Beau Brummels look to rewrite history with greatest-hits package

Since the advent of CDs, collectors have bemoaned the absence of certain album reissues needed to complete their favorite artists? recorded catalog.

Beau Brummels? aficionados can now rejoice over the newly remastered releases of Beau Brummels ?66, and their eponymous 1975 ?comeback? album (the latter of which was previously available only as a grossly overpriced import).

While both albums have been the most controversial and maligned by both fans and critics over the years, former lead singer Sal Valentino now claims what has been written about them, as well as other facts about the band, was misinterpreted and misrepresented.

Prior to the release of Beau Brummels ?66, the band had enjoyed two years of chart success when its label, Autumn Records, a small San Francisco-based indie co-owned by local star disc jockey Tom Donahue, was sold to the much larger Warner Brothers.
The group originally had been together for three months when it hit the charts in late 1964 with its very first single release ?Laugh, Laugh.?

Besides Valentino (born Salvatore Spampinato Sept., 8, 1942), the quintet was comprised of lead guitarist and composer extraordinaire Ron Elliot, bassist Ron Meagher, drummer John Peterson, and the most recent addition, rhythm guitarist Declan Mulligan, freshly arrived from his native Ireland.
It was Mulligan, in fact, who had suggested the band?s catchy name, taken from a 19th century British fashion trendsetter who popularized trousers as manly attire.

However, Valentino scoffs at long-assumed notions that it was partly adopted so it would alphabetically follow the Beatles in record store bins. (Certainly not a bad thing in 1964, when their every move was reported by the world?s media.)

?No, no, no, no, that?s a total myth,? he insists. ?That wasn?t even in the ballpark. We just needed a name, and that sounded good. We didn?t even know how to spell it. Everybody now has a notion of what people were thinking back then, but we never thought of those kinds of things.?

Valentino does readily admit that the band didn?t mind being assumed as British to ride the prevailing ?Invasion,? and that its instantaneous success was due in very large part to the input of a 22-year-old producer then known as Sylvester Stewart, who would later attain rock ?n? roll infamy as Sly Stone.

?He had a lot to do with making our music relatable and anticipating how our records would sound on the radio, particularly on the bottom, rhythm end. Sly was very motivated to make a lot of money, and he was awfully talented.?

The group?s terrific debut LP, Introducing The Beau Brummels, still sounds fresh and exciting today. While most albums of that era were largely comprised of filler augmenting a couple of hit singles, Introducing … featured 10 excellent Elliot originals and a pair of smoldering Don Gibson and Jimmy Reed covers, probably the most sophisticated production and stereo separation of anything released at the time.
And, although Valentino was by far the best singer in the band, all five members showed off their versatility at the mic.

The Brummels were enjoying the first fruits of their success. After ?Laugh?s? followup ?Just A Little? became their biggest seller, their third and fourth singles, ?You Tell Me Why? and ?Don?t Talk To Strangers,? also hit the charts, though they didn?t rise as high as the previous two.
They were featured as cartoon characters ? ?The Beau Brummestones? on the legendary ?Flintstones? TV show ? and appeared on the top musical-variety shows of the day, ?Shindig? and ?Hullabaloo,? (check out Youtube.com), as well as a pair of low-budget teen flicks, ?Village of The Giants? and ?Wild Winter.?

Of course, there were also live appearances in front of screaming fans. In 1965, the band appeared as part of a bill that included Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wond

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