Halloween Special: October Country/ Paul Brett Sage: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — October 31, 2022


Two songs hand-selected for Halloween — “My Girlfriend is a Witch” and “Warlock” — one goofy pop rock and one an eerie prog apocalyptic vision.

624) October Country — “My Girlfriend Is a Witch”

And he seems tickled pink — “What a fate, a worshiper of magic for a date”! “Witch” was a ’68 A-side and album track for OC.

Bryan Thomas tells us about OC:

October Country was a six-piece Los Angeles-based harmony pop group probably best-remembered for their association with producer/composer/songwriter Michael Lloyd. Lloyd was already an accomplished songwriter by age 13, signing a publishing deal with L.A. producer Kim Fowler [see #89, 449], who later introduced him to entertainment mogul Mike Curb [see #57]. Fowler hopes that Curb would use some of Lloyd’s songs in the “teensploitation” films he was producing at the time. Instead, Curb gave Lloyd the opportunity to produce a handful of groups . . . . [including] a We-Five-ish folk-rock group, led by a pair of singing siblings, Caryle De Franca and her brother Joe. The group had already performed on the Sunset Strip scene, where they backed groups like the Rivingtons and thr Coasters. . . . [U]nder Lloyd’s supervision, [they] recorded the Lloyd-penned “October Country.” (After they left the studio, however, Lloyd overdubbed himself playing on many of the instruments, replacing their poorer performances). The group adopted the name October Country thereafter, and signed with Epic Records, which released that first single in late 1967. By the spring of 1968, the group’s second single, “My Girlfriend Is a Witch,” was released, followed a few months later by . . . Cowboys and Indians.” A self-titled LP was released that same year, but the group’s records failed to catch on outside of the L.A. area.

This 1968 album is one of the better examples of songwriter/producer/musician Michael Lloyd’s overall influence and impact on the West Coast-based genre. Lloyd — who was certainly influenced . . . [by] various psych-pop sounds of the Brit-pop invasion, even harmony vocal groups like the Bee Gees — always seemed to find interesting ways to incorporate various sophisticated instrumentation (organ, horns, harpsichord, and string arrangements) into his productions.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/october-country-; https://www.allmusic.com/album/october-country-mw0000460858

625) Paul Brett Sage — “Warlock”

Prog masterpiece, an “apocalyptic vision[]” (Shiloh Noone, http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2011/02/paul-bretts-sage-paul-bretts-sage-1970.html?m=1), “the driving ‘Warlock’ [is filled with] Brett’s wildly unrestrained freaky guitar solos”. (https://www.nasoni-records.com/pearls-from-the-past/paul-bretts-sage-release-paul-bretts-sage.html?formatinfo=23) Man, is it eerie.

Dave Thompson tells us that:

Paul Brett Sage was a progressive band in the best sense of the word, with an adventurous sound that was accessible to all, though they never lost sight of their origins. The group grew out of the folk duo of guitarist/singer Paul Brett and percussionist Bob Voice, and their . . . debut album . . . retain[s] a folksy bend . . . . Brett’s fiery licks and solos . . . paints rock right across the backwoods vista. . . . [and his] aggressive performance on both 12-string and electric guitar creates a “Warlock” worthy of the modern age. With the band’s prominent use of percussion [and] haunting flute, their strong melodies, and infectious choruses, Paul Brett Sage hovers between folk, rock, world, and pop; an album that deftly manages to be all things to all people.


Bob Moore gives a bit of Brett’s history:

PAUL BRETT began his career appearing (while still a teenager) as an uncredited backing guitarist on ROY HARPER’s 1966 debut ‘Sophisticated Beggar’ which is generally acknowledged as contemporary British folk classic . . . . The same can be said of AL STEWART’s ‘Zero She Flies’, recorded in 1969 with Brett again appearing as a nameless studio musician while other studio players such as Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway of FOTHERINGAY do appear in the liner notes. Brett appeared (with credits) on the STRAWBS’ ‘Dragonfly’ studio album which was also recorded in 1969, and cut a couple of singles with ARTHUR BROWN. That same year he played guitar on most of ELMER GANTRY’S VELVET OPERA second and final release ‘Ride a Hustler’s Dream’, and closed out the decade as a member of the short-lived psych band FIRE [see #93], largely leading the studio effort for the now ultra-rare ‘The Magic Shoemaker’ LP. After his work with the STRAWBS Brett formed his own band (PAUL BRETT SAGE) and released three studio albums between 1970-1972. 


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