Jay and the Techniques

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Introduction to Jay and The Techniques

One of the earliest known racially integrated bands, Jay & the Techniques’ material is also unique – it either sounds pop-flavored soul or soul-flavored pop.  They formed in Allentown, Pennsylvania, by lead singer Jay Proctor, during the mid-60s music era.  The other group members were Karl Landis, Ronald Goosley, John Walsh, Charles Crowl, and Dante Dancho, who were all white, while George “Lucky” Lloyd was the only other African-American apart from Proctor.  They were famous for their cheerful-sounding, spirited 1967 single “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” (released under Smash label), which made a position on both pop and R&B charts.  The band also released other singles that did reasonably well, but none of them matched the level of success that “Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” had.  The group disbanded in the mid-1970s.

Early Years of Jay and the Techniques

The pop group Jay & the Techniques was founded by Jay Proctor during the mid-1960’s. Hailing  from Allenton, Pennsylvania, the band was initially composed of George “Lucky” Lloyd (second vocalist), Dante Dancho (lead guitarist), Chuck Crowl (bassist), Karl Landis (drummer), Ronnie Goosley (saxophonist), Jon (trumpeter) and Proctor (lead vocalist). During the decade, Jay and the Techniques were one of the first acts which was multi-racial, as Proctor and Lloyd were the only African-Americans in the group.

During their career, Jay and the Techniques appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, Joey Bishop Show, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, The Murray the K Show and the Steel Pier Show. Jay sang in front of a packed Houston Astrodome, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia’s Uptown Theatre, in colleges and universities across the country, many charity benefits, and gave free concerts at Army bases and prisons throughout the United States.

Sweet success of “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie”

The band started to get attention was in 1967, releasing their debut single “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie.” Recorded and released on Smash label, the track made at the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 10, peaking at #6. It sold over one million copies and also gained gold disc status. The cheerful pop tune was arranged by Joe Renzetti and written by Maurice Irby. Adding to their debut’s success, their next releases “Keep the Ball Rolling” (#14) and “Strawberry Shortcake” also achieved notable chart positions. Additionally selling over a million copies, “Keep the Ball Rolling” earned this group a second gold disc. However, it gradually fell on the pop charts after “Baby Make Your Own Sweet Music” was released.

Jay & the Techniques’ downfall and dissolution

Jay & the Techniques were ready with their already danceable sound. Their first hit disco song “Number Onederful” is a high energy, heavily orchestrated tune which reached the Top Ten in all the major NY discos.

The success with their debut was followed by several modestly-charted tracks: “Keep the Ball Rollin'” (#14), “Strawberry Shortcake” (#39) and “Baby Make Your Own Sweet Music” (#64). “Keep the Ball Rollin'” also sold over a million copies and gave the group their second gold disc. The band continued recording but it was clear that the hits dried up. Jay and the Techniques finally disbanded in the mid-1970s.  In 1968 alone, Jay & the Techniques had released two albums Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie and Love, Lost and Found.

Personnel changes also occurred in the later career of Jay & the Techniques; drummer Landis was replaced by Paul Coles Jr. while trumpeter Walsh was replaced by Danny Altieri. The husband-and-wife recording and production team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson often provided backing vocals for the band.

The band’s vocalist

In the 1960s, Jay Proctor, the lead vocalist of the iconic soul band Jay & the Techniques, was seen as extraordinary since the band had an integrated roster. They successfully combined pop and soul to appeal to both audiences and their sound was difficult to categorize. Before fading in the early 1970s, they scored a number of singles in the US and the UK. 

As a solo artist, Proctor’s most recent album produced was Still Got Flow (2006). After the band;s stint in the 70’s, in the following more than 30 years, Proctor continued to perform with various line-ups of the Techniques while sounding excellent.

The “Best of Jay and the Techniques” CD compilation, which included 20 songs, was published by Mercury Records in 1996. Jay had the privilege of doing a performance at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The “The Main Course” album, Jay’s first brand-new studio album in more than 20 years, was released in 1998.

The band’s later re-releases

By the 1970’s, “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” and “Baby Make Your Own Sweet Music” were re-issued on the U.K. by Mercury Records but the two singles failed to chart in the said country. However, both songs became disco favorites of the British Northern soul music scene.

In 1996, a compilation album of the band’s hits was released by Mercury Records entitled The Best of Jay & the Techniques.

 

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