The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Tony Macauley, Geoff Stephens)

Congress 6000

No. 5   November 22, 1969




In the winter of 1966, Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar and Joel O’Brien were members of a hot band called The

King Bees. They had a contract with RCA and several biting rhythm rockers in release. Crowds loved them,

and their sound, rock’n’roll with an R & B edge, was ahead of its time. The problem was, no one was buying

their records.


Kootch had grown up with a skinny depressive kid named James Taylor.  As the Bees bit he dust, Kootch,

O’Brien, and Taylor went into the studios and cut some sides for One-Hit Wonders’ JUST US members,

producer/writers AI Gorgoni and Chip “Wild Thing”Taylor; the latter author of MERRILEE RUSH’s “Angel of

the Morning” and creator of SENATOR BOBBY.  One single credited to “The Flying Machine” (“Rainy Day

Mary”) was issued on Rainy Day Records in the summer of 1967. Nothing much happened, and James Taylor

flew to England to see if he could interest the Beatles’ Apple label into recording “Carolina in My Mind” and

some of his other folky material.



This short-lived unit is the group that many people think recorded “Smile a Little Srnile for Me.” They didn’t.

After “Smile” was a huge hit, Gorgoni, Chip Taylor, and others repackaged these early James Taylor record-­

ings with the “Flying Machine” name promi­nently featured on the album cover, hoping to “trick” record

buyers into thinking that this was the second album by the “Smile” group. For the most part, the ruse



The Liberators from Rugby, England, had been playing together since 1964.  Reg Calvert, the manager of the

Fortunes, stumbled upon the Liberators, hooked them up with British Decca, dressed them up in pink sport-

coats, and renamed them Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours.  In their motherland, Barrie Bernard (bass), Dave

Holland (drums), Samuel Kempe (vocals, autoharp), Tom Long (gui­tar), and Anthony Newman (guitar) had

a huge hit with their first release, “Mirror, Mirror.”   Their follow-ups did poorly, and by the late ’60s, the

Pinkertons needed a change.  Many record collectors believe that this was the Flying Machine that recorded

“Smile a Little Smile for Me”  Wrong again.


Songwriter/producer Tony Macauley had written “Smile a Little Smile for Me” with Geoff Stephens; the

composer and voice of the NEW VAUDEVILLE BAND, heard on “Winchester Cathedral.” Experienced music

men that they were, Tony and Geoff just knew they had a hit on their hands. Using studio musicians, and

possibly the lead vocal of Macauley himself, a recording was quickly made.  “Smile” was never a chart

wonder in England, but for what seemed like an extensive time in the U.S., the tune was played on Top 40



When “Smile” exploded on the stateside landscape, a touring version of The Flying Machine was needed, so

the remaining pieces of the Pinkertons–Anthony Newman, Samuel Kempe, Stuart Colman, Steve Jones, and

Paul Wilkinson–were invited to fill the bill.  “Baby Make It Soon” (#87, 1970)–a cover of a MARMALADE

tune-was the pseudo-group’s follow-up.


Shortly afterward, and miles outside the proverbial spotlight, The Flying Machine crashed and burned on

the isle of perishable pop platters.  Surviving the crash was Dave Holland, who reappeared in the ’80s

playing drums in Shakin’ Steven’s band; and Stuart Colman, soon a noted BBC radio announcer and the

producer of disks for the Blasters, the Inmates, Jets, Cliff Richard and in 1986, Little Richard.