Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Chosen Few - Nobody But Me/I Think It's Time

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.


9 comments:

  1. Gary lives here in Lodi. If you provide an email or better yet a phone # i can ask him to contact you if you wish.

    JVJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Splendid, JVJ. He or you are welcome to contact me at morgan[at]youngideas[dot]tv. Just replace the parts in parenthesis with the right symbols. We'd love to hear from him. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      :)

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    2. JVJ - Hi and THANKS for offering to put us in touch with Gary! Now, I hope you receive this. My name is Tom Edwards although my DBA/Musician name is Tom Duarte. I am a second cousin to Gary. Myself and my sister JoAnn would love to get in touch with him and I would reeeally appreciate it if you could arrange that by sending his contact info to or mine to him. It probably seems to you that we should be able to find him, being second cousins, but we have just not been in contact for well, decades. I am now a full time musician, guitarist, and he was one of my first inspirations when I was about 8 years old. My sis and I went to see him when he had The Chosen Few and was recording "I think it's time" and "Nobody but me". JoAnn went to the Stones concert that he opened for. My contact info is (707)217-4549, duarte@duartemusic.net. My site is duartemusic.net. The Duarte name by the way was our Grandfather's original name, from Portugal. I play alot of Latin music these days and I just like the Duarte name better so I took it back. Gary would remember me as 'Edwards', from the Stockton/Manteca days. Also, my 'handle/name' whatever will show as 'Jack D'. That's just my google name. PLEASE help me hook up with my cuz! Thank you!!!

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  2. Replies
    1. Awesome! Give him our best and let him know how much we love this record.

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  3. I love the tracks by The Chosen Few. I host a weekly classic rock show in which I only play valley band songs. I would love to chat with Gary Wagner. Could you forward this message to him.
    Dick Lee
    The Brymers
    dicklee@thebrymers.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the tracks by The Chosen Few. I host a weekly classic rock show in which I only play valley band songs. I would love to chat with Gary Wagner. Could you forward this message to him.
    Dick Lee
    The Brymers
    dicklee@thebrymers.com

    ReplyDelete