Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Other Half - Mr. Pharmacist/I've Come So Far

Day 12 of the So Cal Region of the Battle of the Garage Bands gives us The Other Half. The band hailed from Los Angeles and released 5 singles in their brief career.

Mr. Pharmacist was the A-Side of their debut single, released on G.N.P. Crescendo in November of 1966. It would be the only release on that label. The band would relocate to San Francisco and move to Acta Records after this debut. Mr. Pharmacist, written by singer Jeff Nowlen, is a raver in the first order. Baritone vocals, wailing harmonica, grimy guitar, and an absolutely brilliant guitar solo from Randy Holden. Holden had come over to The Other Half from LA garage band, The Sons of Adam.

The flip-side of the single ain't so bad either. I've Come So Far features a pounding rhythm and a less aggressive approach, vocally and otherwise, than on the A-side. To this listener it reminds us a lot of the work that Zakary Thaks of Corpus Christi, Texas were doing at that time for J-Beck Records. Great guitar work from Holden and Yardbirds styled interplay with the harmonica. Plus it drops a Kinks reference in the lyrics. In fact, the vocals sound so different that I believe it may be Westen singing, and not Nowlen. Sadly I don't own this record and can't even tell you who composed this track. Ugh!

From left to right the band was Nowlen, Larry Brown on bass, Randy Holden on lead guitar, Danny Woody on drums and Geoff Westen on rhythm guitar.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. I really dig I've Come So Far. It's written by Western, so your hunch may be right about the vocals. I hear what you are saying about the Zachary Thaksish sound, but I also think it shows a Sean Bonniwell influence. After two listens, I didn't catch the Kinks reference...

    1. The Other Half: "I love you more, I love you more than birds can say"

      The Kinks on I Need You: "I need you, I need you more than birds in the sky"

      It might be a stretch, but it just popped out to me.

      I totally hear the Sean Bonniwell sound as well. In every way. Regarding Zakary Thaks, listen to Can You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps. https://youtu.be/98gXkaglFMo. I didn't mean to imply they took it from that or even heard it. Just a similar sound. Oddly, Zakary Thaks covered I Need You by the Kinks for their debut single. Odd coincidence. That version can be heard here at this cool blog. http://ontheflip-side.blogspot.com/2011/07/song-of-week-bad-girl-zakary-thaks.html

    2. I think its fair to say the writer was dropping a nod to the Kinks' lyric here.