2.13.2009

The Barracudas: A Plane View of the Barracudas (US,Highland Springs-Richmond, 1967)

Highland Springs just to the East of Richmond, Virginia, (not Winston-Salem in North Carolina as was stated on the Tobacco-A-Go-Go compilation) was this band's home. They formed in late 1964 as a six-piece but soon solidified into the five-piece listed above in early 1965. Donnie Thurston's dad became their manager and they took part in various 'Battle Of The Bands' during 1965. Their first 45 in 1966 comprised an unimpressive folk-rocker on the 'A' side and an instrumental cover on the flip. They put it out on their own Cuda label. The same session also produced I'll Never Fall Again, their best original, and a bizarre medley of Gloria, Baby Please Don't Go, which remains unreleased.

In 1967 they recorded an album for Justice Records of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Besides two originals:- I Can't Believe and I'll Never Fall Again, the album comprised sloppy teenage versions of Blue Feeling, Feel A Whole Lot Better, Not Fade Away, I Call Your Name, ShotgunI'm A Man, which were so faithfully rendered and devoid of fuzz that they sound more U.K. than U.S.. Clearly The Rolling Stones were their inspiration. One of the better tracks was I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, a frat-rocker from the Kinks' second album but Shotgun, in particular, was a pityful attempt at exploiting sixties soul music. Nevertheless the album sold over 700 copies and the band became popular on the college frat-rock circuit. and

By 1968 they had progressed into a Hendrix/Cream-type heavy jam sound, but suprisingly their final 45 in 1969 was a folk-rocker. They quit in late 1969. Their album is now quite a big collectors' item but it's really overrated.

ALBUM REVIEW

One of the better albums to come out of Calvin Newton's Justice Records label, A Plane View of the Barracudas has been selling for big bucks in Europe for years, partly based on the fact that there weren't many more than a thousand copies pressed. The CD is a welcome addition to the catalog -- these boys may have been a little sloppy, but they were ambitious, and they had the skills to realize a lot of those goals. As an extended jam, the version of "I'm a Man" here may be the best rendition this side of the Yardbirds' classic, and adds a few layers of pyrotechnics that Jeff Beck and company weren't ready to ignite -- lead guitarist Mike Parker has a field day romping and stomping over the basic material, and Sam Shaw's bass swells and surges beneath Parker's work. Donnie Thurston sounds like he's playing on cardboard boxes, but that's par for the course on a recording like this, and not necessarily a problem. "Shotgun" closes the album and CD, and is a pretty decent cover of a then current soul hit. The notes are minimal, but the music does truly speak for itself. Strangely enough, only their covers of Lennon-McCartney tunes like "I Call Your Name" don't come off too well (though their version of "All My Loving" is pretty cool), but overall, the mix of folk-rock, soul, and blues-rock works beautifully. This must've been a great record to play at dance parties. It's also easy to see why the Barracudas did well on the frat circuit in Virginia and other East Coast locales -- they must have been great live.

THE BARRACUDAS

13 comments:

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

Passw:
mza-garage

Anonymous said...

Hi Pablo, thanx for all of your shares and your knowledge about these old bands !

Outerpsych

Anonymous said...

THANKS I BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS ALBUM GREAT POST!

glenn said...

Excellent! This clears up some misconceptions for me! There are too many bands with the same name!

Pablo, I love the layout of your blog. Thanks for your efforts. I've linked your blog on mine and hope you can do the same.

glenn
http://bornintyme.blogspot.com/

Whisky Lovin' Lawrence said...

Thanks for the great music

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great post. This is the first time I have listened to music from this band.

Trashman said...

Gracias Pablo. I grabbed this up from you the other night - I drive past Highland Springs every night on my way home to Richmond - great to hear a "local band".

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

hey trashman! great to know from a local. There in the States you have plenty and lots lots of small town bands (garagy ones ah)

Cheers

Anonymous said...

hey pablo, mil gracias por tu blog, está fenomenal y me ayuda a conocer mejor ese garaje guarro que tanto me pone las pilas

geololo said...

I only knew the modern Barracudas with Chris Wilson, that produced a couple of great garage releases in the 80's. These "vintage" Barracudas look great!

Anonymous said...

The Barracudas, with 3 of the original band members, are still performing in Richmond, VA. They reformed in 2002 and have been rocking the town at many clubs and parties. Richmondnightout.com has some information about where to see them. Mike also has a video on youtube with Shortcross, of Steve Miller's Living in the USA.

The Bomber said...

Fuaa! had read some about it but i had my doubts...thanks for the information, and it will be great to listen those new recordings !

Anonymous said...

Glad I finally found you guys again. I was one of the groupies that followed you around Virginia,(Emporia, Boykins, Richmond, Petersburg, etc) I even went to your high school graduation at Sandston . I still have my copy of your album, and your 45.
Something that puzzles me is why Chris Layne is never mentioned as a band member. Boy what a blast from the past.
Paula