Song of the Week – Laugh, Laugh & Just a Little, Beau Brummels


A few weeks ago I heard from one of my many second cousins. She remembered that I am a vinyl record collector and wanted to know if I would like the collection that came from the home she grew up in. She even went to the trouble of hand writing out information about each disc (artist, title, label, and even condition!) and sent the list to me.

The collection included several hundred records, many of which were mid to late 60s rock. Everything from The Lovin’ Spoonful to Jimi Hendrix. But the one record I can’t wait to get my hands on is Introducing the Beau Brummels. That’s their Sly Stone produced, 1965 debut that featured their two biggest hits – “Laugh, Laugh” and “Just a Little.”

These are two perfect, British Invasion influenced pop songs. The buying public agreed, pushing “Laugh, Laugh” to #15 and “Just a Little” to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Both songs follow a similar formula – minor key chords, chiming electric guitars, interesting harmonies and prominent use of harmonica (in “Laugh, Laugh”). These all turned out to be hallmarks of the burgeoning folk rock movement led by The Byrds, Mamas and Papas, and others.

Baby boomers might get a chuckle from this Flintstone’s episode where the “Beau Brummelstones” perform “Laugh, Laugh” on Shinrock! (Shindig!) to a lot of groovy dancing.

Salon founder and author David Talbot’s fine modern history of San Francisco, Season of the Witch, contains a playlist of “The Best Songs Recorded by San Francisco Bands, 1965-1985.” Both of today’s SotW are on it!

Enjoy… until next week.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Laugh, Laugh & Just a Little, Beau Brummels

  1. My friend Peter turned me on to the Searchers and the Beau Brummels, maybe on the same night that he was also going on about how much the Ramones owed the Crickets. I’ve always linked those great Brummels tracks to what came after, and the Smithereens come to mind first. But they were a true American pop band in their day. I love their stuff, play their virtual elpees pretty regularly, but always think of the Smithereens when I do.

  2. I still have my original pressing of Introducing the Beau Brummels you covet so much, Tom. Bought it when it came out.

    And, would love if the Biletones would do Laugh Laugh, but I doubt that will happen. Maybe You’re Gonna Miss Me.will make the next set, though.

  3. The Beau Brummels have been one of the most sadly overlooked groups of the 60s. Sal Valentino’s unique voice was a focal point but so was Ron Elliott’s guitar and composition work. I’d add two more to their greatest songs: “You Tell Me Why” and “Don’t Go to Strangers.” Zen-eloquent stuff. Love ’em.

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