John Scoggins

Band members                             Related acts

- John Scoggins -- vocals, guitar


  backing musicians (The Ramparts)

- Pat Brogan -- backing vocals

- S.Cino -- sax

- Vinnie Matland - drums, percussion

- G. Peritore -- guitar

- Gary Rulden -- guitar

- B. Som -- guitar

- Debra Tressler -- guitar, backing vocals




- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Pressed for Time

Company: Tiger Lily

Catalog: TL 14059

Country/State: New York, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut out hole top right corner

Available: 1 

Catalog ID: 730

Price: $500.00


Singer/guitarist John Scoggins started out as a member of the New York-based band Ramparts.    Together with guitarist Gary Rulden, the pair were the lone mainstays throughout multiple personnel line-ups.  The group seemingly formed in the early-'70s, playing local clubs and occasionally opening for national acts, but made little commercial headway until 1976 when some of their studio demos were discovered and brought to the attention of Morris Levy's infamous Tiger Lily label.   


Even for a Tiger Lily release, this one is odd.  First off, Tiger Lily was better known for releasing material without any permission from an artist.  The fact the label actually made an effort to reach out and sign Scoggins ... wow.   In a brief 1977 interview with the magazine Good Times, namesake Scoggins described how a Tiger Lily producer stumbled across some of their material and signed them to a contract over the phone.  Unlike many Tiger Lily acts that instantly vanished into thin air  Scoggins and company made a real effort  to capitalize on their "major" record deal.  Scoggins supposedly sent promotional copies to DJs, readily did interviews, played localsf clubs, including Max's and even appeaed on local television.  It seems to have been removed, but there was a brief YouTube clip of an extremely uncomfortable Scoggins being interviewed on The Joe Franklin Show.


Perhaps due to the fact he'd written almost all of the material (The Easybeats' 'Gonna Have a Good Time' being the only cover), by the time Tiger Lily got around to releasing 1976's "Pressed for Time" the album was credited as a Scoggins solo effort.  The rest of The Ramparts members were relegated to the abbreviated  liner notes.  Judging by the fact Scoggins began touring with a new line-up, I'm guessing the rest of the band weren't exactly thrilled at being overlooked.   Anyhow, if you read the hype, this is a lost pop masterpiece with asking prices to go along with it.  Having listened to the album dozens of times, I'll tell you that Scoggins and company weren't half bad.   As front man and chief songwriter, Scoggins had a knack for penning catchy, top-40ish material.  Echoes of America, CSN, Tom Petty, and even early Beatles were scattered across tracks like 'To Stay', 'Mr. Questions' and 'For You.'   Mind you, nothing here was particularly original, or earth shattering - in fact it made for one of those albums that was fun to play-spot-the-influences.   As lead singer Scoggins had a likeable voice that's always reminded me a bit of a slightly younger Jim McGuinn, orTom Petty.  His range was fairly narrow and nasally, but surprisingly impressive on rock oriented numbers like 'Treat Me Right' and their Easybeats cover 'Gonna Have a Good Time.'  The album's main shortcoming was technical in nature.  Apparently recorded at Maxine Chrein's Queens-based Master Sound Studios (Chrein was thanked on the liner notes), these were band demos, never intended for commercial release.  With no interest in marketing, or selling the album, Tiger Lily made no effort to rerecord the material, or add post-production polish.  The results are frequently raw, under-produced and distant sounding.  The rocker 'Somebody's Sad (From You)' was a good example of a strong demo that could have been great with some additional work.


So would I pay $300 - $400 for an original copy of this LP ?   Scoggins  won't be happy with the answer (he occasionally sells a copy online), but absolutely not.   It's not a bad set, but I'd suggest you buy an Emmitt Rhodes LP for $20 bucks instead.  In case anyone cares, in 2010 Rhino reissued the LP, though for some odd reason, originally only in digital format (you can find it on iTunes).   In 2017 a vinyl reissue finally saw the street.  Also worth pointing out, the $9.99 price is considerably cheaper than what you can expect to pay for an original copy of the LP.


Scoggins is still out there recording new music, though highly guarded of his personal life.  YouTube has a couple of non-album tracks complete with homemade videos ('Dangerous Love', 'Harmony' and ''If I Could').  They look like they were recorded in the mid-'80s and judging by the comments it appears he was expecting Warner Brothers to sign him.  It doesn't seem to have happened.   At one point in time he was occasionally selling original copies of the album on eBay.  He may have run out of originals.  Nice source of spending money.


"Pressed for Tie" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) For You   (John Scoggins) - 3:01  rating: *** stars

'For You' opened the album with a nice enough slice of jangle rock-meets Merseybeat.  Very 1964-esque feel with a tasty Harrison-styled lead guitar solo.  Shame it sounded like it had been miked from a shower stall.  Technically the song was quite good, but it also seemed to lack a certain energy.  It was as if they'd recorded so many takes of the song, they were beginning to run out of energy for the tune.

2.) Treat Me Right   (John Scoggins) - 3:03  rating: *** stars

A nice power-pop tune, 'Treat Me Right' had a bouncy melody and great "bones" but was grossly under-produced.  The performance just had an empty, distant sound.  Shame since it had commercial potential. 

3.) To Stay   (John Scoggins) - 2:32   rating: **** stars

Perhaps it was the slight jazzy opening and vibe that permeated the melody, but 'To Stay' initially sounded like something David Crosby might have churned out for CSN&Y.  In contrast, the sweet, jangle folk-rock melody was closer to something out of the America, or early CSN catalog.  Powered by strumming 12 strings and some nice backing vocals, it would have sounded good on FM radio.

4.) She's Long, She's Tall   (John Scoggins) - 2:58  rating: * star

Opening up with some country picking, 'She's Long, She's Tall' was seemingly meant as a slice of humor, but came off as flat and poorly advised.  Rock bands trying to sound country are seldom a good concept - particularly if they try to yodel.  A complete miss ...

5.) You and Me   (John Scoggins) - 2:47  rating: *** stars

The wispy 'You and Me' was another track that sounded much older than the 1976 release date.  Scoggins' vocals were unsteady and sharp and the tune didn't have much in the way of melody, but there was a nice guitar solo.


(side 2)
1.) Somebody's Sad (From You)
   (John Scoggins) - 3:35  rating: *** stars

'Somebody's Sad (From You)' marked a return to commercial pop-rock and was another track with commercial potential.  Nice melody and there was a strong guitar solo, but the guitar just kept going and going.

2.) We''ll Always Be   (John Scoggins) - 4:03  rating: *** stars

A fragile country-tinged number, 'We'll Always Be' sounded a bit like Badfinger-Tom Petty mash-up.  Scoggins didn't sound comfortable singing in a higher range and backing singer Pat Brogan didn't help much.  Adding a haphazard slew of hyperactive guitar to the top of the mix just served to clutter up the ed result. 

3.) Mr. Questions   (John Scoggins) - 3:39    rating: **** stars

Geez, did I slap a Roger McGuinn album on by mistake?  A nice jangle-rocker with a top-notch melody the tune showcased Scoggins at his most nasal.  The arrangement featured slightly out of tune sax solos, but once again the busy guitars detracted from the overall results. 

4.) Love You Two   (John Scoggins) - 2:22  rating: *** stars

The contractually mandated "big balld", 'Love You Two' found Scoggins sharing lead vocals with Pat Brogan.  Pretty melody and it benefited from a scaled back, subtle lead guitar.  

5.) Gonna Have a Good Time   (Harry Vanda - George Young) - 3:58    rating: **** stars

Having grown up with The Easybeats original, any cover was going to have a hard time competing.  To Scoggins' credit, their version was tight and energetic and managed to be one of the album's best sounding performances.  Best this one would have sounded great in a live setting.