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Farmer John Live

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Album Review

Although the parenthetical title of this disc claims it was documented "live" and even gives February 29th (must have been a leap year), 1964, as the date, Farmer John is, in reality, a studio recording with copious — perhaps too much so — sound effects added for ambience. The title track was originally by the R&B duo Don & Dewey, although it was the Premiers who were able to make a Top 20 hit in the summer of 1964 — a rare feat during the burgeoning British Invasion. The garage rock styling and rag-tag vocal call-and-response chorus made it an apt predecessor to tracks such as "Louie Louie." The rest of the album retains the same loose party atmosphere and includes a bevy of timely cover tunes, including "Don't You Just Know It," "Over the Mountains, Across the Sea," and a pair of Johnny Ace tracks: "Anymore" and "Cross My Heart." A majority of the material is suited for dancing, such as the up-tempo and swinging "I Won't Be Back Next Year" and the appropriately titled "Feel Like Dancing," challenging even the fuddiest of duddies to keep their respective toes from tapping. This was the sole Premiers long-player, although several singles were cut in the mid- to late '60s for the indie Faro label prior to the group disbanding. In 2003, Collectors' Choice Music reissued the title in all its teenie bopper-meets-garage rock party glory.

Customer Reviews

Garage rock from the East Side

It may be true that the Premiers recorded this live, but in the studio, rather than at the Fullerton club originally claimed to be the venue. The crowd sounds may well have been dubbed in afterward, but they still create the atmosphere of a loose, enthusiastic club gig. The album’s title track (originally waxed by Don & Dewey as ‘50s R&B) was included on Lenny Kaye’s seminal Nuggets, and the rest of the tracks follow in the same vein, with unison vocals from guitarists John Perez and George Delgato, and female fans shrieking and singing along. The rave-ups feel like a Saturday night in East L.A., and the ballads, including covers of the Moonglows’ “We Go Together,” Johnnie and Joe’s “Over the Mountain, Across the Sea,” and Johnny Ace’s “Anymore” provide slow dances to hold your partner tight. Notable East Side producer, musician and songwriter Max Uballez is represented by the originals “Annie Oakley” and “Feel Like Dancing” (the latter of which mentions his classic “Slauson Shuffle”). The Premiers weren’t accomplished musicians, but that’s part of their charm; they played with the foot-stomping verve that kept the party going. The two- or three-track stereo sounds like an early Beatles record, with vocals on one side, instruments on the other, and crowd chatter on both. Switch your set to mono and have yourself a dance party! 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]


Formed: San Gabriel, CA

Genre: Traditional Pop

Years Active: '60s

Authors of the frat-boy classic "Farmer John," the Premiers were one of the many Chicano garage bands kicking around southern California during the mid-'60s. Formed early in the '60s with a lineup featuring Lawrence Perez on guitar and his brother, John, on drums, the band initially practiced at the Perez residence in San Gabriel. Their mother booked an audition with entrepreneur Billy Cardenas, who liked their sound and figured them for a band who could capitalize on the "Louie, Louie" phenomenon;...
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Farmer John Live, The Premiers
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