Myrth: An Undiscovered Rock Jazz Band of the '60s
I appreciate talent in people. I feel everyone has something in them that they can develop into a great accomplishment. The problem is that most people don’t know what talent they have, and they had never learned how to bring it out. Or they simply don’t have the initiative.
I have a special place in my heart for people who at least make an effort. And that precisely is what the Myrth’s did when they released their only album on RCA Victor in 1969.
They never became very well known. But they had talent with both their music and songwriting.
In addition to the album, their songs were available on 45’s. In those days individual album tracks were also produced on 45-rpm vinyl records. Remember those?
Who Was Myrth?
The Musicians of Myrth
If Ed Sullivan had discovered them, I bet they would have become better known and may have gone on with recording more hits. It all depends on who you know. Doesn't it? Too bad, the six of them were very talented, and they missed out on a great future.
Who were they?
- Grier Cook played guitar and sang the lead vocals.
- Ray Cork played bass, trumpet, and baritone horns as well as vocals.
- David Drury played guitar and the trombone. He also did vocals.
- Johnny Guthrie was on drums.
- Bob Kenrich played reed instruments and did vocals.
- Ken Mulholland played the piano and organ.
After graduating high school, Johnny Guthrie worked at RCA studios in California as a session musician. While there, he performed with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
John Florez was the producer of the 1969 Myrth Album. He was also the producer of better-known hits such as "Grazing in the Grass" by "The Friends of Distinction" and "When Will I See You Again" by Johnny Mathis.
Where Are They From?
Thanks to a note from David Drury’s daughter, Kate Drury, in the comments section below, I now have that answer:
They are all originally from Phoenix, Arizona. They started as a four-member band called The Counterpoints in West Phoenix High School.
Myrth Band Album Tracks
Below is an image of their 45 rpm record. The main song is "We Got To Get Together," and the reverse side is their song "Get It Straight."
I hope to share with you the enjoyment of their work while listening to a few tracks from their album.
Play any of the songs by clicking the YouTube images below.
Gotta Find A Way
The lyrics of "Gotta Find A Way" were meaningful in the '60s. But carefully listen as it is still relevant today.
The use of the horns for their musical track adds tremendous impact to the music. That is why they were known as a horn band, even if not well known.
What Was That Tweeting Bird All About?
What you can't miss is the bird tweeting at the beginning and ending of this song. I felt that it got top billing. I noticed that it was in most of their soundtracks.
I had to discover what that bird was all about. What could be the meaning of it? I questioned that bird tweeting in October 2011 and received the following personal reply from their producer, John Florez:
I produced Myrth's album in 1969 for RCA and just wanted you to know that that bird singing in the background resided in a tree outside the band's living quarters in Hollywood. His licks were varied, lyrical and were always what the guys heard first every morning before arriving at the recording studio and upon returning home. In essence, he was the 6th member of the group.— John Florez, Producer
He Don't Know
Myrth had a way of making meaningful statements in their lyrics. My interpretation of the lyrics indicates that "He Don't Know" is all about how some men don't know how to make a woman feel.
I always thought women were the ones with feelings, and men didn't focus on feelings as much.
Myrth was probably trying to express something significant in these lyrics about social aspects of how men behave—some men anyway.
Get It Straight
There are those birds again! I'm glad I had the opportunity to hear from John Florez, so we know the secret behind that. I thought that was very creative to include the bird in their music just because it was such a meaningful part of each day.
"Get It Straight" is another one with lyrics that say something. Notice how easy it is to follow the lyrics. I grew up listening to so many bands whose lyrics got lost in the music.
One thing I like about Myrth is that you can hear the lyrics clearly. You may even get some valuable meaning out of this one. I did. The answer lies within when you get it straight.
Myrth usually had lyrics with their music.
But Myrthiolate is an instrumental musical jazz composition.
It's something for a different mood—timeout for some relaxation.
No lyrics. Just great Jazz.
Myrthiolate, what else?
"Fading Image" is about a lost road to happiness.
While listening to the lyrics in this song, one can visualize the scenery.
I don't know if any of the six of them wrote the lyrics. But if they did, they are creative not only with music but with words as well.
The image wasn't fading in my eyes.
Shed My Skin
Myrth was known as a psychedelic rock group, although I never understood why psychedelic until I came across "Shed My Skin."
Even the lyrics might be considered psychedelic.
And that bird that resided in the tree outside Myrth's living quarters had a chance to include its own rendition of psychedelic tweets at the ending.
I'm still in my skin.
Don't Pity The Man
The meaning of this one was kind of obscure.
Don't Pity The Man who has no compassion. I think that's what they are trying to say.
They could have put more effort into this one. It seems like they just threw this on in the album to fill it up.
Well, you can't get it all perfect! I don't pity them.
Grier Cook, who played guitar and sang the lead vocals, passed away on April 21st, 2014. "He was a tremendous talent and will be missed."— Source: D C Tanner
Johnny William Guthrie, who played drums, passed away on December 31st, 2015.
"He was a true friend and a gentleman and fantastic musician."— David Drury
My comments throughout this article were my own interpretation of their music. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the Music Lover Comments below.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Glenn Stok