30 May 2021

The Calliope - We Made It/ The Friends of Mrs. Fisher


Defiant youth anthem from hippy group who later became New Wavers

Label: Shamley
Year of Release: 1969

The Calliope are arguably one of the more unfairly overlooked groups of the late sixties hippy scene. The youthful bunch from Santa Barbara penned the infectious "Clear Mud" which actually got a release in the UK as well as the US, and also the eerie and utterly mesmerising "Ryan 5". While that brooding tune should never really have been a 45, its rich, organ drenched atmosphere would still be talked about today if Pink Floyd had written it in their post-Syd sixties phase (except Floyd would never have managed such gorgeous vocal harmonies).

"We Made It" was their follow-up single and strikes a much more strident tone. The lyrical contents of this one apparently caused controversy at the time for the sneering generational sentiments. There's nothing in here as bold as Townshend's snapping "Hope I die before I get old" line, but the chaps certainly seem keen to let us all know that the strides they've taken in life were done without the help - and against the hinderances - of their parent's generation. "We made it through the hang-ups and the screw-ups of the grown-ups!" they declare haughtily, and that's just the opening line. Naturally, this led some older critics to refer to the sacrifices their elders and betters had made which allowed them their freedom and creative outlets. Seasons change and time moves on, but older generations never seem to stop being over-sensitive about what young people think of them, never seeming to realise that a kickback or a reaction isn't only to be expected, it's perfectly natural. 

As a single, this one lacks the strength of their other two efforts, but does have a direct punch which makes it somewhat tasty. Not a chartbound sound, but a pretty good addition to the ever-expanding pile of likeable US psych garage sounds. 

After The Calliope's singles stiffed, they seemed to disappear for most of the seventies before three of their members - Sue Saad, James Saad and Tony Riparetti - re-emerged in the New Wave band Sue Saad And The Next, and while the attitude of this 45 is very apparent in their other work, that's really where the similarities end. They signed to Planet in 1980 and put out four singles and an LP, and the performance video of their track "Young Girl" on YouTube will give you a fair idea of their output. It sat confidently on the dividing line between commercial rock and CBGB sounds, and made a slight impression in the Netherlands and a cultish impact in the USA.

The fierce Sue Saad later put out a solo single called "Looker" which acted as the theme tune to the much-maligned sci-fi film of the same name, before her career largely dipped back underground again. Her relentless drive is impressive, and she must count as one of the few vocalists apart from Debbie Harry to have a foot in both the psychedelic and New Wave camps. 

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albert1946 said...

Thank you David

Greetings Albert

rntcj said...


Thanx for this one. Have some tracks by this band on US 60's comps. but this single is a "new" hear here.

Ciao! For now.

Arthur Nibble said...

Note the lack of black ink on the A-side label, which fails to make the 'S' shape in the logo or on the sides of the label and also fails to box the record label name. I'll get my coat.

23 Daves said...

Yes, it's accidentally like the Apple A-side/ B-side arrangement except... rubbish. All copies are fine on 45cat so I'm not sure how many dodgy ones got out there.