Day five of our Rocky Mountain Showdown finds us listening to a group of five students from Eastern New Mexico University in the small farm town of Portales. They went by the generic and not abundantly obvious name of The Beckett Quintet. The five students, Tommy Muncrief (vocals), Tim Taylor (guitar), Barry Dunkenson (guitar), Norm Reccius (bass), and Steve Nagle (drums), struck out for Los Angeles in 1965 searching for fame and fortune.
Not long after they got to LA they recorded their one and only single for Gemcor Records. The A-side, No Correspondence, was written by guitarist Tim Taylor and tells the tale of a boy who has "been gone for a month or better" and is waiting for his girl to write him. Sounds pretty autobiographical. But sitting by the mailbox demanding "You Better Right Me!!!" to this cheating girl is probably not the best way to get her back. Tim, she probably wasn't worth it. The chicks in LA were probably a higher cut than what you had back in Portales, anyway.
The flip-side is a unique cover of Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue. The Beckett Quintet's version was released just months after Dylan's beautiful (and often covered) original. It's a greatly under appreciated version with a unique arrangement and some intriguing production. I love it. Maybe even more than the A-side.
The A-side has been comped numerous times and the record isn't very hard to find. It was later picked up by A&M Records for national distribution. But, surprisingly, that seems to be much harder to find than the Gemcor Records version.
There is a lot more to be learned about this band over at the website, http://www.garagehangover.com/beckettquintet/. Check it out for an interview and some original newspaper clippings which recount the band playing indian reservations and sleeping on hardwood floors.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!