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22 November 2012
Dragonfly & Frogdeath
Now Playing: Beatles "I've Got A Feeling"
Topic: Minor change or comment

After decades as a 'mystery group', the enigmatic hardrock/heavy psych outfit Dragonfly (aka Legend) received detailed biographical scrutiny via Aaron Milenski's illuminating article in Flashback magazine #2. Basically they were on a ping-pong trip between Colorado and Los Angeles, like several other bands at the time. What caught my eye in particular was a reference to the band's earliest days, when they recruited guitarist Randy Russ from a local Texas band called 'Infants Of Soul'. I figured this had to be the same group as the Infants Of Soul who backed Mike Renolds (aka Mike Rosen) on the garage fuzz 45 "When Will I Find Her" on the mighty Frogdeath label. Sure enough, the details all checked out, including an El Paso locale for both Russ and Renolds' 45. It was interesting to read about Russ being impressed with Jeff Beck, as the Mike Renolds 45 is highlighted by some very good fuzz guitar work, which I've always viewed as Yardbirds/Beck-styled.

So, in short, the rather well-liked garage 45 "When Will I Find Her" by Mike Renolds & The Infants Of Soul (Frogdeath 66-3, 1966) turns out to be a pre-Dragonfly outing. As far as I know, this connection has never been revealed before (it's not mentioned in the Flashback article either). The track can be found on several garage comps, including the classic Flashback (no relation) series from c1980.

I looked around some more in the hope of finding links to other Southwestern music nexi such as the Suemi or Goldust labels, but nothing more registered. Prior to the Infants Of Soul, whose only output was as backing band for Mike Renolds on this Frogdeath 45, Randy Russ was in a band called the Instigators, while two of his future Dragonfly buddies played in another local Texas band called the Pawns, whose recordings are detailed above. Having relocated to Colorado, the ex-Pawns guys invited Russ to leave El Paso and join them, after which they became Legend and ultimately Dragonfly... but all this is better covered in Flashback magazine.

For Texas musicologists, some details on the two mid-60s combos:

Infants of Soul (El Paso, TX, 1966)
Doug Neal, Howard Wilcox, Jimmy Wagnon, Kenny Johnson, Randy Russ.
Instigators (El Paso, TX, 1965)
Randy Russ - guitar, Skip Baca - guitar, Doug Neal - bass, Corky Lamb - drums. 

Incidentally, the Frogdeath 45 was Mike Renolds (Rosen) second attempt at "When Will I Find Her", he had released a different, teen-pop style version on the Gum label the year before to no avail. The Frogdeath label is a story unto itself, needless to say, and more can be found here:

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:14 CET
Updated: 22 November 2012 22:09 CET
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