Big Wha Koo

Band members               Related acts

- Danny Douma -- vocals, lead guitar

- Don Francisco -- vocals, percussion

- Richard Kosinski -- keyboards

- David Palmer -- vocals, tambourine

- Nick van Maarth -- vocals, guitar

- John Mack -- drums, percussion

- Andrew Silvester -- bass, harmonica




- Chicago (Danny Douma)

- Danny DOuma (solo efforts)

- Steely Dan (David Palmer)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Big Wha-Koo

Company: ABC

Catalog: AB-971

Year: 1977

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: original custom inner sleeve; demo stamp on front cover; minor ring wear

Available: 2

GEMM catalog ID: 5388

Price: $15.00


Based on the Steely Dan connection (vocalist David Palmer sang with the original 1972-73 line up), I bought a copy of this album when it first came out.  I can remember playing it in my dorm room, though my roommate was less than thrilled (Rob sorry for the aural abuse I subjected you to).  For a long time it was a big favorite and I still have the original filed away (with the rest of their catalog), but I hadn’t played it in years.  Anyhow, a couple of months I was at a flea market and stumbled across a copy of the band’s “Berkshire” album.  For a buck I couldn’t resist and after spinning it I was about to go pull the rest of their albums in order to get reacquainted.  Anyhow, about a week later I was in Chincoteague and stumbled across a copy of “Big Wha-Koo” at a used record store for a buck. Couldn’t turn it down at that price (along with about 40 other items) …  

Though most critics disagree, produced by Roy Halee, 1977’s “Big Wha-Koo” always struck me as being the band’s best release (critics seem to give the nod to “Berkshire”).  In my book the album’s also one of those lost mid-1970s pseudo-classics. With a little bit of publicity and a better album cover who knows what might have happened … With singer David Palmer and guitarist Danny Douma credited with penning most of the material, the collection found a nice niche between commercial pop and AOR.  Nice melodies, great harmony vocals and modestly entertaining lyrics (I know, who listens to the words), made for a strong collection with six of the eight songs being worthwhile (the throwaway reggae number ‘Waiting On a Woman’ and the Douma’s bland ballad ‘Amnesty’ didn’t do much for me).  Perhaps a result of his association with Steely Dan, the late Palmer was always a personal favorite.  Though his voice was light and somewhat fragile, it proved well suited to material like the pretty, should’ve-been-a-hit ballad ‘Save Your Tears’, ‘Love’s Been Known’ and the gospel-flavored ‘Don’t Knock’.  That said, these guys could also rock out.  Propelled by Douma’s lead guitar, the jangle-rocker ‘Oh Philistine’ and the title track were both worth hearing.  Take this with a grain of salt, but after hearing the album, with a little bit of imagination you can picture what Steely Dan might have sounded like had Becker and Fagan elected to keep the “Can’t Buy a Thrill”-era band together and pursue a more commercial stance.  ABC tapped the album for a single in the form of 'Whiskey Voices' b/w '' (ABC catalog number ABC-12271).


"Big Wha-Koo" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Whiskey Voices   (David Palmer – Carbone) –

2.) Save Your Tears  (David Palmer – Carbone) –

3.) Oh Philistine   (Danny Douma – David Palmer) –

4.) Love’s Been Known   (Danny Douma – David Palmer) –


(side 2)

1.) Waiting On a Woman   (Danny Douma) –

2.) Amnesty  (Danny Douma) –

3.) Don’t Knock

4.) Big Whakoo   (Danny Douma – David Palmer) –


Douma subsequently released a solo album (worth looking for) and then reappeared as Terry Kath’s replacement in Chicago.





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Fragile Line

Company: Epic / City Lights

Catalog: BL 36173

Year: 1979

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: promo stamp on back cover; white inner label

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5389

Price: $15.00


With new line up consisting of bassist Eric Gotthelf, keyboardist Ron Fransen, lead vocalist David Palmer (the only holdover), and drummer Eddie Tuduri; an abbreviated name (now know as Wha-Koo), the band returned with a contract on CBS’s Epic subsidiary.  Produced by Alan Abrahams, 1979’s “Fragile Line” had its moments, but found the group taking square aim at prevailing AOR trends.  Largely penned by Palmer, material like ‘Silken Chains of Memory ’, ‘Camarillo’ and ‘Love Draws a Fragile Line’ wasn’t bad in a late-1970s corporate-rock fashion, but the over abundance of ballads and mid-tempo rockers tended to simply blur together when heard in a single sitting.  Palmer remained a decent singer, but to be honest, tracks like ‘The Velvet Screw’ and the group-penned ‘After the Rapture’ could easily have been mistaken for dozens of other California-based outfits – Ambrosia (the pretty ballad ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’), Pablo Cruise, Journey, etc. … take your pick.  Music reduced to a commercial formula, this one was a major disappointment and probably the least enjoyable of their three studio albums.  Best of the lot simply for the fact it strayed the furthest from their formula was the dark and atmospheric closer ‘Everything My Daddy Used To Be’.   Epic tapped the album for a single in the form of 'Don’t Say You Love Me' b/w '' (Epic catalog number 9-50772)



"Wha-Koo" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Silken Chains of Memory   (David Palmer) –

2.) Camarillo   (David Palmer – Chuck Cochran) –

3.) Tonight On Old King’s Cross   (David Aplmer) –

4.) The Velvet Screw   (David Palmer – Ron Fransen) –

5.) Love Draws a Fragile Line   (David Palmer) –


(side 2)

1.) Don’t Say You Love Me    (David Palmer – Chuck Cochran) –

2.) After the Rapture   (David Palmer – Eddie Tuduri – Eric Gotthelf – Ron Fransen) –

3.) She Sees the Night  (David Palmer) –

4.) The Chinese Kiss  (David Palmer – Chuck Cochran) –

5.) Everything My Daddy Used To Be   (David Palmer – Chuck Cochran) - 




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