Second Coming

The Second Coming was a nine-member American brass-rock band that released a self-titled album on Mercury in 1970.

Members: Jack Kramer (trumpet, bugle, trombone, background vocals), Buddy Stephens (trumpet, lead vocals), Bill Dinwiddie (trombone, percussion, background vocals), Rick Rudolph (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, alto flute, trombone), Les King (drums, congas, percussion, timpani), Dave Miller (Hammond organ, electric piano, background vocals), Ernie Sell (bass, guitar, backing vocals), Bob Penny (guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals), Tom Palmer (bass, guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals)


Second Coming paired a four-piece horn section with a five-member rock band.

The horns consisted of trombonist Bill Dinwiddie, multi-reedist Rick Rudolph (saxophone, flute, trombone), and trumpeters Buddy Stephens and Jack Kramer. Dinwiddie plays on the 1966 single “And Then I Saw Her Cry” (b/w “I’ll Never Get Away”) by Bobby Whiteside.

Bassist Ernie Sell and percussionist Les King anchored the band, which featured guitarist Bob Penny, guitarist–bassist Tom Palmer, and keyboardist–songwriter Dave Miller.

The Second Coming

The Second Coming released their self-titled debut album in 1970 on Mercury. Miller composed the entirety of Side One and “Roundhouse.” Dinwiddie and Kramer co-wrote the epic “Jeremiah Crane,” which uses a horn motif by Curtis Mayfield sideman Dick Single. Stephens sings lead on everything apart from Penny’s contribution, “It’s Over.”

A1. “Requiem for a Rainy Day” (4:03)
A2. “Take Me Home” (4:19)
A3. “Nobody Cares” (5:33)
A4. “Landlubber” (5:52)
B1. “Roundhouse” (3:34)
B2. “It’s Over” (4:47)
B3. “Jeremiah Crane” (10:53)

Sessions took place in Chicago at Audio Finishers Studio, where Mercury’s VP of Midwest A&R Robin McBride produced the album amid 1970–71 label titles by Buddy Miles, The Freedom Express, The Second City, and Wild Child Butler. Veteran soundman Bruce Swedien engineered The Second Coming in sequence with Buddy’s Them Changes and albums by Eddie Harris and Tyrone Davis.

The Second Coming appeared in three different covers. American copies sport a gatefold designed by Parsons graduate William Falkenburg under the direction of AGI’s Desmond Strobel. It shows a mass entanglement of bubbly blueish critters spread across red crumpled drapery.

The inner-gates feature candid pics of the members in casual and mild hippie attire. (Penny, a black belt, dons his karate gi.) For the liner notes, McBride writes “I would write liner notes for this album, but the cover, liner, and most of all the music say it all. Let it all be said more often.” 

UK and Dutch pressings feature an alternate single-sleeve by Mercury photographer Burnell Caldwell, whose imagery depicts ghostly apparitions against an ancient Roman fresco. On New Zealand copies, the US inner-gate collage appears on a flip-back sleeve.

Mercury lifted an edit of “Take Me Home” (2:54) backed with the non-album “747” (2:55). “Requiem for a Rainy Day” became the second single (b/w “Roundhouse”).

“Nobody Cares” appears on Dimension of Miracles, a 1971 European Mercury sampler with cuts by Ancient Grease (“Women and Children First”), Blue Cheer (“Rest at Ease”), Broth (“I’m a King”), Buddy Miles (“Little Miss Nothin”’), David Bowie (“The Width of a Circle”), Exuma (“The Obeah Man”), Gator Creek (“Home”), J. D. Blackfoot (“The Ultimate Prophecy”), Rod Stewart (“It’s All Over Now”), and the United Sons of America (“Friends”).

The Second Coming made one further release: the 1971 standalone covers single “Anthem,” a BB King chestnut backed with “Palmyra,” a Guess Who rarity.

Post-Second Coming

Dinwiddie joined the Les Hooper Big Band and (with Kramer) plays on the 1974 Mercury release The Wonder of It All, the second album by Chicago rustic-rockers Heartsfield.

Kramer appears on Chuck Mangione‘s 1973 live album Land of Make Believe… and late-seventies soul-funk albums by Faze-O, Ohio Players, and Kitty & The Haywoods.

Stephens surfaced as a percussionist–singer in Stallion, a Denver pop-rock act that released two albums in 1976–77 on Casablanca.



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