This Friday will mark 46 years since my father died. That summer, my mother took the three of us to California. The husband of a friend of hers was doing some postdoctoral work at Stanford, she wanted to visit her cousin in San Rafael, and we all wanted to see Disneyland. And, as I learned much later, Mom was considering a change of scenery for herself and her three sons, and was interviewing for teaching jobs. 1967 was the Summer of Love, and San Francisco was at its epicenter. The whole atmosphere made a powerful impression on me, and hearing music from that time reminds me of that summer. Today’s artists, Spanky and Our Gang, are an example.
The band started as Elaine McFarlane (nicknamed “Spanky” because of her resemblance to George “Spanky” McFarland from Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies) on vocals along with Nigel Pickering (guitar and vocals) and Paul “Oz” Bach (bass and vocals). The band grew to six members, with Malcolm Hale (lead guitar, vocals), Lefty Baker (lead guitar and vocals) and John “The Chief” Seiter (drums,vocals) joining along the way. Their eponymous first album was released in August 1967 and included “Lazy Day,” our first selection today. They released Like To Get To Know You in April 1968; the title track is the second selection. Hale died in Chicago that October of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heating system, and, after releasing Anything You Choose b/w Without Rhythm or Reason in January 1969, they disbanded. They reformed in 1975 to release one final album, Change.
Hope you’ve enjoyed hearing Spanky and Our Gang again, your Two For Tuesday, January 22, 2013.