Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wisconsin Bands #7.....The Baroques

In 1967, The Baroques released their now classic psychedelic LP "The Baroques" to deaf ears. They were the second Wisconsin band to sign a record deal with Chess Records in Chicago (a Fox River Valley band, The Golden Catalina's, were the first) The Baroques were a Milwaukee band. At the time of their record release they were multi-instrumentalist Jay Borkenhagen, bassist Rick Bieniewski , guitarist Jacques Hutchinson, and drummer Dean Nimmer.
Produced by Ralph Bass, "The Baroques" is frequently mesmerizing and never less than enjoyable. With Borkenhagen responsible for the majority of material (though all four members contributed to the song writing), tracks such as "Iowa, A Girl's Name" and the harpsichord-powered ballad "Seasons" found the band mixing their best Brit impressions with meltdown fuzz guitars, weird time changes and what sounded like oceans of illicit stimulation. Unfortunately, the album failed to sell and the always dreaded "creative" differences with Chess arose. The band was quickly dropped from Chess' recording roster."
The good news is...thanks to intense European collector interest, you can download individual songs or buy a cd re-issue (a two cd set with an included booklet)of this great example of regional psych rock. Just google... "the baroques".


iker / morning magazine said...


my name's Iker Spozio and i'm writing you from Paris, France.
I run a magazine called Morning, devoted to cult sixties/seventies music. I'm a huge fan of the Baroques and found your nice blog while doing a research for the band's members, because i'd really love to interview any of them for my mag. It's been very difficult to track them down, and I guess you probably won't have more info than me (actually I only know the band's line-up), but I'm desperate for any help people could kindly give me to get in touch with the band.
If you have any info, please don't hesitate in getting in touch!
Thanks a lot and sorry for bothering you!
-Iker Spozio

Thomas McElroy said...

I am the step-son-in-law of Jaques. He passed away last year and we used Sunflower as the theme for his wake. He was an amazing, fun, creative guy. I inherited his 1958 Epiphone Zephyr that he used for the album. I think of him and all the music he made each time I play it.

Anonymous said...

Didn't fully appreciate the genius at the time...the Baroques, the Velvet Whip and FQS and the Love Musle. The music was one thing but if you were fortunate enough to know those personalities behind it. Thanks for the ride. I had to hold on tight the whole trip.
Rosemary - Dallas

Margo French said...

I never saw the Baroques at the Avant Garde (never went there as I was underage), but we had the Baroques perform at our junior prom in 1968...Franklin High School in Franklin, WI. It was a disaster...while the 'progressive' ones like myself were amazed at the band and thoroughly enjoyed it, most of the Franklinites were horrified...the band performed their album with oil and water 'psychedelic' colorations on a screen behind. I do not think the band was prepared for the reception...but I LOVED it. I was one of the Art Club members who recommended they one ever asked us to schedule bands for high school events again! Go Figure! Love the Baroques!