23 February 2010
"Swift Rain" were from El Paso, Texas and were formed by "Mike Ciccarelli" (Vocals, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar), "Andre Bonaguidi" (Vocals, Drums,Percussion), "Frankie Sotelo" (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards) and "Paul E. West" (Vocals,Bass Guitar).
"Andre Bonaguidi", "Frankie Sotelo" and "Paul E. West" were previously "Swift Rain" in a number of Garage groups in El Paso including "The Intruders" ("Paul E. West") and "Lode Star" ("Andre Bonaguidi" and "Frankie Sotelo").
Separately "The Intruders" and "Lode Star" managed to record a couple of tracks include on a compilation album released by the small El Paso "Suemi Records".
Some early demos recorded at "Sound Of Memphis" in Memphis with "Stan Kessler" as the engineer.
As "Kenny Smith" from "Suemi Records" recalls: "The session was incredible and they were on their way until the backer backed out.
Anyway, with their recordings held hostage for failure to pay the studio bill, the trio headed home to El Paso".
Swift Rain mk1: Paul E. West, Andre Bonaguidi and Frankie Sotelo
These songs were enough for "Suemi Records" owners "Kenny Smith" and "Bill Taylor" to start recording material, but without adequate financial backing the project fell apart.
The trio continued to rehearse, eventually adding lead guitarist "Mike Ciccarelli" to their line-up.
As "Kenny Smith" recalls: "Back in El Paso and because of Frankie Sotelo's incredible overdubbing of harmony guitar to his terrific lead licks, the group added lead guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, Mike Ciccarelli".
In the meantime "Suemi Records" owners "Kenny Smith" and "Bill Taylor" had signed a deal with "Hi Records" to track down, sign and produce Rock acts for the label.
One of their first acts was to sign "Swift Rain".
Paul E. West
"Coming Down" (Hi Records SHL 32064, 1969) album was recorded in Memphis at "Royal Studio" (of "Al Green" and "Willie Mitchell" fame) (reportedly the project was completed in less than a week) about four-five months later in 1969 produced by the band and "Bill Taylor".
"Coming Down" generating favorable critical buzz and "Swift Rain" was subsequently hired to serve as the opening act for Mountain on an upcoming American tour.
As "Frank Sotelo" recalls: "After the album was released on Hi Records, Swift Rain would only last another two-three months.
The band did not re-sign with Hi Records and moved to Los Angeles where we played out our last days at the "Sewers Of Paris" nightclub right off Hollywood Boulevard.
We all continued to play in other bands after Swift Rain".
Propelled by "Frank Sotelo"'s guitar, "Swift Rain" were at their best on straight-ahead rockers such as "Everybird" and "Everywhere (In My Town)".
"Paul E. West"'s "Broken Love" sported a wonderful Country-Rock melody, while "Yo Soi Tuyo" would have fit well on something by "Stephen Stills".
"Swift Rain" was not a band as much as it was, in the words of guitarist "Frank Sotelo", a 'musical experience'.