Sunday, September 7, 2014
Garry Mac and the Mac Truque Truqued Up Alive in Concert Capitol 1969
This album is an interesting Kansas City nugget. Five white Kansas City teens cranking out sweaty, blue-eyed soul and funk. And when I say funk, I'm serious, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, they dug a lot deeper than Motown. The band played around locally in clubs and venues, obviously banging out numerous soul sides with enough energy to gain the attention of the majors. Capitol's signing of the band was an obvious response to the popularity of acts like Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and other sweaty frat rockers. If there's a good comparison for Garry Mac, it is Mitch Ryder. That said, the Mac Truque is made to sound like the Detroit Wheels-lite.
The album claims to be "live", but it's pretty apparent upon listening there's quite a few edits. There's some clear "crowd" applause placement, but overall, the actual tunes do sound live due to the rawness of them. The backside claims that the band were all multi-instrumentalist, changing from brass, to guitars throughout the show. Problem with the "live" aspect is that there'd have to be more guys on the stage at certain points in the album. It was a definite album gimmick (also, likely cost effective for Capitol) and it didn't appear to benefit this KC band, the rawness of it may have been lost on the mainstream and the crowd applause throughout wasn't going to help get radio play.
What Capitol should have done is take these kids down to Nashville and blast out these covers with some pros. Could have sounded raw and slick simultaneously, then the band could have performed live, switching all their instruments as their gimmick. I mean it wasn't like the Detroit Wheels were the only players on those Mitch Ryder albums, Capital could have made this band but clearly failed.
Of course, this was 1969 and maybe Capitol gave up long before releasing the album. Sweaty, white-guy, soul work outs had run their course by 1969 and perhaps Capitol sat on the band too long after signing them. I'm just picturing an A&R guy finally going to a record executive and saying, "Hey, man, what are we doing with the Mac Truque." To which the exec. said, "Hmmm, forgot about them. That music is 'out'. Tell you what, take some live recordings, get them to a producer, put in some over-dubs and crowd effects and see what happens. I don't want to put a bunch of money into it, if it hits it hits, otherwise send them packing." Well, obviously, it never hit or went anywhere and Garry Mac faded into relative obscurity.
Thus, it's now regulated to a Kansas City nugget. A few collectors out there are interested in this type of thing for sure, but outside of that, pretty obscure. The band's highlights are their workouts of James Brown covers. If there's a white guy who can screech like Brown but still come off blue-eyed, it's Garry Mac...weird right? They blast through "Cold Sweat," "I Got the Feelin", and "Licking Stick". Another definite highlight is Isaac Hayes' "I Want to Thank You." Granted, these are odd covers for a group of white guys to be doing...but, they are able to pull it off without any sort of disaster.
The band, or members, or at least Garry Mac are still performing as a high dollar wedding act. Apparently putting out an album for Capitol in the late-60's still holds some weight in the wedding circuit. They gained an additonal 5 minutes of fame when they were booked to play a wedding in Omaha, NE for Warren Buffet's granddaughter. That's a pretty big ticket, but it's newsworthy because Bono (yes, that Bono) joined the band to sing "Stand By Me." The story goes that right after the performance, Bono disappeared and never offered to chat or sign anything for the band. That final part of the story is because Bono is a huge dickhead, but whatever, I'm sure the band members would keep it classy and never say such a thing.
Bono and the Wedding Band