26 April, 2012


STARBUCK & THE RAINMAKERS - 'Let Your Hair Hang Long'/'I Who Have Nothing (Valiant Records V-744) August 1966

Los Angeles label Valiant Records released some magical records during 1965/1966 and had a very high ratio of compelling folk-rock janglers and garage rockers. One such release that rarely gets a mention and has not received much acclaim is this two-sider by Starbuck & The Rainmakers.

'Let Your Hair Hang Long' is folk-rock genius with fuzz, 12-string jangle action and rattling tambourine. Sadly it doesn't seem to have left much of an imprint on L.A. music history, although the record did get a mention in Billboard during August 1966.

I'd love to know more about this group but my investigations have drawn a blank. Maybe one day someone will come forward with more information. Songwriting credits for this side is E.Gurren - R.Keith.

The other side 'I Who Have Nothing' is the often covered classic by Lieber and Stoller. Here, Starbuck & The Rainmakers have recorded a moody gem of a version with a folk-rock backbeat and fine background harmonies.

Since I wrote my article on Starbuck & The Rainmakers I have been in touch with Gene Thompson and Everett Clark who were members of the group. Both gentlemen sent me some excelent information about their 60s group. Thanks for the photo Gene!

Gene: Thanks for your interest there were two rendition of this band I was in the first we originated in a small coastal town called Encinitas California about 90 miles from LA we all came from local surf bands in the area the lead singer is Eddie Gurren twelve string guitar Randall  Keith rhythm guitar Eugene Thompson drums Tony Valencia..... bass guitar Jack Conrad.

There are pictures were still trying to get Eddie to find them he still has the master tape hopefully soon he will have it digitized we did four recordings I could write a book on the bands in this area just for my info.

It's funny you mentioned The Byrds when you emailed me. I went to high school with Chris Hillman we got kicked out for smoking in the bus barn, best thing that every happened to us senior year Eddie keeps in touch with him there's a lot of old song writers and rockers that live around here check out billboard mag August 1966 and you'll find Starbucks record there.

Everett: I was with Starbuck & the Rainmakers for a short time. I was recruited by the bassist Jack Conrad who I had been with in another band back in Denver.
Actually, it was my first band as well as Jack's. The lead singer was Ed Gurren who lived in Santa Monica at the time. Our practice house was in the Hollywood Hills and we shared a rehearsal room with a group called The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

Jack Conrad later teamed up with Paul Williams to co-author several hit tunes for other groups. He is still in the 'business' and does studio work as well as touring with other well known groups and solo artists.

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