This West Coast quintet didn't survive long, which was probably just as well for a certain identically named British band that did -- but they deserved a better fate than the obscurity to which they've been consigned. Lead guitarist Jack Ttanna, who had previously played with the Sons of Adam, shared vocal chores with Sue Richman, and they could easily have given Grace Slick and Paul Kantner a run for their money, especially in the harmony department -- throw future Steppenwolf member Kent Henry's angular lead guitar into the mix, and the result was a leaner rival to Jefferson Airplane, who also showed off some good in-house songwriting and the smarts to know what to do with it. The rest of the band was filled out by Fred "Foxey" Rivera on bass, and Bob "Crusher" Metke on drums. They were good enough to be signed to Mercury Records, where their one album, In the Beginning, demonstrated a range that encompassed lyrical folk-rock and baroque pop ("Gloomy Sunday"), pounding West Coast psychedelia ("Angeline," "Ten Second Song"), shimmering, ethereal acoustic mood pieces ("Girl Who Never Was"), and one killer long-form guitar-based jam ("World Without You"). Based on the evidence, they should have been an iconic psychedelic band, and at least rated support-act status nationally to lesser, more commercial outfits. Part of the problem may have been their sheer range -- given the limited thinking of the record companies at the time, it's entirely possibly that Mercury never knew what to do with them. And Rivera's being drafted in 1968 didn't help, leading to a lineup change, with Jimmy Chappell replacing him. In any case, the failure of the album and a pair of singles precipitated their breakup in late 1968, just in time to free up the name for use by a budding British band. Their album kicked around cut-out bins for years after, enticing and annoying fans of the U.K. group -- but in 2007 In the Beginning got its first release on CD, and gave Ttanna, Richman, and company their first official worldwide exposure in 40 years.
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