#14: Things I’d Like To Say by the New Colony Six

City: Edmonton, AB
Radio Station: CHED
Peak Month: March 1969
Peak Position in Edmonton: #2
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #16
YouTube: “Things I’d Like To Say
Lyrics: “Things I’d Like To Say

New Colony Six was formed in Chicago in 1964. They first sang the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” with the St. Pats Chorus. The live performance went over well and they briefly called themselves The Patsmen. Original members were Ray Graffia Jr. on vocals, who was born March 28, 1946; Chic James on drums, Pat McBride on harmonica, Craig Kemp on organ, Wally Kemp on bass guitar, and Gerry Van Kollenburg (born 1946) on guitar. Initially, they were a garage-rock band. Rock music critic, Richie Unterberger, described the group’s sound as “a poppier American Them with their prominent organ, wobbly Lesley-fied guitar amplifications, and rave-up tempos”, later devolving into “a cabaret-ish band with minor national hits to their credit by the end of the 1960s.” Like Paul Revere & the Raiders – with whom New Colony 6 shared a two-flat before either band hit the charts or knew that the other had nearly identical stage wear, they wore colonial outfits on stage. So when you hear the name New Colony Six, think about the American colonies when America was still a British colony prior to the American Revolution.

Ray Graffia Jr. told a reporter, “we developed a theme–a mission statement if you will–to ‘bring rock and roll back to America’ (when the British Invasion was in high gear). From that goal and the fact that England called America the new Colonies, we selected the moniker, New Colony Six,” with “Six” to match the number of members in the group.

Things I'd Like To Say by the New Colony Six

Ray Graffia Jr. was born in 1945. Leslie Kummel was born in 1945 in Chicago.

In 1965, New Colony Six released their first single titled “I Confess”. The single peaked at #2 in Chicago, #3 in Orland0, #4 in Milwaukee, and Battle Creek (MI), and #5 in Green Bay (WI). It also received airplay in CKLG in Vancouver (BC). The single was notable for the inventive guitar sound created by Van Kollenburg feeding his instrument through a Leslie speaker. The single was a track from their garage-rock debut album, Breakthrough.

Several more singles were released in 1966 with little commercial success. That year the New Colony Six appeared on the Chicago area children’s show Kiddie A-Go-Go. In 1966, Ronnie Rice replaced Craig Kemp, providing vocals, keyboards, and guitar for the group.

At the end of ’66, “Love You So Much” revealed a still softer, more pop-oriented sound. It peaked at #2 in Chicago, #4 in Gary (IN), and Madison (WI), #5 in Des Moines (IA), and Milwaukee, #6 in Dayton (OH), #7 in Winston-Salem (NC), and #10 in Quincy (IL), Boston, and Sioux Falls (SD). It was also the highest charting single to date for the New Colony six, climbing to #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1967. “Love You So Much” was the first single release from New Colony Six’s album Colonization. The lyrics were take from a love note Ray Graffia Jr. gave to his then girlfriend, Bonnie. They ended up getting married and are still going strong.

In the spring of 1967, another track from the album, “You’re Gonna Be Mine”, was a Top Ten hit in both Chicago and Selma (AL). Into early summer, a third track, “I’m Just Waitin'”, was a Top Ten hit for New Colony Six in Quincy (IL).

In the winter of 1967, from the Revelations album came “Treat Her Groovy”. The second single from the album launched New Colony Six into the Top 30 nationally for the first time. “I Will Always Think About You” offered a mellow sound. The song climbed to #1 in Chicago, Louisville (KY), and Columbus (OH), #2 in DeKalb (IL), and South Bend (IN), #3 in Cleveland, Lansing (MI), and Toledo (OH), #4 in Akron (OH), and Miami, #5 in Quincy (IL), #6 in Winnipeg (MB), #7 in Toronto, and Memphis, #8 in Boston, and Top Ten in over a half dozen radio markets in Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The single reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I Will Always Think About You” was on the pop charts at the same time fellow Chicago group, Spanky & Our Gang was charting “Like To Get To Know You” to #13 nationally in the USA.

In 1968, New Colony Six had a guest appearance on the TV show Showcase ’68. A third released from Revelations, “Can’t You See Me Cry” and some regional success, but stalled at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. A fourth release from the album became the groups’ biggest hit: “Things I’d Like To Say”.

Things I'd Like To Say by the New Colony Six

“Things I’d Like To Say” was co-written by bandmates Ronnie Rice and Les Kummel. It is sung from the ‘voice’ of an ex-boyfriend who wonders, “Baby, is he looking after you? Is he showing you the same love, the warm love just like we knew?” In the aftermath of the breakup, the old boyfriend is left waking up each day thinking of his ex-girlfriend, and dreaming of her at night. He lets her know that if her new boyfriends’ words of love are real, she’ll never find herself in the position the ex-boyfriend is enduring now. In the lyrics, the ex-boyfriend reveals how very serious he was about the relationship: “Baby, baby, there’s things I’d like to say. I was hoping that with our love we would get married someday.” But it was not to be.

“Things I’d Like To Say” peaked at #1 in Milwaukee, WI, Battle Creek, MI, Santa Rosa, CA, Buffalo, Rochester, NY, Lansing, MI, Jackson, MI, Storrs, CT,  and Toledo, OH, #2 in Edmonton, Chicago, Syracuse, NY, Boston, Phoenix, Springfield, MA, Saint Charles, MO, and San Bernardino, CA, #3 in Quincy, IL, Calgary, Houston, New York City, Regina, SK, Tulsa, OK, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, WA, Indianapolis, IN, and Louisville, KY, #4 in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Arlington, VA, Philadelphia, York, PA, Greenville, SC, La Crosse, WI, Los Angeles, Stockton, CA, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, CT, New Haven, CT, Galveston, TX, Providence, RI, and Akron, OH, #5 in Cincinnati, OH, Nashville, Hamilton, ON, Babylon, NY, Ann Arbor, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Scranton, PA, Windsor, ON, and Sarasota, FL, #6 in Davenport, IA, Worcester, MA, Geneva, NY, Easton, PA, Dallas, TX, New Glasgow, NS, and Panama City, FL, #7 in Columbus, OH, Cleveland, Roanoke, VA, St. Thomas, ON, Winnipeg, MB, and Fresno, CA, #8 in Dayton, OH, and San Francisco, #9 in Des Moines, IA, Toronto, and #10 in Kenora, ON, and Vancouver, BC.

At the height of the song’s popularity, the New Colony Six appeared on April 3, 1969, on The Mike Douglas Show. 

Ray Graffia Jr. left the Colony in ’69 and played briefly in the Raymond John Michael Band. Both Chic James and Craig Kemp joined Graffia Jr. in the new band. Graffia Jr. also began “teaching inner city kids” in Chicago.

In 1969, New Colony Six released Attacking the Straw Man. It’s single releases: “I Could Never Lie to You”, “I Want You to Know” and “Barbara, I Love You”, stalled between #50 and #78 on the Billboard Hot 100. None of these single releases were hits in any radio market in Canada.

None of the group’s last four Hot 100 entries, from late summer 1969 to New Year’s Day 1972, reached the top 55. Skip Griparis was playing guitar and singing lead vocals in 1972 until the band’s initial cessation to performing at the end of 1974.

In December 1978, Les Kummel died at the age of 33 in a violent car crash.

The New Colony Six had a reunion in 1986. With a mix of lineups, the NC6 as they are now known have been performing on and off ever since the late ’80s. In 2001, Ray Graffia Jr. told Beyond The Beat Generation that from the late 80s through 2001, the NC6 “have averaged between twenty-five to thirty gigs a year.” At the time Graffia Jr. had become an ordained deacon in the Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Chicago.

New Colony Six Interview,” Beyondthebeatgeneration.com, 2001.
New Colony Six, I Lie Awake,” Kiddie-A-Go-Go, 1966.
New Colony Six, “Things I’d Like To Say“, The Mike Douglas Show, April 3, 1969.
The New Colony Six “Breakthrough”, The Rising Storm.com, April 2008.

Things I'd Like To Say by the New Colony Six
CHED 630-AM, Edmonton (AB) Top Ten | March 31, 1969

One response to “Things I’d Like To Say by the New Colony Six”

  1. Tom Locke says:

    Great thorough write up. I also liked this song. There were some great lesser known groups that came out of Chicago and this is one of them.

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