20 March 2009
"SYNDICATE OF SOUND - LITTLE GIRL" (RAW 60s GARAGE US 1966)
Formed in San Jose (like "Count V"), California, in 1964, "Syndicate Of Sound" were one of the premier 60s Garage bands and forerunners of Psychedelic Rock, establishing a national following based on one massive 1966 hit, "Little Girl".
"Syndicate Of Sound" were "Don Baskin" (vocal and guitar), "John Sharkey" (guitar and organ), "Jim Sawyers" (lead guitar), "Bob Gonzalez" (bass guitar), and "John Duckworth" (drums).
"Syndicate Of Sound" won a "Battle Of The Bands" contest, beating out 100 other groups to win a recording session with "Del-Fi Records".
That effort went nowhere, but the band had been working on new, original material and began shopping a tune called "Little Girl" to anyone who would listen. Nearly everyone turned them away before "Hush Records", a predominantly "Rhythm and Blues" label in Richmond, California, decided to take a chance and issue the record locally in late 1965.
On January 9, 1966, "Syndicate Of Sound" recorded "Little Girl" at a studio in San Francisco became a regional hit in California selling 5,000 copies after San Jose radio stations latched onto it, attracting the attention of executives at "Bell Records" in New York, who later asked the group to record an album.
With a catchy, jangly electric 12-string guitar riff, a solid beat, a teen vocal, and a chord progression heavily influenced by "Hey Joe", the song perfectly mirrored the sound of the times and was a can't-miss hit, a British sound played with American 60s Garage enthusiasm.
5" Philco Ford Hip-Pocket with Syndicate Of Sound
"Little Girl" began to break nationally first in Oklahoma City, and the record entered "Billboard Magazine"'s Top 40; just before the single broke, original guitarist "Larry Ray" was pushed out of "Syndicate Of Sound", and the group hired "Jim Sawyers" instead. They wrote and recorded the LP (Bell Records LP6001, US 1966) in three weeks, and began a national tour appearing with other hit acts such as "The Young Rascals", "The Yardbirds", and "The Rolling Stones".
"Little Girl" reached the US national pop charts in June 1966, peaking at #8.
"Syndicate Of Sound" at San Jose Civic Auditorium with "Chocolate Watchband".
When they flew to New York that summer, "Syndicate Of Sound" toured constantly for the latter half of 1966, taking time off to tape TV shows like "American Bandstand" and "Where The Action Is".
But their success ride was short; within a year or two, their ranks were decimated from the draft, touring exhaustion, and the musically changing times.
Kicking off with a pair of souped-up R&B covers, the album casts a pretty wide net, with half of the tunes penned by various band members.
"Syndicate Of Sound" left to right: Kevin (equipment manager), "Bob Gonzales", "Don Baskin", Ralph (roadie), "Jim Sawyers" and "John Duckworth".
Of these, ballads sit alongside rockers like "Lookin' For The Good Times (The Robot)" and "Rumors", while "The Kinks"-style "That Kind Of Man" is an imaginative British-sound knockoff.
Syndicate Of Sound: "Rumors" / "The Upper Hand", Stateside HSS 1148, Holland 1966
"The Beatles"' manager, "Brian Epstein" wanted them to open for the Fab Four on their 1966 tour, but would not offer enough financial incentive to ink a deal.
"Syndicate Of Sound" continued to play venues in the North-West United States, appearing in concert with "The Young Rascals", "The Yardbirds", "Neil Diamond", "Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs", "Tommy James and The Shondells", "The Animals" and "The Rolling Stones".
Syndicate Of Sound: "Brown Paper Bag" / "Reverb Beat", Buddah Records LL-2394-DA, Japan 1970
After "Don Baskin" moved to Los Angeles in 1970, he and "Bob Gonzalez" (the only other remaining original member), mounted an unsuccessful attempt at recording another album for "Capitol Records" in 1970, and then disbanded.