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The Chessmen

Primarily remembered simply because Terry Jacks’ first band, this Vancouver, B.C. ensemble trim four singles throughout their short career (1963-66). Primary members included Man Sobell (business lead guitarist and creator) and Bruce Peterson (electrical accordion); with several drummers and bassists (e.g. Costs Lockie, Al Wiertz, Mls Kingan and Larry Borisoff) transferring through the tempo section’s revolving door. Billing themselves as “THE PRESENT DAY Rock and roll Quartet, ” they started as frat-house instrumentalists but quickly advanced to mainstream pop. Their initial 45, “Meadowlands” b/w “Mustang” (London 17334), was an motivated reworking of (of most things!) a vintage Russian folk melody, and spotlighted Sobell’s lightning-fast flat-picking. “HOW YOU Fell” b/w “She Shows up By Evening” (London 17340) debuted Jacks’ gentle, saccharine vocals and strike #2 locally. The A-side invokes the Grassroots or the Cascades, the turn is an unusual grave-rock dirge. Still, both monitors demonstrate Jacks’ developing talent being a songwriter (lucky, for the music group found his tempo guitar function abysmal and acquired regarded dumping him!). Despite U.S. airplay in Chicago as well as the Midwest, two additional 45’s fulfilled with general indifference, and in 1966, the Chessmen retired in the plank. Jacks, briefly affiliating using the Poppy Family members, later found popularity as the writer from the memorably maudlin, “Periods In SUNLIGHT.” The Chessmen’s “Meadowlands” resurfaced on the annals Of Vancouver Rock and roll, Quantity 1 (Vancouver Record Enthusiasts’ Association VRCA 003, 1987), and both edges from the group’s second one appeared on the annals Of Vancouver Rock and roll, Quantity 2 (Vancouver Record Enthusiasts’ Association VRCA 002, 1985).

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