Morning Rock Roots – Music from Illinois Speed Press?

Poster Art::Wes Wilson

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So this morning I checked that old Roots Rock calender to see what happened back when on today’s date and I saw that Big Brother and the Holding Company opened a date at the Filmore West on July 16, 1968 appearing with several other bands including Jeff Beck Group and Richie Havens. Two bands were mostly unknown to me Holy See, which sounds kinda familiar and Illinois Speed Press which doesn’t! So I went to Wikipedia and found that:

Illinois Speed Press was an American rock band formed – originally, in 1965, as The Rovin’ Kind – in Chicago, later relocating to California. The band was formed by Paul Cotton – later of Poco – and Kal David. According to Allmusic, their sound “combined elements of R&B and country music in a powerful double-lead-guitar attack.”[1] Cotton and David have occasionally reunited in recent years to perform together under the name.

….In early 1965, Cotton formed a new group, The Gentrys, with bassist Frank Bartell and drummer Fred Page (b. Frederick Pappalardo). They were soon joined by Kal David and keyboard player Mike Anthony, and later that year they changed their name to The Rovin’ Kind to avoid confusion with the Memphis band who had a hit with “Keep On Dancing”. They released their first single, “Everybody”, on the Contrapoint label, and recorded several further singles for the Roulette and Dunwich labels. In 1966 they won a regional “battle of the bands” contest and, as a prize, appeared on American Bandstand.

The Rovin’ Kind became the house band at the Whisky A Go Go, where they were seen by producer James William Guercio, who signed them to a contract with the Columbia Records subsidiary label Epic, and persuaded them to change their name to Illinois Speed Press in February 1968. Norm Cotton changed his stage name to Paul Cotton at the same time, and the band moved to Los Angeles.

With its twin guitar sound, the band played a mixture of rock and roll, soul and country music.In 1968 they performed regularly at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, and at the first Newport Pop Festival,

Released at the same time as the first  Chicago album, The Illinois Speed Press reached  #144 on Billboards Top 200!

Their second album was released in spring 1970, but shortly afterwards Kal David left to form The Fabulous Rhinestones with bassist Harvey Brooks. Cotton was then approached by Richie Furay to join Poco as a replacement for Jim Messina, which he did a few months later and now I know how the Illinois Speed Press actually connects to my vinyl! Here’s a track by Illinois Speed Press from the Duet album.

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