Masterminded by singer Peppy Castro (born Emil Thielhelm) and organ-grinder Ralph Scala, the Bloos Magoos, as they initially called themselves, were formed around 1964 in the New York Bronx. Other members were Mike Esposito (guitar), Ronnie Gilbert (bass) and drummer Geoff Daking. They played their bluesy bits with traces of folkrock in Greenwich Village, especially at the Cafe Wha and the Night Owl Cafe.
The Magoos' first singles were released on Verve ("So I'm Wrong And You Are Right'T'People Had No Faces") and the Small Ganim Label ("Who Do You Love"l"Let Your Love Ride"), both of which are soughtafter collectors' items now.
In 1966 they got signed by Mercury, and changed their image immediately, with sort of electric clothes flashing off and on while on stage. For the first time the word "psychedelic" appeared in the title of their debut album - see discography. Furthermore there were other signs in songs like "Love Seems Doomed" and "Albert Common Is Dead" who first letters spelt LSD and Acid.
During 1966/67 three singles made the charts: "(We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet" (No. 5), "Pipe Dream" (No. 60), and its flipside "There's A Chance We Can Make It", (No. 81), and "One By One" (No. 71). Other 45's sank without a trace, for instance "Summer Is The Man", "Life Is Just A Cher O'Bowlies", "Jingle Bells" and, in 1968, "/ Can Hear The Grass Grow" of Move fame.
Both their first albums were critically acclaimed, reaching the charts at No. 21 ("Psychedelic Lollipop") and No. 74. respectively ("Electric Comic Book"). In 1968 the Magoos released "Basic Blues Magoos" recorded at their home in New York's University Avenue. In the meantime their straight psychedelic sound had gone lost in favour of mediocre flower power banalities, thus the disc flopped saleswise, and the band's line-up changed dramatically in 1969.
With only Castro/Thielhelm left, it comprised new members Roger Eaton (b), Eric-Justin Kay. (kb), John Liello (vib), Herb Lovelle (dr) and hornplayers Dean Evanson and Ritchie Dickon. One album was cut until Lovelle, Eaton and Evanson were replaced by Pee Wee Ellis, Cooker Capresti and Jim Payne. After the Magoos' final LP (with lots of electronics) the group broke up for good. Founder member Peppy/Emil joined the Broadway cast of "Hair", and later on formed Barnaby Bye with Alessi Brothers Billy and Bobby (two albums for Atlantic, "Room To Glow"/1973, and "Touch"/1974).
In 1976 Peppy founded Wiggy Bits (one eponymous LP). Five years later he established Balance with Doug Katsaros and Dennis Feldman, whose "Breaking Away" reached the charts at No. 22 in 1981 (two albums were tracked down for the Portrait label, "Balance"/!981, and "InForTheCount'71982).
by Bernd Malheja
by Bernd Malheja
1. (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet (Esposito, Gilbert, Scala) – 2:18
2. Love Seems Doomed (Esposito, Gilbert, Scala) – 3:02
3. Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) – 4:42
4. Queen of My Nights (Blue) – 3:05
5. I'll Go Crazy(James Brown) – 2:03
6. Gotta Get Away (Adams, Gordon) – 2:42
7. Sometimes I Think About (Esposito, Gilbert, Scala) – 4:13
8. One by One (Gilbert, Theilhelm) – 2:53
9. Worried Life Blues (Big Maceo Merriweather) – 3:45
10.She's Coming Hom (Atkins, Miller) – 2:43. .
11.Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) – 4:42
12.Sometimes I Think About (Esposito, Gilbert, Scala) – 4:13
13.(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet (Esposito, Gilbert, Scala) – 3:02
14.Gotta Get Away (Adams, Gordon) – 2:41
*Ralph Scala - Keyboards, Vocals
*Emil “Peppy” Theilhelm – Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Gilbert – Bass, Vocals
*Mike Esposito – Guitar
*Geoff Daking – Drums, Percussion