Soul Fantasy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Memories of SpaceArk

Peter Silberg

First of all, I want to thank Peter Silberg co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and member of the group SpaceArk for all his info.

One year ago I had the pleasure to find a rare single entitled "Just one look / Darling" by Fatu. It was released on Fire Mountain Records in 1980. Immediately I noticed that composer on the track "Just one look" was Troy Raglin and Peter Silberg members of the group SpaceArk. Of cource I knew this group because some years ago, I heard the song "Phantom lover" by SpaceArk from a site. For this reason I found out info about this group.

SpaceArk
SpaceArk was an obscure soul/rock group from Los Angeles that began in 1973 and disbanded in 1979. SpaceArk's founding members were Peter Silberg (lead guitarist) and Troy "Troiel" Raglin (lead singer). Original members were Reggie Austin on bass, Bryan "Skip" Reed on drums and Russell Greene on keyboards. Subsequent members were Mahlon Hawk on bass, Allen "Kenny" Chavis on bass, and Jared Stewart on keyboards. Two female singers periodically sang for the group. Dolores Hardy and another wonderful singer whose name is unknown. The members of SpaceArk came from different musical backgrounds and brought unique playing styles and ideas to the group.
SpaceArk released two albums. The  first album was released in 1975 on Color World Records. The first 1000 white albums with 8-track labels were given away free as promotional materials.


The "real" cover was the full size black/white artist drawing of the group. My favorite song is entitled "Do what you can do". Composed by Bryan "Skip" Reed and Russell Greene. Produced by Troy Raglin.



After the first album the group started recording new songs for creating a new album. Although the group had recorded the original instrumental rhythm tracks, Troy Raglin decided to abandon the recordings because the direction of the group was not as Troy wanted. For this reason the original keyboardist Russell Greene decided to leave the group. However these songs were performed at live concerts. As far as the original second album's songs, they were never released except one song entitled "Don't stop". Another unreleased song was "Beautiful Machine".

Dolores Hardy

"Don't stop" was released as a single on Color World Records by Dolores Hardy with SpaceArk under the name Dolly Way & Space Ship Earth. Dolores Hardly was one of the female singers who sometimes appeared with SpaceArk. "Don't stop" was a featured song at SpaceArk live performances.


Music was composed by Peter Silberg and lyrics by Troy Raglin. Produced by Troy Raglin & Michael Waxman. Horns arrangements by Bobby Keyes (the sax player for the Rolling Stones) and David Leech.



I want to mention that SpaceArk and Dolores Hardy recorded one more song called "This spell" which was a flip side (B Side) of "Don't stop". However Troy Raglin, at the last moment, decided to include the instrumental version of "Don't stop" and not the song "This spell".




"Beautiful Machine" was released only as a demo and never released as a sinlge. This song was written by Peter Silberg, with original lyrics by Troy Raglin. This track was unreleased, and until now has been unheard by anyone, except fans who attended the group's live stage shows.

Beautiful Machine (Unreleased) (Sample)



Troy Raglin

Two years later after the group dispanded, Troy Raglin created a new record company called Fire Mountain Records. Troy Raglin released a single on his own label entitled "Just one look / Darling" under the name Fatu. Troy had re-recorded the unreleased song "Beautiful Machine" and changed the lyrics and title to "Just one look".


Produced by Troy Raglin. Arranged by David Leech and Troy Raglin.

Just One Look (Sample)


SpaceArk


Back to 1978, Troy Raglin directed and recorded a "new second" SpaceArk album, released as "SpaceArk Is" on Colorworld Records.


Troy Raglin composed most of the songs on SpaceArk's album "SpaceArk Is". Peter Silberg contributed the guitar overdubs, and was the composer of "Sexy Lady." SpaceArk's band members contributed the rhythm tracks (Skip Reed on drums, Kenny Chavis on bass and Jared Stewart on keyboards). Skip Reed sang lead on "Take Her Out Dancing".
My favorite song is entitled "Phantom Lover," composed by Troy Raglin and G.McAllister. "SpaceArk Is" was produced by Troy Raglin, and arranged by SpaceArk.

Phantom Lover (Sample)


SpaceArk released a total of 2 full length albums and a handful of 45 singles, including recording solo artists that were signed to Colorworld, SpaceArk's record label. But the times were not favorable, and after many years of effort, in the late 1979 Peter Silberg left the group and SpaceArk ceased to exist.
An artist who collaborated with SpaceArk was a vocalist Charles Breckinridge Overton known as C.B.Overton. Charles Overton had released a few singles on Shock Records such as "If I can't stop you" in 1977 and "Superstar lady / When it rains it pours" in 1978 respectively.
Charles Overton also performed sporadically with SpaceArk, playing congas/percussion. Charles Overton, with backing from SpaceArk released a single entitled "Big Locomotive" on Colorworld. "Big Locomotive" was recorded and performed by SpaceArk (entirely) with Charles Overton as lead vocalist. The record was produced by Marshall McQueen Jr. who was a great songwriter/producer, and a long-time associate of Troy Raglin.


Big Locomotive (Sample)



After SpaceArk dispanded and Colorworld Records ceased to exist, Troy Raglin created a new record company called Fire Mountain Records. I have already mentioned the record by Fatu and Troy Raglin. Troy Raglin would take old recordings created by members of SpaceArk, and re-record and rename then as his own compositions.
Another release of Troy Raglin's Fire Mountain label was artist Lucy Stone. Lucy Stone was not her real name but a ficticious name given by Troy Raglin to a girl he had met. Troy Raglin coached her for months to sing, and finally recorded songs he wrote for her. Lucy Stone released a single entitled "If somebody needs somebody / Giving love instead of gold" in 1980 on Fire Mountain Records, produced by Troy Raglin and arranged by David Leech and Troy Raglin. The solo flute was performed by David Leech.


If somebody needs somebody (Sample)


One of the main issues which caused Peter Silberg to leave SpaceArk was Troy's continued focus on other "artists" careers, without first getting SpaceArk to be successful. After the group dispanded, Troy eventually took the name "SpaceArk" and used it as his production entity name.

Sirviving members of SpaceArk are Peter Silberg, Reggie Austin, Bryan "Skip"Reed, Allan Chavis and Jared Stewart. Troy Raglin passed on a number of years ago, as did Dolores Hardy.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full



Available digital download at

iTunes
SpaceArk1
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/spaceark-i/id428998362
SpaceArk IS
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/spaceark-is/id431720913

Amazon US
SpaceArk I
SpaceArk IS
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=spaceark&x=0&y=0
Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004U3QRCS/ref=dm_dp_adp


Last, CD releases of SpaceArk's two albums are set for December, 2011 in Japan on the Creole Stream label.



One more time I want to thank Peter Silberg for his assistance with this article

3 comments:

Movers Anonymous said...

incredible feature!! thanks!!!

Sound Boutique said...

Fantastic feature!! nice work! many thanks!!

Bill West said...

I was a partner in a small LA ad agency in the late seventies and met with Troy several times to develop a promotion strategy for 'Spaceark Is'. Part of that included a trip to Las Vegas to get some airplay and to place the album in a few record stores. Apart from the business aspect of the trip, it was several hours of listening to Troy holding forth on topics great and small. It seemed that most of the problems on this planet (his usual frame of reference) could be resolved through music.

Troy was an amazingly big thinker, which is probably why he was preoccupied with the careers of other artists as well as the fortunes of Spaceark. He even thought about establishing a kids camp near Barstow, which would double as a jojoba bean farm, since jojoba beans were slated to become a principal source of oil in the future.

I was so pleased to see the music at Apple store. I downloaded "Each Song", which embodied Troy's philosophy on life and how everyone had his/her own place in the world. The musicianship is great. The vocal harmonies are complex. The production is really good, especially when you consider that this was a very independent production.

Since knowing him I have found myself, during down times, remembering his unwavering optimism and silently singing (from "Each Song") "Scooby Dooby Doop/Scooby Dooby Doop/Choop Choobow".

Thanks for this post.