The Stained Glass — “My Buddy Sin”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 28, 2023


748) The Stained Glass — “My Buddy Sin”

The Stained Glass was, per Alec Palao, “[a]mong the most underrated entries in the Bay Area 1960s pantheon”, with “My Buddy Sin” being “baroque-tinged” and “catchy and innovative”, a song that “should have sent the Glass chartward”. (liner notes to Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets: 1965-1970).

The Music Court tells us that:

After being signed by RCA at the end of 1966, Stained Glass was instructed to record a version of the Beatles’ “If I Needed Someone.” RCA estimated that the Beatles were not going release the single in the US for a bit of time, and their slight miscalculation probably impacted the limited success of Stained Glass’s version, but, the song garnered enough airplay to spark a brief East Coast tour for the California band. The immediate follow up to the band’s first single was “My Buddy Sin”/ “Vanity Fair” which was released in the same year. . . . [“My Buddy”‘s] vocal harmony is unorthodox. It is not your typical light-hearted, fast-paced, early Beau Brummels’ like American merseybeat harmony. No, instead, it almost takes a page out of the Association’s handbook. The harmony is rich and delicate. It is fresh and entrapping, more like a choir than a pop group. The song also features a bluesy harmonica and a fast-paced blues guitar solo over an angelic vocal background. It is an odd mixture of genres, some popular at the time, and some prescient (British folk, for example).  It, to me at least, seems like a strong second release. A great song.

Thebog11 goes all musicologist on us:

[“My Buddy” is] unique, influenced by medieval music as much as rock and roll. Featuring harpsichord and sophisticated choral harmonies, it was unusual for a pop record in 1966. . . . a very schizophrenic track. You’ve got this baroque harpsichord, and medieval harmonies, and minor-major shifts that make it sound like a English folk song. And then there’s this loud, chuggin’ harmonica during the choruses. Vestige of their Merseybeat past, I guess. Nice tasteful guitar solo, though. . . . The sheer daring required to release this on a major label in 1966 makes it worthy of an A.

What, medieval harmonies? It’s not like the Glass was doing Gregorian chant! Anyway, Derek Anderson relates that:

When the single was being recorded, the group didn’t like My Buddy Sin. They felt the addition of the harmonica spoilt the track. It, they felt, took the edge of the song. On its release, in September 1966, [it] failed to chart.

Hey, it’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it!

Jason Ankeny gives some history:

Pop-rock trio Stained Glass formed in 1966, a product of the same San Jose, California music scene that also produced the legendary Syndicate of Sound, the E-Types [see #708], and the Count Five. . . . The self-penned gem “My Buddy Sin” closed out the year, and in the spring of 1967 Stained Glass scored a major local hit with “We Got a Long Way to Go.” “A Scene in Between” soon followed, but the group again proved unable to dent the national charts, and RCA terminated their contract. Stained Glass signed to Capitol, issuing “Lady in Lace/Soap and Turkey” in mid-1968. Early the following year, they issued their first full-length effort, Crazy Horse Roads. . . . [and then] Aurora, but when both albums were ignored by record buyers, the trio dissolved in November 1969.

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