JOHNNY FARFISA / THE SKY IS FALLING LP

JOHNNY FARFISA / THE SKY IS FALLING LP

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Due 10/11...THE SKY IS FALLING. THE BEST OF JOHNNY FARFISA

Obscure 1965-1968 recordings, most of them previously unreleased, by The Individuals, The Tokays and Euphorian Railway, bands which featured Andy Cahan aka Johnny Farfisa as main songwriter and organ player.

Over those three years, Cahan and his teenage bandmates produced a remarkable set of R&B/garage/blue-eyed soul tracks of outstanding quality, collected here for the first time.

Growing up in the town of New Rochelle, New York, young Andy Cahan got his kicks making horror films using an 8mm movie camera and a Wollensak tape recorder. But Cahan was also a gifted piano player with a good musical ear. Like thousands of American kids, his life changed forever on February 9, 1964 - the day The Beatles debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show. His first surf band The Jaguars became The Tokays, named after a brand of sweet white Hungarian wine. The group started to play some of Andy's original material, inspired by The Beatles and other British invaders like The Zombies and The Dave Clark Five. One of those tracks, the plaintive minor-key ballad 'Where Young Lovers Go', is included here, a remarkably mature effort for a bunch of 17-year-old kids.

"Reno Franze and Richie Struts were the lead singers, Sandy Reiner was on drums, Larry Kramer on guitar, and I played the grand piano and organ. There was no bass."

Soon after, Andy made an important change. "The Beatles all played guitars, so I had to either learn guitar or, since I already was a piano/organ player, emulate Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five with his red Vox organ. That's when I traded my old Thomas organ for the new Farfisa Combo Compact red organ. After opening the factory package on the living room floor and setting it up, I immediately assumed the stance that Mike Smith had. I purchased Beatle boots, as did my band buddies, and we changed the name to The Individuals."

By this time Richie Struts had left the group. The Individuals worked hard and soon began making a name for themselves. "We rehearsed every day until we were so good that we won three separate Battle of the Bands contests in New Rochelle and other cities in Westchester County, New York."

The group also found time to go into the studio in 1965 and 1966 to record demos - most of which can be heard on this album. The tough Farfisa-led garage rocker 'She's Gone Away' is one of the highlights. With its memorable guitar and organ hook and haunting vocal melody, 'I Don't Play' is one of the band's strongest compositions from this period. In the studio they tried several different approaches, one with an overdubbed 12-string guitar, and another - designated the 'soul version' - with Reno doing a moody spoken vocal. Another standout is the hard-driving 'The Sky Is Falling'.

The Individuals broke up around 1967 when Larry Kramer elected to go to college rather than pursue music full-time. Andy, Sandy and Reno reconfigured as The Boys in Dutch, adding Jerry Delesio on guitar, and gigged across the New York area throughout 1967. After that band ran its course, Andy decided to start a new project, Euphorian Railway, with Reno on lead vocals, Vinny Derminity on guitar and vocals, Ken Lennington on bass and vocals, and Frank McConville on drums. Euphorian Railway went into the studio in March 1968 and in one five-hour session cut an album's worth of original material. Five tracks are featured here, including a powerful remake of 'The Sky Is Falling', along with dynamic new material like 'She Showed Me'. The influence of The Rascals is strong, especially in Reno's impassioned Eddie Brigati like vocals, but Cahan's electric harpsichord provides some distinctive touches, especially on the psychedelically-inclined 'On My Way To The Sun'.

The band was short-lived. In the summer of 1968 Cahan relocated to Los Angeles, where he quickly made a name for himself as a keyboard player and arranger, working with such people as Graham Bond, Dr John, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Harry Nilsson and Flo & Eddie of The Turtles. He was also a founding member of Geronimo Black, along with ex-Mothers Jimmy Carl Black, Denny Walley and Bunk and Buzz Gardner, and one-time Love member Tjay Contrelli.

As for his Johnny Farfisa alias, that originated with David Gibson of Moxie Records, who in 1980 released a seven-inch EP of The Individuals' mid-60s recordings titled "Johnny Farfisa's Greatest Hits": "He was the one who gave me the name Johnny Farfisa from the idea of combining Johnny Rotten and my Farfisa organ!".

Product Code (MR375)s
Condition New

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