The Hooterville Trolley, a band formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, released only one single. It’s a 1968 release on Lynnette Records, No Silver Bird/The Warmth Of Love. I first heard No Silver Bird about 6 years ago, as it had been reissued on Stoned Circus. I decided to buy it after hearing only the first five seconds of the song. I had never heard such an ominous, spacey, yet groovy intro. I wanted to know more about this beautiful song and contacted Bill Chreist, the organist of the band.
Norman Petty, an influential artist who for example co-wrote a lot of Buddy Holly hits, had a studio in Clovis, New Mexico. It was this studio where the Hooterville Trolley recorded their single. Norman had just received a new machine, which he dubbed a String Machine. He wanted to use this machine on their single.
“We liked what he did with it so we printed the records with his string machine in the back ground which gave it a new unique sound that we liked.”
The reception of the single was good, though no big success. It was very popular in the band’s hometown Albuquerque, but nationally it didn’t get much airplay. The band never earned any money with their release. Producer Tommy Bee, who produced the song, paid for the recording time and therefore retained ownership of the masters. A nasty move by Tommy Bee is that he released No Silver Bird again on an album by The Magic Sand, he changed the title into Get Ready To Fly.
“He later released it under a made up name of Magic Sand but it was our exact recording but that was done without our approval.”
As I’m always curious what other artists influenced a band, I asked Bill for theirs.
“We were influenced by a lot of the bands of the time including the Buffalo Springfield and The Seeds whom we played for as their opening act when they played in town. Chicago Transit Authority was another favorite band of ours at the time.”
Bill recalls doing shows in New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma in 1968, which he claims couldn’t have happened without the release of their single (which by the way has been sold a copy of on ebay last year for an astonishing 699 dollars!!!! I’ll stick to my reissue). In the same year they broke up as they graduated from high school. Most of them went to college, anyway they all went their own way.
No Silver Bird is one of my favorite cuts from the sixties, hard to put into a category. Bill himself calls it Psychedelic Rock, but for me it goes beyond that.