The Amen (or A Men) originated in Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada. Band members in 1966 were Tim Ryan on vocals, Ed Schryer lead guitar, Nick Scali rhythm guitar, Dave Wilson bass and Bob Clarke drums. At this point they were known for their original songs and also for the 15 minute drum solos of Bob Clarke. A later clipping lists Bob Yukich and Bob Yeomans as well, and omits Ed Schryer. After eight months together, playing at the local Teen Centre, they traveled to Toronto in late 1966 to record their only 45, a fine 60’s pop 45 released on the local Algoma label early in ’67. No songwriting credits are listed on the label, but an article from the Sault Daily Star mentions Tim Ryan as the composer of the a-side, “Carnivals and Cotton Candy”, with the slightly psychedelic “Peter Zeus” being a collaboration between Tim and Bob Clarke. Production was by John Holt.
The Amen apparently moved to Toronto at some point in 1967, returning on July 21 to Sault Ste. Marie for a homecoming concert at the Memorial Gardens. (The Memorial Gardens were demolished in May of 2006.) They stayed active until at least late 1967, sharing billing with the Guess Who at the Princess Theatre in September. They certainly had ambition and talent, but for some reason never cut another record.
Thank you Jim Witty for letting me know about this group, and special thanks to Bård Hodneland for the cool photo and memorabilia of the Amen, and Ronald T. Robinson, former DJ at Sault Ste. Marie radio CKCY, who sent in the fabulous article “Amen Cut Peter Zeus” from the Sault Daily Star which his wife had saved since high school. Thanks also to Ivan Amirault for the scan from RPM.
Another band from Sault Ste Marie are (Those) Rogues, who have a fine and rare double-sider on Algoma, “Wish I Could See You Again” / “Girl”.
Members were Bryan Primeau organ and vocals, Rick Rogers guitar, Terry Davey on saxophone, Harvey Bell on bass and Mike Jargan on drums. Terry Davey left the group sometime before they recorded their 45.
In 1963 or ’64, the group recorded a whole LP worth of songs in John Holt’s basement. John Holt had about 10 acetate copies without covers made from the tape, some of which were used for promotion. Any copies John Holt had of this were lost in a house fire, and both Bryan and Terry have lost their copies. Does anyone have this lost artifact of Soo rock n’ roll?
Ivan Amirault explained to me: “The Rogues changed their name to (Those) Rogues, because at the time Mandala used to call themselves the Five Rogues.”
The single was recorded at Arc Studios in Toronto on February 26, 1967 (I’m not positive on the year), with Marshall Shapiro engineering the session. The label lists the address as Case Road. As with the Amen’s 45 the producer is John Holt, but no songwriting credits are listed. As Bryan’s son Joel mentions in the comment below, his father was the songwriter for the group for the 45.
At this point the band was regularly playing at the Sundown Room, though I’m not sure if that was in Sault Ste Marie or elsewhere in Ontario.
Notable in the article below is when Bryan describes the feeling of playing in front of an audience: “It’s like going to an LSD party, without the LSD”!
Thanks to Ed Narorozy who sent in scans of the newspaper clipping and the photos, and to Ivan Amirault who interviewed the late John Holt and provided me with info on their acetate and about their name change.
Terry Davey spoke to me about the early days of the group:
The Rogues started their career playing in the Moose Hall in Thessalon in the very early 60’s. The Fireflies gave us a break to fill their spot at the Peppermint Hall in the Soo as they were taking a trip. We played there and then moved across Queen Street to play at the former Knights of Columbus Hall. As I remember we were the last group to play at the Peppermint Hall. The Fireflies had just moved their equipment into the hall when it burned down.
When I was with the Rogues we made an LP with the help of John Holt. John Holt managed the entire thing. I believe it got a little air time at CKCY radio and possibly CJIC, but hey, that was the early 60’s. I had one copy and all the other band members had a copy.
When the Rogues decided to go to Toronto I decided to stick with my job at Algoma Steel. It was a good choice!
That is me on the sax in the photo. I am not that tall. I was standing on the rails of the barstools.
Some years later I also started a group called the Bishops Court Trio with Ed Shire and Jerry Pennet. We played at the Algonquin Hotel and also the Black Knight and other places.
Is Harvey Bell still alive? He was Chief of the Ojibwa tribe for some time.
My son Kevin Davey, formally of the Soo, is making a real name for himself in Canadian Music, check out launchingsweety.com. I had taught him guitar and bass many years ago and now he really makes me proud. He now lives in Vancouver, B.C.
I am currently playing sax, sometimes bass and guitar, in our church’s Prase and Worship group.