That first year, 1968-69, the repertoire of The Other Guys consisted almost entirely of arrangements pirated from The Friars, in particular, those which the founders could learn by ear from listening repeatedly to a tape recording Parker had kept of a Friars performance at a strange annual Ann Arbor ritual called “Bandorama.” Songs like “Peanut Vendor,” “Mr. Bass Man,” “Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” “Long White Robe” and “The Mess” came from this source. The early O.G. also performed something called “Swing Down, Sweet Chariot” -- not to be confused with “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” -- and a published barbershop arrangement of “Lida Rose” from The Music Man. Johnson, who had a good friend at Yale involved in the singing group subculture there, started lifting arrangements off an album put out in 1968 by a Yale group called the “Augmented 7,” and by the second season of The Other Guys such Augmented 7 numbers as “Here, There and Everywhere” (yes, the Beatles tune) and “That’s All” (popularized during the 1950’s by Johnny Mathis’s recording) had been added to the O.G. repertoire.
Humorous choreography and song introductions became an early tradition for the O.G., too. Songs were announced with gag titles, like:
“I Wish Your Eyes Were Close to Mine, Instead of So Close to Each Other:
“The Shades of Night Were Falling Fast, But I Got a Good Look, Anyway”
“She Wouldn’t Kiss Me in the Canoe, So I Paddled Her Back”
“She Was Only a Baker’s Daughter, But I Kneaded Her Dough”
“She Made Fun of My Apartment, So I Knocked Her Flat”
“She Used To Play Left Field, But She Knew All the Positions”
“She Was Only a Farmer’s Daughter, But Every Horseman Knew Her” (horse manure, get it?)
and of course, the first announcer always said, “I’d like to take a moment to introduce the group,” after which all of the O.G. would shake hands with each other and pretend to “learn” each other’s name.
Professor Olson took the VMGC on a month-long tour of Europe during the summer of 1969, following his first year as Glee Club director. Needless to say, The Other Guys were part of that tour group, and they actually got a chance to perform at some of the concerts. Thus were the O.G. loosed upon the world at large. The tour included about 15 concerts over 22 days in three countries, as well as an audience with Pope Paul VI (no, The Other Guys did not perform “Long White Robe” or anything else for His Holiness.)
Gigs during the 1969-70 school year, other than regular appearances at VMGC concerts, were confined to banquets and school assemblies in Champaign-Urbana and in the outlying towns within a 10- or 15-mile radius (St. Joseph’s High School comes to mind). The Other Guys typically wore the Glee Club travel outfit: blue blazer with VMGC patch, gray slacks, light blue Oxford button-down collar shirt, navy and gold rep striped tie. There was no special outfit or uniform for the octet. The Glee Club uniform back then, by the way, was tuxedo with red bowtie and red cummerbund. Professor Olson soon nixed the red accessories and for the first several years of his leadership presented the VMGC in classic black-tie, before reverting to the even more formal white-tie-and-tails.