*** (3 stars)
(cover/record): VG / VG
Catalog ID: 5218
Employed as sessions players, keyboardist Billy
Cunningham, drummer Johnny Hunter and guitarist Gary McEwen first crossed
paths in 1966 while touring with Ronnie and the Dakotas. Unhappy with their
status as hired hands the three decided to form their own band and promptly
began recording and shopping demo tapes. With the addition of
vocalist/bassist Lee Masters to the line-up, their initial efforts proved
unsuccessful, but the group eventually attracted the attention of producer
Shelby SIngleton who arranged for a recording session with producer Huey
Signed by Verve/Forecast, the group's 1967 debut 'Let It Out (Let It
All Hang Out)' b/w 'Go Girl Go' (Verve Forecast catalog number ) introduced their
surprisingly commercial country-psychedelic sound. With a fluke top-20 hit
on their hands Verve/Forecast rushed the
group back into the studio to record an album's worth of material in support
of the single. Released as the cleverly-titled "Let It Out (Let
It All Hang Out" the hastily recorded album wasn't
particularly focused. Propelled by Masters' dry, country twang the
highlights included a freakout cover of 'Gloria' (with a nifty
little 'Eight Miles High' interlude) and the follow-on single 'It's a Gas'
b/w 'Am I High' (Verve Forecast catalog number KF 5076). That wasn't to say the set was a complete success.
Reflecting their Ronnie and the Daytonas days, 'Little 2+ 2'
offered up a bland slice of formulaic hot rod music, 'So Bad' was an equally
dull ballad, while 'Mau Mau Mau' and 'This Little Girl'
sounded like laxative commercials. Needless to say, the material was largely
shunned by commercial radio, though the parent album managed to hit # 180.
(I always wondered why the cover photo was shot at a garbage dump ...)
"Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)" track listing:
1.) Let It Out (Let It All Hang Our) - 2:05
2.) Little 2 + 2 - 1:40
3.) So Bad - 3:47
4.) Gloria (Van Morrison) - 5:43
5.) Am I High (Billy Cunnigham - JohnHunter - Lee Masters - Gary McEwan)
1.) Mau Mau Mau - 2:15
2.) This Little Girl - 1:58
3.) Sorry 'Bout That - 2:15
4.) Ya Ya - 3:11
5.) Hey Little Girl - 1:46
6.) It's a Gas (Billy Cunnigham - JohnHunter - Lee Masters - Gary McEwan)
The band apparently recorded follow-on album (tentatively titled "The
Hombres"), but the project was shelved by Verve/Forecast. Following a final single for Verve
('Take My Overwhelming Love (and Shove It In Your Heart)' b/w 'Pumpkin Man'
(Verve/Forecast catalog number KF-xxx) and a one-shot 1969 single for Sun ('If This
Ain't Love You, Baby' b/w 'You Made Me What
I Am' (Sun catalog number )), by the end of 1969 The Hombres were history.