Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
BLUES MAGOOS, The
Blues band, then psychedelic pioneers, signed by Mercury '66 after residencies at Cafe Wha and Nite Owl Cafe in NYC. Lineup: Ralph Scala (b 12 Dec. '47, NY), vocals, keyboards; Ron Gilbert (b 25 April '46, NY), bass, vocals; Peppy Castro (b Emil Thielheim, 16 June '49, NY), rhythm guitar, vocals; Geoff Daking (b 8 Dec. '47, Delaware), drums; Mike Esposito, lead guitar. Debut LP Blues Magoos '66; next two went gold: Psychedelic Lollipop '66 (first LP to use 'psychedelic' in title, also advising 'play at high volume'), Electric Comic Book '67. Adapted previous blues sound (too well, some said) to psychedelic fad for fashionably acid-oriented hits '(We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet' (no. 5 USA), two-sided 'Pipe Dream' (no. 60) and 'There's A Chance We Can Make It' (no. 81), 'One By One' (no. 71), all '66--7. Stage act featured neon-trimmed suits that lit up at high spots in show, went down well opening for UK bands like Herman's Hermits and the Who; but music on record did not live up to live reputation. Lineup split after Basic Blues Magoos '68; Castro recruited John Liello (vibes, percussion), ex-Bear Eric Kaz (keyboards, vocals) and sundry others for LPs Never Going Back To Georgia '69, electronic Gulf Coast Bound '70 on ABC/Probe before final split. Kaz became successful songwriter (Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, etc), formed American Flyer. Castro joined Barnaby Bye (with future teen idols Billy and Bobby Alessi); later sessioned, notably for Paul Stanley (of Kiss) on his solo LP '78, then emerged as lead singer of Balance alongside Bob Kulick (later with Meat Loaf) and Doug Katsaros on keyboards (LPs Balance '81, In For The Count '82 on Portrait). CD compilation Kaleidoscope Compendium: The Best Of The Blues Magoos '92 on Mercury.