Friday, April 10, 2020

Butch Engle & The Styx ‎– The Best Of Butch Engle & The Styx. No Matter What You Say

San Francisco band active from 1964 to 1968. They released one single as The Showmen and two as Butch Engle & The Styx. Much of their material was written by or co-written by Ron Elliott of The Beau Brummels.
A compilation of all their recordings was released in 2000 on Sundazed Music.
Known as Butch Engle & The Showmen in their early days.

Butch Engel & The Styx were an American rock band formed in the early 1960s out of Mill Valley, California. Originally known as the showman, the band consisted of Butch Engle (vocals), Bob Zamora (lead guitar), Mike Pardee (organ), Harry “Happiness” Smith (bass), and Rich Morrison (drums). The band lasted for five years, releasing three singles over this period. In 2000, a compilation album featuring all of the band’s recordings was released.

In 1964, The Showmen released their debut single, “You Know All I Want.” It was in 1965 that the band changed their name to Butch Engel & The Styx. Their debut single not-withstanding, all of the band’s songs were written or co-written by Ron Elliot of The Beau Brummels. According to Engle, “Ron, Sly Stewart (later known as Sly Stone), [and Autumn Records executives] Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell would choose which songs would go on [a Beau Brummels] album, and then we could take what we wanted from whatever was left”. In 1966, Butch Engle & The Styx released their next single, “I’m A Girl,” on the Warner Bros. Records subsidiary, Loma Records. The following year, they shortened their name to The Styx and released the single “Hey, I’m Lost.” This is considered to be the band’s strongest release. They would break up in 1968. In 2000, Sundazed Records released the compilation No Matter What You Say: The Best of Butch Engle & the Styx,  a collection of all three of the band’s singles. ~ Wikipedia

Review by Richie Unterberger 
This has a pretty funny title, considering that the group only put out three singles (one of them under a different name) and never had anything close to a hit. A better title might have been "The Entirety of Butch Engle & the Styx," since it's difficult to imagine that any more material could have been retrieved than appears on this CD. In addition to both sides of the three singles (the first done in 1964 when they were still called the Showmen), this also includes 11 previously unreleased tracks, including some alternatives and multiples. The unwary might initially dismiss this as a subpar, more garagey Beau Brummels, a comparison that becomes even more valid upon the discovery that Beau Brummels songwriter Ron Elliott wrote or co-wrote everything except the Showmen single. To be brutal, Elliott was wise to cast off most of these instead of recording them with the Beau Brummels. The songs just aren't nearly on the level of his usually excellent efforts for his own band, although they have some similar trademarks (particularly the minor-based melodies and moodiness). Butch Engle & the Styx were lesser musicians and singers than the Beau Brummels, too, although they were OK, adding some cheesy garage organ that you'd never find on Beau Brummels sessions. "Hey, I'm Lost," which was one of the singles (and appears along with two alternate versions of the same tune), was just about their best moment: a charging, slightly ominous and doubtful number with good vocal harmonies. This is certainly worth getting for major fans of the Beau Brummels, as none of these songs were actually recorded by that group. As a '60s garage record, though, No Matter What You Say is average, even unremarkable.


  1. Never heard of these guys, but checked a few songs out on YouTube and had a bit of a Jefferson Airplane sound. Look forward to hearing more...thanks for sharing.


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