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While in America we took the opportunity of meeting one of the biggest Fortunes fans in the USA and probably the world. Meet Gary Tibbs.

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A Fortunes fan from the moment he heard This Golden Ring on KFWB Los Angeles in January 1966. After a warm welcome in their home in Los Angeles, Gary and his wife Argelia led us into their living room where about 8 boxes, stacked full of photo albums and files full of clippings were waiting for us. I think I can safely say he has got the largest, and best, Fortunes collection in the USA, and it would probably stand out against many UK and European collections as well. 

Gary: 'It hasn't been easy (taken 40+ years), but I still look out for the odd thing I might not have. Does anyone out there have the "Mooncrest single"?' 

Our first impression was that Gary had to go through all these boxes to find the records of The Fortunes, but no...these are ALL singles, LP's, EP's, cassettes, videos and DVD's of the group. An immense collection of Fortunes memorabilia comes out of the boxes, photos of the group taken from all over the world, but of course also from the US, like the original photo used in the Coca Cola campaign with the group in sixties.

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Gary managed to obtain this after getting in contact with the advertising company which was responsible for the campaign. This is just one of the examples of the many 6727.jpg (108564 bytes)items he proudly showed us, and gave us an6726.jpg (127155 bytes) insight into what lengths he goes to in order to add to his collection which goes back to the sixties, with hit lists like these from 93/KHJ BOSS Radio in LA from 1965. Gary, who in daily life is the reverent at a church in Hollywood, is also a living Fortunes Encyclopedia.  Almost every detail about the group springs from his mind. From old and new band members, their current whereabouts and occupations, including all release dates of records, books, CD's and DVD's. One Fortunes trivia after another is shared with us and memories of how he build his collection is shared with us enthusiastically. It's incredible to see all the different releases of Fortunes records from all over the world. Promo singles and LP's  from the US, EP's from Australia, singles from Japan, the UK, Holland, Belgium,  Malaysia, Portugal, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Poland, Brazil, Argentina,  Italy, Germany, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Indonesia and possibly others which, at the moment, he can't recall off the top of his head.

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Of course there are some special releases as Gary points out. 'On the sleeve of the single at the left bottom you can see a mistake in the title of one of the songs. On the sleeve it says _Everything is out of reason_, instead of _Everything is out of season_ . Here's another remarkable one. Look at the lyrics on this single from Japan, not at all what it is supposed to be and very funny.'

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A.H. 'What was so different on "This Golden Ring" that made it so special when you heard it and made you a Fortunes fan?'
G.T. 'The sound, the harmonies in a way I never heard it before. It was a different, special sound.
A.H. 'Do you have a _best single_ of The Fortunes?'
G.T. 'The best single by the Fortunes is, in my opinion, "Here It Comes Again." It is in my small list of "perfect records''. My favorite Fortunes LP is the first one, The Fortunes. I prefer the UK/Euro release as it has two more tracks (14) than the USA release on the Press label. By the way, the USA release of the first LP was supposed to have "This Golden Ring" on it, and a few LP's have it listed on the back cover, but the song it was to replace, "Voice Your Choice" is actually on the vinyl and the record label.' 
 

That's exactly what I mean, Gary comes up with all this fantastic Fortunes trivia when going through his collection. Every new item brings another story and another memory. About "Seasons In The Sun" Gary says: 'The Netherlands and the continent of Europe were the only countries intelligent enough to make it the hit it deserved to be. It was NOT released in the US, but we did manage to make a hit out of Terry Jacks' DREADFUL version!!! UGH!!'
A.H. 'Have you ever met the guys of the band while they were here in the USA?'
G.T. 'In 1966 The Fortunes came to L.A. on their USA trip to promote "This Golden Ring."  They did the local shows like Shebang and Shivaree and were even supposed to play live at The Hullaballoo Club on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, but it was cancelled. Apparently the musicians union were ticked off at all the UK bands coming over and working without joining the musicians union so they decided to come down hard on The Fortunes (to make them an example I guess). Thus The Fortunes were allowed to honor their TV commitments but not play live. My only chance to see them in the original lineup was thus killed
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My wife and I met Barry in 1991, when he and his wife Pauline came to L.A. on holiday. We went to dinner one night. It was great fun. Barry was a great storyteller. Here is another special photo. This one was taken by Glen Dale at the house of a producer somewhere here in Los Angeles or The Valley, with his own camera. Glen sent me the photo after I made contact with him in the early 1990's. He had it in his photo collection and it is the only copy in existence.'

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A.H. 'Did you ever see The Fortunes perform in Europe?'
G.T. 'I met the band in 1993 in The Netherlands. I was treated very well by Alex and Anita Meulenbeld who took me all over The Netherlands. As we were driving "This Golden Ring" came on a Dutch radio station Alex was listening to. That was a great experience for me to hear it on the radio again. It didn't do well in the US (#82 Billboard) so you never hear it here. Also Jan Slagman was very nice. He and Alex ran the Friends of The Fortunes fan club. My wife had a baseball cap made for me with Friends of the Fortunes inscribed on it.' We went to Horst, in the south of The Netherlands. A big hall, very warm and packed with people coming to see the line up for that night, with The Fortunes as top of the bill.

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Afterwards I met with the guys again. It was a very pleasant, exciting but tiring weekend.'
A.H.'Weekend, you came to Europe for a weekend, just to see The Fortunes?'
G.T. 'It was worth it and I would gladly do it again, but then with my wife and my boys.' Gary shows us another book called " ROCK EXPLOSION" by Harold Bronson. It features photographs of UK artists from the archives of Michael Ochs the brother of folk singer Phil Ochs. 'The picture on the left was taken when Dick Clark went over to the UK for his "Where The Action Is" TV program to promote new bands of The British Invasion. The keyboard player in the photo is NOT Dave Carr but a photographer who was there and was asked to stand in as Dave was late showing up!'

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Another rare item in his collection is the single from Short 66, a single produced in Holland by Tony Vos and "advised by The Fortunes" as the sleeve tells us. Both Rod and Barry can be heard on the single and seen on the sleeve.

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Besides the group's records and cassettes, Gary also has lots of compilation LP's and CD's which include tracks of The Fortunes on them, gig-posters from all over Europe, and sheet music for most of The Fortunes songs. All the albums are filled with clippings from various magazines like this one called "Beat". G.T.'The magazine was called "The KRLA Beat". KRLA was the most popular (at the time) rock radio station. The magazine was published in other cities under the call call letters of local stations. For example in San Francisco it was The KYA Beat. However, the main office I think was in L.A.
Here's some other stuff from Billboard this time. It reviews the new releases from The Fortunes.'

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Gary's collection also contains the last CD and DVD Heroes Never Die, The Making Of Heroes Never Die and "The Fortunes Live Tour."
A.H. 'What do you think about these last editions to the discography of the band?'
G.T. 'I really enjoyed the DVD on the making of Heroes Never Die which, I think, is the best recording The Fortunes have made in 20 years. There is only one track not really up to their standard and that is "Let's Dance", which is not really a song but more like a bunch of clich├ęs strung together. Gasp!!

A.H. 'Gary, do you have any other special items in your collection which you would like to mention?'  G.T.'Well Barry Pritchard did the liner notes for an LP by songwriter John Killigrew in the early 70's. Produced by Peter Dello of Honeybus. The Fortunes did one of Killigrews songs on their USA LP Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again. Barry also wrote and produced two singles on the UK Charisma label in 1976. One was from a group called "Snaps" and the songs "Don't You worry/ Hard Lovin". The other was by "TOMMY GOSS"  with "Never gonna Need Your Love/I Can Hear The Music"  also from 1976. Both sides written and produced by Barry Prichard, with Barry on backing vocals. Both the LP and the singles are in my collection'

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A.H. Gary, thank you for showing and sharing your collection with us all, but before we go, can you tell us a bit more about that mysterious "Mooncrest" single you talked about earlier? 

G.T. "In 1975 The fortunes recorded some tracks on the Mooncrest label in the UK. This label featured "NAZARETH". The single "These Are the Good Old Days/Holy Roller" was scheduled to be released somewhere around July of 1975. I had a guy in the UK who actually ordered the record for me, but it never came out. No one has ever seen a promo or even a demo though I believe John Holman has an acetate of the A side. However, no one has ever heard the B side which is reportedly sung by The Fortunes keyboardist at the time, George McAllister.  The story does not end there. In January 1976 a single "These Are The Good Old days/Your Song" was issued in Holland . "Holy Roller" remains unissued in any form. A dealer told me that someone bought out all the existing "Mooncrest" stock a few years back and there was no trace of the Fortunes single in any form. So if there is anybody out there who can help me with any information please let me know.

We will definitely stay in contact with Gary and let all of you enjoy his huge knowledge about of The Fortunes. Thank you Gary.

Underneath you'll find some more photos of Gary's collection. Click to enlarge.

 

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