Thus it is that The Dynamics latched on to whichever song caught their fancy and made it their own. Pop, jazz, soul, R&B--- no genre was beyond their reach, though they leaned a bit more toward R&B than most other NW bands. Let us just say that for their time, their roots were a bit deeper than most and more varied.
Looking back, they were a band constantly in motion, players changing on the edge of a solid core. Those players gained an enormous amount of respect from other musicians if no one else and included names like Jeff Afdem, who later morphed the Dynamics into The Springfield Rifle and had a couple of monster NW hits. Like brother Terry Afdem and Larry Coryell andMarcus Doubleday and Harry Wilson and Pete Borg and Gary Snyder and Ron Woods and, of course, Jimmy Hanna--- all musicians of note and some of notoriety. All keys to the band and the music.
There is no need to go into the history here. Neal Skok does that in detail, and very nicely indeed, in a beautiful 16-page insert booklet covering the various phases of the band. It is a history little known outside Seattle's city limits, oddly enough. The band was legend beyond those limits, imposed largely due to the limitations of travel (most were in school during the band's run), and yet cast its influence wide. In those days, musicians haunted record stores and when any band from the Northwest released a single, they knew about it and many times learned it for the next gig. Like I said, those were incestuous days.
Soon, I was invited to his home to look over memorabilia and to meet the other half of the operation, his lovely wife, Ellen. The two were genuine and warm and were soon telling me stories--- vignettes from the movie that was their life, for many of the stories read more like a creation of a screenwriter than reality. Mr. Ogilvy told of Big Jay McNeely and Guitar Shorty and Bumps Blackwell, and Mrs. Ogilvy described Larry Coryell falling asleep in their basement, guitar across his lap and amp still on, having played himself to sleep. She giggled with delight when she mentioned how Coryell gave her the nickname of “Dragon Lady,” for Coryell was close to her heart, as were all of the members of The Dynamics. Afterwards, every time we met, I encouraged her to repeat that story just to see her face light up with what I can only describe as pure joy. Indeed, the names of the individual Dynamics fell from her lips often, not for name-dropping's sake, but for her genuine concern for their well-being, past and present.
They gave me records. In spite of my protests, they went through boxes of records which they kept in the basement, pulling out one of everything they could find and handing them to me as if it were nothing, though we all knew better. They knew I was as happy to receive them as they were to give them and I relive those moments on a regular basis and with sadness because it does not seem fair to the world that two such wonderful people are no longer with us.
That was my introduction to the Ogilvys and to The Dynamics. Recently, when Neal Skok mentioned that Seafair-Bolo, still in existence, had released a two-CD package, I was curious to say the least. He arranged for a copy to be mailed to me and when it arrived, I confess to being a bit leery. I mean, taking music from the past, especially from the vaults of a label like Seafair-Bolo, can turn ugly. My concern was whether they messed with the recordings, took something out or added something in the transition to digital. I've seen it happen too many times before to place trust in anyone's hands when it comes to music, especially vintage music like this.
I shouldn't have worried. The small group of people who are involved with the company now (including the Ogilvy's son, James--- ahem, that would be Jimmy Hanna to you) have the same concerns as myself. I think the term is kid gloves. Yes. They handled this project with kid gloves.
Not having heard the original tapes, I cannot attest to what they did, but what they did not do was mess with what ended up on the 45s. I pulled a handful of the old 45s out and compared a few tracks, vinyl against digital, and they are as true as they can be. I mean, if you want to float back to the early sixties to, say, the basement of Joe Boles' house, if that is where some of these were recorded, you can. The sound is basic and clean and I swear to God it feels like you're there. This is in-your-face stuff, raw only in the sense that it is live. And you get the full range of The Dynamics, beginning to end--- the basic four man group which gave us classics like J.A.J. and early originals like Wild Girl to the expanded band with Jimmy Hanna on vocals. You get the 45s as they were recorded and pressed, yes, but you get more. You get twelve previously unreleased tracks from the vaults--- unreleased not because they were not up to snuff but because those were the days of the 45 and sometimes tracks just fell through the cracks.
Seriously, if you know The Dynamics or if you are a collector of the vintage sounds, you should at least check it out. These guys were among the best of the early NW bands and, what the hell? It'll only take a few moments of your time. I mean, the people who knew the music are getting fewer by the day. Reliving the music certainly won't kill them and might just spark a few brain cells back to life. I mean, those were good days. And that is still good music.