Spiffys, The

Band members               Related acts

- Steve Fagan -- vocals, trumpet (1967)
- Mike Imeson -- bass (1967-68)
- Mike May -- vocals, keyboards (1967-68)
- John Milner -- vocals, drums (1967-68)
- Larry O'Connell -- bass (1967-68)
- Tom O'Conner -- vocals (1967)
- Dick Otto -- drums (1967)
- Rich Petrino -- vocals, sax, percussion (1967-68)
- Larry Purdy -- vocals, guitar (1967-68)



- none known



Genre: garage

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Spiffys

Company: none

Catalog: none

Year: 1967

Country/State: Annapolis, Maryland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor tear on back cover

Available: 2

GEMM catalog ID: 4177

Price: $200.00

Cost: $97.00


Given I'm a civilian employee of the Department of the Navy, it's probably easy to understand why this outfit caught my ear ...  

During the mid-'60s virtually every school in America had it's own band scene. Among those schools - the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

Formed by Annapolis plebes, The Spiffys actually started playing Academy dances and local colleges in 1958, though with an ever-changing lineup, it took them almost a decade to actually record. 

Having convinced the Academy to finance an album as a publicity venture, 1967's "The Spiffys" was reportedly recorded in a single six hour session at the U.S. Navy's Photographic Center in Washington D.C. As you'd expect from what amounted to a frat band, musically the debut consisted mostly of enthusiastic, if largely unoriginal popular covers. Backed by horns, material such as "Gloria", "Knock on Wood" and "Satisfaction" came off as decent mid-'60s beach music.  Elsewhere, the only original number, Fagan and Purdy's upbeat soul stomper "No Pain" was actually one of the set's highlights. Perhaps unintentional, "Baby, Let's Wait" followed by "Hold On, I'm Coming" made for a hysterically mixed up message.  Sure, the band's reach occasionally outstripped their talents (check out their jarring cover of Johnny Rivers' "Poor Side of Town"), and nothing here will drastically change your life, but down a couple of beers the results sound surprisingly impressive. Only available through the Academy's midshipmen store, 1,500 copies were pressed, retailing for $1.00 a pop. Today an original copy will set up back by at least 100 times the original price. (Curiously, the liner notes list nine members, while the group photo shows eight folks. Who's missing?)

"The Spiffys" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Baby I Need Your Lovin'   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 
2.) Gloria   (Van Morrison) - 
3.) The You Can Tell Me Good-Bye   (J.D. Loudermilk) - 
4.) Knock on Wood   (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper) - 
5.) Walk Away, Renee   (Michael Brown - Calili - Sansone) - 
6.) Satisfaction   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 


(side 2)
1.) Along Comes May   (Aliver) - 
2.) Midnight Hour   (Wilson Pickett - Steve Cropper) - 
3.) No Pain   (Steve Fagan - Larry Purdy) - 
4.) Baby, Let's Wait  (Sawyer - Burton) - 

5.) Hold On, I'm Coming   (David Porter - Sam Hayes) -
6.) Poor Side of Time   (Lou Alder - Johnny Rivers) - 



Genre: garage

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Spiffys 68

Company: no label

Catalog: no catalog

Year: 1968

Country/State: Annapolis, Maryland

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor edge and corner  wear

Available: 2

GEMM Catalog ID: 5154

Price: $300.00



With Steve Fagan and Tom O'Conner graduating and going on active duty (Dick Otto was reportedly dismissed from the school, leaving John Milner to take over drums), the band returned to the studio in 1968. Unlike the debut, the band's cleverly-titled follow-up "Spiffy's '68" was recorded over the span of a single 12 hour session at Baltimore's Recordings Incorporated. Reflecting changing popular musical tastes, the album effectively dropped the band's earlier beach music repertoire. In its place the album featured a mixture of popular soul and more rock oriented covers.  While nothing spectacular, tracks such as The Temptations' 'I'm Losing You' and Wilson Pickett's 'Ninety-Nine and a Half' weren't half bad.  Exemplified by tracks such as their cover of The Classics IV 'Spooky', Procol Harum's 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' (a suitable selection given its nautical theme), and a cool, jazzy reading of The Doors' 'Light My Fire', the rock material was equally likeable. As before, the lone original, Purdy's slightly psychedelic, organ-propelled 'Dreams' was easily the standout effort. This time around 2,500 copies were pressed. Again only available through the Academy's store for a couple of bucks a pop, the LP's subsequently become a sought after collectable.

"Spiffy's '68" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Testify   (Taylor - Clinton) - 

2.) Susan   (Holvay - Beisher - Guercio)

3.) Just Ask the Lonely   (Stevenson - Hunter) - 

4.) I'm Losing You   (Norman Whitfield - Brian Holland - Grant) - 

5.) Light My Fire   (The Doors) - 


(side 2)

1.) Dreams   (Larry Purdy) - 

2.) Kind of a Drag   (Holvay) - 

3.) Spooky   (Sharpe - Middlebrooks - Buddie Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 

4.) Whiter Shade of Pale   (Gary Brooker - Keith Reid) - 

5.) Ninety-Nine and a Half   (Wilson Pickett - Steve Cropper - Eddie Floyd) - 

6.) The Letter   (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 

With the graduation of Milner, Petrino and Purdy, The Spiffys subsequently called it quits.


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