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Classic rock catalog: Blues Magoos

In the beginning of psychedelic rock


The role of Blues Magoos in the early years of psych rock is pretty well defined by the fact that their 1966 debut album was the first to contain the word 'psychedelic' in its title. If that doesn't convince you, then consider some of their song titles, like "Subliminal Sonic Laxative," "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" and "President's Council on Psychedelic Fitness."

Formed in The Bronx, New York, the band's original personnel roster included vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Peppy Castro, vocalist/keyboardist Ralph Scala, guitarist Dennis LePore, bass guitarist Ron Gilbert, and drummer Don Finnegan. Before their debut album was released, LePore and Finnegan were replaced by Mike Esposito and Geoff Daking respectively. It was the second lineup that would carry the band through the glory years. In their waning days, only Castro remained a constant until their breakup in 1970.

In the beginning, the band that was first known as The Trenchcoats were a blues rock group. It was their record label (Mercury Records) who molded them into the first significant psychedelic rock band outside the San Francisco psych scene. In 1968, after their second album had fared poorly, the Magoos shifted back to their blues rock roots. Ironically, that decision pushed their popularity into a fatal decline.

1966 - 'Psychedelic Lollipop'

Blues Magoos - Psychedelic Lollipop
Sundazed Music
For a debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop did well, reaching #21 on the Billboard album chart. Two singles from the album, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" and "One By One" charted at #5 and #71 respectively.

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet"
2. "Love Seems Doomed"
3. "Tobacco Road"
4. "Queen of My Nights"
5. "I'll Go Crazy"
Side 2
1. "Gotta Get Away"
2. "Sometimes I Think About"
3. "One by One"
4. "Worried Life Blues"
5. "She's Coming Home"

Watch a TV performance of "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet"

1967 - 'Electric Comic Book'

Blues Magoos - Electric Comic Book
Sundazed Music
In 1967, the band released their second album, Electric Comic Book, which only managed to get to #74 on the album chart. Two singles from the album didn't fare any better that the album, "There's a Chance We Can Make It" peaking at #81 and "Pipe Dream" at #60. According to Peppy Castro, "Pipe Dream" was the victim of a misconception. "By virtue of its title [it] was declared to be a drug reference/pro-drug song ...so [radio stations] banned it. It never saw the light of day and, for sure, we lost momentum. Ironically, it was an anti-drug song. "

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Pipe Dream"
2. "There's a Chance We Can Make It"
3. "Life Is Just a Cher O'Bowlies"
4. "Gloria"
5. "Intermission"
Side 2
1. "Albert Common Is Dead"
2. "Summer Is the Man"
3. "Baby, I Want You"
4. "Let's Get Together"
5. "Take My Love"
6. "Rush Hour"
7. "That's All Folks"

Watch a performance of "Pipe Dream" on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967

1968 - 'Basic Blues Magoos'

Basic Blues Magoos
Sundazed Music
The title of their 1968 album described the band's shift from psych rock back to the blues rock they played in their early days, before they released their first album. Based on the lackluster sales of Basic Blues Magoos the band decided to call it quits.

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Sybil Green (Of The In Between)"
2. "I Can Hear The Grass Grow"
3. "All The Better To See You With"
4. "Yellow Rose"
5. "I Wanna Be There"
6. "I Can Move A Mountain"

Side 2
1. "President's Council On Psychedelic Fitness"
2. "Scarecrow's Love Affair"
3. "There She Goes"
4. "Accidental Meditation"
5. "You're Getting Old"
6. "Subliminal Sonic Laxative"
7. "Chicken Wire Lady"

Listen to Basic Blues Magoos

1969 - 'Never Goin' Back to Georgia'

Blues Magoos - Never Goin' Back to Georgia
ABC Records
The band's management had more faith in the band's potential than did the band's members did, and proceeded to get them a deal with ABC Records in an effort to keep them together. Only Castro could be convinced to stick it out. He put together a new lineup, and Blues Magoos released Never Goin' Back to Georgia in 1969.

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Heartbreak Hotel"
2. "Heart Attack"
3. "The Hunter"
4. "Feelin' Time (I Can Feel It)"
5. "Gettin' Off"

Side 2
1. "Never Goin' Back To Georgia"
2. "Broke Down Piece Of Man"
3. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out"
4. "Georgia Breakdown"

Listen to Never Goin' Back to Georgia

1970 - 'Gulf Coast Bound'

Blues Magoos - Gulf Coast Bound
ABC Records
Never Goin' Back to Georgia had barely made a blip on the album buyers radar screen, and Gulf Coast Bound created even less of one. Although they continued to try to find a way to get some traction, the band's career effectively ended after this release. The Magoos' last two albums are now rarities, having never been released on CD, and being available only on the original vinyl LP on the used market.

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Gulf Coast Bound"
2. "Slow Down Sundown"
3. "Can´t Get Enough Of You"

Side 2
1. "Magoo´s Blues"
2. "Tonight The Sky´s About To Cry"
3. "Sea Breeze Express"

Listen to Gulf Coast Bound
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