Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Five By Five - Fire
Here is yet another installment from the "Hendrix" files:
In 1967, a group called Five By Five, from Magnolia, Arkansas, signed with Paula. They were typical of the "cover bands" that played in clubs, doing the R&B dance songs popular at the time. Their first single was "Shake a Tail Feather" [Paula 261], issued in early 1967. They followed that with "Harlem Shuffle" [Paula 283] later that year. Although they were probably able to sell a number of copies to the folks who saw them appear live, there wasn't much interest outside the region. But in the summer of 1968, they covered a song, "Fire," off the Jimi Hendrix album Are You Experienced?. Since Hendrix' record company, Reprise, did not put the song out as a single, Five By Five was in luck. Theirs was the single version that was available when kids went to the store and asked for the song. The single entered the national charts in November, 1968 and made it up to #52. Like the group Underground Sunshine, who similarly filled a gap when they covered the Beatles' "Birthday," the cover version provided a short-term spotlight for the group, their so-called "15 minutes of fame." Today, their version of the song is rarely played as an oldie, because the original is usually played instead. As a cover band, they were certainly competent and their album is in some demand with collectors, but at best they're a footnote in rock and roll history, a band in the right place at the right time. The group was made up of Ronnie Plants (lead singer, guitar), Larry Andrew (guitar), Tim Milam (organ, vocals), Bill Merritt (bass), and Doug Green (drums). Five additional singles all failed to chart, and the group finally called it quits.
*edit: Per comments left.
Bill Merritt is listed as the bass player, and Larry Andrew is listed as the guitar player. While the album jacket has both Bill and Larry as simply 'Guitar', the actual listing should be Bill Merritt - Guitar, and Larry Andrew - Bass.
DK are you experienced?
Five By Five - Fire