Wings

WingsWings was a folk rock band from the late sixties (not to be confused with the band Wings later formed by Paul McCartney). The band members were veterans from an assortment of other sixties bands. Initially, the band was made up of Oz Bach of Spanky and Our Gang on bass, Pam Robins of Serendipity Singers sang, and on guitar Eddie Simon, younger brother of Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel. Before their first and only album was recorded, Eddie Simon was replaced with Jim Mason who co-wrote the Peter, Paul and Mary song “I Dig Rock and Roll Music”. Also playing in the band was keyboardist Steve Knight, who later joined Mountain, Jefferson Airplane drummer Jerry Peloquin, and guitarist Jack McNichol.

History

In the summer of 1968, the band began played as an opening act for Big Brother and the Holding Company and Sly & the Family Stone. They soon signed to the record label ABC Dunhill Records and recorded their only album at Sunset Sound with producer Steve Barri.

The band’s name comes from a small slip of paper that was sent to Jim Mason with the word Wings written on it.

They had hoped to replace the Mamas & the Papas, but the band split before the end of the year. Only the song General Bringdown made a mark on the charts.

~ Wikipedia


Wings was formed late in 1967 and included:

Oz Bach – bass, vocals (formerly with Spanky and Our Gang and who later formed Tarantula)
Jim Mason – guitar, vocals (who co-wrote “I Dig Rock and Roll Music”)
Pam Robins – vocals (who worked with Eddie Simon, Steven Stills, and the Serendipity Singers)
Steve Knight – keyboards (who later performed with Mountain)
Jack McNichol – lead guitar
Jerry Peloquin – drums (formerly with Jefferson Airplane)

Jim writes, “Oz and Pam Robins asked me to replace Eddie Simon in a new group they were forming in New York in ’67… ” Jim brought in Jerry on drums and then Steve on keyboard – Oz felt the keyboard would round out their sound.

Jerry relates,”I met Jim Mason in SF and came east with him and another band called “Websters Word.” Before coming to SF, I had been with the US Marine Band and Drum Corps in Washington, DC. I was the first drummer with Jefferson Airplane (enter “Jerry Peloquin” into Google).”

They spent the summer of ’68 getting the music tight and playing as opening act for Big Brother and the Holding Company (Westbury, Long Island) and Sly and the Family Stone (Connecticut) as well as here and there in New York City. They attracted the attention of ABC Dunhill and soon they were in L.A. recording at Sunset Sound (and/or Western Recorders), with Steve Barri producing. The immortal Jimmie Haskell was brought in to do strings. Oz recounted that Dunhill was grooming 3 bands that summer, Steppenwolf (who had a hit with “Born to Be Wild”), Three Dog Night, and Wings. It was hoped that Wings would replace the Mamas and Papas, who had recently broken up.

WingsAccording to Pam, “Naming the group was the weirdest thing I’d ever experienced! We had not been together for very long when a friend of Jim’s, Martin Grossman, visited us at our loft. We told him how much trouble we were having deciding on a name and as he got into the elevator to leave, he said, “A name will come to you in the mail (in a short time).” Sure enough, about a week later an envelope arrived there (we got NO mail there, so the arrival of it in itself was noteworthy) and inside was a torn slip of paper with a single word “WINGS” written on it. Jim still has that slip of paper.” Jim bears out this story – “We became WINGS when a friend of mine on the west coast sent me a small piece of paper with WINGS written on it, (which somehow I still keep)”

Their venue that summer included The Scene, Phone Booth, Circus Maximus, St. George Hotel, Paramus County Fair, Orange County Fair, and the Century Plaza Hotel. Jim recalls that the night they opened for Traffic at Steve Paul’s club, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were there.

Pam observes that “Oz knew more about ‘the business’ than the rest of us put together. He also knew music from the business standpoint and was the creative hub of the group.” She says that Steve Knight was “possibly the most formally trained in music,” and that Jim’s approach was “fairly casual and mellow.” She says, “Jack was one of the best guitarists I’ve ever worked with but shy in the extreme. He could play anything, in any style, and was a source of constant amazement and delight to all of us.” She said that Jerry was a strong drummer, “a metronome.” Pam’s own strength was in voicings, and it was she who got “the boys” to sing the higher harmony parts (above her voice) for the resulting intensity of sound. In all, the group had an eclectic blend of pleasing elements with rich instrumentals and mellow vocal harmonies.

Apparently there was not a cohesive agreement about the artistic focus and direction of the band. Most of the members had some roots in folk rock, but they also wanted a sound that was more “pop,” with elements of “rock.” They disbanded late in 1968 after details for a tour to promote the album could not be worked out and a trucking strike delayed shipments of the album.

Nonetheless, the album was great and the band had airplay. “General Bringdown” reached 100 or so on the charts.

Jerry writes, “After the final master, they ran the tape through a thing called ‘…a comparative grooves generator.’ (Jim calls it ‘a compatible stereo generator.’) The intent was to permit playing on both monoral and stereo equipment.” However, he felt that the process “cut the highs and the lows off the music” and that it also dampened “the agressive and strident nature of Jack’s guitar solos and muffled the drums’ sound.”

Jerry says of Oz that he was “excellent… a fine bass player, vocalist, and collaborator”

Jim recollects, “Oz was a very creative, high energy guy with an overflow of ideas, … the time we spent together was enjoyable, and I am grateful to have had the experience of working with him”

Jack McNichol is shown in the photo on the front cover, but the sepia photo above shows another artist, Shia (shy-ah) Richmond, who came in later to replace him.

Seth Evans, co-writer of “Shrinking Violet” and formerly married to Pam Robins, provided me with the following info:

“Oz and I met in Miami around 1963(?) when I was there working in a duo with Tedd Baron at ‘The Coffee House’ and then again later when I was down there as a solo at a number of different places.

We renewed our acquaintance later in the 60’s when Oz moved to New York (where I had been based) and we were all starting to do ‘folk-rock’ stuff. It was a heady scene in the Village at that time.”

“I wouldn’t swear to it but Sam Gordon may have been the Simon contact. Years before Wings, when Tedd Baron and I were working as a duo and backing up Brian Hyland, we worked for Sam and guys who wrote all the songs for Brian, Peter Udell and Gary Geld. They had a number of tunes by Paul Simon (at that time no one knew who he was) that they wanted Tedd and I to do. My guess is that Sam probably put everyone together with Paul’s brother.”

http://www.spankyandourgang.com/ozbach/wings.html


Discography

Wings (1968) (ABC Dunhill Records)

Side “A”:
1. See Someone Hangin (Oz) O. Bach Time: 4:07
2. That’s Not Real (Pam & Jim) J. Mason – P. Robins Time: 3:26
3. General Bringdown (Pam, Jim & Oz) O. Bach – J. Mason – J. McNichol Time: 2:30
4. First Time is the Last (Oz) O. Bach Time: 3:00
5. What Do I Know (Jim) J. Mason Time: 2:40
Side “B”:
1. Pretty Little Girl (Oz) O. Bach Time: 3:53
2. Takin’ It Lazy (Takin’ It Easy – Oz) (Lazy Afternoon – Jim & Pam) O. Bach – J. Mason – F Pappalardi – G. Collins (Arranged by Steve Knight) Time: 3:15
3. Shrinking Violet * (Pam) P. Robbins – S. Evans – J. Piazza Time: 2:05
4. Different Kind of Woman (Pam, Jim & Oz) J. Mason – O. Bach – J. McNichol Time: 2:40
5. Changes (Keep Coming About) (Oz) O. Bach Time: 2:22
6. Give Me Your Love (Pam, Jim & Oz) J. Mason Time: 2:11
*Saturday Music (BMI)
All Other Songs Power Pop Music & Wingate Music (ASCAP)

Produced by Steve Barri for Kaliedescope Productions, Inc.,
A Division of Gordon Martineau Associates
Strings arranged and conducted by Jimmie Haskell
Engineer – Phil Kaye
Art Direction – Gary Burden
Photography – Henry Diltz


A big thank-you to http://www.redtelephone66.com/ for help with this post. Visit their excellent site for information on this and many other rare and out of print albums from the 1960s and 1970s.


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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

    From 1968 album Wings
    Wings

  • See Someone Hangin’
  • That’s Not Real
  • General Bringdown
  • Pretty Little Girl
  • Give Me Your Love