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The Plague

The Plague - The Face of Time / We Were Meant to Be - 7

The Face of Time / We Were Meant to Be - 7"
Reo - 1966

Michael Panontin
Thunder Bay's Plague were a quintet consisting of guitarist Donald Brown, singer/saxophonist Tom Horricks, bass player George Stevenson, keyboardist Joel Stapansky and drummer Lynn McEachern. The band (not to be confused with the similarly named Albuquerque group responsible for that totally acerbic scorcher 'Go Away' on Epidemic that same year) released a couple of singles in their brief existence, this much-sought-after psych stormer and its follow-up, a radio-friendly version of the old Billy Edd Wheeler standby, 'High Flyin'' Bird'.

'The Face of Time' is a superb example of early psychedelia. It may have failed to chart, but its menacing mix of sax, organ and guitar is all the more impressive coming from way up on the north shores of Lake Superior back in 1966. On a recent YouTube posting, Horricks recalled that "I wrote this song with Ray Dee. We recorded it with Gary Paxton in Hollywood. The song was played on (Chicago radio station) WLS and was going to be a 'hit', but the record company went bankrupt the next day." What's more, in addition to the American pressing on Crusader, the sides were also issued down under on the Melbourne-based W & G label. Even better, when paired with the workmanlike Paul Revere and the Raiders-influenced 'We Were Meant to Be' over on the flip, the record's relatively reasonable price point - 260 bucks recently for a VG+ Aussie pressing - makes it one heck of a bargain, I'd say.

The Plague themselves may not have been long for this earth, but Horricks and Stevenson did eventually find some degree of fleeting fame a few years later when they formed the heavier-sounding Jarvis Street Review and delivered their topical 12-minute acid-rocker 'Mr. Oil Man' on Columbia Canada.

(Both Plague singles as well as songs recorded by Brown, Horricks and Stapansky as Lexington Avenue were included on Pacemaker's cool CD comp The Gaiety Records Story - Volume I.)

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