Stained Glass


Band members                          Related acts

  line up 1: (1964-66) as The Trolls

- Dennis Carriasco -- drums, percussion

- Roger Hedge -- vocals, guitar

- Jim McPherson (RIP) -- vocals, bass, keyboards 

- Bob Rominger -- lead guitar 

 

  line up 2: (1966-67)

- Dennis Carriasco -- drums, percussion

- Roger Hedge -- vocals, guitar

- Jim McPherson (RIP) -- vocals, bass, keyboards 

- Bob Rominger -- lead guitar 

 

  line up 3: (1967-68) as Stained Glass

- Dennis Carriasco -- drums, percussion

- Jim McPherson (RIP) -- vocals, bass, keyboards 

- Bob Rominger -- lead guitar 

 

  line up 4: (1968-69)

NEW - Tom Bryant -- lead guitar (replaced Bob Rominger) 

- Dennis Carriasco -- drums, percussion

- Jim McPherson (RIP 1985) -- vocals, bass, keyboards

 

 

   

 

 

Copperhead (Jim McPherson) 

- Jim McPherson (solo efforts)

- The Frank Navrino Band (Jim McPherson)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Crazy Horse Road

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST-154

Year: 1969

Country/State: San Jose, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4286

Price: $110.00

Cost: $66.00

 

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 from a large tree branch.  It's a pretty stunning imagine now. Imagine what the impact must have been when it was originally released in 1969.  I'm surprised the cover didn't get the album banned by some retailers.  (Always wondered it Mason Profitt's debut (featuring a similarly themed cover) came out first.)

 

 

 

Guitarists Dennis Carriasco and Roger Hedge, bassist Jim McPherson and drummer Bob Rominger first came together in the mid-1960s.  As The Trolls the quartet started out as a covers band (all four members were capable singers), but gradually began incorporating original material into their live act.  They also began to attract a cult following in their native San Jose, California, releasing a self-financed 45:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- 1966's 'Walking Shoes' b/w 'How Do You Expect To Trust Me' (private press - no catalog number)

 

 

 

 

 

By the time they captured the attention of and signed with RCA Victor, front man Hedge was gone; the victim of dreaded differences in musical direction.  In the meantime, without bothering to get the band's approval, RCA management elected to give the band a new hipper name - "The Stained Glass Window".  The members weren't particularly thrilled with the new  name; even less so when a printing mistake saw their first single released with a credit to "The Stained Glass".

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 'Corduroy 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 Victor promptly dropped them from it's recording roster. 

 

Things immediately improved for the band with Capitol Records signing them, releasing a 1968 single:

 

 'Lady In Lace' b/w 'Soap and Turkey' (Capitol catalog number 2178)

 

With a Vaudevillian flavor that would have Made Paul McCartney smile, the 45 did little commercially, though Capitol management felt supportive enough to finance a follow-on album.  

 

 

 

Produced by John Gross and Max Hoch, 1968's "Crazy Horse Roads" was absolutely wonderful.  Largely written by McPherson, at least to my ears, material such as 'Sing Your Song', 'Nightcap' and 'Soap and Turkey' offered up an enjoyable blend of instantly memorable melodies with great group harmonies and a wicked mix of blazing fuzz guitars and psych touches. The material was 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  throwaway 'Piggy Back Ride and the Camel ' were among the few missteps.  'Twiddle My Thumbs was certainly pretty, but McPherson's atypical quivering falsetto delivery made it sound like Bee Gees outtake (though both could've been hits had the latter released them).  Personal favorites - the single 'Fahrenheit', the blazing fuzz rocker 'Light Down Below' and the disconcerting closer 'Doomsday'.  As prime singer, McPherson had a truly likeable voice, but all three members sang and combined the trio's harmony vocals were consistently enjoyable.  And while the album may have been a little too musically diverse for some listeners, I enjoyed the variety.  By the way, the band's secret sauce came in the form of Rominger's tasteful and concise playing.  Consistently tasteful and understated - check out his work on 'Finger Painting'.  Well worth the investment if you can find a copy.  The LP has rapidly been gaining a following in collecting circles. 

 

"Crazy Horse Road" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sing Your Song   (Jim McPherson) - 2:05   rating: **** stars

One of the standout performances, 'Sing Your Song' underscored their earlier folk-rock influences, but toughened up the sound with with some tasty Rominger lead guitar.  The group harmonies and fuzz guitar gave the song a great Buffalo Springfield-styled sound.

2.) Finger Painting   (Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger) - 2:11   rating: *** stars

A pretty, fragile ballad, 'Finger Painting' didn't even sound like an American band.  With McPherson on lead vocals, his faux-English vocals made the song sound like something The Bee Gees might have released.  The highlight's came from Rominger's jangle guitar (which apparently took 28 cuts to get down).

3.) Soap and Turkey   (Jim McPherson) - 2:39   rating: **** stars

Previously released as the "B" side to their debut Capitol 45, 'Soap and Turkey' has always reminded me of something Mike Nesmith might have crafted for The Monkees.  Kicked along by Rominger's finger-picked jangle guitar, the tune showcased a glistening pop-psych feel and the group's stunning vocals.  Having listened to the song dozens of times, the title remains a total mystery to me.

4.) Twiddle My Thumbs   (Jim McPherson) - 2:40   rating: ** stars

Boasting an elaborate string arrangement (courtesy of Lex de Avzavedo), the stark ballad 'Twiddle My Thumbs' again recalled something out of the Gibb brothers' catalog.  Interestingly McPherson even appropriated the Gibbs' patented vocal vibrato on this one.  The album's least impressive effort.

5.) Fahrenheit   (Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger - Dennis Carriacsco) - 3:43   rating: **** stars

Another track with an interesting and enigmatic title, ''Fahrenheit' showcased stinging Rominger's fuzz guitar while cranking up the album's rock quotient.  The tune also showcased the group's wonderful harmony vocals. Capitol tapped the track as a promotional single but does not seem to have released it as a stock copy:

 

- 1969's 'Fahrenheit' b/w 'Twiddle My Thumbs' as a single (Capitol catalog number P-2372). 

 

(side 2)

1.) Nightcap   (Jim McPherson) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

Another track that sounded more like a British pop-psych (toytown) band  than three guys from Southern California.  Maybe a bit too precious four their own good, but fascinating to my ears.  Imagine early America if they'd been recording in the mid-'60s rather than the early '70s.. 

2.) Horse On Me   (Jim McPherson) - 2:18   rating: **** stars

Personal taste, but I think these guys were at their best when they upped the rock quotient.  This one has always reminded me of something The Buffalo Springfield might have recorded.  Nice.

3.) Two Make One   (Jim McPherson) - 3:10   rating: *** stars

Pretty, country-flavored ballad with some unexpected Stax-styled horns.  

4.) Light Down Below   (Jim McPherson) - 3:22   rating: **** stars

Rominger was the band's secret sauce, his playing consistently tasteful and controlled.  Those characteristics were seldom displayed as well as on the blazing Cream-styled rocker 'Two Makes One.'   His screaming fuzz  guitar simply kicked this one into a different level.

5.) Piggy Back Ride and the Camel    (Jim McPherson - Bob Rominger - Dennis Carriacsco) - 2:10   rating: ** stars

The second band collaboration, 'Piggy Back Ride and the Camel' started off promisingly, but devolved into what was basically a stoned collage of song fragments, spoken word nonsense and other odds and ends.  I'm guessing they needed to extend the album's running time.

6.) Doomsday   (Jim McPherson) - 4:23   rating: **** stars

Awesome rocker and the end of song explosion was pretty cool.

 

 

In 2007 Steven Carr's British Fallout label reissued the album in CD format (Fallout catalog number CDLP 2034).  Speculation on my part, but it seems unlikely the CD was released with the band's approval, reinforced by the fact the bonus material included their four RCA singles and The Trolls' "B" side 'How Do You Expect Me To Trust You'):

 

1.) If You Needed Someone  (George Harrison) - 2:08

2.) How Do You Expect Me To Trust You   (Jim McPherson) - 2:34

3.) My Buddy Sin   (Jim McPherson) - 2:51

4.) Vanity Fair   (Jim McPherson) - 2:57

5.) We Got a Long Way To Go  (Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil) - 2:30

6.) Corduroy Joe   (Jim McPherson) -

7.) A Scene In Between   (Phil Stumpo) - 2:36

8.) Mediocre Me   (Phil Stumpo) - 2:41

9.) Lady In Lace   (Phil Stumpo) - 2:05

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Aurora

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST-242

Year: 1969

Country/State: San Jose, California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5347

Price: SOLD 150.00

 

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:
(side 1)

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

 

(side 2)

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.

 

 

 

I

In 1969, Rominger was replaced by Tom Bryant for musical differences. A second album, Aurora, was released in 1969, which did not sell any better than the first one. Despite positive critical reviews, the singles nor the albums made any commercial impact, and the group disbanded in November 1969.[1]

Roger Hedge is a full-timer in a motorhome, travels around the country, and spends a lot of time in the San Jose area. Jim McPherson, who later co-wrote Jefferson Starship's song "Jane", died on June 24, 1985.[2] Dennis Carrasco lives in the San Jose area, and is still an active musician. Tom Bryant lives on the East Coast. Bob Rominger, after a career flying fighters in the USAF, lives in Newnan, Georgia and is a flight instructor at Delta Air Lines.

Today the group is regarded as one of the most underrated groups of the era, in what was a vibrant musical area of California in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[citation needed]

Alec Palao, a passionate fan of Bay Area music in the 60's and 70's, spent a couple years doggedly obtaining early Trolls demos, unused album tracks from various companies holding the rights to their music, added some raw live tracks, and has put together a CD of the unreleased material for Ace Records. http://acerecords.co.uk/a-scene-in-between-1965-1967 The CD is available in the US December 2013. All other Stained Glass CDs are unauthorized.

References

 

urora, released the following year (1969), is only half a good album finding the band indulging in a guitar based San Fransisco ballroom style. Jim McPherson, the founding member of Stained Glass, went on to form Copperhead with Quicksilver’s John Cippolina. Together they made one expensive (for the time), quality album that was overlooked in it’s day. Oh, and by the way, this album is housed in arguably the greatest cover of the 60’s.

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION