Say It's Your Birthday: Beau Brummels Sal Valentino, Not!

OK, we can't find anyone who was born today. Worse, we overlooked the

Sept. 8th birthday of Sal Valentino onetime leader of the rather

incredible Beau Brummels, who was born 53 years and 7 days ago. So

today, we'll wish Sal a belated "Happy Birthday!" The Beau Brummels

formed in the wake of the Beatles, in 1964. Though they were based in

San Francisco, they dressed like a U.K. combo, and their hits, "Laugh,

Laugh" (produced by a young Sly Stone) and "Just A Little," released

on legendary DJ Tom Donahue's Autumn Records, were classic British

Invasion pop. They remain magic recordings. Chris Isaak, for one, has

a Beau Brummels album in his collection. After their initial Top 40

hits, the group attempted one extremely ambitious art-rock album,

Triangle, and one of the first country-rock affairs,

Bradley's Barn; both were quite brilliant, but didn't dent the

charts. Valentino got caught up in the psychedelic rock underground of

San Francisco, and by the early '70s had formed Stoneground, which

included Lynn Hughes, who had sung with the Charlatans (one of the

first post-British Invasion San Francisco rock bands). Three potent

albums later, in the early '70s, Valentino left Stoneground to lead

Valentino. In 1975 the Beau Brummels regrouped and recorded The

Beau Brummels. It was another solid effort, but the group's time

had clearly past. Despite critical praise, no one bought it. Why

Valentino, who sang like a soulful Dylan, who had an exotic charm that

women couldn't resist and who wrote brilliant songs, could never

achieve the success he had in 1965 is a question that will never be

answered. Rhino Records has reissued most of the Beau Brummels

recordings, and we suggest you check them out. "Laugh, Laugh," "Don't

Talk To Strangers," "You Tell Me Why" and others are the goods.