We have a lovely double sided gem to lead off the Northern California region of the Flip-Side's epic Battle of the Garage Bands. Everything above the straight line that creates the north border of San Luis Obispo County across Kern County and San Bernardino County gets counted as Northern Cal.
The Chosen Few hailed from Stockton, California and the band was led by a gentleman named Gary Wagner. They recorded only this one single. The A-Side is the Gary Wagner penned I Think It's Time. The Flip-Side is another Wagner composition, Nobody But Me. Both sides are fantastic and worthy of a little digital praise from us. But we don't know too much about it. The effort was released in August of 1965 and featured none other than a very young Sly Stone (aka Sylvester Stewart) sitting at the production board.
The flip-side, Nobody But Me is a tough blues based rocker with wailing harmonica, gravely vocals and some buzzing bass pounding away that reminds this listener of the early work of Captain Beefheart. Guttural and powerful while still melodic and danceable.
The A-Side, I Think It's Time, is a brief little 1:47 number that shows a playfulness the transcends much of the teen scene rock of the era. This Gary Wagner dude clearly knew his stuff. The guitar lead and harmonica interplay is wonderful. Though a little to understand, I dig the lyrics too.
But it's alright
I got the money buried in the back yard
I dig it up
I live it up
You got to laugh before you cry
Live before you die
I think it's time
Gary Wagner went on to release an album in 1970 under the name Parish Hall. I've seen his name connected to another largely unknown band from San Francisco called The Grateful Dead. What that connection is I don't know, and with all things GD, I started to try to figure out the connection and then got so bored I quit. If you know any more about Gary Wagner, please let us know. We dig his work.