What is an Albany, New York group doing on a blog about Florida bands?
Well, for one thing, I love the Bougalieu’s record – both versions of it. Love it a lot! But more importantly, this is a band that relocated to South Florida for a time, ‘til it was clear that the end of the road was near. It’s a band that mingled and played alongside some of the most legendary Miami bands of the late ‘60s, most of whom probably didn’t know about the awesome record that the guys cut back in their home state.
What can I say about “Let’s Do Wrong” and “When I Was A Children”? I could tell you what the lyrics to “Let’s Do Wrong” mean, but frankly, they don’t make much sense – and that’s good. The rapid fire, tough to understand words make this sound really menacing, and very, dare I say it, punk. There are two versions of the song. One is much shorter, with the words less slurred. On the other the words are nearly indecipherable, and there is a cool psychedelic change at the end of the song that is nothing short of brilliant.
60s garage band collectors are in agreement about “Let’s Do Wrong” – particularly the longer version – but there is dissension when it comes to “When I Was A Children”. One blogger called it “a pretty forgettable, middle-of-the-road pop song”, and group member Bill Gallagher agrees with that critique. While “Children” sounds tame when compared to the other side, it is anything but forgettable, or middle of the road. It’s one of those tunes that sounds better with repeated listenings, and in fact, sounds weirder each time, especially the part where vocalist Parker Kennedy shouts “can’t you see I want to be free-eee-ee-ee-kay?” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the award for the best use of the word “freaky” goes to the Bougalieu! WTRY in Albany must have agreed, as did its listeners, who pushed the song into the local top ten. When the record started getting played in Florida, the band decided to head south and check out the action there. After all, it was January, and cold back in Albany!
Marshall Brevitz, the legendary promoter and club owner, was impressed with the band, and booked them alongside Blues Image at Thee Experience in Miami’s Sunny Isles area. With the new locale came a new name – Corners of the Heavens – and lots and lots of problems. Parker Kennedy hurt himself screaming on stage, and needed a hernia operation. The band had commitments, so they replaced him with Eddie (Walter) Saxe, another guy originally from Albany. What happened next is the subject of a lot of controversy and anger among band members, thanks to several mistakes that were made, including the band blowing a chance to open for The Who at Fort Lauderdale’s Code One club. (Their loss was the New York Square Library’s gain.) Sadly, former band members are still angry about this period of time. It’s not my intention to open up, or revisit old wounds, just to acknowledge a period in this band’s history that’s typical, in its way, of what a lot of bands went through – depression, prison time, a drug bust, etc. Corners of the Heavens/The Bougalieu headed back to Albany, playing their final gig at a state fair. Three of the guys formed a new band – Friends of Whitney Sunday – which relocated to Philadelphia, and wound up recording for both Capitol and Decca Records.
The Bougalieu/Corners of the Heavens recorded two demo tracks prior to calling it quits. “Aquarian Age” and “Of Thee I Sing” both feature Hendrix-influenced guitar, and show a much heavier side to the band. You can hear both tracks on Michael (Rothman) Havelin’s site.
While the Bougalieu wasn’t mentioned in Savage Lost, they played alongside many bands that were — and their great record on Roulette is every bit as good as Florida’s all-time greats. The guys that wanted to do wrong, and wanted to be freaky – no, wanted to be “free-eee-ee-ee-kay” – managed to make their mark… and escape the cold. I’m sure glad they did.
Some of the Bougalieu’s music is available on the CD “Psychedelic Microdots Volume 3”.
While you’re here… check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST BLOG.
As a 60’s garage freak,I have read everything on the web about The Bougalieu. The most interesting bit of tripe,is the wide open internet argument among members over Walter (Eddie) Saxe “turning down” an offerfor the band to open for the Who in 1968 in Florida.Which is strange because Michael Rothman was clearly the leader and knew nothing of this “offer”.
Then during that same period Eddie says he “turned down” an offer to join
Blues Image (Ride Captain Ride). Instead, opting to return to Albany with The Bougalieu who were clearly on their last legs.
Now on a 60’s garage band site, The Ruins, Saxe’s high school band has a spot. There, Walter ( Eddie) Saxe says he ” turned down” an offer for The Ruins to ….ready for this…open for The Rolling Stones in Albany on their first American tour.
Walter Eddie Sax is either very self destructive or highly delusional. I’ll bet on the latter.
Lee, I am not delusional. When I was the leader of the Ruins we turned down the Stones because of ethics. The Ruins had a gig at an RPI frat house on Friday and our manager told me on Wednesday that we were to open for the Stones on Friday at the Palace Theater in Albany. Not enough time to bail and to this day I regret it, but I know that I did the ethical thing.
Mike Pinera of the Blues Image asked me to join his band. He heard me play a drum duo with Joe Lala of Fire by Hendrix. Ask him yourself. I turned him down,why? Because the night before Mike Rothman and Lester Figarsky asked me to be their new lead singer and I happily agreed. Again, ethics. But at that time the Blues Image were no more than a club band like us. If I had know they would have been a 1 hit wonder, I cannot honestly say what my decision would have been.
We did not actually “turn down an offer” to open for the Who. I told the owner we wanted $100.00 more than he wanted to pay us so he turned us down. I was stupid and had no right to do that but Mike and the other guys were mum so somebody had to speak up. I just wish it had not been me as I was a new guy in the band and should have kept quiet. Hope this clears up some of your misconceptions, but when one is speculating without first hand facts, that is the result. Like I said, look up Mike Pinera,(San Diego) Billy Shaw (Vermont), Fred Baye (Albany) and Mike Havelin (nee Rothman) in Asheville, NC, and ask them to confirm what I have stated. Then, you will know that every word I said is true. And if you do not have the energy or ambition to do that, I will lose no sleep. not a wink. But in the future, be careful about your assumptions when not armed with the facts. You will only make a fool of yourself.