Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Recent Discovery

Last month, I was thumbing through some records at a local antique shop. One of the boxes was marked "various," so I decided to look and see what I find. I usually don't go looking for budget best-of's, but sometimes the radio station compilations LPs are interesting to look at. Spying an LP with the telltale "groovy graphics" font of the late '60s, I picked up an LP by the Ray Bloch Singers, entitled Hits Of '69.

On the cover was featured some various pics of guys and girls, dancing and looking cool. I then began to look at the guys on the cover, and realized that I recognized their faces. It was the Left Banke, whom many of you will know is one of my all-time favorite bands. The set-up for the photos also looked familiar. In searching the Left Banke's photos for articles I've written on the band, I had seen some photos that the band had done for an article in Datebook Magazine in 1968. These were photos from that same shoot, only in color.

What I believe happened was this. The photographer took pictures of the band for Datebook in the late summer of 1968, and turned in most of the pics to the magazine. Like many photographers of the time, he kept some "out-takes" for himself. Somewhere in the following months, the photographer sold the out-takes to Ambassador Records, who were a low-budget label that was putting together a series of albums by the Ray Bloch Singers. They probably asked the photographer if he had any shots of "groovy kids," so he sold them the Left Banke shots. The photographer is credited on the back cover, which leads me to believe that the label bought the photos directly from the photographer, and not an agency. As far as I can tell, the Left Banke did not know about this happening. I have since discovered from the photographer's daughter (the photographer is deceased) that the photos from that shoot no longer exist, so the album you see below is what remains of those photos.

This is the second time that I've helped locate Left Banke material. In 2004, I was given by some collectors a video of the Disc-o-Teen TV show from 1966, and was able to definitely say what portion of the film actualy featured the Left Banke. (This footage was also important as it is the only existing footage of the band's original lineup, with original drummer Warren David Scherhorst.) What I really wish, of course, if that the Ray Bloch LP contained a completely unknown LP of Left Banke songs, I'm happy to have had a hand in discovering some forgotten photos of one of the best bands of the 1960s.
Dec. 29, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Daniel, I'm a big Left Banke fan myself, and travelled a long way to see their show last August with The Zombies in NYC. Would I be right that, in the "sitting with girls" photo, it's Tom (head resting on chin) and Steve, and in the "standing with blonde" photo, that's George?
    -Bill Abelson, Seattle