The Mojo Men were a rock music band, inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, that recorded for the Autumn Records label in San Francisco, California. One of their biggest hits, 1965’s “Dance With Me”, and a number of other records, were produced by Sylvester Stewart, later better known as Sly Stone.
One of the earliest San Francisco rock bands, the Mojo Men had local hits on the Autumn label with "Dance With Me," "She's My Baby," and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Off the Hook" in the mid-'60s. Their early sides displayed a raunchy but thin approach taken from the mold of British Invasion groups like the Stones and Them. In 1966, after female drummer Jan Errico joined from the San Francisco folk-rock group the Vejtables, they moved to Reprise and pursued folky psychedelic pop directions, and had a Top 40 hit with a Baroque arrangement of Buffalo Springfield's "Sit Down I Think I Love You" in 1967. In their later days, they developed more intricate arrangements and harmonies that reflected the influence of the Mamas & the Papas and Jefferson Airplane, although they weren't in the same league as those groups. Their many singles never fully displayed the band's considerable songwriting and vocal talents, and after changing their name to the Mojo and finally just Mojo, they disbanded in the late '60s. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
THE MOJO MEN (US)
JIMMY ALAIMO vcls, bs A B C
PAUL CURICO gtr A B C
JAN ERRICO drms, vcls A B C
DON METCHIK organ A B
SLY STONE keyb'ds, gtr, vcls A
1 MOJO MAGIC (GRT 10003) 1968
NB: There have also been three compilations:- Dance With Me (Eva 12049) 1984, is a 16 track compilation of their 1965-1966 material; Why Ain't Supposed To Be (Sundazed SC 11028) 1996, concentrates on their period at Autumn, 1965-6, including nine previously unreleased tracks; Sit Down... It's The Mojo Men (Sundazed SC 11032) 1996, similarly concentrates on their period at Reprise, 1966-8 including many previously unreleased tracks.
1 Off The Hook/Mama's Little Baby (Autumn 11) 1965 -
2 Dance With Me/Loneliest Boy In Town (Autumn 19) 1965 61
3 She's My Baby/Fire In My Hean (Autumn 27) 1966
4 She's My Baby/Do The Hanky Panky (Reprise 0486) 1966 -
5 Sit Down, I Think I Love You/Don't Leave Me (Reprise 0539) 1967 36
6 Me About You/When You're In Love (Reprise 0580) 1967 83
7 What Ever Happened To Happy/Make You At Home (Reprise 0617) 1967
8 New York City/Not Too Old To Start Cryin' (Reprise 0661) 1968
9 Should I Cry/You To Me (Reprise 0689) 1968
10 Sit Down, I Think I Love You/Me About You (reissue) (Reprise 0707) 1968
11 Don't Be Cruel/Let It Be Him (Reprise 0759) 1968
12 I Can't Let Go/Flower Of Love (GRT 5) 1969
13 Candle To Burn/Make You At Home (GRT 8) 1969
14 Everyday Love/There Goes My Mind (GRT 10) 1969
NB: (11) as The Mojo. (12), (13) & (14) as Mojo. There's also a rare French EP with picture sleeve: Off The Hook/Mama's Little Baby/Dance With Me/Loneliest Boy In Town (Vogue INT 18050) 1966.
Although this band was based in San Francisco some members originated from Florida. The original band formed in Coral Gables, Florida as The Valiants. Singer Jim Alaimo (cousin of singer Steve Alaimo) had early releases under the names Jimmy Sumers and The Slicks and Jimmy Paris. The Valiants also back Steve Alaimo on his 1961 album Twist With Steve Alaimo. It was pretty much the same line-up that moved to San Francisco in 1964 and became The Mojo Men. For much more info, see the liner notes of the Sundazed compilation Why's Ain't Supposed To Be.
Sly Stone had left the band (to form Sly and The Family Stone) by the time the band signed to Reprise and achieved some success with Steve Still's Sit Down I Think I Love You. Their diminuitive female vocalist Jan Errico had earlier achieved much popularity on the West Coast as drummer and lead vocalist for The Vejtables.
In late 1967 the band became known as Mojo because Jan Errico got tired of being known as a Mojo Man. They also changed labels to GRT so that they could record an album. Released in 1968 it was produced by Dave Hassinger. It contained their New York City 45, which suffered from sounding too much like The Mamas and Papas, and overall contained a number of mildly psychedelic, post-Sgt. Pepper pop rock songs. The band finally split in 1969 when they realised their era had ended.
There remains a lot of unissued material from both eras of The Mojo Men. From their time with Autumn fifteen tracks remained unissued although some of these later appeared on Eva's Dance With Me compilation and the superior Sundazed retrospective Why Ain't Supposed To Be. A further nineteen tracks were recorded but not released during their spell with Reprise. These include the long and experimental What Kind Of Man, which was reputed to be a latter-day venture into psychedelia by the band.
Jim Alaimo later resurfaced in a seventies funk band called Jammer that recorded for the Avco-distributed Honey label. He later died of heart failure.
Compilation coverage has so far included: Sit Down, I Think I Love You and She's My Baby on Nuggets Box (4-CD); Sit Down I Think I Love You on Nuggets Vol. 5 (LP), Nuggets - Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (Dble LP) and Sundazed Sampler, Vol. 2 (CD); Off The Hook on Sounds Of The Sixties San Francisco, Vol. 1 (LP); Dance With Me on Sound Of The Sixties (Dble LP), Sixties Archive Vol. 1 (CD) and We Have Come For Your Children; Dance With Me and She's My Baby on San Francisco Roots (LP), The Autumn Records Story (LP) and Nuggets, Vol. 7 (LP). All three of their Autumn singles also figure on the Autumn Single Box. More recently much of their material has featured on Big Beat's Nuggets From The Golden State series:- the Dance With Me CD contains Dance With Me plus a demo and six unreleased cuts from 1965 (She Goes With Me, Off The Hook, Something Bad, My Woman's Head, Can't You See That She's Mine, Why and As I Get Older); Someone To Love features four 1966 cuts - She's My Baby, Fire In My Heart and the unreleased Why Can't You Stay and Girl Won't You Go.
(Vernon Joynson / Max Waller / Stephane Rebeschini / Jeff Lemlich)
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