Yays & Nays

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 ()

- Al -- lead guitar

- Bev -- vocals

- Dave -- vocals, bass

- Dawn -- vocals

- F.D. -- vocals, guitar

- Sue -- vocals 



- The Shifters (Dave)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Yays & Nays

Company: NEO

Catalog: NEO 4228/9

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1025

Price: $450.00


So 1968's "Yays & Nays" is one of the "holy grails" in hardcore vinyl collecting circles, with "experts" such as Hans Pokora raving about the album and giving it a five star rarity rating in one of his reference books.


The band's also pretty much a mystery.   The brief liner notes didn't provide much in the way of biographical information.  No production information and minimal performance data:


Al plays lead guitar, writes some groovy arrangements and goofs off a lot.  Definitely dilygaf.  As a wildd disc jockey, left managers talking to themselves and listeners mess mesmerized by his calculated insanity!  SNAFU.  


Bev has had several of her own singles released.  Petite, cute and completely professional, she likes nothing better than to sing and sing and sing ...and then sing some more.   Would you believe her Pekingese is named Sing!


Dave plays a whole lot of bass guitar.  recorded several of his own creations with a  group called the Shifters ...  he was probably the shiftiest !  Sings harmony parts that make the little hairs in your ear stand up, look at one another and yell ... glory !!!  [So there are a couple of groups with that name, I'm guessing he was in an Alabama-based outfit the released at least one single on the small Squire label.]


Dawn: cool, poised and velvet voiced.  Might blow your mind with a word or a phrase.  Free and easy onstage, her acting training comes through.  Dawn digs living life to the fullest.  Soulful and sexsational.  Hubba Hubbah !!


F.D. plays 12 string and sings loud.  Dubbed Fat Daddy when he first started singing folk material.  Likes hot dogs with mustard, hot dogs with chili, hot fogs with mustard and chili, hot fogs with cheese, hot dogs with relish, hot dogs with ...


Sue comes from a musical family.  Belts out her singing with zest and vigor.  Speaking of high notes, she hits them higher than high.,  Everybody has their own kick going  - right ?   Wait, Sue cast her vote for individuality ... Viva !


Based on the interesting cover photo that shows the group poised in a Spanish moss infested swamp and the collection's overarching Southern vibe, I'm guessing they were from Southern Georgia, of Florida, but who knows.   Anyhow, that gets me to the point this one isn't going to be for everyone.  Yeah it is mega rare, but rare doesn't necessarily equate to good, or enjoyable.  Anyone looking for garage or psych moves was liable to be thoroughly disappointed since those genres were far and few between across these twelve compositions.  On the other hand, folks who were into more eclectic, or even outright weird sounds were probably going to get a kick out of the album.   Exemplified by 'Easy Woman' there was a bit of folk rock here.  The male/female vocal interchanges were engaging ('Take It Easy baby'), and the occasional Elvis-stylings ('If'), were entertaining, but overall you got the feeling they thought they were far hipper than they actually were.  Still, the over-arching feel was folksy, including a couple of acoustic numbers that sound like they could have been borrowed from a Peter, Paul and Mary, or Weavers album.   


"Yays & Nays" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Gotta Keep Traveling   (Ken Hicks) - 2:16

The opener 'Gotta Keep Traveling' served to epitomize the group's weird sound - imagine a Southern Baptist version of the Mamas and the Papas.   Clearly these guys were trying to be hip and happenin', but it was like listening to a school choir trying to show off their counter-culture credentials.   Just not really there.  At the same time the results were so strange, you couldn't help but being engrossed.   rating: *** stars
2.) Nature Is My Mother
   (Ken Hicks) - 3:25

Hum, let's take a stab at conventional folk, complete with some horrendous French lyrics ...   at least I think they're sung in French.   The operatic backing vocals (I'm guessing it was Sue), were a hoot.   rating: ** stars
3.) Some Do, Some Don't
   (Ken Hicks) - 2:21

Opening up with some nice twelve string guitar, the bouncy 'Some Do, Some Don't" introduced F.D.'s Elvis wannabe vocal stylings.   Again, so weird it was actually kind of cool.   rating: **** stars
4.) Contrary Mary
   (Ken Hicks) - 2:52

Every heard those Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood albums ?   Well, 'Contrary Mary' has always reminded me of one of them.   The lead singer (guessing it was F.D. again), sounded like he was going to run out of steam any minute and when he hit the spoken word sermon, it was all you could do to not start giggling.   The chirpy female backing chorus was just icing on the cake.   Again, you could just feel these guys trying to ooze cool.   rating: **** stars
5.) Easy Woman
   (Ken Hicks) - 4:19

With a folk-rock arrangement, 'Easy Woman' was probably side one's most conventional and commercial track.  The  snide male/female vocal interchanges on this were actually pretty cool, though the girls' high pitched, semi-operatic delivery seemed way out of place here.   In spite of that comment, it was easily one of the album highlights.   rating: **** stars
6.)  It's What's Happening Baby
   (Ken Hicks) - 2:26

Another one that reminded me a bit of a Lee Hazlewood track.  In spite of the fact the leas singer had a challenging voice, the rocking melody was intriguing.  rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Call Me a Dog   (Ken Hicks) - 

Hum, the title didn't lead me to expect a conventional Peter, Paul, and Mary-styled folk number, but in spite of the slightly risqué lyrics, that's exactly what this one was.   Rather dull and forgettable.   rating: ** stars
2.) If   (Ken Hicks) - 

Swamp-rock a-la Elvis ...   nice example of the men versus women theme that cropped up from time to time.  Totally goofy and another album highlight.  rating: **** stars
3.) Take It Easy Baby   (Ken Hicks) - 

Another them versus us composition, 'Take It Easy Baby' sounded like they were poking fun at the Lee and Nancy concept.   So over the top, that it was actually good.   rating:  **** stars
4.) Let It All Hang Out   (Ken Hicks) - 

Nice slice of acoustic swamp rock with F.D. sounding like he'd been gargling with pebbles.   rating: **** stars
5.) What Women Do   (Ken Hicks) - 

Every been to a Catholic folk mass ?   Well, 'What Women Do' sounded a lot like what I used to hear at those Saturday evening masses.   Lots of nice vocals but very folksy and I'm not sure feminist would be all that thrilled with the Ken Hicks lyrics.   rating: ** stars
6.) On Stage Revelations   (Ken Hicks) - 

Probably the album's most rock oriented number, almost had a Dylan-meets-Lee Hazelwood vibe ...   nice way to end the album.  rating: **** stars



If an original is out of your price range, the Spanish Groove label reissued the collection in 2010 (Groove catalog GROO021LP), though I can't vouch for it's legitimacy.