Bunky and Jake


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1962-65)

- Allan Jacobs (aka Jake) -- vocals, lead guitar

- Andrea Skinner (aka Bunky) (RIP 2011) -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 2 (1968)

NEW - Bob Grenier -- drums, percussion

- Allan Jacobs (aka Jake) -- vocals, lead guitar

NEW - Eric Oxedine -- bass

- Andrea Skinner (aka Bunky) (RIP 2011) -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 3 (1969-70)

- Allan Jacobs (aka Jake) -- vocals, lead guitar

NEW - Douglas Rauch (RIP 1979) -- bass (replaced Eric Oxedine)

NEW - Michael Rosa -- drums, percussion (replaced Bob Grenier)

- Andrea Skinner (aka Bunky) (RIP 2011) -- vocals, guitar

 

  supporting musicians: (1969)

- Ray Barretto -- congas

- Charlie Chin -- sax

- Ernie Hayes -- piano

- Buzzy Linhart -- vibes

- Mike Matthews -- organ

- Felix Pappalardi -- bass

- Chuck Rainey -- bass

- Perry Robinson -- clarinet

 

 

 

 

- The Fugs (Jake Jacobs)

- Jake and the Family Jewels (Jake Jacobs)

- Buzzy Linhart (Douglas Rauch)

- The Magicians (Jake Jacobs)

- Santana (Douglas Rauch)

- Tony Williams Lifetime (Douglas Rauch)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  L.A.M.F.

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SR 61199
Year:
 1969

Country/State: New York, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: textured cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1085

Price: $25.00

 

If you're looking for a group that embodies that mid-'60s hippy vibe, then you should find the eclectic Bunky & Jake right up your aural alley.   For goodness sakes, how much more counter culture can you get than a young Jewish singer/guitarist teaming with a young, attractive, streetwise African-American woman; the pair deciding to name their second album "L.A.M.F" (which pretty much anyone over the age of fifteen would know stood for "like a mother f*cker").

 

Allan Jacobs (aka Jake) and Andrea Skinner (aka Bunky) met in 1962 when the pair were attending New York's School of Visual Arts.   Discovering a common interest in music (they'd both sung in New York doo-wop groups), the pair started playing on the Greenwich Village coffeehouse circuit, attracting local attention.   In 1965 Jacobs joined The Magicians who recorded a couple of singes before calling it quits.    Following a brief turn with a late-inning line up of The Fugs in 1968 he resumed his partnership with Skinner.   Later that year the pair auditioned some of their material for former Magicians managers Art Polhemus and Bob Wyld who signed on as their managers. With the addition of  bassist  Douglas Rauch and drummer Michael Rosa, in 1968 the group was signed by Mercury Records.

 

Co-produced by Polhemus and Wyld, 1969's "L.A. M.F." was clearly influenced by their doo-wop and folk music roots, but was far more eclectic than what you would have expected from a bunch of New York-based folkies.   Interestingly, while Jacobs and Skinner both had decent voices (the former occasionally sounding a bit like a dry version of John Sebastian), with the exception of 'I Am the Light' their voices didn't pair all that well.  The good news was their vocals were so energetic and the arrangements so goofy, that it made up for whatever other shortcomings they exhibited.  Musically the set was all over the place, giving the album a very contemporary "Ameicana" feel.  Tracks like 'Big Boy Pete' highlighted their doo-wop roots,  but the pair were equally comfortable with gospel ('I Was a Champion'), and more commercial pop and rock numbers like 'Uncle Henry's Basement' and a blazing cover of Chuck Berry's '(Slow Down Little Jaguar) County Line'.  About all I can say is the results are disjointed, but fascinating.

 

By the way. the anonymous liner notes were hysterical:  "If you were to mash a princess off the boat from Brooklyn Bluesland, with a dissipated Pinocchio from Canarsie, you’d probably think you got Bunky & Jake. You’re almost right, Jim.

The Bunk and the Jake proclaim dizziness upon hearing discs made by the late, great Django Reinhart. They are also anchored to the never ending art of early classical subway a capella. Bunky & Jake conglomerated between strokes of the brush at the school of Visual Arts in New York, 1962.

Along with, and part of them you got a heavy groove bassfoot belonging to "Vito" Rosa, a middle class runaway, and a long, skinny anemic bass player called D. H. Rauch. And there’s the music in this here album, Jack.

I saw, yes I saw Miss Bunk’s earrings dance about her ears, and the Jake’s hair curl as they giggled to the virtuoso second tenor layed down by Charlie Chin on "Girl From France." They loved and Melted with Buzzy on "One More Cowboy." Indeed Buzzy is a cowboy. They danced and rolled with the notes only Felix could pluck on "Henry’s Basement," and "Champion." And they were influenced and zonked into Everland by the clarinet of friend Perry Robinson."

 

"L.A.M.F." track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Uncle Henry's Basement   (Allan Jacobs) - 2:06

'Uncle Henry's Basement' started the album off with a surprise - namely a highly commercial tune featuring a full rock arrangement.  Complete with bouncy melody and energetic vocals, this one sounded like something The Lovin' Spoonful might have penned and with a bit of marketing could have generated some radio attention.   rating: **** stars

2.) If I Had a Dream  (Allan Jacobs - Andrea Skinner) - 2:25

A breezy rocker, the highlight of 'If I Had a Dream' came in the form of Jacob's blazing Hawaiian slat-key guitar work.   Very impressive.   rating: **** stars

3,) (Slow Down Little Jaguar) County Line   (Chuck Berry) - 3:02

Hum, wonder if Commander Cody took some inspiration from this boogie rocker ?   Actually gets better the more you listen to it.   rating: *** stars

4.) Girl From France    (Allan Jacobs)  - 2:35

The liner notes described this one as "a love song inspired by Nolan Strong and the Diablos"  and that was a pretty accurate.  The risqué lyrics were pretty funny and Jacob's blazing guitar solo was quite nice.    rating: ** stars

5.) You Two    (Chuck Berry)  - 1:33

Nice Chuck Berry cover with Jacob's again showing off his Hawaiian slat-key moves.  rating: *** stars

6.) Big Boy Pete    (D. Terry Jr. - D. Harris) - 2:18

This one was described as "The Olympics meet Don Ho."   Yup, that covered it.   rating: *** stars

7.) Oh Pearl    (Allan Jacobs)  - 4:22

"You're much too stones, here's a pillow for your head ..."  Probably side one's most energetic performance, Oh. Pearl' was a catchy rocker that sported an extended Perry Robinson clarinet solo (that somehow worked in the arrangement).  rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Bump In My Groove
    (Allan Jacobs)  - 3:30

With Jacob's spoken word lyrics, 'Bump In My Groove'  started out as a dull blues number, and with the exception of a weird mid-song guitar and sax solo, didn't get all that much better.   For some reason Mercury tapped it as a single.  rating: *** stars

2.) I Am the Light    (Gary Davis -  Allan Jacobs - Andrea Skinner) - 5:20

Jacobs was a longtime Reverend Gary Davis fan, having even taken some guitar lessons from Davis.   One of the songs where Skinner shined, 'I Am the Light' was a bizarre mash-up of Gospel, sweet pop song, and a weird, jazzy foray.  Totally strange and mesmerizing.    rating: **** stars

3.) Cadillac Bleu   (Andrea Skinner)  - 3:18

Skinner's only solo contribution, 'Cadillac Bleu' was a pretty, acoustic ballad that sounded like something from their coffeehouse days.  rating: *** stars

4.) One More Cowboy    (Allan Jacobs - Andrea Skinner)  - 3:12

Pretty country-tinged ballad made all the funnier by the fact you doubted Jacobs had ever gotten close to Texas or the rest of the West.  The tune has always reminded me of something NRBQ might have written.   Hum, Buzzy Linhart on vibes ...    rating: *** stars

5.) I Was a Champion    (Allan Jacobs - Andrea Skinner) - 4:01

Credited to Jacobs and Skinner, 'I was a Champion' sounded like it had been copied from a Solomon Burke album.   Easily Skinner's most impressive performance and would have made The Staple Singers proud.   rating: **** stars

 

The album's single was:

 

- 1969's ''Bump In MY Groove' b/w 'Uncle Henry's Basement' (Mercury catalog number 72901)

 

Jacobs is still active in music and has a website at:  http://jakeandthefamilyjewels.com/biography.html

 

Sadly Skinner died in March 2011.

 

Bassist Rauch went on to play with Santana, Tony Williams Lifetime and as a sessions player on a slew of mid and late-'70s albums.   Only 28, he direct of a drug overdose in 1979.

 

 

 

 

 

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