The California Poppy Pickers

The California Poppy Pickers

Real Name:
Ken Johnson, Dennis Payne, Leo LeBlanc
The California Poppy Pickers were one of several relatively anonymous studio projects assembled by Alshire label head Al Sherman to record budget-priced copycat LPs of '60's pop hits. They were helmed by producer and songwriter Gary Paxton, best-known for composing the novelty smash "The Monster Mash." In 1965, Paxton founded his own Hollywood recording studio, and by the late 1960s, Paxton was regularly licensing material to Alshire, and at Sherman's request, he put together the California Poppy Pickers to capitalize on the growing country-rock trend. Comprised of singers/multi-instrumentalists Kenneth Johnson and Dennis Payne, along with pedal steel guitarist Leo LeBlanc, the group released three 1969 LPs -- Sounds of '69, Hair/Aquarius, and Today's Chart Busters comprised primarily of covers and thinly-veiled rewrites.

For reasons unknown, the fourth and final California Poppy Pickers album, The California Poppy Pickers - Honky Tonk Women, was recorded without Paxton's involvement, and featured an entirely different lineup -- singer/guitarist Mike Messer, singer/bassist Don Larson, guitarist Randy Wilcox, and drummer Tom Slipp were, in reality, a Christian rock band called the Wilson McKinley, and they used the proceeds from their lone Alshire date to fund a self-released 1970 date titled Jesus People's Army: On Stage.


The California Poppy Pickers Discography Tracks


The California Poppy Pickers Today's Chart Busters (Album) Alshire US 1969 Sell This Version
The California Poppy Pickers Hair-Aquarius (Album) Alshire Canada 1969 Sell This Version
S-5152 The California Poppy Pickers Sounds Of '69(LP, Alb) Alshire S-5152 US 1969 Sell This Version
S-5167 The California Poppy Pickers Honky Tonk Women(LP, Album) Alshire S-5167 US 1969 Sell This Version
S - 14.015 The California Poppy Pickers Dance Boom(LP, Album) Yupy S - 14.015 Spain 1973 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

7154 The California Poppy Pickers Israelites - Back In The U.S.S.R.(7", Single, S/Edition) Sello Verde 7154 Venezuela Unknown Sell This Version

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