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28 Feb 2017

The Buoys ‎" The Buoys" 1971 US Psych Pop Rock

The Buoys ‎" The Buoys" 1971 US Psych Pop Rock

One-hit wonder band the Buoys debuted with this 1971 platter, the back cover of which features a photo of the group dining at a fancy restaurant with the ironic caption "Dinner Music." The centerpiece of the LP is, of course, "Timothy," the tasteless Top 40 hit that earned the Buoys temporary stardom and launched the career of songsmith Rupert Holmes. It's a classic death pop number, the sprightly tale of three miners trapped by a cave-in who turn to cannibalism for survival during their ordeal. Despite the gruesome theme, "Timothy" has a hooky chorus and a production rich with brass and strings, so it's likely that many of the song's fans never listened much deeper than the melodious tune. The rest of the album's material is relatively faceless, though the second single, "Give Up Your Guns," is a good country-rock number and strives for an "outlaw on the run" vibe that almost convinces. Nothing else on the album matches "Timothy" in either content or euphony, dispensing with the gallows humor and catchy refrains in favor of a rustic rock sound laced with a few contemporary psychedelic elements. Holmes penned half of the album's tracks, including "Guns" and the "Timothy" sound-alike "Bloodknot," but the Buoys' own songwriting suggests a band aspiring to Crosby, Stills & Nash heights, most successfully on "Tell Me Heaven Is Here." The Buoys failed to secure a spot among serious rock's elite, but their peculiar chart entry puts them in good company with such lurid Top 40 favorites as Bloodrock's plane-crash dirge "D.O.A." and Jody Reynolds' rockabilly suicide note "Endless Sleep." Fred Beldin ..............

This was written by Rupert Holmes, who in addition to his hit "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," has written a novel called Where The Truth Lies, an Emmy-winning TV series called Remember WENN, and several plays, including The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, which won five Tony awards.
Rupert was 20 years old and had been in the record business for about a year. He was struggling and willing to do just about anything in the music business. He arranged the Charlie Pride song folio, wrote lead sheets for The Blind Boys Of Alabama, wrote the marching band arrangement for "Jingle Bell Rock" and the high school arrangement of "Oye Como Va" by Santana. He was the voice of studio groups and wrote shampoo commercials for Dorothy Hamill. His friend, Michael Wright, was a junior engineer at Scepter Records recording studio, which was at 254 W. 54th, in the same building that Studio 54 was later in.

Michael had the keys to a recording studio on the weekend when it wasn't in use and would go in and record songs with Rupert. He found a group out of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania named The Buoys, and somehow Scepter Records, which was the label of Dionne Warwick and BJ Thomas, agreed to release one single that they would record. Michael knew the label would not promote the song, but wanted to make the most of the opportunity. Rupert suggested they record a song that would get banned. That way, there would at least be some controversy about the group and another label might sign them and promote them. So Rupert tried to write a song that would get banned.
Holmes told Songfacts: "At the time, I was working on an arrangement of 'Sixteen Tons,' the Tennessee Ernie Ford hit from the '50s, for an artist named Andy Kim. While I was working on the arrangement, there was a cooking show on the TV in the kitchen. It was called The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. It's on in the background and I'm singing the lyrics to '16 Tons,' playing it to a kind of vamp sort of like 'Proud Mary,' and I sing:

Some people say a man is made out of mud
A coal man's made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's weak and a back that's...

And I think, you know, that almost sounds like a recipe - muscle and blood and skin and bones, bake in a moderate oven for two hours, top with Miracle Whip. I had seen the movie Suddenly Last Summer about a week earlier on TV, and it had a revelation about cannibalism in it, and I thought, If it's good enough for Tennessee Williams, it's good enough for The Buoys. So I thought, Cannibalism during a mining disaster, that'll get banned. It's not like I'm really telling people to go out and eat someone, this is just this dark, horrible thing that happened in this story. So I write this lyric: 'Timothy, Timothy, where on Earth did you go?' It's about three boys who are trapped in a mine with water but no food for maybe a week. When they're pulled free, they don't remember what happened, but they know they're not hungry. One of them is missing, and that's Timothy. We record this on the weekend and I don't think about it again."
When this was released, some little radio stations played it and kids would hear it and figure out what it was about. They would call and request the song, and the radio stations, surprised by the phone response, would then listen to the song to find out what it was about.

Said Holmes: "They played the song originally because it had a nice rhythm, kind of like a Creedence Clearwater Revival feel. It was catchy enough, but then they'd hear what the song was about and say 'We can't be playing this, it's about cannibalism!' and they'd pull the song off the air. The kids would call in and say 'Why'd you pull the song off the air,' and they'd say, 'Because it's disgusting, you shouldn't be listening to stuff like that.' Well, all you have to do is tell a teenage kid that he shouldn't be listening to something because it's disgusting and vile and loathsome, and he'll demand it. So the record, unlike 'Pina Colada,' which vaulted up the charts, went up like one or two digits every week. It was on the charts forever. Stations were playing it, kids were clamoring for it, it would move up the charts, then the station would pull it, the kids would clamor more and some other station would go on it to satisfy that demand. It just kept going up the charts."
This song posed a problem for the record label. Said Holmes: "Scepter Records in the beginning did not even know it was on their label. The promotion men for Scepter Records, who were trying to break a Beverly Bremers single, would say, 'We couldn't get it on that station, they went with this stupid song called Timothy.' Finally, someone said, 'You idiot, it's on our label.'

Now they have a problem, because now they're getting up towards the Top 20, and they know there are some big stations that are simply not going to play this record. WABC-AM, the biggest station at the time, they never played it. Scepter Records started a rumor that Timothy was a mule to try to get the taint of cannibalism out of the picture and try to make it a Top 10 record. Someone called me and said, 'Was Timothy a mule? You wrote it.' And I said 'No, what can I tell you, they ate him.'
Holmes explained: "It did better than we intended it to do. It was supposed to just start the controversy, instead it actually was a hit. I was a 20 year old kid hungry not for human flesh, but hungry to do something successful in the music business. I think I diagnosed a dilemma that a friend of mine had and found an effective way of solving his problem."
This was the only Top 40 hit for the Buoys. They did get an LP deal from Scepter Records out of it, they had a couple of other records that placed in the Top 100.
In a Songfacts interview, Holmes said: "Whenever people talk about Timothy, I always say, 'Where did you come from?' Because that always lets me know. If they were from Florida, it was big there, if they were from Pennsylvania, very big. Texas, they know it. But if you're from New York you've never heard of it."
There are two known edited versions of this song released as white label promo 45s on Scepter. The A-side of both promos feature the unedited version. The B-side of SDR-12275 indicates "REVISED LYRIC" under the song title. The "My stomach was full" lyric is changed to "Both of us fine as we could be." The B-side of the other promo (SDJ-12275) indicates "EDITED, BLEEPED OUT" under the song title. While the "My stomach..." lyric is kept in this one, the word "hell" in the second verse is covered up with a quick bleep. Unless confirmed, there is no known "third edited version" with both edits combined into one mix...............

"Timothy” really was about a mule, but a lot of people thought he was another trapped miner." Rupert Holmes, the man who wrote "Timothy", was still trying to explain his 1971 hit for The Buoys in a 1988 interview to promote his new Broadway musical, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." Laughing, Holmes swore the anguished song about the two survivors in a trio of trapped miners was not an ode to cannibalism.

It was easy to laugh then, but it wasn't so funny when Scepter Records issued the single by the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania quintet. Even though the song would eventually go into Billboard's Top 20, many radio programmers were reluctant to play the song, especially when listeners called demanding to know why some band was singing about eating this poor miner. It also didn't help when there were media reports about college students holding 'Timothy For Lunch Bunch" gatherings.

Whatever the song was about, the notoriety did help get a hit for the group made up of Fran Brozena - keyboards, Gerry Hludzik - bass, Chris Hanlon - guitar, Carl Siracuse - drums, and Billy Kelly - lead vocals. They were discovered by a Scepter engineer, who then approached Holmes about writing a song to help the quintet get some attention. He agreed, and the song ultimately became Holmes' first real hit as a writer. Holmes also wrote a number of songs and played keyboards on The Buoys' debut Scepter album.

It featured 'Timothy" and two other minor chart successes that also told odd stories. "Bloodknot" was said to be about a reform-school ritual while "Give Up Your Guns" was about an old West shootout. Although Holmes would go on to chart success as a singer, going Top 10 with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" and "Him", The Buoys soon sank out of sight. Scepter issued a few other singles, all featured here.

The group then signed to Polydor, cutting two singles, "Don't Try To Run" and "Liza's Last Ride", also included on this album. In 1980, a couple of Buoys - Billy Kelly and Gerry Hludzik, who was also known as Joe Jerry - were back in music as a group called Dakota. Their self-titled album on Columbia failed to generate any attention.
by Mark Marymont...............

The Buoys
*Bill Kelly - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Jerry G. Hludzik - Bass, Vocals
*Chris Hanlon - Guitar
*Fran Brozena - Keyboards
*Carl Siracuse - Drums
*Sally Rosoff - Cello

A1 Give Up Your Guns 4:14
A2 Castles 2:24
A3 Sunny Days 1:43
A4 Memories 3:20
A5 The Prince Of Thieves 4:15
B1 Timothy 2:46
B2 Tell Me Heaven Is Here 3:31
B3 Bloodknot 2:12
B4 Tomorrow 3:23
B5 Absent Friend 3:47

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