One of the band’s bigger shows of the year was what is remembered as ‘their first paying gig’ – they received $25 for this one.  Dick Citroen was dealing with a number of people 'Stateside' as well as working with the Brass Union.  He linked up with a Grand Rapids Michigan boy, Del Shannon – one of the bigger acts of the time.  Del was coming to Canada and because it was so costly to move entire bands across the border back then, he was looking for a local band to back him.  Dick suggested the Brass Union to his manager, but with one condition:  that the band would receive billing on the show.  Dick wanted the show to read:  “Del Shannon, featuring the Brass Union”.  He was very particular about this, even the size of the lettering on the posters.  "We received a song list and some basic charts only a day or so before Shannon showed up and we scrambled to learn them as best we could and played to a packed house at The Kiwanis Boy's Club in Hamilton. This was a very big deal for us at the time", recalls Cliff Hunt.  The band did so well, that many in attendance thought that the Brass Union was Del’s regular band from the U.S. – somewhat impressive for a band less than a year old. The band spent the rest of the fall of 1967 working in the new guys, getting different promotional items together and continuing to play high schools, festivals, parties and various other things in and around the area.  By year’s end, the Hamilton Spectator (the major newspaper in Hamilton) published a ‘Top Bands in the Area’ poll with the Brass Union coming in third behind the Roots of All Evil and the Jameson Roberts Blues Band – quite an accomplishment for a band, only just completing their first year.
When you’re a high school student in the music program, a little success goes a long way, and the reception that the Aldershot High School students gave the Hulse’s Heroes Christmas production of 1966 was no exception.  Nine guys from that production decided to put together a band, and off they went to Cliff Hunt’s basement to begin work.  With Cliff’s father, Cliff Hunt Sr., being a career musician, trying to put a band together in the family basement seemed like a natural fit.  In early January of 1967, they formed a band they called “the Fourth Hyrd” – a reference to Woody Herman’s First Herd band (1936-46) and his Second and Third Herd bands (from 1947 on). The first two songs the boys learned were:  “Watermelon Man”, a jazz standard by Herbie Hancock and “On Broadway”, a 1963 hit by the Drifters.  The rest of the songlist was built around the Motown hits coming out of Detroit that year:  Wilson Picket and Sam & Dave songs, and other popular hits of the time – Happy Together, by the Turtles;  Mitch Ryder hits – songs that are still played in cover bands today, but were top 40 hits, at the time.  What made this band different musically from most others forming during this time was the full four-piece horn section.  Kids were starting to realize how dynamic rock music would sound with a full horn section.  As I mentioned, Chicago Transit Authority, Blood, Sweat and Tears and also Electric Flag formed that same year, but they had just barely released their first albums.  And it wasn’t until the following year that Tower of Power were formed, and a year after that, in 1969, that we saw the Canadian bands Lighthouse and the Ides of March.  There were a lot of bands forming during this time.  I was a part of a couple of them myself in 1967 – bands working out of the adjoining town of Hamilton. “I remember we played a house party in Burlington one night, early in the year.  We only had a few songs, so there were a lot of repeats”, said Cliff Hunt, with a laugh.  “We put a nine-piece band into someone’s home for a party.  It was crazy.  The cops raided the place and it made the papers.” Word spread quickly about this new band in the Burlington area and they began playing the local high schools:  Central, Nelson, M.M. Robinson, and of course,  Aldershot High.  They spent the spring of 1967 working on their songlist, playing parties, special events, high schools, anywhere where they could get gigs.  By the end of the year, they had played every major high school in the area and had branched out and were playing high schools in Hamilton and other nearby communities.
Aaaahh, yes ... 1967.  What a year for the world.  What a year to be a high school kid putting a 'band' together -- they were just called 'bands' back then, not horn bands, or rock bands, or show bands -- although this band would turn out to be all of these.  The boys from Aldershot High School picked a very good time to put together their 9-piece band, with the beginnings of two other, soon- to-be-famous bands that year:  Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat and Tears.  As a horn player from another part of the city, I can remember sitting with my horn and a couple of buddies, in someone's basement, playing for hours and hours, as we learned our 'chops' to that first Blood, Sweat & Tears album. In the world, the race riots continued, hitting very close to home in Buffalo, N.Y. during the summer.  The Vietnam War protests continued in full force, fueled by reports that the US had bombed a city of civilians and the drafting of a man named Cassius Clay.  1967 saw the Monterey Festival, the Arab-Israeli War, the Beatles release of their Sgt. Pepper's album, the first Communist China H-bomb test, the debut of Rolling Stone magazine, the death of Otis Redding in a plane crash and the emergence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district as the centre of the "Summer of Love".  Yes, it was a good year to be putting together a band.
The 1967 Riots in Buffalo, N.Y. June 26 - July 1, 1967
KKIS 990, Pittsburg Bill Plummer - March 1967
Top 20 Singles of 1967 1. To Sir With Love, Lulu 2. Happy Together - The Turtles 3. Windy - Association 4. Ode To Billie Joe - Bobby Gentry 5. I'm A Believer - The Monkees 6. Light My Fire - The Doors 7. Somethin' Stupid - Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra 8. The Letter - Box Tops 9. Groovin' - Young Rascals 10. Kind Of A Drag - Buckinghams 11. Little Bit O' Soul - Music Explosion 12. I Think We're Alone Now - Tommy James and The Shondells 13. Respect - Aretha Franklin 14. I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder 15. Come Back When You Grow Up - Bobby Vee and The Strangers 16. Sweet Soul Music - Arthur Conley 17. Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Frankie Valli 18. Never My Love - Association 19. Soul Man - Sam and Dave 20. Expressway To Your Heart - Soul Survivors From:  Musically the Third Herd (particularly in the early days) was a modification of the Second. The well-established Four Brothers sound of the saxophones was retained and as always the band was strong in brass and rhythm Ö
Above, from left to right: Paul Goodrow, David Balan, Bill Magee, Vuk Kovinich, Steve Hulse, Gord Hoppa
One of the early photoshoots on the grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, ON
Emerging from that first Hulse’s Heroes production, the roots of the band were not only musical, but theatrical – a ‘double focus’ that would lead to a great deal of their early success, but more immediately, it opened the door for one of those chance meetings that would change the band completely.  Through a number of different connections at Aldershot High School, a friend of Vuk Kovinich (the lead guitarist and appointed leader of the band) approached a couple who lived in the area who had just emigrated from Britain a few years before.  Dick Citroen and his wife Terri Anders (her stage name) were both part of the thriving British music scene of the mid-60’s – Dick, in many aspects, but most notably as the drummer for the group Tommy Steele and the Cavemen.  Terri Anders was a professional singer/actress herself, working both in Britain and in Canada. “Back in early 1967, Dick and I were approached by someone from Aldershot High to listen to a young group made up of mainly high school students from the area.  We were both in the business and could spot raw talent when we saw it”, said Terri recently. “So we went along to a church basement (I think it was East Plains Church), where we first encountered The Fourth Herd.  I remember sitting watching and listening to this group of earnest kids playing their hearts out for us.  Immediately, both Dick and I knew we were seeing something special in the making.” Soon, the two became regular attendees of the band practices and before long, Dick Citroen became the band’s first manager.  “I took these raw talent high school kids and taught them how to be professional musicians”, recalled Dick.  “They learned basic stagecraft and how to present themselves.”  And this began the changes, early in 1967, that would change everything about the nine boys that played in the back of Archie Campbell’s truck in the pictures above, and would make this band ‘different’ from all the other good bands that were forming during this time.
The first thing to be done was change the name of the band.  They wanted a name that was more representative of the dynamic nature of the horns.  Borrowing an idea from Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, one of the top bands of the time, Mike Lansbury (the band’s lead singer) suggested the name ‘Union Brass’.  After a short discussion, the name Brass Union would become the band’s new name.  With the name, they wanted to design a logo to identify the band.  Again, borrowing from one of the top businesses of the time, A & M records, and incorporating ideas from other parts of the arts, the band designed their new logo shown to the left.  From now on, this would be on all promotion and anything to do with the band. 
Throughout the spring of 1967, the band continued to work on their songlist and play locally.  Putting a four-piece horn section into the rock and Motown music that was around at the time was not as easy a task as one would imagine.  Four individual horn players are not like a piano or a guitar where multiple fingers can be put down on a keyboard.  They needed to be co-ordinated, or ‘arranged’ and that was the work of Darrell Nameth, the band’s saxophonist.  Not only was he a fine horn player, but he was also the leader of the Aldershot High Junior Band in his senior years at the school.  With Darrell came excellent arrangements for the four horn players.  I’d heard of the work of the Brass Union myself as a horn player in the next town over, and I’d heard that they were a rather good band.
Date: Mon., Aug 7, 	1967 Place:  Central Arena, 	Burlington Happening:  Burlington Centennial Sound 	Show.  This event promised to be similar to a dozen other shows of its type Ė 10 bands, some known, some unknown, all playing hard.  Some good, some frankly bad.  So it went, hour after hour until something occurred which only happens once in a decade.  It probably happened in England with the Beatles!  I glanced at my watch as the emcee announced the next group.  It was 10:15 p.m.  Iím glad I did as it is not often anyone has the opportunity of seeing history in the making.  By 10:35 p.m., I was convinced that I had witnessed the rise of a new musical era! I had just seen nine young guys explode upon a stunned public with a sound and visual presentation which made all the twanging quartets seem as old-hat as ice-box refrigerators!  I had actually been entertained by a pounding beat laid down with ice-cold precision by the drums and guitars and amplified into near-hysteria by the blasting brass section.  Out front, the two singers piled on the pressure with cross-talk and personality which had the capacity crowd eating out of their hands.  Suddenly, as unexpectedly as when the big brass sound first ripped through its audience, it softened and gave way to a slower, insistent beat of the haunting South American rhythms.  The effect on their audience and me was all too clear as the mood was swiftly changed back to the fantastic soundings of this unknown band.  The atmosphere was explosive as the fever of the crowd mounted with the rising crescendo as the sound reached its peak!  I was actually breathless as the band left the stage.  But words, words.  None were needed to describe Presley hysteria or Beatlemania;  and none are needed to herald the advent of Brass Unionitis which I know must come.  Like a new-flavoured ice-cream, thereís only one way to find out for yourself.  Try it!  Go and hear the Brass Union at the Mountain Arena, Thurs., Aug. 24!  And if you donít agree that this is the most exciting sound since Lennon and McCartney, then go listen again.  I guarantee youíll be hooked.  I am!!!!!  The Mountaineer Wed., Aug 23, 1967
Arguably, the biggest ‘event’ for the Brass Union in 1967 was hearing about a Battle of the Bands at Central Arena in Burlington later in the summer, which they decided to enter.  All the top local bands in the area would be there that day. “We worked on their presentation, choreography (staging), clothing and singing (which was mainly my department)”, said Terri.  “There was an upcoming band competition and it was decided to improve their stage show in order to appear in the program.  They all went to Toronto and were fitted with matching sear-sucker jackets (wouldn’t crease), over black dress pants, black shoes, white shirt and tie.”  They had two separate outfits, one with a dark jacket and the other with a lighter-coloured jacket. “In Britain, you couldn’t join the Musician’s Union unless you had a ‘tux’.  You obviously needed to have talent, but appearance was just as important as performance”, said Dick Citroen recently.  And this attitude of professionalism in stage attire was instilled into the boys in the band.  They were given 24 minutes of time for their act and they rehearsed a show that was exactly 24 minutes in length.  They hired Bill Hughes and George Hamor as their production crew and rented a van for all their equipment. “I told them that the only thing that they were to carry into the competition was their own instrument.  All the rest was to be done by the production crew.  It’s just the way it was done back then”, Dick went on.  “I remember when we pulled up to the back door of the arena that day, and Bill and George opened up the back doors of the van to wheel out amps and racks of clothing, that four of the bands quit the competition before it had even started.  The music had to be there, but that day, it was also about appearance.”  I can remember joining the band a few years later and not only having to learn all the music, but also a large amount of choreographed dance moves – something not all that common with local bands at this time. “For the competition, it was decided that one of the numbers would be Mitch Ryder’s “Sock It To Me Baby”.  The band stood with their backs to the audience.  Then Mike, the lead singer, would suddenly turn his head around and ask:  “Does anyone here know Mitch Ryder?”  With that, the whole band turned to the audience playing the number.  The effect on the people was electric !!  I have never forgotten that”, said Terri, recently. The Brass Union ‘won big’ that day, walked away with their $100 prize (a lot of money in those days) and they were on their way.  And in doing so, they also impressed a number of people, one of which was a local reporter in attendance who wrote the article to the left.
Back Row (standing), left to right:  Dave Baylis (bass),                                  Dave Balan (drums), Darrell Nameth (saxophone)  Seated, left to right:  Mike Lansbury (vocals), Cliff Hunt (trumpet)  Front, left to right: Len Blum (guitar), Bill Magee (trumpet), Bruce Wilson (guitar), Paul Scott (trombone) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Above photo, back row (left to right):  Bruce Wilson (guitar), Paul Goodrow (trombone), Vuk Kovinich (guitar), Mike Lansbury (vocals), Darrell Nameth (saxophone)  Front row:  Bill Magee (trumpet), Cliff Hunt (trumpet), Dave Balan (drums), Dave Goodrow (bass)
After the success of the Battle of the Bands, Dick started to market the band.  When it was realized that the band was to become a bit more than just an enjoyable weekend hobby, the band went through the first of its many personnel changes.  The guys sat down and had one of those all-important ‘band meetings’.  It was the end of the summer, the end of high school for a number of the guys, and some wanted to stay serious with their music and some had other plans in mind for themselves for after high school.  It was at this point that the Goodrow brothers, Paul and Dave, decided to leave the band, following a few months later by Vuk Kovinich, who was about to move out of the area.  Paul Goodrow was replaced by Paul Scott on trombone.  His brother Dave was replaced by Dave Baylis, on bass guitar.  Vuk Kovinich was replaced by Len Blum on lead guitar, a Hamilton boy from Westdale High School. Dick continued to work with the band from a management perspective, improving their visual show, instilling professional attitudes and booking the boys into progressively better venues as the year went on.  At one point he hired a professional photographer named Jim Fish to take promotional pictures of the band which he would make into a full promotional package by early in the following year.  The band built their own stages, large circular sheets of plywood on bases of 2” circular pipe, screwed into flanges attached under the plywood.  There were four horn stages, about a foot off the ground and two feet in diameter; two stages for Bruce on guitar and Dave on bass, about double the diameter and about two and a half feet off the ground.  And finally, there was the drum stage, in two pieces screwed together, in the centre about five feet off the ground.  Curtains were made in 3 different colours (yellow, red and blue) to cover the legs on the stages.  Len on guitar and singer, Mike, were on ground level as the two main ‘front men’ of the band.  “We wanted to hide the amps”, said Dick.  “The visual presentation was very important to us.”  The staging was one of the things I remembered most about Brass Union as I made my way through other bands in the Hamilton area.  They added a full light show, complete with strobes, black lights and flash pots, with Bill Hughes running it from beside the sound board.  And George Hamor ran the board and controlled the sound and the volume of the band from there.  All these things were rather innovative for the year 1967 – at least, around the Hamilton/Burlington area.
Same guys, same shoot at one of the beautiful homes along North Shore Boulevard in Burlington, ON and the owner's 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost LaSalle Park in Burlington, ON, with the guys in the second of their stage outfits, with the light-coloured jackets.
Del Shannon's 'other' hit
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Music from the 1967 Brass Union songlist