Saturday, May 26, 2012

Elaine ‘Spanky’ McFarlane, the voice of the seminal folk rock band Spanky & Our Gang performed a concert @ White’s Bar during Thanksgiving weekend in 2003 with fellow Mamas & Papas alumnus Laurie Seaman Lewis. It was a bit impromptu yet planned. Laurie was well known in Saginaw by sixties rock & roll enthusiasts as the lead singer for Pitche Blende, a band lead by the extraordinary guitar wizardry of Dennis Malenfant. The band rocked especially when Laurie and her sister Ginny (bass guitar and vocals) leapt out front and center to the edge of the stage. They were simply stunning…beautiful. They had the young men in the audience salivating like a dog with a bone. They were the visual and spiritual center of the band. But in 2003 the stars were aligned and the aspects were right. Laurie was coming home to visit her family for the Thanksgiving Holiday; Spanky was coming back to Pontiac to visit her old band mate Nigel Pickering. Laurie proposed doing a mini-concert featuring songs that they performed together when Laurie joined Spanky, John Phillips, Denny Doherty and Scott McKenzie (he had a flower power hit with San Francisco) of the new Mamas & Papas (1986 and 1991-1993). I was beside myself. I was a big fan of both these talented ladies – it was a dream come true! Laurie sent the sheet music for most of the songs and I got them to Bruce Crawley (soundman) to help teach the pick-up band the songs. Other band members included Ginny Seaman (bass), Tom Dolson (drums), and Matt Besey (guitar) – a true Saginaw super group. It was a great set list that covered songs from Spanky’s early folk blues days with The New Wine singers to her incredible journey through the sixties and her later involvement with the Mamas & Papas. Spanky was in great voice that night, her powerful contralto could still soar through the stratosphere like an Eagle signaling her arrival. Laurie Lewis took the high parts, her voice was powerful and she never lost pitch – a great singer. The set list included Band Jam, California Dreaming, Sunday Will Never Be the Same, Lazy Days, 500 Miles, Wayfaring Stranger, Bring it On Home, Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues, Prescription for the Blues, Buddy Can You Spare Me a Dime. It was a glorious night; a treasure of memories.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Ginny Seaman back then - I was a drummer in another band - always thought she was solid. Dennis was great back then too.