The Very Brief Backstory
It was 1966. Hell, I wasn’t even old enough to legally drink. I played in a band with a name that would be most politically incorrect nowadays, but back then, it was a pretty handy gimmick, given the appearance of the group, which was comprised of three Japanese-American brothers and two caucasians, one of whom was Yours Truly. The name of the band was “Saby and the Orientals,” and we performed wearing happi coats (here is the closest image I could find of how they looked).
Annnnnyway, as I said, it was 1966, the British Invasion was in full swing, so we thought we should make a record. Saby (pronounced “Sobby”) had written a bunch of songs, so we picked out two of them and arranged for (i.e. paid for) some studio time in New York City. I think we had only purchased two hours, so it was a case of hustle in, set up and try to get it “right” the first time. It was then we learned that we wouldn’t be singing and playing at the same time. First we would have to do the music track and then stand in front of the recording guys and sing into boom microphones to our track — no headphones. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. Pretty low tech by today’s standards, methinks.
This was back in the days of 45 RPM records, so we recorded an “A” side and a “B side.” About a week or so later, we picked up a couple hundred 45’s. We handed them out to friends and even naively sent a couple to radio stations. We learned that it actually got played once on some station in Albany and on another in Hawaii.
A year or so later, Life 101 took us in various directions (for me, following college graduation, it was a couple years in the Army). The three brothers moved to places like Colorado and Hawaii. Ed packed up his guitar and became an insurance company executive.
Many years later (in 2002) we had a reunion in Colorado and a friend of one of the guys put the 45 on to a CD. I tucked it away, never giving it much thought until I came across it a week or so ago while cleaning out some bookcases.
So, I sort of figured out how to place it somewhere out there in the ether so you can hear it. There is probably a more efficient way of doing that, but I remain cyber-challenged.
Guitar – Saburo (Saby)
Organ – Tatsuo (Tatsy)
Bass – Hideo
Guitar – Ed
Drums – Me
Hey, it was 1966.
Baby Come my Way
(I’m the guy who sounds like Gary Lewis)
That’s Ed out front.
We’ve gotten together every two years since 2002. I’ve written about the record and our subsequent reunions before, including noting that someone was selling one of the 45’s for $200.00 and “Little Girl” found its way to an album called The The White Group Sound. Obviously, the person who put the album together never saw the band.
Saby still writes songs and plays professionally (keyboard, these days) on the beautiful island of Maui.
So, there you have it. No cyber tomatoes, please. As I said, it was 1966.