Tommy Faia is the force behind Tommy & the True Blue Facts, writing his own songs, singing and playing the acoustic guitar. I didn’t know anything else about him until he contacted me in January 0f 2009.
“I’m Back” is an anti-drug song, more convincing than most with great lines like “I’m not trying to bring you down, but how long ago was your mind really sound?” The arrangement of guitar, congas and an out of tune electric piano perfectly matches the mood of the song; Tommy sounds like he was way out there indeed.
“Who’s Got the Right” is a bit of a rant sticking up for cops (“he must refrain from protecting his life because if he does, he’ll get the blame”) and denigrating looters, law breakers and welfare bums. It’s just an example of reactionary attitudes in the late ’60s.
I’ve heard one other 45 by Tommy, an original called “You’ve Got My Soul”, which sounds like Neil Diamond, backed with “An Exception to the Rule”. Gone are the politics, instead you get love songs, with fuller production, girl group backing singers and a generally unconvincing result.
Tommy recently got in touch with me and told me the story about his records on A&M:
Around 1966 I jumped in my friend David Rosenkranz’s pick up truck loaded with his drums and my guitar and amp etc and headed down to LA from Carmel. I was about 19-20 years old. We rented a little dump in Hollywood where we could practice..we’d only been playing together for 1-2 months. I had been writing songs for about a year.
David got a gig playing drums for a little recording studio on Santa Monica Blvd. He told the owner about me and the guy recorded Who’s Got The Right … just David and I played. I played an amplified acoustic classical guitar with a flat pick … like Willie Nelson (unfortunately I didn’t sound like Willie but it was a big driving rhythm sound). The guy said he’d take it around town.
About 2-3 days later we get a call at night from a guy that says to me “do you want to be a star?” I said sure but wasn’t convinced by the big talk. His name was Ed Forsyth and he had a nice plush office on Sunset Strip right across from the Whiskey. We loaded up David’s truck and drove over there the same night and played for him in his office.
About a week later we walked into a huge recording studio with lots of musicians. Jim Economides was the producer (he was a producer at Capitol Records and worked with Dick Dale, Johnny Burnette, Bobby Vee, Bobby Darin and others). What really impressed me on that session was that the guitar player was James Burton. He’s doing that Eastern sounding guitar on “I’m Back”. They spared no expense. Funny because David and I were disappointed that we didn’t have much say in the process. All the records are large productions. On the later ones we had three male back up singers and three female (the Blossoms!)
Just a note on “Who’s Got The Right”. I wrote that song during the Watt’s riots. Later my friends told me it was a “right wing song”. I was not yet political. But I think that my manager Ed Forsyth really liked the message of that song and that’s what got us the deal. I later wrote many anti-war songs during Vietnam. Anyway didn’t want you to think I had a shaved head.
The True Blue Facts was really just David and I. Our management came up with the name. We were horrified at the time. We were a duo. Now I kind of like the name. I also played harmonica (Jimmy Reed was my mentor). We had a big sound for two guys.
I’m 63 now and just starting up another band with original music that I’ve written over the years. After Tommy and the True Blue Facts I continued writing music hoping to get another record deal with a hit song….never happened….came close a few times….even spent 3-4 years in Nashville. Finally gave up in 1983 and moved back to my home town on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Today my songs are much better and I’m playing with some guys and eventually will record our stuff. It’s fun to be back and so cool to find your site.
Update June 2012
Tommy has a new website and is performing around Monterey. See www.tommyfaia.com for his current shows.