By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon
Here’s another record which was a mystery for years, though most of the story is know known. If you read my article last week on Rebel & The Jaguars you probably already know where this is going! If not you’ll have to wait until next week for “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey used to say.
This is all collectors had to go on for years: two 45s turned up in the Buffalo area by The Tigermen on Buff Records (Buff #1005 and Buff #1006). Although few copies turned up, they DID turn up locally. Collectors assumed Buff was a local label and the group was a local group although – in a familiar story – no one could remember them.
When the book Fuzz Acid & Flowers (at the time, a semi-definitive guide to American 60s underground groups – Garage Rock and Psychedelic) came out, it contained an entry for The Tigermen but little info was revealed. It was stated that the group drove a distance to Buffalo to record, cut two singles worth of tracks (four ‘sides’), climbed back into their car and disappeared into the night. back to from whence they came.
No one seemed to KNOW from whence they came, and if the studio owners knew no one thought to ask them. It’s not even known at which studio they recorded though I’d guess it was Howell Studios in downtown Buffalo. Interestingly, unlike bands like Rebel & The Jaguars who recorded elsewhere and merely got a local company to make their tape into records the Tigermen definitely DID cut their tracks in a Buffalo studio.
Although the record labels gave no clues to the band’s origin or even an address for the label, there were other records on labels called Buff which seemed to be loosely from Western New York – though to be specific, those with addresses suggested the Rochester area and the Southern Tier. There were no similarities between the Tigermen’s Buff label and these others and in fact none of the Buff records looked the same as far as design, logo, label info or pressing plant info.
In 1985 one of the tracks made an appearance on a compilation when Close That Door appeared on “Back From The Grave #5”. The liner notes were lacking in much hard info though obviously someone had tracked down the band or someone who knew them. Although we were not told who they were or from where they came, the band was described as a high school project beginning in 1965 and ending in 1966 due to college and the draft, and the band was said to have played around New York State with The Invictas, Ollie & The Go-Gos and Peter & The Wolves. None of these were true Buffalo bands though Rochester’s Invictas recorded and played in Buffalo and the others were from the Southern Tier area.
Back From The Grave’s liner notes also mention the Tigermen’s recordings all being done in one night in October 1965. It’s now known that, although all recordings were done in one session they were issued months apart.
More coming next week when we’ll feature their great second single “Tiger Girl”, released on June 1966. But for today here’s their garage-rocking-est Close That Door, a January 1966 release.