The Return of Dave Major and the Minors

Actually, I thought today’s follow-up to a popular past post (“A Classic 70s Show Band” from January) should be titled something like “the awesome origins of Dave Major and the Minors” because we found a copy of their first record!!! and then I looked at the back of the jacket and at the writing on the spine.  You have to do these kind of things when you write about records.  The second record album by Dave Major and the Minors is called Second Record Album.


Wait, let’s back up … Dave Major and the Minors were a touring lounge act in the late 60s and early 70s.  All five were multi-instrumentalists, and all five sang.  After writing about their second record, Something New, I started receiving emails from people all over the midwest who remembered Dave Major and the Minors.  Every one expressed effusive praise – And for somebody to remember a band they saw in a hotel bar forty years ago the band must have really been good.  These guys were showmen.

Something New opened with an eponymous original by Dave Major (whose real name is Dave Perry, leading me to wonder why they didn’t give it a go as Dave Perry and the Ports).  “Something New” is an upbeat little cooker and I’d like to see it revived just as soon as the touring lounge acts come back.  There were ten other tracks but all were covers – Dave Major and the Minors swung through sharp arrangements of songs like “Spinning Wheel” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”.  It’s an especially fun record because it rambles through jazz, R&B and pop – Even an impassioned take on “Malaguena”, Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s masterpiece.

Their second record album, Second Record Album, delivers.  “Proud Mary”, “The theme from Fistful of Dollars” and oh yeah, Dave Major puts up FIVE NEW SONGS!

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“Baby, You Are Really Groovy” and “You Are All I Need” are the two on side one, stacked with the pair of covers I mentioned.

So look, I understand that they’re singing “Baby, you are really groovy” and once actually sing “She is something else / Got to be real!” but these guys are really good!  Dave’s breakout solo part in “Baby You Are Really Groovy” – Really all of the vocal parts, especially the second vocalist who jumps in (Dick, Gary, Lucky or Steve) – is rusty soul while other present Beach Boys harmony.  “You Are All I Need” could have been a lesser Beach Boys track, maybe a Carl.  Dave Kennedy’s string arrangement feels out of place at times.

Yeah, it’s really impressive that the group could get a guy to write a string arrangement, and then get a whole bunch more guys to play it for your record, but they deserved better.  Think about it, Dave Perry and the Pint Pots probably raised a bunch of money to have strings on their record, and Dave Kennedy gave them Strauss’ corniest waltz instead of something that would fit the song’s fairly contemporary feel.  You’re probably thinking it works well at the end, but that’s probably because you like the sound of Gary Williams’ harmonica, apparently borrowed from Stevie Wonder.

Dave Kennedy also recorded the album, though.  I’m guessing that because it’s recorded to his studio in Milwaukee.  There’s no credit for the great work mixing this album, but I think we could make another fair guess there – Here he’s done a great job, especially when you consider the variety of instruments and the different styles represented on the record.

It’s really fun to hear a band like Dave Perry and the Plethorics because all of us who grew up years later can only imagine what kind of an act they were.  Were they serious, one of those bands that really didn’t make any banter but were super rehearsed, or were they goofballs who took songs on request, and really riffed on their solos.  Did they always wear matching suits?  Who picked the suits?  And seriously, I wonder if their shoes matched.

Tomorrow… side two!

Three songs!

  1. dale’s avatar

    they had a 3rd album as well, use to have all 3 as well as a promo 8×10 and a touring schedule, the touring schedule had them playing the dells for the entire week

  2. Mike Beth’s avatar

    Dave Major and the Minors frequently played at the Blue Moon Ballroom, in Elgin, IL. Dave Perry was friends with a lot of Elgin Policemen, including me. He played at department Christmas parties, and got a lot of us up on stage with the band. He will be missed. Dave had a troubled dark side. In early February in 2000, he broke into his ex-wife’s house in Dekalb County. He shot and killed his ex-wifes husband, and his ex- mother in law. His ex-wife escaped to a neighbor’s house and called 911. Shortly afterwards, Dave Perry confronted police outside the home, shooting at them. Police returned fire, killing him. I knew him from only social situations, but a person really doesn’t know what really makes another person tick. Very sad how many lives tragically ended. Just with someone could have gotten Dave help, before this happened.

  3. Rich Schupner’s avatar

    Dick Jess was a multi-instrumentalist with them. He went on to start the Onstage Majority and then New Odyssey. He still plays in the Lake Geneva area.

  4. admin’s avatar

    Save those reels!

  5. dennis olson’s avatar

    They worked for many times 1967 or about. They were called tthe Esquires orginally I think.I have hours of reel to reel recordings of them playing at my club, Captains Lounge in LaCrosse wi. I still enjoy i. Great guys and wonderful memories.

  6. Michelle’s avatar

    They used to play The New Inn on West lake Okoboji every summer. I had a crush on Lucky. They packed the show room every night…They never disappointed.

  7. Ginger Winger’s avatar

    I love Dave Major and the Minors and followed them all over the Midwest in the 1970’s. Also knew them very well and Dick Richards sang “You are all I Need” at my mom’s second marriage in 1976. We lived in Wisconsin then and they played all over Milwaukee, Waukesha and Chicago. Those were the days!!! Sometimes we would go see them twice or three times a week! They were that good in person. They were fantastic singers and made wonderful music. They practiced all the time and Dave rang a tight ship. Super rehearsed. Yes they dressed alike when on stage and always looked sharp. I think Dave’s first wife Judy picked the outfits. Can’t remember if the shoes matched! I still have my copy of their first album. They really were the best and I miss those days.

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