Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Don Adey -- guitar

- Paul Downing -- guitar

- Terry Rae -- drums, percussion

- Timmy Smyser -- bass


  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Don Adey -- guitar

NEW - Keith Adey -- bass (replaced Timmy Smyser)

- Paul Downing -- guitar

- Terry Rae -- drums, percussion


  line up 1 (1970)

- Don Adey -- guitar

NEW - Keith Adey -- bass (replaced Timmy Smyser)

- Larry Knechtel (RIP 2009) -- bass, keyboards

- Jim Gordon (RIP) -- drums, percussion








Blue Cheer (Terry Rae)

- The British Walkers (Don Adey, Paul Downing and 

  Timmy Smyser)

- The Churchill Downs (Don Adey)

- Crystal Circus (Terry Rae)

- The Drfitones (Terry Rae)

- John English III and the Heathens (Don Adey)

- Festival of Light (Terry Rae)

- The Flaming Groovies (Terry Rae)

- The Hard Times (Paul Downing)

- The Heathens (Don Adey)

- The Hollywood Stars (Terry Rae)

- The New Phoenix (Paul Downing)

- The Place Guard (Terry Rae)

- The Scambelers (Terry Rae)

- Space (Terry Rae)

- The Standells (Paul Downing and Timmy Smyser)

- Strawberry SAC (Terry Rae)

- The Sunsets (Paul Downing)

- Sweet Wine (Terry Rae)

- The Tycoons (Paul Downing)

- The Yellow Payges (Terry Rae)

- The Wobblers (Don Adey)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Jamme

Company: Dunhill

Catalog: DS 50072

Country/State: UK/US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: minor wrinkling top left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $30.00


Hold on to this torturous back story ...


The Los Angles-based Jamme came together in 1968.  Guitarist Paul Downing had been a member of  Washington, DC's The British Walkers (the perfect band name for anEnglish-born expatriot musician).  Following the band's collapse, in 1967 Downing and his girlfriend also moved to Los Angeles.  Downing spent some time playing with San Diego's The Hard Times and at a local performance met fellow Brit Don Adey who was  playing in the band Churchill Downs.  Here's where it gets convoluted.  Through his girlfriend's mother who had been John Phillips' first wife, he became friendly with The Mamas and the Papa's leader.  That included playing on sessions for the group's "The Papas & the Mamas" album, at which point Phillips suggested Downing form his own group. Downing jumped at the offer, recruiting Adey, British bass Timmy Smyser and former Palace Guards drummer Terry Rae.


With Phillips bankrolling the project the quartet went into Phillips home studio and began working, on their album only to run afoul of their producers ever more erratic behavior.  Jealous of wife Michelle's apparent affection for drummer Rae, Phillips kicked him out of the band, bringing in a string of sessions players, including Jim Gordon as replacements.   Next Phillips demanded bassist Smyser be cut loose.  The band initially refused and the sessions ground to a halt.  Smyser subsequently quit on his own, reappearing in a late-inning line-up of The Standells, where he was promptly joined by Paul Downing. When recording sessions started back up in early 1970 the Wrecking Crew's Larry Knechtel was handling bass.  Don's brother Keith Adey was then added to the line-up. The album cover certainly gave you the impression this was all about the Adey brothers.  Keith was credited as co-writer for most of the material (though his contributions were apparently minimal; Don being the creative mainstay). Phillips and Dunhill clearly wanted to take advantage of the Adeys young, good looks which might explain why only the brothers were shown on the album packaging, no mention was made of the earlier members and even though the liner notes credited drummer Jim Gordon and keyboardist Larry Knechtel, they were missing from the packaging as well.  


Released in early 1970 on Phillip's short-lived Warlok label, ABC's Dunhill picked up national distribution - not a shock, demand proved limited.  Say what you will about Phillips' shortcomings as a human, but there was no questioning his talents as a musician and producer.


Produced by Phillips, "Jamme" was clearly intent on cashing in on the band's Englishness.  Full of strumming acoustic guitars, pretty ballads, English-accented vocals and lovelorn lyrics, this was an album for young girls with Davy Jones fixations and his posters on their walls.  The Jones comparison was pretty apt given ballads like 'Poor Widow' and 'Jan' recalled the types of ballads Jones handled for The Monkees.  And that was my biggest problem with this album.  Online review draw comparisons to Emmitt Rhodes, Badfinger and even Paul McCartney's Fab Four catalog.  Don't fall for it.  These tunes are way lighter and far less memorable than any of those other acts.   In isolation one or two of these songs aren't half bad.  In contrast sitting through the entire album at once has been al challenge for me. Sure, many of the melodies were attractive and the harmony vocals were sweet, but trying to sit through the whole set felt like one was in danger of suffering from a sugar "overload."  I'll also tell you the album sounded horribly dated.  In the two years between the start of recording sessions and the 1970 release, popular tastes in music having radically changed.  What ruled the airwaves in 1967 was passť in 1970 with folks having moved on to new sounds and musical directions.  In the interest of fairness, the album had some redeeming performances.  Yes, the lite-psych sound felt dated, but 'Strawberry Jam Man' had a great melody with lyrics that make me smile.  With kind of a Beatles feel, 'Changes' followed the same path, though it wasn't as strong.  Similarly the up-tempo 'Richman' and 'Empty Feelings' demonstrated they could handle more than sappy acoustic ballads.  Still, the overall feeling was just too lightweight to leave a lasting impression.


"Jamme" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Poor Widow (Don Adey) - 2:34 rating: ** stars

Clearly attempting to capitalize on their Englishness, surrounding by strumming acoustic guitars, group vocals, 'Poor Widow' was a sickly-sweet ballad.  It actually reminded me of something the late Davy Jones would have been asked to sing on a Monkees album.  Easy to see hoards of 13 year old girls swooning to this one, though the rest of us will lift the stylus and move on.  Dunhill released the track as a promotion 45 in the States.





- 1970's 'Poor Widow' b/w 'She Sits There' (Dunhill catalog number D-4231)








2.) She Sits There (Pat Downey) - 2:36 rating: *** stars

The good news is 'She Sits There' reflected an up-tempo melody and some nice harmony vocals.  The bad news it was too cutesy for it's own good and once again sounded like a Davy Jones performance on a Monkees album.  Extra star for the nice electric guitar solo that graces the end of the song.

3.) Jan (Don Adey - Keith Adey) - 3:06  rating: ** stars

Strumming acoustic guitars, pleading, lovelorn lyrics. Pass.

4.) Strawberry Jam Man (Don Adey - Paul Downey) - 3:16 rating: **** stars

One of the album's highlights, 'Strawberry Jam Man' found the band dabbling in lite-psych. Yeah the lyrics were already dated, but complete with a brief fuzz guitar solo, the track showed they could actually handle a rock arrangement.  This one's always reminded me of something a band like The Move might have recorded. ( I'm a big Move fan.)   The song was also a good example of how tastes morphed from 1968 to 1970 ...  

5.) Richman (Don Adey - Tim Smyser) - 3:02 rating: **** stars

Well, maybe things are getting better ...  Opening up with some tasty electric guitar, 'Richman' managed to take their sweet harmonies and toughen the results up.  Even the lyrics were an improvement over their standard "lost love" plotlines.  This one sounded like a good Badfinger track.  Keith Adey's bass provided the Secret sauce on this one. 


(side 2)
My Old Lady (Don Adey - Paul Downey) - 2:51  rating: *** stars

Um, did I put on a Chad and Jeremy album by mistake?  Two different lead vocalists on this one.  The first had a deeper, gruffer delivery that I liked.  Extra star for the nice refrain, though the rest of the lyrics were cloying.  

2 Changes (Don Adey - Paul Downey) - 2:12  rating: *** stars

'Changes' had kind of a Beatle-esque psychedelic feel, though the song struggled to find its way through a maze of start-and-stop changes.  The track also featured the album's most aggressive lead guitar work.

3 Empty Feelings (Don Adey - Paul Downey) - 2:10  rating: **** stars

If there was a track that escaped the "dated" feeling, then 'Empty Feelings' came the closest.  Opening with tasty guitars, the ballad had an interesting melodic structure and served as a nice example of their intertwined vocals.  Jazzy, but also very commercial, it would have made a better single than 'Poor Widow.'  Shame it faded out so early.

4 Scarborough Rose (Don Adey - Keith Adey -Paul Downey) -  2:10  rating: *** stars

Typically a song with 'scarborough' in the title is going to be very sickly sweet.  While you won't mistake 'Scarborough Rose' for an AC/DC performance, this was one where the strumming acoustic guitars actually meshed nicely with a more up-tempo melody and nice vocals.  Hum, using the word 'groovy' in 1970 ...

5 Matthew O'Grady (Don Adey - Paul Downey) - 3:40 rating: *** stars

Perhaps taking inspiration from 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Matthew O'Grady' stitched together a bouncy, slightly folky tune and "socially insightful" lyrics.  It was cute, but nothing earth shattering.



In 2010 Steve Stanley's Now Sounds label reissued the original album in CD format (Now Sounds catalog number CRNOW 18).  In addition to the original, remastered album, the collection included six previously unreleased songs and both sides of their 'Poor Widow' 45.(represented in mono pressings).  The package also included a detailed, 27-page biography of the band - completed with the band's cooperation.  Nice to see that four years after the fact the album cover was modified to include  "missing" members.

1.) Thanks To The Man In The Rabbit Hat (Don Adey) - 3:52 

2.) Changes (alternative version) (Don Adey - Terry Rae) - 2:20 

3.) Strawberry Jam Man (alternative Vversion) (Don Adey - Paul Downing) - 3:51 

4.) Empty Feelings (instrumental) (Don Adey) - 2:35 

5.) Love Makes The World Go 'Round (demo) (Paul Downing) - 2:54 

6.) That Girl Has Got A Hold On Me (demo)  (Don Adey) 3:55 

7.) She Sits There (mono 45) (Paul Downing) - 2:38 

8.) Poor Widow (mono 45) (Don Adey) - 2:25