Mystic Merlin were from New York.
The original line-up consisted of:
Clyde Bullard (bass)
Barry Roark Strutt (sax / keyboards)
Leslie Dorsey (keyboards / lead and background vocals)
Jerry Anderson (guitars / background vocals d. 2020)
Keith Gonzales (lead vocals / harmonica)
Sly Randolph (drums / percussion / background vocals)
Betty Brown (lead and background vocals)
Mystic Merlin were originally a novelty act incorporating magic into their live shows before being taken seriously on the soul / dance scene.
The group were, originally known as Mystic Merlin's Magic Band.
mystic merlin - 1980 / sixty thrills a minute - 1981
They then became, simply, Mystic Merlin and in 1980 they signed with Capitol and released the, Charles Kipps produced, album 'Mystic Merlin'.
It featured the dance classic 'Just Can't Give You Up', a U.K. Top 20 single (the acappella from which was utilized by the U.K. group Life On Earth on their single 'Can't Give You Up').
A second album, entitled 'Sixty Thrills A Minute' followed in 1981.
Recorded in Hollywood, the album featured the original line-up with further artistic input from Paulinho Da Costa, Jim Gilstrap, Bill Champlin, Cheryl Lynn, Gene Page, Charles Veal and Ernie Watts amongst others.
sixty thrills a minute - 45-1981 / full moon - 1982
After that release they added Freddle Jackson to the group, and he sang on their third Capitol album, 'Full Moon'.
The album included 'Mr Magician', popular among U.K. soul / dance fans.
The song 'Your Love' was penned by Freddie Jackson and Barry Strutt and was originally titled 'Don't Let Your Love (Love Without A Meaning)'.
It was written in the attic of Clyde Bullard's home in the Bronx.
Incidentally, Clyde's uncle is Bill Withers.
Mystic Merlin continued to record after the departure of Freddie Jackson for a successful solo career.
In 1990, they recorded a single entitled 'Dream Lover' which was released on TAPE.
They have also recorded under the name of Storm (not to be confused with the same group who recorded 'Can't Nobody Love Me Like You').
In the aftermath of the September 11th disaster, Clyde Bullard and Barry Strutt wrote a song entitled 'Standing Tall', which was performed at a rememberance service for that day.
Barry Strutt is an attorney today, although he still writes with Clyde and is in touch with Jerry Anderson.
Sadly, Leslie Dorsey was killed driving a gypsy cab.
Leslie was a classically trained singer, and sang on streets corners as part of a Black barbershop quartet.
Jerry Anderson passed away in January 2020.
barry strutt and clyde bullard - 2011
Here is a You Tube Link to a recent project by the Verge Of Change, called 'Run', which Clyde Bullard and Barry Strutt are currently working on:
the verge of change group / vocalist: dakota maccleod
Accompanying notes from Barry Strutt:
"Run", written and conceived by Barry Roark Strutt, formerly of Mystic Merlin on Capitol Records, reflects the current state of political flux and the yearning for social and economic justice as evidenced in the growing OWS Protests in Zuccotti Park and the Occupy Movements around the globe. That idea came alive and was transformed by a new group, “The Verge of Change.”
"The Verge of Change" is an inter-generational, multiethnic, diverse group of performers, that fuses Hip Hop, Rhythm & Blues, Funk, Pop and House Music into their own unique blend of what they call "Visionary Music". The group addresses diverse, cutting-edge topics like The American Economy, Child Abuse, Women's Abuse, Gay & Lesbian Rights, Spirituality, as well as just good fun dance music.
The core of the group is made up of an African-American Bass Player, Clyde Bullard, a founding member and central creative element behind the group, Mystic Merlin, while on Capitol Records, a young, Italian Hip- Hopologist named Rew York; a powerful, mulit-ethnic vocalist, Dakota MacCleod, and a master keyboard artist and arranger, Ray Naccari.
The pulsating, funk/R&B groove that relentlessly propels “Run” is complemented by the deceptively smooth but insightful rap, written and performed by the young and talented rapper, Rew York (who has been aptly described as the Marvin Gaye of rap). The intergenerational back and forth between Rew, the rapper,and Dakota, the polished jazz/funk vocalist forms the basic structure of the tune. Rew himself vacillates between youthful despair at being stuck in an unfair social order and an edgy yearning for change, “big change” of a system that offers little more than being robbed by the so-called good. Rew’s youthful intuition is confirmed and reinforced by a more mature seasoned vision that sings of cynical exasperation with what passes for the political process and a “fair and balanced” reporting of current events . The flawless vocal performance by Dakota MacCleod holds the listener’s interest as “Run” takes on many meanings—some funny, some deadly serious, as the storyline unfolds without a perfect resolution other than real change demands constant struggle. Still, Run sends an unmistakable message: once a few people are brave enough to speak out about social injustice and inequality, the truth of that message catches fire. The band, "The Verge of Change" sparks that message with an irresistible, infectious funk groove that says not only to speak out, but to stand up and keep struggling: to "keep running towards the sun." As Run reflects: we are simultaneously running from social and economic oppression and towards a new day. we are truly on "The Verge of Change.”
One last word on the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Without the dedication, the technical eye and creative vision of Howard Neuthaler of vengaviral productions, this musical video project would not have come to fruition.
Run invites the listener not to just sit back and groove, but to get up and join the struggle, and endure: we are on "The Verge of Change : this is "Visionary Music" for sure.
freddie jackson (far left)
mystic merlin images by courtesy of barry strutt and john holman
keith gonzales, barry strutt and clyde bullard 2004
clyde bullard and barry strutt 2004
barry strutt in the studio with blind engineer dave blake 2005
clyde bullard and barry strutt 2005
magic from back in the day!
Mystic Merlin (Capitol Records 1980)
Sixty Thrills A Minute (Capitol Records 1981)
Full Moon (Capitol Records 1982)
Dream Lover (Cassette Tape 1990)
mystic merlin 1990