Listen – Just One More Chance – MP3
I was originally going to post this track on Monday, but things happen, plans change and there’s always time (at least for now) for another post.
Though the Outer Limits original version of ‘Just One More Chance’ has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it more than two decades ago, I had not idea until very recently that the track had been covered, let alone that one of the cover versions was by the Hondells*.
Known only to me by their 1964 hit ‘Little Honda’ – which I never cared for all that much – I always assumed that they rode out that hit and promptly vanished. Then I started to do some research and found out that the history of the Hondells, and their cover of ‘Just One More Chance’, was a bit more complicated.
The first and most important fact is that at least in the beginning, there was no band called the Hondells. The tune ‘Little Honda’ – written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love – was brought to uber-producer Gary Usher (who, along with Roger Christian pretty much cornered the market on ‘hot rod’ records in the early 60’s) who gathered a studio group (including Glen Campbell) and laid down the track.
When the song became a hit Usher put together a touring band that went out on the road with the Beach Boys.
As I said before, I figured that’s where the story ended.
Au contraire, mon frere….
Apparently Usher kept the Hondells going for a couple of years, and as far as I can tell their post-‘Little Honda’ recordings were a mixture of contributions from the touring band – who eventually “became” the Hondells – and a studio project for Usher and his pals.
Well, one of Usher’s more prominent (and important) collaborators, a man we’ve discussed in this space before was none other than Curt Boettcher**. By 1967 Boettcher was in the process of co-creating the “group” Sagittarius with Usher, that band’s singles and album being composed of a mixture of Usher-only tracks, Boettcher-only tracks and combinations of the two*.
As far as I can tell the Hondells’ recording of ‘Just One More Chance’ in 1967 intersects with this project, and Boettcher appears as backing vocalist on both sides of the 45 (the flip being ‘Yes To You’).
This is not to say that ‘Just One More Chance’ was in any way a Sagittarius outtake or anything of the kind. However all indicators point to this much more sophisticated sound for the Hondells having been created in the very same crucible as those tracks and as a result is another stellar example of Usher’s increasingly complicated forays into what would become know as Sunshine Pop (among other sobriquets). It’s important to note that by the time they recorded ‘Just One More Chance’ the Hondells had recently experienced their last stab at chart success, with a cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Younger Girl’ a far cry from the formulaic “beach” sounds with which they started.
That said, while the original version of ‘Just One More Chance’ remains – to my ears – to be the definitive one, Usher’s West Coast take on the song, adding touches of folk rock and sunshine pop (I love the glockenspiel and harpsichord) to the mix is certainly interesting. I’ve never heard the flip (or any other late-period Hondells material), so it’s entirely possible that my mind would change were I to hear this version within the context of a larger block of material.
Either way, it’s a cool track and a peek inside the world of a very creative individual whose work certainly deserves to be better known.
*I was unable to track down a copy of the OG 45, but I found the track on this odd, early-80’s comp of surf and related tunes
**Boettcher is rumored to have sung on ‘Little Honda’ as well