Sonic Archeology, for Your Entertainment

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For Reason readers and lovers of neglected music in the greater Los Angeles area, I'll be appearing at another group reading from the book Lost in The Grooves, an anthology edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay, to which I contributed 19 mini-essays. The book is an encyclopedia of neglected but brilliant records, celebrated by a wide variety of record enthusiasts and rock critics. I'll be reading three or four of my entries–will I cover the Cowsills? Hackamore Brick? The Vulgar Boatmen? Ron Nagle? John Phillips? The Chills? Miracle Legion? Paul Kantner? Even I'm not sure yet.

WHERE: Vroman's Bookshop, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101
WHEN: Saturday March 12, 4 p.m.

The who and what are covered above–close to a dozen of my fellow contributers to this encyclopedia of wonderful but historically neglected records will also read, and Jackson Del Rey of the wonderful L.A. band Savage Republic will close the show with a musical tribute to the band Pearls Before Swine.

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  1. The Chills ‘Brave Words’ was a fave of mine back in the day. Just mentioning them reminded me. Good work!

  2. John Phillips’s solo hit, “Mississippi” (spring 1970) is of my all-time favorites:

    http://www.songlyrics.com/song-lyrics/John_Phillips/Miscellaneous/Mississippi/199230.html

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the Vulgar Boatmen website. Used to love “you & your sister” album. Saw them play the Congress Theatre (Chicago) on New Year’s Eve about a decade back.

    The sponsors had repainted the floor just before the event and because the heat was kept low, the piant didn’t cure properly. A couple hours of spilled drinks and everyone was covered up to the knees in brick red paint. The concert hall was dark so no one noticed until they went out to the brightly lit hallway. Then everyone went screaming to to management.

    The Boatmen were a great, I was wearing black jeans and was relatively unaffected but it was an ugly night for a lot of people. Looking forward to checking out the mp3s I never knew existed.

  4. A good friend of mine in grad school was the original bass player for the Boatmen. He never really wanted to be a rock star, though. As long as they were just doing local gigs in Gainesville for free beer and a few bucks he was OK with it. When it became clear that Robert Ray wanted to push to become a bigger name, my friend quit the band and went on to finish his PhD.

    I remember some old Boatmen gigs in the Rathskeller at the UF campus (since burned down). I think “Drink More Coffee” was my favorite of their originals.

  5. It’s nice to see someone else remembers the Gobson Bros.

  6. Gibson (dammit!)

  7. MK—Brave Words is indeed the Chills lp that I laud in LOST IN THE GROOVES. Jim, I admire “MIssissippi” but I’m a side one partisan when it comes to WOLFKING OF LA (on which I wrote in LITG); Chuck, what was the name of yr bass-playing Boatman buddy? I was a Gainesvillain circa 1986-91, and saw many a Boatment show. While Robert Ray (an old teacher and pal) did indeed have some recording ambitions for The Boatmen, I wouldn’t call being a time-consuming professional rock star among them; I don’t think Robert ever played out of Gainesville with the band (the touring version was made up of Indianapolis pals of Robert’s songwriting partner Dale Lawrence), and Robert once told me the only cities he was interested in doing so were New York and Paris.

  8. I discovered the Chills when my former roommate’s boyfriend bought her “Heavenly Pop Hit.” It’s their best-of collection, and I recommend it to everyone. “Pink Frost” and “Male Monster from the Id” are two of my favorite all-time songs.

    That boyfriend also introduced me to the Teardrop Explodes. I wish they had lasted a little longer…

  9. Brian–

    My grad school buddy was Jerry Bartolomeo. He is now the mathematics dept chair at Nova Southeastern University in Ft Lauderdale. Jerry played for the Boatmen around 1984, give or take a year or so. I think he had already quit the band by 1986–I can’t remember exactly (some of the dates from back then are a little hazy 🙂 ). My only knowledge about the internal workings of the band came from Jerry, so what I said is my 20-years-after recollection of his characterization of the situation. I never met Robert, and never had a class from him. I should have included appropriate disclaimers in my earlier post–sorry.

    I’m sure you could reach Jerry if you wanted to talk to him about the early Boatmen days. I have his email address somewhere, but it’s probably available on the Nova web site as well.

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