The '60s came and went, but the era left behind a legacy of psychedelic rock. The new genre was pioneered by bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Doors, Cream and many others.
It reached its peak in '67 with the Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and in '69 at the Woodstock Rock Festival on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York, and became an international music movement.
The '60s also brought the Beatles, the British Invasion, miniskirts, bell-bottoms and the rise of hippie culture.
Two local musicians — Rick Bolz on lead and rhythm guitars and Dyan Hoffman on organ and bass keys — teamed up with drummer W.A. Farrens and lead guitarist Ron Raschdorf from Oroville, Calif., and became instrumental in the conversion from sock hops to psychedelic rock in Medford.
Bolz and Hoffman played surf music and R&B in the early '60s in a teen band called The Navarros. After recording a couple of demos on Corby, a label based in Corvallis, one of the songs, "Moses," became a regional hit that received air play for many weeks in the Pacific Northwest. One of the stations giving it play was KBOY in Medford.
The band began recording at Golden State Productions in the San Francisco Bay Area and became caught up in the psychedelic rock movement.
After a couple of changes to the band's lineup and a name change, Neighb'rhood Childr'n released a self-titled album in 1968 on the Acta label, a subsidiary of Dot Records. A second album was recorded later that year, but not released because Dot sold to Warner Bros.
The 1968 album is a good representation of the psychedelic rock of the day. The band's sound is comparable to that of Jefferson Airplane, mostly because of the vocal interplay between Hoffman and Bolz. Most of the record's songs were penned by Bolz and Hoffman, except for the rock arrangements of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow" and Mike Murphy's and Owens Castleman's (songwriters for Golden State) "She's Got No Identification." The album received favorable acclaim, and the band began touring — opening for The Who, Iron Butterfly, The Grassroots, Deep Purple, The Turtles, The Yardbirds and others. Neighb'rhood Childr'n was the first band from the Rogue Valley to perform live at Fillmore West.
The original, self-titled album is considered highly valuable and is sought-after by record collectors. It was pirated in the '80s in the UK.
"We kept our homes here and performed regularly at the Medford Armory or at Southern Oregon College (SOU)," Bolz says. "We brought the influences of the San Francisco music scene to the Rogue Valley."
In 1997, Sundazed Records released the original album along with songs from Golden State Production's vaults as a double album and a 24-song CD. A limited-edition CD was released in 2007 on a Japanese label, and Sundazed re-released the original album in 2010 on CD and vinyl.
"Everywhere we played, we were billed as a band from San Francisco because we spent so much time recording and performing there," Bolz says. "I think if we had relocated to the city, we would have made more records and become bigger."
Forty-six years later, Bolz and Hoffman still live in Talent and Medford, respectively. The other members have scattered on the wind.
Bolz and his group of Imperial All-stars — guitarist Dennis Mertens, drummer Tony Lindsey and sometimes guitarist Jon Galfano — host an open jam from 5 to 9 p.m. every Sunday at the Imperial Ballroom, 40 N. Front St., Medford. It's free to sit in and free to listen. The jam is open to all ages and all styles of music.
"We do country, blues, rock and the occasional psychedelic set," Bolz says.