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RCA wanted us to keep the ‘big orchestra’ sound wherever we could.
I was in charge of production of the album, and didn’t necessarily think that this was the way to go, certainly on the ‘original’ songs.
I tried to keep a balance between our sound and the orchestra. One that did work quite well, I felt, was ‘I’ve Seen To Dream’, but somewhere, there’s a version done at Polydor studio, with the ‘old’ Grapefruit line-up,  John Perry on ‘slide’ guitar, no orchestra, just us playing and it’s great, I really wish I could find it. We also recorded a great song by USA duo, ‘Bruce and Terry’ called ‘Carmen’. This has never turned up and no-one knows where it went. I wish I knew.

‘Summer Dreaming’ was recorded when we were still TR & the C’s, although this featured a different ending from an earlier version recorded by the ‘67 ‘Grape/aways’ boys. Some tracks were songs from the stage act, things such as ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’‘Byrd Avenue’.
Some were written especially for the album, ‘Mrs Ritchie’ was one in particular, based on a landlady all the bands would stay with, in Stockton -On-Tees. She would tell all the bands, about this singer with “a lovely voice, he’ll really be star”.(she was talking about Tony ‘Is The Way To Amarillo?’ Christie!!!).
The Ballad Of Michael’ was based entirely on our roadie at the time Mike Barnard, every word was a simple but  true observation of an old ‘silver fox’ at work. He was prematurely grey, but only a young man.
A real character, softly spoken, a real gentle man.
Mike sadly died a few years ago, of a heart attack.

‘My Little Girl’ was written by me for the album.
A group from the south coast, called Autumn, recorded it sometime later, and got into the charts.We missed that one!!
All these are to be found on the EM or RPM Records, collections of
TR & the Castaways/Harmony Grass recordings. It’s been absolutely amazing to read reviews of these records some 30 years after they were released and quickly forgotten, certainly by the media!!

EM Records used the ‘original’ Harmony Grass album design, for the sleeve.
The photos’ were taken by Kenny Rowe, while we were staying in Co. Durham for a week, whilst performing at the Stockton ‘Fiesta’, a club many ‘musos’ will remember, fondly.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to people like Koki Emura (EM Records, Japan), Mark Stratford (RPM), David Bash and Alan Haber in the USA, John Kearney in Canada, Kieron Tyler in the UK. They are the main ones who, through their work and love of music, have brought the name of Harmony Grass/Tony Rivers & the Castaways  into the 21st century.

As a live band, we were still out all the time, doing gigs as before. Some were a bit more interesting than others.
We went to Canada for a short tour, came home and appeared at Olympia, with lots of ‘sixties’ bands.
We also appeared at Wembley Arena on another big show.
I doubt that anyone had ever dared to go on one of these shows and sing ‘a capella’, we did ‘Tom Dooley’ and ‘Move In A Little Closer, Baby’!!!

RCA decide to ‘launch’ our album, at a party in some ‘banqueting suite’, oh I remember, it was at the Hanover Grand, in Hanover Sq. in the heart of London. This was particularly ‘memorable’ because Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys turned up. I didn’t know he was coming, but I knew him from, meeting him, and later introducing him, to Keith Moon of the Who, back in 1966. Whilst Bruce was talking to us, our album was playing in the background. When it got to ‘Tom Dooley’ he said to me, “Is this you guys singing?”
We told him ‘smugly’ that it was, and he said “Can you sing it live?”
Well, we weren’t going to miss a chance like that. His jaw hit the floor.
I think he thought his band were the only ones capable of such harmonies. Coals to Newcastle again!!!

Harmony Grass at the launch of the album
‘This Is Us’ at the Hanover Grand. London, 1969.
Top.   Tom Marshall, Bill Castle, Kenny Rowe
Front. Tony Harding, Tony Rivers, Ray Brown.

  The album was released and completely ignored by the music press.
I don’t even remember reading a review of it, anywhere, although I think the reaction of fans who heard it was very positive.
It has had more written about it in the last two years, than it ever received back in 1969 when it was released. Thanks to the Internet, we’ve become ‘global’ 30 yrs. after our ‘demise’!
Mind you, in this instance, the ‘Internet’ is only bringing things to the attention of people. The really amazing thing is the power of  ‘records’, they travel the world, turning up in different places.
It really is satisfying to have someone like Kieron Tyler, who is a fairly ‘young’ writer for some of the important music magazines such as MOJO and Record Collector, tell you that in his opinion, the ‘Harmony Grass’ album, was as good, if not better than many of the ‘soft rock’ stylists who were our ‘Icons’. Groups like the Association, Harpers Bazarre,
the Tradewinds, Spanky and Our Gang, all the others that we loved, but mostly, in Gt Britain, went almost completely un-noticed.
To be talked of in the same breath is very satisfying. Although a little late!!

Harmony Grass fan and Journalist
Kieron Tyler

I flew to Southern California recently with some old friends, John Kirby (Castaways and Harmony Grass fan from way back), Mike Grant and Graham and Julie Dene, to see the Brian Wilson ‘Pet Sounds’ concerts. Jeff Foskett (a member of Brian Wilsons’ band) had arranged tickets for the Hollywood Bowl show, and backstage passes, so I thought it would be great to invite David Bash to accompany me, as a small thank you for his part in ‘promoting’ our/my name in the USA, through his reviews in pop magazines and on the internet radio show ‘purepop.com’.
It was a beautiful evening in Los Angeles, listening to the great music, and I particularly remember one point in the show, Brian Wilson had just sung ‘Don’t Talk’, and I said to David, “what a great song that is”, David’s reply was, “Yes it is a great song, but no more great than, ---------- ‘What A Groovy Day’ (a song of mine from the Harmony Grass album)!!!

Wearing my EM Records t-shirt,
Los Angeles, California, Sep. 2000.
Well, I nearly fell off my seat, I mean that’s praise indeed.
David is a man who gets so many CDs to review, that one day he will disappear under a mountain of digital music.
For one of my songs to stand out, in a sea of great, and not so great music, is an achievement in itself, let alone being mentioned in the same breath as one of the great ‘pop’ composers of all time, Brian Wilson!!!
That comment will stay with me for a long time.
Apart from that, he took me to Tower Records, on Sunset Boulevard, and pointed out, a section dedicated to none other than,
TR & the Castaways, Harmony Grass and Tony Rivers!!!!!
I don’t even have a section in my hometown record store, in Upminster, Essex.


David Bash, and me, outside his apartment, Los Angeles, Sep.2000