A confusing name for this group as they actually hailed from San Antonio, Texas. They had previously been known as The Hangmen (releasing one good single on their own Flo-Pin label in February 1966, ‘I’m Gonna Love You / Goodnight’), and then fell under the influence of local promoter ‘Colonel’ Paul Beckingham. He was of the opinion that the band would be more successful and receive more radio play if people thought they were from further afield than San Antonio, hence the name change and publicity that gave the origins of the outfit as Toronto.
‘Writing on the Wall’ was the a-side of the band’s debut single, recorded at Abe Epstein Studios in May 1966 and issued the same month on the Domar Label. The brief introduction on the Farfisa Compact is a quote from a theme from one of Mozart’s piano sonatas (or maybe from composer and electronic instrument inventor Raymond Scott’s adaptation of the theme in his ‘In An Eighteenth-Century Drawing Room’). Whatever, the song quickly develops into an absolute top drawer keyboard-dominated garage stomper, the time honoured tale of a young man two-timed by his girlfriend delivered in fine style by vocalist Louie Siedlecki.
‘Writing on the Wall’
The flip is a rerecording of the same song that had been the b-side of The Hangmen 45. We are in classic ballad territory here, with the Farfisa again in full effect.
Bassist Bobby Flores was later in The Infinite Staircase (great band name!) who released the classic ‘Margaret / Long Hair’ on Black Sheap in 1967, and keyboardist Bruce Svoboda was part of Grapple – ‘Ethereal Genesis’, the a-side of their 1969 single on Rush, is a neat heavy psycher; I haven’t heard the flip ‘Snail’ but Teenbeat Mayhem describes it is as “dramatic organ psychedelia”.
Reissues: ‘Writing on the Wall’ is on the Sundazed Five Canadians vinyl EP and on Pebbles Volume 5, the flip on Sixties Rebellion.
- Writing on the Wall / Goodnight (Domar, 1966)
- House of the Rising Sun / Never Alone (Domar, 1966)
- Don’t Tell Me / Writing on the Wall (Domar, 1967)