Truk


Band members                             Related acts

   line up 1  (1970)

- J. Martin "Moby" Anderson -- bass, backing vocals

- Danny Cornett -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- George Michael Graham -- vocals

- James Patrick Graham -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Glenn Ray Townsend -- guitar, backing vocals

 

   line up 2  (1970-71)

- J. Martin "Moby" Anderson --  bass, backing vocals

NEW - Bill "Willie" Daffern (aka Willie Dee) --  vocals, drums,

   percussion, backing vocals (replaced  Danny Cornett)

- George Michael Graham -- vocals

- James Patrick Graham -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Glenn Ray Townsend -- guitar, backing vocals

 

 

 

 

Captain Beyond (Bill Daffern)

- Chakras (Bill Daffern)

- Willie Dee (solo efforts)

- The Folkmen (J. Martin "Moby" Anderson)

- G-Force (Bill Dafern as Willie Dee)

- Hunger! (Bill Daffern)

- Pipedream (William Daffern)

- The Ram Rods (Glenn Ray Townsend)

- Standing Room Only (Glenn Ray Townsend)

- The Standells (Bill Dafern as Willie Dee)

- The Glenn Ray Townsend Band

- William and the Tellers (J. Martin "Moby" Anderson)

- Zoomlenz (Bill Daffern)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Truk Tracks

Company: Columbia

Catalog:  C 30005
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Oklahoma

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3284

Price: $40.00

I picked up "Truk Tracks" at a yard sale wondering if the guys on the cover were a really the band, or just a bunch on recently unemployed oil workers.  In fact, after looking at the song listing, I almost put it back, thinking these guys were just another anonymous country-rock band.  And then I noticed that R&B artist Sonny Knight produced most of the album with former Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin handling about a third of the set.  Anyhow, anyone who's looked through the BadCatRecords website will see that I make a lot of substandard purchases.  Bands that are hyped and just don't live up to their reputations are a common experience in my music explorations.  Luckily, every once in awhile I come across an unknown release that crushes all of my expectations.  Meet Truk.

 

Formed in Oklahoma. the original line-up featured  bassist, J. Martin "Moby" Anderson, drummer Danny Cornett, singer George Michael Graham, his brother/keyboardist  James Patrick Graham, and guitarist Glenn Ray Townsend.  The band was original known as No Large Trucks (the name taken from a sign they saw in a parking lot).  They then became Truck.  Finally they opted for Truk (the "c" dropped when original drummer Cornett left).  By the time the group was signed by Columbia, Cornett had been replaced by former Standells and Hunger! singer/drummer Bill "Willie" Daffern (aka Willie Dee) 

 

Teamed with producer Sonny Knight, the band apparently completed six tracks before starting to work with producer Dewey Martin (Martin was actually listed as co-producer).  Martin apparently brought a more spur of the moment, less regimented approach to the sessions and the results included four of the album's standout performances - 'Country Woman', 'Got To Find a Reason', 'Winter's Coming On' and the progressively-tinged 'Sun Castle Magic'.  Musically there wasn't much in the way of originality here.  The band's forte was straight-ahead, no-frills rock and roll that easily fit in the same mold as mid-Western bands like Grand Funk Railway, Head East, and REO Speedwagon.  George Michael Graham had a raw, gritty voice that was perfectly suited for the genre.  The Anderson-Daffern rhythm section was explosive.  Like the band itself, Anderson's bass work was simple, but highly effective.  Check out his work on the closing rocker 'Max'.  Unlike most of his contemporaries, James Patrick Graham keyboards were surprisingly understated.  Checkout the light touch he brought to his Hammond B3 work on the  ballad 'Pretty Lady'.  And the icing on the cake came in the form of Glenn Ray Townsend's lead guitar.  His thick, sustained chords were uniformly impressive.  All hyperbole aside, there wasn't a bad song on this album !!!

 

"Truk" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Country Woman  (J. Martin Anderson -  Bill Daffern - George Graham - James Graham  - Glenn Townsend) - 4:27   rating: **** stars

Another example of don't judge a song by the opening chords ...  I remember putting 'Country Woman' on and thinking I'd bought a set by some Poco-wannabes.  And then 14 second into the song the combination of  George Graham's growl of a voice, James Graham's stabbing keyboards and Glenn Townsend's crushing  guitar exploded all over my speakers.   Even better was J. Martin  Anderson's pulsating bass line.  This was simply a killer slice of mid-Western hard rock.  Nothing particularly sophisticated, but the genre's seldom sounded as good.   (The Australian band Buffalo does a killer cover of the song.)

2.) Got To Find a Reason  (J. Martin Anderson -  Bill Daffern - George Graham - James Graham  - Glenn Townsend) - 3:00   rating: **** stars

A couple of collector friends find George Graham's voice as attractive as nails on a blackboard.  I don't have the same issue.  Admittedly, he's not the most sophisticated singer you'll ever encounter, but on bar band rockers like 'Got To Find a Reason' you really didn't want a Bryan Ferry-styled singer ...  Love the sound Townsend got on the solo.  

3.) Pretty Lady   (James Graham) - 3:54    rating: **** stars

Okay, 'Pretty Lady' probably qualified as a country-rock tune, but the emphasis was on clearly on the rock component.  What really caught my ear on this one was James Graham's Hammond B3 solo.  Usually Hammond solo's have all the subtlety of a train wreck, but Graham actually had a light an melodic touch.  The song was also notable for underscoring the band's layered, harmony vocals.  CSN&Y had nothing on these guys. 

4.) Winter's Coming On  (J. Martin Anderson -  Bill Daffern - George Graham - James Graham -Glenn Townsend) - 2:44    rating: **** stars

Surely a song with a title like 'Winter's Coming On' had to have a Graham Parson's flavor to it ?   Wrong again.  With Daffern handling lead vocals, this time out, kicked along by a nifty Anderson bass riff, they added a bit of boogie to the mix. Try to keep your feet from tapping on this one.  And once again there was the cool sound Townsend got on his solos.  Anyone know what effects he used to get that tone?   CBS released the song in the UK as a promo single:

- 1971's "Winter's Coming On' b/w 'You' (Columbia catalog number CBS S 7201)

5.) Sun Castle Magic  (J. Martin Anderson -  Bill Daffern - George Graham - James Graham -Glenn Townsend) - 5:10   rating: *** stars

Hum, when did I put on the Procol Harum album ?    Opening up with a combination of James Patrick Graham pulsing Hammond and Glenn Townsend's thick, sustained guitar chords, the opening of 'Sun Castle Magic' could easily have been mistaken for Robin Trower-era Procol Harum.  Quite unlike the rest of side one, the song  found the band dipping their collective toes into a progressive sound.  Certainly not bad, but paled somewhat compared to the rest of the collection.  Townsend's melodic solo provided the song highlight.   

 

(side 2)

1.) Yellow Cab Man   (Adrian Curtis  - J. Parsons) - 3:00   rating: *** stars

I knew the song from Gun's catalog and while Truk's cover stuck pretty close to the original's arrangement and rollicking sound, I'd suggest everyone check out the original (found on 1968's "Gun"). For whatever reason, this one's always reminded me of a Bachman-Turner Overdirve performance.  Once again Townsend's frenetic lead guitar was excellent make you wish the song hadn't faded out just as he was starting to heat up.

2.) Five Is Together  (James Graham  - Glenn Townsend) - 3:38    rating: **** stars

Always loved the strange guitar chord progressions on 'Five Is Together'.   Maybe it's just my wasted ears, but the song's always sounded like a hybrid of a Gospel tune and a heavy metal number.  Love it.

3.) You  (James Graham  - Glenn Townsend)  - 3:59    rating: **** stars

Another atypical performance and erhaps the album's standout performance, 'You' was a stunningly pretty ballad.  I'd be exceedingly happy if I could learn to play the little guitar riff Townsend repeats throughout the track.

4.) Silence Ending  (James Graham  - Glenn Townsend) - 2:41    rating: **** stars

'Silence Ending' found the band returning to a hard-edged-take-no-prisoners rock stance.  When coupled with their layered harmonies and Townsend's fabulous lead guitar, the results were stunning.

5.) Max  (J. Martin Anderson -  Bill Daffern - George Graham - James Graham  - Glenn Townsend) - 3:47

Sporting a killer Anderson bass line and the album's closest brush with a drum solo, 'Max' was the album's heaviest track and another winner.  Interesting  stumbled across a note Anderson left online where he talked about the song: "The song Max was named for a bartender in Tulsa that did not like LOUD music. We were playing in an very long and narrow club and the bar was directly across from the bandstand. Max would continually ask us to "turn down". Plus, he really hated loud drums. So, when we came up with this song, we named it for him. Glenn and I came up with the original 'licks'; Danny added drum solos, etc.. We actually arranged it in the studio. The vocals were added later. MAX was recorded with the original producer, Sonny Knight."

 

In support of the album Columbia put the band on the road where they opened for an odd collection of national acts including Chicago, The Grass Roots, Grand Fuk Railroad, Lee Michaels, and even Leon Russell.  Unhappy with Columbia and each other, needless to say, there was no follow-on album and the band members went their separate ways.

 

With a family to raise Anderson moved back to Tulsa and began working for his family's oil value business.  He's continued to play bass in various local groups.

 

Daffern joined Johnny Rivers' band and then played in a number of groups including a reunited Captain Beyond , the short-lived Pipedream, and the even shorted lived G-Force.  He recorded an obscure early-'80s solo album and  played with the band Zoomlenz.

 

James Graham left music for the ministry.

 

Living in Southern, California, Michael Graham remains active in music as owner of Smart Post Sound.

 

Glenn Ray Townsend dropped out of music, but in the early-'80s formed The Glenn Ray Townsend Band playing throughout the Midwest and recording a number of albums.

 

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