Tongue and Groove
Band members Related acts
- Michael Ferguson (RIP) -- vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Lynne Hughes (RIP) -- vocals (1969)
- Randy Lewis -- lead guitar (1969)
- The Charlatans (Michael Ferguson)
- Stoneground (Lynne Hughes)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Tongue and Groove
Catalog: SRF 67593
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: gatefold sleeve, small drill hole in top left corner
GEMM catalog ID: 5352
As a trio, the group featured the talents of
singer/keyboardist Michael Ferguson, vocalist Lynne Hughes, and lead
guitarist Randy Lewis. Ferguson
had been one of the original members of San Francisco’s The Charlatans.
Hughes started out as a Seattle-based folkie, but by the late 1960s
was a barmaid working at the Virginia City, Nevada Red Dog Saloon where The
Charlatans were working as a house band.
Though not an official a band member, she occasionally accompanied
the band on stage and ended up singing on a couple of their recording
sessions. In the wake of a
fight with their label over the release of a cover of Buffy St.
Marie’s ‘Codine’ as a single (Philips management balked out of fear
the song’s drug lyric would spur criticism – ironic given it was an
anti-drug song), Philips Records dropped The Charlatans from their recording
contract. Ferguson subsequently
bailed, forming Tongue and Groove with Hughes and Lewis.
Co-produced by Abe ‘Voco’ Kesh and Milan Melvin, 1969’s “Tongue and Groove” wasn’t all that different from The Charlatans catalog, save a noticeable decrease in psych content and having a female as the primary lead singer. Powered by Hughes’ bluesy voice which occasionally recalled a less shrill and less talented Janis Joplin, and Ferguson’s pounding keyboards, material like ‘Devil’, ‘Come In My Kitchen’ and ‘Cherry Ball (Shake Shake Mama)’ showcased the band’s mix of old blues and West Coast bar band moves. To be honest, it took a couple of spins for this one to grow on me. Hughes was certainly a talented singer, but like Joplin, her delivery had a way of irritating me (especially when she started to press her vocals which increased the vibrato in her voice – check out ‘Sidetrack’) and after awhile the band’s penchant for sticking with a bluesy vibe gave the album a ‘sounds-the-same’ feel. While Hughes handled most of the lead vocals, Ferguson’s isolated shots at the spotlight were quite enjoyable and propelled by nice Lewis solos and some pounding barrelhouse piano from Ferguson, ‘Mailman’s Back’, ‘Motorhead Baby’ and ‘Fallin’ Apart’ were probably the most rock oriented and commercial numbers. As lead guitarist Lewis was also good, but his contributions were largely lost throughout the album. For anyone interested, there were other links to The Charlatans. A cover of the old Coasters hit ‘The Shadow Knows’ had previously served as a Charlatan’s single, Charlatan’s bass player Richard Olsen guested on the LP, while the closer ‘Fallin’ Apart’ was penned by Charlatan Dan Hicks. (A renown poster artist, he's widely credited with designing the first true rock era poster ('Seeds') Ferguson designed the striking cover.) Fontana also tapped the album for a pair of instantly forgotten singles:
- 1968's 'Devil’ b/w ‘Cherry Ball’ (Fontana catalog number F 1640)
- 196's 'Come On In My Kitchen' b/w 'Mailman's Sack' (Fontana catalog number F 1653)
and Groove" track listing:
1.) Devil (Lynne
Hughes) – 4:02
2.) Come In My Kitchen
(Lynne Hughes) – 3:45
3.) Mailman’s Back
(Michael Ferguson) – 6:25
4.) Cherry Ball (Shake Shake Mama) (M. Lipscomb) – 3:44
5.) The Shadow Knows (Lieber – Stoller) – 2:35
2.) Motorhead Baby
(J. Watson – M. Delagarde) – 3:10
3.) Duncan & Brady
(Lynne Hughes) – 2:37
4.) Rocks for My Pillow (Livin’ with the Blues)
(B. McGhee) – 5:21
5.) Fallin’ Apart (Dan Hicks) – 3:24
A diabetic, Ferguson died in mid-1980s from complications related to the disease.
Hughes went on to record a solo album “Tongue and Groove
Presents Lynne Hughes Freeway Gypsy”.
In the early 1970s she briefly joined Stoneground and apparently
passed on in the early 2000s.
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