Ravens Boss 45 Reaching For The Sun

The Ravens (Tampa, FL)

Ravens Boss 45 Reaching For The SunThe Ravens came from Tampa, Florida. They two singles a couple years apart with different band lineups. The first single is on Charles Fuller’s Boss label, the original and gentle “Reaching for the Sun” b/w a slamming instrumental version of “Things We Said Today” on Boss BOS 003 in 1966.

According to Brian Egan on the Tampa Bay Garage Bands website (originally published in Fuzz, Acid & Flowers I believe), the first line-up of the Ravens consisted of Mark Maconi on lead vocals, Richard “Rick” Vincent Simpson on lead guitar and vocals, Richard “Thor” Simpson on rhythm guitar and vocals, Brian Egan on bass and vocals and Paul Purcell on drums and vocals.

Ravens Boss 45 Things We Said TodayBy 1966 the two Rick Simpsons had left the band. Al Schweikert joined on lead guitar – at 21 he was four years old than the rest of the band and became their leader. John Hallenstein came in on organ and the band started playing bigger gigs. This was the lineup that Charles Fuller saw at the Spot in Tampa and brought in to cut a single. “Reaching for the Sun” had song writing credits to Albert Schweikert and Bob Orrick, an early manager and subbing bassist with the group. Brian Egan credits Richard Vincent Simpson as the original writer of “Reaching for the Sun”, however Schweikert at least would prove himself to be a fine song-writer in the near future.

Soon after the Boss single, the band dropped Brian Egan and replaced him with Ken Spivey. Chris Krawczyn replaced Hallenstein on keyboards, and later Beau Fisher replaced Spivey on bass. The band split up around 1968 and Schweikert reformed the group, bringing in Kent Pearson on bass. Mark Maconi and Paul Purcell were the only original members to last the full time with the band. Their second manager was major Tampa area promoter A.J. Perry

The Raven Rust 45 Calamity JaneThe lineup of Marconi, Purcell, Schweikert and Pearson recorded “Calamity Jane” / “Now She’s Gone” as the Raven on Rust 5123 in late 1968.

Albert Schweikert and Karl Lamp (Karl Leopold Lamp, Jr.) wrote “Calamity Jane” for Roznique Music, BMI. Schweikert and Lamp had scored a success (artistic anyway) in 1967 when they co-wrote “As Time’s Gone” for the Tropics, a classic of ’60s garage.

The Gernhard Productions credit on the Rust label refers to Phil Gernhard, who co-wrote “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” and brought the Royal Guardsmen to Laurie Records (Rust Records’ parent label). Gernhard surpassed himself on “Calamity Jane”, blending bullet ricochets, morse code beeping, horns, fuzz guitar, electric sitar, flute and melodica sounds and cowbell into the backing track. The single attracted no chart action – perhaps Laurie Records was in the process of phasing out the Rust subsidiary so they didn’t promote this late single. In any case, “Calamity Jane” has become a catchy hit among club DJs in recent years.

Schweikert’s original “Now She’s Gone” has none of the flashiness of the A-side, but an inventive organ track and good harmonies back up an impassioned lead vocal. Copyright registrations from that era show another Schweikert song never recorded to my knowledge, “The Prism”.

Towards the end of the band, Albert Schweikert left. Tommy Angarano came in on organ and Charlie Bailey on guitar for the final lineup of the band.

If anyone has more input on their time with the Ravens I’d like to hear about it.

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