Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Penny Arkade - Not The Freeze (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1967- 1968)

4 June 2009

Penny Arkade - Not The Freeze (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1967- 1968)


PENNY_ARKADE,NOT_THE_FREEZE,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,NESMITH,MONKEES,CHRIS_CRAIG,ISHA,COUNTRY,front"PENNY ARKADE - NOT THE FREEZE" (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1967- 1968)

"The Penny Arkade" were "Chris Ducey" (vocals, guitar), "Craig Smith" (vocals, guitar), "Don Glut" (vocals, bass guitar) and "Bobby Donaho" (drums).
For more than three and one half decades "The Penny Arkade" has remained one of the best-kept secrets of late 1960s Rock music.
From 1967 to 1968, a span of nearly two years, this 'shadow band' recorded music for two albums, various singles, played at some of the top Hollywood Rock clubs, auditioned for a recurring role on a major network television series, was written up in such teen-oriented magazines as "Tiger Beat" , hung out with some of the top Rock stars of the era and were at least indirectly associated with "The Monkees".However, except for group's loyal local fans and friends, very few late Sixties' Rock-music buffs are even aware that the "Penny Arkade" existed!
"Chris Ducey" and "Craig Smith" formed a duo of singer/songwriters , who put out one rare single on "Capitol Records" in 1966 (Chris And Craig: "Isha" / "I Need You", Capitol Records 5694, July 1966).

PENNY_ARKADE,NOT_THE_FREEZE,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,NESMITH,MONKEES,CHRIS_CRAIG,ISHA,COUNTRY,singleHard to find Chris And Craig: "Isha" / "I Need You", Capitol Records 5694, July 1966

The A-side, "Isha" was a fairly adventurous Folk-Rock song with a strong hint of Psychedelia, particularly in the Eastern-style melody and harpsichord. The flip side, "I Need You", was a Pop tune.
"The Penny Arkade" was discovered by "Michael Nesmith" in New York City when he was becoming successful with "The Monkees".
Their music was fresh and inventive, with sometimes-unusual chord progression and time signatures.
Their music suggested, in some ways, "The Beatles" and the "Buffalo Springfield".
Although different ("Chris Ducey"'s voice had a somewhat more nasal, forceful Rock 'edge', while "Craig Smith"'s was softer), their singing blended perfectly, melding into a single unit.
Good-looking and charismatic as well as being extremely talented "Chris Ducey" and "Craig Smith" definitely had mega-star potential and their music hit quality.
"Penny Arkade" (the 'K' in the spelling for trademark as well as recognition purposes) was to convey a more upbeat or happy image than a lot of the other, more downbeat and brooding groups then in vogue.


"Penny Arkade" recorded a complete album with "Michael Nesmith" acting as their producer.
"Elektra Records" wanted to release their record, but "Michael Nesmith" refused to allow the company to make any changes to the tapes so the deal fell through and no other offers ever came their way.
Then, other forces intervened, all of which led to the "Penny Arkade"'s inevitable demise.
First, "Craig Smith" decided to leave the group.
"Craig Smith" had recently made a considerable amount of money after some of his songs had been recorded by such top-flight artists as "Andy Williams" and "Glen Campbell", as well as "Michael Nesmith" ("Andy Williams" recorded "Holly", written for "Craig Smith"'s girlfriend of that name, "Glen Campbell" "Country Girl" and "Michael Nesmith" "Salesman", the latter on the 1967 "The Monkees". album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones"; both had been already recorded by "Penny Arkade").


Penny Arkade live in Armadillo

Then other forces entered the mix. By 1968 "The Monkees" television show was cancelled, and "Michael Nesmith"'s interests were gradually gearing in other directions.
"Penny Arkade" disbanded after that.
If you're into "The Byrds" and "Buffalo Springfield" you will probably adore this band.
"Chris Ducey" wrote jangly and upbeat Pop songs that perfectly contrasted with "Craig Smith"'s hazy and meandering Southern California Psychedelia, and their vocal harmonies were incredible.
This is a treat for anyone who digs the late 60s Psychedelic Folk-Rock sound.
A 60s Garage-Rock groover like "Give Our Love (To All the People)" is full of energy.
Their most popular song, included on this album was the 12 and a half minute "Not The Freeze".
This Psychedelic Folk-Rock opus is a must for 60s fans.

2 Comments :

Anonymous said...

Hey, you listen to the good bands!
Can recommend you "Shag" from Wisconsin. Perfect garage!

vertdreyfer@gmail.com is my mail for contact. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Check out Craig Smith's solo album "Apache-Inca", released under the name Satya Sai Maitreya Kali. Amazing masterpiece of acid folk! Anyways, sadly, Craig passed away in poverty on March 2012 and never earned a cent from his music re-releases...