Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Vejtables - Feel...The Vejtables (1965-66)

- Jan Errico (Jan Ashton) - female drummer, vocals
- Bob Bailey - tambourine, vocals
- Bob Cole - guitar (1965)
- Rick Dey - bass
- Ned Hollis - guitar, organ
- Reese Sheets - guitar
- Frank Smith - bass (1966)
- Jim Sawyers - guitar (1966)
- Richard Fortunato - guitar, vocals (1966)
- Roland Oeler - bass
- Saul Lewis - organ, vocals
- Arthur Penthollow - drums

A footnote of the dawn of San Francisco rock, the Vejtables scraped the bottom of the charts in 1965 with "I Still Love You," a pleasant, poppy folk-rocker. Their pair of singles for the San Francisco-based Autumn label strongly recalled a much poppier Beau Brummels, with their 12-string guitars, folky harmonies, and sparse harmonica. The similarity was quite understandable: the Beau Brummels were not only also from San Francisco, but also on the same label. The Vejtables' chief distinguishing mark and asset was one of the very few female drummers in a mid-'60s rock group, Jan Errico, who also sang and wrote much of their material (including "I Still Love You").

For a group with such a brief lifespan, the Vejtables' history was pretty tangled and twisting. Their tenure at Autumn was rudely interrupted when the label went bust. Errico, who had recorded a bit of solo material at Autumn (under, confusingly, the name of Jan Ashton), joined fellow embryonic S.F. band the Mojo Men, who had also had small hits on Autumn. To make matters more confusing, the Mojo Men continued to call themselves the Mojo Men after adding Errico, who (as she had in the Vejtables) sang and wrote many of their songs. The Mojo Men with Errico, now under contract to Warner Bros., recorded some pleasant pop-folk-rock in 1966 and 1967, making the Top 40 with a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "Sit Down, I Think I Love You." In April of 1966, the Vejtables' guitarist, Jim Sawyers, joined the Syndicate of Sound, who had just hit it big with "Little Girl."

Vejtables vocalist Bob Bailey kept the band going in 1966, however, with constantly shifting lineups (future Moby Grape bassist Bob Mosley was very briefly a member, although he didn't record with the group). A couple more singles appeared on the Uptown and Tower labels in 1966, finding the band probing a much more aggressive and psychedelic vein, sounding like an entirely different outfit from the "I Still Love You" lineup. "Feel the Music" (which appeared on a Pebbles compilation) was a legitimately outstanding effort from this time, even though it ripped off the Who's "Out in the Streets." But the band lacked either the songwriting depth or the instrumental finesse of the best acts on the now-burgeoning San Francisco psychedelic scene. The Vejtables finally withered on the vine around the end of 1966.~
Although the Vejtables only released a few (very rare) singles in 1965 and 1966, this career retrospective has been fleshed out to album length with the addition of several unissued tracks. The 17 songs span both the folk-rock and psychedelic eras, switching abruptly from their soothing Autumn sides to slashing garage psychedelia. The folk-rock certainly outshines the psychedelic material, which (aside from "Feel the Music") are usually dirgeish and thinly written, the players trying to compensate for the weak songwriting with some too-feverish guitar meandering. Other than a few strong tracks, the Vejtables were really not a terribly interesting group; unless you're a heavy collector of the folk-psychedelic-garage style, the tracks that have surfaced on compilations (such as Nuggets Vol. 7: Early San Francisco) should be enough.~

1. The Vejtables - Anything (1:58)
2. The Vejtables - I Still Love You (2:23)
3. The Vejtables - Mansion Of Tears (2:20)
4. The Vejtables - The Last Thing On My Mind (2:30)
5. The Vejtables - Smile, Smile, Smile (1:58)
6. The Vejtables - Cold Dreary Morning (2:12)
7. The Vejtables - I Still Love You (alternate version) (2:18)
8. The Vejtables - Feel The Music (2:53)
9. The Vejtables - Shadows (3:12)
10. The Vejtables - Better Rearrange (2:17)
11. The Vejtables - Good Times (3:30)
12. The Vejtables - Time And Place (3:48)
13. The Vejtables - Suddenly I'm Desperately In Love (2:10)
14. The Vejtables - I Stole The Goodyear Blimp (2:20)
15. The Vejtables - Hide Yourself (2:49)
16. The Vejtables - Good Things Are Happening (2:49)
17. The Vejtables - Hide Yourself (alternate instrumental take) (4:03)

Thanks Vvche


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