The Paupers — “Oh That She Might”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 1, 2023


749) The Paupers — “Oh That She Might”

Nik says of this gorgeous pop psych ballad from Ellis Island, the great Canadian band’s (see #192) second and final album, that “[f]ew 1960s bands ever succeeded at doing atmospheric balladry like the Paupers do on “Oh, That She Might”, which somehow manages to incorporate delicate strings and a jazzy, night club saxophone without collapsing into affectation or period schmaltz.” (

Jason calls Ellis Island “a little mini psychedelic gem” (, Nick Warburton calls it “arguably one of the best records to emerge from the Canadian rock scene during the ’60s” (liner notes to the CD reissue of Ellis Island), and Nik says that the LP is “a unique piece of late-sixties psychedelia”. (

Canbands gives some history:

Originally known as The Spats, the [Paupers] were formed in Toronto in 1964 . . . . Within a short time they’d become one of the area’s hottest local acts, combining an infectious jazz beat with a British-invasion look & sound. After a name-change in ’65 . . . . [t]hey were signed to . . . Red Leaf Records label and . . . issued “Never Send You Flowers” as the group’s debut single. . . . [which] soon became a modest local hit, as did the follow up “If I Told My Baby”. . . . [T]he band’s interests [were sold] to Albert Grossman, who was also handling Bob Dylan and Peter Paul & Mary at the time . . . . Grossman renegotiated the MGM contract and signed the band to its associate Verve Forecast. “If I Call You By Some Name”, the first single featuring Mitchell was released shortly after, reaching #31 on Canadian charts and became the band’s biggest hit. They travelled to NY to open for Jefferson Airplane that March before working on their album debut . . . . [T]hey [then] found themselves on the West Coast where they became regulars at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium [and] LA’s Whiskey A Go Go . . . .

Jason adds that:

The Paupers, along with the Guess Who, were one of the first Canadian bands to capitalize on the British Invasion. . . . Their early sound was a classy mixture of roots music, blues and folk-rock (think early Byrds or Lovin’ Spoonful crossed with the Blues Project circa 1965). The band began rehearsing 14 hours a day, honing their setlist and evolving into one of the tightest bands around. They hit the hip Yorkville District of Canada, playing to packed out venues daily and in return this gained them immense popularity. Rumor has it that the Paupers blew the mighty Jefferson Airplane off stage one night. . . . [T]he band would play at the seminal Monterey Pop Festival. Everything that could go wrong for them did. Band members took doses of acid that were way too strong and had equipment/sound check problems. Thus, it was the beginning of the end for the Paupers, a group of individuals who had began with so much promise. In 1968, beneath all the internal turmoil, the Paupers were able to squeeze one more lp out [Ellis Island].

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