Thursday, August 7, 2008


Considered the best of all local bands in the Tidewater area back in its day. Both sides of this 45 are great, with Do You Have to Ask being especially tough and original. Frank Guida, producer and owner of S.P.Q.R. is also listed as one of the songwriters. Do You Have to Ask was recorded in the fall of 1965, Comin' On Back omHe five or six months later.

Comin' On Back Home reached #39 on a Syracuse, NY AM radio station, WOLF 1490 in earlreacy June, 1966. How it hed the charts so far away from their base is a mystery. Besides the 45 there are at least two songs that went unreleased at the time: an early version of Do You Have to Ask and a simply amazing rocker, Brother Look Out, now available on the Aliens, Psychos and Wild Things series.

Band members included Billy Stallings on organ, Bob Fisher sax, Lee Caraway guitar, Evan Pierce bass, Dick Bocock drums, and Gary Richardson on vocals. Though not represented on their record, the Swinging Machine often had horn players for live shows, first Steve Curling on saxophone, and later Wayne Richardson on trumpet.

Gary Richardson died tragically from a drug accident in July of 1968. The band changed their name to the Machine and relocated to California, but a record deal eluded them.

I want to say thank you to Diane for sending in these rarely seen photos of the band. Diane and Lee Caraway were married until he passed away in 1979. Diane had this to say about the photos:

"Anyone who hung out with the band will know the panel truck. That was their equipment truck for many years.

"The Lighthouse pics show them unloading the equipment and setting up for the dance that night. The pics of them on stage don't do it justice because the camera won't pick up all the colors and psychedelics flashing on the stage background, the lights in that place were hooked into the sound system.

"One pic is Gary and Wayne Richardson standing in front of a cottage the band was staying in at Nags Head when they were playing at the Casino."

The Swinging Machine at the South Norfolk Armory
l-r: Wayne Richardson, Vince Screeny, Bobby Fisher, Lee Caraway, Dicky Bocock, Bobby Weaver and Gary Richardson


1 comment:

parasolparty said...

The Swinging Machines sounds AMAZING. I am stoked on your blog, because finally there is someone to dig up good 60s garage pop so I don't have to.