Classic Singles #41: First Crow To The Moon – Spend Your Life / The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind (1967)

First Crow_labelAn unfortunate printing error on the label of this Brooklyn, New York band’s sole 45, issued on Roulette in October 1967, has meant that First Crew To The Moon will always be remembered as First Crow To The Moon. The correct name of course was very topical in the late 1960s, in the midst of the space race between the United States and Russia to put a man on our nearest celestial neighbour. But the misspelled version is perhaps more memorable; it certainly conjures up an unusual image in the mind!

‘Spend Your Life’ reels you in straightaway with it neat little guitar intro and those driving organ chords. The guitar sound is clean – no fuzz pedal excesses for these guys – but it’s hardly an issue when a song is this finely constructed, with an ultra-catchy melody to boot.

‘Spend Your Life’

The flip is an even more up-tempo swinger, again dominated by that clean guitar sound and the organ, and the echoed vocals on the chorus add a hint of psychedelia to an already heady brew.

‘The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind’

It is sometimes speculated that Chris Stein of Blondie fame was a member of the band but that wasn’t the case, though apparently he was a friend and used to hang out at rehearsals.

On a sad note, the band broke up in January 1968, only a few months after the single was released, following the untimely death of guitarist Alan Avick from leukaemia.

Reissues: You can find both sides on Psychedelic Microdots Volume 3, which also includes another, previously unreleased number ‘We Walk The Rain’. The a-side is also on Psychedelic Unknowns Volume 2 and the flip on Ah Feel Like Ahcid.

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2 thoughts on “Classic Singles #41: First Crow To The Moon – Spend Your Life / The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind (1967)

  1. Dear Gilesi,

    My name is Allen Miller and I was the drummer in First Crow to Moon. I also sang the lead on “Shadows of your Mind” the B-side of “Spend Your Life”. I’d like to correct a few factual errors in your blog about us. Firstly, First Crow to Moon WAS our original name… I have no idea where or why “Crow” became “Crew” in the title, but that was false. It had nothing to do with the Space Race. It was just psychedelic imagery that we thought would sound cool.

    You’re right about Chris Stein, He was NOT in the band but was definitely a groupie. He served a useful purpose by bringing grass to our rehearsals, but not much else. He thought he was very cool, never taking off his dark sunglasses and not saying much. I always thought he was a bit weird.

    Alan Avick’s (our lead guitarist) death changed everything. He was my best friend in the band and I was devastated by his slow, painful death. At that impressionable age, it affected me deeply. However, the fact that we broke up in April ’68 solved the problem of whether to go back to school or go on the road tour that, according to our managers, Roulette was putting together. But Tommy James and the Shondell’s “I think we’re Alone Now” hit it big and soaked up all the excess A&R money that would have promoted us, so the tour was cancelled. I’ve nurtured a wee grudge against them ever since.

    As an aside, I found it interesting that the Wikipedia article on Roulette Records (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roulette_Records (claimed that Roulette was actually a front for the Genovese crime family. I’d heard rumors that Morris Levy (one of Roulette’s original founders) was mobbed-up, but it’s not the kind of question you want to pursue, especially as a 17 year-old.

    Practically every bit of information about us now on the web came from an email I wrote to the designer at Sundazed Records (the re issuer of Roulette’s catalog) who was responsible for doing the cover art and liner notes for Psychedelic Microdots Vol.3. This album included three of the four sides we cut at Roulette’s Broadway recording studio in June ’67, just a block from the famous Brill Building.

    BTW, our bass player was named Eddie Greenburg. We were just five nice Jewish boys from Flatbush, caught up in a cultural movement that changed the world.

    • Dear Allen:
      I was listening to the music from “First Crow to the Moon” because I am Alan Avick’s youngest sister, Cindy. I read all the nice things you wrote about my brother and was very touched. Unfortunately my parents are not alive anymore to see and hear his music on the internet. They would have been so proud. And my “cool” brother would have been ecstatic! Unfortunately I was nine years old when I lost him. The beginning of many close family deaths, including my older sister Rhonda, who adored him!. I didn’t know him too well and he was ten years older than me when he died and couldn’t have been bothered with my twin brother and I. I will never forget him, I go to the cemetery as often as I can (since I live in Florida and he’s buried in our family plot in Long Island, N.Y.) I always wonder whether he would have been a famous musician, or a doctor. He was absolutely brilliant! Should you need any other information about him, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank Allen……..Cindy Avick

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