October 8, 2017


From left: Chico Blumenthal (bass), Vinny Bruni (drums, lead vocals), Mike Foster (organ), Rick Balzer (guitar).

The Alliance recorded the soul-influenced dance mover “I'll Be Kind” back in 1968, punctuated with liberal fuzz guitar noodling throughout. A search for the band behind the record leads us to Windham, Maine, artist Vincent Bruni, who provided info and pics of The Alliance. 

The Alliance started off in April 1966 as the The Bobby Dean Combo, named for original frontman Bobby Dean. The band consisted of Bobby Dean on guitar and vocals, Rick Balzer on guitar, Charles “Chico” Blumenthal on bass and Vinny Bruni on drums. As the moniker “Combo” fell out of vogue, it was replaced with the hipper “Alliance.” This lineup as the Bobby Dean Alliance opened up for the Young Rascals at City Hall Auditorium in late 1966.

Bobby eventually decided to focus on his career and left the band, at which point they shorted the name to simply “The Alliance.” Drummer Vinny took over on lead vocals, and Mike Foster joined on keyboards in early 1967. The Alliance played 50% Beatles covers, and also played a handful of girl group tunes such as Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By” and the Supremes’ “Come See About Me.” According to Vinny, they were the only guys in town doing girl group songs, and the girls in the audience loved it.

The two songs on the 45 were the only original numbers in the band's live set. The songs were recorded at Event Studios in Westbrook, Maine, and Carl Strube of the Critique label financed the session.

After The Alliance ran its course, Vinny and Rick continued on with music in the long-running High Ryder Golden Oldies Show. Vinny is an artist/writer and his work can be found at Cobble Hollow Publishing.

I'll Be Kind / Listen Girl
(45-1074 • 4924/25)
February 1968

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