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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Bones - Bones (1972 us, exciting power pop, breezy rocker, sterling vocals, 2018 korean remaster)

 Bones was a four piece rock band on the L.A. scene in the years 1969 – 1973. An exciting live act as well as a remarkable recording outfit, Bones crafted a sound which combined great melodies, sophisticated vocals, rockin’ instrumental tracks, and (always) a danceable beat. The members were Jimmy Faragher, bass, Danny Faragher, keys, Greg Tornquist, guitar, and Casey Cunningham, drums. The band also had an unplugged, sensitive side, which featured sweet harmonies, and finger picked guitar. The guys had been known as the Peppermint Trolley Co., but in early ’69, after differences with their producer/manager, they’d walked away from all their ties, including the Acta record deal, to reinvent themselves.

Relocating to Riverside, the PTC put on their thinking caps to conjure up a new name. Danny remembers – “We wanted something which was opposite to the Peppermint Trolley Company; short and earthy.” (Greg) – “The Bones name came from an Earle Stanley Gardner murder mystery called Rolling Bones.  There was a book shelf in my bedroom with mystery books my dad liked to read… and I saw Rolling BONES among the 40 paper backs.  I laughed because of Rolling Stones…and then thought…Bones! That’s us…skin and BONES.” (Danny) – “We were deliberately looking for a word that started with the letter “B”. After all, there had been some great bands in that category…The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Band, etc. So when Greg suggested the moniker, we all thought it was perfect.” (Greg) – “ I remember we also agreed not to use skeletons or the hard on meaning…and we didn’t…just like the Beatles never used insects.”

The group quickly adopted a rehearsal schedule, practicing all night in friend, Chauncey Romero’s music store in Redlands, The House of Note. Danny traded the clavinet for an R.M.I. piano, and the Baroque figures for boogie licks. The boys turned up the volume a bit, as they worked to carve out a more rockin’ sound.

The Bones album, entitled “Bones”, was released that spring to rave reviews. Phil Hartman, future comedic star, did the cover art; a photo of the guys seated on a wall at the Malibu house. The LP featured songs with an original Rock and Soul vibe, like “Good Luck”, “Prisoner of Love”, and the funky “Door to Door Love”. There were hard rockin’numbers like “L.A. Isabella”, and “The Bust Song”, and gentler tunes like “He Said”, and “Bustin’ My Heart”. Danny and Jimmy played brass and reed parts, and both Greg and Danny blew harmonica. “Roberta”, an infectious Rock a Roll number written by Huey Piano Smith, was released as the single, and began to show up on the charts. (Danny) – “One of the best songs we ever recorded never made it on the album… ‘Hope’, a great timeless ballad which could resonate today, but for some reason it was omitted.” There were several other fine recordings that never made the cut: the country tinged “Greenwood County”; the Beach Boys influenced “Cold, Cold Mama”; and the Cowboy Funky “Honey Baby”.

Despite the positive reviews, and the single’s success, the album failed to catch on. Sadly, some of the extraordinary momentum Bones had revved up was beginning to wane. Members were meeting their future wives, getting their own places. The band had acquired roadies and tech men, who were now living in the Malibu house. Consequently, some of the tight camaraderie was lost. To shake things up, the band decided to add Patrick McClure, who had been in the Peppermint Trolley Co., and remained a close friend, as a second guitarist.

1. Good Luck - 2:42
2. Oh Darlin' - 3:26
3. The Bust Song - 3:35
4. Door To Door Love - 3:52
5. Prisoner Of Love - 3:27
6. L.A. Isabella - 2:57
7. He Said - 3:19
8. Roberta (Huey "Piano" Smith, John Vincent) - 3:59
9. Have Your Fun - 2:37
10.Bustin' My Heart (Danny Faragher) - 2:25
11.Take A Little Bit - 3:15
All songs by Jimmy Faragher except where noted

*Casey Cunningham - Drums, Percussion
*Danny Faragher - Keyboards, Horns, Vocals
*Jimmy Faragher - Bass, Sax Vocals
*Greg Tornquist - Guitar, Vocals