Rusk & McGowan

Johnny Rusk - Vocals
Jimi McGowan - Vocals

Derek Morris - Guitar, backup vocals
Mike Marotta Jr _ Keyboard, backup vocals
Dave Marotta - Guitar, backup vocals
Bill Catalano - Drums
Anthony Lucido - Bass

Special thanks to Chris Loecher for the label scans and audio files!

Click on a song title below to hear that song!

What Your Eyes Say, My Heart Hears

Baby Let Me Follow You Down

Musician Don Lampson knew Rusk & McGowan for a short time when he was stationed at Ft. Ord military base near Monterey, CA. He performed at a local restaurant/nightclub called The Sable Knght. Here are some of his recollections :
"I played Sundays and Mondays. Johnny & Jimi did the rest of the week. It was a great time for me! I was paid $15 per night, and usually got another 10 in my tip jar. It was big money compared to my $100 per month army pay! I had a girlfriend who was a topless dancer at "The Library" and felt like I was on top of the world for a couple of months! It ended when I was sent to Ft. Lewis, WA. in route to Vietnam. One of the guys on the record, Johnny Rusk, was stationed at Ft. Ord. I didn't really know Johnny very well but he was a real entertainer. Johnny was a great comedian and did several impersonations as part of their act along with playing a snare drum. His style of comedy was a lot like Johnathan Winters. He was getting out of the army in the Summer of '66. Jimi was a successful lounge singer in SoCal but had lived in the Monterey area earlier. I was overseas when the record was done. I suspect the song he wrote was inspired by the Kingston Trio's "San Miguel", which he learned from me. He was about 30 years old when I knew him, so he'd be pushing 80 now? I'd love to find out what ever became of him? Jimi got me started playing in bars in SoCal when I was just 19. He's the one who got me the gig at the Sable Knight. Jimi was a talented piano man & singer. They planned on becoming big stars in show biz..... I was only at Ft. Ord for 10 weeks in '66. I never saw either of them again after the war......"

Derek Morris was in the band that backed up Rusk and McGowan. He shares some of his memories of the recording session.

"Our band name was Nobody's Children (later changed to Magic Mushroom I think! ). We had played a number of local gigs including maybe three Elks Club teen dances , a few John Gardiner's Tennis Ranch events for their summer youth tennis school, a number of private parties, and of course backed up Rusk and McGowan recording these two songs. We also played at their "single release party" at Sable Knight on Fremont Street in Monterey. We were junior high/high school kids and they probably sneaked us in to play at the bar since we were underage!

We recorded at Meagher Electronics on Webster in Monterey around 1965 or 1966. Jim Meagher was sort of a legendary but quirky guy who helped with sound reinforcement at the Monterey Pop Festival. He was doing the recording for free as a favor for Mike Marotta Sr - a well known local musician and at the time owner of a music store on Alvarado - ABC Music. The band included myself Derek Morris (guitar, backup vocals). Mike Marotta Jr (keyboard,backup vocals), Dave Marotta (guitar, backup vocals), Bill Catalano (drums), Anthony Lucido (bass), and Alex Tumparov (vocals). Alex was not involved with the recording session as I recall since he didn't play an instrument and was not involved with vocals on the recording. So it was "one take and out". We weren't allowed to re-record the mistake at 1:47 in "What Your Eyes Say My Heart Hears." That part always made me and my friends crack up! I don't want to point any fingers but it wasn't me! Meagher was really kind of a jerk about not letting us just do one more take. I don't know if it was time, or tape, or just his personality, but now that song with the mistake is memorialized for eternity. Of course it was a live recording and not multitracked. The most time was spent setting up the mics and making adjustments in advance of the recording. The recordings themselves only took about 3 minutes each. So why he wouldn't let us re-do the song with a mistake is still a mystery to me. I know tape was expensive - but I just blame it on Meagher's personality."

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