C.K. Strong

C.K. Strong was an American soul-rock band from Los Angeles that released a self-titled album on Epic in 1969. Singer Lynn Carey subsequently formed a duo with Neil Merryweather and fronted Ivar Avenue Reunion and Mama Lion.

Members: Lynn Carey (vocals), Jeff Kewley (guitar, vocals), Geoff Westen (guitar, vocals), Chris Brooks (bass, vocals), Ron Grinel (drums)


C.K. Strong sprung from a songwriting partnership between singer Lynn Carey (C) and guitarist/singer Jeff Kewley (K). They shared contributions with another songwriter, guitarist/singer Geoff Westen.

Carey (b. Oct. 29, 1946, Los Angeles) was the daughter of actor Macdonald Carey. She modeled as a teen and played the role of Sally Grace in the 1966 comedy Lord Love a Duck, starring Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld. Carey also landed guest roles on the T.V. shows Lassie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Run for Your Life, The Donna Reed Show, and The Wild Wild West.

Westen came from The Other Half, a San Franciscan garage-psych band that also featured guitarist Randy Holden. They cut a 1968 self-titled album and scored a minor hit with “Mr. Pharmacist,” a much-comped classic of the Nuggets era.

With the rhythm section of Christopher Brooks (bass) and Ron Grinel (drums), C.K. Strong signed to Epic and recorded their album with jazz-drummer-turned-producer Jackie Mills.

The Album

C.K. Strong released its debut album in August 1969 on Epic. Carey and Kewley co-wrote six cuts: “Stormbird,” “Daddy,” and the lengthier numbers “Baby Let Me Out,” “Mean Hearted Man,” and “Trilogy,” a three-part suite. Westen contributed three songs: “Affairs,” “Been So Long,” and “Rolling Down the Highway.”

C.K. Strong was engineered by Terry Dunavan, who also worked on 1968–71 albums by Chad & Jeremy, Kak, Audience, and the Chambers Brothers. The cover shows the band lounging around a tea-table in a dark room that appears air-bound. Their logo sports an Arm & Hammer-like image below the nameplate. The back contains liner notes by Joe X. Price, who describes Carey as a “radiating, well-endowed blonde,” whose “pyromagnetic caroling scans three octaves.”

Epic paired “Stormbird” and an abbreviated “Daddy” on a 7″.

Later Activity

As recordings got underway for a second C.K. Strong album, Carey left to record with her new boyfriend, Canadian musician Neil Merryweather. They formed Ivar Avenue Reunion for a 1970 blues-rock album and cut a duo disc as Merryweather & Carey, both on RCA.

The couple then formed Mama Lion, a soul-rock band that issued two albums in 1972/73 on Artie Ripp’s Family Productions. Their partnership, and the band (which also recorded without her as Heavy Cruiser), collapsed amid Ripp’s questionable business practices. After a decade out of the spotlight, Carey resurfaced with the 1984 jazz-vocal album Good Times!

Kewley and Westen played on the 1971 Decca release America’s Sweetheart by songwriter Sandy Szigeti. In subsequent years, Kewley’s name appeared on albums by Neil Diamond, Lyle Swedeen, and Alice Cooper.

Westen cut a pair of 1981 new wave singles under the band monikers The Scoop and The Balls, both on the London-based indie Towerbell Records. From the ’90s onward, he embraced electronica with The Pigs and Digital Activity.

Grinel joined hard-rockers Kindred, which issued a 1971 eponymous album on Warner Bros. He played on 1974/75 albums by Joe Walsh, Keith Moon, and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. In 1976, he played on the first of two albums by rustic-rockers Fools Gold, which toured as Dan Fogelberg‘s backing band.

German archivists World in Sound have thrice reissued C.K. Strong on CD (2010, 2017) and vinyl (2011).


  • C.K. Strong (1969)


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