the return of max frost and the troopers (is this part 6 of the pseudo-psychedelic chad & jeremy essay?)

Estimated reading time is 3 minutes.THIS ARTICLE IS AN ADDITION to the five part essay on the pseudo-psychedelic recordings of Chad & Jeremy from 1967-68. Please read those first and then this will make more sense. A note of interest to the real diehard Chad & Jeremy collectors: the version of Paxton Quigley’s Had The Course that actually appears on the soundtrack album THREE IN THE ATTIC was recorded by session musicians and credited to Max Frost and The Troopers.

“Max Frost” was the name of the character that Christopher Jones played in the 1968 movie Wild In The Streets. Frost was the lead singer of a rock group who turns politician and is elected President. The name of his group is never mentioned in the film and the recordings done for the movie were credited on the soundtrack album Wild In The Streets (Tower, 1968) to The 13th Power, another fictitious group of session musicians!

The actual recordings were done by an ad hoc group of studio musicians, which may include all or some of Davie Allan and his Arrows. The standout track was Shape Of Things To Come, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. And while it certainly sounded like it owed more than a nod and a wink to the Yardbirds—with some Grass Roots thrown into the mix—it was not the same as that group’s earlier hit, Shapes Of Things (1966).

In the film, Jones performs the song by lip-syncing in a series of close-ups done in a movie studio. That is, it is not performed and filmed as a video of a rock group doing the number, just Jones.

Shape Of Things To Come was the album’s standout track was pulled from the LP and released as a single, but this time credited to Max Frost & The Troopers. It was a deserved hit, peaking at #17 on Cash Box but only reaching #22 on Billboard. It was a much bigger hit elsewhere, getting as high as #2 in Canada!

This was followed by an album, also titled SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, also credited to max Frost & The Troopers, also released on Sidewalk in 1968. The LP featured the 45 plus nine new recordings by uncredited studio musicians, It was partially produced by Mike “Mr. Ubik” Curb.

The debut of Max Frost and the Troopers

To confuse matters, this was not the first time that Curb and Company had used the name of Max Frost & The Troopers. Two tracks on the soundtrack album to an earlier biker flick The Glory Stompers—starring the soon-not-to-be-unknown Dennis Hopper—were attributed to that fictitious band.

Both the movie and its accompanying soundtrack alum (THE GLORY STOMPERS, Sidewalk, 1968) had been released a few months earlier. Not coincidentally, Davie Alan & The Arrows were also involved in the recording of that soundtrack.

The second coming of Max Frost and the Troopers

The Tower/Sidewalk affair rarely let a good thing die a natural death and so it was that the fictitious Max Frost & The Troopers were given yet another stab ant a soundtrack-based single. This time, it was the theme song from Three In The Attic. The working title during filming of the movie was Paxton Quigley’s Had The Course—which is why Chad Stuart wrote a song with such a silly, non-commercial song title.

The song was a Chad & Jeremy number, recorded for and used in the movie. But, due to that duo’s contract with Columbia, it could not be released by Tower as a single. Hence, Curb & Company resurrected The Troopers. Again, the actual recording was done by session musicians; whether or not the same people as the previous recordings is both unknown and doubtful.

Paxton Quigley’s had the course

Unlike the punkish Shapes Of Things To Come, this single owes more to Davy Jones and the Monkees and the Yardbirds or the Grass Roots. Paxton Quigley’s Had The Course was issued in early 1969 (probably April or May), coupled with Sittin’ In Circles (Tower 478). The latter was also included in the movie but performed by Davie Allan & The Arrows. 

Tower 478 was issued as a white label promo record with a black and white title sleeve, followed by a small press run of stock copies on Tower’s boring, flat red label.

A single copy is listed on Popsike: it is the promo single (NM) with the picture sleeve (VG+) and it fetched $30 in 2011. So we will go with a suggested NM value of $10-15 for the 45 and $20-30 for the PS. And stock copies of the 45 may not exist.




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