#8: Cry Baby by the Nomads

City: Edmonton, AB
Radio Station: CJCA
Peak Month: January 1967
Peak Position in Edmonton: #3
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “Cry Baby
Lyrics: “N/A

The Nomads formed in 1958 and had nine members. Notable lead vocalist, Lennie Richards, was born in Edmonton in 1940. He joined the band in 1961. In 1962 Lennie Richards and the Nomads released “Teem Twist” in 1962. On the back of the 45 RPM record jacket it read “When he was 16 he began singing and playing the guitar. An Edmonton disc jockey heard him sing and arranged an audition which launched him on his singing career. Lennie performed with various local “Rock n’ Roll” groups throughout his high school days and after graduation up until 1961. In the spring of 1961, he joined the Nomads as their feature vocalist and rhythm guitar player. Today, Lennie Richards is one of the most popular young singers in Western Canada.” The band also released a cover of the Bell-Notes 1959 hit “I’ve Had It”.

Damon Records boasted about the Nomads in a promotional poster in late 1966: “The Nomads are one of the most popular groups on the Edmonton scene and are used extensively on radio commercials. Their big sound comes from Garry McDonall, leader who also sings and plays trumpet and trombone, Wallis Petruk on sax and flute, Garry White plays bass, Hugh Brockie on guitar and piano, drummer Don Remeika, Les Vincent sings and doubles on bass and Lennie Richards is lead vocalist.” This was the Nomads’ classic lineup from 1964 to 1967. But only McDonell, Richards and Petruk carried on when there was a lineup change in 1964, and they shrunk from nine to seven members. Garry McDonell was born in Edmonton in 1938. In 1966, he co-founded Damon Records with Wallis Petruk and original member of the Nomads, Don Paches. Les Vincent was born in 1943.

Hugh Brockie had been in California for awhile and in 1962 was part of a group named the Bakersfield’s Big Guitars. They recorded an instrumental guitar album that year. One of Brockie’s bandmates was Gary Paxton of Skip & Flip, the Hollywood Argyles and producer/arranger of the 1962 novelty hit “The Monster Mash”.

On their 1968 album liner notes for Hits of the Nomads, local CJCA DJ Chuck Cameron bragged “A legend in sound! The Nomads have spent several years perfecting perfection. Not an “ordinary” rock group, but instead dedicated musicians that believe in today’s sound. A sound that appeals to the so called teeners, and the young adults. Next time you’re at a dance, check out the number of musicians. Will you see seven? I doubt it. In today’s world of pop music, economics dictate for smaller groups. But through all this, and successfully, one Canadian group has made it to the top of the popularity polls. The NOMADS! Not just another group, but a “happening” in music today. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, listen to this, their full album. It’s an experience, a great “pop” music sound that expands to all ages.”

The Nomads debut single on Damon Records was a 1966 recording titled “Cry Baby”.

Cry Baby by the Nomads

Cry Baby by the Nomads

“Cry Baby” was written by Lennie Richards. It’s a song about a guy who is itching to go out and discover the big wide world. His ‘baby’ simply has to break down and cry about his departure. He feels bad about this, but is resolved he must go. He has to find his “fortune around the world.” He promises to “be true.” Meanwhile, while she keeps the home fires burning, he suggests she just wipe her eyes. He doesn’t want her to be a ‘crybaby,’ moaning and bawling over what is unfolding in her life.

“Cry Baby” peaked at #3 in Edmonton.

A followup single by the group was “Walkin’ Mary Home”. It climbed to #8 in Edmonton in July 1967. A third release was a cover of the Enemys’ “Hey Joe” backed with a cover of the Boxtops “The Letter”. But their third effort failed to chart. One more release, the pretty “Bittersweet”, also failed to get any chart action.

After the Nomads disbanded in 1968, Don Remeika and Wallis Petruk joined The Emeralds. This group released over a dozen albums in the following decades. They had a Top Ten international hit in Australia titled “Bird Dance”. This was also recorded as the “Chicken Dance” by some other groups, and popular at weddings.

Hugh Brockie joined Ronnie Hawkins’ Rock and Roll Revival and Traveling Medicine Show in 1969. Many of the members of the Hawkins’ backing band formed Bearfoot in late 1969. In 1974 they had a minor hit in Canada titled “Molly“. Bearfoot also received a Juno nomination for Most Promising Group of the Year in 1974, but lost to Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Bearfoot released four studio albums into the mid-70s. Based in Toronto, Brockie joined a jazz-funk band called Ravin’, who often performed at the El Mocombo.

In 1989, the Nomads reunited and recorded a studio album titled The Nomads Are Back! Lock Up Your Mothers! It included covers of the Miracles “You Really Got A Hold On Me”, the Coasters “Young Blood”, the Beatles “Yesterday”, Jay & the Americans “Come A Little Bit Closer”, and other hits from the late fifties and the sixties.

From 1966 to 2006, Garry McDonell headed up Damon Records. He was both a sound engineer and a producer. He died in 2010 at the age of 72. Les Vincent worked as a (music?) teacher in the Edmonton Public School system. He died in 2018 at the age of 74.

Cry Baby by the Nomads

CJCA 930-AM Edmonton (AB) Top Ten | January 8, 1967

Leave a Reply

Sign Up For Our Newsletter