February 1, 2016


Catch the Fugitives! From left, standing: Craig Sargent (bass), Ron Blouin (organ). Sitting: Pete Panciera (drums), Gary Hass (lead guitar).
The Fugitives were a group of accomplished musicians with a combined total of no less than 37 years of playing their instruments as of the time their sole single came out. The lineup consisted on Ron Blouin on organ, Craig Sargent on bass, Pete Panciera on drums and Gary Hass on lead guitar.

Ron and Craig went to Cheshire Academy, Pete went to Maloney High School, and Gary attended the University of Hartford. In mid-1966 the Fugitives added Paul Ossola of Cheshire Academy, formerly the bass player of another local outfit, the Talismen. Paul played bass on “That's Queer” while Craig played tambourine, and then for the flip Craig played bass on “She's My Baby” while Paul handled tambo duties. Pete — star quarterback of the Maloney High football team and also captain of the basketball and golf teams! — sang lead vocals on both sides of the 45.

We'll defer to Crypt Records madman Tim Warren, who gave the lowdown on the New Fugitives in the liner notes for “Back From The Grave Volume 7,’ on which both tunes appeared:
Hilarious Meriden, Connecticut organ punker ished in Oct ’66 on the GLO label, mostly known for polka releases! Formed in early ’65 by two high school pals who had previously tried their hand at R&R as a duo, playing homemade, primitive instruments. The drummer, who sang lead on both sides of this 45, was the star quarterback on the football team — RARE, as usually these teen bands were comprised of the “outcasts” or “losers” (in the SQUARE world’s eyes, of course!) of the school “society.” They played all over CT/MA, sharing many a bill with their pals, the pre-SQUIRES (“Going All The Way”) combo, THE ROGUES. At the suggestion of the Rogues’ label boss they hit Soyka Studios in Somers, CT in late summer ’66 and cut four tunes, and started shopping the tape around. RCA offered to sign them if they dropped their lead singer, but they bailed on that jive. Their manager worked a deal with the studio owner to press up 300 of the 7" but they had to add “NEW” to their name because some NYC lawyers representing one of the other 1,328 groups named the Fugitives threatened to sue if they used that name. “That’s Queer” was written by the singer/drummer in Math class as a joke, and “She’s My Baby” was written for his FORMER girlfriend, Dorrie, in hopes that she’d get back together with him. Instead, she hired a lawyer and threatened to sue, but couldn’t because no last name was mentioned in the lyrics. The group split up in mid-1967 when the guitarist was drafted and the rest went off to college.

—Tim Warren, “Back From The Grave Volume 7” liner notes, 1996
Ron shares a few thoughts on the recording of their single:
GLO Records was a subsidiary of RCA. After recording our songs at Al Soyka's Recording Studio in Somers, CT, the tape was sent to RCA in New York City where it was remastered. Then RCA pressed 300 records using the GLO label. I remember the recording engineer telling us that we could make up a label name if we wanted to, but we said that GLO was fine. When we got the records back, I was disappointed in the quality — it was because right around that time the record industry was experimenting with a new sugar base that they were adding to the vinyl records. The result was an inferior quality sound, which they did away with in less than a year's time. I wish you could have heard the playback that we heard when we listened to the tape in the studio!
On a sad note, this entry is dedicated to the memory of Peter Panciera, who died in May 2015 in Hilton Head, S.C., at the age of 66.

All news clips courtesy of Ron Blouin (click to enlarge).

That's Queer / She's My Baby
Glo Records 
October 1966

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