Merrell & The Exiles

This was Jeff Cotton’s first band which he put together when he was only 14 with Merrell Fankhauser, who’d had several surf hits with The Impacts, and fellow high school friends Greg Hampton and Jim Ferguson. They recorded a number of songs, influenced by Buddy Holly and the British Invasion groups, that became hits locally during 1964 and 1965 but much of their output has not been released until the last few years.

Although Cotton definitely played on many of earlier The Exiles tracks the band developed into an ever-changing collection of musicians centred around Fankhauser during 1966 and 1967 by which time Cotton had moved on.

John French occasionally sat in on drums for The Exiles but there seems some doubt over whether he actually recorded anything with them although he is listed as doing so on some releases. Fankhauser thinks he did but French doesn’t think so!

For a more detailed Jeff Cotton discography see the Space Blues website


  • 1964 7″ Please Be Mine / Too Many Heartbreaks (Glenn 308)
  • 1964 7″ Send Me Your Love / Don’t Call On Me (Glenn 310)
  • 1965 7″ Sorry For Yourself / I Saw Suzie Cryin’ (Glenn 317)
  • 1965 7″ Sorry For Yourself / I Saw Suzie Cryin’ (Interlude 317)
  • 1965 7″ Can’t We Get Along / That’s All I Want From You (Golden Crown GMA-102)
  • 1996 US Vinyl The Early Years 1964-1967 (American Sound AS-1000)
  • 1997 US Vinyl Desert Island Treasures featuring The Impacts, Merrell & The Exiles and more (Bacchus Archives BA1116)
  • 2000 US Vinyl Wild in the Desert (Lance L-4001)
  • 199? French CD The Early Years 1964-1967 (Legend Music LM9006). A French CD with 20 tracks, the same as the American Sound vinyl plus 4 extra

Some of the Exiles recordings were used by Merrell Fankhauser on the Fapadokly album originally released in 1967 but reissued on CD with extra tracks. The sleevenotes claim Jeff is involved … it’s possible!

  • 1967 US Vinyl Fapardokly (UIP LP 2250)
  • 1983 US Vinyl Fapardokly (Psycho 5) 1983 – reissue
  • 1987 US Vinyl Fapardokly (5 Hours Back Tock 003) – reissue
  • 1995 US CD Fapardokly (Sundazed SC 6059) 1995 – with extra tracks

Help us out

If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *