Band members Related acts
- Tom Bryant -- lead guitar (replaced Bob Rominger) (1969)
- Dennis Carriasco -- drums, percussion (1966-69)
- Jim McPherson (RIP) -- vocals, bass, keyboards
- Bob Rominger -- lead guitar (1966-68)
- Copperhead (Jim McPherson)
- Jim McPherson
- The Frank Navrino Band (Jim McPherson)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Crazy Horse Road
Country/State: San Jose, California
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: promo copy - 'free' drilled into top right corner; minor ring wear
GEMM catalog ID: 4286
I'll readily admit this one attracted my attention at a yard sale for it's extremely distasteful cover photo - all three band members are shown hanging by their necks from a large tree branch. It's pretty stunning now - imagine the impact when released in 1969.
Guitarist Dennis Carriasco, singer/bassist Jim McPherson and drummer Bob Rominger first came together in the mid-1960s. As The Stained Glass the trio started out as a covers band, but gradually began incorporating original material into their live act. They also began to attract a cult following in their native San Jose, California, eventually capturing the attention of RCA Victor which signed them to a contract within a matter of months.
"Crazy Horse Road" back cover photo
Over the next two years the trio released a series of four singles:
- 1966's 'If I Needed Someone' b/w 'How Do You Expect Me' (RCA catalog number 47-8889)
- 1966's 'My Buddy Sin' b/w 'Vanity Fair' (RCA catalog number 47-8952)
- 1967's 'We Got a Long Way To Go' b/w 'Cordouroy Joe' (RCA catalog number 47-9166)
- 1967's 'A Scene In Between' b/w 'Mediocre Me' (RCA catalog number 47-9354)
Unhappy with the group's inability to score a national hit RCA promptly dropped them from it's recording roster. Adding to their problems, guitarist Rombinger subsequently quit. He was quickly replaced by Tom Bryant.
Things immediately improved for the revamped line-up. Capitol Records signed them, releasing a 1968 single 'Lady In Lace' b/w 'Soap and Turkey' (Capitol catalog number 2178). While the 45 did little commercially, Capitol subsequently agreed to finance a follow-on album.
Produced by John Gross and Max Hoch, 1968's "Crazy Horse Roads" is absolutely wonderful. Largely written by McPherson, at least to my ears, material such as 'Sing Your Song', 'Finger Painting' and 'Soap and Turkey' offers up a near perfect blend of instantly memorable melodies with great group harmonies and a wicked mix of blazing fuzz guitars and psych touches. The material's highly commercial, but with more than enough muscle to appeal to folks who shun top-40 with a passion. The heavily orchestrated 'Twiddle My Thumbs' and ' 'Nightcap' were among the few missteps. The two songs were certainly pretty, but McPherson's atypical quivering falsetto delivery makes them sound like Bee Gees outtake (though both could've been hits had the latter released them). Personal favorites - the blazing fuzz rocker 'Light Down Below' and the disconcerting last track 'Doomsday'. Elsewhere Capitol tapped the rocker 'Fahrenheit' b/w 'Twiddle My Thumbs' as a single (Capitol catalog number 2372). Well worth the investment if you can find a copy and the LP's rapidly gaining a following in collecting circles.
"Crazy Horse Road" track listing:
1.) Sing Your Song (Jim McPherson) - 2:05
2.) Finger Painting (Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger) - 2:11
3.) Soap and Turkey (Jim McPherson) - 2:39
4.) Twiddle My Thumbs (Jim McPherson) - 2:40
(Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger - Dennis Carriacsco) - 3:43
1.) Nightcap (Jim McPherson) - 2:55
2.) Horse On Me (Jim McPherson) - 2:18
3.) Two Make One (Jim McPherson) - 3:10
4.) Light Down Below (Jim McPherson) - 3:22
5.) Piggy Back Ride and the Camel (Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger - Dennis Carriacsco)- 2:10
6.) Doomsday (Jim McPherson) - 4:23
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Country/State: San Jose, California
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: minor ring and edge wear
GEMM catalog ID: 5347
The band's debut isn't really rare, though you don't stumble across copies everyday. In contrast 1970's "Aurora" is a truly hard to find. Good luck finding an original copy. Produced by Voyle Gilmore (better known for his work with MOR acts like Frank Sinatra), the album also marked a change in the personnel line up - original lead guitarist Bob Rominger replaced by Tom Bryant. Like the debut, bassist Jim McPherson was credited with penning the bulk of the material (the lone exception being an okay cover of Lincoln Chase's 'Jim Dandy'). Musically the album wasn't all that different from the debut - perhaps a little more diverse, but equally enjoyable. Highlights included the mid-tempo country-rocker 'Gettin' On's Gettin' Rough' (sporting some great harmony vocals), 'Kibitzer' and a pair of tight, Cream-styled rockers 'Daddy's Claim' and 'Sweetest Thing' (check out Bryant's tasty slide solos on both tracks) . It certainly wasn't perfect. 'Common Thief' was a plodding mid tempo number with some horrible falsetto harmonies and 'Inca Treasure' sounded like a lost post-Beatles John Lennon solo demo. Just a little too unfocused to be considered a must own, though the LP should probably get an extra half star for sounding so good for a trio.
Released as a single 'Gettin' On's Gettin' Rough' b/w 'The Necromance (Capitol catalog number 2521) quickly disappeared. Like the debut, their second LP did little commercially; Capitol dropping them from its recording roster. The three briefly continued on under the name The Christian Rapid Group, opening for a variety of nationally known touring bands, ultimately calling it quits in 1971.
"Aurora" track listing:
1.) Gettin' On's Gettin' Rough (Jim McPherson) - 2:5
2.) Jim Dandy (Lincoln Chase) - 3:14
3.) Common Thief (Jim McPherson) - 5:20
4.) Kibitzer (Jim McPherson) - 5:00
1.) Inca Treasure (Jim McPherson) - 3:37
2.) Daddy's Claim (Jim McPherson) - 3:44
3.) Sweetest Thing (Jim McPherson) - 3:26
4.) Mad Lynn Ball (Jim McPherson) - 3:42
5.) Necromancer (Jim McPherson) - 3:42
Some other tidbits:
- Before going out of business the British Radioactive label released a bootleg of the LP (Radioactive catalog number RRCD125).
- McPherson supposedly recorded a solo album (never seen a copy of it) and then went on to play with Copperhead and the Frank Navrino Band.
- Bryant apparently remained active in music for awhile, at least briefly playing with Gabor Szabor.
Another one of those acts I'd love to know more about.
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