March 15, 2009

Holy Cannoli! It’s 1966 Again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:35 pm

Boffo!

Hit bound!

Chart buster!

Not exactly.

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.

The Players
Guitar – Saburo (Saby)
Organ – Tatsuo (Tatsy)
Bass – Hideo
Guitar – Ed
Drums – Me

The Disclaimer
Hey, it was 1966.

The Songs
Baby Come my Way
(I’m the guy who sounds like Gary Lewis)

Little Girl.
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.

24 Comments »

  1. Baby Come My Way- Danceable rate it a 7 (vocals could use some work)

    Little Girl- featured in the Spotlight Dance. Maybe Bunny Gibson and Eddie Kelly or Joyce Shafer and Norman Kerr would be the featured dancers.

    Adding the cuts to the MP3 player.

    Just Damn!

    Comment by Dax Montana — March 15, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  2. Wow! That really IS 1966!

    That’s not so bad, though. At least it was *recorded* in 1966. I was in a band with some guys around 1980. We recently got together and recorded a CD. Most of the songs were written and recorded just a couple of years ago but it still sounds like 1980!

    Your stuff sounds good. Came out well considering the time constraints you were working with.

    Comment by Thomas Pfau — March 15, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  3. Jimbo, you are too cool for school….

    Comment by Sam — March 15, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  4. You’re getting residuals out of that “White Group Sound” collection, yes?

    Comment by Dave Merriman — March 15, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  5. As family members, we played “Baby Come My Way” often. Alas, our copy wound up in a gin mill jukebox on Market Street in Down Neck Newark. It might still be there, but I am not going down there to check.

    Now if only we had recorded some of those early accordion numbers — “The Polack Solo Sound.”

    Great stuff, cuz.

    Comment by Cousin Jack — March 15, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  6. Wait… I think I’ve got this on 8 track.

    Comment by Cappy — March 15, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

  7. God that brought me back. Wonderful!

    Comment by Carl Brannen — March 15, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

  8. Those were awesome. I enjoyed them both immensely.

    Comment by Craig — March 15, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  9. Very nice. Certainly as good as some of the music that made it to the Top 40 in those days. Bet it was fun. The fact it was a multiculti band was way ahead of it’s time. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Ernie Nilsen — March 15, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

  10. Excellent stuff Jimbo!!! I like Sam’s take – too cool for school. I think that says it all. LOL.

    Comment by Teresa — March 16, 2009 @ 12:00 am

  11. Gee Jim you made me feel 15 again ;-)

    Comment by Dan Kauffman — March 16, 2009 @ 5:46 am

  12. Yo,
    Baby Come My Way was good. I am guessing it was your A Side. It sounds like your drumming was heavily influenced by The Who’s Keith Moon which made for an interesting take.
    Little Girl was your WMCA “Good Guys” track. I found it very cool that you still had elements of doo wop harmony in a single recorded in 1966.
    Good stuff, Jimbo. I always like hearing new stuff (even if it was from 1966)

    Comment by RobbieRob — March 16, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  13. Sounds good! Fits the period very well from what I know. (I started kindergarten in ’66)

    Me? I played trumpet off and on in Middle school through my Freshman year. Poorly. Beyond that my music talent lies in running the stereo!

    Comment by Dan O — March 16, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  14. Well rocker one day, lawyer the next, maybe all lawyers shouldn’t be shot, just a selecte majority.

    Comment by James Old Guy — March 16, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  15. Those were GREAT!! :)

    Comment by Richmond — March 16, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  16. Jim,
    Wow!! great songs. Thanks for you effort in retrieving and formatting them for us.

    (this is steve from Jersey City/Santa Cruz)
    I have added almost 2500 records since I first started to follow your blog & am a huge fan of your comedic world view; especially the old band anecdotes where the “bent nose” guy hired your crew.

    that is excellent music. Either of these songs could be on the Lewis and the Playboys disks. outstanding!!

    By the way, Tom Hanks directed (1995) in a fantastic movie, about a one hit wonder band called “The Thing that you do” about a crew that came out of Erie in 1962 or 63. Check it out, their song easily could be yours.

    Your blog is a class act.

    Santa Cruz Steve

    //steve

    Comment by steve balbo — March 16, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

  17. Robbie,

    Interesting. Nope, not Keith Moon. Never heard him until many years later. I guess I sort of made it up as I went along. Funny though, about ten years later, I heard Liberty Devito (Billy Joel’s drummer, for those who don’t know who he is) play, and I thought, “Damn, the guy plays like I do.”

    Back in 1966, the idea was to see how fast and fancy you could do the fills. In the 70′s and 80′s I focused more on just laying it in and using the bass drum in a way that always made good bass players happy to be alive.

    Jimbo

    Comment by Jim — March 16, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  18. Very nice. Would have been a hit with more airplay….

    Comment by Aspergantus — March 17, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  19. very cool — also very British invasion influenced.

    Comment by hoosierboy — March 18, 2009 @ 10:05 am

  20. Hey Jimmy-

    I think that it’s great that you did this!! I am sure that Tatsy’s stoked!

    Hope you’re well brother!

    Nate

    Comment by Nate (Tatsy's son) — March 19, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

  21. great rips, Jimbo! easily better then the trash on the radio these days

    You should probably sign up for American Idol!

    -mike-

    Comment by Mike R. — March 20, 2009 @ 12:18 am

  22. Very nice, Jimbo. It definitely has that “garage band” feel to it. Much like “Hanky Panky” by the Shondells or “Keep on Dancing” by the Gentrys. Thanks for the digital files. I’ll put them on my digital jukebox.

    You da Kemo Saby!!!

    Comment by Jerry from Indiana — March 21, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

  23. Pretty damn cool, Jimbo. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by zonker — March 22, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  24. I love it Jimbo! Both are great. Totally adding them to my MP3 player!

    Comment by oddybobo — March 25, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

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