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10 Feb 2017

Moonrakers “Together With Him” 1968 US Psych Pop Rock

Moonrakers “Together With Him” 1968 US Psych Pop Rock 
From Denver, Colorado, this outfit started out as a fine punk band releasing four 45s for Tower. Amongst these are the frantic garage-punker You'll Come Back, plus excellent covers of I'm All Right and Baby, Please Don't Go. The flip to their fourth 45 was also a cover of The Guilloteens' folk-rocker.

The Moonrakers evolved out of surf act The Surfin' Classics, when vocalist/guitarist Doug Dolph was replaced by Denny Flannigan. As The Surfin' Classics, they'd performed a lot of Beach Boys/Ventures material, but their name change came about when they got matched in a Battle of The Bands with Colorado's Astronauts and needed a more 'with-it' name. Bob MacVittie thus renamed themselves after the book he was reading at the time, Ian Fleming's novel "Moonraker".

The band obtained their deal with Tower through their manager Roger Christian, a well-known L.A. disc jockey. Christian (who co-wrote Little Deuce Coupe and Don't Worry Baby with Brian Wilson), had 'connections'... The Moonrakers thus got to open for many major groups in Denver, including The Dave Clark Five, the Righteous Brothers and Sonny and Cher. The even got to meet The Beatles and Bill Haley and The Comets when they played for 50,000 screaming fans at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The band also helped promote a Denver concert with The Byrds around the time of Mr. Tambourine Man in the Ballroom at Lakeside Gardens Amusement Park, home of one of the greatest old-time rollercoasters in the world. Veeder Van Dorn:- "The Byrds parked their tour bus at the Moonraker's bass player's parents house for a few hours while they prepared for the concert, but when they all arrived at the Amusement Park, Joel's hair was dyed orange and he was mumbling 'the colors are flowing.... can you see them... can you see them?' about all the rainbow colors flowing around the Concert Hall!"

With the onset of the psychedelic era came a dramatic charge of style in The Moonrakers music which is apparent on their album. Full of psychedelia with religious overtones, the cover shows the group below an altar and there is some good psychedelic guitar work plus great lyrics on The Pot Starts To Boil.

Veeder Van Dorn, also claims to be the first person to play an electric banjo in a rock band:- "I purchased a steel-rimmed Ode banjo at the Denver Folklore Center from the owner Harry Tufts, and installed a simple magnetic pickup under the wooden bridge. It was used on the Moonrakers' Tower release Time And A Place, which was selected by the radio stations in Colorado Springs, sixty miles South of Denver, as the A side instead of Trip And Fall, and went to No. 1 there".

During the recording of the album, Webber (ex-The Soul Survivors) and MacVittie left being replaced by Randy Walrath and Bob Sauner. Van Dorn also quit to join The Poor, where he got to know Bruce Palmer at a gig with Buffalo Springfield at Hollywood's 'Whisky A-Go-Go'. Shortly afterwards, Van Dorn, MacVittie, Corbetta and Webber formed Sugarloaf, although Van Dorn left after a few months (he wrote one song Things Gonna Change Some on their debut album Spaceship Earth). He then formed Mescalero Space Kit with Sam Fuller and Kip Gilbert (both ex-Rainy Daze), and Mark Kincaid (ex-Electric Prunes). Van Dorn:- "Kip Gilbert's brother Tim, who'd had a songwriting hit with Incense And Peppermints, arranged a demo session with Saul Zaentz at Fantasy Records in Berkeley. At the time Fantasy was having a huge success with Creedence Clearwater Revival. One of the original songs we recorded Earth Ain't A Jail was soon translated into I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band by the Moody Blues...".

Joel Brandes later went on to manage Eric Burdon and War.........

Magnificent example of psychedelic pop. Uniden treball of the formed band to Denver that despresés of some canvis in the formation will be commanded by Veeder Van Dorn - veu rhythm guitar i harmònica - Dennis E. Flannigan - veu i teclats - Joel Stephen Brandes - bass - Randy Walrath - veus , Guitar i harmònica - i Bob Saunar - drums, faces that durant l'enregistrament of the disc, els canvis are not going to stop producing, incorporating itself Bob C. Webber i Jerry Corbetta - guitar i battery respectivament - substituint in some temes Webber ia Van Dorn. The majority of the seats will be held at the Beggar's Opera Company or at Sugarloaf, which will be held until 2006, which is to be held for a concert. The album breathes a "savoir faire" that resplendeix to the llarg of the dues of the vinyl maintains a constant level of qualitat tot i that would emphasize Not Hidin 'Anymore, a pearl in brut dintre of the paquet, the light Look Outside At The Sun or Love Train. The Sun is going to release three discs més i d'altres bandes, among them the fastuos Things by Merrell Fankhauser & HMS Bounty. Però això ja is a third story.................

Getting SCARCE now, this 1968 acid fried psychout has some Christian overtones, mainly in the titles and lyrics (not to mention the giant stained glass church photo on the back cover), but you'd never know it by listening to the music, which is top-notch fuzz psych with a garage sensibility. Comparable sonically to the Zoo's CHOCOLATE MOOSE. Culminating in the WILD unhinged freakout "Love Train," which you can hear below. And if I didn't KNOW these cats were Jesus freaks, I'd swear a song like "The Pot Starts To Boil" was about something ELSE entirely.

HEAR IT!..............

Denver’s Moonrakers released several secular 45’s in the ‘60s, but this is their only album. Typical sounds of the times, this is organ heavy with fuzz lead guitar and strong drumming with a few horns thrown in. Add female background vocals on the r & b tracks. Some of the standouts here include the funky ‘Love Train’ and ‘Together with Him’, but the shining star is ‘Not Hiding Anymore’, an energetic tuneful song with a very strong chorus and some wailin’ fuzzy lead!! Though they appear on all of the tracks on the album, drummer Jerry Corbetta and lead guitarist Bob Webber would leave shortly to form Sugarloaf of ‘Green Eyed Lady’ fame. Social gospel spoken here lyrically. A neat color cover shot of the band on the steps of an altar in a church while a band shadow on stained glass graces the back. BF (Bob Felberg) (The Archivist by Ken Scott, 4th Edition)...............

Line Up:
Bass – Joel Brandes (2)
Drums – Bob Saunar, Jerry Corbetta (tracks: A3 to A5, B4)
Guitar – Bob Webber (tracks: A3 to A5, B4)
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica – Randy Walrath
Piano, Organ, Vocals – Dennis Flannigan*
Producer – Frank Slay* (tracks: A3 to A5, B4), J.C. Phillips (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3, B5, B6)
Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica – Van Dorn*


01 – Talk to the Soldier’s Son
02 – He Knows Why
03 – Not Hidin’ Anymore
04 – He’s a Comin’ My Lord
05 – The Pot Starts to Boil
06 – No Number to Call
07 – Look Outside at the Sun
08 – Take a Friend
09 – Love Train
10 – Find Me
11 – Together with Him

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..