Throrinshield


Band members               Related acts

- Terry Hand (RIP 2004) -- drums, backing vocals (1967-69)
- Bobby Ray -- bass, backing vocals (1967-69)
- James Smith (aka Jimmy Guitar Smith) -- vocals

  (1967-69)
 

 

- Everpresent Fullness (Terry Hand)
- The Moon (Terry Hand)

- Bobby Ray (solo efforts)
- Rocket Science (Terry Hand)

- Jimmy Guitar Smith (solo efforts)

 


 

Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Thorinshield

Company: Philips

Catalog: PHS 600-251

Year: 1967

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: ring wear; edge and corner wear

Available: 1

Price: $40.00

 

This one drove me crazy for the longest time. Several years ago I found a copy of the album at a yard sale, only to discover the sleeve contained the wrong LP. Aaaghhhhhh !!!  Making this an even stranger story, several years later while on a business trip to California I found a copy of the album sans cover. Yes, three years and 6,000 miles finally produced a match !!!

All that effort and I have to admit I don't know much about this Los Angeles-based trio. Drummer Terry Hand had previously played in a number of surf bands and released a couple of singles as a member of Everpresent Fullness.  Bassist Bobby Ray was a sessions player probably best know for his work with Donovan.  Singer James Smith remains a complete unknown to me.

First a quick warning - the first time I heard this LP it didn't do much for me. Luckily, I was willing to give it a couple of spins, in the process discovering a mid-1960s album with more than its share of pleasures. Produced by Steven Douglas (always wondered if it's the same guy who did the Aerosmith albums), 1967's "
Thorinshield" showcased material entirely penned by Ray and Smith. Musically the set's hard to peg, though if you enjoy the sunshine pop characterized by Curt Boettcher and groups like Sagitarius, it's something you'll want to check out.  Tracks such as 'Wrong My Friend', 'Here Today' and 'Life Is a Dream' offered up a highly commercial mix of folk-rock, radio friendly pop and soft psych influences.  Today I guess you'd label it 'sunshine' pop.  The combination of great harmonies (check out 'Pleasure Time'), coupled with slightly acid tinged atmosphere (nice backwards guitar on 'One Girl'[) and attractive orchestration ('Prelude To a Postlude'), make it quite impressive and when it call comes together like on the song 'Daydreaming' it's simply stunning.  Sure it's hardly the year's most original debut, but it is well worth hearing, particularly since you can still find it relatively cheap.  

"Thorinshield" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Life Is a Dream   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:03
2.) Brave New World   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:21
3.) Wrong My Friend   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:21
4.) Here Today   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:42
5.) Pleasure Time   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:21
6.) The Best of It   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:25

 

(side 2)

1.) Daydreaming   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:48
2.) Light That Love Brings   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 4:14
3.) Prelude To a Postlude   (Bobby Ray - James Smith)
4.) One Girl   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:16
5.) Collage of Attitudes (instrumental)   (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:00

For completists Philips pulled 'The Best of It' b/w 'Life Is a Dream' as a single (Philips catalog number 40492). 

 


One last non-LP single 'Family of Man" b/w 'Lonely Mountain Again' (Philips catalog number 40521) and the trio seem to have called it quits. 

 

Hand briefly reappeared as a member The Moon and several decades later was a member of Rocket Science before dying in 2004.  Ray cut a hard to find solo LP for Johnny Rivers Soul City label.  Smith continues to performer at local L.A. clubs.

So out of the blue I got an email from Terrence Tally.  Turns out that Mr. Tally knows James Smith (aka Jimmy Guitar Smith).  Not only does he know Smith, but a couple of years ago he made a documentary on Smith - "Blue Minded."  Mr. Tally was kind enough to send me a copy of the documentary along with some new music Smith had recorded.  Haven't had a chance to check the documentary out, but the CD offered up a mix of okay niteclub jazz and more entertaining blues-influenced numbers.  As Mr. Tally mentioned, '
his current music is nothing like the 60's sound of Thorinshield, but he certainly has a gift, but one that will probably go unrecognized."  Listening to the CD, Smith's voice is a little deeper (though quite pleasant), while his guitar remains ever tasteful.  I'd certainly pay to see him in a small club.

 

Thanks to Terrence Tally

July 2007

 

 


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