|RCA wanted us to keep the big
orchestra sound wherever we could.
I was in charge of production of the album, and didnt
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 Ive
Seen To Dream, but somewhere, theres
a version done at Polydor studio, with the old
Grapefruit line-up, John Perry on slide
guitar, no orchestra, just us playing and its
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.
Dreaming was recorded when we were still TR
& the Cs, 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
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, hell really be star.(she
was talking about Tony Is The Way To Amarillo?
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
All these are to be found on the EM or RPM Records,
TR & the Castaways/Harmony Grass recordings. Its
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
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
didnt 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
We told him smugly that it was, and he said
Can you sing it live?
Well, we werent 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 dont 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, weve 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
To be talked of in the same breath is very satisfying.
Although a little late!!
Harmony Grass fan and Journalist
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 Dont
Talk, and I said to David, what a great song
that is, Davids 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
thats 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 dont even have a section in my hometown
record store, in Upminster, Essex.
David Bash, and me, outside his apartment, Los Angeles,