Fugitives, The (Richmond, Virginia)

Band members               Related acts

- Buster Byard - drums (-67)

- Richard Donlavey - vocals, sax (-67)

- Joe Russell - vocals, keyboards (-67)

- Mick Russell - lead guitar, backing vocals (-67)

- Jimmy Sickal - bass, guitar, backing vocals (-67)

- Tommy Sickal - rhythm guitar (-67)



- none known



Genre:  garage

Rating: **** ( 4 stars)

Title:  On the Run with The Fugitives

Company: Justice

Catalog: 141

Year: 1966

Country/State: Richmond, Virginia 

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: plays with some hiss in spots; no skips; 3" seam split along top edge

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4227

Price: $350.00

Cost: $257.00


To be honest, a lot of the acts on the sought after Justice label simply aren't very good - certainly not worth the sky-high prices dealers demand for original copies of these mid-1960s rarities.  Richmond, Virginia's The Fugitives are one of the exceptions, and of the twenty or so garage acts to record for the short-lived North Carolina-based label, they easily fit in the top-5 in terms of talent and enthusiasm.


Lead vocalist Richard Donlavey and lead guitarist Mick Russell apparently started the band while in high school.  By the time they recorded their 1966 LP "On the Run with the Fugitives" the line up included Russell's older brothers/keyboard player Joe, as well as drummer Buster Byard and twins Jimmy (bass) and Tommy (rhythm guitar) Sickal.  Given Justice was a vanity label, it's likely that the band coughed up roughly $1,000 for four hours of studio time at Justice's Winston-Salem Studios.  Their investment probably saw between 500 - 1,000 copies of their one and only album pressed, which helps explain the asking price on this baby.  


So what makes this one worth tracking down?  Well, in musical terms it isn't radically different from most of the Justice catalog.  If you're reading this, then you probably know that means The Fugitives were a bunch of young white kids (average age 18) who were into mid-1960s garage rock.  Like most of their contemporaries recording for Justice, much of the album sounds as if it had been recorded at the bottom of a toilet.  The Justice Winston-Salem studio seems to have injected a hollow, murky sound into almost everything it touched.  That said, this set has two things going for it.  First, overlooking a couple of the lame top-40 covers (a painfully out of tune "Until" and yet another needless cover of "Ebb Tide"), the band plays with considerable enthusiasm which usually makes up for their limited technical skills.  Blown notes and off-key vocals abound, but on material such as "Turn On Your Love Light" and "Bo Diddley" it just sounds like these guys were having fun.  The other winning factor is the album's high self-penned content.  Four of the album's twelve selections are originals, with the roaring  fuzz-propelled title track (which was apparently intended as a never-to-be-released single), and "Kidding Around" standing out among the most impressive performances.  A worthy addition to any garage rock collection !!!


"On the Run with The Fugitives" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) On the Run   (Mick Russell - Richard Donlavey) - 2:40

2.) Turn On Your Love Light - 3:40

3.) Until - 

4.) Tossing and Turning - 1:56

5.) Ebb Tide - 2:18

6.) He Don't Love You - 2:08


(side 2)
1.) Bo Diddley

2.) Minus One Heart   (Mick Russell - Richard Donlavey) - 2:28

3.) Needing Someone   (Mick Russell - Richard Donlavey) - 2:35

4.) You Can't Catch Me - 2:49

5.) Kidding Around   (Joe Russell) - 1:51

6.) Get Out of My Life Woman - 2:35



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