Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jay & the Techniques

Jay & the Techniques were a Philadelphia R&B band that was active in the 60’s and 70’s. They were notable at the time to be a mixed race group with lead man Jay Proctor as the only African American in the group (a big feat in 1967).

Band members were: Jay Proctor on vocals; George Lloyd vocals; Dante Dancho lead guitar, Chuck Crowl bass, Karl Landis Lippowitsch drums, Ronnie Goosley saxophone; and Jon Walsh on trumpet.

The two singles I own are from their debut album Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie which was released on Smash Records in 1967. The title track was their biggest hit reaching number 6 on the Billboard top 100, but the follow-up single Keep the Ball Rollin' also fared well landing at number 15.

Sure, the lyrics are not the most complex writing: “Apples peaches pumpkin pie, Who’s afraid to holler I? That’s a game we used to play. Hide and seek was its name”, but it has that 60’s poppy teeny-bopper feel to it that gives it a free pass as far as lyrical content. At the same time, this style can get repetitive in a hurry, making me totally content with just the singles for this genre rather than the full LP’s. In small doses these songs are fun and catchy, but too much can ruin it.

While Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie was the bigger hit, I prefer Keep the Ball Rollin’ more. I love the horns and backup vocals giving it that doo wop feel. The use of stereo recording was still relatively new technology they sure tried to use it at full potential with the drums sitting in the left channel and the backup vocals and horns kept far to the right (Stereo recordings were introduced in the 1920’s, but were only began being mass produced for vinyl in the late 1950’s when stereo cartridges began being affordable). Sometimes this heavy stereo use gets annoying, but it works well here.

There is not a whole lot of material released by Jay and the Techniques, this album as well as their second: Love, Lost & Found were released in 1967, but afterwards they only released a handful of singles until disbanding in 1976.

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