The Coachmen

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Sporting natty black bowlers, Sacramento, CA's anglophilic Coachmen left little doubt whence they drew their musical inspiration. Originally founded in 1964, the group's "classic" personnel included three…
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Sporting natty black bowlers, Sacramento, CA's anglophilic Coachmen left little doubt whence they drew their musical inspiration. Originally founded in 1964, the group's "classic" personnel included three guitarists (Brian Costello, Rick Fitzpatrick, and Mike Davis), bassist Skip Kelly, and drumming vocalist Paul Kern. Two representative band tracks are featured on the various artists' compilation, Nuggets From the Golden State: The Sound of Young Sacramento (Big Beat). The first, an instrumentally brilliant reprise of the Motown chestnut "Money," suffers from Kern's well-intended but over-reaching vocal. Fitzpatrick's "And That's Why" proves infinitely better suited to Kern's singing abilities. A sterling example of English-beat balladry, the number brings to mind such limey luminaries as the Searchers and the Rockin' Berries. These two tracks were released in 1965 as successive singles by tiny Sacramento independent label Esar. Had the Coachmen seen the inside of a major label's recording studio, they might well have found their professional carriage rattling up the national charts. As it was, they enjoyed widespread local fame and actually opened for the visiting Kinks on several occasions. In 1966, having joined the National Guard (en masse) to beat the draft, the Coachmen gradually faded from the scene.