The Alliance, Peoria, IL

The Alliance, Peoria, IL

The Alliance started in 1968 when Chicago transplant Barry Brenner enrolled in Bradley University in Peoria. Barry grew up on the south side of Chicago and had been playing acoustic guitar since a young age. By the time he was in high school he had a working rock ’n roll band called The Faintest Idea. When he matriculated at Bradley he was anxious to get back to playing in a band.  He met and became good friends with bass player Roger Elem from Valley Stream, New York, who was also enrolled at Bradley.  One day when Barry and Roger were at a jam session at the Bradley student union Gary Richrath heard them playing (note: according to Barry, Dan Fogelberg was also there that day). Gary asked to join their group on rhythm guitar and introduced Barry and Roger to skilled local musicians Denny Probst and Tom LaConte.  Barry christened the newly formed group The Alliance and they began their musical journey, playing up and down the state on weekends. They played in Peoria at the Glen Oak Park Bandshell and also at The Exposition Gardens Opera House on May 17th 1969 in support of touring UK sensations The Foundations.  

Poster courtesy of Barry Brenner.

Poster courtesy of Barry Brenner.

The Alliance, 1968 – 1969:

Barry Brenner (lead guitar & vocals), Roger Elem (Fender bass & vocals), Gary Richrath (rhythm guitar), Tom LaConte (Hammond B3), Denny Probst (drums)

 

The Alliance 2

The Alliance in front of the house they lived in. Bruce Brown photographer.

Gary’s affiliation with Hank Skinner and his business Peoria Musical Enterprises led to a sponsorship deal which included badly needed band gear and a few bookings. Hank also secured the band a few of hours of studio time at Golden Voice in 1969 to record a demo tape.

Barry B

Bruce Brown photographer.

 

 

Barry Brenner recalls recording at Golden Voice:

“I do clearly remember the very first time I put on cans to track my vocals. I was absolutely amazed at hearing myself so clearly through the Neumann U87 tube mic and Jerry’s echo chamber. It was a fab experience and quite a thrill to record at a locally famous ‘Professional Studio’! I was also impressed with the high ceilings at his studio and was told Milam built the place to ‘CBS’ spec.”

The Alliance

The Alliance playing outside at Bradley University. Bruce Brown photographer.

The group cut two songs, the Terry Reid version of Tinker Tailor and a Richrath original Let Me Love You While I Can.  After mix down Jerry provided the group with a two track mono take away dub (as he often did with groups not cutting a 45 using the Golden Voice label).  The tracks were shopped around to labels but the songs and group were never picked up for release. The group would disband and go their separate ways not long after.

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