The Churchill's Band - Israel's Led Zeppelin? Special Post with Rare Unheard Songs And Outtakes - השלושרים.

Welcome to this very special and extra rare rock show from the beautiful land of Israel.

The Israeli scene of the late 60s' experimental art and music could be described as inspirational at best. There were many artists dawdling around Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem at that time; the fastest-growing, most rock-chic cities with a multi-racial metropolitan population. After the War of Independence in 1948, Israeli-Jews began flocking to these two cities mostly to try and make a living, and right after the Six-Day War with the Palestinian and Arab joined-armies in 1967, it was a time of immigrate crest: tens of thousands were leaving their homelands in Europe and other countries to become part of that new ‘little’ land (‘Ieritz HaKtanah’) as Jews call it adding zest and zeal to a rather stick-in-the-mud conservative society.

Israel was ecstatic. The victorious chants were also 'hearable' in other few cities and took shape in a few musical works and artistic films seen in the abundance of 'foreign'-influenced art and a burgeoning garage-band rock scene called 'rhythm bands' or 'Lalkot HaKitziv'. Much of these bands were local r’n’r minimal acts barely capable of leading one another through a typical 'simple meter', 4/4 rock and roll number. The sound was struggling very hard, but as with Turkey’s Altin Mikrofon (Golden Microphone) contest before them, Israelis wanted to get their own Battle of Bands, and called it the ‘Beat Music Festival’. The heat was on, and many bands came and went just as fast lost in total obscurity.

The list of Israeli beat bands is long, but here, I want to feature one band only in one of its earliest ‘garagista’ forms. Please, I know it's a famous sought-after band nowadays that everybody and their dogs know of, but you will get what I'm talking about when you hear the dozen-or-so songs that I upped here by that band. So, be patient, 'kay? Les' rawk awn rawl nows... (drum roll, 'neone?)

The Churchill's:

Most 60’s garage rock aficionados know this band as I've said earlier like their mothers’ names. But, few if any… know its earliest incarnations and/or have any other music by that band other than their sole, eponymous first (and last, sadly), same-titled album issued on the Tel-Aviv label Hed-Artzi in 1970.

The Churchill's in Denmark, 1969.
The band started outside of Tel-Aviv playing as a set with Haim Romano playing lead guitar. Another Briton called Rob Huxley who co-wrote most of what the band sang in English was before joining the band in England, playing guitar in various beat and freakbeat bands and other R’n’B rock groups. He came to Israel on Christmas' Eve, in 1967 to audition with an Israeli beat band at the Casablan club, Jaffa. His other Israeli pre-Churchill’s band was an outfit named rather mockingly, ‘Purple Ass Baboon’, featuring him, alongside Moti Levi, and Yaki Yusha. He left them to join the Churchill’s (Miki Gavrielov-bass, Haim Romano-lead, Yitzchak Klepter-rhythm guitar, Ami Tribtech-drums), along with a Canadian (Stan Solomon, who used to play for an Israeli beat band called The Saints in Haifa), and they became The Churchill's officially on May, 1968.

Cover of the DVD for the film.
The band was trying hard to find its place among the conservative Israeli populace, add to that a this-side-of boring, heavy French-Russian influenced beat scene where new sounds were frowned upon. With this in mind, they joined forces with French artist-director Jacques Katmor (1938-2001), to make the soundtrack for his first full-length feature artfilm "Mikreh Isha" (A Woman's Case, as some translate it, but it's more like A Girl's Happening in 60s' hip-speak slanguage Hebrew: מקרה אישה), which made it hard for these conservative straight-laced 'squares' to come to grabs with what was maybe, the first art-film ever made in Israel. Thus, the film was a failure and it flunked the local film market.

French director Ketmor and his wife in a self-portrait.
In the following link, you can see Katmor's art-band 'The Third-Eye': a take at Andy Warhol's Factory: Biography.   
Producer Avraham (Pasha Desheh אברהם דשא - 1926-2004) Pashaniel was disappointed, and later went to produce so-called Army-humor bands' films and T.V.-plays for the collective HaGashash HaChiver, and ultimately because of his Yemeni decent... produced videos for the world-famous Yemenite singer Ofra Hazar getting his ass 'Disney-fied'. As for Katmor... well, he lead a psychedelic life with his wife Hillit Yeshurun (the main actress in the film itself), somewhere off in a hippie commune.

The Churchill's, Jerusalem, 1971.
And The Churchill's? They fled to Denmark achieving minor success as a stage band playing along the line with mega rock stars like Deep Purple and Led Zep, then after four months returned back to Israel to put whatever songs they've made for that art-film into record, releasing it on June, 1970. (Note: some date this album way back to 1968, or 1969. Others go five-years-ahead-of-their-times (as one song by the 'Merry-cunt Third Bardo psych-band went...), ballparking it at 1972). The CD reissue/comp. is to blame as it has their first singles, plus some songs by their second, and third incarnations as heavy prog-rockers (Jericho Jones, Jericho). The first go back to yes, 1968 and the latter to 1971-1972. This is 'zactly where the anachronistic mixup has started. Here is a good introduction for the band with some 'Toube vids, too.
A scene shot from Mikre Isha featuring a nude woman.
So, we all know how that much-sought first LP can fetch in eBay auctions 4000 USD $ and shyat. Still, we didn't hear the whole 'story'. Some blogsites took good notice (cheers out there), to this fact, and downloaded some of these lost gems. I will do the same and as a bonus, will include three never-heard-on-or-off-the-web tracks by that band's 'mockumentary' incarnation 'The Chumps' along with some outtakes from the first album. This short-lived band's name (The Chumps) was the Churchill's way to mock how they used to play so much of the The Champs' world-famous song and hit 'Tequila' in addition to paying homage to Rob Huxley's ex-band the 'New' Tornados. They sang in the three songs that you are free to download in Hebrew-only mostly religious songs in a jocular way, too as to flip a middle-finger salute/flagdown to what has kept them in the backwaters for years; or namely, religious zealotry. (Note: Israeli immigrants who came from ex-Communist states where any religious act was so remorsefully restricted and banned are the trouble-makers in Israel and not the eastern or 'mizrahi' ones who are genuine and peace-loving. Arabs and eastern Jews had lived for aeons together and they lived in cold peace until these stupes begun 'flucking' by. Small wonder the War of Independence way back in 1948 wasn't their last one: it was a war fought for no-one and won by neither the Israeli-Jews, or the Palestinian-Arabs. It still is going on... and on until? Soon we all would find out, but one word of warning: the outcome won't be sweet at all. Trust me on this one).
The Churchill's original lineup.
*boom* -ducks- Meanwhile, in a different ditch...

The name of the band (I mean, The Churchill's), has nothing to do with Anglophilia as some might think, or that fat lard-bucket Sir Winston Churchill. Nah. It's a name taken from the combination of two, or hmm, three Hebrew words to make a new meld-word. To wit, one should write it first as 'Chercaiels': The Song of God. It's short for the Hebrew words 'Ha Chir Shal Iel'. Right on. Their music was so close to Godlike levels, it still resonates with the utmost musicstasy, and one like myself 'ere can only be superglad that many people are starting to clear the ear-dirt inside their brainboxes enough to give bands like The Churchill's a good listen.

So, babes... I shall give y'all first what most of you have surely heard before by this band, and then up as a bonus the stuff that no-one's listened to before. Their first album came with its ten tracks as-it-was released back in 1970. Dig dawgs:

Ah! God fuck it! Whenever I see this cover, I remember how it felt when I got the CD in my mail-box in 2008: I swear it was one of the best moments in my entire life, and wish for those of yinz who've never listened to this album the very exact same. The first time I heard the band was in 1995, though as I still strongly recall. I listened to them by happenstance through  'Galgalatz': the Israeli Army Radio. It's where I myself learned my weakwater Hebrew by just comparing whatever the speaker on the radio says to that of Arabic words. The similarities between our two languages is enormous: Hebrew and Arabic are actually the same Semite language (Aramaic), and then tribes searching for better pastures for their flocks... gave them this 'split-tongue' audible when some letters or words are uttered assbackwards in both langs. There are some strong resemblances letters vis-à-vis. It's just the sad fact that these two nations (Arabs and Jews) might never realize how 'one' they are... or, were. And, will never do. *deep sigh*

This link above has 14 individual tracks that feature the real 'garage-y' sound of the band (The Churchill's/ Chumps/ Jericho Jones), along with alternate takes, outtakes from their first album, and a bonus track or two of Jericho playing live in the late 90's one of my favourite songs of all time (if not THE most): 'When You're Gone', written by Yonathan Geffen; a well-known Israeli singer, sung in both English and Hebrew at a concert somewhere in the late 90's. Another version of this beat-iful(beat-beautiful) song from the film Mikre Isha sung in Hebrew only. Unmissable!

May peace reside in our hearts, and the love of music unite us again. Aye-men!

Thank you. That's all for now.

1- Mikre Isha מקרה אישה (Case of A Woman) - In Pieces.
Mikre Isha מקרה אישה (Case of A Woman) - When You're Gone (English/ Piano Version).
Mikre Isha מקרה אישה (Case of A Woman) - Comics  (A.k.a. It's Hard) - (Instrumental Intermission).
Mikre Isha מקרה אישה (Case of A Woman) - Song From The Sea - (Intermission).
Mikre Isha מקרה אישה (Case of A Woman) - The Doll.
6- The Chumps - Adonai HaSlichot (Forgiveness My Lord).
7- The Chumps - Ma'lach (Angel) - (Short Instrumental).
8- The Chumps - Ve Taher Libenu (Our Pure Heart).
9- The Churchill's - Danielle Sanders Walks Through The Park - (Outtakes 1+2).
10- The Churchill's - Little Johnathan (Instrumental).
11- The Churchill's - Sunshine Man - (Outtake).
12- The Churchill's - When You're Gone (Hebrew).
13- Too Much In Love to Hear - Jericho - Live (Bonus).
14- When You're Gone - Jericho - Live (English-Hebrew Bonus).



LolaRadio said...

your link leads me to mediafire but not the files

Hammer said...


This is a Mediafire Cloud with individual tracks instead of a RAR file. Try it 'gain.


Anonymous said...

few comments :

1. Yom Kipur is the '73 war and not the 67 war, which is also called in Israel the 6 days war.

2. Yonatan Geffen is not a singer but a very famous song-writer, as in lyrics, not music. His son Aviv is a famous singer-lyricist-musician-producer.

3. Shallow observation that the European Jews are to blame for the conflict and not the Arabs (who were given a country alongside Israel by the UN but decided to try and take everything only to lose it all) ignores that left wing parties in Israel are always 90% Ashkenazim and right wing parties are always supported by most Mizrakhim.

4. nevermind, at least you love the Churchills so there's hope.

5. They backed Arik Einstein who is the most famous singer in Israel and he sang the Hebrew version of "when you're gone" as "Akhinoam doesn't know anything opening Poozy in '69 which is a greatttttttt album and the band played on its first side.
The song was already known and recorded (some time in late 68 or 69) by the band. So Yonatan Geffen only wrote the Hebrew words for it and not the music nor the English lyrics which were written by Rob Huxley. If it's your favorite song (and it was one of mine for a long time since hearing it first in 92) you should know this trivia.

6. This was my first CD ever.

7. My mom saw their concert back in '70 with the philharmonic orchestra, which resulted in most of the (older/conservative) audience leaving when they saw/heard guitars and drums on their classical stage. Respect.

8. My friend's uncle is Rob Huxley.

9. Interesting info about their name's origin, but the original booklet issued with the CD's 91 reissue states that the name stuck to Yitzhak Klepeter after a History class in school (probably had something to do with the real Churchill).
The name stuck as his nickname (more or less to this day)and carried on with the band even after he left them to join the army, before they started being psychedelic or recorded.
He never re-joined them afterwards, but became the most famous guitar player in Israel in the 70s ,mainly through Kaveret which was the most successful band of that decade, and later in a solo career. HE also played in the Later Days in 72 , just before joining Kaveret. both bands are great..

10. I might be back with more comments later but good on ya for some of the trivia

Hammer said...

Correct observations. I might have a few remarks to add as a reply hereby:

1.) I always do that, meaningly; mix these two wars with one another. Maybe my weakwater Hebrew is to blame whenever it intervenes with my English. Dunno, but correction was made, instantly. I also made that same mistake on a couple of posts here on my blog and remade them again soon afterwards.

2.) Johnathan Geffen is also a singer, for he has some songs which he sang solo (psych-folk rock) in the early 70's (1973-74), but those were lost. I listened to some on a Galgalatz radio programme presented by Yoav Kutner who played a couple of his songs. Unbelievable, smash-your-face-straight-in-the-middle psychedelic rock.

3.) I wasn't really getting my mitts dirtied about who's to blame from who's 'nuts' in regards to the on-going war that's spanned till now eighty years of bloodshed and brought misery to many millions. It's emotionally unsettling to begin writing about this SNAFU, but I revert from doing so. I don't care about politics and will never take sides. I also do not love the Israelis and will never do the same with the Palestinians. Both are to blame, whether they're from eastern or western origins.

4.) The Churchill's are my favourite band. Fullstop. I bought these rare outtakes from an Israeli seller at eBay a few years ago for a hefty sum of money. He himself wrote the inner linernotes for many CD reissues of Israeli singers that have been seeing a comeback with nostalgia fans in and out of Israel. He's passed away a couple of years ago and his two sons are selling records at the same site.

5.) Arik Einstein is a very sweet-ass singer. He's cool enough for me to buy all of his albums (not the Kilzmirim-influenced, schamltzy pop-ish ones, or the children songs: ergh, these suck). 'Achinoam Lo Yodaeat' is his reinvention of The Churchill's song set to lyrics by Geffen himself, correcto mundo and that's what I was referring to, exactly. Maybe you don't know me from a bar of regular soap, but I know more than an average person about Israeli rock music (both, old and new), and I pride myself having a huge collection of 65+ records from the 70's for most famous Israeli singers (Shlomo Artzi, Uzi Fux, Gabi Shoushan, The Lions of Judah, Army Bands, you name it...) and will feature these one by one as time allows it. Next post on Israel will be a double-header for Uzi Fux and Zfika Pik: two of my most favoured rockers ever.


Hammer said...

6.) I am glad. It's a very great album, really. So, kuddos.

7.) My grandmother is from a Jewish decent for your information. This might sound a bit strange, but she immigrated with her family in the 1880s from the Balkans to Palestine by way of Ottoman Turkey and she used to teach me some words in Turkish and Hebrew. She passed away before I was 6-7 years old. In 1996, I was denied entry to Israel because of my nationality (I’m Jordanian), and still if I was allowed into what is otherwise my ‘original homeland’, I would have bought a ton of records or at least saw where my hometown was. But, alas it was the tenacity of the embassy here and how everyone misunderstand everyone else here in the Middle-east.

8.) Rob Huxley is one of a kind. There is a site for him that is sadly not very active which you must have known of: http://rhis.co.uk/huxley/index.shtml. Dig it.

9.) The origin of the name of The Churchill's (Ha Chir Shal Eil) was told to me by that old Israeli 'Bay-seller who used to send me so many extra, bonus goodies whenever I placed an order on his site: posters, magazine pages, trivia yes... The works. He answered many of my questions with patience and I am thankful. Or, was until, he stole a rare record that I had sent his way to sell for me (a rare RPM by Lebanese beat band The Sea-Ders and claimed that it was lost. His sons after his death sent me a copy made on cheap 'new' vinyl as if it was the original never knowing that I, myself, had bought it and knew it like the palm of my hand. Bad memories. But, whatever. It was worth (at that time) at least 600 USD$ gone poof now fanks to his greed.

Yitzach Klepter is in my book... The best guitarist on the face of earth. Full-fucking-stop. His fretwork was very inventive and his Arabesque guitar-work was nonparallel. He played as a session guitarist with many bands and singers: HaAchrait HaYamim, Youssi Bannai, Kavirit, etc. the best ever. My favourite song is 'Under The Eucalyptus Tree' if you care to know on The Apocalypse first and only album (S/T, 1969). This song is... just marvie! And, Mari Alouni's voice in it is just beyond this world. Wuah!

10.) This here is an open comment-box: feel welcome to chip in anything you want or feel the urge to let other readers know of. You're more than welcome.