Saturday's Children: "Deck Five"
Here's a sweet little slice of Chicago-produced holiday music from 42 years ago.
Saturday's Children, a five-piece band on the local Dunwich label (which also sported excellent local garage groups The Shadows of Knight, The Del-Vettes, and The Rovin' Kind, among others), released three singles in 1966-67.
Their first single, the superior "You Don't Know Better," released in fall 1966, garnered a lot of airplay on big top 40 stations WLS and WCFL, and even charted on suburban station WNWC. Popular at teen clubs like the Cellar and at city nightclubs as well, the Children had a dynamic singer/songwriter team in Geoff Boyan (who often used the last name 'Bryan' professionally) and Ron Holder. Their playing was flawless, their accents a perfect mix of Midwestern Mersey, and Rick Goettler's Farfisa organ added just enough grit under the nails to keep everything from getting too sweet.
Today's featured song, "Deck Five," was part of their two-sided Christmas 1966 single. I prefer this side to the flip, "Christmas Sounds," because it's not just a catchy midtempo pop number but also a neat little parody/homage to a certain famous jazz tune--and a clever inversion on a holiday favorite as well!
After a third 45 in 1967 (a stab at a Randy Newman song, "Leave That Baby Alone,"), the Children eventually drifted apart. Sundazed has an eight-song double-45 RPM package which I highly recommend. Unfortunately, despite placing a song with Chicago cohorts the Cryan Shames on their 1968 album Synthesis, Boyan and Holder fell from sight and have never received the credit they deserve.
Boyan, who had been in Dalek: The Blackstones (with future Shadow of Knight Jerry McGeorge and, according to some rumors, drummer Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick) and later played guitar with H.P. Lovecraft, still lives around here, but according to a friend of mine is not doing so well. Here's a glass of cheer to you, Mr. Boyan, with hopes that 2009 brings better things.