Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1976)

- Laurie Kaye Cohen -- vocals

- Ron Elliott -- rhythm guitar

- Bruce Gary (RIP 2009) -- drums, percussion

- John Platania -- vocals, lead guitar, slide guitar

- Karl "Slick" Rucker -- bass


  supporting musicians:

- Steve Cropper -- lead guitar

- Dr. John (RIP 2019) -- keyboards

- Franny Eisenberg -- backing vocals

- Vanetta Fields -- backing vocals

- Clydie King -- backing vocals

- Shirley Matthews -- backing vocals

- Carolyn Ray -- backing vocals

- Katie Segal -- backing vocals




Bang (Bruce Gary)

- The Beau Brummels (Ron Elliott)

- Bike (John Platania)

- The Jack Bruce Band (Bruce Gary)

- The Caledonia Soul Orchestra (John Platania)

- Laurie Kaye Cohen (solo efforts)

- Ron Elliott (solo efforts)

- Glitter Symphony (Bruce Gary)

- NIna Hagan and the No Problem Orchestra (Karl Rucker)

- Laurie Kaye Cohen (solo effort)

- The Knack (Bruce Gary)

- Pan (Ron Elliott)

- Professor Louie and the Crowmatrix (John Platania)

- John Platania (solo efforts)

- Silver (John Platania)

- The Vejetables (Ron Elliott)






Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Thanks for the Music

Company: Casablanca

Catalog: NBLP 7027

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened); includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $15.00


I stumbled across a copy of this album at a summer yard sale.  Neither the cover (typical wannabe cool band photo), nor the record label (Casablanca) did much for me.  Still, looking at the liner notes, Giants storied line-up was enough for me to spend a dollar on it.  And here's the amazing thing about the band and their album.  In spite of the fact the band included former Beau Brummels guitarist Ron Elliott and Bang (and futureThe Knack) drummer Bruce Gary, there's virtually nothing to be found online with respect to this outfit.  The one review I found was twelve words long (and not a complete sentence).


Not a lot of biographical information I can provide.  The line-up featured singer Laurie Kaye Cohen (who had recorded an obscure solo album for Playboys' brief foray into the music business (1973's "Under the Skunk" catalog number PB 111), rhythm guitarist Ron Elliott, drummer Bruce Gary, lead guitarist John Platania and bassist Karl "Slick" Rucker.  They were signed to Neil Bogart's disco-oriented Casablanca Records and their 1976 album "Thanks for the Music" teamed them with producer/engineer (and former Earth Opera bassist) John Nagy. The eleven songs were all original compositions with Cohen, Elliott and Paltania each contributing material.  Tracks like 'Lousy Day', 'Rock Roadie Road' and 'Get Off My Back (Bitch)' offered up a decent collection of '70s bar band rockers.  The material was all quite commercial with radio potential, but it was also quite anonymous.  Most Gen Xers will have heard similar "corporate" rock all over the place.  Arguably the band's most unique features came in the form of Plantania's guitar work.  On tracks like 'Unemployed' his slide guitar reminded me of Ry Cooder.  He was also an amazing fast player.  The other feature was Cohen's voice.  He may have been the smallest member of the band, but Cohen had a great rock and roll voice.  Deep and rugged, comparisons to Tony Joe White and the late Joe Cocker (without his twitchy English eccentricities and excesses) were not out of place.  I actually thought a couple of these tracks were really good.  Perhaps because it had kind of an early Doobie Brothers vibe 'Rock Roadie Road' would have made a great FM single.  Powered by Platania's slide guitar and Rucker's thumb popping bass, the funky 'Unemployed' was equally impressive.  Far from a great album, but not the throwaway some folks would have you beieve. 


Busy making millions off their disco acts, Casablanca Records had no interest in the band and the album quickly vanished into oblivion.  


"Thanks for the Music" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Thanks for the Music (John Platania) - 2:47 rating: *** stars

One of two Plantania compositions, the title track was a rather pedestrian "music saved my life" workout.  Ultimately one thing saved it from oblivion - Laurie Kaye Cohen's unique voice.  Imagine Joe Cocker had he been born in Southern Louisiana, or perhaps Tony Joe White as a member of a faceless LA band.  Docked a star for the heard-it-before lyrics and the irritating female backing singers (Vanetta Fields, Clydie King and Shirley Matthews).  Steve Cropper guested on guitar - ironic given the lyrics referenced Stax artist Eddie Floyd.

2.) Lousy Day (Ron Elliott) - 2:46 rating: *** stars 

Standard bar band rocker ...  but I have to admit Cohen had a great voice for the genre. It just wasn't particularly original, or interesting.

3.) Rock Roadie Road (Ron Elliott) - 3:03 rating: **** stars

Perhaps because it reminded me a bit of pre-Michael McDonald Doobie Brothers, the rocker 'Rock Roadie Road' was one of the album standouts.  Once again Cohen's rugged voice was perfect for the genre and Platania's frantic lead guitar was impressive.  How does someone play that fast?

4.) That Love Song (Laurie Kaye Cohen) - 4:16 rating: ** stars

The title probably warned you this was going to be a ballad.  Unfortunately 'That Love Song' didn't have anything special to offer. Hearing Cohen try to power his way through the bland lyrics didn't do anyone a favor.  The backing vocalists added a Gospel edge to the performance, but they came off as shrill and unnecessary.

5,) Get Off My Back (Bitch) (Ron Elliott) - 3:32 rating: ** stars

A forgettable bar band rocker, I guess 'Get Off My Back (Bitch)' was intended to showcase the band's street creds and swagger.  While that may have been the intention the song came off as forced, ponderous and comical.  Hearing the backing singers occasionally blurt out "bitch" just made me laugh.  The song's best feature came in the form of Rucker's nice bass work.  


(side 2)
Ladybug Pond (Laurie Kaye Cohen) - 3:47 rating: **** stars

With a laidback, pastoral feel, the ballad 'Ladybug Pond' reminded me of something Dr. John might have recorded.  Imagine my surprise to discover Dr. John guested on keyboards.  Totally unlike the rest of the album and one of the highlights.

2.) Dare (Ron Elliott) - 4:08  rating: *** stars 

'Dare' was a bluesy ballad with an odd reggae refrain ... Platania's slide guitar provided the highlights.

3.) Unemployed (Ron Elliott) - 4:01 rating: **** stars

The combination of Cohen's grizzly voice, Platania's hyperspeed slide guitar (echoes or Ry Cooder) and Rucker's thumb popping bass gave 'Unemployed' an awesome funk base.  Another track with commercial potential though Casablanca didn't care.

4.) Misery (Ron Elliott) - 3:10  rating: *** stars 

Cohen's mumbling delivery on the country-tinged 'Misery' has always reminded me a touch of Dr. John.

5.) Ride (John Platania) - 3:03  rating: *** stars 

'Ride' was such a stew of musical genres I always have to play it again.  Corporate rock, funk, soul, jazz, New Orleans R&B  ...  it's all blended together on this one.  Another track with Dr. John guesting on keboards.

6.) Lucky Day (instrumental) (Ron Elliott) - 0:56  rating: *** stars 

More of a song fragment than anything, powered by Platania's slide guitar 'Lucky Day' closed the album with a tasty Little Feat vibe.  Shame it wasn't fleshed out as a full composition.




With the LP flopping and Casablanca dropping them from a recording contract the band subsequently went their separate ways.



  • Cohen seems to have always treasured his privacy and doesn't seem to have a social media presence.


  • Elliott stayed active as a sessions player and with occasional Beau Brummels related projects, but has otherwise kept a low profile.


  • Gary scored some subsequent success with The Knack. He also worked with the Jimi Hendrix archives, compiling a series of posthumous Hendrix LPs.  He was working with Westwood One as a consultant when he passed on from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in February 2009.


  • Having previously supported Van Morrison, Platania continued his relationship with Morrison, joining his touring band in 2006.  He also started a solo career, recording a series of solo albums (which I have never heard).  He has a website at: John Platania and actually makes a brief mention of the band: "For a myriad list of stupid reasons, the band [Giants] didn't happen."


  • Rucker resumed his career as a sessions player, also working extensively with Nina Hagen and her touring band Nina Hagen & The No Problem Orchestra. He has a Facebook prescence at: (1) Karl Rucker | Facebook