"One of underground rock’s most unusual stories of the 1970s, the tale of an obscure debut LP by a Detroit singer-songwriter named Rodriguez becoming a source of hope and inspiration to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, is the basis for the thought-provoking new film, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN. The original motion picture soundtrack album will be available starting July 24th through Legacy Recordings, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. The vinyl version of the soundtrack will be released by Light In The Attic Records."
If you've never heard Rodriguez you definitely should check him out. Link.
from left: Jay Huling, Colin Scot, Kevin Shipman and Carl Berg
The What's New have always fascinated record collectors: mistakenly listed as a Florida band, they released two EPs in France but nothing in the U.S.
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.
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.
In October, 1965, French chanteuse Line Renaud and her husband Louis "Loulou" Gasté saw the Yatchsmen at Disneyland and brought the group over to Paris in January, 1966.
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).
Link. John Rudoff, M. D. says: I lived near Philadelphia from about age 12--20, leaving the area only to go to Syracuse University. About 1961 or 1962, about age 15 or so, I began to listen to folk music, which was far more congenial to me than mainstream radio music. There were a few coffeehouses in the area--the Gilded Cage, the Second Fret, and The Main Point. I also saw an occasional concert in the area, including a stunning concert by the young Joan Baez who was joined onstage by an unknown named Bob Dylan.