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    Main » 2010 » May » 14 » William Penn& His Pals - The Historic San Francisco Group (1966)
    5:59 PM
    William Penn& His Pals - The Historic San Francisco Group (1966)



    It's been a long time coming, in fact about 35 years. This group was formed in 1965 and extinct by 1968. They were one of the most famous groups in The San Francisco Bay Area at the time and their name was all over Radio KYA, KFRC and KLIV as opening act for the biggest national and international acts as well as headlining their own shows. The lineup boasted Mickey Hart (for a brief period) of the Grateful Dead and Gregg Rolie of Santana/Journey fame was a full time member for 1 1/2 years before he started a group with a dude name Carlos Santana. Gregg sings lead on all but one of these songs.Wm. Penn used to go toe to toe in Battle of the Bands with the Grateful Dead and recorded one of the most famous Garage Rock Classics by the name of Swami. Swami appears on at least five bootleg compilations along with the flip side.. Blow my Mind. The group changed it's name briefly to Wm. Penn V for Swami (actually it was William Penn Fyve but Pebbles called them William Penn V since they were/are bootlegging Swami) and there is some confusion as to whether William Penn and His Pals was in fact the same Wm Penn Fyve; they were. Other songs have appeared on "The Scorpio Record Collection" put out by Ace/Fantasy. Finally all the songs of this classic group are available to the public in one professionally manufactured CD with 8 pages of facts and photos. There are even a few gems that nobody except a select few have heard. Here are clips from all of the songs on the CD so you can get a good sample of what you will get. Hearing these songs is almost like being at an show in the 60's at The Longshoremans Hall in San Francisco. Besides the wonderful songs the liner notes include the original copy from San Francisco's I.D. magazine with the run down on Wm Penn and his Pals written by their manager. You must read this to get the full scope of just how popular this group was

    1.) "Swami"-This opening track has a very early Pink Floyd "Arnold Layne" feel to it. The opening pre-verse vocal hums really add to the Pink Floyd sound. The main electric guitar arrangements have a lot of early sounding re-verb, which is real cool since it wasn't being used by too many groups in '66. The backing vocals at times get real swallowed up by all the different instruments. The song has a very solid bass line. There is a very cool vocal harmony section at the end of the song. 2.) "Gotta Get Away"-This track opens with a Beatles type guitar arrangement. The vocal arrangements of the song are very Paul Revere and the Raiders sounding. The chorus has a lot of huge backing vocal harmonies, but are almost inaudible because of the primitive recording equipment used. The bass line for the song is very simple with a relaxed feel like a lot of the music that was released in the sixties. 3.) "Far and Away"-From right off anyone who is a fan of Paul Revere knows where this track came from. The opening intro sequence has a very "Indian Reservation" sound to it. Out of all the tracks on this release this one has the best polished sound. The song has one of the meanest bass lines I've ever heard!!! The song has both Ron Cox and Gregg Rollie on lead the two really compliment each other vocally. Lyrically it's really hard to fandom that these guys where just in there teens. 4.) "Blow My Mind"- This track opens with a small drum intro. The song has two drummers on it so the drum arrangement has this real thick feel to it. The lyrics have a "Summertime Blues" feel to them. The track also has a small Gregg Rollie keyboard breakdown. Once again I am very impressed with the bass player's talent for locking in to a solid groove. 5.) "There I Go"-From the very first verse anyone who did not know better would swear the song was written by Lennon/McCartney. Vocally this one one of the few tracks where I could tell that this was Gregg Rollie. If the main song writers had concentrated on writing material like this, William Penn would have been the American answer to The Beatles. The song has a very polished sound to it. 6.) "E2D"-Instrumental 7.) "Blow My Mind"-Same as track 4 8.) "Gotta Get Away"-Same as track 2 except with Neil Holtman on lead vocals. 9.) "There I Go"-Same as track 5 10.) "Fly Fly PSA"-This track was a commercial the band recorded parodying an airliner.


    1. Swami William Penn and His Pals 02:57 2. Gotta Get Away William Penn and His Pals 02:34 3. Far and Away William Penn and His Pals 02:32 4. Blow my mind William Penn and His Pals 02:25 5. There I go I've said it again William Penn and His Pals 02:29 6. E2D William Penn and His Pals 02:25 7. Blow my mind (alternate version) William Penn and His Pals 02:06 8. Gotta get away (alternate version William Penn and His Pals 02:44 9. There I go I've said it again ( alternate version ) William Penn and His Pals 02:36 10. Fly Fly PSA


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