1969 Buchanan Brothers – Medicine Man
Thomas Picardo Jr. grew up in New Jersey and formed The Criterions with Tim Hauser while still in high school. Their band recorded a pair of singles in 1959 before they graduated and moved on to Villanova University.
Thomas began using the name Tommy West for professional appearances and became close friends with Jim Croce. After a few years of working at WRLB-FM in New Jersey, he went to work for ABC Records. There he met staff songwriters Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli. The three began working together and recorded their first album as Cashman, Pistilli, and West.
The trio wrote all the music on the album, which was primarily light folk-rock. A Song That Never Comes became the group’s first single.
Mama Cass later charted with her version of the song, but even her single only reached #99 in 1970.
Their album also included another song they wrote, Sunday Will Never Be The Same.
Spanky and Our Gang also recorded the song, and that became their only top ten single.
The trio then signed with Capitol Records and released their second album in 1968 and a long list of unsuccessful singles in the next few years.
Meanwhile, they also recorded songs using the name The Buchanan Brothers. Event Records released one of those recordings, Medicine Man, and the single reached #22 on the Hot 100 in 1969. It was the trio’s only top forty single.
Gene soon left the group and formed Manhattan Transfer with Tim. After leaving that group, he pursued a solo career with an emphasis on Western Swing music.
Terry and Tommy continued working together, and wrote eight songs that were recorded for the Partridge Family television show. They also produced some of Jim Croce’s albums and all of his hit singles and had another top thirty single of their own as a duo in 1972. In 1975, they started their own record company.
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2 thoughts on “1969 Buchanan Brothers – Medicine Man”
I’ve been a Cashman, West and Pistilli fan for a long time – love this LP! “Spring Has A Tear In It’s Eye” is my favorite cut. Terry Cashman wrote “Willie, Mickey and the Duke” and all the baseball songs that followed, unfortunately Terry is the only one left. Gene Pistilli released a solo LP of western themed songs that’s enjoyable as well. My favorite Cashman and West composition is “Sausalito”, a minor hit for Al Martino. Thanks for logging this!
I’ll be writing more about their later careers when I cover American City Suite from 1972