The Bougalieu


The Bougalieu

The Bougalieu

Psychedelic, Rock
From: Albany, NY, United States

About Band

 

Folkie Mike Rothman migrated up to Albany , New York from Yonkers to attend junior college. He became fast friends with another kid from downstate , Lester Figarsky, a Dave Van Ronk devotee attending Albany College of Pharmacy. He was drafted to play electric bass. They added another future pharmacist, George Milne on drums. He didn't have a bass drum pedal, but nobody seemed to care.  And like Mickey Rourke,from Schenectady, five miles out Central Ave., came Parker Kennedy. Singer, songwriter, and hippie extraordnare.      And from Albany's student ghetto, singer, Parker Wheeler. 

      An embryonic drummer ,two folkies, and two frontmen named Parker,it was the birth of The Bougalieu.    They built an incredible following on Thursday Nights. SUNY college kids, Albany hippies, and Clinton Avenue hoodlums wondering why chicks from New York City were freaking out in their neighborhood bar. The New Stadium Tavern.Legal drinking age in N.Y. in 1967 was 18. And they would serve you if you looked 16. What a scene it was.

In The Winter of 1967 The Bougalieu, sans one Parker opened for The Young Rascals at  Siena College in Loudenville, N.Y. . By  that Spring they were packing the small room on Friday and Saturday nights at The College Inn up in Saratoga famous for it's horse racing and Skidmore College rich girls.

Road bands working the big room began to copy their style and spread their name.  That June ,George graduated. Smashed his drums on stage and went home to Long Island to dispense pills.They had a few terrific original songs,and a huge following.         It  was  The Summer of Love.....    and   The Bougalieu wanted to get  real. 

 One afternoon Rothman was holding court at Aunt Fanny's Garage.Head shop.Bill Gallagher a local boy who had just dropped out of school in Boston wandered in, guitar case in hand looking for a band. Mike, basically, on the spot, said, "You're in". They heard drummer Larry Scarano in some Albany greaser bar. Lester liked his solid foot .He was in.

  July 1967. The Bougalieu had their new lineup. Lot's of hair, chicks, Acapulco Gold ,and white crosses. What a good time it was. After an amazing Labor Day weekend up at Lake George, sharing the bill with another local band made good, The Sundowners, ( fresh off a national tour with The Monkees ),The Bougalieu drove the 200 miles down to the Roulette Studio in New York City.    The session recorded two originals, "When I Was A Children" and "Let's Do Wrong".They made several takes of each song. Parker kept bouncing off the wall away from the mic. With no overdubbing, the whole band was live each time, which made for several different sounding versions.

 While the band was doing an eight week gig at the legendary Dorian's in Newport, R.I.,Roulette released the 45 in the Fall of 1967.

"When I Was A Children". B/W  " Let's Do Wrong".

 While AM Radio, Roulette Records, and Billboard Magazine pushed  "When I Was A Children", a local underground film maker , Robin Boston Barron, used the flip side, "Let's Do Wrong" in a walking dead movie and said that would be the song The Bougalieu would be known for.

"When I Was A Children"  climbed to #9 on Albany's WTRY. There were two weeks of packed to the rafters gigs in their hometown. Then a bizarre week in Greenwich Village with go go girls and an agent who wanted them to wear suits.  The record was getting airplay in Florida so The Bougalieu went South.

They instantly landed a house gig  at    Thee Experience   a hippie haven on the shady side of Miami. Sharing the sets with  Blues Image  ( Ride Captain Ride).

Within the four months down there, Larry got arrested for sleeping in his car behind the club, Bill had to fly his Wife home to have their baby, Parker needed a hernia operation from having to scream every night into too many inadequate  P.A .systems. Mike and his wife grew to hate the road, Lester got very board.  And, if that ain't enough,  their road manager arrested and got state prison time for LSD possession.

After changing their name to     The Corners of The Heavens    for a few more months, the band decided to go back to Albany.

Without the invaluable, flamboyant  frontman Parker Kennedy ,the band limped through the Summer of '68 at The Aerodrome in  " The Place Beyond The Pines"  opening for the likes of, The Hassles ( Billy Joel's Vanilla Fudge influenced band) and Steppenwolf (Magic Carpet Ride).

The fire of one year earlier had burned out on stage and the fans had mostly fizzled away.

Mike was commuting from Rochester where he planned on going to school to study photography. Bill, Larry, and Lester were busy forming   The Friends of Whitney Sunday   which relocated to Philadelphia and went on to record a single  on Capitol and a self titled LP on Decca.


  Following an irritating,dead end studio experience in New York City , The Bougalieu played their last gig in August  1968 at a State Fair in Altamont, N.Y. Under the assumed name Jonah Stone.

Popular thinking is that Morris Levy's Mob backed Roulette Records lost interest in promoting the band when they passed on a five year record deal over a phrase in the contract giving the label "artistic control". As documented in the book, Hit Men by Fredric Dannen , Roulette was backed by The Genovese Family.

In 1992 Sundazed Music released, "Psychedelic Microdots Vol. 3 . My Rainbow Life". It had two versions of "Let's Do Wrong". One was the released take with the snare drum cranked up.The other has a great feedback laden guitar outro. Why Roulette didn't cut these two takes and mix them into one is further proof that the label wrote them off before they reached their true potential.                                                  

Today,   "Lets Do Wrong"   is a highly collectible and much discussed 60's  single.


Mike Rothman (Michael Havelin)  Has written two photo how-to books. And an   Ebook ,  " Ben Bones + The Descendants".    He is still an active musician.

Parker Kennedy owns an Italian restaurant in Raleigh, N.C. He continues to sing and write songs.

Lester Figarsky is an active musician in the Upstate N.Y music scene. And along with his Son, Adam, races in NARRC with Team Figmented.

Bill Gallagher is a luthier living in Boise, Idaho. Crafting "Willy G " custom guitars.    billgallaghercustomguitars.com

Larry Scarano is a stand-up comic and drummer (aka Larry Copcar ) in Los Angeles.

 



      Photo credit:         Peggy McNally.           Rafael's,  Latham, N.Y.    December  1, 1967.       

Photo Album

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