Rush, Merrilee (and the Turnabouts)

Band members               Related acts

- Barney Armstrong - vocals
- Bill Barnard - guitar
- Bob Bennett - drums
- Randy Bennett - bass
- Bill Bishop - bass
- Jim Blade - bass
- Frank Butorac  - guitar
- Mike Cox (RIP 1995) - bass
- Dave Erickson - drums
- Mike Garland - drums
- Richard Gerber - guitar
- Terry Gregg - bass (1965-)
- Randy "Tag" Henning - bass
- Mark Hibbert - bass
- Danny Hoefer  - guitar
- Brian Knowles - guitar
- Joel Johnson - keyboards
- Vern Kjellberg (aka Joey Newman) - guitar (1965-)
- Terry Lauber - guitar
- Ed Leckenby - drums
- Bill McCarthy - keyboards, vocals
- Tim McFall - drums, vocals
- John Morris - guitar, vocals
- Steve Moshier - drums
- Karl Peters (RIP 2003) - drums (1965-)
- Mike Robbins - keyboards (1965-)
- Merrilee Rush - keyboards, Vocals (1965-74)
- Neil Rush - saxophone (1965-)
- Peter Sach - drums (1965-)
- Rob Straub - drums
- Karl Wilson - guitar



- The Liberty Party (Vern Kjellberg)

- Tiny Tony & the Statics (Merillee Rush, Neil Rush)

- The Trolley (Pete Sack)





Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Angel of the Morning

Company: Bell

Catalog: 6020

Year: 1968

Country/State: Seattle, Washington

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4657

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00


Perhaps because 'Angel of the Morning' is one of those oldies station favorites, I have to admit that I'm as surprised as anyone that the parent album is so good.  Over the years I've seen dozens of copies of the LP, but never bothered to buy a copy (until I found this one for 50 cents at a yard sale.  My mistake.


Born and raised in Seattle, Washington Merrilee Rush's musical background was as a classically trained pianist.  She was apparently bitten by the rock and roll bug early.  As a 13 year old she was a member of the Aztecs, followed by stints in Merrilee & Her Men and Tiny Tony & the Statics (Tony was a 300 pound R&B singer).  In 1965 she decided to form her own band - Merrille Rush and the Turnabouts.  In addition to husband Neil on sax, the original line up consisted of bassist Tony Gregg, former The Liberty Party guitarist Vern Kjellberg, drummer Karl Peters and ex-The Trolley drummer Peter Sac 


A 1967 spot opening for Paul Revere and the Raiders on several southern dates put the group into contact with songwriter/producer Chips Moman who was working with The Raiders on a forthcoming album.  Moman took a liking to Rush's voice inviting her record a demo in Memphis. Released as a single 'Angel of the Morning' b/w 'Reap What You Sow' (Bell catalog number 705) promptly went top-10.   As was standard marketing procedure, the single's unexpected success saw Bell rush the band into the studio to cut a supporting album. 


1968's cleverly "Angel of the Morning" was credited to Rush and the Turnabouts, but with co-producers Moman and Tommy Cogbill effectively sidelining The Turnabouts in favor of local sessions players, for all intents and purposes it was a Rush solo effort (see any band members on the cover sleeve?).  Musically the set showcases Rush's attractive voice on what's largely a pop-oriented collection.  With the exception of a couple of throwaway efforts (including two from mentor Mark Lindsay), most of pop material's pretty good.  Sure, the title track is annoying after you've heard it five hundred times, but 'It's Worth It All' and 'Working Girl' (with a non-too-subtle sexual harassment commentary) are worth hearing.  That makes you wonder why Bell tapped 'That Kind of  Woman' b/w 'Sunshine & Roses (Bell catalog 738) as a follow-up single.  That said, Rush really shines on harder-edged material like 'Sandcastles', 'Billy Sunshine' (which even sports a modest psych feel) and an early cover of Joe South's 'Hush'.  Bottom line is this is one of the more pleasant surprises I've heard this year.     


"Angel of the Water" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It's Worth It All   (Mark James - Wayne Jackson) - 2:35

2.) Sandcastles   (Chips Moman - Spooner Oldham - Dan Penn) - 2:45

3,) Billy Sunshine   (Chip Taylor - Al Gorgoni) - 3:07

4.) Handy   (Dan Penn - D. Carter - Spooner Oldham) - 2:14

5.) San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)   (John Phillips) - 2:51

6.) Angel of the Morning   (Chip Taylor) - 2:58


(side 2)
1.) That Kind of Woman  (Donna Weiss - Mary Unobsky) - 2:40

2.) Working Girl   (Chip Taylor) - 3:12

3.) Observation from Flight 286 (in 3/4 Time)  (Mark Lindsay) - 2:22

4.) Hush   (Joe South) - 2:03

5.) Do Unto Others   (Mark Lindsay) - 2:30





Back to Bad Cat homepage/search