Jimmy Foot & The Athletes
Wally Heider Days
Jimmy and Susie moved from Cloverdale back to San Francisco in 1974. With the MAGIC MIND demos in hand, Susie had landed a job as a staff engineer for the prestigious Wally Heider Recording San Francisco, working long hours with artists like Carlos Santana, LA BELLE, The Pointer Sisters & Herbie Hancock. Besides producing demos at Wally Heider's, Jimmy worked during those years playing Top 40 at local clubs and military bases to pay the bills with THE BULLETS and PARADISE.
The first multi-track sessions at Wally Heider's engineered by SUSIE FOOT and produced by JIMMY FOOT were Jimmy's songs "I Got The Vibes", "Spaced, Man" & "Brainwaves" with "Sandy"
JACK REINER on drums and STEVE DePRA on bass. There were also some sessions with JIMMY FOOT & RICK MILLER doing acoustic versions and re-mixes of The MAGIC MIND.
As they progressed in the studio, though, Jimmy had the opportunity to play with some great musicians like MELVIN SEALES, TONY SAUNDERS, VICKI RANDLE, MICK GILLETTE, “BIG BUMP” JOHN MISUTANI, JEFF NARELL, PAUL JACKSON, ROBIN SYLVESTER, HYPERLINK " \t "_blank" Bill Thompson, FREDDIE JONES, BILL GRIFFITH, JACK REINER, and many others under the project name JIMMY FOOT & THE ATHLETES.
Jimmy produced all of the sessions, and Susie engineered. The first 2 songs accredited to the ATHLETES were "Flash" and "Keep The Music Playin'", written by JIMMY FOOT. The players for the initial sessions were JACK REINER on drums, TONY SAUNDERS on bass, MELVIN SEALES on keyboards, with JIMMY FOOT on guitar.
These basic tracks were recorded in Studio "A". JYNX JENKINS created horn arrangements, and "BIG BUMP" JOHN MIZUTANI came in with MIC GILLETTE to put down the horn parts. John played Tenor and Bari Sax, and Mic played both trumpet and trombone. RUDY WILBURN sang lead on the 2 songs. Later on, there were other mixes with GAIL SERRAPICA on lead vocals.
"Komo Kaka" came next. An instrumental, the basics were recorded in WALLY HEIDER's Studio "C" with JACK REINER on drums, SHELLY HUNTLEY on bass, and JIMMY FOOT on guitar.
EARL SERATTE overdubbed harmonica, and the rest was guitar and piano overdubs by JIMMY FOOT.
"Rider On The Range" was JIMMY FOOT's first reggae recording,
and the idea from the start was to fuse reggae and country music. Basic tracks were recorded at WALLY HEIDER's Studio "D", with PAUL JACKSON on bass, DAVID LELAND on drums, PAUL POTYEN on keys and JIMMY FOOT on guitar. JEFF NARRELL was brought in to record steel drums, and FREDDIE JONES came in to play pedal steel guitar. BILL GRIFFITH sang the lead vocal, and JOYCE JACKSON and JYNX JENKINS sang background vocals.
"How Long", co-written by DAVID LELAND and PAUL JACKSON,
was recorded the same day as "Rider On The Range" with the same players. PAUL JACKSON sang lead, and his sister JOYCE JACKSON, JYNX JENKINS, and JIMMY FOOT sang background vocals.
"High On Love" featured PAUL JACKSON and DAVID LELAND, and a piano player (whose name has long been lost) that was recruited by Jimmy from the lounge at the studio on the day of the session. The guy was a drummer from a band that was recording at Heider's, and put down a great piano track. Sadly, the master tape was accidentally erased by a 2nd engineer. A cassette of that original session survived and also a cassette mix with BILL GRIFFITH on lead vocals, and also one with VICKI RANDLE.
"Fly By Nite", "I'm Dreamin' ", "You Turned Your Light", "Think About It" and "Never See Rain" were recorded in WALLY HEIDER's Studio "C" with JACK REINER on drums, BRIAN PLEASANT on bass, and JIMMY FOOT on guitar. VICKI RANDLE sang lead and harmony vocals. MIC GILLETTE and "BIG BUMP" JOHN MIZUTANI played horn arrangements by JYNX JENKINS on all of the songs except for "I'm Dreamin' ". TAD KIDWELL was a trumpet player that Jynx met on the street outside the studio, and invited him in to play on "I'm Dreamin'". JYNX JENKINS played sax. VICKI RANDLE sang lead and background vocals, JIMMY FOOT played guitar and Hammond B3, with STARBABY's violinist playing string arrangements by JYNX JENKINS.
"Fly By Nite" featured RAYMOND FROELICH on marimba, and a number of singers including KAREN TOBIN and HILDA REINER-GUZMAN.
"Fine Love" was recorded in WALLY HEIDER's Studio "C" with
JOHN MIZUTANI's Sacramento crew. JAMIE ALIRE on drums, PHIL DESMANGLES on bass, JIMMY FOOT on guitar. MIC GILLETTE played trombone and trumpet, "BIG BUMP" JOHN MIZUTANI played Tenor and Bari sax, horn arrangements by JYNX JENKINS. VICKI RANDLE sang the lead and background vocals.
"Stop Now" was recorded with JACK REINER on drums, ROBIN SYLVESTER on bass, JIMMY FOOT on guitar in WALLY HEIDER's Studio "C". "Stop Now" featured FLENNIS on lead vocals.
During this time, BILL THOMPSON came onto the scene. At 17
or so, Bill was very young, but was a great keyboard player. Bill had a Prophet 5 synthesizer, one of the very first polyphonic synths. He also had and played a Fender-Rhodes 88 electric piano. Besides adding to existing Athletes tracks, Bill contributed the song "Quit That Stuff" that also featured FLENNIS on lead vocals.
"Sidetracked" was the last song recorded under the ATHLETES
name. It was tracked at PRUNE studio in Mill Valley, California a year or so after WALLY HEIDER's closed. JIM CARRINGTON played drums, PAUL GRIFFIN played bass, with BILL THOMPSON on keys and JIMMY FOOT on guitar, engineered by BILL THOMPSON.
The ATHLETES rehearsed and were scheduled to play a gig at The LAST DAY SALOON, but BILL THOMPSON wasn't 21, and the owner wouldn't allow him in, so the band left without playing.
JIMMY FOOT & BILL THOMPSON would go on to form the band REGGAE JACKSON with former ATHLETES members SHELLY HUNTLEY and JOYCE JACKSON. REGGAE JACKSON recorded several demos at WALLY HEIDER's before the studio closed.
SUSIE FOOT was offered, but declined a job at The AUTOMAT after the Heider closing and became a freelance engineer.
Susie & Jimmy Foot (1977)