Category Archives: F Empire

Graves Discography

Here’s an incomplete listing of released recordings made at Alan Graves’ studio:

any help with this discography would be appreciated

45s:

Graves 1091 – Dominions – “I Need Her” / “Spanish Harlem”
Graves 1094 – Sires – “Don’t Look Now” / “Come to Me Baby”
Tork 1095 – Moguls – “Another Day” / “Round Randy” (Dec. 1966)
Graves 1099 – Ethics – “She’s a Deceiver” / “O.K.” (March 1967)
Graves 1100 – Fifth Row Bac – “Please Don’t Go” / “Destination Train”
Graves GRS 1102 – Smokey Metcalf And His Timber Toppers / “How Can You Love Me” / “Don’t Come Knocking At My Door”
Graves 1104 – Phantoms – “Hallucinogenic Odyssey” / “Sixty Minutes To Nine” (1967)
F-Empire 1106 – The Barber Green – “Gliding Ride” / “Life” (August 1968)

LP:

F-Empire (no #) – Beauregarde (features Beauregarde on vocals, Greg Sage lead guitar, Omar Bose keyboards and trumpet, Dave Kolpel bass, Allen Robinson congas and sax, and Jay Lundell on drums.)

The Moguls had two previous 45s: “Avalanche” / “Ghost Slalome” on Century 20449 in Phantoms Graves 45 Sixty Minutes to NineFeb. ’65, and “Ski Bum” / “Try Me” on Panorama 29 in March of 1966.

The Phantoms 45 on Graves lists the band members: Rudie Muller, Steve Reiter, Dennis Chu, Brian Ashbrough and Geoff Soentpiet. Rudie Muller sings lead on “Sixty Minutes to Nine”, Geoff Soentpiet sings lead on “Hallucinogenic Odyssey”. The Phantoms had an additional 45 on Ridon 859, “Story of a Rich Man” / “Our Great Society” both by Ashbrough and Soentpiet.

I asked Alan Graves about the bands that recorded in his studio in the 60’s and sent him a list of what I knew had been cut there:

The only record I can add is one done on the F-Empire label, GRS 1106, “Gliding Ride” and “Life” by the Barber Green.

There may be other “garage” bands, but most of the stuff I did was local schools, etc – some gospel and dixieland jazz band stuff.

None of the records pressed were released by me, but were the property of the individual bands -who either gave them away or sold them. Most were done in a limited press of 500 copies each. So if you have any of them, I guess you could say they are rare. Since the records were the property of the bands, I rarely kept any copies – and have none now.

I re-activated the studio by acquiring a Scully Mastering record cutting Lathe, and under the name of “The Audio Lathe” cut lots of “acetate” records for DJ’s and juke boxes.

I sold that last November, and now back to just hosting the History of the Presto Recording Corp on the internet.

Phantoms Graves 45 Hallucinogenic OdysseyPhantoms Ridon 45 Our Great Society

To right, the Phantoms’ second 45, recorded at Ridon by Rich Keefer Thank you to Barry Wickham for the scan. Thanks to Dale for pointing out the Smokey Metcalf.

The Barber Green


The Barber Green, circa 1968
Top left to right: Doug Collver, Don Harding, Mike McNeil, bottom left to right: Don Hurb and David Harding

The Barber Green came out of Brownsville, Oregon, about a half hour north of Eugene. Like the Moguls, the Dominions, and other acts in the area around that college town, the band recorded at Alan Graves studio. They released one excellent 45 in 1968 on the F-Empire label, which is most well-known for the Beauregarde LP.

One side of the Barber Green single is “Life”, a gentle musing on a search for love and family, with harmonies and nice guitar picking. The flip “Gliding Ride” is more energetic. The guitar plays some excellent repetitive riffs as well as a good, short solo and the bass and drums are clear and well-played.

The lyrics are worth quoting:

Do you want to take a rideBarber Green F-Empire 45 Life
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty
We can see the lights all through the night
We’ll be in a daze until the break of day

Then tomorrow will come
We will go downtown
You’ll be wearing a frown
As you go downtown
The people will stare
As if they don’t care
Then you say, what is this (?)

Do you want to take a ride
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty

Besides the polished songs on the single, there are four unreleased songs also cut at Graves which are much rougher. One is a cover of “Proud Mary”, but for me the other three are much more exciting, all single takes recorded live, with distorted guitar and Barber Green F-Empire 45 Lifevocals that peak in the red.

First comes “Destruction”, with a four-minute long repetitive section featuring guitar chords clipped by turns of the volume knob, a marching drum beat, and a long monologue. Halfway through the song, everything breaks loose for one of the wildest minutes of feedback since “Sister Ray”, then it’s back to the guitar motif and monologue for another three minutes to the close.

“(Thinking About The) Good Times” vaguely reminds me of the Pretty Things song of the same name in the way the lead guitar sustains distorted, wailing notes while the drummer cuts loose. Last is “Toe Jam (That Song)”, fourteen and a half minutes that build and extend into one of the more interesting jams I’ve heard from the time.

The band has plenty of attitude on these tracks, with even the vocalist willing to improvise with abandon for extended periods. Although it sounds excessive at times, I liked hearing this session because it shows a side of bands you don’t usually hear: creating music only for themselves without thinking of how it would come across to an audience, either live or listening to their record.

The Barber Green’s guitarists Mike McNeil and Doug Collver wrote the following history of the group:

We were a Pacific Northwest Rock and Roll band, playing in Oregon from 1966 until 1970. We played rock, pop, R&B and a few country & western tunes. We had a number of original songs and recorded a hit single 45 rpm record. The “A” side was the hit song “Gliding Ride”, the “B” side was a song simply called “Life”, recorded by Graves Recording Service in Eugene, Oregon, circa 1968.

The recording was not generally distributed, but was on the top ten list of a number of radio stations, and went to #1 on some West Coast stations, including KGO 810 AM, in Seattle, WA and KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco.

Band members included the late David Lee Harding, (lead singer), Donald Harding (bass guitar and vocals), Douglas Collver (lead guitar and vocals), Michael McNeil (rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals) and Donald Herb (drums and other percussion). The band’s manager was the late Jack Richardson.

All the band members were students at Central Linn High School except for Doug Collver who attended Harrisburg Union High. We called Brownsville home and rehearsed in the old Brownsville Theater.

We played all over Oregon from Medford to Salem and from the Oregon coast to Oregon’s eastern border. In Eugene we were the opening act for the premier showing of the Beatles Yellow Submarine movie. Other memorable moments included more than one gig at the U of O student union which translated into frat parties. Crazy!

Our manager, Jack Richardson connected with country star Dottie West and she had us lined up for a USO tour in Viet Nam but the Tet offensive of 1968 prompted the cancellation of that tour.

40 years later The Barber Green reunited and that’s another story all together.

As well as our memories will allow this information was provided by:

Mike McNeil of Portland, OR and Doug Collver of Bend, OR

I followed up with some questions for Doug Collver:

Q. How did the band get that unusual name?

If you google “Barber Green” you will find a company that once manufactured a paving machine. Some one in the band came across one of these pavers one day and we became The Barber Green.

Q. How did the band break out of the Brownsville area to start playing shows around Oregon?

We were just kids who wanted to play our music. Jack Richardson was the one who did all the leg work and all the booking.

Q. Who did the song writing for the group?

I’m sure that David come up with the lyrics for “Gliding Ride” and “Life”. The music and orchestration was a collaboration that involved all of us.

Q. How did you find Alan Graves and his studio?

We purchased all of our equipment from Graves Music (Vox Super Beatle amps & Gibson guitars). Again the credit for the connection must go to Jack Richardson. He did all that stuff.

Q. Can you tell me about the four unreleased songs the band recorded?

We only had one recording session that resulted in the two releases mentioned above. With the rest of the studio time that was paid for we jammed. David made up the lyrics as we played. When the band reunited in March of ’09 we all brought whatever memorabilia we had saved over the years including copies of the LP that was cut from that session. I was able play it one time – one take, scratches and all and capture it forever.

Q. Did you or any of the other members stay in music after the Barber Green?

Don Hurb still plays a little. I put it down after the band broke up then started to play again in 1996. For the last 11 years I’ve been in a band called Blues Quarter playing clubs, resorts & special events in and around Central Oregon.