Monday, December 01, 2008

The Sedate Sunshine Colony - "The Story Of The Sedate Sunshine Colony" {USA, CA} [1968] (Psychedelic-Rock)

(Bootleg)

01. Dark on You Now*
02. Thoughts and Words*
03. Evil Hearted You*
04. Where Were You*
05. Visionary Pumpkin*
06. Change Yourself for the World*
07. Whittier Blvd.*
08. Bentley Road*
09. Run for Your Life*
10. Whiskey Man*
11. Kill the Cobra (by Bentley Road, Single Version, 1967)

*live at the Dinuba Memorial Auditorium, CA, April 25, 1968

The Sedate Sunshine Colony came from Kingsburg, just southeast of Fresno. Their time together is documented in these photos and a tape of a fascinating live show from April, 1968. The band chose some very unusual songs to cover live, including the Grass Roots' Where Are You, the Byrds' Thoughts and Words and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy's Dark On You Now, making for a portrait of the underground side of pop music during that time. They could really rock out on songs like Slow Down and Evil Hearted You, or play very delicate pieces like Summertime.

The most noteworthy songs on the tape are the originals, all written by guitarist and vocalist Craig Anderson: Change Yourself for the World, Visionary Pumpkin, and Bentley Road. They show Craig to be a distinctive and creative songwriter, and the band capable of a range of textures and styles to suit each composition.

Bassist and vocalist Jeff Anderson gives the history of the group in his own words:

One of the greatest joys of my life was playing in a rock 'n roll band in the 60’s. Music was just exploding and influences were coming from all over the world. People were only then learning how to play guitar and structure songs and the evolution was quite remarkable. Anyone in a band had grandiose visions of becoming the next Beatles.

My brother Craig and I started our first group, I think in 1962, as 'the Schillings'. It was an instrumental group that did mainly the usual stuff from the Ventures, Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, etc. We had Craig and I on guitars, a bass player that was so bad we actually had him bring in his tuba and play the bass part on that, drums and sax. We then morphed into 'the Eccentrics' and later 'the Essence Reality' where I took over on bass and we brought in another guitar player, Harvey Adair. The drummer, Russ Zakarian, is now the drummer for the Sedate Sunshine Colony's current project and was the drummer for our 2004 reunion concert.

The Sedate Sunshine Colony was comprised of Pat Erickson (vocals & flute), Craig Anderson (vocals & guitar), Woody Bell (vocals), Jeff Anderson (vocals & bass), Jonnie Sue Bartell (keyboard & vocals), and Chuck Zendner (drums). We played in the Fresno area, but all of us came from the small town of Kingsburg, California. The band was together from 1965-1969.

l-r: Pat Erickson, Jeff Anderson,
Chuck Zendner, Craig Anderson,
Jonnie Sue Bartel and Woody Bell.

The Sedate Sunshine Colony was the first band for Pat Erickson, Jonnie Sue Bartell, and Chuck Zendner. I think Woody Bell may have been in a sort of band prior to SSC. Pat was actually in a folk group with my brother, called the Four-tells.

We were a folk-rock band with psychedelic overtones. Folkadelic, I would call it. Above all, we had vocals. Five out of the six of us could sing and harmony was what we did best. We were learning to play our instruments, just like everyone else, and we did ok with one guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and flute. We mostly covered other music, but my brother Craig was a good writer, and we ended up doing quite a few original songs.

We played at dances, proms, picnics and just about everywhere including local fairs. We usually got paid about $100 for the whole band, while performing for about 3-4 hours. When the songs were only 2-3 minutes long, we had to know lots of music.

We were good friends, had a lot of fun, and somehow, almost all of us avoided the booze and drugs that were starting to happen with the music scene.

We continued to increase our fan base over the years and in the summer of 1967 the band caught the eye of a local TV producer. The group appeared on the ‘Dick Carr Show’ in 1967, making their first and only TV appearance. The Dick Carr TV show was a local Fresno show with viewers from Bakersfield to Sacramento (San Joaquin Valley). I would have loved to get my hands on the tape of that show. It was a 30 minute segement where SSC performed three songs totally live. We played two cover songs and one original. It was written by Craig, called ‘Visionary Pumpkin’ and featured a flute solo by Pat. The drummer, Chuck, borrowed the timpani drums from the high school band, and let it rip.

The Sedate Sunshine Colony competed in a number of ‘battle of the bands’ against a wide variety of local groups around Fresno, including rock, soul, psychedelic, & folk-rock. Other bands that we competed with or were friends with were local bands, such as the Accents, Twelve Miles Out, and Jim K and the Vibradors. Our best outing was a 3rd place finish in a large competition in Visalia in 1968. We decided to play four songs, without a break, with transitions that Craig designed. The winning group was a soul band that had about ten members, including a full horn and brass section and Hammond organ.

The group broke up in 1968 and most of us continued in music. Craig got his college degree in music composition at Fresno State College. You couldn't believe his senior recital. It was 1969 and he got most of us in the band to do a short film with weird images. Pat was in a wedding dress rolling down a sand dune. I was in a suit and tie running from something chasing me and end up falling into a huge mud puddle!. Craig then composed four songs with differing moods. He took each scene in the movie and made it a different color...red for anger, blue for joy or whatever. He then showed the film while directing the college choir singing the songs. It sounded a little like the choir on 2001 (A Space Odyssey). He says he still has the film and I plan to borrow it and use it for some kind of music video for one of our new songs.

Craig formed a new band with Pat (vocalist) and Jonnie Sue (keyboard) and moved to LA to make it big. Dave Nyberg also went along for the event. They asked me to go along, but I was getting married and needed to finish college. I knew it was the end of the music road for me and I sold both my 1964 Fender Precision Bass and my 1967 ‘blackface’ Fender Bassman for about what I had paid for them. I have kicked myself so many times about this over the years.

The band, called Anderson, played in many clubs, such as the Wine Cellar in Westwood. They changed their name to ‘Bentley Road’ and signed a recording contract and a management contract with Nick St. Nicholas, the bass player for Steppenwolf. They recorded two songs, the first, written by the producer, was called Michael, Michael. It was a pop song and the label chose this song to push. The flip side was written by Craig, called ‘Kill the Cobra’ and showed what the band could do creatively. It also demonstrated their expertise playing their instruments. Because the first song failed to gain any traction, ‘Kill the Cobra’ didn’t have a chance.


The band became very disenchanted with the label and recorded no more songs. They continued writing and performing for several years, while Craig produced and recorded their songs in his own studio. They broke up in 1975.

The lead singer, Pat, stayed in LA and has been quite successful over the years. She sang back-up vocals for Pat & Debbie Boone, Tony Orlando, and Charlie Rich. Pat appeared many times on TV shows, such as the ‘Johnny Carson Show’ and was a consistent studio back-up vocalist on many records. She continues to make her living through music.

After SSC broke up, the drummer and I started a new SSC with four new members. We had some ability and talent, but didn’t take it as seriously as we should have. We played at a few college dances and broke up in 1971.

Since then, I have played little music, but have dabbled in it for years. I would pick up a bass here, and an amp a few years later and play with friends a couple times a year. I still wanted to play.


Visionary Pumpkin

link in comments
greetings, amdeus :)

9 comments:

Govindas Dream said...

http://sharebee.com/3459bb02

Anonymous said...

While I totally appreciate the effort in offering up this rare gem, the recording quality is just attrocious! This is truly, what we used to call back in the day, a shoebox recording.

IR e L a IXI said...

cool! thanks!

Anonymous said...

nice early psych! thanks!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were any good psych bands from the Central Valley. I grew up in Visalia and played with a band from Kingsburg in the '80s. I'm too young to remember the Colony, but my pops played in a surf/garage outfit in Visalia in the '60s. I'll see if he remembers the big showdown in Visalia mentioned in the notes above.

Lone Wolf said...

WOW!

Looking forward to checking this out :)

Pygmy Beat said...

A high pass filter at 100Hz and a low pass filter at 12050Hz as well as some noise reduction & differential normalisation reall brings these recordings back to life. Try it!

Pygmy Beat said...

MUCH better quality is available at
http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=SedateSunshineColony
It's Quicktime streamed but far cleaner than the download available here. I doscovered this AFTER cleaning up the download - the garagehangover streams are better than the downloads even post clean up. I don't know who or what did the clean but it's pretty good. There are some extra tracks available over there as well - reunion stuff 2004 & 2007.

chas said...

give credit where it's due - this entire post is taken from http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=SedateSunshineColony

The music was offered freely for those who were interested. Anyone trying to sell a bootleg CD made from mp3s is cheating the buyers and will be dealt with karmically!

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