The Stowaways

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967) 

- Ken Knight -- bass

- Tommy O'Neal -- lead guitar

- Paul Quick -- rhythm guitar

- Ken Tanner -- drums, percussion

- Tim Tantum (RIP 2014) - vocals




- none known





Genre: garage

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  ... In Our Time

Company: Justice

Catalog:  JLP 148

Year: 1967

Country/State: Charlotte, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor cover wear; bottom seam split

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $400.00

Executive summary - The Stowaways lone 1967 LP "In Our Time ..." offers up a standard Justice mix of popular pop and soul covers with one decent composition original thrown in the mix.  Not the best, nor the worst Justice Records release, though it is a hard one to score.


Here's what the liner notes have to say about The Stowaways:  "This is the sound of The Stowaways.  They are a relatively new group to the recording field.  Since the group began, less than a year ago, they have proven their ability as really fine artists.  These five young men, each with a personal style of their own, have given birth to a sound unheard of in today's music.  Their music takes many shapes.  They can be deep and sincere as shown in their own composition 'Just a Toy'.  They show their ability to throw in a bit of "rhythm and blues" as show in their rearrangement of "What a Shame".  They penetrate into the "Folk Rock" with their version of "It Won't Be Wrong".  They also have the remarkable talent of bringing forth the "soul" sound which no other group on their level can equal.  That s shown in their arrangements of "Sunny" and "I've Been Hurt".   It is hard to say exactly what their style of music is.  One could say that they have a style of music which is a mixture of "Blues" and "soul" plus a bit of "Folk Rock".


Based on his generic comments, you can only wonder if DJ Allen King actually paid much attention to the album, or was just happy to get paid for spewing out some meaningless commentary.



By the time the Charlotte, North Carolina based The Stowaways recorded their one and only album, the band line-up featured bassist Ken Knight, lead guitarist Tommy O'Neal, rhythm guitarist Paul Quick, drummer Ken Tanner and the late Tim Tantum on vocals.  Judging by the cover photos, these guys were still in their teens so give them some credit for recording an album, let alone being brave enough to cover some of the greats - Beatles, James Brown, The Byrds and The Rolling Stones.  That's not saying their covers were particularly strong, or enjoyable, rather it took some confidence to go down that road.   




Produced by Justice Records owner Calvin Newton, 1967's "... In Our Time" wasn't a great album by any stretch of the imagination.  Justice's patented low-fi studio sound seemed even poorer this time around with much of the collection sounding muffled, like it had been recorded in a bathroom through a shower curtain.  The band were marginally competent, but clearly uncomfortable in the studio and while Tantum was a decent singer, he lacked the power to overcome those production and recording shortcomings.  Material was also an issue.  Like most Justice projects, this one was heavy on popular rock, R&B and soul covers.   No matter how well intentioned, the music world didn't need another cover of George Gershwin's 'Summertime' or Bobby Hebb's 'Sonny' (yes, they got the title wrong).  Admittedly the inclusion of Roger McGuinn's 'It Won't Be Wrong' was an interesting choice.  They also turned in a nice over of Chuck Willis 'C.C. Ryder'.   The other highlight was the band original 'Only a Toy'.  A dark folk-rocker it made you wonder what the album would have sounded like had they been given a chance to record more original material.  


"In Our Time ..." track listing:
(side 1)

1.) What a Shame   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 2:37   rating: *** stars

On the opening cover of The Rolling Stones' 'What a Shame' the band pulled off a surprisingly accomplished blues-vibe.  I even have to admit liking Tim Tantum's flat vocals.  The only real downside was the song sounded flat and muffled, but that was the case for the entire album.

2.) I've Been Hurt  (R. Whitley) - 2:50   rating: ** stars

Doo-wop collides with garage rock and the results aren't particularly enjoyable.

3.) It Won't Be Wrong  (Jim McGuinn - Gerts) - 1:52   rating: **** stars

Unlike most Justice releases, 'It Won't Be Wrong' found The Stowaways offering up a surprising stab at mid-'60s folk-rock.  Yeah, Tantum and the rest of the band sounded a little shaky and tenuous on their cover of this Byrds classic,  but overall the results were quite impressive.  In fact their tenuous recording added to the enjoyment factor.  Shame the song was so short.

4.) Summertime   (George Gershwin) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

Covering George Gershwin's 'Summertime' seems to be a right of passage for many bands.  Call this one professional and move on.

5.) It's Alright - 2:10   rating: **** stars

'It's Alright' was a grungy slice of garage - exactly the patented Justice-styled garage rock most folks were expecting to hear.   One of the album's highlight ... 

6.)  It's Only Love   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 1:56  rating: *** stars

Well, if you were brave enough to do Byrds and Stones covers, why not go all out and include a Beatles tune?  You won't forget the original, but they gave it a nice shot.


(side 2)

1.) Just a Toy - 3:06   rating: **** stars

A rare original ...  Decent folk-rock tune that gets an extra star for the dark, moody vibe.

3.) You Lied - 2:16   rating: **** stars

No idea if this was a cover, or an original but it was dark and moody and another album highlight.

4.) C.C. Rider   (Chuck Willis) - 2:28   rating: **** stars

There was a weird sense of urgency in their cover of Chuck Willis' 'C.C. Rider'.  Tantum sounded like someone had put a gun to his head and his survival depended on drummer Ken Tanner and guitarist Tommy O'Neal both getting through the song. 

5.) Sonny  (Bobby Hebb) - 2:50   rating: ** stars

For a brief period, Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny' was the "it" song.  It was almost as if there was a contractual clause requiring every mid-'60s album to include a cover of the song.  Docked a star for getting the title wrong (it was 'Sunny') and for being needless.  

6.) Good Good Loving   (Albert Shubert - James Brown) - 2:12  rating: *** stars

There are scores of songs with the same, or similar titles but I'm pretty sure this was a cover of the James Brown song.   While there performance was perky, the combination of crappy recording and the fact you were going to compare it to the Brown original meant these guys simply never had a chance.  Lead guitarist Tommy O'Neal actually got to take a shot at a solo.

7.) Play with Fire   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 2:19 rating: *** stars

Perhaps the album's weirdest performance, 'Play with Fire' sounded like the band had deconstructed The Stones' classic tune and then somehow forgotten how to put it back together.  Tantum kind of talked-sang his way through the performance while the rest of the band sounded stoned (LOL).