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The Beau Brummels

While they only had two big hits, the Beau Brummels were one of the most important and underrated American groups of the 1960s. They were the first U.S. unit of any sort to successfully respond to the British Invasion. They were arguably the first folk-rock group, even predating the Byrds, and also anticipated some key elements of the San Francisco psychedelic sound with their soaring harmonies and exuberant melodies. Before they finally reached the end of the string, they were also among the first bands to record country-rock in the late '60s.

The key axis of the band was formed by guitarist/songwriter Ron Elliott, who penned most of the Brummels' moody and melodious material, and singer Sal Valentino, owner of one of the finest voices in mid-'60s rock. Spotted by local DJ Tom Donahue in a club in San Mateo (just south of San Francisco), the group was signed to Donahue's small San Francisco-based label, Autumn Records, in 1964. With Sly Stewart (later Sly Stone) in the producer's chair, they made the Top 20 right off the bat with "Laugh, Laugh." The melancholy, minor-key original sounded so much like the British bands inundating the airwaves that many listeners initially mistook the Brummels for an English act. The follow-up single, "Just a Little," was another excellent, melancholy number that became their biggest hit, making the Top Ten.

The Beau Brummels made a couple of fine albums in 1965, dominated by strong original material and featuring the band's ringing guitars and multi-part, mournful harmonies. The best of their early work is nearly as fine as the Byrds' first recordings, yet the band was losing ground commercially, partially because Autumn, being such a small label, lacked promotional muscle. "You Tell Me Why" was their only other Top 40 hit, though "Sad Little Girl" and the Byrds knock-off "Don't Talk to Strangers" were excellent singles. The band also shuffled personnel a few times, and Ron Elliott was unable to stay on the road because of diabetes. Autumn was sold in 1966 to Warners, who made the lunkheaded move of forcing the band to record an entire album of Top 40 covers -- ignoring the fact that original material was one of the Brummels' primary fortes.

Regrouping as a trio, the group recorded a critically acclaimed, more experimental album in 1967, Triangle. Their last Warners LP, Bradley's Barn, found the group branching into country-rock, a year or so before it became trendy. The Beau Brummels did re-form for an unimpressive reunion album in 1975, and although Ron Elliott and Sal Valentino continued to make music and work on various low-profile projects of their own, they've never made records on par with the Brummels' vintage work. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Autumn Of Their Years

x

Track List: The Best Of The Beau Brummels 1964 - 1968

1. Laugh Laugh

2. Still In Love With You Baby

3. They'll Make You Cry

4. Just A Little

5. You Tell Me Why

6. Don't Talk To Strangers

7. In Good Time

8. When It Comes To Your Love

9. Sad Little Girl

10. Gentle Wandering Ways

11. One Too Many Mornings

12. Here We Are Again

13. Fine With Me

14. Don't Make Promises

15. Two Days Till Tomorrow

16. Magic Hollow

17. Are You Happy

18. Deep Water

x

Track List: Bradley's Barn

1. Turn Around

2. An Added Attraction (Come And See Me)

3. Deep Water

4. Long Walking Down To Misery

5. Little Bird

6. Cherokee Girl

7. I'm A Sleeper

8. The Loneliest Man In Town

9. Love Can Fall A Long Way Down

10. Jessica

11. Bless You California

x

Track List: Triangle

1. Are You Happy

2. Only Dreaming Now

3. Painter Of Women

4. The Keeper Of Time

5. It Won't Get Better

6. Nine Pound Hammer

7. Magic Hollow

8. And I've Seen Her

9. Triangle

10. The Wolf And The Velvet Fortune

11. Old Kentucky Home

x

Track List: Beau Brummels '66

1. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

2. Mr. Tambourine Man

3. Louie Louie

4. Homeward Bound

5. These Boots Are Made For Walking

6. Yesterday

7. Bang Bang

8. Hang On Sloopy

9. Play With Fire

10. Woman

11. Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter

12. Monday, Monday

x

Track List: Introducing

1. Laugh, Laugh

2. Still In Love With You Baby

3. Just A Little

4. Just Wait And See

5. Oh Lonesome Me

6. Ain't That Loving You Baby

7. Stick Like Glue

8. They'll Make You Cry

9. That's If You Want Me To

10. I Want More Loving

11. I Would Be Happy

12. Not Too Long Ago

Comments

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tjb600
Such a smooth voice....
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To hear this music on pandora is so wonderful, I got the Brummels ,David Ruffin (off the chain) spinners,oj' s ,quicksilver messenger service all sorts of great stuff. I'm 62 and the kids today have no clue of what they missed. And yes, I got BIGGIE, not to mention berris Hammond etc... And im white! "The brothers" really had thier musical s**t together. Most sang in church to begin with, and philly put out some wonderful people. By the way listen to "where have all the flowers gone" mamas and pa
Report as inappropriate
In '66 I was in a group called the Beaus of Beethoven (check us out on youtube), we got to be their opening act. What a great bunch of guys!
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This Texan has the album, in question, and states the Brummels were an L.A. Band.
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No harmonica ..on this version..gon n a want the harmonica.
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Many memories.
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Great harmonica..w a y to go Frisco..the beau brummelstone s . .
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just4u2bez
Great version, but they did NOT write Louie Louie!!!
Report as inappropriate
These guys dwarf the so called 'Beatles talent', they did + do deserve a chance to be heard outside the 'lamestream' music money scam. On shear innovative talent they exceed even CCR. Real talented American bands + artists got buried way to much under the big Labels $$-schemes!
Report as inappropriate
butch.robert s
One of the first songs that caught my ear in the mid '60s, Just a Little. Great smokey minor key harmonies that precursor Alice in Chains.
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Beau Brummels were such a clever group They were DREAMY MELODIC and very talented group! I miss this kind of MUSIC !
Where are you today Beau Brummels?
Report as inappropriate
I love this band, such melodies. They were talented and I love their voices, it takes me back.
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I read they took their name for it was immediately after the Beatles in Alphabetical order. They felt people would poke through Beatle albums and find them.
Report as inappropriate
SAL VALLENTENO AND TOM DANAHUE....B R I N G S BACK MEMMORIES. SAL NOW LIVES IN SACRAMENTO AND PERFORMS REGULARLY. TOM DANAHUE WENT ON THE GREAT JOURNEY IN THE EARLY 1970'S.
Report as inappropriate
jeanjacque3
They were on THE FLINSTONES for an episode, too. wierd! oh well.
Report as inappropriate
Saw them at the Fillmore West in '68. Great group.
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lyda5
yeah,,,Can't say enough for the lousy long easy that put John in the bay,,,we trust so much...winte r coat and pair of vise grips....can we find the Denver Mouintains? in the SF bay....Mel
Report as inappropriate
rscoair777
Beau Brummels forever, they were the greatest.... . t o be 16 again!
Report as inappropriate
I was in love with Sal Valentino (sigh).
Report as inappropriate
Triangle was one of my favorite LP's...Now I'll have to fine it again...
Report as inappropriate
smusser3
very underated band...its sad they are known more.
Report as inappropriate
don.peterman
you forgot to mention that the Beau Brummels appeared in a Flintstones episode. Wilma and Betty were smitten on them.
Report as inappropriate
garyguttman4
i have to stop when i hear laugh laugh..it brings back so many memories,,
Report as inappropriate
He sounds like he just swallowed a cardigan sweater.
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I thought the Beau Brummels were English also, They played at our high school graduation in 65 in Kansas.
Report as inappropriate
I grew up in San Francisco and I remember the Beau Brummels playing at an afternoon rally our high school (Lowell)
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I just learned something on Pandora! All these years, I always thought the Beau Brummels was a British Group.
Report as inappropriate
And to many of us, the Beau Brummels main claim to fame was their appearance in the bad 1965 movie 'Village of the Giants' which was loosely based on H.G. Well's 'Food of the Gods'.
Actually, upon seeing the movie as a youth, I felt the relatively unknown group was the best part of the movie. I looked for LPs by the Beau Brummels to no avail. They couldn't be found in small town record stores at the time.
Report as inappropriate
The American Beatles!

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