#859: King Size by Trials Of Jayson Hoover

Peak Month: January 1969
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Drummer David MacPhail founded The Epics in 1963 after meeting guitarist Jimmy Harmata in Vancouver’s Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret. In 1964, 15-year old bassist, Bob Kidd, was added and later tenor saxophone player Gunther Klaus and keyboard/organ player Bill Gibson. The Epics first vocalist was Barry Collins. Jayson Hoover joined the band in late 1964 after he was approached by David MacPhail at the Smilin’ Buddha where Jay was singing. In the spring 1965 Jayson Hoover had come from Alberta on a vacation to see Vancouver. But once he got to Vancouver he chose never to return home. He first met Bob Kidd and Jimmy Harmata at the Shanghai Junk on Main Street. The Epics featured Barry Collins and Jayson Hoover under the name ‘The Soul Brothers.” This was a take-off on the Righteous Brothers. Barry Collins left The Epics around 1965. The Epics rehearsed daily after high school during the week and also on Saturdays and Sundays. And on the evenings over the weekend they’d go to hear other groups in concert. At that time The Epics were still known as The Epics featuring Jayson Hoover. It was only in their later years that promoters began to pitch The Epics as Jayson Hoover & The Epics.

A few months after “King Size” was recorded Jayson Hoover, Jimmy Harmata and Bob Kidd left The Epics to start the Anvil Chorus. The Epics continued for another year with David MacPhail, Bill Gibson, Gunther Klaus and a new guitar and bassist. 

The Anvil Chorus, a group with a psychedelic sound popular for awhile in the late 60’s, only lasted a few months. In 1968 they changed their name to The Trials Of Jayson Hoover.

Jayson Hoover and The Epics played the concert circuit in Vancouver along with other groups like The Spectres, Howie Vickers and The Vicounts and Little Daddy and The Bachelors. Jayson Hoover and The Epics performed at many venues including The Hollywood Bowl in New Westminster, the Renfrew Community Centre and at Clinton Hall (on East Pender) both in Vancouver. Bruce Fairburn of the Spectres remembers Jayson Hoover and The Epics “always were known for a great feel, always a classic band who had a great groove to them.” The Epics were a West Coast Vancouver sound that was an answer to bands in the USA like Booker T. and The MGs and The Funk Brothers.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover formed in 1968 and disbanded in 1970. Jayson Hoover was an Afro-Canadian musician who helped spearhead a West Coast soul sound, along with other Vancouver acts like Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers. Jayson Hoover had earlier headed Jayson Hoover and the Epics formed in 1965. Jim Hamata and Bob Kidd both remained with Jayson Hoover in the transition from the Epics to The Trials of Jayson Hoover. Ian Hood, formerly of Blured Vision, became one of the bands two drummers. The other drummer from the New Breed was Randy Bushby who was in the band very briefly, leaving the drums to Ian Hood going forward. Keyboard player Steve Cartmell was also playing through  his years with The Trials of Jayson Hoover with another band named Kentish Steele and The Shantelles. From October 1968 to February of 1969 Trials of Jayson Hoover played several local clubs, Diamond Jim’s, Lasseter’s Den and as the house band at Phaoroh’s Retreat.

“King Size” was released on local musician, Tom Northcott’s, New Syndrome Records in December 1968. It peaked at #8 in Vancouver.

King Size by Trials Of Jayson Hoover

I’m on the blues, ya’ll, in the evening when the sun goes down.
I’m in my shoes,’til all the soul is gone.
(Can you dig it baby, alright. Come on baby, get it.)

Got to have it king size (bring it on out)
Got to have it king size (bring it on out).
(cool it baby, cool it).

You babe, always knock me down.
Who are you, ya’ll, bring trouble when you’re around.
(come on baby, do it one more time. Give it to me).

Got to have it king size.
Got to have it king size.

“King Size” is about seizing the moment, dancing to the max and hanging out with someone who is a knock out (“you babe, always knock me down”). It could, plausibly, be interpreted as being knocked down, as synonymous with being criticized. However, the lyrics in the song clarify “come on baby, do it one more time, give it to me.” If the singer was complaining about being knocked down, they wouldn’t want more of the same. The song is about being infused with soul and having someone who is sexy to dance with. The song was co-written by one of the bandmates, Jimmy Harmata.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover were contracted by promoters to be the open for a concert at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on December 28. The headlining band was Vanilla Fudge. Earlier that fall Vanilla Fudge had a song on in the local Top Ten, a cover of The Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On.” Since The Trials of Jayson Hoover had “King Size” on the CKLG pop chart they were getting a buzz around town. A factor in the promoters decision to add Hoover’s band to the concert was that they would let Vanilla Fudge and Led Zeppelin use The Trails of Jayson Hoover’s Hammond B3 and leslies.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover opened the concert. A largely unknown group from England, Led Zeppelin, followed. Vanilla Fudge closed the show. CKLG promoted the concert with clips of “You Keep Me Hanging On” featured in the ads. In December 1968 no one knew who Led Zeppelin was. The band had only arrived in North America to go on tour just before Christmas Day. FM stations had not yet received any advance promotional copies of their debut album, Led Zeppelin, until 20 days later on January 17, 1969, following the album’s release on January 12, 1969. Consequently, Led Zeppelin received only limited mention on air with no airplay by the local DJs in the week just before the concert. It would be later in January that local FM radio listeners in Vancouver began to hear tracks from the album including “Dazed and Confused,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” and “Communication Breakdown.”

In March and April of 1969 the Trials of Jayson Hoover played six nights a week at The Palm Gardens in Portland, Oregon. In late spring and the summer 0f 1969 they performed in concert across British Columbia and Alberta. During this time they shared the stage with Uriah Heep in Vancouver and The Guess Who in Edmonton, Alberta.

Following “King Size” the band released “We Were Happy,” which peaked at #20 in Vancouver in February 1970. From January 1970 t0 November 1970, Trials of Jayson Hoover changed their name to the Anvil Chorus. This was to allow the band to explore a heavier rock ‘n roll sound. They changed their lineup and name back to Trials of Jayson Hoover in November 1970. From February 1971 to mid-April ’71, the Trials of Jayson Hoover played at a club in Honolulu and were billed as The Night Train Revue. From mid-April and through May, 1971, the band played at the Cirque Electrique night club, in Quebec City.

The final iteration of the Trials of Jayson Hoover lasted until 1971 when they had a final Top 20 hit in Vancouver titled “Freedom Train.” Hoover went on to sign with Mushroom Records billed as Jayson Hoover n Stuff in 1975. Hoover released a number of singles including “She’s My Lady,” a Top 20 hit in Winnipeg in 1975. Jayson Hoover n Stuff disbanded in the spring of 1976.

Jason Hoover and the Epics did a re-union concerts at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in 1991, 2001, and on other occasions. Jayson Hoover has played more recently at the Vancouver Blues Festival in 2010 at The Yale pub, which featured Jayson Hoover Jr. and Christine Best, Jimmy Harmata and David McPhail. The Epics were in concert at the Biltmore Cabaret in 2011.

Bass player, Bob Kidd, died in 2000.

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