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14 March 2013
The Santa Cruz Connection (part 2)
Now Playing: Bob Dylan "Live At Albert Hall" (TAKRL boot)
Topic: Minor change or comment

This story keeps jumping forth in bits and pieces, and it is probably necessary for someone to take the time to sit down and create a coherent picture from what has emerged. I'm only at the receiving end here however, and must settle for forwarding the data as it surfaces.

As noted in an earlier post, there is some connection between the Music Of The Santa Cruz Mountains sampler LP and notorious music biz hustler Johnny Kitchen. This is based on the fact that the Kitchen-produced 2nd Victims Of Chance LP (the one with the generic mill wheel cover) contains music lifted directly from the Santa Cruz album. See my previous post for details.

My Northern associate Jens U now forwards me a bundle of new info related to the Santa Cruz nexus, some of which is quite startling. First of all, to the existing spider's web we can now add the illustrious name of Eddie Callahan. Callahan is an Acid Archives alumni with a much loved private press LP under his belt. That he was related to the Santa Cruz LP, just like Johnny Kitchen, was however news to pretty much everyone. The connection is made clear via the track "Santa Cruz Mountains", which can be found on the SC sampler LP credited to J J Johnson AND on Eddie Callahan's False Ego LP under the same title but with songwriting credited to Callahan! It is clearly the same song, but in different recordings.

OK--so Eddie Callahan is involved here somehow. But wait--it gets even better. The next piece of info adds Bob Berry, of the very rare and highly rated Heavy Berry album, to this same Santa Cruz net! Berry is another Acid Archives graduate, and his demo LP is one of the more expensive finds of the 2000s. His name appears on the Santa Cruz sampler LP credits, but it was unconfirmed whether it was the same Bob Berry, or some namesake. Now, the reissue of the Eddie Callahan LP contains a reference to 'Robert Berry', and from this link and the overlapping "Santa Cruz Mountains" track, a puzzle with several interconnected pieces emerged. One of our knowledgable sources says that:

Bob Berry & Eddie Callahan had been in bands together in the late 60s, well before the Santa Cruz sampler LP or 'False Ego' were recorded. Since Bob was very behind the scenes on these releases (not even credited with playing on 'False Ego' originally) I'm guessing he co-wrote 'Santa Cruz Mountains' with J J Johnson and then offered it to Eddie. In both cases, the singers took full credit... The two versions of the song are quite different, with J J's version adding a couple verses, and Eddie's changing some words... Eddie insists the 'False Ego' recordings were just the trio of himself, his wife, and Bob.

Before moving ahead, I should mention that Bob Berry had also been in '60s garage band the 4th Street Exits who cut a highly rated garage 45, and whose members may figure in this story somehow. Regarding connections between the main protagonists in this saga, our source speculates that:

The real key here must be the band Mahatma which was Eddie Callahan's 5-piece rock band in the early-mid 1970s. They toured & played a ton, but never recorded. I believe Bob Berry was in that band, and I'm guessing J J Johnson was too... and possibly other names that would overlap with Victims Of Chance -- in which case the overlapping 'Santa Cruz Mountain' song could have been a Mahatma song that both singers then claimed as they own and altered in their own ways.

Another source believes that the guitar-player on the first three tracks on the Santa Cruz Mountains sampler (and Victims Of Chance) is the same as heard on the Eddie Callahan LP. As revealed via the reissue, Bob Berry partook in Callahan's recording, a fact which Callahan did not credit on the original. So here is yet more evidence of Berry's involvement with both Callahan, the Santa Cruz sampler in general (where he's credited repeatedly) and the opening J J Johnson tracks on the sampler in particular. The simplest explanation is stated above--Bob Berry, Eddie Callahan and J J Johnson were long-time musical comrades, and the multi-talented Berry emerged as a connecting link between the various LPs discussed here (including his own).

But the album where our Detective Columbo script took its beginning, the second Victims Of Chance with its confirmed Johnny Kitchen involvement and presumed tax scam origins, is left somewhat out in the cold by these cozy Santa Cruz weedhead collaborations. How did the material from the obscure Santa Cruz sampler end up in Kitchen's hands? Via Berry, Callahan, Johnson... or someone else? If they were involved, was it because they had submitted the sampler as a demo to some LA label, or did they willingly agree to the Kitchen tax scam?

This may be revealed in our next chapter. Meanwhile, here is a recap of the records and artists involved so far in the Santa Cruz Connection:

-- various artist sampler including J J Johnson, with Bob Berry credits

BOB BERRY : Heavy Berry 197? (no label)

EDDIE CALLAHAN: False Ego 1976 (Ocean)
  [reissue exists]

VICTIMS OF CHANCE: Goin' Home Blue 197? (no label 1014)
-- if one accepts the tax scam nature of this, the year is either '76 or '77

Possibly relevant 45 featuring Bob Berry, other members currently unknown:

Strange One / A Love Like This  1967  (Rowena 792) 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:00 MEST
Updated: 14 March 2013 00:39 MEST
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