from left: Jay Huling, Colin Scot, Kevin Shipman and Carl Berg
Their story starts with the Yachtsmen, a folk group founded by students at Long Beach City College in 1959. They became regulars at Disneyland in Anaheim, releasing an LP on Disney's Buena Vista label (BV-3310), "High and Dry with The Yachtsmen" in 1961.
On the LP the group were Carl Berg (vocals, guitar), Ray Jordan (vocals, banjo, string bass), Jay Huling (aka Jay Hulingpart, vocals, guitar, bongos), and Bill Reed (vocals, bass). Other members included Kevin Shipman and Mickey Elley.
Kevin Shipman created a video history of the Yachtsmen & What's New with photos and music.
The Yachtsmen continued performing at Disneyland for the next several years, adding Scot Thistlewaite (stage name Colin Scot).
Scot had been playing banjo and guitar with a ragtime duo called Bud and Scotty at Coke Corner in Disneyland, with Bud Hedrick on piano.
Bud Hedrick and Colin Scot at Coke Corner, photo courtesy Bud Hedrick.
Scot was born in the UK, moved to Canada in the late '50s where he went to Sir Adam Beck Collegiate High School in London, Ontario, then moved to California where he attended Cal State University at Long Beach.
The band changed their name to the What's New though they still look very collegiate performing "Des mots d'amor" with Line Renaud on French TV. They performed at the Casino de Paris, and opened for the Beach Boys and Michel Polnareff at the Olympia on October 25, 1966.
They recorded their first EP in July, '66 at Gasté's own studio in Paris, scoring a French hit with a single version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain". Their first EP also has their version of Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind" and two songs by Randy Sparks of the New Christy Minstrels, "Huckleberry Finn" and "Driving Wheels".
Their second EP showcases four original songs by Colin Scot, putting a sharp folk-rock sound behind Scot's plaintive lead vocal and the group's harmonies. It includes the now-famous "Up So High" ("Got no use for LSD, every time you look at me I'm up so high") and the excellent "Get Away" which moves from dreamy verse to tough chorus.
The What's New disbanded in early 1967. Colin Scot became part owner of a nightclub called Kahuna's Cave in Cala Mayor, Palma de Majorca, and toured the folk circuit in the UK in the late '60s. In the 1970s he released LPs on United Artists and Warner Bros, with a final single "Mandolin Man" / "Boris" on RCA in 1977. He died in Amsterdam in 1996 (though I've also seen it listed as 1999).