New Colony Six
The New Colony Six is an American soft rock band whose height of popularity was from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. From Chicago, the group placed ten singles on the Hot 100 between 1966 and 1971. Original members were Ray Graffia (vocals), Chick James (drums), Pat McBride (harmonica), Craig Kemp (organ), Wally Kemp (bass), and Gerry Van Kollenburg (guitar). Ronnie Rice (vocals, keyboards, guitar) joined in 1966, replacing Craig Kemp. There were numerous changes in the lineup over the years. The band's two biggest hits, which peaked on WLS months before they peaked nationally, were Rice's "I Will Always Think About You" (WLS #1 on 25 March 1968) (Hot 100 #22 on 1 June 1968) (#14 RPM Canada) and "Things I'd Like to Say" (WLS #2 on 30 December 1968) (Hot 100 #16 on 22–29 March 1969) (#6 Canada). In Canada they also hit the charts with an earlier song "Love You So Much" (WLS #2 on 27 January 1967) (Hot 100 #61 on 25 March 1967) (#49 Canada) and the later "I Could Never Lie To You" (WLS #7 on 26 May - 2 June 1969) (Hot 100 #50 on 14 June 1969) (#38 Canada).
Formed in 1965, New Colony Six scored their first major local hit in Chicago with "I Confess" (WLS #2 on 4 February 1966), featured on their debut album, Breakthrough. Their sound was characterized by Richie Unterberger as "a poppier American Them with their prominent organ, wobbly Lesley-fied guitar amplifications and rave-up tempos", later devolving into "a cabaret-ish band with minor national hits to their credit by the end of the 1960s." Like Paul Revere & the Raiders, they wore colonial outfits on stage.
Ellery Temple briefly joined in 1967, replacing Wally Kemp, and was replaced by Les Kummel (who died in a severe auto accident in Chicago on 18 December 1978 at age 33). Billy Herman (vocals, drums) replaced James in 1969. Graffia left in 1969 and Bruce Gordon (bass) and Chuck Jobes (keyboards) joined the band. Skip Griparis was playing guitar and singing lead vocals in 1972, until the band's demise at the end of 1974.
In 1988, the band played a reunion show at Chicago's Park West. As of 2010, the band continued to perform with founding member Graffia and Bruce Mattey in the lineup. New Colony Six was inducted into the Iowa Rock n' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
- Breakthrough (1966, Centaur)
- Colonization (1967, Sentar)
- Revelations (1968, Mercury)
- Attacking a Straw Man (1969, Mercury)
- Colonized!: the Best of New Colony Six (1993 Compilation, Rhino)
- At the River's Edge (1993 Compilation, Sundazed records)
- A Live and Well (2005 The Colony Live)