Trying to piece together a history on The Factory is a little tricky as their seems to be some conflicting and/or unconfirmed information. Please feel free to correct or confirm any of the information in this post.
Essentially, The Factory were a 3 piece from London – Jack Brand on vocals and bass, Ian Oates on guitar and Bill Macleod on drums. They were picked up by a group of engineers, producers and publishers that worked through IBC studios in London where they had recorded, Hendrix, Cream, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces, Donovan, The Bee Gees and many others and were looking for a band to record for their new production company. Brian Carroll and Damon Lyon-Shaw produced the band and their first single and B-side in 1968. (Brian Carroll worked cutting masters at IBC and cut the first Hendrix releases as well as The Who Live At Leeds). The A-side, Path Through The Forest is considered a Freakbeat classic and was allegedly written under a pseudonym (Rollings) by Clifford T. Ward. He went on to have solo success with ‘Gaye’, a UK No. 8 in 1973 and made many solo albums (in the archive). Sadly he died in 2001 aged 57 of multiple sclerosis.
The B-side is a complex web of fascinating characters. Gone was originally recorded by Paul Revere and The Raiders on their 1967 album Revolution but as Gone – Movin’ On. It’s a little confusing as they recorded another song called Gone but that was a different track entirely. To add to the confusion The Factory version has aspects of the original song but has some quite different parts, it’s basically a re-write although still credited to its writers. The writers too were interesting characters, one was Bruce Johnston, he joined The Beach Boys in 1965 and wrote the schmaltz hit, I Write The Songs, a much recorded song and No.1 hit for Barry Manilow in 1976. The other writer was Terry Melcher. Melcher produced Mr Tambourine Man and Turn Turn Turn for The Byrds and was heavily involved in the West Coast scene as a producer, singer and songwriter. He had been in a band with Bruce Johnston called Bruce and Terry and also The Rip Chords. Their song, Hey Little Cobra was a No. 4 (Hot Rod Hit) in the US in 1964. He also wrote a song for The Rip Chords called Gone, another different song – he obviously liked the title.
Melcher was the only child of wait for it – Doris Day! He was also involved in the Manson murders story in as much as he turned down Manson for a recording contract and the house where he used to live was the scene of the grisly and sick Manson murders and allegedly Manson sent his followers there if not to murder Melcher then to instil fear in him in revenge for not signing him up. Last but not least Melcher co-wrote The Beach Boys biggest ever hit, the the tropicali mega- schmaltz No.1 hit from 1988, Kokomo.The song was written with Beach Boy Mike Love, John Phillips from The Mamas and The Papas and Scott McKenzie for whom John Phillips wrote San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) a No.1 in the UK in 1967, reaching No.2 in Canada and N0.4 in the US and selling 7 million copies worldwide. Phillips died in 2001 at the age of 65, Mackenzie died in 2012 aged 73.
Ultimately despite connections to talented engineers and producers, successful songwriters and fitting in perfectly with the late sixties scene, The Factory and their explosive debut single Path Through The Forest were not a hit, its legendary status as a psych classic immortalizes The Factory as a cult band that have received higher regard since the Nuggets and Pebbles compilations brought more attention to the incredible bands of this ilk.
Some time later another engineer from IBC, John Pantry was brought in and wrote the A and B-sides for their second single in 1969. Try A Little Sunshine and Red Chalk Hill were also sung by Pantry. I’m not sure why Jack Brand was relegated to bass player but Pantry was a singer himself and had played in bands, Sounds Around and Peter And The Wolves releasing some Pop gems themselves in the sixties. As the writer and plus the fact that he was part of the IBC team, I imagine that they had complete control and called the shots. Who knows who actually played on these records? The fact is that Try A Little Sunshine is also a classic psych single from the era.
If you like these tracks there have been re-issues with added unreleased tracks that barely fill an album, but that include a cover of Fairport Convention’s Mr. Lacey and Family’s Second Generation Woman. (The latter with apparently very bad audio put together from a destroyed acetate). There is also an acetate version of Path Through The Forest that includes effects that the record label wouldn’t let the producers include on the original single version. (Another story). Also Brian Carroll sang lead vocals on Second Generation Woman and So You Wanna Be A Rock and Roll Star but this track didn’t survive.
Artist: The Factory
Title: The Complete Recordings
Format: 1LP (7 songs)
Release Year: 1996
The Factory – Path Through The Forest – 1968 (Rollings)
I imagine this video was put together by a keen latter day fan.
Original Clifford T Ward – Path Through The Forest Demo – 1967
Gone, B side of Path Through The Forest – 1968 (Johnston, Melcher)
Try A Little Sunshine – 1969 (Pantry)
Red Chalk Hill, B side of Try A Little Sunshine – 1969 (Pantry)
This is another of John Pantry’s sixties songs from The Upside Down World Of John Pantry CD available on Amazon. Later Pantry found God and became a christian singer, he was ordained as an Anglican minister in 1993.
John Pantry – Wash Myself Away – (Pantry)