John Merrill


1968 saw Brackett and Merrill drop out of PBC and reform The Ashes with new singer Pat Taylor and drummer John Voight.  Produced by Jackie MIlls, "Ashes Featuring Pat Taylor" offered up an entertaining mix of country, folk, rock and lite psych touches.  Taylor was gifted with a razor sharp voice that simply beat the crap out of contemporaries like Grace Slick.  Her performances on tracks such as 'Gone To Sorrow', 'Return Home' and 'Look Around Rock' were all first-rate.  While Taylor handled most of the vocals, Merrill's three performances weren't half bad.  'The Now' and 'Rainbows' both sported catchy country-rock melodies that would have sounded great on the radio.  Merrill was also responsible for writing most of the material.  (Call me sexist, but the young Miss Taylor looked quite attractive in her boots and miniskirt.)  For some reason the album was subsequently shelved where it sat until Vault unexpectedly released it in 1971.  At the same time 'Homeward Bound' b/w 'Sleeping Serenade' was released as a single (Vault catalog number 975).  Not quite essential, but a very nice slice of mid-1960s Southern California lite-rock.


"The Ashes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Gone To Sorrow   (J. Browne) - 3:07

2.) Sleeping Serenade  (John Merrill) - 

3.) Homeward Bound  (Paul Simon) - 2;34

4.) Sands of Love   (John Merrill) - 2:18

5.) My Life Has Changed   (John Merrill) - 3:14


(side 2)
1.) Return Home   (Alan Brackett) - 2:23

2.) Her Invention   (John Merrill) - 2:14

3.) Look Around Rock   (P. Nichols) - 2:34

4.) The Now   (John Merrill) - 2:52

5.) Rainbows   (John Merrill) - 2:17

6.) Simple Complexities   (John Merrill) - 2:06


Original singer Robison died of toxic shock syndrome in 1988.  She was only 43.

You'll find a nice band history at:



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