AMERICAN ZOO - Back Street Thoughts

AMERICAN ZOO - 'Back Street Thoughts' / 'What Am I?' (Reena Records 1030) 1967

This outfit were previously known as We The People and recorded earlier takes of both songs on this 45. Strangely 'What Am I?' was titled 'Who Am I?'

'Back Street Thoughts' is a sensitive mix of folk rock and psychedelia with harmonies and poignant guitar. The sound is as delicate as butterfly wings.
'What Am I?' contains lots of prominent farfisa organ and is a real treat. BUT who were these boys?

A couple of years ago I wrote about American Zoo's earlier 45 on Reena Records. Here it is again with better label scans.

AMERICAN ZOO - 'Magdalena' / 'Mr. Brotherhood' (Reena Records 1026) 1967

Another very cool double sided psych 45. American Zoo were a group of hip teenagers who recorded for Hollywood based label Reena. A picture of the band shows them looking extremely young and I suspect they never even went anywhere near an LSD tab so congrats on getting such a great sound on record.
That being said, they made an exciting couple of psychedelic 45s. 'Mr Brotherhood' written by Bill Hawkins was probably the top side, although both songs are strong. Can't decide which I prefer, so I won't!
This version appeared on Psychedelic Unknowns Volume 11 however, a longer cut was compiled on High All The Time Volume 2 (never heard this version so I'll have to try and locate that comp).
'Magdalena' has four name credits on the label, J. Martz, B. Bottrell, B. Hawkins and D. Danieli. This song appears to be non comp which is strange because it really is a fast paced psycher with cool instrumentation. Infact, the band are very competent musicians for youngsters.

This band shot of American Zoo turned up on a yahoo psych forum and was unearthed by their drummer Jason Martz.


  1. just a quick word of encouragement, thanks for all the information in these posts, always enlightening stuff, bad for my wallet though!
    keep up the good work matey, much appreciated.
    thanks again

  2. Thanks for your feedback. 45s are becoming more and more expensive to buy. I'm lucky to have secured many discs years ago when the prices were a little more sensible!!


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