The Paupers “Magic People”

Magic People

In 1967 the great band from the North released their debut record. The Paupers, along with the Guess Who, were one of the first Canadian bands to capitalize on the British Invasion. They started releasing singles in 1965 with a lineup consisting of Denny Gerrard (Bass), Skip Prokop (Drums), Bill Marion (Guitars) and Chuck Beal (Guitars). Prokop and Marion handled all the songwriting chores on their first clutch of singles.

Their early sound was a classy mixture of roots music, blues and folk-rock (think early Byrds or Lovin’ Spoonful crossed with the Blues Project circa 1965). The band began rehearsing 14 hours a day, honing their setlist and evolving into one of the tightest bands around. They hit the hip Yorkville District of Canada, playing to packed out venues daily and in return this gained them immense popularity. Rumor has it that the Paupers blew the mighty Jefferson Airplane off stage one night. In 1966/1967, Bill Marion exited the band for reasons unknown, prompting the Paupers to recruit Adam Mitchell. Mitchell (guitar and vocals) proved to be an excellent songwriting partner for Prokop, and at this point the band set out to create their debut lp.

Magic People has a good mid 60’s sound and is anchored by the band’s folk-rock leanings. There are a trio of good psychedelic sunshine pop fuzz rockers on the record. These songs, Magic People, It’s Your Mind and Think I Care, are highlighted by Prokop’s distinct drum patterns, special guitar effects, and great raga soloing. The only dud on the album is One Rainy Day, which is a jaunty good time Lovin’ Spoonful rocker. The remaining six songs are good to great folk-rockers, that recall the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Beau Brummels. The catchy You and Me feels like a throw back to a 1965 Byrds or Brummels folk-rock sound. Tudor Impressions is excellent, reflective, and abstract, including horns, sparkling accoustic guitars and a Beach Boys-like harmony pop ending. Black Thank You Package and My Love Hides From Your View have a great outsider feel. Black Thank You Package has a distinct, exciting intro and a catchy chorus while My Love Hides is an absolute haunting masterpiece of acid-folk.

Later on in the year the band would play at the seminal Monterey Pop Festival. Everything that could go wrong for them did. Band members took doses of acid that were way too strong and had equipment/sound check problems. Thus, it was the beginning of the end for the Paupers, a group of individuals who had began with so much promise. In 1968, beneath all the internal turmoil, the Paupers were able to squeeze one more lp out. Ellis Island is a little mini psychedelic gem and fans are strongly urged to check this great album out as well.

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“My Love Hides From Your View”

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  • Jeff

    Thanks for this post and for the terrific website. Growing up near the Canadian border, I feel obliged to mention that Skip Prokop went on to form “Lighthouse,” a band that I think was pretty big in Canada and had one record that made a splash in the US–“One Fine Morning”
    Not a bad record, though we mocked it a bit because Lighthouse seemed to be one of those bands that we heard on CKLW radio (out of Windsor) a lot because of their “Canadian Content” rules that mandated a certain number of Canadian artists be played every hour.
    Saw them at Ontario Place near Toronto after they day had passed with about 50 other people.
    Thanks again for stirring some memories…

  • Judy

    I was just taking a walk down memory lane and decided to Google The Paupers. I loved that band. It was so nice to hear a well-remebered song, and to find out more about them. I am a Canadian but have lived in the US most of my life, and was doing so at the time of the Pauper’s heyday, so I never knew exactly what became of them. Now I do. Thanks for reminding me of how good they were!

  • Robert Phillips

    I did a Google search for the Paupers and your web site came up. I saw them in New York City in 1967 at the Café Au Go Go with the Jefferson Airplane as the headliners (it was the Airplane’s first NY appearance). The Paupers came on first and I was absolutely blown away. I was so taken by them that the Airplane was truly only a also ran. I bouight both of their albums when they were first released. Somewhere along the way I lost “Magic People” but I still have “Ellis Island”. I have been looking everywhere for a copy of “Magic People” but can’t find it.

  • Jason

    Both Paupers albums will be reissued by Pacemaker fairly soon, not sure if they will include the singles – the Paupers released an album’s worth of non-lp cuts starting in 1965. The original albums are easy to find on ebay, and you can get them cheap too.

  • Came across this site while doing research for Lighthouse’s website ( Thanks Jeff for noting that Skip Prokop went on to form Lighthouse. However, I wanted to add that Lighthouse made quite a bit of a larger splash than Jeff’s comment would indicate. Recognized as one of the best performing acts of their time, they toured 300 days a year including sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, Fillmore West, Expo ‘70 in Japan and the Isle of Wight Festival in England where they were the only act besides Jimi Hendrix asked to perform twice among artists that included The Doors, Chicago, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis and The Who. They had three charting hits in the United States alone – One Fine Morning, Sunny Days and Pretty Lady – while at home they collected four gold albums and the first platinum album in Canada. Their 1982 concert at Ontario Place drew 33,000 people (I don’t know what concert Jeff was at). Lighthouse permanently reunited in 1992, released a new CD in 1994, Song of the Ages, and this October released a new boxed set, 40 Years of Sunny Days, that contains a remastered CD of 16 of the most requested Lighthouse classics paired with a new live concert DVD recorded at Q Music Studios in 5.1 Surround Sound. Lighthouse songs have been getting a lot of attention lately as well, with cover versions of One Fine Morning and Sunny Days being recorded by artists such as Akon, Shobha and Santana. Check out the website for lots more info including touring schedule.

  • chris

    anyone remember the paupers playing the Electric Circus in NYC (East Village)?

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