Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Chessmen - Collection 1964 - 1966

Primarily remembered as Terry Jacks' first band, this Vancouver, B.C. ensemble cut four singles during their brief career (1963-66).

 Core members included Guy Sobell (lead guitarist and founder) and Bruce Peterson (electric accordion); with various drummers and bassists (e.g. Bill Lockie, Al Wiertz, Miles Kingan and Larry Borisoff) passing through the rhythm section's revolving door. Billing themselves as "The Modern Rock Quartet, " they began as frat-house instrumentalists but quickly progressed to mainstream pop. Their first 45, "Meadowlands" b/w "Mustang" (London 17334), was an inspired reworking of (of all things!) an old Russian folk song, and spotlighted Sobell's lightning-fast flat-picking. "The Way You Fell" b/w "She Comes By Night" (London 17340) debuted Jacks' soft, saccharine vocals and hit #2 locally. The A-side invokes the Grassroots or the Cascades, the flip is an odd grave-rock dirge. Still, both tracks demonstrate Jacks' growing talent as a songwriter (fortunate, for the band found his rhythm guitar work abysmal and had considered dumping him!). Despite U.S. airplay in Chicago and the Midwest, two further 45's met with general indifference, and in 1966, the Chessmen retired from the board. Jacks, briefly affiliating with the Poppy Family, later found fame as the author of the memorably maudlin, "Seasons In The Sun."

    1. The Chessmen - Love Didn't Die (2:25) 2. The Chessmen - For Running Wild (2:06) 3. The Chessmen - The Way You Fell (2:40) 4. The Chessmen - Meadowlands (2:33) 5. The Chessmen - You Lost Your Game (2:05) 6. The Chessmen - Whats Causing This Sensation (2:18) 7. The Chessmen - She Comes By Night (2:01) 8. The Chessmen - Mustang (2:43) 9. The Chessmen - When I'm Not There New (2:05) 10. The Chessmen - There's No Blood In Bone (2:39) 11. The Chessmen - Instrumental (0:41) 12. The Chessmen - Wild Thing (2:50) 13. The Chessmen - You Lost Your Game (2:07)
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