Biography

There have been more than one group called the Swallows.

1. A US group from the 19
2. A Canadian rock group from the 1990s/2000s.
3. An Indonesian psychedelic group


1. The US group from the 19

The Swallows formed in Baltimore in 1946 as the Oakaleers. By the end of the forties their name had changed to the Swallows and the line-up had settled down to Eddie Rich (lead), Earl Hurley (tenor), Herman ‘Junior’ Denby (tenor/baritone), Frederick Johnson (baritone) and Norris ‘Bunky’ Mack (bass).

Signed to King in 1951, their first single ‘Dearest’ didn’t take off until it was flipped for ‘Will you be mine?’, which reached number 9 in the R’n’B chart. Their other substantial R’n’B hit came in 1952 with their 5th release, ‘Beside you’, which reached number 8.

The group persevered through several line-up changes and recorded 11 singles for King and one for After Hours. The original group split in 1956. Hurley and Johnson signed a new Swallows to Federal in 1958 and recorded 4 singles. ‘Itchy twitchy feeling’ managed to reach number 100 on the Pop chart but they broke up shortly afterwards.

2 The Canadian rock group from the 1990s/2000s.

Glenn Milchem cut his teeth playing drums with numerous bands based around Toronto’s Queen Street scene from the early 80’s to the early 90’s. Some of the artists he played and recorded with during this period include Vital Sines, The Garbageman, Whitenoise, Groovey Religion, The Plasterscene Replicas, Andrew Cash, Change of Heart and Andy Curnew.

In December ‘91 Glenn was asked to join Blue Rodeo, another Queen Street band who had quickly outgrown their local beginnings to go on to national success. Glenn has remained a member for thirteen years. In the meantime he’s continued to play with other bands, including his twin brother John’s band Starvin’ Hungry, The Remains of Brian Borcherdt, Holy Fuck, Luke Doucet and many others.

Throughout Glenn’s career as a drummer he wrote his own songs on guitar, planning to start a project of his own one day. By 1997 Glenn finally felt he had a batch of songs strong enough to record and release. He decided to call the project “the Swallows,” though he didn’t have a band yet, and intended to play most of the instruments himself. He began recording at Toronto’s Chemical Sound with engineer Al Miller, and guest contributor’s Anne Bourne, Ian Blurton and Rich Brown.

The CD was eventually completed and released as “Turning Blue” in 1999 on Glenn’s own label, Magnetic Angel Recordings, and Six Shooter Records. Between the records completion and release, Glenn put together the original line-up of the Swallows, with Glenn on guitar and vocals, John Borra on bass and vocals, Randy Curnew on drums, and Clive MacNutt on guitar. The band gigged regularly in support of the CD, gradually building a new set of songs and a new collective sound.

The Swallows returned to Chemical Sound in 2001, this time as a band, and with co-producer Ian Blurton along for the ride. Ian’s knowledge, experience and willingness to experiment, along with stellar contributions from the new band members, helped make the resulting record a big step forward. Titled “The Beauty of Our Surroundings,” it was released in 2002, again on Magnetic Angel, with distribution by Warner Canada.

Original guitarist Clive MacNutt left the Swallows in 2002 to be replaced by current guitarist Jonny James, causing the bands sound to evolve again, becoming tighter and punchier. After a year and a half of gigging, the band commenced making their 3rd album at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio’s in early 2004.

Recorded in the usual fits and starts, the record was completed at the beginning of this year, and represents a further stage in the bands evolution. Release is tentatively set for autumn 2005.

Edited by chewtoy on 23 Dec 2010, 19:37

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