The Ashes - L to R: Alan Brackett, Spencer Dryden, Barbara Robison, Jim Cherniss, John Merrill


The Ashes were a folk-rock group formed in 1965 that included John Merrill (guitar/ vocals), Alan Brackett (bass/ vocals), Barbara Robison (vocals), Spencer Dryden (drums) and Jim Cherniss (guitar/ vocals). Before they were known as the Ashes, the group called themselves the Young Swingers and released two long lost 45s under that name: "Love Her Every Day" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry" (Courtney 746) and "Let's Take Our Love" b/w "The Winds Up High" (Portafino 901) . From the summer of 1965 up until May of 1966, the Ashes served as the house band at a club in Santa Monica called the Waleback. They released their first single under their new moniker in 1966: "Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer" (Vault 924). The a-side was written by Jackie DeShannon and featured a fine lead vocal from Barbara Robison. This 45, along with its follow-up "Dark on You Now" b/w "Roses Gone" (Vault 936), also appeared on the 1967 compilation WEST COAST LOVE-IN (Vault 7980). Around the time of the first Ashes single, Spencer Dryden left to replace Skip Spence in Jefferson Airplane. Jim Cherniss also exited the group at this time.

With the addition of two new members, the band was transformed into the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, who of course recorded two albums for Columbia in 1967. John Merrill resurrected Ashes in late 1968, around the same time that Alan Brackett was working on the tracks that would ultimately constitute the PBC's FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES album. The new Ashes recorded their debut LP for Vault Records that year; it stands today as a staple of the collector's market, routinely fetching $50 or more on eBay. The album also featured singer Pat Taylor standing in for Barbara Robison (who could not appear on the record due to contractual obligations). The LP's release was delayed until 1970, while two songs from the record-- "Homeward Bound" b/w "Sleeping Serenade" (Vault 975)-- were issued as a 45 in 1971.

--Jason Penick



ashes cover


Ashes featuring Pat Taylor (Vault 125)

Rel. 1970 | Produced by Jackie Mills

Gone to Sorrow (Browne) | Sleeping Serenade (Merrill) | Homeward Bound (Simon) | Sands of Love (Merrill) | My Life Has Changed (Merrill) | Return Home (Brackett) | Her Invention (Merrill) | Look Around Rock (Nichols)| The Now | Rainbows | Simple Complexities (Merrill)

ashes back
ashes label


THE ASHES 45s:    

"Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer"

Vault 924 (1966)

"Dark on You Now" b/w "Roses Gone"

Vault 936 (1967)

"Homeward Bound" b/w "Sleeping Serenade"

Vault 975 (1971)


PRE-ASHES 45s:  

The Young Swingers

"Love Her Every Day" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry"

Courtney 746 (1965)


The Young Swingers

"Let's Take Our Love" b/w "The Winds Up High"

Portofino 901 (1965)


Contains the first two Ashes 45s in stereo

Vault 7980 (1967)


- click on selected sleeves to hear MP3 audio -