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The Gentle Touch

The Gentle Touch - Visitors Parking Only / One Way Ride - 7

Visitors Parking Only / One Way Ride - 7"
RCA Canada International - 1966

Michael Panontin
The Gentle Touch were formed in the Hammer - that's Hamilton to the tourists - roundabout 1965. The quartet of Jeff Snider, Alex Harrington, Ron Boyes and Bruce Ley were originally known as the Pharaohs but changed their name to avoid confusion with a similarly named band down in the States. The Gentle Touch's only piece of wax, the Kinks-inspired 'Visitors Parking Only', was issued by RCA in 1966. "That was written by Jeff Snider and Mark Shekter, and Mark produced the session, which took place in Toronto," Ley recalled. "Jeff and Ron played the guitars, Alex played drums and I sang lead and played bass." This surly slab of sexual frustration is definitely garage rock at its finest, with Ley belting out lines like "We're trippin' down the way / Pass by your place / I was havin' a drag / There was no parking space / But above your door / I saw a sign which read / Visitors Parking Only / Yeah, that's what it said". Brilliant.

The Gentle Touch broke up the following year and Ley eventually went off to Yorkville to join the 5 Rising Sons. ("I actually did some New York recordings with them while I was still in the Gentle Touch.") Ley would go on to work with various bands like the jazz-rock Brass Union and the disco outfit THP Orchestra, whose groovy 'Too Hot for Love' filled a few floors some ten years later, before settling into a long career composing for the television industry. 'Visitors Parking Only' was pressed up in a tiny run of just 500 copies, with the deliciously rare sleeve reserved for radio promos only. Still, a near-mint copy (sans sleeve) sold for under a hundred bucks a few years back, so there is hope for those patient souls out there.

('Visitors Parking Only' was issued on the quasi-bootleg Wyld Canada Volume 3, but, seriously, how the Nuggets/Pebbles/Boulders crew missed this one is anyone's guess.)

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