Johnny Gibson Trio – Beachcomber

By , October 4, 2016 10:04 am

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Johnny Gibson

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Listen/Download – Johnny Gibson Trio – Beachcomber MP3

Greetings all.

I have a very cool one today, that goes way, way back in my crates, yet took me years to kind of figure out.

I picked up ‘Beachcomber’ by the Johnny Gibson Trio years ago in one of periodic Hammond 45 sweeps. As soon as I got it, and slipped it under the needle I discovered that it had been mis-identified (as an organ instro) by the seller. I was bummed, but it wasn’t expensive enough to make an issue of it (and buyer beware and all that) so into storage it went, forgotten for years.

Flash forward a few after that and I find myself in possession of a 1967 45 by the Semi-Colons? (question mark part of the name, stick with me) performing a song of the same name.

I really dug it, and discovered in short order that the Semi-Colons? Were actually Question Mark and the Mysterians performing under an alias.

What was also cool was that the song ‘Beachcomber’ was originally written and recorded by none other than Bobby Darin in 1960.

It was only much later (after I had already written by the Semi-Colons? 45 over at Iron Leg) that I dug the Johnny Gibson Trio 45 out of a box and realized that it was a cover of the very same song.

I flipped it back onto the turntable, and it kind of blew my mind.

I have often described the experience of a kind of seasoning/maturing of the ear, in which experience allows you to understand/appreciate a piece of music much more deeply because of all that you have heard/learned between the first time you heard it and the present.

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Johnny Gibson Trio in a Billboard listing, 1964

When I finally gave the Johnny Gibson version of ‘Beachcomber’ a listen I wasn’t sitting there with visions of Hammond organs wailing in my imagination. My ears were wide open, and as soon as I heard that slightly distorted electric piano, and the relaxed, yet still deep in the groove tempo, all was well with the world.

Then (yes, it gets better) when I started to dig into the history of the Johnny Gibson Trio, another chapter in the small but interesting story was revealed.

Pianist Johnny Gibson, his brother Dwight (on drums) and bassist Ron Haste (an integrated trio, the Gibsons were African American and Haste was white) were a Toledo, Ohio group that recorded ‘Beachcomber’ for the local Twirl label in 1964, which became a local hit and was picked up for national distribution by the Laurie label. The group went on to record a few more singles for the Big Top label before breaking up.

‘Beachcomber’ was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit, which is where the Mysterians (natives of Saginaw, MI) first heard it and added it to their repertoire.

The Johnny Gibson Trio version of ‘Beachcomber’ has built up a following over the years, eventually becoming a favorite on the dance floors in the UK.

Though the Trio broke up, Gibson continued to work as a musician, eventually relocating to Europe.

I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all on Friday.

Keep the faith

Larry

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PS Head over to Iron Leg too.

6 Responses to “Johnny Gibson Trio – Beachcomber”

  1. Jim Grathwohl says:

    Larry, I totally agree with you about a “seasoning of the ear”. I first got into soul music via the Blues Brothers, which led me to Sam and Dave and then to Otis Redding who I discovered through a blues/r&b loving uncle. However, as we know, Otis’s best stuff is the slow ones but my unseasoned ear was jonesing for the uptempo “Soul Man” type soul tunes. It took me a few years to appreciate the slow burners by Otis and others but now I appreciate the slowies a lot more

  2. Larry says:

    Jim
    I had a number of those “gateway” albums, including the Blues Brothers, where I followed the songwriting credits back to the originals and kept on digging (the same way I did with 80s garage albums by groups like the Chesterfield Kings, Lyres, and Fuzztones).
    I too took some time before I could appreciate the ballads and deeper stuff.
    Larry

  3. Kathy Martell says:

    Is Johnny Gibson still living?

  4. […] Funky 16 Corners‘ music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit. […]

  5. […] Funky 16 Corners‘ music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit. […]

  6. Alexis Harste says:

    Thanks for this info! Ron, the Bassist’s last name was actually spelled “Harste”, not Haste. I’m his daughter. Thank you for writing about this!

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