“See My People Come Together”
Tommy Bolin’s: ZEPHYR 1968 -73
BUZZ Newspaper Article Aug 2016 #65-tbZ
An Excerpt From The Forth Coming Book:
“Post Toastee” By: RLSchwinden aka MrZerr0 (w/ Johnnie Bolin)
When I was a little kid living on 34th & Douglas, my Uncle Jeff, moved in with us for awhile, & he used to hang with the local musicians on “The Scene” in Sioux City, one of which was, Tommy Bolin, so one day he says “You know that guy Tommy I used to hang out with? Well, he put out a record” I thought “A record? A guy from Sioux City, no, Beatles & Monkees put out records, not a guy from Sioux City”
So this time round I will be covering ‘ZEPHYR’ Tommy R. Bolin’s 1st Official release.
> Cross The River: 1967 -1968 <
A 16 year old Tom Bolin (Barry Fey added the “Tommy” later on) drops out of Sioux City Central High to take off to Cincinnati, OH. to join up with Guitar Legend Lonnie Mack (1941-2016) it was here Bolin met Keyboardist John Faris: (15 July 1947 -2006 Cincinnati), things didn’t work out in Ohio, so Bolin & Faris move out to Boulder, CO. the burgeoning “Hippy Scene” of the Mid-West, the pair joined up with Jeff Cook (1948) to form the band ‘American Standard’, by ’68, Bolin & Faris formed a new band ‘Ethereal Zephyr’ heavy organ based blues music not unlike like ‘Crabby Appleton’ & ‘Steppenwolf’. Also on the local music scene was a band ‘Brown Sugar’ with Bassist David Givens (4 Oct 1948: Detroit) & his wife Vocalist; Candy (Candace Ramey: 9 Dec 1946; Des Moines, IA. -27 Jan 1984). The 2 bands were urged to join forces, as many thought Bolin played so much like “Hendrix” & Candy sang much like “Joplin” this would be a band to be reckoned with, they added Drummer Robby Chamberlin (R.I.P. 17 Feb 2016) to round out the band. This line-up was so good they were the opening act both days to the “Denver Pop Festival” featuring head-liner Jimi Hendrix on 28-29 Jun 1968.
> Hard Chargin Woman: 1969
Manager Barry Fey was able to get the band signed to (ABC) Probe & their 1st LP was released in Oct ’69, commonly referred to as “The Bathtub” (#CPLP-4510-S @ $4.98), Produced By: Bill Halverson 9 songs (2 covers) Recorded At Wally Heider Studios Los Angeles. There was one 45 Single released “Sail On (3:35 edit) b/w Cross The River” (#CP-475), a “Promo Clip” was released for “Hard Chargin Woman” the band made at least 3 TV appearances performing “St. James Infirmary” on the ‘Barry Richards Show’ & appeared ‘Music Scene’ & ‘American Bandstand’ in Jan ’70 performing “Cross The River”. There have been 3 versions of the 1st CD; on ‘Beat Goes On’ & ‘One Way’ & a 3-CD Deluxe Box-Set on Purple Pyramid, including 2 “Live” discs; CD2 “Live Cuts: ’69-73 & CD3 is the 2nd reunion show on 19 Jun ’73 @ Tulagi’s (released in May 2014). *David Givens: “I think our 3 song demo turned out to be a better recording than the LP recording, Tommy was playing a rented ’63 Gibson Mahogany SG: Les Paul Version, to get that sound everyone was going for at the time” *Jeff Schwinden: “When Tommy’s first ‘ZEPHYR’ record came out, It was a big deal among us guys, in that crowd, that hung with Tommy. I still have my first copy of that ‘Bathtub’ album. I went out & bought it right when it was released”
> Somebody Listen: 1970 <
While touring for the 1st LP, some tensions grew in the band as the members got to know each other better (according to Bolin). Chamberlin began to become less motivated than the other 4. At Bolin’s recommendation; Bobby Berge: (21 June 1948 In Sioux Falls, South Dakota) Drummer for the Iowa Band ‘The Velaires’ was brought in as a 2nd drummer, in May ’70 however in a very short time Berge was to become the Only Drummer in ‘ZEPHYR’ *Berge: “I always liked Tommy’s playing & ZEPHYR was touring behind a record, so I thought this was a great opportunity” It was also about this time (Jun ’70) Bolin began his song writing partnership with John Tesar, who he had meet in South Dakota sometime in ’67 when Bolin was playing in ‘CHATEAU’. Unfortunately not a lot of Video exists on ‘ZEPHYR’ there is one for the song: “Goin Home” from the”Day of Joy Festival” in Houston, TX. on Sun 19 Jul 1970. Tommy liked to tape record his shows onto reel-to-reel, so here is a set-list from one of Tommy’s personal reels;
Tuesday 11 August 1970 Santa Monica, California @ Santa Monica Civic Center (61:33 min Audio Recording Exists)
Cross The River
Going Back To Colorado/Blues Jam
Hard Chargin Woman/Echoplex Solo
Under My Thumb/Gimme Shelter
The Creator Has A Master Plan/Tommy Bolin On Guitar
Hard Chargin Woman: Reprise
*Johnnie Bolin: “I was in ‘ZEPHYR’ for 1 show (Sep 1970 Sioux Falls, S.D. @ Empire Fairgrounds), I guess ‘Ides Of March’ was to go on last because they had the hit ‘Vehicle’ at the time. But Candy & David had missed their flight. So “Ides” went on 1st. Then ‘Zephyr’ didn’t know what to do, so Tommy asked me to go up with them, with just the 3 of them (Tommy, Berge, & John Ferris) to play percussion & do an “Instrumental Set”. So the 4 of us just went up & jammed. Later that same year, My Mom, Pudge & I took a bus up to Minneapolis (Fall ’70 @ Magoo’s New City Opera House w/ Headliner ‘SPIRIT’ w/ Opener “LIGHTNING’)to see them I remember it was quite a big complex. We ended up staying in a real nice hotel downtown, I’m not sure how that happened?”
> Showbizzy: 1971 <
When ‘ZEPHYR’ opened for LED ZEPPELIN (for 4 shows) 23-26 Jan ’69 (in Boston @ The Tea Party), Jimmy Page recommended Eddie Kramer to produce the band’s next album & it was Kramer that helped the band get signed to WB Records as ‘Probe’ had been folded by ‘ABC’ in Apr ’70. The band’s 2nd album ‘Going back to Colorado’ was released in Jan 1971 on Warner Brothers Records WB-1897, 10 original songs, with one 45 single released “Going Back To Colorado (edit) b/w Radio Song” (#WB-7444), 2 CD versions have been released of this title, the newest; a 2 CD set (in July 2016) with 10 bonus tracks! There is a Video to be found from 5 Mar ’71 @ Santa Monica Civic Center for “Cross The River” It was about this time the band began to split into 2 parts; the Bolin-Berge duo, into experimentalism & Candy, David & Feris; the musical hippies. According to David, “Bolin wanted to be the star, & he Berge wanted to do more “Fusion Jazz” based music”, so the pair left in May ’71, to form ‘ENERGY’ with Jeremy Steig & Kenny Passarelli
> Moving Too Fast: 1972 -73 <
The band replaces Bolin with Jock Bartley & their 3rd LP ‘Sunset Ride’ is released on WB in ’72. By the Summer of ’73 both ‘ZEPHYR’ & ‘ENERGY’ had wound down & Candy, David, Feris & Bolin with Harold “Marty” Fielden: (Flash Cadillac), Otis Taylor, Mick Manressa & Dave Brown (Bolin’s friend & roadie) were playing “Tulagi’s” on Monday Nights as ‘The Legendary 4Nikators’ ,to make some extra money. The 4 had the idea to contact Berge & do 3 ZEPHYR Reunions starting on 2 May ’73 @ Art’s Bar & Grill; there is a CD of this show released by: Tommy Bolin Archives in 1997 & 2 other shows one more in Boulder & 1 in Denver in Jun ’73. David & Candy released a 4th LP in ’82 ‘Heartbeat’ on Red Sneakers Records & a ‘compilation’ CD released in 2002.
There you have it, Tommy R. Bolin’s 1st Recordings …
*The Annual “Tommy Bolin Festival” will be held on Sat 6 Aug 2016 in Sioux City @ The Icky Nickle & for the 7th year in a row Mr. Zero’s 55113 will be a sponsor & will have a booth there, so stop by & say “Hello”
1744 Lexington Ave. N.
Roseville, MN. 55113