Amberain! A group comprised of friends, neighbors, work colleagues and brothers. Rick, Rick, Dick, Steve, Sandy and Bruce. Drummer Rick Tippet, guitarist Rick Fry and manager and impresario Rick Burgess are sadly gone. The Ricks are gone. Rock’n’Roll heaven.
These songs were recorded on good old quarter inch reel to reel tape and ended up on a Memorex cassette tape. So, what we’re about to hear are one take, maybe two in some cases, recordings done in a house adjacent to what is now the Kurt Cobain Park…under the Young Street Bridge down in what locals call Felony Flats, about a block and a half from Cobain’s childhood home, in Aberdeen Washington.
Aberdeen has had a history of garage bands dating back to the dawning of electric guitars and rain. I have sweet memories of bands cranking so loud you could feel the bass resonating in the ground two blocks away.
It’s not uncommon to have the police show up to tell you to turn it down…and then stay and listen.
Most of our originals were harmony oriented with lead vocalist Sandy Murchy up front.
The songs featured in this episode, In The Morning, Dear Sissy and I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye are perfect examples. In The Morning was written by Dick Murchy and Rick Fry, actually before the band was formed in 1974.
That’s Rick on the tasty country guitar licks and Sandy and Dick on the vocals.
I met lead vocalist Sandy in kindergarten. We were five. We were buds from day one. He invited me over for lunch after school one day (we only went in the morning because we were in accelerated kindergarten for gifted five year olds (no we weren’t, I made that up) and that’s when I met his older brother Dick.
We had PB and J’s and listened to Dick torment their sister Cathy. The lunch was a spur of the moment idea of Sandy’s so consequently no one at my home knew where I was…back in 1961 there wasn’t much fear of your kid getting abducted by aliens. There was a fear of Dick giving Sandy wedgies until he had crack rash though.
Alan Shepard, the first American in space hadn’t even launched yet. Kennedy was the new president and Alaska and Hawaii had become states only a couple years prior. This was two years before the Beatles were on the Sullivan Show.
The radio was playing Elvis and the Everly Brothers. I had seen Jimmy Dodd on the Mickey Mouse Club show so I knew I wanted to play guitar.
It isn’t easy putting these personal shows together in light of the members that have passed. Sometimes people ask me “hey, will you guys ever play together again?” It would be fun, never the same mainly because we got older two of the members are gone, but hell to the yeah, I’d put a few songs together with them anytime.
Growing up, I was lucky to live about 100 yards from Dick and Sandy’s house on L Street. I slept over there and ate my first taco there. In the 60s…they were new to the white folk where we lived.
Sometimes the three of us would get together in their living room, which was one acre of shag carpet and two pianos, and harmonize. Dick wrote this one and it was an instant “we just knew what to do” song.
After almost 50 years, some of the songs have taken on new meanings. It's fitting to end this show with one of my favorites, I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye.