Chicago’s finest, the New Colony Six
Listen/Download – New Colony Six – At the River’s Edge
The record I bring you today is a long (loooong) time favorite that I only managed to get my mitts on recently.
I have been a fan of the both sides of the New Colony Six for a long time.
When I say “both” I refer to their early garage/British R&Beat sound early days on Sentar/Centaur and their hitmaking, soft pop sound (on Mercury) from a few years later.
Though they made strong, regional chartings with their early sides, it wasn’t until 1968 with ‘I Will Always Think About You’ and ‘Things I’d Like To Say’ that they broke nationally.
They got their start in Chicago in 1964 as the Patsmen, eventually changing over to the New Colony Six when they started to record.
The NC6 recorded seven singles and two albums for Sentar/Centaur in 1966 and 1967 before moving to Mercury in 1968.
Though the R&Beat sound wasn’t as big over here as the more melodic side of the British Invasion, it did have its pockets of influence and adherents, among them the New Colony Six.
Today’s selection ‘At the Rivers Edge’ would almost pass for a savage bit of Nederbeat if you didn’t know any better.
Certainly the roots – Yardbirds, Animals, Them e.g. – are all evident but there’s a layer of translation/interpretation there as well that pushes the whole affair to another level.
The wailing harmonica, combo organ and pounding bass and guitar, along with a wave of handclaps/footstomps all join together to make a 45 that is not only singularly powerful but light years beyond much of what was coming out in America at the time.
As I mentioned before, the New Colony Six underwent a fairly jarring transformation when they moved to Mercury. I dig their later stuff, but I imagine a lot of garage/R&B fans would find it hard to stomach.
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.