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Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros was a well-planned but poorly executed supergroup whose roots were based in a set of musicians collected by Elektra Records and called Project Supergroup. The record company wanted to mold the highly talented lineup of artists into the next big recording coup of the late '60s. Despite the fact that the band could not live up to the expectations that were raised by Elektra Records' publicity machine, Rhinoceros' contributions to rock still deserve more credit than subsequent rock histories give it. It didn't help matters any that the band's manager declined an invitation for Rhinoceros to appear at Woodstock several years after the group formed. The band's self-titled debut was impressive, thanks in part to the producer at the helm, Paul Rothchild, who also worked with the Doors. The band was the brainchild of Rothchild and Frazier Mohawk, a producer who helped craft supergroup Buffalo Springfield. Rothchild and Mohawk first auditioned about a dozen musicians in the autumn of 1967, including pianist Alan Gerber and former Daily Flash and Buffalo Springfield guitarist Doug Hastings. Two months later, an audition of almost two-dozen musicians brought into the lineup vocalist John Finley, who had worked previously with Jon & Lee & the Checkmates, and former Iron Butterfly guitarist Danny Weis. Before the year rolled to a close, the producers rounded out the band with the additions of keyboard player Michael Fonfara, who had been a bandmate of Finley's in Jon & Lee & the Checkmates, and bassist Jerry "the Bear" Penrod, who was one of Weis' buddies from Iron Butterfly. Several members of the group contributed to David Ackles' first solo release, entering the studio early in 1968. The band, by now calling itself Rhinoceros, went to work on its own debut album about four months later. By this time, the band had added former Mothers of Invention drummer Billy Mundi. That June, the group played live for the first time on the stage of the West Hollywood nightspot Whiskey A Go-Go. Rhinoceros played New York City's Café Au-Go-Go three months later. In between the band's East and West Coast debuts, Rhinoceros also toured with several different acts, including Taj Mahal and Love. While in New York, the band also performed during a free Central Park concert that drew an audience numbering approximately 12,000 and featured Wind in the Willows, Traffic, and Spooky Tooth. Remaining in the city for several months, Rhinoceros had the opportunity to share the stage at different venues with Muddy Waters, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, and the Moody Blues. Penrod dropped out in 1969 and Steve Weis, the brother of Rhinoceros' guitarist, joined the band. Not long after, Peter Hodgson took Steve Weis' place. Hodgson, who formerly performed with Jon & Lee & the Checkmates, was vocalist Finley's cousin. Tours followed with the Grateful Dead, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tommy James & the Shondells, and Johnny Winter, among others. Hastings dropped out that summer and the band brought aboard Larry Leishman, whose career also included a stint with Jon & Lee & the Checkmates. At this time, the band was being managed by Sid Bernstein and Billy Fields. Fields made a disastrous decision for the band when he declined an invitation to appear at Woodstock in favor of sending Rhinoceros to play the Boston Tea Party. Unhappy with the Woodstock decision, Gerber left the band. Mundi left not long after, and the band brought in Eddie "Duke" Edwards. Rhinoceros headed to New York to perform and record in 1970. While in the city, the band played the Fillmore East, as it did on other visits to town, and shared a bill with Seals & Crofts and Procol Harum. Not long after the Fillmore East show, Richard Crooks of Dr. John stepped in to take over for Edwards. By the end of the year, Malcolm Tomlinson took over on drums for the departing Crooks. Performances followed in Canada, but before 1971 was halfway over, the band called it quits. Hodgson, Weis, Finley, Leishman, and Fonfara reunited early in 1972 as Blackstone Rangers, a band that evolved into simply Blackstone and disbanded in 1973. ~ Linda Seida
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Forever Changing - The Golden Age Of Electra 1963-73

Disc 1

1. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)

2. He Was A Friend

3. High Flying Bird

5. Casey

6. Shady Grove

7. Little Brown Dog

9. The Even Dozens

12. Downtown Blues

13. I Ain't Marching Anymore

14. The Last Thing On My Mind

15. Pride Of Man

16. Tomorrow Is A Long Time

17. Black Mountain Rag

19. Cocaine

20. House Un-American Blues Activity Dream

21. West Egg Rag

22. Two Trains Running

24. Joshua Gone Barbados

25. Other Side To This Life

26. Birdses

28. Moonlight Drive

Disc 2

1. My Little Red Book

2. Wings

3. So Easy She Goes By

5. The Magic Carpet

6. First Girl I Loved

8. One Time And One Time Only

9. Changes

10. Hard Lovin' Loser

12. Light My Fire

14. Once I Was

16. Buy For Me The Rain

17. Nevertheless

18. Fields Of People

19. Dame Fortune

20. Girl Of The Seasons

22. The Red Sox Are Winning

Disc 3

1. Alone Again Or

2. Both Sides Now

3. No Regrets

4. Jennifer's Rabbit

5. Swift As The Wind

6. Frozen Warnings

7. Down River

8. Mad Lydia's Waltz

9. Sing A Song For You

10. The Sun Comes Up Each Day

11. Early Morning Blues And Greens

12. She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune

14. Five To One

15. Apricot Brandy

17. Mt. Healthy Blues

18. Kick Out The Jams

19. I Wanna Be Your Dog

20. Go Back

21. Dismal Day

22. August

Disc 4

2. Louise

3. Amazing Grace

4. That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be

5. Riders On The Storm

6. The Future's Not What It Used To Be

7. Start Living

8. Taxi

10. I Hardly Know Her Name

11. Ballad Of The Ship Of State

12. The Guitar Man

13. You're So Vain

14. You Don't Grow Old

15. Dolphins

17. Burning Love

18. Keep Yourself Alive

x

Track List: Forever Changing - The Golden Age Of Elektra Records 1963-1973

Disc 1

1. Turn! Turn! Turn! / To Everything There Is A Season

2. He Was A Friend

3. High Flying Bird

5. Casey

6. Shady Grove

7. Little Brown Dog

9. The Even Dozens

10. Wild Child In A World Of Trouble

12. Downtown Blues

13. I Ain't Marching Anymore

14. The Last Thing On My Mind

15. Pride Of Man

16. Tomorrow Is A Long Time

19. Cocaine

20. House Un-American Blues Activity Dream

21. West Egg Rag

22. Two Trains Running

24. Joshua Gone Barbados

25. Other Side To This Life

26. Birdses

28. Moonlight Drive

Disc 2

1. My Little Red Book

2. Wings

3. So Easy She Goes By

5. The Magic Carpet

6. First Girl I Loved

8. One Time And One Time Only

9. Changes

10. Hard Lovin' Loser

11. She Comes In Colors

12. Light My Fire

14. Once I Was

16. Buy For Me The Rain

17. Nevertheless

18. Fields Of People

19. Dame Fortune

20. Girl Of The Seasons

22. The Red Sox Are Winning

Disc 3

1. Alone Again Or

2. Both Sides Now

3. No Regrets

5. Swift As The Wind

6. Frozen Warnings

7. Down River

8. Mad Lydia's Waltz

9. Sing A Song For You

10. The Sun Comes Up Each Day

11. Early Morning Blues And Greens

12. She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune

14. Five To One

15. Apricot Brandy

16. When The Battle Is Over

17. Mt. Healthy Blues

18. Kick Out The Jams

19. I Wanna Be Your Dog

20. Go Back

21. Dismal Day

22. August

Disc 4

1. Down On The Street

2. Louise

3. Amazing Grace

4. That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be

5. Riders On The Storm

6. The Future's Not What It Used To Be

7. Start Living

8. Taxi

10. I Hardly Know Her Name

11. Ballad Of The Ship Of State

12. The Guitar Man

13. You're So Vain

14. You Don't Grow Old

15. Dolphins

17. Burning Love

18. Keep Yourself Alive

Disc 5

3. I'll Be Back

4. Baldheaded End Of The Broom

5. We Shall Be Happy

6. Good Time Music

8. Crossroads

9. I'll Keep It With Mine

10. She's A Woman

11. Sunshine Sunshine

12. Bird Song

14. Wayfaring Stranger

15. Laissez-Faire

17. Voodoo Woman

20. No Words Between Us

22. Lotus

23. The Persecution & Restoration Of Dean Moriarty (On The Road)

24. P.O.W.

25. All Around My Grandmother's Floor

26. World Without End

Comments

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I love apricot brandy!!
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Can't add to that!
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frank.lopez
Thanks Pandora for letting me hear "Apricot Brandy" again. Like a buddy you hadn't seen in years, it brought a huge smile to my face. I almost forgot this song existed. I thought I was so cool when it came out.
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Yuh... word!
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