The O-Men & Their Luv'

Genre: Rock: Southern Rock

omen and their luv 1967

 “We kicked out the horn players and went psychedelic” – The Omen and Their Luv, 1967
Front: Don McGlamery and Jeff Neighbors, back: Bill McClain, Bruce Hopper and Tommy Stuart

Omen and Their Luv released one of the best singles from Alabama during the ’60s. “Maybe Later” sounds fantastic – Tippy Armstrong’s buzzing guitar is all over the song while Tommy Stuart sings his too-cool-for-you lyrics. I especially dig the way he wails the end of each chorus:

Ain’t gonna get me in church
You try all you like, but it ain’t gonna work.
Not gonna go downtown
I’m staying out here where no pictures around

Gotta know you better baby,
And if I like you, well, maybe later!

Won’t thread the needle baby
Don’t wear your shoes and I think you’re crazy
Gonna be a cold day in June
Leave me alone I’m going to finish my tune

Need to know you better baby,
And if I like you, well, maybe later!

Need some time to think about it baby And if I think real hard, well, maybe later!

Won’t pick flowers in the rain
Leave me alone and I’ll go back where I came,
I see a lot of things I need
And I need your love, but just as long as it’s free

Need some time to think about it baby
And if I think real hard, well, maybe later!

If “Need Some Sunshine” doesn’t catch you at first, wait until 1:22 into the song, when it shifts into a different time signature and, thanks to some eerie backing vocals, a whole other realm.

Bruce Hopper wrote to me about the group, and also sent some unreleased songs, including the fantastic “Another Girl” from the same sessions that produced “Maybe Later”. I’m including an excerpt of the songs here, in the hope that they can receive a proper release at some time in the near future.

I am the founder and former bass player for the Omen and Their Luv. I formed the O-men in 1966 with Fred Deloach. We were originally a 60’s white soul group with horns. The original lineup was myself on bass, Fred Deloach vocals and sax, Mike Hatchett on drums, David Popp on trumpet, Billy McClain on guitar and John Purdue on keyboards.

We went into the studio in the fall of ’66 and cut a six song demo tape: “Hold on I’m Coming”, “Hungry”, “Steppin’ Stone”, “Wooly Bully” (we were the opening act for Sam the Sham when he played Tuscaloosa), also two originals, “You” and “Hurry on Back” written by me and Fred Deloach. This tape was done at Boutwell’s “church” studio with Ed Boutwell doing the engineering. Boutwell Studios located in Birmingham was the only decent studio in central Alabama that recorded rock’n’roll. This tape I presented to Duane Allman (who liked it) and to Steve Caldwell of the Swinging Medallions / Pieces of Eight, whose dad, Earl Caldwell owned several clubs in Panama City Beach, Fl. This demo landed us a gig in Panama City working for Earl.

The O-men would play a jam session at the Beach Party every day from 2-4. We would then open for the “Pieces of Eight ” at 8pm and do a set. They did a set and we would come back on at 10 for a set. Then we had one hour off to get down beach to the Cork & Bottle Club (later renamed the Red Rooster) for our regular gig of playing from midnight to 5am! This was our work schedule seven days a week for two months straight.

We added Tommy Stuart right before we started this gig. He had just left the Rubber Band after they had a hit with “Let Love Come Between Us” that Johnny Wyker wrote (later with Sail Cat). Tommy played sax, sang and played keyboards. Due to band stress, Fred left the band half way through the summer.

When we got back to Tuscaloosa, Mike brought Jimi Hendrix’s first album to practice and that changed everything. We switched from white soul to psychedelic rock. David Popp left on trumpet.

Because of the change to harder rock, we changed the name to The Omen and Their Luv. Hatchet moved to Atlanta and we brought in Jeff Neighbors on drums. We also added Don McGlamery on rhythm guitar and sax. This was the lineup in the pic by the gas pump. We went into the studio in the fall of 1967 to record four of Tommy’s songs. Again we recorded at Boutwell’s Studio. Tommy Stuart wrote “Maybe Later” and sang lead vocals. We snuck some young girls in to sing backup, but their parents would never let them tour with us.

We brought in Tippy Armstong (later a studio musician in Muscle Shoals) to play lead guitar on all four songs. Since Tippy came to the session, Eddie Hinton (Muscle Shoals session man) showed up to visit and started telling Ed Boutwell how to mix. Boutwell got pissed and told Eddie to mix it. So “Maybe Later” ended up with some top notch studio guys helping us out.

I met David Keller when he was playing with The Preachers in 1967. After the Preachers, David had a booking agency that he ran out of Montevallo where he had attended college. He was wanting to expand into booking and producing and club ownership. He liked our tape and we were the first band he booked onto his promoted by Keller.

“Good Man” which was to be our next single, but it never happened under David Keller. “Another Girl” was to be the “B” side of our next release.

He had a group of bands that included the Omen, The Outer Mongolian Herd and W.C. Doan and Co. that he booked. For a short while he opened a recording studio on 15th St. in Tuscaloosa where some of his bands recorded. He also started a club in Panama City in June of 1968 called the Head Shop. We were the opening act. For two weeks we played as The Omen and Their Luv, then we would play for two weeks as the Preachers doing their hit song “Inspiration”. Fun times.

David continued to book us across the South for at least a year. He also had the Shingaling Club in Selma, AL. We played there every Saturday night for at least six months until one night we let some black musicians sit in with us. The next Saturday we showed up and the Sheriff had put a pad lock on the door with a sign reading “Closed until further notice by order of the Sheriff of Dallas County”. Selma 1968!

Billy left and was replaced by Mike Thornton from the Shadows. By 1969 we were down to a 4 piece as shown in the other photo. Bill Stewart (Allman Brothers Band) replaced Jeff for about six months and then Asa Gaston (Locust Fork Band) came in on drums.

The four piece of Stuart, Hopper, Thornton, and Gaston went on to re-aquire the name Rubber Band which Stuart owned the copyright on (Tommy later sued and won a copy right infringement case against Bootsy’s Rubberband). We recorded on 1 2 3 Records [“Your Man Done Gone” / “Peeking Through Your Window”] with Tommy playing keyboards, flute, sax and doing the lead vocals. Unfortunately our song had the exact same rhythm and chord changes as “Spirit in the Sky” which was released one week before our song.

We did an east coast tour the summer of 1970. Things were falling apart by that time. Mike Thorton left and was replaced by Tommy Joe White. Asa didn’t want to do the tour because he just got married, so we added a session drummer from Colorado for the tour. I left the group after the tour.

Asa and I later formed another local band with Jim Coleman (check out his website) and Jimmy Butts. We were known as Mr. Wizard and recorded a one hour special for Alabama PBS. More bands in the 70’s. Owned the Chukker in Tuscaloosa in the 80’s and promoted music for years. Now I back up Carroline Shines, the daughter of blues legend Johnny Shines.

Mike Hatchett later went on to play with the Brick Wall out of Atlanta and worked as a roadie for Little Feat and George Jones and many others including Kiss, Ronnie Milsap, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. Billy McClain died of cancer after a successful photography career. Don McGlamery later moved to Norway and was a successful street musician there. [ChasKit: Don passed away in January, 2006].

I have been listening to our body of work with the Omen, Omen & Their Luv and the Rubber Band and am going to talk with Tommy about doing a retrospective CD of all the material from the ’60’s and 1970.

Bruce Hopper


As of 2009 The O-Men & their LUV are: Tommy Stuart - vocals, piano, guitar & sax, Larry Keeble - guitar, Owen Brown - bass, Jeff Simpson - drums. The band headed by Tommy Stuart has released three albums as of 2014.

Source: CD Baby

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Video: The O-Men & Their LUV' - "We've Been Watching You" Full album "Lost in the Leer"


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