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May 13, 2021 7:47 am  #1


The River Is Wide

The other day the original version of this quirky semi-hit from 1967 by The Forum, popped up on my IPod. Sometimes I’ll check into the background of obscure groups and this one was a bit of an eye-opener. It was a three-piece band fronted by Phil Campos and two female backing vocalists. Here’s an excerpt from the liner notes of their only album.

“With only a guitar for an accompaniment, Phil Campos attacked the audience like a leopard. Phil is surrounded by two lovely animal trainers; Rene Noel, an exciting blonde who has enchanted audiences in leading comical roles, and Riselle Bain, another lady wielding a whip, with seductive, smouldering eyes that reduce men to ashes.”

Apparently Phil and various incarnations of the band played Carson City and Vegas in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Anybody happen to see them? I would have given my eye teeth to catch one of their shows. They must have been on a par with Wayne Newton at the very least.
https://i2.wp.com/www.rarerecords.net/wp-content/uploads/images/products/products-the_forum_river2.jpg?fit=1000%2C988&ssl=1

 

 

May 15, 2021 7:33 am  #2


Re: The River Is Wide

Boy, did I love this song!

 

May 15, 2021 1:52 pm  #3


Re: The River Is Wide

The Forum has a little pizazz/drama than the Grass Roots1968  cut of this song, but the Roots charted #31.

Last edited by Little Rich (May 15, 2021 2:26 pm)

 

May 15, 2021 2:22 pm  #4


Re: The River Is Wide

I very much preferred the more powerful rendition of the song by The Forum, but there was an interesting aspect to the chart performance of the two versions here in Toronto. In 1967, The Forum's version spent 6 weeks on the CHUM Chart, peaking at #14. Two years later, The Grassroots' version spent 6 weeks on the CHUM Chart -- and also peaked at #14. 

 

May 15, 2021 10:37 pm  #5


Re: The River Is Wide

When the females are singing, it reminds me of the Wall of Sound.

 

May 16, 2021 12:22 am  #6


Re: The River Is Wide

I have the 45 of The River Is Wide by the Forum in 4 variations. The Penthouse label original which had a different mix and edit of the song, one promo copy on Mira, and stock copies on blue and black labels on Mira, which between the two have two different mixes / lengths of the song. Interesting history indeed.


Tom Diehl
 

May 16, 2021 11:09 am  #7


Re: The River Is Wide

StereoTom wrote:

I have the 45 of The River Is Wide by the Forum in 4 variations. The Penthouse label original which had a different mix and edit of the song, one promo copy on Mira, and stock copies on blue and black labels on Mira, which between the two have two different mixes / lengths of the song. Interesting history indeed.

When I was looking these guys up I came across a site, it might have been a Steve Hoffman forum, in which several Forum fanatics (I didn't know there was such a thing), were incensed by the extra verse edited on to the Mira version. I was used to hearing that version on the radio so when I played the Penthouse version on YouTube it sounded weird to me.
 

     Thread Starter
 

May 17, 2021 6:04 am  #8


Re: The River Is Wide

Thanks to this thread, I now have the earworm of this song going through my head, and I'm caught singing the verse out loud many times a day.

 

May 17, 2021 8:07 am  #9


Re: The River Is Wide

Roman wrote:

The other day the original version of this quirky semi-hit from 1967 by The Forum, popped up on my IPod. Sometimes I’ll check into the background of obscure groups and this one was a bit of an eye-opener. It was a three-piece band fronted by Phil Campos and two female backing vocalists. Here’s an excerpt from the liner notes of their only album.

“With only a guitar for an accompaniment, Phil Campos attacked the audience like a leopard. Phil is surrounded by two lovely animal trainers; Rene Noel, an exciting blonde who has enchanted audiences in leading comical roles, and Riselle Bain, another lady wielding a whip, with seductive, smouldering eyes that reduce men to ashes.”

Apparently Phil and various incarnations of the band played Carson City and Vegas in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Anybody happen to see them? I would have given my eye teeth to catch one of their shows. They must have been on a par with Wayne Newton at the very least.
https://i2.wp.com/www.rarerecords.net/wp-content/uploads/images/products/products-the_forum_river2.jpg?fit=1000%2C988&ssl=1

 

it's possible the concept for a .'band'  called mama lion may have been derived from this, or something similar. or not... but i do see a slight lineage at least, perhaps.
 

 

May 25, 2021 8:55 pm  #10


Re: The River Is Wide

I forgot to mention, even Bobby Rydell cut this one. I had him sign my 45 of it.


Tom Diehl
 

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