The Just Us
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The Just Us were a short-lived Toronto based, R&B band from the mid-1960s, which later morphed into The Tripp and then Livingstone’s Journey. The group’s personnel included Neil Merryweather and Stan Endersby.
Keyboard player Ed Roth (born 16 February 1947, Toronto), drummer Bob Ablack, lead guitarist Bill Ross (born in Bel Air, California) and Brian Hughes started out playing rock instrumentals in a suburban Toronto band the XLs, which became Gary & The Reflections with the addition of singer Gary Muir in 1964.
In early 1965, singer Bobby Neilson (born Robert Neilson Lillie, 27 December 1945, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) replaced Muir and the group changed its name to The Ookpiks (after a native-designed stuffed toy owl called Ookpik that was being promoted by the Canadian government). As another Ookpiks group already existed, they briefly became The Sikusis after another stuffed toy, but were unable to get permission from the Canadian government to use the name without compensation and settled on The Just Us. Through all of this they recorded a lone single on the Quality record label, which failed to sell - possibly due in part to confusion caused by the fact that some copies showed The Ookpiks, some The Sikusis and some The Just Us.
Hughes, Ross and new drummer Al Morrison soon left to join The Bossmen, a group assembled to back singer David Clayton-Thomas. To plug the gaps, remaining members Roth and Neilson, who now went by the name Neil Lillie (and later Neil Merryweather), brought in bassist Wayne Davis (born 28 April 1946, Toronto) and guitarist Stan Endersby (born 17 July 1947, Lachine Quebec) and convinced Bob Ablack to return on drums. They also recruited a new singer, former Mynah Birds singer Jimmy Livingstone (born 28 February 1938), who Neilson had befriended in Long & McQuade’s music store where he worked in the backroom as an amplifier and guitar repairman. (Davis and Livingstone joined from the Muddy Yorks; Davis and Endersby had played together previously in C.J. Feeny and the Spellbinders.) Rick Bell was subsequently hired away from Richie Knight and the Midknights as second keyboardist.
The Just Us recorded an album’s worth of material at Arc Sound during in early 1966, which subsequently disappeared with the band’s manager. Throughout this period, they played at various local clubs, such as the Gogue Inn and the Hawk’s Nest as well as the city’s high schools.
The Just Us becomes The Tripp
In June 1966, Davis left to play with Bobby Kris & The Imperials and Lillie learnt to play the bass guitar in two weeks to fill the spot. Around this time, an American duo with the same name appeared on the charts and the group was forced to find a new name. They settled on The Group Therapy for one show (opening for The Byrds at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on June 22), but another local group surfaced with a prior claim to this name. Shortly after a show at the El Patio on 10 September 1966, the band took on another new moniker, The Tripp.
"I Don’t Love You" / "I Can Tell" (Quality 1738) 1965
- The Toronto Telegram’s After Four section for live dates
- Bill Munson, interview with Ed Roth, 1976
- Bill Munson, interview with Stan Endersby, 1978
- Bill Munson, interview with Jimmy Livingston, 1978
- Bill Munson, interview with Bob Ablack, 1979
- Nick Warburton, interview with Neil Merryweather, 2006