Denroy Morgan Fire

 

  

Audio Snippets from the album---------> 1.  O' Sinner Man
2.  And Shes Mine
3.  California Dreamin
4.  Drag Your Spirit Down
5. 
Stewball
6. 
Buddy Can You Spare A Dime
7. 
Echoes Of My Mind
8. 
Wild Woman
9. 
Time Slips Away
10. 
Pallet On The Floor
11. 
Give A Damn
12. 
Sunday Reprise

 




Spanky & Our Gang
Masters of melodic radio-friendly hits return to the stage.

When the soul-stirring notes from "Like To Get To Know You" spring out of
the radio, we're reminded of how the distinctive sound crafted by Spanky
and Our Gang and their producer, Jerry Ross became an indelible imprint on
the soundtrack of our lives. Just as the first top ten hit, "Sunday Will
Never Be The Same" did the year before, "Like To Get To Know You" has
irresistible staying power - and that it hasn't been heard in its original
form in concert halls for years makes this music's return such an
anticipated event.

The incredible string of hits, 5 in the Top 40, stretched from June of
1967 into May of 1968, a collage of strong melodies and brilliant
harmonies that established this band as a pop sensation for the ages.
Booking agent Bob Birk remembers meeting Spanky when he was 15 years old
and she had yet to cut a record.  Spanky came to see the now-famous agent
performing in Chicago, and she and her boyfriend back then generously gave
of their time, forming a lasting impression on the lad and his band, The
Underprivileged, who would sign with Smash, a subsidiary of Mercury -the
label that issued all the Spanky And Our Gang Hits.

Bruce Eder says in the biography on Allmusic.com "Their hits, particularly
"Sunday Will Never Be the Same," "Lazy Day," "Like to Get to Know You,"
and "Give a Damn," were as much a part of the ambience of the middle to
late '60s as any of the best known songs of the Mamas & the Papas with
whom they're frequently compared."

As well they should be, Spanky joined John Phillips, McKenzie Phillips,
Denny Doherty and sound engineer Dinky Dawson in the 1980s combining her
hit songs with those of the John Phillips catalog - with the expected
quite wonderful result. Those shows should have been videotaped for DVD,
as they were the harmonic convergence of two pop titans, Chicago meets
Monterey, with McKenzie Phillips adding a bit of "One Day At A Time" for
good measure.  John Phillips refers to Spanky in his book "Papa John, An
Autobiography", as "my old friend, Spanky McFarlane", and notes how they
"played the Bottom Line for four nights in the summer (of 1984), all
standing-ovation sellouts."

WHAT THE NEW CONCERTS WILL HOLD:

Listening to Spanky onstage is like falling in love again and hearing
"can't Promise...can't promise...that I'll love you" creates that
soul-stirring scenario via a lyric and vocal prowess that graced the stage
with Gary Puckett, The Association & The Turtles on the Happy Together
Tour.  "Yes I would, if I could" McFarlane sings in "Like To Get To Know
You", a song that her audiences relate to in a multitude of ways.

Bette Midler/Carly Simon songwriter Buzzy Linhart is still in awe of her
voice - and he says that her personality is just as loving and friendly as
the music she makes.  "When we were seventeen Spanky's group, The New Wine
Singers, were the house band at Farragher's Bar in Cleveland Heights, one
half a block from the local synagogue.   When I played in Chicago solo at
Mother Blues, a big folk club at the time, The New Wine Singers put me up
at their house for two weeks so I could learn about the town.  She's one
of those ladies that treats all the guys like a mother, as did Cass
Elliot.  Just a sweet, wonderful human being."  Buzzy went on to say
"Because she had that folk experience, she could very well be the first
bona fide lady folk-rocker.  She had encompassed traditional folk
completely and joined the new sound.  All of us - with message music -
were encouraged to feel that it could actually be a commercial direction."

Spanky's appearance on the "This Land Is Your Land" special on PBS was
just a taste of what the new band has in store for her audiences.  This
"Spanky" brings the songs you love with something new, different and
exciting.

The band appeared with Willie Nelson onstage on March 14, 2009 in
St. Augustine, performing gospel tunes  "I'll Fly Away", "Will The Circle
be Unbroken"

The all-new Spanky & Our Gang brings the music you remember with a special
something extra.

Here's what I've been told is in store for the fans of the new millennium,
meet the new members of the band:

JIM CARRICK

"Augustine's Jim Carrick is no stranger to the Florida Folk music family.
Called a master storyteller on the guitar whose warm, sure ballads can
sooth any listener's woes, Carrick spent his early career touring with
singer/songwriter Steve Young and opening shows for country music legends
Barbara Mandrell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels
and Gamble Rogers to name a few.

Karen Dumont
Found by Spanky in a choir the multi-talented Karen Dumont has an earthy
and soulful jazz/blues voice that is the perfect counterpoint to
McFarlane.  Her own "Blues Cruise" CD gives a precise picture of what she
brings to the invigorated Spanky & Our Gang.

Bob Ebenstein, keyboardist, is called "the heart and soul" of the Arcata
Interfaith Gospel Choir, where he and Dumont met (she was the choir
director from 1993-2004). They both found Spanky (and in turn, Spanky
found them) in Northern California.  Bob was raised in Princton, New
Jersey where he began playing violin at the age of ten. He played in a
youth theatre orchestra and credits his classical violin teacher, Helen
Thompson, for instilling in him a love for music.


Chris Matheos (bass & vocals)
Bassist, author, and instructor Chris Matheos is a native of Rochester,
New York. He studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He
published many instructional bass books with Mel Bay Publications. He has
toured with national acts in about every style of music. He also performs
and composes his own music and tours as a bass clinician. He endorses
Washburn fretted basses, Keith Roscoe fretless basses, Conklin electric
upright basses, Washburn accoustic/electric basses, David Eden amps, David
Eden strings and Pigtronix pedals.


Eddie Ponder
John Rhys of BluesPower.com says: "Eddie was born in Florida and raised in
Mississippi. He played Jazz along the East Coast until he received a call
to join the popular West Coast duo, Zimmerman and Greenberg for an album
produced by Al Schmidt.  He was then selected as drummer for Bobbie
Gentry's band and traveled the world behind her monster hit, "Ode To Billy
Joe".

In early 1975, Eddie went on the road with Don Everly (the Everly Brothers
weren't on speaking terms at that time). How's this for a band?....Don
Everly (vocals and rhythm guitar), Eddie Ponder (drums), Warren Zevon
(keys), Paul Uhrig (bass) and Lindsay Buckingham (lead guitar).

Eddie played on sessions for Timi Yuro, The Coasters, Bobby Vee and Warren
Zevon in those early days. Soon, he was to be called on to play with one
of the greatest country rock groups in American musical history; The
Flying Burrito Brothers.

Mr. Ponder is currently keeping his sticks in play with the fabulous Ms.
Spanky McFarlane and Our Gang.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Buzzy Linhart gave a little more insight on the group's magic "Stuart
Scharf, their great classically trained arranger lent a modern classical
air to those arrangements that allowed it to be a pop group that was
completely accessible to older folks also, not only intelligent listening
for the youth."

As Stewart Mason says in his AMG review of that 1969 Greatest Hits package
"The hit singles "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" and "Lazy Day" are
pinnacles of sunshine pop, and album tracks like "Three Ways From
Tomorrow" and "Yesterday's Rain," both written by guitarist Lefty Baker,
are nearly their equal."  We couldn't agree more.


Rock Journalist Joe Viglione

Spanky & Our Gang Albums

 

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