Updated date:

Myrth: An Undiscovered Rock Jazz Band of the '60s

Author:

I grew up appreciating creative musical talent. Now I enjoy researching musicians from my early years and I write to share that with you.

Myrth Band Album Cover

Myrth Band Album Cover

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?

Myrth

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?

  1. Grier Cook played guitar and sang the lead vocals.
  2. Ray Cork played bass, trumpet, and baritone horns as well as vocals.
  3. David Drury played guitar and the trombone. He also did vocals.
  4. Johnny Guthrie was on drums.
  5. Bob Kenrich played reed instruments and did vocals.
  6. 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.

We Got To Get Together - Myrth - 45 RPM

We Got To Get Together - Myrth - 45 RPM

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.

Myrthiolate

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

"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.

Obituary

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

Obituary

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.

© 2012 Glenn Stok

Music Lover Comments

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 11, 2020:

Sean Rackley - Good work with your research Sean. I'm glad you enjoyed their album, as had I. Thanks for posting about your experience.

Sean Rackley on June 11, 2020:

I'm a geocacher whose username is myrthman (for reasons unrelated to this band). On a whim, I Googled "myrth," found this band on Youtube, and within minutes bought the album on Amazon. What amazing music! Your post here was a little further down the search results; thank you for the information!

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 13, 2020:

Rocco La Penta - That's wonderful that they had loyal listeners such as you. Thanks for sharing your memories about hearing them on the radio in Chicago.

Rocco La Penta on May 13, 2020:

This album has been part of my life since the time I heard a song from it on underground FM radio in Chicago at the time. I have gone back and listened to this great album many different times during my life. I'm still trying to turn on music groups on facebook to this great album. I just heard from a guy who opened for them in Naperville Il.back in the day. Thanks for posting this page about them

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 25, 2020:

Andy Taravella - I guess their music must have a very special meaning for you then. They only had one album with several of their songs and never continued.

Andy Taravella on April 25, 2020:

This album was part of me growing up. My dad covered gotta find a way in his band when he played in Hawaii. I listened to this most of my childhood and recently found it on Apple Music. I’ve often wondered who the band was and if they continued or if they played live.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 27, 2019:

Hi Kate Drury, Thanks so much for your comment with the additional information. Coming from the daughter of one of the band leaders, that’s very noteworthy.

I’m glad your dad, David Drury, is alive and well, and still playing the guitar. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of John Guthrie in addition to Grier Cook, who passed in 2014.

It’s wonderful that you have picked up playing the trombone, keeping the family history alive.

Thanks again for letting me know the status of the group and your family.

Kate Drury on August 27, 2019:

This is amazing to find, thank you so much for sharing their music! My father, David Drury, was in this band. They are all originally from Phoenix, Arizona and started as a four member band called The Counterpoints in high school. Dad still plays and records guitar professionally at age 72 and can rock just as hard if not harder as he did in the 60s. John Guthrie and Grier Cook have both passed. The trombone played by my father on the record was originally my grandfather’s and I recently picked it up and am the third generation in my family to play that particular instrument. Dad still has the guitar he used on the recording as well. Thank you again for sharing.

Armpit Studios on June 12, 2018:

Don't know where I got the album, but a track just shuffled up and I decided to look them up. Your post is the most informative, other than the personnel listed on discogs. Thanks. Very neat band.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 01, 2017:

Bob Luton - Thank you for David Drury's personal contact information.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 07, 2016:

Tim Schaefeer - I guess that's why they went unnoticed. Few radio DJ's played their songs. I'm glad you at least were one DJ who had promoted them. Thanks for chiming in with your comment.

Tim Schaefeer on March 07, 2016:

I may be one of the few radio deejays who played their songs on the air in 1969, on WBMJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were as good or better than BST. How did talent like this go unnoticed?

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 08, 2015:

ashratom - Thanks for your interest in knowing where they are all from. Unfortunately I never found that information either while doing my research.

ashratom on May 08, 2015:

Great article. However, I for one would like to know.... Where are they from? We know it was recorded in Hollywood. Are they from California? Other possibilities point to Utah? Or Arizona? I even looked for the obituary online, but no luck.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 20, 2014:

spartucusjones - Yeah, they sure did have a unique sound for their time. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on May 20, 2014:

I am really glad that I stumbled upon this hub! I always enjoy discovering obscure musical gems! I checked out the videos and even though the sound is a tad bit dated they do have a really cool groove. I'm digging it.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 15, 2014:

billybuc - I didn't know of Myrth either while growing up. I discovered them much later.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 15, 2014:

I thought I knew just about everything about the 60s music scene, but you just proved me wrong. Thanks for the introduction. I like their music.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 24, 2014:

D C Tanner - Thanks for the info and sorry to hear that. I am sending you a request for confirmation to your personal email, just to be sure this post is really by you. Once confirmed, I'll add the obituary to the article.

dctanner on April 23, 2014:

Thought you might like to know that Grier Cook passed away this past Monday. He was a tremendous talent and will be missed.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 11, 2012:

Abhimanyu Singh92, Different cultures prefer different kinds of music. That is perfectly understandable.

I wish I had an answer for you about how they came up with the name. That's a good question. Maybe their producer, John Florez, will answer that if he sees this post. That's how I received his explanation of the birds tweeting when I questioned that on another site.

Thanks for your kind remarks about my review of the Myrths. Glad you like the music.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 11, 2012:

Pamela, Yeah, I thought it was cool too that they used the birds in their music. Especially due to the fact that they had the birds outside their apartment. Thanks for stopping by. It's always good to see you around.

Abhimanyu Singh Baghel from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) on April 11, 2012:

Hello Glenn Stok, thanks for sharing this wonderful hub with us. I am a big fan of rock music, though here in India, very few people like rock music. And even fewer listen to old school rock or the 60s 70s rock music. At first, being a teenager, people don't expect me to listen old rock music. But I do and some of my favorite bands are, like, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Rolling Stones etc. I would agree to the fact that these bands had a class, which today's bands definitely lack, no matter how popular they are.

You gave me a great gift by telling about The Myrths. I will definitely have an ear to them. And one thing I would like to know, Sir, where did the name 'The Myrths' come from? Has it got any meaning too?

Thanks.

Abhimanyu

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on April 11, 2012:

I haven't heard of them but the sound is very familiar. Reminds me a bit of some Earth Wind And Fire brass section.

By the way, that bird sounds like a cardinal. I have a lot of them here where I live. They have that distinct sound: Pretty,pretty,pretty,pretty. They are very vain birds. I think it's cool they incorporated the bird into their music.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 02, 2012:

Sally's Trove, thanks for adding that interesting comparison and thanks also for the vote.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 02, 2012:

Very interesting review. I never heard of them, but they remind me very much of one of the horn bands of the late 60s, like BST, although not exactly that one. I'm not much of a rock music buff, but listening to Myrth's style brought back some haunting memories of other times, other places.

The story of the bird is cool. Up and interesting. :)

Related Articles