The “Golden Hits Of Th60s” 

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Mercury 72622

No. 5    February 11, 1967



The Blues Magoos, New York City’s first psychedelic experience, took shape in 1964 around the core of lead

singer/guitarist Peppy Castro (b. Emil Thielheim, June 16, 1949), bassist Ronnie Gilbert (b. Apr. 25, 1946),

and Ralph Scala (b. Dec. 12, 1947).   In 1964, guitarist Mike Esposito (b. 1943,  Delaware) and drummer

Geoff Daking (b. 1947, Delaware) joined up, and the group started playing in Greenwich Village.   Before

the Magoos (originally spelled  “B-l-o-o-s  Magoos”) developed a marketable persona, they walled a  few

rare and righteous singles for Verve/Folkways (“People With No Faces” b/w “So I’m Wrong And You’re

Right”) and the Ganim label (“Who Do You Love’).


By the time their second 45 for Mercury was out, the Blues Magoos had gone psychedelic. These boys were

literally wired:  whenever they performed, their outfits would flash on and off.   As Castro told Goldmine’s

Lydia Sherwood, “Our concept really started after we had played the Night Owl for a while.  People began

freaking out and turning on.  In those early days of drugs, when people were realty expanding, we were

more conceptual, more psychedelic. “


The Blues Magoos’ first  album, Psychedelic Lollipop (1966), was certainly “conceptual”:    the cover

featured Peppy and his mind­ bent bandmates in multicolored  threads, superimposed on a far-out

background of swirly goo.  They opened the LP with their anthem, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”; weirded

out with an extended rave-up on JOHN D. LOUDERMILK’s “Tobacco Road”; and eerily sang that “Love

Seems Doomed” (LSD).     Their second LP, Electric Comic Book (1967), included an electric comic-book

insert, the moving “Albert Common  Is Dead” (ACID), and  their follow-up  single to  “Nothin’ Yet”–“Pipe

Dreams” (#60, 1967) b/w “There’s A Chance We Can Make It” (#81).   Basic Blues  Magoos (1968) sported a

cover version of the Moves’ “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” plus a number called “Subliminal Sonic Laxative.”


“By our third album, we had leased a house in the Bronx on University Avenue, and we did home

recording,” Peppy recalled. “Our music room was done in black light and strobe.   The cops would come

over because  people would complain that there were strange flashing lights.   We literally had the police

walk in the house and wham, we’d hit the strobes,  and they’d go for their guns!…  We were stoned all the

time then.”


The Blues Magoos drifted apart, and  in 1969, Peppy and an entirely new Magoo   constituency signed with

ABC-Paramount for two albums.  Castro then departed to act in the Broadway production of “Hair.”    After

a  year there, he and two other cast members, Billy and Bobby Alessi, formed a pop unit called Barnabye

Bye.  Two LPs  later, Peppy  was part of the short-lived Polydor recording act Wiggy Bits.   Finally–if there is

such abeast–in  1981, Peppy  Castro –with Doug Katsaros and Dennis Feldman–returned to the playlists

and the top 40 charts as a group called BALANCE with “Breaking Away” (#22, 1981).  Thereafter, Peppy’s

name has appearing as tunesmith on songs cut by Cher and Kiss.