documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

Purple Avalanche – When I Saw Her (Roulette Records)

“Oh-Bah-Um-Dee-Dum” / “When I Saw Her” (Roulette R-7046) April 1969

Here’s a classy minor key moody ballad, quite rare that groups were still recording this kinda bag in 1969 but strangely Purple Avalanche were. Not that many people at the time would have heard this as it was stuck on the flip of a teen bubblegum tune.

I bought the 45 recently from Robin Wills. He is responsible for the blog Purepop and it was there that I first learned about this record. Not a great deal of information appears to have been known about Purple Avalanche until someone left a comment.

Apparently, they were a four piece outfit from Metuchen, New Jersey, and were previously known as The Bex. I wonder if any other ephemera has survived the last forty odd years, such as a picture of the group? If you know anything get in touch.

The production credit is Irwin Levine who is better known for writing songs for others.

Kevin McCabe (vocals / bass)
Bill Marquart (rhythm guitar) * dec’d
Chris Jones (lead guitar)
Ernie Roig (drums)


Since I wrote about The Purple Avalanche I was contacted by their drummer Ernie Roig in April 2013:

The following information is relevant to my entry.

I’m the drummer of the band Purple Avalanche. I can tell you all that you want to know about the band and The Bex, as I was an original member of both bands. One original member has since passed away, yes, we were all from Metuchen,in New Jersey.

The band was introduced to Irwin Levine (he wrote ”Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree”, ”This Diamond Ring, Black Pearl, and a lot of songs for Tony Orlando & Dawn to mention a few).

”Oh Bah Um Dee Dum” started out as ’funky bubble gum’ [which I thought was the better of the two versions] his co- writer, Larry Brown was taken by the Beatles tune ”Ob-La-Di,Ob-La-Da” and changed the words as such. the B-side was not a very good version that went on the record.

We had a faster version that sounded much better. Both versions of When I Saw Her” were recorded in a friends basement……and sound it!!

On ”Oh Bah Um De Dum” Kevin McCabe is the lead singer, I did the scream or yell or whatever you want to call it!! – the song got a 4 star rating from several DJ’s at that time but for some reason it never got any air play that I’ve been aware of.

I do have an original version of ’funky bubble gum’ version [same music, different words] if you would like to hear it I can send you a copy of it. unfortunately I would only be able to send it to you on a cassette.

Q. Did the group perform any gigs, if so where did you play…venues etc and who with?

Unfortunately we did not play any ’name’ places etc. When under contract with Irwin Levine we were supposed to have gone on tour and hook up with a band called The Electric Flag, we made it as far as the TV Guide booklet that we were to appear on a show called ’Summer At The Pier’, this was all put together for the release of the record which all of it fell through.

Here’s a promo picture of The Bex who would change their name to The Purple Avalanche with the same line-up.

L-R: Kevin McCabe (lead singer) Ernie Riog (drums) Chris Jones (lead guitar) and Bill Marquart (vocals/rhythm guitar). Sadly Bill passed away last year.

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