The American surf community suffered a huge loss in late November when two members of Boulder, Colorado group The Astronauts sadly died in just a few days from each other – vocalist-guitarist “Rich” Fifield on November 18, and drummer Jim Gallagher on November 20, 2021. Bassist Jon Patterson, the last original Astronaut, luckily is still with us, while the other two guitarists from the best-known line-up have also deceased, Dennis Lindsey in 1991 and Bob Demmon in 2010. Mark Bretz who was involved with the group as a singer and a pianist during their final years in 1967-1968, passed away in 1999.
Except for operating as a worldwide “role model” of a typical surf music band – without spending a moment near the sea or even the waves – in a way, The Astronauts also “brought” blues music to Finland! In the mid 1960s, then the newly formed Finnish guitar group Eero ja Jussi & The Boys (featuring the lead singing brothers Eero and Jussi Raittinen) cut their English cover version of T-Bone Walker’s Stormy Monday Blues – which they had in fact directly borrowed from The Astronauts’ LP “Everything Is A-OK!” (1964). The Boys’ historical recording appeared on the band’s debut album “Numero 1” (Number 1) in 1965.
Warm thanks and regards to “Stormy” Patterson, who once assisted in compiling the accompanying discography.