27 January 2010
"P.J. ORION AND THE MAGNATES - P.J. ORION AND THE MAGNATES" (60s GARAGE US 1967)
"P.J. Orion and The Magnates" were a prep-Garage band formed by "Jeremiah Milbank III" (lead guitar, vocals), "Aristedes George Embiricos" (bass guitar), "Peter John Goulandris" (rhythm guitar, lead vocals) and "Peter Nicholas Goulandris" (drums).
The band members belonged to wealthy Greek shipping families (hence "Magnates") and were students at the Groton prep school in Massachusetts. Of the numerous so-called 'prep-Rock' albums to be released on small or private labels by prep school students in the mid-'60s, the self-titled one by "P.J. Orion and The Magnates", recorded in New York City (Magnate Records XTV 122459, 1967), is among the better ones.
Not that it's great, and it's certainly not very original, as all of the nine tracks are covers of pretty well-known songs like "The Rolling Stones"' "As Tears Go By", "The Animals"' "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place", "Barry McGuire"'s "Eve Of Destruction", "The Drifters"' "Under The Boardwalk", "Tommy Roe"'s "Sheila", "Bob Dylan"'s "Love Minus Zero", "The Searchers"' "What Have They Done To Yhe Rain", "The Byrds"' "Bells Of Rhymney", and Them's "Gloria".
And all of them are done in a 60s Garage-like Byrds style, with the kind of jangly electric guitar arrangements in which "The Byrds" specialized, though these aren't as sophisticated.
For all that, though, these are pretty well executed, and "P.J. Orion and The Magnates" must have been a good choice to play at high school dances back in the day.
Though very rare in its original pressing, the record became fairly well-known among 60s Garage Rock collectors after getting reissued in the mid-'80s by "Eva Records".
Cool, too, is the cover, in which they pose with their instruments and sunglasses in the middle of deserted railroad tracks.