The Rustix


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1966-67)

- Bobby Bladino - drums, percussion

- Chuck Brucato -- vocals

- Kit Nelson -- bass, backing vocals

- Bob D'Andrea (RIP 1993) -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Albin Galich (RIP 2013) -- vocals

- Vince Strenk -- keyboards, accordion

 

  line up 2 (1967-68)

- Chuck Brucato -- vocals

NEW - David Colon Jr. -- drums, percussion (replaced Bobby

  Bladino)

- Bob D'Andrea (RIP 1993) -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Albin Galich (RIP 2013) -- vocals

NEW - Bob Sohner -- bass (replaced Kit Nelson)

- Vince Strenk -- keyboards, accordion

 

  line up 3 (1968-69)

- Chuck Brucato -- vocals

NEW- Ron Collins -- bass, backing vocals (replaced 

 Bob Sohner)

NEW - David Colon Jr. -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Bobby Bladino)

- Bob D'Andrea (RIP 1993) -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Albin Galich (RIP 2013) -- vocals

- Vince Strenk -- keyboards, accordion

 

  supporting musicians:

- Ted Lucas -- guitar

- R. Dean Taylor -- keyboards

 

  line up 4 (1969-72)

- Chuck Brucato -- vocals

NEW - George Cochini -- lead guitar (replaced Bob D'Andrea)

- Ron Collins -- bass, backing vocals (replaced  Bob Sohner)

- David Colon Jr. -- drums, percussion (replaced  Bobby Bladino)

- Albin Galich (RIP 2013) -- vocals

- Vince Strenk -- keyboards, accordion

 

 

 

-  Chuck Brucato and Al Galich

The Invictas (David Colon Jr.)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Bedlam

Company: Rare Earth

Catalog: RS 508
Year:
 1969

Country/State: Rochester, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gimmick sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1167

Price: $25.00

 

 

Outside of their native Rochester, New York it's unlikely many folks will remember The Rustix.  That's unfortunate since they were a rather talented blue-eyed soul outfit who also happen to have been one of the first rock bands signed by Motown (well, signed by Motown's short-lived, rock-oriented Rare Earth subsidiary).

 

Formed in 1967, The Rustix showcased the talents of drummer Bobby Bladino (replaced by former Invictas drummer David Colon Jr.), singer Chuck Brucato,, lead guitarist Bob D'Andrea, singer Albin Galich, bassist Kit Nelson, and keyboardist Vince Strenk, the group became quite popular throughout New York state, eventually scoring a one-shot contract with Chess' Cadet subsidiary resulting in the release of a cover of Eddie Holland's 'Leaving Here' as their debut single:

 

   

 

-1968's 'Leaving Here' b/w 'When I Get Home' (Cadet catalog number 5628)

 

While the single did little commercially outside of upper New York, manager/Rochester DJ Ferndinand Jay Smith III was responsible for getting the band signed by Motown's newly formed Rare Earth subsidiary.  Apparently signed as part of the label's attempt to dip it's corporate toe in rock and roll, the band was teamed with Motown artist R. Dean Taylor in the producers role.  The group's 1969's debut "Bedlam" offered up a mixture of popular covers (Marvin Gaye, Traffic) and band originals - the latter largely penned by singer Brucato.  From a couple of online items I've read, the band were apparently quite an impressive live act, but judging by the debut album, Motown was seemingly more interested in turning these guys into a second tier blue-eyed soul entity.   Listening to tracks like 'I Can't Make It Without You', 'Can't You Hear the Music Play' and 'Lady In My Dreams' it wasn't too hard to imagine a sub-par version of the Young Rascals.  Ironically, by 1969  Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul was no longer in vogue with the buying public.  Showcasing two lead singers, Brucato and Galich were both good, , though neither had a truly awe-inspiring voice and when they harmonized, their voices seldom blended very well.   Galich actually reminding me a bit of Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron - if you doubt the comparison check out his performance on 'Wednesday's Child'.  That song also demonstrated how good these guys could have been had they been given a little more flexibility and control over their careers.

 

"Bedlam" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Feeling Alright   (Dave Mason) - 3:50

Hum, they were smart enough to not mess around too much with the song's basic melody and structure, but the horns and pseudo-funky edge really didn't add much to the song.   rating: ** stars

2.) Guess This Is Goodbye   (Chuck Brucato) - 3:00

Literally buried in strings and horns, 'Guess This Is Goodbye' sounded like a bad Jimmy Webb tune.  Horrible MOR dreck.   rating: ** stars

3.) I Heard It Through the Grapevine   (Barrett Strong - Norman Whitfield) - 6:16

The clunky audience sounds were apparently intended to showcase what an impressive live act these guys were.   Needless to say, the results were about as realistic as a comic book plotline.   As to why they'd want to cover a Motown classic ...  well, remember they were signed to a Motown affiliated label which meant lots of royalties for covering the tune.  Was it any good ?   Certainly wasn't going to make you forget the Marvin Gaye original.  In fact I can think of at least a half dozens versions better than this one.  rating: ** stars

4.) I Can't Make It Without You   (D. Dean - D. Lussier) - 2:28

Far from a great tune, but compared to most of the first side, 'I Can't Make It Without You' wasn't a bad slice of top-40 pop.   rating: *** stars

5.) Can't You Hear the Music Play   (Chuck Brucato) - 3:05

Imagine a subpar Young Rascals vibe and you'd get a feel for what the blue-eyed soul-styled 'I Can't Make It Without You'.   The bones of a good tune were buried in here somewhere, but the song seemed to bounce across at least a couple of different ideas, in the process losing whatever focus it had.  Rare Earth tapped it as the US single.   YouTube has an un-credited  television performance showing the band lip synching the tune.  Funny to see Vince Strenk playing a standup piano while the soundtrack reflects an organ.  Love seeing the band do the little nod to the audience at the end of the song.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZWocBXCACw   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Lady In My Dreams   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:57

Judging by the heavy Motown-styled orchestration, you would have thought the ballad 'Lady of My Dreams' was at least considered as the breakout single.  The song wasn't half bad, but without a distinctive lead singer, it simply didn't make a lasting impression.   rating: *** stars

2.) Country   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:39

'Country' featured a mildly entertaining summer-of-love flavor, though the heavy orchestration once again threatened to drown the band out.  rating: ** stars

3.) Wednesday's Child   (Al Galich) - 3:05

Galich's sole writing contribution to the album was also the set's hardest rocking tune.  To my ears  this one has always sounded a bit like a Three Dog Night tune with Galich's vocal recalling Chuck Negron.  Easily one of the album highlights and probably the tune that should have been tapped as a single.  rating: **** stars

4.) Free Again   (Chuck Brucato) - 5:49

Geez, 'Free Again' sounded like a Jacques Brel song that Scott Walker might have recorded on one his solo albums  Very supper club MOR-ish and quite dreadful.  rating: * stars

5.) That's What Poppa Told Me   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:46

So, 'That's What Poppa Told Me' was probably the album's best stab at Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul.   A nice pounding melody with one of those hopelessly optimistic '60s lyrics made this one a guilty pleasure.  rating: **** stars

 

In the States the single was:

 

- 1969's 'Can't You Hear the Music Play' b/w 'I Guess This Is Goodbye' (Rare Earth catalog number )

 

Outside of the US the single was:

 

- 1969's 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' b/w 'I Guess This Is Goodbye" (Rare Earth catalog number R-5011)

 

Overall Rare Earth did little to promote the album which peaked at # 200 in the States.

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Come On People

Company: Rare Earth

Catalog: RS 513
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Rochester, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: small cut out notch on edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6086

Price: $15.00

 

Like the band's debut album, fellow Motown artist R. Dean Taylor produced their sophomore release - 1970's "Come On People".  This time out the creative spotlight was clearly focused on the band with Brucato responsible for penning seven of the ten tracks.  That said, musically the album featured a modest change in direction compared to their debut.  Gone was most of the blue-eyed soul that characterized the debut.  In its place the band could be heard pursuing a more blues-rock oriented sound.  Elsewhere exemplified by the title track and 'Hey Mose', the set had a distinctive activist flavor (course what else would you have expected from an early-1970s band ...).   Curiously, while Bobby Brucato and Albin Galich were both talented singers, I can't say I particularly enjoyed their vocal interplay.  On tracks like 'Mississippi Woman'  their voices seemed to clash; it was almost as if they brought out the worst aspects in each other's performances. 

 

"Come On People" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Mississippi Woman   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:51

Showcasing Brucato and Galich on twin lead vocals, 'Mississippi Woman' was a decent bluesy-rocker that would have been even better if the hook had been a bit stronger.   For what it's worth, the song faded out somewhat abruptly.   rating: ** stars

2.) Do Right Woman - Do Right Man   (Dan Penn - Chips Moman) - 5:21

'Do Right Woman - Do Right Man' opened up with some tasty Bob D'Andrea fuzz guitar and then morphed into a pleasant, but forgettable blues flavored cover of the Aretha Franklin classic tune.   rating: ** stars

3.) Hey Mose   (Chuck Brucato) - 4:52

'Hey Mose' was a social commentary number exhibiting the same level of subtlety as a train wreck.  With Brucato and Galich literally yelling out the lyrics, this one actually reminded me of something out of The Three Dog Night catalog.  Colon's pounding tribal drums and D'Andrea's psych-tinged fuzz guitar provided the song's highlights.   rating: ** stars

4.) Dress Colored Lavender Blue   (Chuck Brucato) - 4:22

Complete with accordion, 'Dress Colored Lavender Blue' was an atypical acoustic ballad.  Complete with angelic backing choir, this one was quite strange in a bad, MOR kind of way.  Hum, easy-listening meets bad Irish bar band ...   rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Come On People   (Chuck Brucato) - 3:14

Much like Norman Whitfield's work with The Temptations, 'Come On People' featured a mixture of psychedelic moves and social statement.  Easy to see why Rare Earth tapped this one as a single.    rating: *** stars

2.) Billie's Gone   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:57

'Billie's Gone' took the Norman Whitfield styled psych sound and added a country tinge to the mix ...  Doesn't sound like it would be very good and while I can't explain it, this was one of the album's standout performances.  Great 

melody and it was one of the few tracks where Brucato and Galich's vocals actually meshed.   rating: **** stars

3.) Hard To Handle   (Otis Redding - A. Isbell - A. Jones) - 5:00

Opening up with  flamenco guitar followed by some of the year's oddest vamping over a Santana-ish Latin beat, the result was one of the strangest Otis Redding covers you've ever heard.  Once again, I'm not sure how they made it work, but their cover of  'Hard To Handle' was goofy enough to hit my turntable time after time.   rating: *** stars

4.) Maple Shade Country Day   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:35

'Maple Shade Country Day' was a throwaway 'good time' ramble.   rating: * star

5.) Cry Another Day Away   (Chuck Brucato) - 2:59

'Cry Another Day Away' found the band falling victim to top-40 MOR ...  very commercial in a Dennis Yost / Tom Jones fashion.  Curiously, Brucato's vocal was extremely rough and barely in tune.   rating: ** stars

6.) Finale: Happy Trails  (Dale Evans) - 0:47

Closing with a snippet of Dale Evans' 'Happy Trails' (complete with flushing toilet sound effect), was probably one of those concepts that sounded better on paper than the end product.  Waste of vinyl ...   rating: * star

 

As mentioned above, the album also spun off a single in the form of:

 

 

- 1970's 'Come On People' b/w 'Free Again (Non C'est Rien)' (Rare Earth catalog number R 5014)

 

The band toured extensively in support of the album, but it did little commercially.  Over the next year they released a pair of non-LP singles for Rare Earth:

 

- 1971's 'My Piece Of Heaven' b/w 'Down Down' (Rare Earth catalog number R 5034F)

- 1971's 'We All End Up in Boxes' b/w 'Down Down' (Rare Earth catalog number R 5037F)

 

The band persevered on through 1972 even recording a third album that was promptly shelved.  They subsequently called it quits, but reformed in 1979 for what was a one-shot reunion concert.

 

Brucato turned his attention to advertising and education, teaching at Nazareth College.  He has a MySpace site at: http://www.myspace.com/chuckbrucato

 

Bassist Collins son TW Collins has a small Rustix-related Flickr site at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/twcollins/sets/72057594077213882/comments/

 

I also happened to stumble across some band recollections drummer Colon posted on the web, so with an acknowledgement to him ...

 

 

"The Rustix were a super popular R&B band during the late 1960's in the western NY area particularly in Rochester. 


My experience with the band began in early 1967.  I had been drumming for a band named The Invictas.  I was becoming bored with the style of music played by The Invictas and coincidentally a new, up and coming group, The Rustix, had lost their drummer, Bobby Blandino, to the armed forces. The two groups had been playing at the same club known as the Varsity Inn. The Invictas played the night gigs while The Rustix played the Sunday afternoon gigs. Members of The Rustix would stay to listen to our group and one day Chuck Brucato, the leader, came up to me and asked if I'd like to play for the Rustix. I thought about it for a few days and decided to play with the group knowing that The Rustix's R&B sound with good vocals was what was "happening" at the time and "
Bubble Gum Rock" was out.


The Rustix had a rigid practice schedule.  These guys were determined to be successful and instilled in me the desire to improve my drumming and self discipline.


We began playing at small local clubs in Rochester to meager audiences.  In the summer of 1967 I arranged an audition with the owner of The Airport Inn in Lake George, a club I had played at with The
Invictas. There we worked for about $900. for a six night week! The pay was short but our mission was to "get tight" musically.  We played there for the whole summer (1967 & 68) and our name began to spread around New York state. A Rochester businessman, Charles Leone, heard the group during one of those summer nights and offered to manage the band. Later on he brought in Ferdinand J. Smith a Rochester DJ as promotion manager.  We came back to Rochester that fall of 1967 with our "tight" sound and began playing to ever growing crowds all over Rochester. We were drawing the largest crowds at Brighton Bowl on East Ave. The owner offered to build a club just to accommodate the crowds. He called it Club 45. During this period we recorded with various labels including Columbia Records and Chess Cadet Records. Those records never did much but they helped with popularizing the band and also caught the attention of some people at Motown who were developing a subsidiary label for white bands. The label was Rare Earth.  Motown sent a producer, R. Dean Taylor to listen to the group. He became our producer for the Bedlam album. The album sounded good but Motown people had decided to add a symphony orchestra to our original tracks which changed the authenticity of our sound.  Although the album reached the Top 100 Billboard List, we never got the elusive hit we desperately wanted. We than decided to go back to Detroit to record the "Come On People" album but we wanted to produce it ourselves. The album didn't do as well as "Bedlam" but it did capture a more authentic Rustix sound.  The year 1969 was our best year. We went on the road to support our album and opened concerts for bands such as Emerson Lake & Palmer with Procol Harum in Pittsburgh, Jimmy Hendrix Experience, the Four Tops, Rare Earth, Mountain, Vanilla Fudge, Grand Funk Railroad, The Rascals and many others.  

 

By 1971 the stress of being on the road and conflicts within the group created disenchantment between some members.  I decided to return to college and the band continued on with another drummer for another half year or so.  They recorded "We All End Up In Boxes" with another Motown producer but that record was never released to my knowledge. Soon after, the group disbanded. "

 

David Colon Jr.

 

 

 

"Come On, People" b/w "Free Again "The Rustix -Rare Earth 5014

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