Bartel, Jon 

Band members               Related acts

- Alan Blasingame -- percussion (1966-69)

- Jon Bartel (aka John Petrie Bartel) (RIP 2996) -- vocals,

  keyboards (1966-69)

- Jeff Martin -- 

- Larry O'Brien -- vocals, lead guitar, strings (1966-69)

- Lou Stellute -- horns (1966-69)




- Johnny Bartel and the Soul Masters





Genre: rock

Rating: can't rate

Title:  Bartel

Company: Perception

Catalog: PLP 20

Year: 1968

Country/State: Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): can't rate

Comments: --

Available: not available

GEMM catalog ID: not available

Price: not available


A couple of references indicate this was nothing more than a tax scam effort undertaken with a group of faceless studio musicians.  Well, there was a Jon Bartel (aka John Bartel) and these guys were a real band.     


Raised in Pennsylvania, namesake Bartel was bitten by the rock and roll bug while a kid.  By the mid-1960s he was playing keyboards and fronting Johnny Bartel and the Soul Masters (Jeff Martin, Larry O'Brien and Lou Stellute).  1968 found Bartel and company living in Southern California where they released a highly collectable single for the small Solid Smoke label: If This Isn't Love'' b/w 'I Waited Too Long' (Solid State catalog number SD 2514).



Bartel and company then signed to Jimmy Curtiss' newly formed Perception label.  I've only seen the album once and never heard a copy, but he made his debut with 1968's cleverly-titled "Bartel" (Perception catalog number PLP 20).  

All I can tell you is that it's on my list to track down someday.  Anyone got a copy and are to describe it?  Drop me an email.


"Bartel" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Intro - 1:30

2.) Naturally Good   (Jon Bartel - Larry O'Brien - Lou Stellute - Alan Blasingame) - 5:20

3.) On the Road   (Larry O'Brien) - 2:50

4.) Green Black   (Lou Stellute) - 10:20

5.) Yesterday   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney)- 4:43


(side 2)
1.) Summer In the City   (John Sebastian) - 3:35

2.) Meat Cleaver   (Larry O'Brien) - 5:50

3.) Boogie   (Jon Bartel - Larry O'Brien - Lou Stellute - Alan Blasingame) - 4:50

4.) You've Just Been Bitten   (Jon Bartel) - 3:20

5.) Freak Show   (Philips) - 2:35


Curiously the album was also released in France (Perception catalog number PE 21 502) with the America label releasing a single:



- 'Summer In the City' b/w 'On the Road' (America catalog number 17 034)


Thanks to Roland Bourgeaud for taking the time to provide photos of the French LP and single.  Amazing what the web is capable of doing !




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Jon Bartel Thing

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST-274

Year: 1969

Country/State: Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: cutout hole top right corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5381

Price: $50.00


1969 found Curtiss and Perception having arranged a distribution deal with Capitol.  It also saw the release of "The Jon Bartel Thing" - same line up, different, cooler name ...  Co-produced by Curtiss and Terry Philips, the results made for one weird record.  Showcasing a mixture of Curtiss-penned numbers (co-written with Ralph Green and Marcia Hillman), the album offered up a strange mixture of hard rock ('Where Can I Hide'), pop ('This Girl In Springfield'), conventional soul ('No Doubt About It (He's Your Man)'), psych touches ('There's Gotta Be Something Better'), and conventional jazz (the instrumental 'So What') .  Those diverse genres occasionally collided within the same composition (check out the totally bizarre 'Listen To the Silence').  A hard album to accurate describe (which may explain the absence of much info on the web), but if you were to imagine early Blood, Sweat and Tears with a singer who was better than David Clayton Thomas and a band with a harder rock orientation and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood.  Given the liner notes didn't provide a great deal of information, I'm going on the assumption that namesake Bartel handled the lead vocals (turns out it was Larry O'Brien - see below).  If so, he had a great soul-influenced voice which made you wonder why producers Curtiss and company hadn't opted for a more conventional collection.  To underscore how good his voice was, I've never been a big fan of the T-Bone Walker classic 'Stormy Monday', but these guys turned in a killer version of the track.  I even liked the scatting section of the performance.  Geez, never thought I'd say something like that!  (For those of you really into this kind of stuff 'Freak Show' also showed up on the Curtiss Velvet Night project.)


"The John Bartel Thing" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Where Can I Hide  (Marcia Hillman - Jimmy Curtiss - Ralph Green) - 2:43

2.) Listen To the Silence  (Marcia Hillman - Jimmy Curtiss - Ralph Green) - 4:30

3.) No Doubt About It (He's Your Man)   (Michael Gayle) - 2:54

4.) Stormy Monday   (T-Bone Walker) - 6:26

5,) Freak Show  (Terry Philips - Jimmy Curtiss - Marcia Hillman) - 2:32


(side 2)
1.) Headin' On  (Marcia Hillman - Jimmy Curtiss) - 3:36

2.) There's Gotta Be Something Better  (Jimmy Curtiss - Steve Kanyon) - 3:02

3.) Time Machine   (Terry Philips - Mark Barkan) - 2:40

4.) This Girl In Springfield  (Marcia Hillman - Jimmy Curtiss) - 3:40

5.) So What (instrumental)   (Miles Davis - Chris Hall) - 5:12


By the early 1980s Bartel was out of music.  He returned to his native Pennsylvania where he set up a document destruction company.  Sadly Bartel died of lung cancer in November 2006.

So out of the blue I got the following email ...

Hi, I saw your Bartel posting and thought I'd contact you. My name is Larry O'Brien. I was the guitarist and lead singer on all the recordings. John was a fantastic organist and the originator of the group. He was a strong leader and kept us on the right track. In '74 I left the group, retired from music, moved to Oregon, married and raised a family. Glad to say all the members of the band survived those years and are living very middle class domestic lives. Sadly, after becoming very successful in the document shredding industry, John was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in '06. We were able to reunite for the funeral and talk about old days.

Sincerely , Larry O'Brien

July 2008




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