Oz Bach

Oz Bach was one of the more ebullient and outgoing talents in 1960s folk and pop music. Apart from having a name that was impossible to forget, he was also one of those ubiquitous figures that just kept turning up either at or near lots of really neat musical phenomena. Bach studied at the Actors' Workshop in Coral Gables, FL, and attended college in Miami during the late '50s and early '60s. He entered music professionally in 1962 as a guitarist, singer, and comic, switched to playing bass in 1963, and spent a good part of the next couple of years working as a backup musician to the likes of Fred Neil, Tom Paxton, Odetta, Bob Gibson, and Josh White. In 1965, while back in Florida, Bach and his friend Nigel Pickering made the acquaintance of Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane, a singer from Chicago, and the three later hooked up in the Windy City in a hastily assembled act that relied as much on comedy (which was still very much Bach's forte) as music. That trio became Spanky & Our Gang, and Bach's musical sensibilities and sense of humor were integral parts of the group's debut album in 1967. Bach left Spanky & Our Gang prior to the recording of their second album, and from 1969 through 1972, he played sessions and worked as an arranger for artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Steve Miller, and Sergio Mendes, as well as forming two groups, Wings (not the Paul McCartney outfit, but a folk/country-rock group on ABC-Dunhill) and Tarantula, neither of which made any lasting commercial impression.