Syndicate of Sound

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The Syndicate of Sound was an American garage rock band formed in San Jose, California that was first active between 1964 and 1970. Through their national hit "Little Girl", the band developed a raw sound, and became forerunners in the psychedelic rock genre. The group managed to produce two other charting singles and, after their initial breakup, have reformed with a new lineup.[1]


The line-up formed in 1964, when Don Baskin (vocalist, guitar) and Bob Gonzalez (bass guitar), both originally from the outfit Lenny Lee and the Nightmen, united with a local group called the Pharaohs. The resulting band, the Syndicate of Sound, which, along with Baskin and Gonzalez, included Jon Sharkey (keyboards), Larry Ray (lead guitar), and John Duckworth (drums). The group was influenced by R&B music, specifically the early musical styles of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, in the beginning stages of the band's existence. After the group won a Bay Area "Battle of the Bands" against 100 other competing bands, the Syndicate of Sound earned a recording contract with Del-Fi Records. The band released a single, "Prepare For Love", which received local airplay, but ultimately failed to make an impact.[2][3] Though the record was unsuccessful, it established the band's sound, combining striking vocal harmonies and innovative psychedelic instrumentals.[1]

Baskin, Gonzalez and Sharkey continued to write new material and came up with "Little Girl" (Syndicate of Sound) and "You" (Syndicate of Sound) which the band recorded for Hush Records in San Francisco, January 9, 1966. "Little Girl" became a regional hit after San Jose radio station KLIV latched onto it, attracting the attention of Bill Gavin's tip sheet and then executives at Bell Records in New York, who released it nationally and offered the group a contract for an album. Replacing Larry Ray with lead guitarist Jim Sawyers, they wrote and recorded the LP in three weeks, and began a national tour appearing with other hit acts such as: Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Young Rascals, and the Yardbirds. "Little Girl" peaked at number eight on the Hot 100 on 9–16 July 1966 and number five on Cashbox. The follow-up "Rumors" also hit the Hot 100 and peaked at number 55 on 1 October 1966.

In an attempt to sustain their success, the band released more singles, like "Keep It Up" (Syndicate of Sound) but none of them charted. By this time John Duckworth had been drafted into the U.S Army for the Vietnam war and was replaced by Carl Scott on drums, and John Sharkey had left the group soon after "Mary" (Syndicate of Sound) was released. After another single "Brown Paper Bag" reached No. 73 on 25 April 1970, the group disbanded.

In 1990, Baskin, Gonzalez and Duckworth reformed the band, which performed occasionally. In 2005, Larry Ray rejoined the band.[4]

In 2006, the Syndicate of Sound was in the first class of inductees into the San Jose Rocks Hall of Fame.[5]

Little Girl[edit]

"Little Girl" was later recorded by other artists, including Dwight Yoakam and English pseudo-punk group The Banned - an offshoot of prog-rock band Gryphon - who reached the UK charts with it in 1977. The American punk group the Dead Boys included a live version on their 1977 debut album Young, Loud and Snotty. "Hey Little Girl", renamed "Hey Little Boy", was also covered by Australian band Divinyls in 1988 on their Temperamental album. R.E.M. played the song as part of its early live sets. The San Francisco Bay Area band CHOC'D also covers the song in their live sets, featuring "Sexy Rexy" on vocals.

The song "Little Girl" was also recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio since the day it was opened, where it is on permanent rotation in the One-hit Wonder section.


Track listing

  1. "Big Boss Man" (Luther Dixon, Al Smith) - 2:55
  2. "Almost Grown" (Chuck Berry) - 2:13
  3. "So Alone" (John Sharkey) - 3:05
  4. "Dream Baby" (Cindy Walker) - 2:34
  5. "Rumors" (Sharkey) - 2:06
  6. "Little Girl" (Don Baskin, Bob Gonzalez) - 2:25
  7. "That Kind of Man" (Baskin) - 2:18
  8. "I'm Alive" (Clint Ballard, Jr.) - 2:21
  9. "You" (Sharkey) - 2:42
  10. "Lookin' for the Good Times (The Robot)" (Sharkey) - 2:26
  11. "The Witch" (Gerald Roslie) - 2:33
  12. "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" (Bill Austin, Louis Jordan) - 2:29
  13. "The Upper Hand" (Baskin, Gonzalez) - 2:14*
  14. "Mary" (Baskin) - 2:32*
  15. "Keep It Up" (Baskin) - 2:44*
  16. "Good Time Music" (Baskin) - 2:12*
  • *Bonus tracks on 1997 release.[6]

Technical staff


  1. ^ a b "Little Girl -The History of the Syndicate of Sound 1995 CD liner notes". 
  2. ^ "Something Else! Interview: Bob Gonzalez and Don Baskin of the Syndicate of Sound". Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Syndicate of Sound". Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ Information from Syndicate of Sound website;
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links[edit]