Ace Records are very proud to have an extensive catalogue of Fireballs recordings from their 11-year career, covering all bases, from their tentative New Mexico beginnings as a garage instrumental group right through to these two albums released on Atco in 1968 and 1969. Their late 50s hits had included well-known instrumentals such as ‘Bulldog’ and ‘Torquay’, and they then enjoyed a rich second coming in 1963 when ‘Sugar Shack’ hit the top of the US charts with Jimmy Gilmer taking the lead vocal. Recording with producer Norman Petty at his Clovis studio, the group always maintained the clean rock sound associated with his work. In the 60s they gradually became a vocal act, reflecting the demands of the time.
During the mid-60s, Gilmer connected with friends such as musician Carolyn Hester and spent time inNew York’s Greenwich Village soaking up its folk influences. There he formed a bond with Tom Paxton, recording a version of his ‘Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound’. Through this link Gilmer received a demo of Paxton’s ‘Bottle Of Wine’ in 1967. The Fireballs were fired with enthusiasm for the song, convinced it was a hit, and quickly recorded it. Their long-term label, Dot Records, were not keen on it, however, prompting Norman Petty to shop it around to other companies, eventually landing a deal with Atco. The record made #9, leading quickly to the “Bottle Of Wine” album, containing a lovely cross between folk rock and sunshine pop vocals on intelligent songs, including ‘Goin’ Away’ which was issued as the follow-up to the hit and reached #79.
The second Atco album, “Come On, React!”, proved to be the group’s swansong, although quality was there aplenty. There was variety in the material, with the jingle jangle folk rock of their version of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘Cod'ine’, the soft and gentle vocals on group member George Tomsco’s ‘Light In The Window’ and a tough cover of Allen Toussaint’s ‘Get Out Of My Life, Woman’. The title track reached #63 but proved to be their final hit of any note. Although best known for their earlier hits, these two albums remain a bright note in their career, which is why Ace are so happy to have them in catalogue.