EDDIE MARTINEZ: drums / JOEY MURCIA: lead guitar / BOBBY PUCCETTI: keyboards / JERRY SCHILLS: bass / SAMMY HALL: vocals
The Birdwatchers and their music was fun… they were good musicians and well known throughout the state of Florida. Their biggest hit, “Girl I Got News For You” is still among the most requested oldies at WAXY106. - liner notes / Rick Shaw, Program Director, WAXY Radio. This long-lived group from Tampa, Florida produced mainly highly-derivative beat/pop fare, though enjoyable nonetheless. They recorded under several other assumed names, including two 45s with Duane Allman as The New Rock Band.
The 1980 retrospective LP collects most of their 45s from 1965 to 1967. The version of Mary Mary here is a different version to the 45. Some copies of the Mary Mary 45 come with a paste-over label where the title is given as It’s To You That I Belong. Ordered by a Miami radio station because of perceived marijuana connotations, this 45 variant is known as a “WQAM copy”.
A Bobby Puccetti composition, Heard You Went Away, was recorded by the Proctor Amusement Co..
Joey Murcia went on to join Magic whose rare LP Enclosed has seen a reissue. Spirit fanatics should note the cover of Mr. Skin on the Geminix 45.
Sam Hall, who joined the band in 1966, was previously in The Mor-Loks and The Trolls. He became a Christian in the late sixties or early seventies and later toured as Sammy Hall and The Sammy Hall Singers. Jerry Schills was previously with Milwaukee’s Legends.
The Birdwatchers were a garage rock pop band active in the 1960s in the Miami area. The band dabbled with an Everly Brothers sound in their early career (1964), even releasing a version of "Wake Up Little Susie" on Tara, a local Florida label.
Depite national TV exposure on teen shows such as Where The Action Is, the most the band ever made it on the charts was #125 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Charts in September 1966 with "I'm Gonna Love you Anyway." As evidence of their local popularity another of their records ("Girl I Got News for You") made Billboard's Regional Breakout Charts for Miami peaking at #3 locally in April 1966.
The band also appeared in the 1967 film, Wild Rebels - a local Miami, Fla., production.
Check out their sound on Youtube:
GARY STITES and the BIRDWATCHERS
Gary Stites was a pop idol in the '50s but is best known as the first manager of the Birdwatchers. He started the Living Legend and Legend labels, the "Legend" refering to himself, naturally!