Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Yellow Payges - Volume 1 (Hard Driven' Fuzzrock US 1969)


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The Yellow Payges were an American rock band, led by singer Dan Hortter, who were formed in Los Angeles, California in 1966. Although their commercial success was limited, they toured widely and recorded ten singles and an LP before splitting up in 1970.

The band was formed by singer Dan Hortter in Los Angeles in April 1966. Hortter had been a member of a Torrance-based surf rock band, the Driftones, who had just split up. At a performance by his friends in another band, the Palace Guard (whose drummer was Emitt Rhodes), at the Hullabaloo club in Hollywood, he joined the group onstage to play harmonica and sing "I'm a Man". 


His performance so impressed club owner Gary Bookasta that he invited Hortter to bring his own band to support The Newbeats two weeks later. Hortter recruited guitarists John Knox and Larry Tyre, bassist Herby Ratzloff, and drummer Terry Rae (formerly of the Driftones) to play the gig. Rae was then replaced by Dan Gorman, and the group changed its name to become The Yellow Payges.

They began playing regularly at the Hullabaloo, and Bookasta became their manager. There were further personnel changes. Knox and Tyre left and were replaced by Bob Norsoph and Randy Carlisle; and Mike Rummans replaced Ratzloff. When Norsoph and Carlisle themselves left, Rummans moved to guitar and Jim Lanham came in on bass; he was soon replaced in turn by Teddy Rooney, the son of actor Mickey Rooney.

In 1967, the group released their debut single, "Never See the Good in Me" on the Showplace label, a subsidiary of Cameo-Parkway Records. Its local success, together with that of follow-up "Jezebel", resulted in the band signing with Uni Records. They released the single "Our Time Is Running Out", and the group toured the US as part of Dick Clark's Happening '67 package tour of 45 cities in 45 days.

Rummans and Rooney left the band in mid-1968, and were replaced by Bill Ham and Bob Barnes, both from Fort Worth, Texas. Rummans formed a new group, Salt and Pepper, with Rick James, Greg Reeves, and others. The Yellow Payges - now comprising Hortter (lead vocals, harmonica), Ham (lead guitar), Barnes (bass) and Gorman (drums) - continued to release singles, and played the Hollywood Bowl as support to Eric Burdon and the Animals, the Rascals and Tommy James and the Shondells. They also toured for several months as support for The Animals before undertaking a similar role opening for The Beach Boys. 

Other bands with whom the group shared a stage included Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Pink Floyd, the Byrds, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane. The Yellow Payges recorded the LP Vol. 1, released by UNI in mid-1969, and issued several singles including one of their best remembered songs, "Vanilla on My Mind", and a remake of "I'm a Man" which narrowly failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100. They also appeared on numerous regional television shows across the US, and on American Bandstand. Donnie Dacus briefly replaced Ham on lead guitar in 1969.

The group were then hired to appear in a series of commercials for AT&T's Yellow Pages, which, according to writer Jason Ankeny at Allmusic, "effectively destroy[ed] their credibility and their momentum". According to Hortter, "We were put in these hideous yellow satin ruffled shirts with black velvet pants, and did these ridiculous commercials. It pretty much destroyed everything we worked so hard to accomplish." The group broke up in late 1970, during the recording of their second LP.

Garage rockers the Yellow Payges formed in Torrance, California in the fall of 1965 -- while attending a performance by friends the Palace Guard at the Hollywood club the Hullabaloo, vocalist Dan Hortter took the stage to sing a rendition of "I'm a Man," so impressive that club owner Gary Bookasta hired Hortter's own band to back the Newbeats two weeks later. 

The problem was, Hortter's previous band, the Driftones, had dissolved months earlier, but he quickly assembled a new Driftones' lineup including guitarists John Knox and Larry Tyre, bassist Herby Ratzloff, and drummer Terry Rae, also a member of the Palace Guard. Rae resigned almost immediately after the Newbeats gig, with drummer Dan Gorman signing on in time for the group to change its name to the Yellow Payges. They were soon playing the Hullabaloo on a steady basis, with Bookasta signing on as manager -- in 1966, Knox, Tyre, and Ratzloff exited, with guitarists Bob Norsoph and Randy Carlisle, and bassist Mike Rummans signing on in their stead. 

When Norsoph and Carlisle quit soon after, Rummans moved to guitar, with Jim Lanham briefly assuming bass duties prior to the addition of bassist Teddy Rooney, son of Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney. In 1967, this Yellow Payges lineup issued their debut single, the Showplace label effort "Never See the Good in Me" -- "Jezebel" followed later that year, and both records generated enough local buzz to earn the band a contract with major label UNI. In addition to releasing their label debut "Our Time Is Running Out," in late 1967, the Yellow Payges closed out the year as part of Dick Clark's Happening '67, a package tour which traveled to 45 U.S. cities in 45 days. In mid-'68, both Rummans and Rooney exited, with Hortter and Gorman quickly recruiting guitarists Bill Ham and Bob Barnes, both products of Fort Worth, Texas (a geographic quirk resulting in some confusion as to the band's actual hometown). 


On August 16, the Yellow Payges played their biggest-ever show, appearing at the Hollywood Bowl on a bill headlined by the Animals, the Rascals and Tommy James & the Shondells; they spent much of the year to follow supporting their singles "Childhood Friends" and "Crowd Pleaser" on tour with the Animals, later spending six months opening for the Beach Boys. The band's debut LP, Vol. 1, appeared on UNI in mid-'69, generating the singles "Never Put Away My Love for You," and "Vanilla on My Mind"; "Follow the Bouncing Ball" appeared in 1970, and their cover of the warhorse "I'm a Man" (a nod to Hortter's big break) fell just two slots shy of cracking the Billboard Hot 100. 

Somewhat ironically, it was a campaign with AT&T that spelled the Yellow Payges' demise: hired by Wall Street advertising firm Cunningham & Walsh as part of a phone company-sponsored campaign designed to appeal to young audiences, the band was forced to appear in commercials in yellow satin ruffled shirts, effectively destroying their credibility and their momentum. 

After one final single, "Moonfire," the Yellow Payges dissolved in late 1970 -- Barnes later backed Kinky Friedman under the alias Roscoe West, and also collaborated with T-Bone Burnett.

01. The Two Of Us 02:50
02. Little Women  02:45
03. Friends  03:30
04. Boogie Woogie Baby 02:10
05. Crowd Pleaser  02:30
06. Moonfire  01:50
07. Devil Woman  03:00
08. Never Put Away My Love For You  02:20
09. I'm A Man / Here 'Tis  08:45

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