Every Mothers' Son

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Christopher Augustine -- drums

- Dennis Larden (aka Dennis Lawrence) -- guitar

- Lary Larden (aka Larry Lawrence) -- guitar

- Schuyler Larsen -- bass

- Bruce Milner -- keyboards


  line up 2 (1968-69)

- Christopher Augustine -- drums

NEW - George Kerr - bass (replaced Schuyler Larsen)

- Dennis Larden (aka Dennis Lawrence) -- guitar

- Lary Larden (aka Larry Lawrence) -- guitar

- Bruce Milner -- keyboards




- Stone Canyon Band (Dennis Larden)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Every Mothers' Son

Company: MGM

Catalog: E 4471

Country/State: New York, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 847

Price: $10.00


So they're pretty much relegated to one hit wonder status, but for a brief period, with their squeaky clean image, New York's Every Mothers' Son attracted quite a bit of media attention.


According to the liner notes: "Every Mothers' Son was born in New York City in the spring of 1966.  Soon after folk-singers Lary and Dennis Larden met organist Bruce Milner at a Greenwich Village nite club.   Lary and Dennis had spent four years working as a folk duo in the New York area, playing all types of engagements from private parties to Village nite clubs.  (They worked only weekends since school and homework took up the other days of the week.)  Early in 1966 they decided that they would have more scope for musical growth as members of a rock group.  Through a mutual friend they heard about a young musician named Bruce Milner, who, after a number of years as an organist for various groups, was looking for a permanent affiliation.  Lary, Dennis and Bruce met one momentous night in Greenwich Village, took to each other, and decided on the spot to form a rock group of their own.  Within a week they added a bass player, Schuyler Larsen, and a drummer Christopher Augustine.   The group was now complete - Every Mothers' Son was ready for its adolescence.   


The group spent a month rehearsing, writing new songs, working together until they felt they were ready for their sound and ready to be seen professionally.  They contracted Peter Leeds, young manager of rock acts, who knew the Larden Brothers from their old folk duo days.   They asked him to watch them perform at a college fraternity party, one that the boys had booked themselves.  Leed came to watch them, was strongly impressed and signed them to a management contract.


Peter Leeds put them in touch with writer-producer Wes Farrell in the summer of 1966.  Their meeting with Farrell was their first major step on the road to fame and fortune.   Farrell, writer of "Hang On Sloopy," "Boys," Come A Little Bit Closer" ad many other songs recorded by name artists such as The Beatles, Ronnie Dove, The McCoys, and Jay and The Americans, had the boys audition for him in a small studio in a ramshackle building off Broadway.  After climbing three flights of stairs with the instruments and amplifiers in the 90 degree heat that July day, Every Mothers' Son was so beat that they forgot to be nervous.  They came through so excitedly at the audition, that the hard bitten Wes Farrell flipped over the group and immediately signed them to record for his Senate Records Production firm.   He cut twelve sides, normally an unheard of practice with a new group and took their records to a number of top record forms,  Within a week five major labels were competing to distribute their records and finally a deal was completed for Every Mothers' Son records to be released by MGM."   


inner sleeve photo: top left to right: Christopher Augustine - Lary Larden - Schuyler Larson

seated Bruce Milner - Dennis Larden


Perhaps urban legend, but  Mike Curb's MGM Records supposedly latched on to the group in the hopes of taking advantage of their clean-cut image..  


Released in 1967, the cleverly-titled "Every Mothers' Son"  was actually far better than critics would have you think.  Featuring largely original material written by Dennis and Lary, MGM's interest was clearly in mining the group's commercial pop potential which instantly turned the anti-establishment audience against them.   The irony is that in many respects they were no different than The Mamas and The Papas, The Monkees, or scores of other "hipper" acts.   That said, the sure did look white-bread establishment ...  While there's no way to label the collection a lost classic, it really was better than most reviewers would have you believe.  The Larden's weren't much in the way of innovators, but that made the album fun to play spot-the-influences with (Kinks, Mamas and the Papas, Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, etc.).   There were also way too many sub-par commercial pop tunes on the album ('For Brandy', 'What Became of Mary' and 'AIn't It a Drag'),.  On the other hand, these guys were capable of some interesting stuff like the Michael Nesmith-styled 'Didn't She Lie', 'Ain't No Use' and 'Allison Dozer'.  Shame they weren't given a little more creative latitude. (I've always found it ironic the group was signed for their clean image when the back cover showed a photo of Augustine clearly enjoying a Playboy magazine.)


"Every Mothers' Son" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Come and Take a Ride On My Boat   (Wes Farrell - Jerry Goldstein) - 2:18

The Rare Breed recorded the tune the year before with a slightly different title ('Come And Take A Ride In My Boat" and to be honest, their  fuzz guitar garage powered version was far better.  That's not to say this version didn't have some top-40 charm.    Geez, it all sounds so naive in this day and age ...   YouTube had a clip of the band lip synching the song for some forgotten television program.  The picture and sound quality aren't particularly good, but beggars can't be choosey:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50b-Q-Z1bF0    rating: *** stars

2.) I Won't    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:24

'I Won't' opened up with a nice Augustine drum segment and then morphed into a catchy Merseybeat-styled slice of pop with some nice guitar work and smooth harmony vocals.    Interestingly, the song's real strength came in the form of Schuyler's hyperactive bass line.   Better than the lead-off single.   rating: **** stars

3.) For Brandy    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden)  - 2:30

An overly sentimental and heavily orchestrated ballad, 'For Brandy' sounded like these guys had been listening to too much Simon and Garfunkel.   Disposable, though for some reason it was released as a 1968 single in Japan.   rating: ** stars

4.) Didn't She Lie    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:09

With a nice jangle guitar-propelled melody, 'Didn't She Lie' has always reminded me of a Michael Nesmith Monkees tune.   Like Nesmith's best material, the song had a country tinge and some wonderful group harmonies.  Quite commercial and enjoyable and with a grunge edge it would have been killer..  Would have made a nice single.  rating: **** stars

5.) What Became of Mary    (Dennis Larden) - 3:04

Ouch, painfully introspective and sensitive singer/songwriter material.   Best avoided for folks who don't deal with syrupy sweet material.  rating: ** stars


(side 2)
1.) Ain't It a Drag
    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:17

I'm guessing this lyrically dense folk-rocker  was their attempt to write something that recalled John Phillips and The Mamas and the Papas.   Geez, they even included a banjo solo.   rating: *** stars

2.) Allison Dozer    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:59

Seemingly having borrowed a bit of Kinks guitar work (the mid section solo sounded like a CCR rip), and some Augie Meyers Farfisa organ moves, 'Allison Dozer' was a surprisingly nice slice of garage rock.   Too bad they didn't record more in this vein.   rating: **** stars

3.) I Believe In You    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:33

It started out with a slightly acid-tinged edge, but quickly tuned into the kind of pop tune your parents could put up.  rating: ** stars

4.) Ain't No Use    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:30

Quite unlike the rest of the album, 'Ain't No Use' actually shed some of the band's clean-cut image for a slinky, mildly counter-culture vibe complete with slashing guitar and violin.   'Course their sweet harmonies remained intact.   rating: **** stars

5.) Sittin' Here (Peter's Tune)    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:42

Hokey jug band tinged tune that was probably better as a concept than in actuality ...  Seemingly virtually every mid-'60s band was required to record at least one of these tunes.   rating: * star

6.) Come On Queenie    (Dennis Larden - Lary Larden) - 2:44

Seemingly another mid-'60s contract requirement, 'Come On Queenie' sounded like a Spanky and Our Gang music hall outtake.  Hideousrating: ** stars


And the singles were:


- 1967's 'Come and Take a Ride In My Boat' b/w 'I Believe In You' (MGM catalog number K13733)  # 46


  Japanese release

- 1968's 'For Brandy' b/w 'Allison Dozer' ()