“Creepin’ Fuzz” by The Krystals (Labrador City, 1971)
In 1966, a young Dutch engineer by the name of Stan Erbrink had hopped continents and landed on the far east coast of Canada in Labrador City. While Erbrink relocated for work in his field of engineering, he also resumed an influential role in his other area of expertise: rock n’ roll.
Stan Erbrink had previously played in The Black Knights, an early 1960s beat rock outfit from Heemstede, North Holland. Leaving The Black Knights behind following their 1963 “Blue Dream” B/W “Little Girl” single, Erbrink arrived in Labrador City at an opportune time. In 1966, Lab City’s groundbreaking R&B act The Keatniks had officially disbanded despite being hot on the heels of releasing the first full-llength Newfoundland & Labrador rock n’ roll LP in 1965. Stan Erbrink and The Keatniks’ founding member Maurice Caines quickly bonded in what would become a new musical output, The Krystals.
Throughout a few years of extensively touring the island, as well as becoming Lab City’s resident rockers, The Krystals underwent a slew of lineup changes. By 1970, with Maurice Caines no longer in the band, the final foursome featured Lloyd Thornhill on guitar and vocals, Ray March on keys, Roland “Rolly” Gaudet on drums, and Stan Erbrink on bass and vocals. This is the incarnation of The Krystals that hit the bricks to the R.C.A studio in Montreal and laid down what would become their first and final eponymous LP.
The Krystals LP was recorded in 1970 in what Erbrink described to Robert Williston via Citizen Freak as a “tiring continuous session of 18 hours”. With Erbrink on the brink of relocating once again for work—this time to South Africa—he told Williston that the album was recorded solely as a memento to “leave a palpable reminder of The Krystals to the people of Labrador City after five years of playing music there”.
While 12 of the 13 cuts on the LP are cover songs that range from The Hollies to Simon & Garfunkel, side B of the album closes out with an unexpected ripper of an original. Contrasting ballads such as “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, “Creepin’ Fuzz” is an abrupt 2 minute psych rock jab. Though distinctly capable vocalists, Erbrink and Thornhill shut their mouthes for this instrumental track and let the instruments do the hollering. Thornhill, who penned the song, takes the lead with buzzing guitar licks, while March tastefully makes an organ wail.
Leaving the 3000 copies of The Krystals 1971 LP as a farewell to Lab City and Newfoundland’s rock n’ roll scene in general, it cannot be understated that “Creepin’ Fuzz” is one hell of a last kiss goodbye.
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