James Hendricks (sometimes billed as Jim Hendricks) passed through several folk and folk-rock groups in the 1960s, some of which would produce important figures of the folk-rock movement, although Hendricks himself never achieved the fame of his most celebrated colleagues. In the early '60s he formed one-third of the Big Three, a folk trio also including Tim Rose and a pre-Mamas and the Papas Cass Elliot. When Rose left to pursue a solo career and carve a niche as a cult folk-rock singer/songwriter, Hendricks and Elliot teamed up with Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty to form the short-lived Mugwumps. The Mugwumps did some recordings that were among the first in the United States to grope toward the folk-rock style, but soon split up. Doherty and Elliot soon found fame as one-half of the Mamas and the Papas and Yanovsky joined the Lovin' Spoonful. Hendricks and Elliot did co-write the two original songs to appear on the Mugwumps' album (issued posthumously in 1967), including "Here It Is Another Day," a fine folk-rock ballad that would have stood a chance of being a hit if it had gotten the right exposure. Hendricks and Elliot, incidentally, were married during the Big Three/Mugwumps era, although this was done so that Hendricks could evade the military draft.
Hendricks put out a little-known folk-rock single of Pete Seeger's "The Bells of Rhymney" (which the Byrds also did a version of, on their first album) as half of the duo James Hendricks and Vanessa. He went further into pop-folk-rock with the Lamp of Childhood, which put out three singles on Dunhill. After that band split, he started a solo career, issuing an obscure LP, Songs of James Hendricks, on Soul City in 1968. Produced by Johnny Rivers, the album was low-energy, undistinguished country-rock, with backing by top session musicians such as James Burton, Pete Drake, Jerry Reed, and Kenny Buttrey. Hendricks also released an album and two singles for MGM in the early '70s and sang on Rivers' Blue Suede Shoes album in 1973, as well as putting out one single on Starcrest in 1976. ~ Richie Unterberger~ Rovi