To download this album via iTunes, click here:
To buy this album from Amazon.com, click here: Looking Glass: A Collection
GARY PUCKETT AND THE UNION GAP
LOOKING GLASS – A COLLECTION
1. Woman, Woman (3:33)
(J. Glaser / J. Payne)
2. Don’t Make Promises (2:34)
previously unreleased stereo mix
3. Paindrops (2:49)
4. Young Girl (3:13)
5. Wait Till The Sun Shines On You (3:06)
6. Lady Willpower (2:45)
7. Daylight Stranger (2:25)
(G. Puckett / J. Fuller)
previously unreleased stereo mix
8. Give In (2:12)
9. Over You (2:24)
10. The Common Cold (3:14)
(G. Puckett / J. Fuller)
11. Can You Tell (2:56)
(G. Withem / K. Chater)
12. Every Hour (2:00)
13. Don’t Give In To Him (2:29)
14. My Son (2:53)
(K. Chater / G. Withem)
15. This Girl Is A Woman Now (3:08)
(V. Millrose / A. Bernstein)
16. Looking Glass (2:35)
(K. Chater / G. Withem)
17. Let’s Give Adam And Eve Another Chance (2:45)
(R. West / R. Mainegra)
18. Keep The Customer Satisfied (2:39)
19. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (2:50)
(H. David / B. Bacharach)
20. Gentle Woman (3:25)
(G. Puckett / M. Rhodes)
Tracks 1-13, 16 produced by Jerry Fuller
Tracks 14, 15 & 17 produced by Dick Glasser
Tracks 18 & 19 produced by Richard Perry
Track 20 produced by Jimmy Bowen
Are these performances really over two decades old? It’s hard to believe. Both sonically and musically, the 20 cuts comprising this CD could have been recorded last week.
In that respect and others, Gary Puckett And The Union Gap accomplished a lot more than they originally set out to do. They popularized the rock ballad. Not only were they an instant success, but their sound steamrolled beyond classic and squarely into timeless. You don’t hear a Gary Puckett hit and think, “What a great song! I haven’t heard that one in a long time.” You just think, “What a great song!”
Unlike garden-variety “oldies,” Gary Puckett And The Union Gap’s hits never left the airwaves. They’ve been with us continuously since first impact, serving as lyrical counterpoint to the hopes and dreams of three successive generations.
The phenomenon of Gary Puckett And The Union Gap took root due to a most fortunate planetary alignment: the right group in the right place with the right songs at exactly the right time.
THE RIGHT PLACE
Gary Puckett was born October 17, 1942, in Hibbing, Minnesota, home of Roger Maris and Bob Dylan. His family moved to Yakima, Washington, and then to Idaho. Growing into a tall, lean, handsome teen, Gary picked up the guitar and began performing with high school dance bands.
Puckett’s family again relocated, this time to San Diego, California. Gary enrolled in college, and gravitated toward the area music scene. A year later, after working with The Ravens, Gary & The Remarkables, and The Outcasts, Gary Puckett left college to pursue a career in music.
Kerry Chater was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. His family immigrated to California, where Kerry, already an aspiring songwriter, graduated high school. He went on to study music at Grossmont College, becoming a popular bassist in the San Diego band scene. Chater soon wound up in Puckett’s group, The Outcasts.
Gary Withem was a San Diego native. Adept at organ, piano, and sax, Withem majored in music at San Diego State College. He taught school after graduation, with an alter ego career as a keyboard-toting member – now nicknamed “Mutha” – of The Outcasts.
Dwight Bement was another native San Diegan. He met Gary Withem at San Diego State College, and soon thereafter joined The Outcasts, playing tenor sax.
Paul Wheatbread took to the drums at an early age. By high school he was working with bands in San Diego’s Navy clubs. Gary Puckett found Paul working in these clubs and Wheatbread was promptly recruited…into The Outcasts, not the Navy!
Fate brought Gary Puckett and friends to San Diego; music brought them together as The Outcasts.
THE RIGHT GROUP
By 1966, The Outcasts had gained a solid reputation for their rock/r&b repertoire and Puckett’s tremendous voice. Nonetheless, Paul Wheatbread packed up for Los Angeles, where he joined Dick Clark’s “Where The Action Is” TV show.
Mid-1967, The Outcasts (with a new drummer) returned home from a tour of the Pacific Northwest. So did Wheatbread, and the two parties reunited.
The wheels began to move. Seeking a visual hook, the group’s manager, Dick Badger, sent the band to Tijuana to be outfitted for Civil War uniforms. Armed with promo brochures and some rough tapes of Puckett (singing with another group and cut on the cheap in L.A.), Badger went knocking on record company doors.
THE RIGHT SONGS
One of Badger’s stops in his contract quest was the office of fledgling CBS producer Jerry Fuller.
Fuller heard something he liked in Puckett’s voice, although he thought it ill-fitting the hard rock tunes presented on the tape. He arranged to hear the group on Saturday night, at San Diego bowling alley/nightclub The Quad Room. Fuller quietly showed up a night early. The band was restrained, saving everything – including Gary’s voice – for Saturday. It was exactly the mellow Puckett Jerry was hoping to hear. Contracts were signed. Puckett re-christened the group The Union Gap, after a suburb of Yakima. On August 16, 1967, The Union Gap went to Columbia Studio B in Hollywood; their first track: “Woman, Woman.”
“Woman, Woman,” in its original incarnation as “Girl, Girl,” was a mild country hit for The Glaser Brothers. Fuller and Puckett worked out an alternate melody, and recording began.
Ace engineer Al Capps augmented the basic tracks with horn and string parts, and the master was mixed on August 23. Less than a month later, The Union Gap’s first record hit the airwaves. By early December, it hit the Top Ten, selling over a million copies along the way.
Capitalizing on their Civil War get-up, CBS press releases bestowed a fictitious rank upon each member: “General” Puckett, “Sergeant” Bement, “Private” Withem, “Corporal” Chater, and “Private” Wheatbread. When wearing their trademark Union Army uniforms in the heart of Dixie, The Union Gap rolled the rebel flag down from the piano and let out with a rebel yell.
Jerry Fuller, having already written and recorded several moderate hits under his own name, submitted more of his own material. Meanwhile, he was deluged with unsolicited “Woman..”-this and “Woman..”-that song demos, none of which worked. Jerry dug out one of his song kernels, polished it up, and created “Young Girl.” Tracked on January 9, 1968, it hit #2 nationwide in just over two months.
One day after the recording of “Young Girl,” the first LP – The Union Gap Featuring Gary Puckett – was released. It was an unprecedented success.
Recording and touring continued apace. On April 24, Gary Puckett And The Union Gap Featuring: Young Girl hit the streets, quickly zooming over the million-dollar sales mark and earning another gold record.
The hits kept a-comin’: “Lady Willpower,” “Over You,” and “Don’t Give In To Him” (the latter written by the late Gary Usher, and earlier produced and recorded by a multi-tracked Jerry Fuller as a group called Finders Keepers). A third album, Incredible, showed clear musical growth and continued healthy sales figures.
Gary Puckett And The Union Gap appeared on “American Bandstand” and on the Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, Jonathan Winters, and Glen Campbell shows. They toured 49 states, Canada, and Mexico. They opened for The Beach Boys. They played at Disneyland, the Yale Bowl, Central Park, and the White House. At the Raleigh Hotel in the Catskills, they performed two shows – an early one for their young fans, and a later show for their fans’ parents. They adorned the covers of practically every teen magazine extant. They were on top of the world. For the moment, at least.
CRACKS IN THE REGIMENT
The Puckett/Union Gap/Fuller juggernaut seemed unstoppable. Jerry Fuller would write the hits, the group would record them, and CBS would sell them by the millions. Yet this was not an entirely satisfactory arrangement for all concerned.
The group wanted a bigger say in their own musical direction. Chater and Withem were becoming accomplished songwriters. Puckett, always a rock ‘n’ roller at heart, was growing restless with the endless stream of ballads.
Things came to a head in early 1969. A huge studio orchestra – nearly 40 pieces – had been assembled. Producer Fuller had prepared another of his compositions for the group. Puckett And The Union Gap disliked the tune, and stood firm in their resolve not to cut it. Fuller packed up and left the session, which was cancelled. He never returned.
Several months later CBS assigned Dick Glasser to the act. He would be the last producer to deal with the entity called Gary Puckett And The Union Gap. His only hit, “This Girl Is A Woman Now,” went Top Ten in September, 1969. It would be the last hit ever for The Union Gap.
In July of 1969, with two years remaining on The Union Gap contract, Gary Puckett signed a solo deal with CBS. Recording with The Union Gap continued for one more album (The New Gary Puckett And The Union Gap Album) and one middling single (“Let’s Give Adam And Eve Another Chance”).
Early in 1970, the band’s management re-shuffled the deck. In the resulting deal, anyone wishing to remain in The Union Gap had to accept a weekly salary instead of a percentage of the gross. Withem and Chater promptly left to form their own music publishing company.
With Withem and Chater gone, Bement switched to bass, and a new organist (Barry McCoy) and lead horn (Richard Gabriel) were added. Eventually, the horn section would grow to three pieces, another guitar would be added, and three gospel singers (The Eddie Kendrick Singers) would be included. The Civil War outfits were permanently put out to pasture. What had begun as a San Diego bar band had grown into an incredibly ornate production with gospel, R&B, and Vegas overtones.
THE SOLO YEARS
On January 8, 1970, for the three-song session which yielded “Let’s Give Adam And Eve Another Chance,” Gary Puckett And The Union Gap entered the studio together for the last time. Just two weeks later, Puckett returned to the same studio, this time as a solo act.
Using a variety of producers, Gary Puckett spent the years from 1970-1972 laying tracks and looking for a direction. In a world now hungry for singer-songwriters and hard rockers, Puckett’s solo output (one LP and six singles) trickled out with little public notice.
Live, Puckett continued to perform with The Union Gap until the 1971 Orange County Fair, after which Gary’s manager dismissed the band. The original Union Gap was, finally, no more.
On June 6, 1972, Gary Puckett made his last three recordings for CBS. His contract was not renewed.
Puckett made a handful of public appearances late in 1972, and then disappeared from music for the remainder of the decade. During this period, Gary studied dance and acting in L.A., did some local theater, and had a small part in an Australian movie.
Re-entering the performing arena in 1981, Puckett garnered impressive reviews, but remained a low profile until the “Happy Together” tour in 1984 and the Monkees’ 20th Anniversary tour in 1986.
Gary Puckett continues to perform. As of this writing, he is in Europe laying tracks for a German record label. According to all reports, Puckett looks and sounds better than ever.
Paul Wheatbread currently resides in San Diego, where he books bands and plays out every now and then.
When last heard from, Dwight Bement was still playing sax in oldies act Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids.
Kerry Chater is now a successful songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gary Withem today teaches band at a San Diego high school.
THE RIGHT TIME
Gary Puckett And The Union Gap couldn’t have come together at a better time in pop history. Their bittersweet, urgent-yet-mellow pleadings blazed a path into uncharted territory. The music world – then ready for anything new – sat up and listened. What they heard became the pop standards of the post-Beatles era. It was the right time…and it still is.
Finally, consider: while nearly every speck of ‘60s musical insignificance has been regurgitated, recycled, and reinterpreted, no one else has ever had a hit with a Gary Puckett And The Union Gap song. Why? Because the tunes and the group are inseparable. These wonderful songs – and the memories they evoke – will forever remain the sole domain of Gary Puckett And The Union Gap.
ABOUT THIS PACKAGE
We were very fortunate to have original multi-track tapes and mixdown masters on all of this material. Because Gary Puckett And The Union Gap sold nearly as many albums as they did singles, many LP-only tracks are still fondly recalled as favorites by the group’s admirers. Those tracks are included in this collection. Other tracks just plain sounded like hits (even if they weren’t) and are also included. And then, of course, there are the hits. In cases where tracks were remixed (to reduce inherent tape noise), they were done so exactly to match the original stereo mixes. Some cuts appear in first time stereo, and two previously unreleased rarities were tossed in for good measure.
Al Quaglieri, March 1992
Compilation Produced by: Bob Irwin
Digitally Remixed and Remastered by Vic Anesini, Sony Music Studios, New York
Product Manager: Penny Armstrong
Art Director: Joel Zimmerman
Packaging Coordinator: Hope Chasin
For more information about other great Legacy releases, write to:
Legacy – CATALOG
Radio City Station
P.O. Box 1526
New York, NY 10101-1526
This compact disc was manufactured to meet critical quality standards. If you believe the disc has a manufacturing defect, please call our Quality Management Department at 1-800-255-7514. New Jersey residents should call 609-722-8224.
FROM THE VAULTS OF COLUMBIA + EPIC RECORDS
© 1992 Sony Music Entertainment Inc./ (P) 1992 Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Manufactured by Columbia Records/ 666 Fifth Ave., P.O. Box 4455, New York, NY 10101-4455/ “Columbia,” “Legacy” and L Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Marca Registrada/ WARNING: All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.