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The Churls

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(Scott) been looking for this one for a while, John N comes through with both releases from this fab 1960's
Canadian garage/punk/psych band.....great shit here, you guys will want this one! Thanks to John N, it's a really fine submission!
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"Yes, you too will be surprised when you hear "She Needs a Man" and think that the Churls surely swiped some moves from the Rundgren version of "Hello It's Me", then realize that that one didn't come out until a good two years later! Perhaps the Churls should get some sorta garage band award for being able to play it teenage wholesome one minute and late-sixties punk next, ..."

and I thought I heard The Who 'hear' and there, but what do I know?

Churls_The - The Churls & Send Me No Flowers (1968-69) [2-on-1 CD].zip


YOUTUBE:  https://youtu.be/7TPStxUx4Es

As the person who found the very young fledgling Churls in a coffee bar, nurtured them, groomed them, managed them and took them across Canada and brought them from $25 gigs to dare I say thousands per show...you are totally off base with your comments re pinching other peoples material. May be your opinion but not so. We all wrote, arranged and practised 24/7 on creating definite British converted American blues sounds which unfortunately due to a lousy agreement with A & M were not able to be recorded. Old Herbie Alpert wanted a sort of rocky yet not too harsh sound from a Canadian band and frankly even though I was in on the production of same, they sucked. On the other hand if you had ever had the pleasure to see them live, you would have seen a repeat of The Beatles Shea Stadium every where the boys went. They rocked every house with Stones covers, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, Howlin Wolf, Bo Diddley and every other blues artist from Chicago and the Delta who ever influenced a British band to record their music a different way which in turn was interpreted by The Churls even rockier and harder. Unfortunately all the so called "reviewers" of these two albums only hear the forced sucky sounds of a very strong minded Herb Alpert. In order to get the studio time and hope for some exposure we took the deal. In hindsight...a bad move. To this day as I get older and greyer I know the potential of this band and they literally could have been the second Stones live... never got the chance though which disheartened them greatly and led to their demise. Just found your blog and had to spout the truth. Take it from one who was there....Bill

The Churls-THE CHURLS/SEND ME NO FLOWERS CD (Second Harvest)

Here's the first of my DENIM DELINQUENT-influenced picks, a "twofa" consisting of both of the platters engrooved by this long-forgotten Toronto band who actually got a pretty sweet deal from A&M considering these guys weren't exactly gonna be the new Carpenters let alone Cat Stevens. Far from what any of us would consider part and parcel to the late-sixties "A&M Sound", the Churls were in fact a pretty on-target garage band who "borrowed" elements from across the hard rock spectrum...nothing new of course but at least they sure knew how to steal from the right bands! And although both of their albums are what might be called "uneven" these Churls sure come off a lot more pleasing to the lobes than many other late-sixties flybynight aggregates of the day and not only that but they retain a good sense of just what teenage hard rock/pop could excel during those strangely transitional times.

I couldn't hear much if any of the Syd Floyd that DD editor Jymn Parrett thought he did, but otherwise the man was pretty spot on in his evaluation of the band and their ability to mix various regional and gulcheral rock phenomenons and get away with it. Riffage brazenly taken from everyone from Jimi to the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Leaves and a good portion of the NUGGETSbunch can be easily enough heard. In fact, if Lenny Kaye had broadened his NUGGETS timescope by a few months I'm sure the Churls would have made a fine inclusion to that epochal set! And (of course) I can't forget mentioning the group's own Canadian heritage from which they milk plenty, and that's the same heritage that gave us the likes of It's All Meat and dare-I-say the Guess Who who seem to be improved on in the translation! Makes me wonder if the Churls made it out in time to take advantage of the Canadian Content laws up there. I mean, the world surely would be much better off with more Churls and less Gordon Lightfoot! 

There does seem to be a little too much of a stab at AM-radio sensibilities (which if I recall correctly weren't
exactly anything to get excited over at the time) on these recordings and the occasional use of horns does detract from the natural power of the Churls but that doesn't hide the fact that this group is a pretty good late-sixties sleeper that I never would have considered latching up if it weren't for the rave review in that DD supplement!

But these two albums sure do a good job mixing the hard punk and straight pop, the former to get the teenage boys all hot and bothered and the latter to swoon the girls into an ecstatic frenzy. Plus these Churls sure do a good job with the harmonies and arrangements (thanks to organist Newton Garwood who seems to be the genius behind the band) and heck, I can pick out at least five sure-fire hits on both the AM and FM bands here (the latter surely would have been wowed by the tension-inducing "See My Way" off of #2 SEND ME NO FLOWERS which clocks in at an amazing 5:16). Yes, you too will be surprised when you hear "She Needs a Man" and think that the Churls surely swiped some moves from the Rundgren version of "Hello It's Me", then realize that that one didn't come out until a good two years later! Perhaps the Churls should get some sorta garage band award for being able to play it teenage wholesome one minute and late-sixties punk next, sounding the way you kinda wish that band down the street did when you were five years old and even you knew what good rock & roll was at that early age! 

Don't let the medieval costumes fool you, this is a must-get that I'll rank up there with THE HEAD SHOP and all of those other flashes that none of would have known about if it weren't for the writings of Parrett and various early-eighties French fanzine editors whose wares were made available in those long-gone Bona Fide catalogs that gee, I gotta admit I kinda miss!


The chord-crunching blues-rock on the Churls self-titled debut was hardly a million-seller for A & M. Still, that didn't stop Herb Alpert from issuing a second set of songs for the lads later that very same year. A & M's usual roster of easy listening and M.O.R. bands was changing fast in 1969, with the likes of Fairport Convention, Joe Cocker, Free and Blodwyn Pig all seeing their names on labels alongside that familiar trumpet motif. And for an obscure Toronto quintet churning out a mix of Claptonesque power chords and proto-boogie in the coffee houses of Yorkville, the trip out to A & M's studios must have seemed like the chance of a lifetime. 

But as their manager Bill Riley recalls in the blogosphere, it turned out to be a silly move in hindsight. "We all wrote, arranged and practised 24/7 on creating definite British converted American blues sounds, which unfortunately due to a lousy agreement with A & M were not able to be recorded. Old Herbie Alpert wanted a sort of rocky yet not too harsh sound from a Canadian band..., (but) in order to get the studio time and hope for some exposure, we took the deal." 

The Churls may have fancied themselves contemporaries of Cream or the Rolling Stones, but Alpert probably had his sights set more on an AM dial about to fill up with the rock-lite of Norman Greenbaum, the Jaggerz and Sugarloaf. On the resulting follow-up Send Me No Flowers the late-sixties blues-rock dots are all connected. Those creamy Hammond organs and searing guitars are everywhere, propping up Robert O'Neil's heady vocal, especially on the buoyant title cut and the equally hard-hitting 'See My Way'. But with songwriting that was tepid at best, and with nothing here approaching the next 'Green-eyed Lady' or 'Spirit in the Sky', Alpert sent pink slips instead of roses, and it wasn't long before the Churls' brief moment on rock's stage had ended. 

(Both The Churls and Send Me No Flowers were reissued by Pacemaker on one CD in 2012.)

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