The name The Gentle Touch may conjure up images of sunshine psychedelic pop but ‘Visitors Parking Only’ is in fact a cool and moody garage number with a blistering guitar break and some very effective changes of dynamics in the second half of the song. It was one side of the band’s debut single, issued on RCA Victor in 1966 in a run of 500, some of which came in a picture sleeve with a photograph of the group. Needless to say, these are far more desirable than the copies in the stock company sleeve.
The group were from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada, and the line-up was band leader Bruce Ley, Ron Boyes, Jeff Snider and Alex Harrington. They started out as The Pharaohs but changed to The Gentle Touch to avoid confusion with a band playing in the United States with a similar name. The group performed several times on local TV station CHCH.
‘Visitors Parking Only’
Missing side: ‘One Way Ride’
There is also a 1967 single on Kapp by The Gentle Touch – ‘Among the First to Know / Merry Go ‘Round’ but this is the work of a different outfit.
Reissues: This is something of a lost gem as ‘Visitors Parking Only’ doesn’t seem to have been included on any commercial compilations. However, there is a series called Wyld Canada put together by a very generous collector that appeared for free a few years back and the song is on Volume 3. There were four volumes in total and they are all well worth tracking down.