The Chain Reaction
I hope the new week finds you well.
The record I bring you today is something that I sought for years, before finally grabbing a copy at the Allentown 45 show a few years ago.
Chain Reaction is a band that would be all but lost to time, were it not for the later success of its drummer/vocalist, a young fellow named Steven Tallarico, better known these days as Steven Tyler.
If the group’s two 45s were terrible (which they are NOT) they would still pull money on the collector scene because of the Aerosmith connection.
As it is, both of their records are quite cool, and as a result all of us garage pop fans have to compete with the ‘Love In an Elevator’ types whenever copies turn up.
The group was formed in the New York City suburb of Yonkers in 1964 as the Strangers (later Strangeurs) before morphing into Chain Reaction.
Featuring Tallarico/Tyler on drums and vocals, Don Solomon (Sloan) on keyboards, Peter Stahl on guitar, Alan Strohmayer on bass and Barry Shapiro (Shore) on drums (alternating with Tyler), the group recorded their first 45 ‘The Sun’ b/w ‘When I Needed You’ in 1966 for the Date label (both sides psych-inflected pop).
They recorded their second 45 for Verve in late 1966 (released in 1968).
‘Ever Lovin’ Man’ – written by Sloan and Stahl – features Tyler’s unmistakable voice on an excellent slice of garage pop. The song features some very groovy electric piano, fuzz guitar and great backing vocals by the group. It is – of all their tracks – the one that should have been a hit.
The flipside, ‘You Should Have Been Here Yesterday’ is a much poppier number, with a good-timey, slightly Beatle-y edge and a much fuller arrangement.
The production, by Artie Schroeck is pretty cool (their first 45 had been produced by Richard Gottehrer).
Tyler would go on to add backing vocals to the second Left Banke LP, before finally falling in with his Aerosmith chums in 1970.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll see you all next week.