the Lemon Pipers

Oxford/Cincinnati, 1966-71

Lemon Pipers at the Inferno, 1967 (photo by Nancy Wasen)

The Lemon Pipers are yet another Ohio band that got stuck with the misunderstood tag of "Bubblegum" and "One Hit Wonder", although it's not even appropriate to compare them with the Kasenetz and Katz 'products'. The Lemon Pipers were a real band and played on ALL their recordings, many of which are quite good and underappreciated.

The Lemon Pipers were formed when Tony and the Bandits, Ivan and the Sabers, and the Driving Winds did a three way swap of lead singers. Ivan Browne (of the Sabers) joined the remaining members of Tony and the Bandits (based out of Cincinnati, with some members living in Oxford). The new band quickly established themselves in the Cincinnati clubs and colleges. Apparently they got in with Cincy DJ Tom Dooley, with whom they recorded one very obscure record on Dooley's Dana Lynn label in July of '67. The record included one song, a "Summertime Blues" influenced fuzz garage number called "Quiet Please". For some reason the song was issued on the A side while the same recording, twice, back to back was issued on the flip! When "Green Tambourine" hit, the side got released on Carol records, a Louisville label, backed with an instrumental called "Monaural 78" which is not confirmed to be the Lemon Pipers.

The band got connected with New York producer Paul Leka and were signed to Buddah records. The actual connection is not clear, it's possible that Andy Apperson was involved somehow. The band't first Buddah 45, "Turn around a take a look", was a bit hit in Ohio and around the Ohio River valley region. The flip side, "Danger", is an excellent garage pop song that definitely deserves more exposure. Both sides were written by Bill Bartlett. The second 45 is the now 'classic' "Green Tambourine", which started the run of pop A sides that has sealed the band's legacy to the casual fan. Eventually the band released 2 LPs on Buddah, but after subsequent releases were pretty much downhill in sales, the band wanted, and got out, of the Buddah deal.

The success of "Green Tambourine" did provide the band with some months of TV appearences, tours, and rock-n-roll fun. After the band left Buddah, they regrouped in Cincinnati, started working on 'heavier' original songs, and plotted a move to Los Angeles. However, when push came to shove, the band decided to pack it in. Ivan Browne has continued to perform, eventually landing out near Sacramento, CA. Keyboard player Bob Nave started a band called "Beachwood Farm", they allegedly released a 45 or EP, but no one here has seen it.