Oxfords, The

Band members               Related acts

- Dill Asher -- bass (replaced Ronnie Brooks) (1968-69)

- Ray Barrickman -- bass (replaced Bill Turner) (1966)

- Ronnie Brooks -- rhythm guitar, bass (replaced 

  Danny Marshall) (1966-67)

- Jerry Canter -- guitar (1971-72)

- Jill DeMarco -- vocals, guitar, kalimba, percussion, flute


- Jim Guest -- drums (1964-68)

- Donnie Hale -- drums (replaced Jim Guest) (1968-69)

- Larry Holt -- bass, harmonica, backing vocals (replaced

  Dill Asher) (1969-)

- Glenn Howerton --- drums (1964-68)

- Paul Hoerni -- drums, percussion (replaced Donnie Hale)


- Gary Johnson -- rhythm guitar (replaced Ronnie Brooks)


- Bobby Jones -- drums (1972)

- Danny Marshall - rhythm guitar (1964-66)

- Jay Petach -- vocals, guitar, flute, timbales, vibes,

  keyboards (1964-)

- Quentin Sharpenstein -- bass (1972)

- Bill Tullis -- vocals, rhythm guitar (1964-68)

- Bill Turner -- bass (1964-66)

- Tony Williamson -- lead guitar (1972)




- Elysian Field (Gary Johnson)

- The Hearby (Jill DeMarco)





Genre: pop

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  Flying Up Through the Sky

Company: Union Jac

Catalog: --

Year: 1970

Country/State: Louisville, Kentucky

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5087

Price: $400.00



Wow !!!  Here's an obscurity that actually lives up to and even exceeds the hype that surrounds it.


While attending high school in Louisville, Kentucky drummer Jim Guest formed The Oxfords.  Over the next year personality clashes saw the original lineup fracture with the rest of the band walking off to form The Rugbys (yes I have a copy of their album for sale as well).  Guest subsequently recruited members of fellow high school band The Spectres as replacements.  With a line-up featuring Guest, second drummer Glenn Howerton, rhythm guitarist Danny Marshall, singer/multi-instrumentalist Jay Petach, singer Bill Tullis and bassist Bill Turner the band became a staple on the dance and local club scene.


Following a string of personnel changes in 1966 the band made their recording debut with a 1966 cover of Burt Bacharach's 'Always There to Remind Me' b/w 'Time and Place' (Our Bag catalog number 103).  While the independently released  single did little commercially it attracted the attention of a mentor in the form of producer/writer Buzz Cason.  Cason helped the band record a couple of demos and was instrumental in getting the Bell Records affiliated Mala label to reissue their debut nationally (Mala catalog number 550).  The single again did little, but the follow-up 'Sunflower Girl' b/w 'Chicago Woman' (Mala catalog number 563) saw them gain some exposure, including notice on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. 


By 1968 Petach had become band front man as well as serving as the only remaining original member. He promptly fired the rest of the group, subsequently recruiting a brand new line up consisting of bassist Dill Asher, singer/guitarist Jill DeMarco, and drummer Donnie Hale.  With the new band in place, Petach and company went into the studio to record an album.  The recording sessions stretched on for over a year during which time bassist Asher was replaced by Larry Holt and drummer Hale was replaced by Paul Hoerni.  



Finally completed and released on their own Union Jac label, 1970's "Flying Up Through the Sky" served as an amazing time piece.  Co-produced by Petach, long time friend Keith Spring (who also arranged the album), Ray Allen and Gene Snyder, the results managed to blend the best ingredients of 1960s pop music with lite-psych and even occasional jazzy touches.  Simply brimming with killer melodies, amazing group harmonies ('Lighter Than Air'), nifty arrangement, and adventuresome detours (check out their musical adaptation of E.E. Cummings' 'Two Poems'), these guys recalled a more focused version of The Free Design (check out the buoyant title track), or perhaps the band the The Association always wanted to be ('Come On 'Round').  Sporting a pair of gifted vocalists certainly didn't hurt their efforts.  While Petach had a knack for handling the group's more commercial numbers ('(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me'), to my ears the real star was DeMarco.  She simply had a awesome voice that was capable of handling commercial stuff and much tougher faire like the bruising wah-wah guitar propelled blues-rocker 'Young Girl's Lament'.  Can you imagine Grace Slick having the guts to handle a song like the psychedelic kalimba propelled 'Sung At Harvest Time'?   Elsewhere the band released 'My World' b/w 'Sung At Harvest Time' (Union Jac catalog number 1) as an instantly obscure 45.  One of my favorite recent discoveries ... had it been released a couple of years earlier and enjoyed major label support this could've been a massive hit !!!


Flying Up Through the Sky" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) My World   (Jay Petach - Jill DeMarco) - 3:18

2.) Lighter Than Air  (Jay Petach - Jill DeMarco) - 2:50

3.) Sung At Harvest Time (Quechua Indian Song) - 3:47

4.) Two Poems   (E.E. Cummings - Keith Spring) - 4:37

5.) Flying Up Through the Sky  (Jay Petach - Jill DeMarco) - 3:00


(side 2)
1.) (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me   (Hal David - Burt Bacharach) - 2:58

2.) Come On 'Round   (Jay Petach - Jill DeMarco) - 5:00

3.) Young Girl's Lament   (Traditional) - 2:38

4.) Trix Rabbit   (Jay Petach) - 3:10

5.) Goodnight   (traditional) - 1:46


One final single non-LP single 'Come On Back To the Beer' b/w 'You Own Way' (Paula catalog number 331) and their formal recording career was over.   With an ever changing group of personnel the band struggled on for two more years during which time they toured supporting Petach's rock opera 'Grease' (not to be confused with the famous version).