Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1968)
- Jack Clay Duncan -- bass
- Barry Davis -- drums, percussion, backign vocals
- Gerry Jimmerfield - vocals, guitar
- Randy Russ -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Ernie McElwaine -- keyboards, backing vocals
- Big Sonny and the Loboys In Heat (Randy Russ)
- Dragonfly (Jack Clay Duncan, Barry Davis, Gerry Jimmerfield
and Randy Russ)
- The Lords of London (Gerry Jimmerfield)
- The Obvious (Gerry Jimmerfield)
- The Pawns ???
- Mike Renolds and the Infants of Soul (Randy Russ)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Legend
Country/State: El Paso, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 6293
Not to be confuse with the late-1960s English band Legend (featuring Mickey Jupp), or a late-1970s Connecticut progressive outfit, I simply don't know much about this quintet.
The slim liner notes accompanying their sole album credited the membership as E. Brooks, B. Corso and S. Romans. The album cover image clearly showed five faces. Adding to the mystery, there were no performances credits on their album. Not that it mattered given the line-up consisted of bassist Jack Clay Duncan, drummer Barry Davis, singer Gerry Jimmerfield, lead guitarist Randy Russ and keyboardist Ernie McElwaine.
Popular on Colorado's clubs scene, the band saved up their money and headed for California where they auditioned for several labels, eventually signing with Marty Brooks and Tony Sope's small Encino-based Megaphone Records where they began to record some demo material. Unable to play live because they were not part of the musicians union, the group quickly ran out of funds and were forced to return to Colorado where they could work. Having refilled their coffers, the returned to Los Angeles only to discover Megaphone had hired producer Gene Page and studio musicians to complete most of the recordings for what would be their first album. The band were allowed to contribute vocals and some guitar overdubs prior to the release of their 1968 debut album "The Legend" . With Brooks and Sope taking production credits, they album offered up an engaging mixture of band originals and popular covers. Covers are usually garbage, but in this case the band turned in a killer rendtition off Dylan's 'Baby Blue', an equally good version off The Troggs' 'With a Girl Like You' and and early Who cover (in the form of The Kids Are Allright' (sic). Half of the material was credited to Corso and Brooks/Romans with tunes like 'The Sky That Is Blue', 'Zepplin's Good Friday' and 'Yesterday's Child' showcased a tasty blend of tight, Bealtesque harmonies and surprisingly commercial melodies. It certainly wasn't perfect with the band occasionally drifting too close to The Left Banke, or Mamas and Papas-styled MOR ('Sunny Day' and 'Gigi'). Far more impressive were their stabs at a harder rock sound, including the fuzz guitar and feedback propelled 'Where Oh Where Is Mother' and their vox-powered cover of Dylan's 'Baby Blue' (always liked the song's sitar fadeout). All told, the results weren't half bad; making for an album I pull out from time to time.
In another chapter of the same old story, the band's managers and label had no idea how to manage a band; let alone the resource to promote "The Legend". The album quickly vanished into cutout bins. What little money the band made from touring clubs did not make it into their own pockets only increasing the discord between the the band and Megaphone. In spite of the bad blood, the band began recording a second album, but ultimately simply stopped the sessions. An agreement was reached whereby they promised to finish the set at which point Megaphone would let them out of their contract. The second album was completed. Brooks and Sope originally planned on recruiting a new group of musicians to tour in support of the second album, but that plan was dropped and the recordings were eventually released credited to the band Dragonfly.
"The Legend" track listing:
Their cover of The Troggs hit 'With a Girl Like You' wasn't a major departure from the original version, but it's always fascinated me, if only due to the fact vocalist Gerry Jimmerfield has a strange accent that I've never been able to place. Great tune, with a touch of Merseybeat harmonies and there was even plenty of cowbell ...
2.) The Sky That Is Blue (B. Corso) - 2:47 rating: **** stars
'The Sky That Is Blue' was a breezy, mid-tempo pop song that showcased some nice vox organ and wonderful group harmony vocals that would made The Beach Boys proud.
3.) Zepplin's Good Friday (E. Brooks - S. Romans) - 2:42 rating: **** stars
Kicked along by Ernie McElwaine's wonderfully cheesy organ, 'The Sky That Is Blue' had one of those classic mid-1960s vibes - imagine something that tried to cross The Young Rascals and The Beatles. Highly commercial with some nice fuzz guitar in the background.
4.) Where Oh Where Is Mother (B. Corso) - 3:03 rating: **** stars
The album's first out and out rocker and one of the album's few psych-tinged numbers, 'Where Oh Where Is Mother' was built on an intriguing mixture of fuzz guitar, electric harpsichord, weird studio sound effects, and another display of the band's impeccable harmony vocals. This was another one where Jimmerfield displayed a noticeable accent.
5.) Yesterday's Child (B. Corso) - 2:31 rating: ** stars
The first disappointment, pulling a page out of The Beatles songbook, 'Yesterday's Child' was seemingly a stab at writing a socially relevant ballad -- in this case the storyline being life sucks when you get old. Insightful and pretty, but it wasn't quite 'Eleanor Rigby'.
6.) Eyes of the World (Don McGinnis) - 2:27 rating: *** stars
Though it was heavily orchestrated, 'Eyes of the World' was another big message song, though it was also one of the album's most interesting performances with some wild assed lead guitar and an energetic Jimmerfield lead vocal. For a band from Texas, they certainly managed to adopt an English twang in this performance. The song was tapped as an Australian 45:
- 1968's 'Eyes of the World' b/w 'The Kids Are Allright' (Astor catalog number A 7097)
While it wasn't going to make you forget the original, their vox-powered cover of The Who's 'The Kids Are Allright' (their spelling, not mine), was actually pretty good with some chugging drums and a nice, fuzz-drenched lead guitar. Even more impressive as earlier adopters of The Who.
2.) Cold Wind In August (B. Page) - 2:32 rating: *** stars
One of the album's most pop-oriented efforts, 'Cold Wind In August' had a decent commercial tinge, but was a bit pedestrian for my tastes (though the song had a great bass line throughout and the backing harmony vocals were nice). Extra star for those glistening harmonies.
3.) Sunny Day (E. Brooks - S. Romans) - 2:11 rating: **** stars
Another stab at top-40 commerciality, 'Sunny Day' had a pleasant sunshine-pop feel to it with backing vocals that would have made John Phillips and The Mamas and The Papas smile.
4.) You'll Be Sorry Someday (B. Corso) - 2:41 rating: *** stars
With the band playing at hyper-speed (wonder what substances they'd ingested during the recording sessions ...), 'You'll Be Sorry Someday' was simply hysterical. Nice fuzz solo at the tail end of the track.
5.) Gigi (Lerner - Loewe) - 2:17 rating: *** stars
I've always been a pushover for harpsichord, so his one grabbed my attention from the opening chords. The fact that ballad 'Gigi' sounded like a Left Banke outtake didn't hurt either. It certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone, but so what ...
6.) Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 5:27 rating: **** stars
So if you're going to do a Dylan cover why not toughen it up and give it a fuzz-driven garage edge? To their credit that's exactly what these guys did on their version of 'Baby Blue'. With Jimmerfield sounding like he'd been drinking Drano, along with the totally biazrro sitar closing the result was one of the album's best tracks and one of the best Dylan covers I've ever heard.
- 1968's 'Baby Blue' b/w 'The Kids Are Allright' (Megaphone catalog number R 701)
There were also a non-LP single:
- 1968's 'Portrait Of Youth' b/w 'Enjoy Yourself' (Megaphone catalog number 703)
I suspect it isn't a legitimate release, but the English Fallout label reissued the album in CD format with four bonus tracks (Fallout cataog number FOCD 2087)
1.) Portrait Of
Youth (G. Jimerfield)
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