- Blues Magoos
Infobox musical artist
Name = Blues Magoos
Background = group_or_band
the Bronx, New York, USA
Genre = rock,
Psychedelic rock, garage rock, blues
Years_active = 1964-1970
Mercury Records, Verve Records, Ganim Records, ABC Records, Repertoire Records, Collectables Records
Current_members = Ralph Scala
Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm
The Blues Magoos was a rock music group from
the Bronx, New York. They were at the forefront of the psychedelicmusic trend, beginning as early as 1966.
The band was formed in 1964 as "The Trenchcoats". The original members were Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm aka Peppy Castro (vocals and guitar), Dennis LaPore (lead guitar), Ralph Scala (organ and vocals), Ronnie Gilbert (bass) and John Finnegan (drums). The band made a name for itself in various clubs in
Greenwich Village. By 1966 the band had changed its name to fit in with the psychedelic vibe of the times - they first changed their name to the Bloos Magoos, though they changed that to the more conventional Blues Magoos. They also made some line-up changes, bringing in Mike Esposito as lead guitarist, and Geoff Daking as drummer.
Like their name, the group's sound was of the
psychedelicvariety. They released singles on smaller labels, like Ganim Recordsand Verve Records, but those singles did not gain the band much recognition. However, Mercury Recordssigned the band to a record dealin late 1966 and the group's debut album, " Psychedelic Lollipop" was released shortly thereafter. It was one of the first records to contain the word "Psychedelic" on the sleeve (along with the 13th Floor Elevators' first album, " The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators", and The Deep's "Psychedelic Moods", both also from 1966). They played a lot then at the Chess Mate Coffeehouseowned by Morrie Widenbaum, a mostly folk venue that also hosted bands like Southbound Freeway, Siegel-Schwall Blues Band and Blues Magoos.
In a tour of the US in 1967 they were the opening act followed by
The Whoand then the headliners Hermans Hermits.The group's biggest song, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet", whose Farfisariff bears an uncanny resemblance to the 1970 single " Black Night" by Deep Purple, was released as a single in 1967 (albeit from their 1966 album), with "Gotta Get Away" as the b-side. The song hit number 5 on the US charts, although it did not fare nearly as well in the UK. It was used for the movie " Easy Rider" in 1968. Incidentally, The Magoos' "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" was released as a single in February 1967 by British group The Spectres(later to become The Status Quo). The record did not chart.
The next single by the Blues Magoos, "There's A Chance We Can Make It," was only a minor hit, with its b-side "Pipe Dream" actually charting higher (though neither side hit the top 40). After one more minor chart single with "One By One," subsequent singles were largely ignored by record buyers. Neither of the two albums released after "Psychedelic Lollipop", "Electric Comic Book" and "Basic Blues Magoos", had much success. By 1968, the band was discouraged and they split up.
The group's management had other plans. The band was signed to
ABC Records, but most of the members did not go along with this plan. Only Castro agreed and started up a revamped Blues Magoos, with Eric Kaz, Richie Dickon, John Leillo and Roger Eaton. In 1969, the band completed "Never Goin' Back To Georgia", but that release did not attract public attention either. Eaton left the band, and the other Blues Magoos used session musicians for the follow up "Gulf Coast Bound". It did poorly as well and though the Magoos struggled for another two years, they eventually parted ways. In 1981, Castro resurfaced with the group Balance.
Psychedelic Lollipop" (1966)
Electric Comic Book" (1967)
*"Basic Blues Magoos" (1968)
*"Never Goin' Back to Georgia" (1969)
*"Gulf Coast Bound" (1970)
Re-releases on CD
The original group's output on CD is now complete.
Repertoire Recordshas released their three albums in deluxe digi-packages with detailed liner notes. Each CD has bonus tracks which include mono versions of single releases, fan club exclusives, and obscure early recordings. Additionally, Collectables Recordsstill has the doubled-up "Psychedelic Lollipop/Electric Comic Book" CD for sale and Mercury's "Kaliedoscopic Compendium" anthology is still available as well. The post-1969 group's output has not been released on CD to date.
The complete list of line-ups
* [http://www.myspace.com/bluesmagoos2 Official band MySpace]
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