In 1966-1967, this Dallas group enjoyed some modest national success with the number five hit "Western Union," as well as a few other Top 40 entries, "I See the Light," "Zip Code," and "Sound of Love." Dominated by high bubbling organ lines and clean harmony vocals, the group favored high-energy pop/rock far more than British Invasion or R&B-inspired sounds, although a bit of garage/frat rock raunch could be detected in their stomping rhythms -- and their guitar-dominated tracks offered something else again, the harmonies and texture of "The Train" (which was very nearly their debut single) recalling the punchier work of Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers from the same period. Recording prolifically throughout the last half of the '60s (often with ex-rockabilly star Dale Hawkins as producer) and writing much of their own material, they were ultimately too lightweight and bubblegum-ish to measure up to either the era's better pop/rock or garage bands. Their 1966 hit "I See the Light" is their toughest and best performance.
By that time, Rabon had in his mind the idea of putting together a group, and he approached Durrill. The others -- Norman Ezell (guitar), Johnny Coble (drums), and Jim Grant (maracas and later bass) -- fell into place quickly. The quintet, named the Mutineers, had a repertory built on the music of Duane Eddy and Bo Diddley, and played events around campus, including a regular Monday night gig at the student union. They were good enough to take a chance on recording, cutting their debut in Dallas in 1963 with "Jackin' Around," an instrumental that got some play on their college station. The British Invasion caused them to add some Beatles numbers to their set list and change their look slightly, as well as emphasize their singing a little bit more. Durrill also added a Wurlitzer electric piano -- purchased by Rabon's father, Smiley (who had also financed their first recording sessions) -- to their sound, though the big change came later, when he acquired a Vox organ, which became part of the group's signature sound when the band started recording.
Their first single, "I See the Light," cut in late 1965 in Dallas, showed just how powerful a performing unit they'd become in the previous year, their instrumental attack resembling the best elements of such much-vaunted British bands as the Yardbirds and the Nashville Teens, with Durrill's singing supported by Rabon and Ezell. The single, which was leased to the HBR label -- a unit of Hanna-Barbera Studios, the cartoon producers -- reached number 26 nationally, and the group got the go-ahead to work on a debut LP. Equally important, the licensing deal got the Five Americans a trip to Los Angeles to meet the executives of the national label. That in itself was highly instructive to five Oklahoma boys who hadn't been anywhere more sophisticated than Dallas -- where their "long hair" (not nearly to the shoulders) made them "freaks" -- and their musical ambitions as well as the quintet's visual presentation advanced by leaps and bounds across early 1966, even as they made the rounds of venues such as the Whisky a Go Go and various TV music showcases such as Shivaree and The Woody Woodbury Show, turning into a national-level act in a matter of weeks. Oddly enough, at the time of its release, the band and its label hadn't been certain of "I See the Light"'s appeal, especially as its other side, "The Train," had some merit of its own.
Not too many bands coming off the college circuit by scarcely a year could have led with that kind of strength. There were similarly high expectations for their follow-up single, "Evol -- Not Love," a harmony-based rocker that seemed to carry them to the next step. Alas, it didn't do nearly as well, essentially dying in the womb in Dallas, owing to a local business-related "political" dispute involving Abdnor. But their next single, "Western Union," soared from the moment it reached the public, reaching the Top Ten. It also marked the beginning of Dale Hawkins, the guitarist/singer/composer of "Susie Q" fame, working as their producer. This should have been the beginning of a new phase in the group's history, and a leap in their fortunes and prospects, but differences with Abdnor and the limitations inherent in not being signed to a major label combined to sap whatever momentum the song generated. This was all especially tragic, as the Five Americans were generating music that was not only superb AM bubblegum pop, but also credible garage rock on occasion, and excellent pop/rock overall, with killer harmonies and excellent playing, filled with the kinds of hooks that most bands would kill for on their records.
The differences with Abdnor were worsening, however, and the members felt he was now compromising the music and any chance for growth by his insistence that they continue to record in Dallas. By 1968 Durrill and Ezell were both gone, replaced by Lenny Goldsmith and Bobby Rambo. The group continued on through 1969, but by then even their name was starting to sound quaintly out of date amid the burgeoning influence of the counterculture; they could probably have gone on indefinitely in Dallas, but their chances for national exposure were receding by the week. Among their last efforts was a double LP (credited to "Michael Rabon & the Five Americans"), before the remaining members went their separate ways. The band has mostly been remembered across the decades for its two biggest hits, "Western Union" and "I See the Light." In the 21st century, however, Sundazed Records reissued a big chunk of their catalog, giving the Five Americans their biggest exposure in decades, and revealing an astonishingly fine legacy, far beyond their best-known hits and all well worth hearing.(allmusic)
Around four months ago i posted already an album by the Americans called''Western Union'' and it's also released by Sundazed. But they are different. This is a collection of songs from 1965 till 1969 while the other record is a release of the Western Union album from 1967 with bonus track.
Frank Flac p1 & Flac p2 mp3@320