Brian McFadden’s Bizarre Tales of the British Invasion – Part Two
(Buggs vs. The Coachmen V)
This is the next installment of bewildering tales from the early British Invasion as researched by author Brian McFadden and presented in his “Rock Rarities for a Song – Budget That Saved The Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Kohner, Madison & Danforth – copyright 2015).
Here we have an LP that we have all run across many times during our years in pursuit of vinyl, “The Beetle Beat” by the “Buggs”. Brian immediately captured my attention with this bold statement: “All these years after the British Invasion, no other budget label imitation Beatles album generates as much speculation as ‘The Beetle Beat’ released on Premier’s Coronet label. The main reason is that this LP is just so darn good.”
Now that statement demands that I actually give a listen to this piece of Invasion history. (By the way, Brian writes extensively on the 1959 founding of Premier Albums Inc., by Phil Landwehr which included the Premier, Coronet, Spin-O-Rama and more. The Premier story alone is well worth the purchase of McFadden’s book.
Back to Brian’s Bugg Account: He states that the LP boasts of being recorded in England, but was in fact recorded in good old New York. Next, and no surprise here, the Buggs depicted on the front cover are not the musicians who laid down the tracks. The bonafide musicians on this LP were in reality a New Jersey group called the Coachmen V. Members of the Coachmen V included Frank Zillitto (who Brian interviewed) , Bill Omolski, Steve Brogue and a later successful Gary Wright of “Dream Weaver” fame.
Brian dismisses internet rumors that the artist behind this recording was a guy named Andy Anderson who had released a whacky tune called “The Buggs vs. The Beatles, released on Soma. The Coachmen V never realized a vinyl release under their own name during their short career. They were under the impression that their recordings would possibly be released on the Atlantic subsidiary label Atco, but that never materialized. Group members were puzzled when the tracks finally emerged on the Coronet label.
Composers of most of the Buggs’ tracks included Lor Crane, and Bernice Ross along with Joan Kingsburg.
Coronet got a lot of mileage out of the Buggs’ session – releasing the songs time and time again on initially the “Boots A Go-Go” LP and then repeatedly on a LP’s bearing obscure songs by The Four Seasons, Petula Clark, Johnny Rivers, , Charlie Francis, Barbara Brown, Frankie Valli, and The Young Rascals. On the Petula Clark LP, the group’s name was changed to the “Submarine Spitfires” of all things.
Interestingly, Coachmen V tracks were released as well on a single on the Coral label as “The Pacers” which is shown here.
Next Post Up – Part 3: Beats from Liverpool
(Visit Brian McFadden’s Amazon Store here to purchase “Rock Rarities” and more.) and to read a nice bio on McFadden.