Fat Water

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Everett "Eve" Amundson -- keyboard

- Vicki Hubly -- vocals

- Lance Massey -- vocals, guitar

- Peter Milio -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Boris Schneider -- vocals, bass


  line up 2 (1970)

- Everett "Eve" Amundson -- keyboard

- Vicki Hubly -- vocals

- Peter Milio -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Boris Schneider -- vocals, bass

NEW - G.E. Stinson -- lead guitar (replaced Lance Massey)


  line up 3 (1970)

- Everett "Eve" Amundson -- keyboard

NEW - Don Cody - bass (replaced Boris Schneider)

- Vicki Hubly -- vocals

- Peter Milio -- vocals, drums, percussion

- G.E. Stinson -- lead guitar (replaced Lance Massey)







- Alex Cline Ensemble   (G.E. Stinson)

- Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra   (G.E. Stinson)

- Bone Structure   (G.E. Stinson)

- The Beau Gentry (Lance Massey)

- The Chicago Community Musical Choir (Vicky Hubly)

- Philip Greenleif and Cover Pages   (G.E. Stinson)

- G.E. Stinson Group   (G.E. Stinson)

- G.E. Stinson String Ensemble   (G.E. Stinson)

- L. Stinkbug   (G.E. Stinson)

- Jive (Vicky Hubly)

- Jeff Kaiser Ockodekter   (G.E. Stinson)

- Napalm Quarter   (G.E. Stinson)

- Nathan Hubbard ER Quartet   (G.E. Stinson)

- One Eyed Jacks (Boris Schneider)

- Otis and the Elevators (Vicki Hubly)

- Wayne Peet Quartet   (G.E. Stinson)

- Wayne Peet Trio   (G.E. Stinson)

- The Regiment (Everett Amundson and Peter Milio)

- The Same (Vicki Hubly)

- Shadowfax   (G.E. Stinson)

- Splinter Group   (G.E. Stinson)

- A Thousand Other Names   (G.E. Stinson)

- Unique Cheerful Events   (G.E. Stinson)






Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:   Fat Water

Company: MGM

Catalog: SE 4660

Country/State: Champaign, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $45.00


Ah, another largely forgotten late-'60s Chicago-based outfit.  


Guitarist Lance Massey started his career in the Florida-based Beau Gentrys.  The group enjoyed some commercial success with the 1967 single 'Dream Girl' b/w 'Just In Case' (Feature catalog number 202).  A tour supporting the single saw the band relocated to Chicago where they began to attract some regional attention.  When the rest of the band left for Southern California (working as sessions players (including supporting Norman Greenbaum's 'Spirit In the Sky' sessions) and subsequently morphing into Crowfoot), Massey stayed behind, playing in a series of local bands.  



Having remained friends with Beau Gentrys manager Steve Sperry, he was eventually invited to check out the Arlington, Illinois-based female band The Same.  Fronted by singer Vicki Hubly, the group had recently released a single on the local


- 1967's 'If You Love Me, Really Love Me' b/w 'Sunshine Flowers and Rain) (Barrington catalog number ABR-5004)





Within a couple of months The Same were history and Sperry decided to try forming a new band around Hubly's voice and Massey's guitar.  The line-up was eventually rounded out by former Regiments keyboard player Everett "Eve" Amundson, Regiments drummer Peter Milio and ex-One Eyed Jack bassist Boris Schneider.


Taking their name from Johnny Hart's Hey BC comic strip (one of the characters referred to snow as 'fat water'), the band started rehearsing, playing a variety of Chicago area clubs, eventually cutting material for what would be their album debut with Sperry at Dick Marx's 8-Track Studios.


Musically the handful of online reviews I've read seem to categorize the album as a slice of country-rock.  Yes, exemplified by tracks like the hoedown 'Amalynda Guinevere' and 'Waiting For Mary' there were some country-rock influences, but that wasn't the predominant sound.  In fact, my biggest reservations is the band simply didn't have a dominant sound.  With Massey and Schneider splitting the writing chores, the collection almost came off as a demo intended to showcase their musical diversity.  "Look guys - we can handle it all; everything from country-blues ('Guitar Store Song'), English Folk ('Mistress De Charmaign'), to pedestrian boogie-rock ('Only for the Moment')."  The breadth of musical genres was  impressive and there was no doubt these folks were talented. It was just tough to figure out what they were about.   Hobly regularly draws a lot of comparisons to Janis Joplin and Grace Slick.  With the exception of the blues-rocker 'It's Not the Same' and an occasional background vocal,  I really didn't hear the comparison.  I'd actually argue Hubly had the more commercial, diverse and overall better voice than Slick and she didn't shriek, or over-sing like Joplin did.  Elsewhere drummer Milio didn't get a lot of face time, but his work on tracks like 'I Can Be Happy' and 'Mistress De Charmaign' was impressive.  The same comments were true for lead guitarist Massey.  Not a lot of spotlight, but on tracks like closer blues-rock number 'Gotta Get Together' he made good use of his exposure.  


Not a "must own" set, but another one that's worth hearing if you can land it at the right price.


"Fat Water" track listing:
(side 1)

1.)  I Can Be Happy   (Lance Massey) - 2:51  rating: **** stars

With Hubly and Massey alternating lead vocals, the opener 'I Can Be Happy' stood as one of the album's most commercial offering.  Yeah, there was a distinctive lysergic edge to the tune, but built on a catchy little organ and guitar riff, it had a strong melody and I've always liked the phasing effects on Peter Milio's drums.

2.) Joshua   (Steve Sperry) - 4:18   rating: *** stars

Opening up with some pastoral Massey acoustic guitar, 'Joshua' was pretty ballad showcasing Hubly's sweet voice.  While it's common for songs to pick up energy as they roll along, I've seldom come across a track that does with as much energy as this one.  The album's only cover, the track was written by producer Steve Sperry.

3.) Amalynda Guinevere    (Lance Massey) - 2:03   rating: ** stars

'Amalynda Guinevere' offered up a weird mix of pop, country and "old timey" influences.  The acoustic and electric guitar solos were nice and the track had some commercial potential, but after a couple of spins it started to simply irritate me.

4.) Gimme Your Sweet  (Boris Schneider) - 2:20   rating: **** stars

Boris Schneider's 'Gimme Your Sweet' pushed the band back towards a tougher rock sound.  With Hubly handling lead vocals, this is one of the tracks people point to when making a Jefferson Airplane comparison.  Frankly I don't get the comparison.  To my hears Hubly was a stronger and more commercial vocalist than Grace Slick and these guys actually understood how to write a strong melody.   

5.) Guitar Store Song    (Lance Massey) - 0:56   rating: * star

Thankfully the acoustic blues number 'Guitar Store Song' was little more than a song fragment.  Guess they were just trying to fill up space ...

6.) Only For The Moment   (Boris Schneider) - 3:11   rating: * star

Damn, 'Only For The Moment' found the band falling prey to dreaded boogie rock influences.  Shame to see so much talented wasted on three minutes of mindless noise.



(side 2)
It's Not The Same   (Lance Massey) - 3:10  rating: ** stars

In part because it was a performance where Hubly tried to power her way through the song, I guess if there was a Joplin-esque performance it was the bluesy 'It's Not the Same.' 

2.) Wayback (Lance Massey) - 1:31   rating: *** stars

The brief 'Wayback' was easily the  album's most overtly pop-oriented performance. With a couple of edits it would have made a nice single.

3.) Waiting For Mary    (Boris Schneider) - 4:10  rating: *** stars

Sure, why not add a touch of country hoe-down to the mix?  Massey's lead guitar helped a bit.

4.) Mistress De Charmaign    (Boris Schneider) - 3:10  rating: **** stars

Opening up with some pretty Amundson harpsichord, 'Mistress De Charmaign' found the band working in the English folk realm.  You won't mistake them for Fairport Convention, but the acoustic opening section was startling.  When it kicked in the conventional rock arrangement made for one of the album's more interesting performances.

5.) Santa Anna Speed Queen   (Boris Schneider) - 2:07   

I can certainly understand why MGM tapped 'Santa Anna Speed Queen' as the single. That's not to say I thought it was a particularly good performance.  Sure, the tune was mildly memorable with a patented boogie-woogie piano powered melody and some nice Hubly vocals.  Still, there wasn't a single original note here.  Neither the video or sound quality are very good, but YouTube has a clip of the band haphazardly lip-synching the tune for what's probably a local Chicago television show.  At least you get a chance to see what the band looked like.   Fat Water - Santa Anna Speed Queen (T.V. appearance) Chicago rock/blues band. - YouTube

- 1969's 'Santa Anna Speed Queen ' b/w 'Amalynda Guinevere' (MGM catalog number K-14101)

6.) Gotta Get Together   (Lance Massey) - 3:19   rating: ** stars

Another blues-rocker, 'Gotta Get Together' showcased Massey's likeable voice on a rather pedestrian song.  Massey's lead guitar solo provided the song highlight.



To promote the collection MGM sent the band on the road, including serving as an opening band at 1969's "Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival."  Unfortunately, as part of a massive  "housekeeping effort", MGM president Mike Curb promptly dropped the band from their recording contract.  Massey quit shortly afterwards.  He was replaced by singer/guitarist G.E. Stinson who played with the band for a couple of years. Schneider was subsequently dropped by the band, replaced by bassist Don Cody.  The revamped band continued to pick up dates in Chicago and throughout Illinois, including serving as an opening band at the 1970 Kickapoo Festival. With live work starting to dry up and unable to find a new recording contract they shifted their attention to studio work.  One of their first jobs was supporting Chicago guitarist Harvey Mandel on a couple of his early-'70s releases.  Several members also appeared on John Prine's "Bruised Orange" album.


Cody shifted his attention to the engineering side of the music business.


Hubly recorded some material as a member of Otis and the Engineers, as well as working with Steve Goodman, Harvey Mandel's short-lived Jive, and Corkey Siegel.


Massey briefly played with a late-inning member of Aorta and a couple of local Chicago bands before pursuing a career in carpentry.


Milio relocated to California where he became a member of Country Joe McDonald's touring band, followed by a stint with David LaFlamme (of It's a Beautiful Day fame).


Schneider worked for years as a financial advisor, eventually turning his attention back to painting (as a college student he'd majored in art).  


Stinson's played with scores of bands; the best known being the new age enterprise Shadowfax.



For some reason in 2006 James Plummer's infamous British Radioactive label reissued the album in CD format (Radioactive catalog number RRCD-140).  Since the band didn't see any compensation from the reissue, I'd suggest you look for an original MGM pressing.