The Ragamuffins

The Ragamuffins were the proto-version of the Music Machine, as the trio, formed in 1965, expanded to a five-piece and changed their name to the Music Machine in 1966. All three Ragamuffins -- leader, singer, guitarist, and songwriter Sean Bonniwell, drummer Ron Edgar, and bassist Keith Olsen -- had just finished stints in folk-pop bands prior to teaming up to form a rock group. Bonniwell had been in the Wayfarers; Edgar in the Goldebriars; and Olsen in the band of singer Gale Garnett. Four songs from a 1965 Ragamuffins session, unissued at the time, finally came out on the Music Machine archive compilation Ignition in 2000. These tracks find them in an odd, tentative transition from their folk-pop roots to the harder rock sound of the Music Machine. "Chances" could have fit into the repertoire of their earlier groups, yet "Two Much" was definitely in the British Invasion mold, and "Talk Me Down," which the Music Machine would record for official release in a much tougher and fuller version, definitely pointed the way toward the aggressive push-pull tension of the Music Machine sound. ~ Richie Unterberger

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