Underground Sunshine


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969) as Entrance To Sound

- Chris Connors (aka John Dahlberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Bert (Berty) Kohl (aka Egbert Koebl) -- lead vocals, bass

- Frank Kohl (aka Frank Koelbl) -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1969-70) as Underground Sunshine

- Chris Connors (aka John Dahlberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Bert (Berty) Kohl (aka Egbert Koebl) -- lead vocals, bass

- Frank Kohl (aka Frank Koelbl) -- drums, percussion

NEW - Jane Little -- keyboards, backing vocals

 

 

 

- Eden Stone (Berty Kohl)

- Egbert Sebastina (aka Berty Kohl) (solo efforts)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Let There Be Light

Company: Intrepid

Catalog: IT 740003
Year:
 1969

Country/State: Montello, Wisconsin

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: promo copy

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 186

Price: $15.00

 

Hum, Montello, Wisconsin's contribution to '60s one hit wonder rock and roll ...   

 

left to right: Jane Little - Chris Connors - Berty Kohl - Frank Kohl

 

In 1969 brothers Berty (vocals and bass) and Frank Kohl (drums) and friend/lead guitarist Chris Connors were playing in the band Entrance To Sound (great band name).  Here's a snippet of an interview I found with Berty:  "We, as a trio, (me, my brother Frank, and Rex [I'm guessing Rex was a nickname for Connors] - as the Entrance To Sound) were in the studio once before we decided to go with the song "Birthday". We went to Milwaukee [in May, 1969] and spent $400.00 on a producer (Tom Gress) and a little more for studio time. "Birthday" and "All I Want Is You" (the flip side) were recorded, mixed and sent in for pressing in one 4 hour session. While it was still on tape, we took it to WSPT in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and asked them to play it. And they did!  WSPT was one of several stations in the country, at that time, that Bill Gavins (The Gavins Sheet) listened to, and he gave it a bullet which landed it on Billboard."

 

Madison DJ Jonathan Little took an interest in the band and was responsible for expanding the band line-up to include his sister Jane Little on keyboards.  Signed to  Mercury's short-lived Intrepid imprint,  the quartet made their recording debut with the 1969 single:

 

- 'Birthday' b/w 'All I Want Is You' (Intrepid catalog number 75002)  

 

Their Beatles cover (from the "White Album"), proved an unexpected worldwide hit, reaching # 26 on the US charts which was enough for Intrepid management to rush the band into the studio to record a supporting album - 1969's "Let There Be Light".  Co-produced by Jonathan Little and the band, the album had all the markings of a rush job; lots of rote popular covers and very little originality.  Again, I found an online interview where Kohl talked about the album: "I believe we hold the world record for the fastest album ever recorded. From start (unloading equipment into the studio), recording the album, to finish (loading everything back into the truck) we did this in four 7-hour sessions, 28 hours total. We went in, set up and played each song live, overdubbed the vocals and sometimes Chris' lead and that was it. Mixing was done on the spot with no post production at all. The record company wanted an album now and they didn't care what was on it. That's why there were so many cover tunes. I had five more songs in my "originals" repertoire that within a couple of weeks could have had ready for the studio, but our so-called producer didn't care."    That decision coupled with mediocre production (the album had a noticable flat sound) was obviously unfortunate since, judging by the performances, the band's two originals ('All I Want Is You' and 'Take Me, Break Me') were quite good and stood as the album highlights.   You were left to wonder what might have happened had they been given a bit of time and artistic leeway.

 

- I can remember hearing their version of 'Birthday' on the radio as a pre-teen (showing my age here) and thinking that it just didn't sound right ...  there was something in the timing that seemed off.   I'm not sure, what it was, but to this day the song still sounds 'off' to my ears.   Maybe it's Berty Kohl's vocal - to my ears he sounded as if he were singing the song phoentically - which might have been the case since the Koel brothers were born in German and immigrated to the States   That said, I've always loved Little's cheesy organ fills.  For anyone interested, YouTube has a black and white clip of the band lip-synching the song on a DIck Clark's American Bandstand:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AvWJcr2szo&feature=youtu.be    rating: *** stars

- One of two originals, 'All I Want Is You' was actually quite good.  A nice pop-tinged rocker, the song was powered by some tasty Connors fuzz guitar and Berty's hyperactive bass line.  With a catchy hook and more of Little's organ fills, the band sounded enthusiastic and engaged on this one.   They should have tapped this one as a single.   rating: **** stars

- Their cover of CCR's 'Bad Moon Rising' was so bad that it actually verged on being entertaining.  With Connors contributing some needless country-ish guitar fills, Berty did his best to wail his way through the song.  Every time I hear this one, I get a mental image of a German polka band trying to do the song.  rating: ** stars

- So if you had a hit with one Beatles tune, why not record a second one?   'Course picking 'Don't Let Me Down' and slowing it down to a funeral dirge might not have been a brilliant plan of action.  Combined with some cringe inducing vocals, they actually managed to make this one dull.   rating: ** stars

- Okay, The Spencer Davis Group's 'Gimme Some Lovin'' is one of those rock classics that any semi-coherent garage band should be able to pull off.  These guys did it, but had the misguided notion that they should turn it into a fuzz guitar-propelled slice of acid rock.  Oh well, if you like fuz zguitar solos, then you should love Connors extended solo.  He literally sounded like he was playing on a totally different song than the rest of the band.  rating; *** stars

- Unlike most of their repertoire, the band's cover of David Gates 'Don't Shut Me Out' was actually quite good.  Bouncy and upbeat with an emphasis on Little's keyboards, the track almost sounded like a slice of bubblegum pop.  Intrepid tapped it as the sophomore single.   rating: **** stars

- Sounding like it had been recorded in a subway station, their cover of 'Proud Mary' sounded like a band trying to imitate Vanilla Fudge covering Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Definitely an acquired taste with Connors fuzz guitar again providing the song highlights.  rating: *** stars

- Clocking in at almost twelve minutes, 'Take Me, Break Me' found the band in full acid freak-out mode.  Like the previous track, this one was heavy, in a Vanilla Fudge-jam session kind of way ...  lots of space devoted to instrumental solos with an emphasis on Connors fuzz guitar and  with Berty's  bizarre lyrics and vocals occasionally rising to the top of the mix.  This one also sounded like it had been recorded at the end of a long, dark hallway.   rating: *** stars 

 

As mentioned, the album was  tapped for a sophomore 45 that just missed the charts:

 

- 1970's 'Don't Shut Me Out' b/w 'Take me, Break Me' (Intrepid catalog number 75012)  # 102 pop charts

 

For all its shortcomings and given the complete absence of marketing support, the album proved an okay seller, peaking at # 161 on the US charts.  

 

"Let There Be Light" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Birthday   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:42

2.) All I Want Is You   (Berty Kohl - Frank Kohl) - 2:50

3.) Bad Moon Rising   (John Fogerty) - 2:20

4.) Don't let Me Down    (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 4:00

5.) Gimme Some Lovin'   (Stevie Winwood) - 8:35

 

(side 2)
1.) Don't Shut Me Out   (David Gates) - 2:42

2.) Proud Mary   (John Fogerty) - 3:48

3.) Take Me, Break Me   (Berty Kohl) - 11:53

 

 

Over the next year Intrepid released a couple of follow-on, non-LP singles:

 

 

- 1970's '9 To 5 (Ain't My Bag)' b/w 'Rotten Woman Blues' (Intrepid catalog number 75019)

- 1970's 'Jesus Is Just Alright' b/w 'Six O'Clock' (Intrepid catalog number 75029)

 

I've hear both singles and they're quite good; particularly '9 To 5'.   Shame they both vanished without a trace.

 

And that was it for the group ...  Berty turned up as a member of the Wisconsin cover band  Eden Stone and then hit the road as a solo artist.  He's recorded a couple of collections under the name Egbert Sebastian.

 

 

 

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