Atlantics, The


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1961-63)

- Jeff Williams -- guitar

- Mark Williams -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1963-67)

- Mike Fisher -- 

- Cathe Garcia-McDonnell -- vocals

- Terry Desjardines -- 

- Tom Tyrell -- 

- Jeff Williams -- guitar

- Mark Williams -- bass

 

  line up 3 (1967-68)

- Frank Bryant -- bass

- Cliff Rosin -- drums, percussion

- Jeff Watkins -- rhythm guitar

- Rick White -- sax

 

  line up 4 (1970)

- Adele Merritt -- vocals

- Del Nabb -- drums, percussion

- Jeff Williams -- guitar

- Mark Williams -- bass

- Jeff Williams -- guitar

 

 

 

 

- none known

 


 

Genre: garage

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Atlantics Live At the Nite-Life

Company: Hashish

Catalog: AR 696
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 815

Price: $125.00

So this one's pretty obscure.  It appears in one of Hans Pokora's Record Collector Dreams books (think it's Volume 5), and the only review I've ever seen is a short paragraph in Patrick Lundborg's "The Acid Archives".  

 

 

This outfit traces its roots to 1960 when brothers Jeff and Mark Williams formed their first band - Jeff and the Atlantics.   Over the next decade the band underwent a series of line-up changes, recording at least one nifty, if obscure local garage 45:

 

  

- 'I'll Find Him' b/w 'Twistin' Postman' (Sound Patterns catalog number SP JAC 2501)

 

Their first brush with popular success came in the mid-'60s when they backed Detroit soulster Gino Washington on a couple of singles:

 

- 1963's 'Heartburn' b/w 'Monkey Tree' (Among catalog number 90590)

 

A full decade after the Williams began playing, the finally got a chance to record an album - 1970's "Atlantics Live At the Nite-Life".  So here are the liner notes from this obscurity:  "The Atlantics have appeared over the past few years at most of Detroit's popular clubs.  One of their longest engagements was at the Nite-Life Lounge, where this recording was made.  Originally the band started out back in 1961 with guest appearances at the one time famous Walled Lake Casino.  After gaining experience at many college dances and private parties they were selected to be the background band for recording star Gino Washington.  The recorded "Out of this World" and 'Gino's a Coward", both of which became national hit records.  Because of these recordings The Atlantics were engaged for several television appearances.  Because they were only the backup music for Washington, the group gained no real recognition until they recorded "What's So Good About Goodbye" by Jeff and The Atlantics.

 

Adele Merritt, the pretty little vocalist with the group, is the third vocalist to appear with The Atlantics and has been with them the longest.  At age 20 she is already a seasoned performer, even though this is the first professional group she has ever appeared with.  Listening to her on this recording will almost be as exciting as seeing her performer live

 

Jeff Williams, guitarist and leader of the group, along with his brother Mark Williams, are the two original remaining members since the band organized.  Del Nabb drummer, is one of the best known drummers around the Detroit area having played with a number of various well-known groups.  He enjoys the music The Atlantics produce and therefore decided to settle down from making so many changes.

 

The various selection (sic) of tunes contained in this album are from a long list of most requested tunes from the customers at the Nite-Life Lounge.   These tunes, as you will notice, have not been specially recorded with over-dubs, or special sound recording equipment to give the listenered the idea that the band is something other than what they really are.   The sounds you hear on theis album are exactly the way they sound if you were hearing them in person."

 

Produced by Al and Joe Holtz, anyone looking for high production values, originality, and cutting edge creativity  probably ought to stop right here.  Musically the album featured a collection of thirteen pop, rock, and soul covers.  With the possible exception of Bonnie Dobson's 'Morning Dew', nothing here was particularly obscure and none of the arrangements strayed too far from the originals ...  Maybe because my expectation for this one were so low, about half of the songs were surprisingly enjoyable.   Looking like she'd just fled from a Catholic junior high school, lead singer Adele Merritt was the big surprise.  Looking at her tiny frame you were left to wonder where that deep, powerful voice came from.  She wasn't Janis Joplin, but she could certainly belt it out when she needed to (check out their mesmerizing cover of Freda Payne's 'Band of Gold').    The rest of the band were decent with Jeff Williams occasionally tossing off a nice guitar move ('Let It Be').   Not meant as a criticism, but these guys sounded like a good bar band.  Nothing more.   In spite of the liner notes, the album sounded like it had a bit of post-production work done.  Nothing major, but some of the applause sounded dubbed and Merritt's vocals occasionally sounded like there was a bit of overdubbing (check out their cover of The Rascals' 'People Gotta Be Free').   The results were still pretty rough, with most of the album sounding like it had been recorded in a tunnel.

 

"Atlantics Live At the Nite-Life" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Weight   (Robbie Robertson) - 4:06

Overlooking the fact it sounded like it had been recorded in a train tunnel, their cover of The Band's 'The Weight' wasn't half bad.  The arrangement was very barebones, but Merritt's voice carried the day.   rating: *** stars

2.) 25 Miles - 3:12

Well, nobody would mistake these guys for Edwin Starr ...   On the positive side, they attacked '25 Miles' with energy and enthusiasm.   On the downside, they sounded like a stoned pseudo-hippy band trying to pull off a soul classic.   Didn't really work.   rating: ** stars

3.) People Gotta Be Free (Felix Cavaliere - Eddie Brigati) -  3:13

While the melody remained instantly recognizable, Merritt and company managed to turn The Rascals' 'People Gotta Be Free' into a bouncy slice of pop, losing the original's blue-eyed soul charm in the process.  The "hip" spoken word segment was simply hysterical.   rating: *** stars.   

4.) Let It Be   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:47

Well the highlight on this one came in the form of a nice Jeff Williams wah wah guitar riff ...   rating: *** stars

5.) Hurt - 2:09

The first real disappointment, Merritt sounded like she was trying too hard on this old school ballad; the result being a vocal that was shrill and irritating (kind of like a bad Joplin track).  Even worse was the spoken word segment.   Mark Williams bass distorted throughout the song.   rating: ** stars

6.) Aquarius  (James Rado - Gerome Ragni)- 3:44

Not to be a snot, but technically they didn't even get the song title right since the song was a medley of 'Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In'.   The audience applauded, but looking at the club, you've got to wonder how this love generation ballad would have gone over in a blue collar place like The Nite-Life ...    rating:  ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Morning Dew   (Bonnie Dobson) - 4:12

Being familiar with Fred Neil and the Grateful Dead's versions, I'll tell you this psych-tinged sllce of folk--rock was pretty darned impressive.  Very atmospheric (as a post-apocalypse song should be) and one of the album highlights.  rating: **** stars 

2.) Some Kind of Wonderful  (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 3:52

I know Goffin and King wrote the tune, but I'll readily admit the Grand Funk Railroad cover is the one I grew up with.  This one won't make you forget Mark Farner and company ...  rating: ** stars

3.) Something   (George Harrison) - 2:46

Hum, this one found them falling over the edge into lounge act territory.  rating: ** stars

4.) Gimme Some Lovin'   (Stevie Winwood) - 3:10

There are certain rock classics that people shouldn't just bother covering and The Spencer Davis Group's 'Gimme Some Lovin'' is one of them.   Forgettable.   rating: ** stars

5.) I'll Never Fall In Love Again   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David)  - 3:03

Ouch, Merritt sounded really sharp and uncomfortable on this Bacharach-David tune.   Probably not a good song choice for the band.   rating: ** stars

6.) Band of Gold   (Edythe Wayne - Ron Dunbar)- 2:34

Another track where Merritt shifted into Joplin-esque overdrive, mistaking shrieking for power.   This was one of the songs where the band came off better than Merritt.   rating: ** stars

7.) Oh Me Oh My  (Jimmy Doris) - 3:04

I think this was a hit for Lulu under the title 'Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)'.   Pretty, if slightly MOR-ish ballad.   rating: ** stars

 

 

 

 

 

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