01. Sand Castles
02. Porcelain Mirrors
03. Broken Day
05. The Greener Isle
07. A Different Kind of Head
10. A Nickel's Worth of Benny's Help
11. Pick a Gripe
12. Cries of Treason
13. In he Morning WHen I'm Real
The 31st of February
*Scott Boyer - Guitar, Vocals
*David Brown - Bass, Sax
*Butch Trucks - Drums
*Benny Latimore - Organ
*Bobby Puccetti - Organ
The 31st of February consisted of Charles Scott Boyer (vocals, 12-string guitar, songwriter), David Brown (bass guitar, tenor saxaphone, songwriter) and Butch Trucks, Jr. (drums, songwriter). Recorded at Henry Stone's studio in 1968 and produced by Steve Alaimo and Brad Shapiro. They first recorded at Henry Stone's original upstairs eight-track studio.
The 31st of February album, yielded one of Florida's greatest rock gems, "Sandcastles." "Sandcastles" was an incredible, haunting masterpiece filled with the sound of seagulls, surf and a hypnotic organ riff. During the sessions, the trio utilized the great talents of south Florida musicians Benny Latimore and Bobby Puccetti on organ.
Singer/guitarist Scott Boyer, bassist David Brown, and drummer Butch Trucks met in 1966 while students at Florida State University. Discovering a mutual interest in music the trio decided to form a band. Borrowing a page from The Byrds folk-rock catalog, as The Bitter Ind the three started playing parties, dances, and clubs. They quickly graduated to local clubs and eventually scored a recording contract that saw the release of a one-shot single for the small Memphis-based ACP label:
- 1967's 'Hands Are Only To See' b/w 'Baby Blue' (ACP catalog number 380)
That 'success' led Boyer to drop out of school with The Bitter Ind subsequnelty morphing into The Tiffany System. Under the new name the trio started their recording careers with an instantly obscure single for the Florida-based Minaret label:
- 1968's 'Let's Get Together' b/w 'Wayward One' (Minaret catalog number MIN-128).
While the single did little commercially, by 1968 the trio had generated a large following in their native Jacksonville, Florida. Opting for yet another name change they relocating to Miami and as The 31st of February (anyone know the significance?), signed a recording contract with the Vanguard Records.
Co-produced by Steve Alaimo and Mike Shapiro, 1969's "The 31st of February" has always struck me as an undiscovered gem. Performed with considerable enthusiasm, the collection was varied and energetic. Boyer had a great voice, that occasionally reminded me of a more commercial Greg Allman, perfectly suited for the band's excursions into Byrds-styled folk-rock ('Porcelain Mirrors' and 'A Different Kind of Head'), progressive ('Treason') and psyche ('A Nickel's Worth of Benny's Help'). Elsewhere, the standout tracks may have been Brown's stomping 'Wrong' and the trio's ghostly cover of Buffy Sainte Marie's 'Co'dine'. Among the few missteps; Brown's 'Broken Day' was a little too sensitive singer/songwriter, while the band's cover of Jackie DeShannon's 'The Greener Isle' (good taste in outside material), came off as MOR (blame Shelby SIngleton's overwhelming string arrangement). Unfortunately, the set generated little in the way of sales.
Following the collapse of their own band Hour Glass, Duane and Gregg Allman returned to Florida. Having known Trucks for years, they helped The 31st of February record material for what was planned as their sophomore release. The project never saw the light of day as internal disagreements saw the band fold in 1969 at which time the tapes were shelved. Drummer Trucks then joined the newly formed Allman Brothers Band and following Duane Allman's untimely 1971 death, the Florida based Bold label somehow acquired the tapes releasing the material as a Duane and Greg Allman album - "Greg and Duane Allman".
01. Girls Can't Do What The Guys Do2:04
02. Funny How Love Grows Cold2:51
03. I'm Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning2:11
04. Circle Of Heartbreak2:58
05. Sweet Lovin' Daddy2:25
06. Cry Like A Baby2:34
07. Watch Out Love2:41
08. He's Bad, Bad, Bad2:22
09. I Can't Stop My Heart3:24
10. I'm Thankful2:03
11. The Best Girls Don't Always Win3:08
12. Just You
Backing Vocals – The Reid Singers
Bass – David Brown
Drums – Butch Trucks, Eddie Martinez
Guitar – Joey Murcia
Organ – Bobby Birdwatcher
Piano – Arnold Albury, Clarence Reid
Betty Wright is like the female Bill Withers; that is to say, she’s an excellent soul artist even more criminally overlooked in current times than Withers, who had his own recent critical revival. The re-release of My First Time Around, one of Wright’s first records to really show her talent, might help getting her own movement going. As a barely-known album, recorded when Wright was just 14 years old, this re-release sounds like the revelation it must have been to the few people to catch it its first time around.
Remembered primarily for one Atlantic hit, “Clean Up Woman,” Ms. Wright has been in the news lately for helping Joss Stone sound like a credible soul singer. Wright was writing her own songs at an even younger age: My First Time Around has crackling stories of the kind of love you regret even while you’re making it (“I’m Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning”), with men you should be ashamed to know (“He’s Bad, Bad, Bad”). It’s hard to imagine how a 14-year-old Wright knew so much about that sort of subject matter, but no song here strikes a false note, not even the few happy spots, like the romantic hymnal “I’m Thankful.”
The music, provided by a group of musicians then working for Henry Stone’s Alston label, is note-for-note perfect, from the organ accenting “Circle of Heartbreak” to the horn section on “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do,” appropriately the record’s hit single. In an alternate universe where artists get the recognition they deserve, Betty Wright is as well-known as Aretha Franklin. Now that My First Time Around is available again, hopefully the rest of us in this dimension will finally catch up.
A late 60s southern soul gem from then 14-year-old belter Betty Wright, her early singles for the Alston label that eventually became her debut album for Atlantic. Clarence Reid wrote most of the tracks, with arrangements and production handled by Steve Alaimo’s Marlin Productions. It’s done in the raw southern soul style which made that organization’s name at the time and Betty carries that groove incredibly well, as well as a woman of any age group! Essential!