Manistee – (’71-’72)
In the photo: Jay Fortier – bass, guitar, vocals; Bo Jessop – drums, vocals; Al Blick – rhythm guitar, percussion, vocals; Roger Harcourt – lead guitar, harmonica, vocals; Jim Toczynski – piano, bass
North Country was the final incarnation of Band X. Roger Harcourt was in the band at the time, and had written a song called “North Country Song” (our track contribution to his first album). It was about where we lived and the areas we grew up in and were very attached to, so we decided to try to reflect that in our name (sort of like Chicago, Boston, Alabama, etc.). I think it confused people more than anything, and was probably kind of a back-pedaling step, but we tried it anyway. Some people liked it, some didn’t.
Our friend Gary Dunbar had purchased the entire set of equipment from “Midwestern Sound”, Grand Rapids, in the mid 70’s and moved it to Cadillac, where he ran “North Country Studios” (the Band X master tapes still reside there). He was part of the grand scheme of musical recognition for “the other areas” of Michigan. Some of the sessions for Roger’s second album were done there, and some at “Cinema Sound” in Grand Rapids. The bulk of it was done at a studio in Detroit which was run by Fred Munch, formerly of Grand Rapids.