11 March 2015
"Five by Five" was a group that formed in Magnolia, Arkansas in 1967. The group was made up of "Ronnie Plants" (lead singer, guitar), "Larry Andrew" (lead guitar), "Tim Milam" ("Vox Continental Organ", vocals), "Bill Merritt" (bass guitar), and "Doug Green" (drums).
Led by 21 year old drummer Doug Green, the Texas-based "Five By Five" boasted a young but immensely talented line up. Signed by the Texas-based "Paula Records", the group debuted with a series of three impressive 45s.
The third single ("Fire" / "Hang Up", Paula Records PAULA 302, 1968) provided the group with a modest top-60 hit which was apparently enough for "Paula Records" to rush the group into the studio to record a supporting album. Produced by "Gene Kent", 1968's "Next Exit" (Paula Records LPS 2202, 1968) offered up a mix of the earlier singles and new studio material.
Apparently not too comfortable with the band's creative talent, the focus was on better known material; in this case a mix of popular and lesser known hits. "Doug Green"'s wonderful "Too Much Tomorrow" was the one exception and also provided the stand out track making you wonder how good the album would have been if they'd been given a little more creative freedom.
Clearly determined to maximize commercial potential, the set covered virtually every musical niche imaginable including competent stabs at blue-eyed soul ("Soul Man"), conventional top-40 pop, and frat rock (their earlier "Shake a Tail Feather" rave-up).
Best of all were the band's stabs at Psychedelic oriented material. Their raw cover of "Joe South"'s "Hush" easily put "Deep Purple"'s better known cover to shame. Similarly "Nothing You Do", their wild take on Arthur Lee and Love's "7 and 7 Is", and the sitar propelled cover of "The Sir Douglas Quintet"'s "She Digs My Love" were all worth hearing. Thanks to Bad Cat Records for infos.