TALISMEN, The [II]

Homebase: Wenatchee, WA
Stats:
SEE ALSO:
1.) DEBBIE & GAYLIS
Misc Notes:

The  rock band that would become The Talismen was formed in August, 1963 in the basement of bassist R. Bruce Smith's  parents' Wenatchee home. Besides Smith the combo consisted of Rick Cooper [guitar], Loren Bolinger [tenor sax] and Joe Britt [drums]. Fred Robbins [electric piano] was added shortly thereafter.

In order to capitalize on the popularity of The Blazers - a late 1962 / mid '63 band in which Smith (bass) and Bolinger (guitar) had played together - the name adopted for the new group was The New Blazers. On stage The Blazers had  sported gold blazers. The New Blazers would wear dark brown blazers accentuated by either a black  ascot or mock turtleneck sweater. (This second blazer would continue to be worn by The Jaguars and The Talismen.)

The New Blazers performed in  the  Wenatchee area  and up the Okanogan River Valley until around Thanksgiving, 1963 when Smith was asked to step aside because Cooper's parents wanted he  and his guitarist brother, Jack, to play together, again. .Earlier the brothers had  played guitars in  The Avengers , a group which also included Smith on bass and Robbins on piano. Perhaps, more importantly ,  Jack Cooper  had acquired his drivers' license and a car, so - with Robbins also driving -  Smith's father would no longer be needed to transport the group and their equipment. With that in mind Smith - knowing his father enjoyed the band-related activities,  and being a high school senior with Masonic responsibilities on the horizon -  exited The New Blazers.

After Smith's departure The New Blazers became The Jaguars, but by the end of February, 1964 that name had been dropped in favor of The Talismen.  Amongst other definitions a  talisman is a charm or amulet. There is no dictionaried word talismen.

While the Talismen moniker has been attributed to pianist Robbins -  who departed the group within a week of its adoption,- former New Blazers bassist Smith recalls  that quite some time earlier, another local piano player, Gary Lutz, had either thought up or heard of the word Talismen  - which he considered to be a "neat" name for a band.

With the onset of The Beatles craze in 1964 The Talismen began employing  male and female vocalists, rotating  through several  before landing John Wood in 1965. Rick Cooper left the group about that same time being replaced by Leon Jeffery with Bolinger ditching the saxophone and returning to guitar.

Already "veterans" of the local teen dance scene, The Talismen initially landed a recording opportunity in '66 to do the instrumental backing for two East Wenatchee Grant school fifth grade girls, Debbie Carmichael and Gaylis Linville. For providing the backing The Talismen could put a recording under their own name  on one  side of the proposed 45 rpm disc.

Recorded on May 22nd, 1966 at Spokane's Sound Recording Company  (SRC) The Talismen backed the pre-teen duo on "I'm So Lonely." Bearing a strong musical resemblance to "Soldier Boy" - a 1962 rhythm and blues hit by The Shirelles, (Sceptor #1228) -  the tune's lyrics feature the girls singing about lost love and the sorrow that follows. Talismen guitarist Jack Cooper only remembers performing with the girls once in Waterville,WA.

Released on Wenatchee's Julian Records label, the A-side of J - 105  was a Talismen composition entitled "She Was Good." That tune  shares  a similar cadence with "Louie, Louie" a Richard Berry song re-arranged and recorded by Tacoma, WA's Rockin' Robin Roberts and The Wailers. ( Etiquette #1), but made a hit by The Kingsmen from Portland, Oregon. (Jerden #712 / Wand #143).

Funded  solely by Don Bernier, owner of Julian Records and program director/dj at radio station KMEL (AM 1340) in Wenatchee,  only a small number of the  The Talismen/Debbie & Gaylis discs were pressed . Released the week of June 20, 1966 the record quickly sold out locally as it  climbed the KMEL Top 40.  In August "She Was Good"  was featured at #19 on Richland, Washington's KALE (960 AM)  "Young American Top 40 Survey".

Just  months after  releasing  their first record The Talismen  returned to SRC   to  record  "I'll Take A Walk" and "I Know A Girl." 1966 closed  with  release of the two tracks on Julian Records (J - 108).

Over the past fifty plus years since its release "She Was Good" has been reissued on a variety of other labels including well known "garage rock" compilations such as Highs In The Mid-Sixties (Vol. 14, 1986) in the U.S.and Germany's "Teenage Shutdown"(# unk.) series. Additionally it has been "covered" by Finland's Flaming Sideburns, Norway's The  Dogs and, in January, 2016, by the ten-piece Washington, D.C. punk group  Go Mod Go!.

[Text adapted from an article by Dustin Hays which first appeared in Wenatchee's The Comet  May, 2018.]

 

 

TITLE
LABEL
SERIAL
DATE

MISC NOTES:

LOCATION: Spokane, WA
RECORDING PERSONNEL:
RECORDING STUDIO: Sound Studios
RECORDING ENGINEER:

FORMAT: disc
SIZE: 7"
SPEED: 45 rpm
DISC NOTES:

A-SIDE STAMPER CODE: J-108-A
A-SIDE COMPOSER: Cooper, Jeffrey, Britt
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Apple Capitol Music (BMI)

B-SIDE STAMPER CODE: J-108-B
B-SIDE COMPOSER: Cooper, Wood
B-SIDE PUBLISHER: Apple Capitol Music (BMI)

MISC NOTES: B-side is credited to: Debbie & Gaylis.

LOCATION: Spokane, WA
RECORDING PERSONNEL: John Wood [vocals]; Jack Cooper [guitar]; Leon Jeffery [bass]; Loren Bolinger [keys]; Joe Britt [drums]
RECORDING STUDIO: Sound Recording Company
RECORDING ENGINEER:

FORMAT: disc
SIZE: 7"
SPEED: 45 rpm
DISC NOTES:

"She Was Good" Album Reissues:
Side One, Track #7 on  Highs In The Mid Sixties Vol. 14; The Northwest Part Two: Out Of The Slime (Archive International Productions #10020) compilation LP. 1986

A-SIDE STAMPER CODE:  J-105-A
A-SIDE COMPOSER: Wood, Cooper
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Apple Capitol Music (BMI)

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