Band members Related acts
- John Beatty -- drums
- Joe Dolce -- vocals, guitar, harmonica (1967-69)
- John Edwards -- vocals, guitar (1967-69)
- Gary Gans -- (1967-69)
- Malcolm McKinney -- lead guitar (1967-69)
- Todd McKinney -- (1967-69)
- Jonathan Edwards (solo efforts)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Please Tell a Friend
Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
GEMM catalog ID: 4886
Remember your elementary teachers telling you 'never judge a book by its cover'? Well forget what it is one of rock's uglier covers (apologies to John Edwards), and you're in for a major treat.
Remember a guy by the name of Jonathan Edwards who had a hit back in 1971 with 'Sunshine'? If you're actually reading this stuff there's probably a pretty good chance that you do. Well, this is Edward's pre-solo career band. I've owned a couple of Edwards solo albums for years (they're fairly easy to locate in Northern Virginia since he lived in this area for quite some time), but never made the connection between the two entities. Anyhow, here's a little blurb I lifted off of Edward's website (the URL is listed below): "I started getting electric about the time Dylan did, doing electric folk music. I joined bands by saying 'Can I be in your band?', and they'd ask, 'What do you play?', and I'd say 'What do you need?' I'm still that way. I still love to play different instruments. It helps me understand production techniques and performance capabilities". Instead of graduating from college, he decided to give music a shot. He sold the car that his father was lending him, bought a van for his band, and headed for the music scene in Boston. The band soon found work, playing "6-40" jobs--six 40-minute sets per night--all over New England. They played cover tunes as well as their own country blues originals under various names, including the Headstone Circus, St. James Doorknob, and the Finite Minds, and they made an album for Metromedia Records as Sugar Creek."
A little more information on the group. In 1965 Edwards was studying art at Ohio University when he met fellow student/guitarist Malcolm McKinney. The pair quickly decided to form a band recruiting McKinney's brother Todd. As St. James Doorknob the group became quite popular playing dances, parties and clubs around Athens, Ohio. At the same time fellow students Joe Dolce and Gary Gans were playing in The Finite Minds. When the Finite Minds lost their lead singer, Dolce and Gans were invited to join St. James Doorknob, which quickly mutated into The Infinite Doorknob and then The Headstone Circus. In June 1967 the band decided to take a shot at the big time. With the rest of America decamping for San Francisco, Edwards sold the car his father had lent him for school, bought a breaktruck/van and headed for Boston. The band began touring throughout New York and New England, writing material at a farm owned by McKinney's parents.
By the time the Sugar Creek finished recording their sole 1969 album Dolce had quit (though he's represented by two of the standout selections), leaving a line-up featured Edwards, Gary Gans, and brothers Malcolm and Todd McKinney. Recorded in New York City with Peter Casperson producing, "Please Tell a Friend" will come as a major shock to anyone familiar with Edwards' sensitive singer/songwriter solo career. With Edwards and Malcolm McKinney responsible for the majority of the ten tracks, the album featured a mixture of driving blues-rock ('Old House' and the feedback propelled 'Where Do You Find The Answer') and excellent psych outings ('A Million Years'). Anyone familiar with Edwards solo career will find that his voice sounded surprisingly impressive belting out tougher material, though numbers such as 'Who Do You Think You Are', 'Lady Linda' and the Gospel-influenced 'Heavenly Road' wouldn't have been out of place on one of his early-1970s solo albums. Personal favorites include the band's psych efforts including 'Memory Tree' and 'Night Flash'. Killer tunes. Blessed with excellent sound quality, this one sounds great on an upscale stereo system. (By the way, Joe Dolce is the same guy of 'Shaddup You Face' fame.)
Tell a Friend" track listing:
1.) A Million Years (John Edwards - Joe Dolce) - 2:31
2.) Old House (Joe Dolce) - 2:36
The band apparently continued to tour following the album's release. Back to Edwards' website for a description of the end: "After several years, Jonathan began to tire of the 6-40s and grew fonder of the sound of an acoustic guitar. "I just one night said, 'Hey fellas, this isn't sounding as good as it could, and I'd like us to sound more intimate'. I liked the sound of bronze strings on rosewood better than steel strings on magnets, and so I walked out of that club in Vermont, rented myself a van and PA system, and started traveling around the colleges in New England by myself, without gigs, just setting up in the lobbies of dormitories on a Saturday."
Edward's website is located at:
Malcolm McKinney performed solo and with his brother Todd in the New England area during the 1970s and worked in Nashville with a small publishing company in the early 1980s. He moved to Southeast Florida in the mid-1980s. He has a small website at:
Gans became a fundamentalist and dropped out of music.
Still active in music and perhaps the most successful of the group, Dolce lives and works in Australia. He was also kind enough to send me a little more information on the band:
Thanks for writing. I can
only reply briefly as I am in the middle of recording.
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