Sunday, 5 January 2014

Banchee - I Just Don't Know (1970)

According to Fuzz, Acid & Flowers, Banchee were among the East Coast's premier heavy blasters of the post-psychedelic era. The band hailed from New Jersey, USA and consisted a line up of Peter Alongi (lead guitar/vocals), Jose Miguel DeJesus (guitar/vocals), Victor William Digilio (drums) and Michael Gregory Marino (bass/vocals).

Their self-titled debut album, produced by Warren Schatz and Stephen Schlaks, was released on Atlantic Records and is the typical rock band sound of 1969. The vocals (harmonies in particular) on most of the LP remind me of UK psych act, The Gods especially on songs like "The Night Is Calling" and "As Me Thinks". Although it is not a favourite of mine, the album does have it's share of great moments. "Evolmia" is a like a hard rocking Crosby, Stills and Nash, heavy bass and fuzz guitar balanced out with some sweet harmony vocals. Another good one is the closing track on the LP, "Tom's Island", a real cruncher of Live At Leeds era Who vain, again with the nice harmonies.

The real highlight for me though is "I Just Don't Know", penned by vocalist, Alongi, comprising of a blistering guitar riff that doesn't come up for air throughout the duration of the song and plenty of "aaaahhhh"'s from the backing vocalists who were probably imagining their own take on the Beatles' "Helter Skelter". Atlantic saw potential in this song and put it out as a single in 1970. There is no mention anywhere of it being a hit of any kind but over the years it has built up a steady following and fills the dancefloors at many mod/psych clubs around the UK. It's a record that has remained in my DJ box for over a decade!

For most part on the follow up album, "Thinkin'" released on Polydor in 1971, the band ditched the cool harmony vocals thus leaving behind a pretty average rock album, a little heavier than before and less charming it's predecessor. Banchee presumably called it a day soon after their second album.

Dig it...

1 comment:

  1. Great record - I happen to like both LPs but would agree that the first (Atlantic) release is superior.