Created by Merrell Fankhauser in 1964 after he arrived in Lancaster and the Antelope Valley area, Merrell and The Exiles are probably more interesting historically than for purely musical reasons. Born in Louisville, Kentucky on the 23rd of December, 1943, Fankhauser had previously lived on the California Coast, in Pismo Beach. There he began playing surf music, even winning the Arroyo Grande Battle of the Bands in March 1962 and being part of the Sentinals and the Impacts. In Lancaster, Fankauser met Jeff Cotton, John French and Larry Willey and they became Merrell and The Exiles. Their first recordings took place in a small studio in Palmdale, California, Glenn Recording Studios, which were owned and directed by Glenn MacArthur. All the songs were recorded live on 2 track tape. In April 1964, Please Be Mine was No. 9 in the local Palmdale station KUTY charts! In all, two or three singles were recorded for Glenn Records and pressed in very limited quantities. More Merrell and The Exiles sessions took place in Hollywood in 1966 at the Gary Paxton Studio and in 1967 at the Gold Star Studio with a changing line-up. Some of their songs (Too Many Heartbreaks, Suzy Cryin) were in fact released on the Fapardokly album, another Fankhauser creation. The other songs however, had to wait until the eighties before they were released in various forms. Bill Dodd also played with Fankhauser in Fapardokly and H.M.S. Bounty. John French and Jeff Cotton left to join Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, another group from the High Desert area, but in 1970 Cotton rejoined with Merrell to form MU. The retrospective Early Years album consists largely of surf and garage rock tracks. Aside from the few 45 tracks, the majority were previously unreleased. Don't Call On Me is notable for featuring the first guitar solo ever recorded by then fledgling guitarist Jeff Cotton. This album is primarily of archival interest, however. (taken from "Fuzz, Acid & Flowers")
"Wild In The Desert" (Lance L-4001 / 2000) was released five years after the "Early Years" album. I don't have any information about the tracklisting on "Early Years" but I think it can be compared most closely approximate to the Lance release. The "Fuzz, Acid & Flowers" commentary hits the point in the broadest sense as Fankhauser's early music adventures are primarily of archival interest. There are at least three worthwhile songs on this Beat/Rock'n'Roll dominated album: "Remember Me" is a pretty jaunty Beat number while "Run Baby Run" and "She's Gone" should appeal the garage fan. These tracks remained unreleased in the '60s. For more information and discography of Merrel & The Exiles I would recommed you theSpace Bluessite.
Tracklist: - Rave On - Please Be Mine - Don't Call On Me - Send Me Your Love - Pain In My Heart - Shake My Hand - Let Me Go - Let The Time Go By - Run Baby Run - Long, Long Time - Don't Let Go - Boys - Remember Me - She's Gone - Can't We Get Along - That's All I Want
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