A Passing Fancy
Band members Related acts
- Ron Forster - vocals, lead guitar
- Fergus Hambleton - vocals, bass
- Rick Mann - bass
- Louis Pratile - drums
- Brian Price - keyboards
- Phil Seon - lead guitar
- Brian Smith - rhythm guitar
- Jay Telfer - vocals, rhythm guitar
- Dan Troutman - bass
- Steve Wilson - drums
- The Ginger Group (Fergus Hambleton)
- Fergus Hambleton (solo efforts)
- The Sattalites (Fergus Hambleton)
- Jay Telfer (solo efforts)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: A Passing Fancy
Country/State: Toronto, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: minor ring wear on cover; minor edge wear (but no splits) small tear on back side
GEMM catalog ID: 4521
Wow, here's one where the hype doesn't do the band or their album justice.
In most cases a band typically releases a couple of tracks for a small independent label, before being discovered by a major label which then promotes them into oblivion. Toronto's A Passing Fancy opted to do it ass-backwards.
Formed in 1967 and originally known as The Dimensions, this outfit was built around the talents of singer/guitarist Jay Tefler and bassist Fergus Hambleton. Switching their name to the infinitely hipper 'A Passing Fancy', the group achieved their initial successes playing Toronto's club circuit, including a headlining stint at the 1967 Toronto Expo. The resulting publicity saw them 'discovered' by Columbia Records, which subsequently released a string of four outstanding pop/psych singles:
- 1967's 'I'm Losing You' b/w 'A Passing Fancy' (Columbia catalog number C4-2729)
- 1967's 'You're Going Out of Your Mind' b/w 'Sounds Silly' (Columbia catalog number C4-2755)
- 1967's 'I Believe In Sunshine' b/w 'She Phoned' (Columbia catalog number C4-2767)
- 1968's 'People In Me' b/w 'Spread Out' (Columbia catalog number C4-2772)
Here's where it gets weird. In spite of the fact all four singles hit the Canadian charts, Columbia elected not to release an album, and by mid-1968 the band were without a recording contract. Back to the independents ...
The group signed with the small, Toronto-based Boo Records which promptly released the cleverly titled "A Passing Fancy". Produced by John Cirvine, the album served to compile the 'A' and 'B' sides from the four earlier singles, along with four new tracks - 'Island', 'Your Trip', ' Little Boys for Little Girls' and 'Under the Bridge'. As a compilation the album's quite diverse with the band showcasing an almost chameleon-like adaptability. Largely penned by Tefler and April Blackwood (?), tracks such as the slashing 'I'm Losing Tonight' and 'People In Me' are first-rate garage rock. The title track, the annoyingly catchy 'I Believe In Sunshine' and 'Island' showcase a top-40 pop feel, while 'You're Going Out of My Mind' and 'Spread Out' find the band immersed in wild psychedelics. Frequently diversity equates to lack of focus, but in this case it simply makes a great album even better. In fact, the only real disappointment is the bland and tame ballad 'Sounds Silly'. Elsewhere Boo tapped 'Island' b/w 'Your Trip' for the group's fifth and final single (Boo catalog number 684). Unfortunately, as a small regional label Boo was unable to support the album nationally (explaining why it's relatively rare and the asking price), and even though the LP generated strong reviews, by the end of the year the band had called it quits.
"A Passing Fancy" track listing:
1.) I'm Losing Tonight (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:48
2.) A Passing Fancy (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:35
3.) You're Going Out of My Mind (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:35
4.) Sounds Silly (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:25
5.) She Phoned (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:10
6.) I Believe In Sunshine (Greg Hambleton) - 2:25
1.) Island (Greg Hambleton) - 2:05
2.) Your Trip (R. Cameron) - 3:05
3.) Little Boys for Little Girls (Jay Telfer) - 3:31
4.) Under the Bridge (Fergus Hambleton) - 2:38
5.) Spread Out (Jay Telfer - April Blackwood) - 2:54
6.) People In Me (Bonniwell - Thrush) - 3:15
In case anyone's interested, Hambleton went on to enjoy local recognition as a member of the Toronto-based reggae band The Sattalites.
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Hi! To all members:
A late 60's Toronto pop/psych band A Passing Fancy. Only recorded one
self-titled LP In 1968. Review by AMG available here:
Biography information from CANOE website:
Jay Telfer (guitar)
Phil Seon (guitar)
Rick Mann (bass)
Brian Price (organ)
Steve Wilson (drums)
Fergus Hambleton (lead vocals, piano)
Brian Smith (rhythm guitar)
Dan Troutman (bass)
Wally Cameron (drums)
Louis Pratile (drums)
Ron Forster (guitar)
Originally known as The Dimensions, A Passing Fancy sprang up in
Toronto's Yorkville Village in 1966. After a few shows in the
Village, record store owner Walter Honsberger and partner Dan
Bartollini began shaping the band's sound and image, eventually
bringing them to the doorstep of Columbia Records, where they were
signed to a standard six-sides contract (i.e. three singles).
They played at Expo '67 where they jammed in a cultural exchange with
Montreal band Les Tetes Blanches. Their popularity grew first with
successful touring throughout Ontario and then out to Eastern Canada
where radio also embraced them. Jay Telfer was the band's songwriter
(and later composed "Ten Pound Note" for Steel River) who
collaborated with Errol Blackwood for their first Columbia
single "I'm Losing You Tonight" in February 1967 which reached #22 on
the charts by March.
The second single, "You're Going Out Of Your Mind", only reached #37
in June 1967, they bounced back with the successful "I Believe In
Sunshine" in August which had a short four week run at the charts,
but reached #28 in September of that year.
Columbia continued with one more single in early 1968 ("People In
Me") but without any chart action they weren't confident enough to
invest in a full-length record. In response, Honsberger and
Bartollini formed their own Boo Records to put together an album's
worth of material. The band's line-up fluctuated in the meantime
which would be reflected on the additional tracks for the 1968 self-
titled release. The album would feature the Columbia singles (with an
altered mix of "People In Me"). Boo Records attempted to squeeze a
little more life out of the record in June 1968 with a new song - the
fifth single, "Island", but this track did poorly on radio as well.
By the early 1969 the group had disbanded.
In November 1969 Jay Telfer and Fergus Hambleton (who replaced Telfer
in A Passing Fancy) recorded a studio album for Allied Records under
the name Goody Two Shoes called "Come Together". The album was
primarily cover tunes and is also noteworthy for lead guitar work by
former A Passing Fancy roadie Kevan Staples - better known as half of
future shock rockers Rough Trade.
Jay Telfer, who had a solo career simultaneously with A Passing Fancy
(on the Sir John A. label) continued as guitarist with the Toronto
stage production of "Hair" before signing to Axe Records (owned by
Fergus Hambleton's brother, Greg) in 1973 for a series of singles and
one album through the 1973 and 1974. He dabbled in movie script
writing (1977's "Kid Vengeance" starring Jim Brown, Lee Van Cleef and
Leif Garrett), and after surviving a stroke in 1984 he settled in as
a script evaluator. In the early '90s he moved to Wellington, Ontario
to open "Jay's Bed & Breakfast". He currently lives near Belleville,
Ontario and is the editor of an antique collector's magazine
called "The Wayback Times" [www.waybacktimes.
later go on to be in the band RAIN, then would launch a solo career
as FERGUS for Capitol Records before becoming a member of The Ginger
Group, The Basics and, finally, finding great success with Toronto
reggae act The Sattalites; Fruchtman is still scene playing bass in
Toronto; Seon re-located to Pickering, Ontario where he set up a
dental practice; Wilson was a corporate executive head-hunter and
also co-owned a nightclub in Toronto; Price became president of
The band reunited for a one-off date in Yorkville in the late '80s.
with notes from Jay Telfer
1967 I'm Losing Tonight/A Passing Fancy (Columbia) C4-2729
1967 You're Going Out Of Your Mind/Sounds Silly (Columbia) C4-2755
1967 I Believe In Sunshine/She Phoned (Columbia) C4-2767
1968 People In Me/Spread Out (Columbia) C4-2772
1968 Island/Your Trip (Boo) 684
1968 A Passing Fancy (Boo) BST 6801
1986 A Passing Fancy [Re-issue](Breeder) RPR0-01303C-
1998 A Passing Fancy [Re-issue] (Flashback) 11
2000 A Passing Fancy [Re-issue] (Pacemaker/Timothy'
1990 "I'm Losing You Tonight" on 'Made In Canada - Volume Three:
Eclectic Avenue' (BMG) KKL1-7158
Keep spreading the good music.
Ciao! For now.