Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12: Singer Ralph Scala of The Blues Magoos "We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet," is 66-years-old today.

Ralph Scala who played organ and sang, was an original member of The Blues Magoos, a rock music group from the The Bronx, New York. They were at the forefront of the psychedelic music trend, beginning as early as 1966.

The band was formed in 1964 as "The Trenchcoats." In addition to Scala, The original members were guitarist Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm aka Peppy Castro, Dennis LePore who played lead guitar, Ronnie Gilbert on bass and John Finnegan on 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 later changed it 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.

They released the "So I'm Wrong and You Are Right" single on Verve Records, but the record did not do well. However, Mercury Records signed the band to a record deal in 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 album sleeve.

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HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):
Psychedelic Lollipop / Electric Comic BookKaleidesopic Compendium: The Best of the Blues MagoosBasic Blues Magoos

In a tour of the US in 1967 they were the opening act followed by The Who and then Herman's Hermits. The group's biggest song, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet," was released as a single in 1967. 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.

The next record 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. 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 band was signed to ABC Records, but most of the members did not return to the group. Only Castro agreed and started up a revamped Blues Magoos. Ralph Scala and Joey Stec later resurfaced as members of The Dependables.

In July 2008, the Blues Magoos with original members Ralph Scala, Castro and Geoff Daking reunited for the first time in years for two concerts, including one with The Zombies at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza in New York City. In December 2009 they traveled to Spain for the Purple Weekend festival.


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