Monday, November 19, 2012


Most casual visitors to this blog know about Bobby Cole by now…and may share the view here that "Mister Bojangles" was the best single to be released on Columbia's short-lived subsidiary label, Date Records.

While Date didn't last long, it did try to get some attention for a lot of obscure people. The label didn't issue a whole lot of singles between 1966 and 1969 but most of what they issued involved acts most disc jockeys had never heard of before: J.J. Lancaster, Van Trevor, Plant Life, Pretty Prudie, Derek Savage Foundation, The Will-o-Bees, Richard Fudoli, The Music Bachs, Robert Tamkin, Silky and Sage, Free Ferry and Don Meehan.

OK, they also had Peaches and Herb, Argent, and a little something called "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. But those hits weren't enough to keep the label alive. Bobby Cole did pretty well for them with his Top 40 "Mister Bojangles." And "Death of a Clown" by The Seagulls got some airplay, too, though the big push (even ads in the trade mags) was for their debut single "Don't Go Out into the Rain." By the time of "Death of a Clown," Date Records was beginning to show mortality.

The Seagulls were Kenny Young, Kenny Soenberg (aka Kenny Sonn), and June Winter. Was Dave Davies impressed with the cover? Not sure. But Twiggy seemed to enjoy another single of theirs: "Twiggs." They performed it for her, and she even consented to pose with the group. Which didn't help much.

The Seagulls was neither the beginning nor the end for its leader Kenny Young. Before he formed the group, he was a Brill Building songwriter, half of the team behind "Under the Boardwalk," The Drifters hit. Slightly less well known: "Gentlemen Joe's Sidewalk Cafe" recorded by The Status Quo, "Oozi-Oozi-Ooh" and "Please Don't Kiss Me Again," both recorded by The Charmettes, "Kinky Kathy Abernathy" recorded by The Searchers," "Looky Looky My Cookie's Gone" by the Raspberry Pirates, and "Hold The Night" recorded by the San Francisco Earthquake.

He also wrote and recorded under his own name: "Shaga Zooma" for Atco, "Mrs. Green's Ugly Daughter" for Diamond, and "Don't Waste Your Arrows" for MGM.

Young went on to record a few albums for Warner Brothers, and aside from The Seagulls, formed several other groups using animal names: Fox, Squirrels and Yellow Dog. He also has a lot of credits as a producer which includes three albums with Clodagh Rodgers and the superstar-filled albums "Earthrise" and "Spirit of the Forest." His most recent productions are two "Rhythms del Mundo" albums. It's always great to note a talent who hasn't stayed rooted to oldies shows, or left the music business rather than found a way to stay involved and creative within it.

For fans wanting to go back in time for more of this group, The Seagulls did manage three singles (several songs originals written by Kenny Young)…which is one more than Bobby Cole, who recorded his two in 1968. The discs are: "Don't Go Out into the Rain" bw "Hitting the Moon with a Sling Shot" (1966), "Twiggs" bw "Charlie No More" (1967) and "Death of a Clown" bw "Annabel" (1967).

THE SEAGULLS Death of a Clown (cover)

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