Psychedelic Rock

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Hard Times
United States

Years: 1965 - 1968
Styles: Folk Rock, Garage Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock


Bob Morris - Bass Guitar (in band: 1965 - ????)
Lee Keifer - Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1968)
Bill Richardson - Lead guitar (in band: 1965 - 1968)
Rudy Romero - 12 string guitar, Rhythm guitar, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1968)
Paul Wheatbread - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1965 - 1968)


Larry Byrom - Bass Guitar, Guitar

Biography Picture    The Hard Times were an American folk rock band formed in San Diego, California in 1965. Combining elements of folk,  sunshine  pop,  and light  psychedelia, the group became a well-attended attraction on the  Sunset Stripas house band to music venues such as the Whisky A-Go-Go. They managed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 with a cover version of Allen Toussaint's song "Fortune Teller" in 1966.

   Founding member Bill Richardson  (lead guitar) was originally in a quintet known as the Prophets. Disappointed by the group's lack of success, Richardson, along with fellow member Bob Morris (bass guitar), recruited singer-songwriter Rudy Romero (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul Whitebread (drums), and Lee Kiefer (tambourine) to form another band. Kiefer was inspired to name the group the Hard Times after the Josh White  blues song of the same name.

     They started developing a strong following in San Diego when manager Florence Stanley took interest to the Hard Times, and persuaded the group to relocate to Los Angeles. Performing at the music club the Sea Witch, the band honed their musicianship and became one of the more frequented attractions on the Sunset Strip. Their popularity earned them the opening slot at the Whisky A-Go-Go to kickoff concerts for Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. Though the Hard Times did take the stage for several other clubs, it was at the Whisky A-Go-Go that the group was discovered by executives working for Dick Clark's music-based television program Where the Action.

     The band recorded two non-LP singles that did not receive much national notice, but are regarded as well-produced folk rock pieces, recorded in a similar vein as early Byrds music. The Hard Times charted just once on the Billboard Hot 100 -- albeit a minor hit as it only peaked at number 97 -- with a cover version of Allen Toussaint's song "Fortune Teller". It was the first rendition of the composition to reach the U.S. national charts.

     In 1967, the band released their sole album, "Blew Mind", however it failed to be commercially successful.  One can't help but wonder what might have happened if Romero-Richardson had been allowed to develop the band further on a second album, but that was not to be". Indeed, "Blew Mind" was perhaps hindered by the condition that session musiciansrecorded the instrumentals, and, in 1968, the Hard Times disbanded.

     Richardson and Larry Byrom (who had replaced Morris on bass) went on to form the psychedelic rock band, T. I. M. E. (Trust in Men Everywhere), recording two albums with the group. Whitebread joined Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Keifer became a sound engineer, and Romero released a solo album in 1972. In 2003, Rev-Ola Records reissued "Blew Mind", including the band's non-LP singles as bonus tracks along with two tracks by the Romero side-project New Phoenix.



Blew Mind (1967)

Singles & EPs

There'll Be A Time (Jan, 1966)
Come To Your Window (May, 1966)
Fortune Teller (Jul, 1966)
They Said No (Feb, 1967)
Colours (Aug 29, 1967)

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