The Beckies

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1: (1976)
- Michael Brown (aka Michael David Lookofsky) (RIP 2015) --

- Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West) -- lead vocals, drums, percussion
- Mayo James McAllister (aka Jim McAllistert) (RIP 2006) -- 

  lead guitar
- Scott Trusty -- vocals 


  supporting musicians:

- Mark Abel -- bass, backing vocals




- Beds (Mayo James McAllister)

- Chesmann Square (Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West) and 

  Mayo James McAllister)

- Henry Flynt & Nova'Billy (Mayo James McAllister)

- Humming Bird (Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West) and 

  Mayo James McAllister)

- The Left Banke (Michael Brown)
- Montage (Michael Brown)

- Shooting Star (Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West))
- The Stories (Michael Brown)

- Scott Trusty (solo efforts)





Genre: pop 

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Beckies

Company: Sire

Catalog: SASD-7519

Year: 1976

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; top right cut corner; original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4567

Price: $30.00

Cost: $


Songwriter/keyboardist Michael Brown established his credentials with such luminaries as The Left Banke, Montage and The Stories. Frustrated with The Stories' musical direction and lack of widespread success, Brown quit the band  in 1973. Following a two year hiatus he reappeared with The Beckies.   The line-up was rounded out by singer Scott Trusty and singer/drummer Gary Hodgden and guitarist Mayo James McAllister.  Trust and Hodgden had previously been members of the Kansas City-based  Chesmann Square and Hummingbird.

Signed by Sire, 1976's "The Beckies" featured a modestly entertaining collection of power-pop.  Brown and Hodgden were credited with co-writing all eleven songs.  The result was an album underscoring the pair's knack for penning catchy, commercial melodies. Tracks such as the opener 'Right By My Side (Etude)', 'Other Side of Town', 'Can't Be Alone' and 'Run Jenny Run' stood as the kind of radio-ready stuff bands such as Badfinger and Eric Carmen and The Raspberries had been peddling for the last couple of years with diminishing results. It was pleasant a pleasant collection, but a little short on originality.  On the other hand, if you were looking for a set of Left Banke-styled Baroque rock, with the exception of mid-tempo ballad 'Fran', 'On the Morning That She Came' and the single 'River Bayou', the album was probably a mild disappointment.  Hard to quantify, but while I found the album consistently enjoyable, it never really exploded with the sense of excitement, or joy found on some of Brown's former projects.   I also found that a couple of the ballads came off as overly precious ('River Bayou' and 'On the Morning That She Came').  Even though the band was blessed with two lead singers, neither Hodgden nor Trusty were particularly inspired.  Lucky enough to handle more of the band's rock-oriented tunes, Trusty came off as the better of the two vocalists.  To be honest, each singer came off better on up-tempo numbers - Trusty shone on 'Midnight & You' and 'The River'.  Hodgden's highlights came on 'Other Side of Town' and 'Run Jenny Run'.  In summary - pleasant, but not an essential release ...   


The album attracted favorable reviews from critics, but in an era of disco madness and punk aggression, tight commercial pop wasn't what the buying audience wanted to hear.  The album and the single 'River Bayou' vanished without a trace and the band quickly followed.   


"The Beckies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Right By My Side (Etude)   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:05  rating: *** stars

Exemplified by the radio friendly power-pop 'Right By My Side (Etude)', about all I can think is the band's glistening power-pop moves sounded out of place and out of step with the audience's growing fascination with disco madness and punk aggression.  The only minor critique I can come up with is vocalist Scotty Trust sounded a little strained and sharp on some of the high notes.
2.) River Bayou   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:04 
rating: ** stars

'River Bayou' was a pretty ballad, if a little precious for my tastes.   With a mix of heavy orchestration and some McAllister power chords, it was one of the tunes that came the closest to mimicking something out of The Left Banke catalog.  And that might explain why Sire tapped it as an instantly obscure single:






- 1976's "River Bayou' b/w 'Song Called Love' (Sire catalog number SAA 726)








3.) Midnight and You   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:17  rating: **** stars

Thankfully 'Midnight and You' demonstrated the band could hammer out a tougher, more rock oriented sound without forsaking their power pop roots.  My pick for the album's best performance and the song I would have tapped as a single.
4.) Fran   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:52  
rating: *** stars

Opening up with a delicate mix of keyboards and flute, the mid-tempo ballad 'Fran' is what I imagined The Left Banke having evolved into had they stayed together.  
5.) Other Side of Town   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:58
  rating: *** stars

Personally I find Hodgden to be the band's best singer.  It may have something to do with the fact he seemed to handle their more up-tempo numbers, including the bouncy rocker 'Other Side of Town'.  Would have been even better without Ron Frangipane's heavy-handed orchestration.
6.) Song Called Love  (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:04
  rating: *** stars

The album' oddest number, on this one Trusty's distant delivery has always reminded me a little of Todd Rundgren goofing around, or perhaps Bryan Ferry trying to be commercial.

(side 2)

2.) Can't Be Alone   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:45  rating: ** stars

I actually liked the rocker 'Can't Be Alone' except for Hodgden's painful vocal.  The song's high range just wasn't a good fit for his voice and when he stretched out at the end of the tune ... well it wasn't a pleasant experience.  
3.) River Song   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:00 
rating: **** stars

Perhaps Trust's best performance, 'River Song' had the most mainstream and commercial structure and arrangement.  Brown fans probably hated it for being so conventional.  Great backing vocals.
4.) On the Morning That She Came   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:55 
rating: **** stars

The title was a giveaway, but I'd tag 'On the Morning That She Came' and the most successful faux-Left Banke performance.  Another nice Trusty vocal with sweet backing vocals.
5.) One of These Days   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:23
  rating: *** stars

The highlight on 'One of These Days' came in the form of  McAllister's George Harrison-styled lead guitar.
6.) Run Jenny Run   (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:51
  rating: *** stars

The closer 'Run Jenny Run' reminded me of a late-'60s bubblegum tune.  That was meant as a compliment.  This might have been Hodgden's standout performance.  Shame it faded out so soon.


Thirty nine years after its initial release the Real Gone label reissued the collection in CD format - Real Gone catalog number RGM-04010).