Whistler, Chaucer, Detroit & Greenhill

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- John Carrick -- lead vocals, guitar

- Geoffrey Chaucer (aka Eddie Lively) -- vocals, guitar

- Nathan Detroit (aka David Bullock) -- vocals, guitar, bass

- Phillip Greenhill (aka Phil White) (RIP 2008) -- vocals, bass, guitar 

- Benjamin Whistler (aka Scott Fraser) (RIP 2006) -- vocals, guitar, 

  bass, keyboards, drums


  line up 2 (1968-69)

- Geoffrey Chaucer (aka Eddie Lively) -- vocals, guitar

- Nathan Detroit (aka David Bullock) -- vocals, guitar, bass

- Phillip Greenhill (aka Phil White) (RIP 2008) -- vocals, bass, guitar 

- Benjamin Whistler (aka Scott Fraser) (RIP 2006) -- vocals, guitar, 

  bass,  keyboards, drums


  supporting musicians:

- Steve Bruton -- banjo, guitar

- John Burnett -- keyboards

- Dave Ferguson -- violin





- Scott Fraser (solo efforts)

- The Loose Ends (David Bullock)

- The Mods (Scott Fraser and Eddie Lively)

- Space Opera (Scott Fraser, David Bullock and  Phil White)





Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Unwritten Works of Geoffrey, Etc.

Company: Uni

Catalog: 73934

Year: 1969

Country/State: Fort Worth, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1661

Price: $120.00



For an album released on a major label like Uni, this one's incredibly difficult to locate.  The fact it was name checked on an episode of The Gilmore Girls and made Mojo's list of top 600 LPs only made it that much harder to find ...


Prior to forming Whistler, Chaucer, Detroit & Greenhill (WCDG), singer/guitarists Eddie Lively (aka Geoffrey Chaucer) and Scott Fraser (aka Benjamin Whistler) had recorded a Fraser-Lively penned, Beatles-styked single as members Fort Worth's  The Mods:

- 'Days Mind the Time' b/w 'It's for You' (Cee Three catalog number A-1000)


With the addition of  singer John Carrick (who quit before their album was released), David Bullock (aka Nathan Detroit) and Phil White (aka Phillip Greenhill), the group began recording demos at Fort Worth's Sound City Studios with producer Joseph Burnett (aka the future T-Bone Burnett).  


Gawd only knows how producer Burnett got Uni to sign the band (still in their teens), but the company took a chance with the group, releasing "The Unwritten Works of Geoffrey, Etc." in 1968.  With Bullock, Fraser, Lively and Burnett all contributing songs, the album was full of interesting melodies, nice vocal harmonies and plenty of studio effects.  To my ears the results didn't make for the year's most focused albums and while diversity can be good, this set was simply all over the track.  Not meant as a criticism since I like the LP, but this one sounded like a group of solo acts that happened to provide backing and support to one another.  Kind of a "White Album" vibe.  The set offered up an interesting mix of country-rock ('As Pure as the Freshly Driven Snow'), blues ('Live Till I Die'), folk ('Upon Walking from the Nap') and psych ('Day of Childhood'). The set's low-keyed, easy-going charm was actually quite appealing.  Pure speculation on my part, but the inclusion of numerous instrumentals including ' xx' and 'xxx' and the fact a couple of tracks like 'Tribute To Sundance' sounded incomplete left the impression that they simply ran out of time, money, or record label patience in completing the album.  Shame since with a couple more psych or rock numbers like 'On Lusty Gentlemen', or 'Ready To Move' they would have had a killer on their hands.  Ironically, by the time the album was released vocalist Carrack and Eddie Lively had quite the band.   So why did the front cover photo show four people?  Singer/songwriter Guy Clark had been hired to take the cover photo and he sat down for the shot (front bottom left).


"The Unwritten Works of Geoffrey, Etc." track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Viper (What John Rance Had To Tell)   (John Burnett) - 2:23

One of three tunes penned by producer Burnet, it took a couple of years for this one to resonate with me, but unexpectedly one day the tune's lysergic country-rock edges struck me.  After all there years I'm still not real sure what the song was actually about ... but it was one of the album highlights.  As part of an extended piece about the band, original singer Carrack talked about the tune: "That one I sang originally and after I was completely gone, they redid the vocal and David sang it. He didn't do nearly a good a job as me, by the way. He was too sweet for that song. It had a real sweet, intriguing quality to it."  And here's what David Bullock had to say about the song: "I enjoyed playing the harmonica solo in this song of T-Bone's.  I still thinks it fits and sounds pretty good. This was also the song where John Carrick and I made good on the 'silver honey' vocal blend, John singing the melody and myself on parallel harmony. We recorded the vocals side-by-side on one Neumann microphone. Lots of fun. Dave Ferguson played his iconoclastic violin parts on this song and on a few of T-Bone's others. Ferguson really added a lot to the album. He was a brilliant player and T-Bone apparently knew just how to use his talents.   rating: **** stars   

2.) Day of Childhood   (Scott Fraser - Eddie Lively) - 3:02

Featuring a thick, lysergic-tinged folk-rock sound (imagine Roger McGuinn and company at their most stoned), 'Day of Childhood' was another personal favorite.  Always loved the early synthesizer solo.  rating: **** stars

3.) Upon Walking from the Nap   (David Bullock) - 1:59

Singer/songwriter-styled ballad.  A bit too stilted and dramatic for my tastes.  Bullock's comments: “'Upon Waking From the Nap' is the first song I ever wrote. When I played it for T-Bone, he said it sounded like a John Phillips song and he wasn't sure if it would fit with what we were doing. As it turned out, we were doing everything, so no problem. The recording was basically my voice and acoustic guitar with Phil's bass part. Then, T-Bone put his magic to it. At several points in the song, T-Bone plucked the strings of the studio piano like a harp gliss. He then brought out the master tape of a song he had recorded some time earlier, I think at Robin Hood Bryan's studio. It was a T-Bone original and it had a string quartet on it. He isolated the string tracks, ran them backwards and that became the string section of my song. Serendipity plays a huge role in recording, as does skill. It was a combination of those elements that made the strings work so well on that track. I also owe the title to T-Bone. The song was untitled and he suggested it. I wasn't knocked out by the title but took his suggestion, so there it is.” rating: ** stars

4.) Live 'Till I Die   (David Bullock) - 2:12

A Poco styled country-rock flavored tune, though this time around the focus was on the rock component.   One of the album's sleeper surprises, this one has considerable commercial potential.  Bullock's comments: “I wrote the lyrics while riding on a Santa Fe train between Houston and Fort Worth.. The song I had in mind for a model was 'Leavin' Trunk' by Taj Mahal. We used to listen to his record a lot at the studio. My command of the blues vocal has improved from my teenage years, I am happy to say. Space Opera played that tune right up to the end of the band, at our last gig.  rating: **** stars   

5.) Street In Paris  (John Burnett) - 2:58

If there was a misstep on the album, then it had to be this oddball period piece.  With a strange, echoey old-time feel, I guess this stood as a precursor to the kind fo stuff Burnett would get rich off of.   rating: ** stars

6.) As Pure as the Freshly Driven Snow   (John Burnett) - 1:38

Another T-Bone Burnett composition, 'As Pure as the Freshly Driven Snow' sounded a bit like a Michael Nesmith country-rock tune.  Pretty melody that would have been even better without the squealing violin solo.  rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Tribute To Sundance  (David Bullock) - 2:56

'Tribute To Sundance' was another unexpected change in direction - an almost Celtic sounding slice of folk music.  Surprisingly likeable.  Here's what Carrack had to say about the tune: Tribute to Sundance”--- David wrote that song. That's a tribute to Little Sundance which is (whispers) LSD. It was a steal from a guy in Austin who had written a song called “Little Sundance”. A guy named Wally. I can't remember his name, but if you follow Austin, there's a cartoon character out of Austin known as Oat Willie and that character was patterned after Wally. According to songwriter Bullock: "The guy's name was Wally Stopher - a fixture on the mid-'60s Austin scene, when Austin was still cool. I had heard the recording of 'Little Sundance' at Andrus Sound in Houston and loved the song, so I wrote a tribute to it. Kind of odd, but there you have it. My song was not intended as a tribute to LSD, nor was it a steal. It was a completely different song.  The only resemblance to 'Little Sundance' was in its instrumentation, as well as I can remember from having heard it only once. We used acoustic guitar, bass, sand blocks, and an harmonica called a 'whisper harp'. T-Bone added accordion (which was right in the pocket) and I sang two voice tracks and we were done. This was, incidentally, only the second song I had written.”   rating: **** stars

3.) House of Collection   (Scott Fraser - Eddie Lively) - 1:43

'House of Collection' found the band diving headlong into West Coast-styled psych and the results were quite impressive.   Again, no idea what the song was actually about, but so what.  Nice lead guitar solo.  rating: **** stars  

4.) Just Me and Her   (Scott Fraser - Eddie Lively) - 2:24

Bouncy country-jug band tune that did nothing for me and sound out of place on the album.   rating: ** stars

5.) On Lusty Gentlemen   (John Burnett) - 2:41

English sounding lysergic ballad.   Simultaneously pretty and disconcerting.  rating: *** stars

6.) Ready To Move   (David Bullock) - 3:16

With a pounding, acid-tinged melody and showcasing the band's sweet harmony vocals, 'Ready To Move' offered up a blistering slice of Byrds-styled folk-rock.  Here's what songwriter Bullock had to say about the tune: "When I wrote this, Bullock said, I consciously used a few notes from the hymn, 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing'. If you know the hymn, you can hear it in there. One of the words we always used to describe The Byrds' music was 'churchy'. Listen to '5D' and you can hear its majestic, stoic quality. On 'Ready To Move', I was thinking of 'Change Is Now' as a model and I think we came close to the spirit in the recording. It has kind of a Celtic, droning feel and is probably the heaviest song on the album. That, by the way, is the last song we recorded for the album and we were pleased to end it that way."   rating: **** stars



Within a year the band was history, though Bullock, Fraser, and White  continued their collaboration as members of Space Opera.


Fraser died in September 2006.

White died in September 2008.


For anyone interested, there's an extensive (I mean extensive) history of the two bands at: http://www.rockandreprise.net/spaceopera2.html


Just a quick warning, James Plummer's piece of crap Fallout label reissued the collection in 2007 without the band's permission (Fallout catalog FOLP2007).  Do the right thing and stay away from it.