The Coachmen at Grannys Teen Club, Opp, Alabama, 1965

The Barons (Ozark, Alabama)

The Coachmen at Grannys Teen Club, Opp, Alabama, 1965

The Coachmen at Grannys Teen Club, Opp, Alabama, 1965. L-R: Steve Folmar, Paul Williams, Gordon Dodson & Ron Sims

The Coachmen - Grannys Teen Club, Opp, Alabama 1965

The Coachmen at Grannys Teen Club, Opp, Alabama 1965, L-R: Ron Sims, Gordon Dodson, Bill Saunders & Steve Folmar

Rodney Dodson – lead locals / rhythm guitar
Gordon Dodson – lead guitar / vocals
Bill Saunders – bass guitar / vocals
Coley Sullivan – drums
John Runkle – organ
Billy Scott – lead vocals

The Barons, formerly The Coachmen, from Ozark, Alabama, were formed in 1964 by guitarist Gordon Dodson and bassist Bill Saunders. The Coachmen soon added school friends guitarist Ron Sims, vocalist Paul Williams, and drummer, Steve Folmar.

Gordon Dodson & Billy Scott of The Coachmen, Fort Rucker, Alabama, 1965

Gordon Dodson & Billy Scott of The Coachmen, Fort Rucker, Alabama, 1965

By early 1965, The Coachmen were playing the popular Opp, Alabama Teen Club known as Granny’s and the Ft. Rucker, Alabama Teen Club.  1965 also saw the first change of band members.  James Childers replaced Steve Folmar on drums and Billy Scott replaced Paul Williams on vocals.

1966 saw additional member changes as Coley Sullivan replaced drummer James Childers.  Rodney Dodson, Gordon’s brother, replaced guitarist Ron Sims.  John Runkle was added as the organist.

The Coachmen were renamed The Barons. The Barons played local teen clubs and recreation centers, as well as the Officers and Enlisted Clubs at Fort Rucker, Alabama and several fraternity parties at Troy State University.

The Barons of Ozark, Alabama

The Barons of Ozark, Alabama. Standing L-R: Rodney Dodson, Bill Saunders, Coley Sullivan. Seated L-R: Gordon Dodson, Billy Scott, John Runkle

During the summer of 1966, The Barons recorded their only single 45rpm record at WOOF Radio Station in Dothan, Alabama. “I’m The One Who Cares” and “I Needed You”, were written and sung by The Barons’ lead singer, Rodney Dodson with his brother Gordon singing harmony. Bassist Bill Saunders, composed the keyboard introduction and lead break on “I’m The One Who Cares”.The Barons Red Wave 45 I'm the One Who Cares

The recording was done with one microphone hanging in the center of a sound proof room using a two track reel to reel recorder; no overdubs. The recording “engineer” unfortunately kept the recording level in the red, distorting the overall sound quality. The high volume playbacks sounded good in the studio, so the master tape was sent to the pressing company. Because of limited funds, only 250 records were pressed. The label name, Red Wave, was taken from the local Troy State University Trojans football team, which was known at that time as, The Red Wave. The record sleeve was a stock light brown paper.

John Belcher and Jerry Williams of Ozark distributed the record through John’s dad’s appliance and record store.  The record was also placed on a few local jukeboxes.  Although the record received a fair amount of play from the jukebox distribution, it was seldom heard on radio due to the poor sound quality.  The Barons disband near the end of 1966.  The remaining boxes of records, were unfortunately, used as clay pigeon substitutes during an afternoon of target practice by the two Dodson brothers and their older brother, Claude.

Baron members known to have stayed musically active are:

Rodney Dodson was the founding member of the popular 1980′s southeast Alabama band, The Fairlanes.  A school teacher by trade, Rodney once invited his friend and fellow musician, Sara Evans, to perform at his school.  Rodney put together a small group of musicians, including himself, brother Gordon, and sister Celia to accompany Sara.  Sara went on to become the 2005 Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year.Barons Red Wave 45 I Needed You

Gordon Dodson played guitar with the late 1970’s southeast Alabama band, Kingfish, which included notable saxophonist, Jay Scott.  (Jay played the saxophone on Lynard Skynard’s recording of “What’s Your Name”, as well as Alicia Bridges, “I Like The Night Life”.)  Gordon is listed in the Alabama Steel Guitar Hall of Fame as the 2010 recipient of the Bill Simmons Horizon Award.  Gordon taught guitar in the southeast Alabama Junior College system for many years.

Coley Sullivan played drums with the early 1960’s instrumental combo, The Ecstatics, one of Ozark, Alabama’s first rock and roll bands. The Ecstatics, also included lead guitar player, Ron Hilburn, who eventually became the lead guitarist for the 1960’s band, The Chains, referred to as, The Beatles of El Paso.  The Chains are known for their version of “I Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out Any More”.  Coley also played briefly in the 1960’s popular southeast Alabama bands, The Webs, The Puppets, The K- Otics and The Disciples of Blue from Panama City, Florida.

Johnny Christian, friend and fellow musician, though not a member of the Barons, played the woodblocks on “I’m The One Who Cares”.  Johnny retired as Band Director from Dothan, Alabama’s, Northview High School. His son, Wynn Christian, guitarist and vocalist of the popular blues band, Spoonful James, composed “Seven Mile Breakdown”, recorded by the 2006 American Idol Winner, Taylor Hicks.

Gordon Dodson
2014

The Barons, Doug Tew Recreation Center, Dothan, Alabama

The Barons, Doug Tew Recreation Center, Dothan, AL. From left: Rodney Dodson, Billy Scott, Gordon Dodson, Coley Sullivan, Bill Saunders & John Runkle

James Childers, drummer for the Coachmen of Ozark, AL

James Childers, drummer for the Coachmen of Ozark, AL

The Coachmen, Fort Rucker, Alabama, 1965

The Coachmen, Fort Rucker, Alabama, 1965, L-R: Ron Sims, Billy Scott, Gordon Dodson & Bill Saunders

Jeff Curtis & the Flames, the Undertakers, at Marcam Hall, Fenland, from the Cambridgeshire Times, July 17, 1964

Marcam Hall, March, Cambridgeshire

Jeff Curtis & the Flames, the Undertakers, at Marcam Hall, Fenland, from the Cambridgeshire Times, July 17, 1964

Jeff Curtis & the Flames, the Undertakers, at Marcam Hall, Fenland, from the Cambridgeshire Times, July 17, 1964

Marcam Hall in March, Cambridgeshire was an important music venue in the early-mid 1960s and hosted many of the top bands of the day.

I have started to compile gigs that I have found in the Cambridgeshire Times and would welcome any additions plus any memories of this venue below.

30 March 1963 – Emile Ford and Bobby Patrick & The Big Six
6 July 1963 – Dave Anthony & The Druids
17 August 1963 – James King & The Farinas (later morphed into Family)

18 January 1964 – Mike Dee & The Moquettes
25 January 1964 – The Zephyrs and Billy Storm & The Falcons
18 April 1964 – James King & The Farinas
2 May 1964 – Mike Dee & The Moquettes
4 July 1964 – Johnny Mike & The Shades and Guitars Incorporated
18 July 1964 – Jeff Curtis & The Flames
15 August 1964 – Cyrano & The Bergeracs
29 August 1964 – The Pretty Things and The Blobs
19 December 1964 – The Hollies

22 January 1965 – Fourmost and Jeff Curtis & The Flames
5 February 1965 – Simon Scott & Five Dimensions
19 March 1965 – Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders
9 April 1965 – The Escorts and Cyrano & The Bergeracs
8 May 1965 – The Honeycombs
22 May 1965 – The Birds
19 June 1965 – Carl Wayne & The Vikings
2 October 1965 – The Walker Brothers with Quotations and James King & The Farinas
16 October 1965 – The Checkpoints and The Penny Blacks
6 November 1965 – The Yardbirds and The Walker Brothers (needs confirmation)
27 November 1965 – The Spencer Davis Group and Gary Freeman & The Contours
11 December 1965 – The Clayton Squares and The Kobalts

15 January 1966 – Gerry & The Pacemakers (needs confirmation)
19 February 1966 – Peter B’s Looners and Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds
26 February 1966 – The Fenmen and The Tribe
5 March 1966 – The Who
21 May 1966 – Jimmy Cliff & The New Generations (straight from the Flamingo, London) with B&3
15 October 1966 – The Alan Price Set (replaced Moody Blues who had just disbanded)

The Fourmost with Jeff Curtis & the Flames at Marcam Hall, Fenland, from the Cambridgeshire Times, January 2, 1965

The Fourmost with Jeff Curtis & the Flames at Marcam Hall, Fenland, from the Cambridgeshire Times, January 2, 1965

IV Pak Hippie 45 Whatzit?

The IV Pak or the VI Pak, Whatzit Gonna Be?


The IV Pak photos

The IV Pak, from left: Frank Carter, Brandon Cardwell, Anthony Hodges & Mike Carter

Jack Garrett unveils the story behind the mystery group from North Carolina:

Have you ever been to Ruffin, N.C.? Probably not, but if you traveled there around 1967, you just might have heard the sounds of a psychedelic/soul band that managed to play together with the same personnel for 6 years.

Challengers Business Card

Challengers business card

The band is remembered today as the IV Pak and the mystery surrounding the elusive group begins with their name. The group, whose psychedelic rave-up “Whatzit?” appears on numerous garage comps (Signed DC, Teenage Shutdown #8, Aliens, Psychos & Wild Things #3), has gone under the radar screen for decades because they never performed under that name. A label misprint on their lone 45 mistakenly lists the artists as the IV Pak, instead of the VI Pak. Bassist Anthony Hodges explains that the four-piece group had recently expanded to include trumpet and sax players and the members decided they would “just be the VI Pack, like a six pack of beer.”

IV Pak - The Recks Combo Business Card

The Recks Combo business card

The group started in 1965 as the Challengers and included Mike Carter on guitar, first-cousin Frank Carter on keyboards, bassist Anthony Hodges and drummer, Brandon Cardwell. The quartet performed for two years as the Challengers, then briefly as the Recks before adding sax man Lonnie Bowes and trumpet player Sidney Vernon and christening themselves as the VI Pak. They were based on the borders of Caswell and Rockingham Counties in North Carolina, with half the members at Bartlett-Yancey High School in Yanceyville and the others attending Ruffin High School.

Brandon lived nearby but was much younger than the others. He joined the Challengers at age 10, but was already an accomplished drummer.

IV Pak - Lonnie Bowes Photo

Lonnie Bowes

Sax man Lonnie Bowes recalls that the school band had just started a year or so prior to the group’s formation and the members all knew each other through school. He explains that “Mike had a good ear for music and Frank could read music real well (so) we just all fell together pretty good.”

Mike and Frank were the unofficial leaders. The cousins both started on guitar and a shared Silvertone amp purchased at Haynes Pawn Shop in Danville for $70. Frank quickly gravitated to keyboards and his dad bought him an inexpensive Italian organ. Anthony and Brandon were recruited and the line-up was set. The four shared a love for the Animals, Stones and the Beatles, although Brandon admits vocals were a chore, since “we didn’t have anybody (who) could sing like John or Paul.”

After learning “Wooly Bully” and “House of the Rising Sun”, the Challengers performed live for the first time in Oct. of ’65 for a dance at the Casville Volunteer Fire Department in Caswell County, N.C. More gigs followed at parties, pizza parlors, church socials, VFW posts and the local Moose and Elk’s lodges. Within months, the band competed in a battle of the bands at Williamsburg Elementary School in Reidsville, losing out to the better-equipped Checkmates.

The bass player’s father ran the local music store and provided their Fender Showman amps.
Another early performance was in the tiny town of Quick, where the Challengers played for Pam Hodges’ 15th birthday party. Hodges would go on to marry legendary bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice.

VI Pak Robbins Recording Acetate Love My Babe

VI Pak – Robbins Recording Acetate, Love My Babe

The group played once in Danville as the Recks before adding horns and becoming the VI Pak. The addition allowed the band to play a mixture of rock and soul, opening doors on the North Carolina beach circuit.

It was 1966 and the members of the VI Pak were anxious to get into the studio and record. Anthony had written a mid-tempo rocker, “Love My Babe,” and a crude recording was made at Danville’s House of Sound Studios after the bassist and guitarist approached producer Frank Koger at the local K-Mart, where he worked his day job running the electronics department. A half-dozen copies of an acetate were pressed featuring the original song and the band’s theme, an instrumental which borrowed heavily from “Wipe Out” and “Batman.” It was their first time in the studio and Brandon was nervous, kicking the song off at breakneck speed. The band kept pace, with Mike serving up a blistering guitar solo and Brandon bashing away on the drums.

The demo was played a couple of times on the local Top 40 station, but it would be the following year before the VI Pak would get the break they needed to actually press a record.


That break came in the summer of ’67 during a two-day battle of the bands at Ballou Park Shopping Center in Danville. Hosted by popular deejay Glenn Scott, some of the best bands in the region competed on three flatbed trucks in the shopping center’s parking lot. At the end of the first day’s competition, the VI Pak had won the preliminary round and a free recording session at Koger’s Raven Records. The grand prize went to the Fabulous Generals of Martinsville, Va., who wore matching suits and were fronted by a pretty (and talented) female vocalist, Debra Carol Crowder.

IV Pak - Mike Carter

Mike Carter

At 17, Frank Carter was the oldest member of the band and remembers selecting a Booker T. and the MG’s song, “Boot-Leg,” to record because it featured the brass and “had a neat little organ part in the center of it, that Booker T. did.” It also helped that the band knew the soul song and performed it regularly. Frank recalls that the band had originally planned to record at Robin’s Records in Greensboro, “but they wanted more money over there.”

The House of Sound studio was located on Piney Forest Road in Danville, in the same building that Mike’s uncle — E.C. Gerringer — owned and used for a piano and furniture company.

The guys crammed all of their instruments and amps into the trunk of Frank’s ’63 Chevy and headed for the studio. Frank remembers it as a “pretty neat little studio (with) multi-tracking and cubicles so “that each one of us had our own little box to play in. It wasn’t like playing in one big room, everything was sort of sectioned off for the drummer and for the guitarist and the horns and myself.”

IV Pak - Brandon Cardwell

Brandon Cardwell

“Boot-Leg” was knocked out in short order, but the band wasn’t prepared when Koger said:

“Well, what are you gonna put on the other side of this?”

The band decided to record another cover as the flip and had attempted several takes before Koger threw up his hands in frustration and called for a different number. Brandon explains that the band “did ‘Boot-Leg’ and we knew that was gonna be the A-side and that turned out really decent and we had planned on putting ‘Ferry Across the Mersey’ by Gerry and the Pacemakers on the B-side.” Brandon says the band “did it as good as we’d ever done it and I don’t know what happened but right near the end of the song our trumpet player — who was playing the lead in it — hit a sour note. And we were doing it instrumental… and he hit a sour note, so we were just blown away. Not that we didn’t have any more studio time, but we just messed around with ‘Whatzit?,’ which was a takeoff on ‘Psychotic Reaction,’ of course, and we just wound up putting that on the record instead.”

Frank recalls that the band hadn’t played “Psychotic Reaction” more than a couple of times, but Koger suggested that they rework it for the session.

Anthony, who sings the lead vocal, sat down and penned a couple of quick verses before the tape started rolling.

She had a cute mini-skirt with a little bit o’ tease, you can see six inches above her knees.
I’m just like a man, can’t stand the attraction. She leaves me with a psychotic reaction.
Looks so good I’d like to eat her, psychotic reaction every time I meet her.
Five-foot-two and built for action, 98 pounds of psychotic reaction.


Frank explains that, like Psychotic Reaction, “we had to do something in middle of this thing. So, that’s when we just put this organ sound in the center of it and I was using an old Sears Silvertone amplifier with a Doric organ. And the (effect) on it was just sort of cheap reverb I guess you’d say. Anyway, it sounded very sort of outer space. So we put that in it.”

IV Pak - Nashville Record Productions Acetate for Hippie 2019 (detail)

IV Pak – Nashville Record Productions Acetate for Hippie 2019, crediting Anthony and Mike as composers instead of Frank Koger. Flip side contains the Individuals songs for their Raven 45.

Brandon dropped a beat as he was coming back from the break but recovered, although Frank says he “had to do a little bit of catching up.” He believes Koger “had to edit out maybe a drum beat or so in the process, but anyway that turned out to the song that people played.”

The drummer’s recollection is a little different. He wanted to re-record “Whatzit?” because “there was a major mess up on my part about middle ways into the song… it was just a real bad off time thing I did and luckily I stumbled right back into beat. I really didn’t like that cut because of that.” In retrospect, he doesn’t know why the band didn’t just stop and take it from the top. And when they listened to the playback, Brandon says he couldn’t understand “why we even kept it on the tape, because Frank Koger would back it up and record over the same tape usually… didn’t do it that time.” He says the consensus was that the song was only a B-side and no one would ever hear it.

With the song in the can, a title was needed. The band had just composed it and had no idea what to call the tune. After a short discussion between the band and Koger in the control room and after listening to the tape together, Koger said: “I don’t know what it is, so why don’t we just call it ‘Whatzit!’”

Anthony believes his vocal part was double-tracked by Koger, although Mike insists he sang in unison with the bass player. Either way, the snarling vocal makes the record. Both sides were recorded in about two hours.

 


Now that the sessions were complete, Koger approached the band about a label. Frank remembers the producer wanted an extra $20 to release it on Raven Records, explaining that the Soulmasters were riding high on the success of their first single, “I’ll Be Waiting Here.” The members were listening to the playback in the control room and “between us we might’ve had 10 bucks that night, because we really hadn’t planned on doing anything extra and we were scared to death we might not come out with anything” after paying Koger their $50 in prize money. The band balked and insisted on their own label, choosing Hippie Records because, as Anthony explains, “We all wanted to be hippies back then (and) grow our hair long.”IV Pak Hippie 45 Whatzit?

The master tapes were sent off for pressing and the band was in for another surprise when their records arrived. Somewhere along the way, the Roman numerals had been inverted and the VI Pak had become the IV Pak. With 500 mislabeled copies, the band began distributing the 45. Mike went by the studios to retrieve the records and recalls that “each box had 20 or 25 records and I believe each one of us received about four boxes. We would just take those and try and sell them individually. And if we knew of anybody at a radio station we could take them to, we’d do that, but I don’t remember anywhere I distributed them to except at school and relatives.”

The band’s name wasn’t the only bone of contention. Rather than credit Anthony Hodges as lyricist, Koger listed himself as songwriter, although he spelled his name backwards. Anthony remains unhappy about the slight to this day, but rationalizes that “it didn’t go anywhere, so he didn’t get much money from it.”

Frank recalls hearing the song played in Reidsville and on WYPR and WBTM in Danville and believes there may have been a second pressing.

The record’s release led to more bookings but also confusion about how the band should bill itself. Most promoters knew the band as the VI Pak, but the attention generated by the record resulted in more requests for the IV Pak to play parties, The Black Horse Cellar and Torch clubs, and even the coveted Coke plant dance in Danville, which attracted hundreds of teens every weekend.

The group soldiered on as the VI Pak another three years, performing throughout their home state and Southside Virginia and expanding their repertoire to include numbers by Eric Clapton, Vanilla Fudge and the Rolling Stones. Performances were more sporadic after 1968, with Frank, Sidney, Anthony and Lonnie away at college. The group parted ways in ’71 when Anthony joined the Air Force and several of the members married.

IV Pak Photo, 1973

The only group photo of the IV Pak, from 1973, left to right: Mike Carter, Brandon Cardwell, Frank Carter & Anthony Hodges

A brief reunion followed in 1989, when the band came together for a one-off performance at Ruffin’s Whistlestop Jubilee in late November. As fate would have it, it snowed that morning and the concert was cancelled.

Trumpeter Sidney Vernon died in 2008 at the age of 59. After graduating from high school, he attended Western Carolina University and discovered pottery. Sid and his wife later moved to Virginia Beach, where he taught ceramics and started Vernon Pottery, making 1/12th scale reproductions of 19th century salt-glazed stoneware. He was acknowledged by the International Guild of Miniature Artisans for his skill as a potter and awarded “Fellow” status. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and found its way to collectors around the world.

IV Pak Frank Carter and Anthony Carter, 1973

Frank Carter and Anthony Hodges, 1973

While in the Air Force, Mike Carter played in the Hands of Time, then joined the Ed Irvin Band and Patchwork. He spent eight years as guitarist for the Atlantis Band, where he wrote the song “Shagging By The Seaside,” which the group recorded for Pyramid Records in Charlotte in 1986. He took an 18-year hiatus before returning to music in 2006 with the Not Dead Yet Blues Band. He currently performs with bassist “Wild” Bill Moore in A Cup of Blues.

Lonnie Bowes played in several bands after the VI Pak but is semi-retired and hasn’t touched his horn in years. He now runs a small DMV office in Yanceyville, N.C.

After the VI Pak, Anthony Hodges did a tour of duty in Vietnam. On his return stateside, he went to work for the N.C. Department of Corrections. He has since retired from prison work and music, although he sings in his church choir and still lives in Ruffin.

IV Pak - Lonnie Bowes

Lonnie Bowes

Brandon Cardwell is still active in music and plays classic rock and country every weekend in the house band at the Barn Dance in Julian, N.C. His drumming is also featured on 80′s albums by The Paul Roberts Band and Lady and the Gamblers. He then played with Kerry Michaels and the Mitch Snow bands through the mid-90s, followed by a stint with Bob Collins and the Fabulous Five. His day job was at Burlington Industries.

Frank Carter traded his Doric organ for a Vox, which he still has today. He likes to record on his Korg M3 and is currently working on a musical on Judas Iscariot and the plot to kill Jesus. He worked for a number of years in television and as a public school teacher before earning his Master’s and teaching photography and communications at Alamance and Cape Fear Community Colleges. Frank retired as chairman of the Humanities and Fine Arts Department at the Wilmington college in May of 2012. His wife is a doctor and a drummer.

The surviving members all live in North Carolina and still keep in touch. They reunited in Spring, 2013 and Mike hopes to record the band in his home studio.

IV Pak Reunion Photo

IV Pak reunion, 2013, from left: Anthony Hodges, Brandon Cardwell, Frank Carter, Lonnie Bowes & Mike Carter

Rivingtons, Starfires, Royal Knights and Jan-Sirs at Retail Clerks Auditorium 1965 Oct 22

Rivingtons, Starfires, Royal Knights and the Jan-Sirs at the Retails Clerks Auditorium, Buena Park

Rivingtons, Starfires, Royal Knights and Jan-Sirs at Retail Clerks Auditorium 1965 Oct 22

Flyer courtesy of Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson sent in this flyer for the Rivingtons, the Starfires, the Royal Knights and the Jan-Sirs at the Retail Clerks Auditorium in Buena Park on Friday, October 22, 1965. Jim’s father was in the Royal Knights, whose members also included Steve Werner.

The Rivingtons are famous for “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and the Starfires are probably the group from Downey that had five singles, including “I Never Loved Her” and “No More” on the GI label, and “There’s Still Time” on the Yardbird label.

It’s interesting to see this flyer from Retail-a-Go-Go comes just three weeks after one I have posted for the Mojo Men. These must have been great, fun shows in such a large venue.

If anyone has photos or info about the Royal Knights or the Jan-Sirs please contact me or comment below.

Feltham R&B Club, Feltham, Middlesex

The Feltham R&B Club was a notable venue for up and coming West London bands. From a historical perspective, perhaps the most noted outfit to play there was 1984, which featured future Queen guitarist Brian May.

I would welcome any history on this venue and also any additional information on bands that played there.

10 September 1966 – The Trendbender Band with Barney J Barnes

15 October 1966 – The Trendbender Band with Barney J Barnes

15 July 1967 – The Sugar Band

22 July 1967 – 1984

Gigs from Hounslow, Brentford and Chiswick Post and the Middlesex Chronicle

Coronation Hall, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

Besides the town’s Cellar Club, another a noted live venue that put on gigs into the late 1960s was Coronation Hall. Quite a few notable acts played there and I’ve started a list. I would be grateful for any additions:

18 January 1964 – Gene Vincent
3 February 1964 – The Yardbirds
11 February 1964 – The Yardbirds
3 March 1964 – The Yardbirds

31 October 1964 – Cosmic Sounds (featuring Linda Crane) and Tempests
12 December 1964 – Lulu and Cosmic Sounds
24 December 1964 – Jimmy Powell & The Dimensions and MI4

1 December 1967 – P P Arnold and The Kool

11 October 1968 – The Move

Gigs from Kingston and Malden Borough News, Surrey Comet

All Nite Workers & Jo-Jo Gunne at the Walton Hop, the Herald & News, Dec. 8, 1967

The Walton Hop at the Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames

All Nite Workers & Jo-Jo Gunne at the Hop Club Discotheque, the Herald & News, Dec. 8, 1967

All Nite Workers & Jo-Jo Gunne at the Hop Club Discotheque, the Herald & News, Dec. 8, 1967

 

Mike Stuart Span, The Flies, The Condors, Eddie Floyd, Woking Herald & News Dec 8., 1967

Mike Stuart Span, The Flies, The Condors, Eddie Floyd at the Walton Hop; Woking Herald & News December 8, 1967

The Walton Hop at the Playhouse in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey was a teen disco started by Deniz Corday in 1958. The music venue is reputed to have been the first disco in the UK. During 1964-1965, it was billed as the Hi-Fi Hop. The venue was billed as the Walton Hop in 1967.

1 March 1964 – The Guitars Incorporated
30 March 1964 – Wainwright’s Gentlemen

18 April 1964 – Limelights

2 May 1964 – Peter’s Faces
23 May 1964 – Wainwright’s Gentlemen

2 June 1964 – Peter’s Faces
9 June 1964 – Wainwright’s Gentlemen
27 June 1964 – Wainwright’s Gentlemen

11 July 1964 – The Nashville Teens
18 July 1964 – Peter’s Faces

1 August 1964 – The Birds (Ron Wood on guitar)
2 August 1964 – Peter’s Faces
29 August 1964 – Peter’s Faces

5 September 1964 – The Birds
19 September 1964 – The Tridents (Jeff Beck’s band)

31 October 1964 – Peter’s Faces

7 November 1964 – The Tridents

26 December 1964 – The Tridents

2 January 1965 – The Birds
16 January 1965 – Peter’s Faces
30 January 1965 – The Legends and Wainwright’s Gentlemen (Ian Gillan was lead singer by now)

6 February 1965 – The Tridents

6 March 1965 – The Tridents
13 March 1965 – The Birds
23 March 1965 – Them

Walton Playhouse closed at some point in early 1966 and re-opened on 29 October 1966

8 November 1966 – The Iveys (evolved into Badfinger)

3 December 1966 – The Iveys
13 December 1966 – The New Downliners Sect

10 January 1967 – The New Mojo Band
21 January 1967 – The Mojos
28 January 1967 – The Nashville Teens

14 February 1967 – The Iveys

1 April 1967 – The Army (Steve Priest, pre-Sweet on bass)
11 April 1967 – The Iveys

17 June 1967 – The Iveys

7 October 1967 – The All Nite Workers

18 November 1967 – Floribunda Rose (John Kongos’s band)

12 December 1967 – The All Nite Workers

9 January 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne
13 January 1968 – The Army
27 January 1968 – The All Nite Workers

13 February 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne
20 February 1968 – The All Nite Workers

19 March 1968 – The All Nite Workers
30 March 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne

15 April 1968 – The All Night Workers

18 May 1968 – The Penny Peeps (Martin Barre, pre-Jethro Tull on guitar)

1 June 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne

3 August 1968 – Clive Barrow Group
31 August 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne

2 September 1968 – The All Nite Workers
7 September 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne

26 October 1968 – The All Nite Workers

14 December 1968 – Jo Jo Gunne

5 July 1969 – The Sweet

Gigs from the Woking Herald and also thanks to Jack Russell

The Mouse Trap Club

The Mouse Trap Club, Vernon Hills, Illinois

Here is the finest collection of ’60s photos I’ve seen in ages, taken mainly at the Mouse Trap Club in the Vernon Hills suburb of Chicago. The Riddles are featured in four of them, and there are two unknown groups that need to be identified. If anyone has information or news clips on the club, please write to me or comment below.

These photos are the property of Philip Metzler, former host of The Mouse Trap, sent to me by his daughter.

The Mouse Trap Club

The Mouse Trap Club

 

The Mouse Trap Club - audience

Audience at the Mouse Trap Club

 

Mouse Trap Club - Philip Metzler "A Better Mouse Trap Club"

Philip Metzler: “A Better Mouse Trap Club”

 

Mouse Trap Club Card

A Better Mouse Trap Club – Where the Elite Meet

 

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap 1

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap

 

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap Club

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap Club

 

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap 3

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap

 

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap Club 4

The Riddles at the Mouse Trap Club

 

Mouse Trap Club - Unknown group with Dex Card of WLS

Unknown group with Dex Card at the Mouse Trap Club

 

Mouse Trap Club - Unknown Band

Unknown Band

 

Unknown group & dancer at the Mouse Trap Club

Unknown group & dancer at the Mouse Trap Club

Virgil Caine LP Cover Photo

Virgil Caine: Roger, Larry, Mike and Eddie

Virgil Caine LP Cover Photoby Jack Garrett

The Virgil Caine album was ignored outside Southern Virginia on its initial release in 1971. But the low-tech masterpiece has finally gained an audience through the internet and the LP has become one of the most sought-after artifacts by collectors of private pressings.

Roger Mannon, 1968

Roger Mannon, 1968


I first heard the songs around the summer of 1971 at the Euphoria Music Emporium, a record/head shop in my hometown of Danville, Va. My best friend and I were regulars and owner Steve Wilson motioned for us to step to the turntable one afternoon, saying he wanted us to listen to the strangest album he had ever heard. He played us “Swamp Witch,” and the chorus stuck in my head for days.


The stark photo on the cover was black and white and none of these guys looked like any rock band I’d ever seen. The short man in the middle could pass for a banker or a college professor and was wearing Buddy Holly glasses. He was flanked by a scruffy looking dude dressed like a house painter and a tall teenager in an ill-fitting hat who looked strangely out of place.

Copies of the album sat in the store on consignment for several months, but there were few takers.

Paul Talley Senior Portrait, 1970

Paul Talley Senior Portrait, 1970

I had all but forgotten about it until I chanced upon a water-damaged copy at a yard sale 20 years later. But the jacket yielded few clues and my search for the band’s origins continued for another 20 years, when a blog posting led me to the group’s surviving songwriter and the man who recorded the album, both linked by a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

While Floyd, Va. has become a regional destination for bluegrass music and a large counter-culture movement, the town of today bears little resemblance to the Floyd where the members of Virgil Caine — Roger Mannon, Larry Janney, Eddie Eanes and Paul Talley — grew up in the sixties. Jim Scott moved to Southwest Virginia from Connecticut in 1966. All attended Floyd County High — the only high school in the County, which today has a population of just 15,000 — in a community where Talley says “everybody knows everybody.”  Mannon, Eanes and Scott graduated in 1968, Janney and Talley two years later.

Paul Talley (right) with the Electric Theater

Paul Talley (right) with the Electric Theater

Paul knew Larry casually in elementary school, but the two became fast friends in 8th grade when Larry ended up with two tickets to a Beach Boys concert and asked Paul to tag along. At the time, Paul was learning the guitar and Larry was already playing. When Jim moved to Floyd, he joined the Crypt Kickers with Larry, who also played the drums. As Scott recalls, his involvement started when “one of the guys in the band brought his guitar on the bus one day and we started playing songs and he said: ‘Hey, you can play. Could you join us?’ And so we kind of played around and just a little garage band and did some local rock and roll at the time, the Beatles and that sort of thing that was popular for dances. And seems like we played a couple of sock hops up at the high school and we may have played either a senior dance or a prom up there as well. This would’ve been around 1966-’67.” Scott was in school with the other three and would later play bass on the album, but says he “barely knew them” then.

Talley, who engineered the album, played rhythm guitar in another Floyd band, “The Electric Theater,” a seven-piece group with horns.


Mannon played on the basketball team but is best remembered for the poetry he wrote for the school magazine.


Eddie Eanes, who died in 1995, co-wrote almost all of the songs on the album and is listed as the sole writer of one of the LP’s most memorable tracks, “Swamp Witch,” although Mannon says the group added the refrain without his knowledge. Roger says the two were best friends in high school and Eddie took up guitar when the Beatles hit. The pair collaborated on songs but Roger says that “about the time we were ready to do something, he finished school and moved away.”

Eddie Eanes, 1968

Eddie Eanes, 1968

After graduation, Eddie moved for a job to Maryland and later to New Orleans. Roger recalls that one of those early jobs was the inspiration for “Swamp Witch,”  which was about voodoo and his time “on an oil rig (where) he got in a lot of that Southern Louisiana kind of backdrop with the Bayous and the country down there and that was primarily inspired by his time being down there, right after he left Floyd.”

Paul remembers Eddie as a “real wild child.” Jim calls that a fair assessment, describing Eddie as “a child of the sixties before the rest of Floyd caught on to it. Floyd, when I moved there in the mid-60s seemed to be about ten years behind the New England towns that I grew up in. You know, mini skirts weren’t popular yet. Nobody was smoking dope yet; they were just back ten, fifteen years earlier. And Eddie seemed to be more on tune with the rest of civilization at that time.”

Eddie lived down the street from Larry, but Janney had no idea Eanes had co-written the songs on the album until he saw the finished product.

By 1970, Roger was a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where he met Mike Campbell, an English professor at Tech who played lead guitar on the album. Roger remembers that Mike “was an avid musician and anytime you went to class and you asked something about a Beatles album or a Bob Dylan album, he’d spend the whole class time talking about music rather than English Literature. So, it was a fun class in that it essentially turned into a music appreciation rather than an English class.” When Roger started talking about recording an album, Mike mentioned that he played guitar and “would like to sit in.”


Larry Janney Senior Portrait

Larry Janney Senior Portrait

Larry and Paul graduated from high school in June 1970 and both enrolled at Danville Community College in the fall, Larry as a Computer Science major and Paul in Business.


It was during this period that sessions for the album began in Christiansburg (twenty miles north of Floyd) where Janney’s family had moved following his father’s death. Larry says all of the recordings were made in “a glassed-in back porch” that was big enough to accommodate all of the equipment. Jim Scott became involved and remembers “Larry’s brother, Teddy, had a bass guitar and we used to jam at that house almost every weekend. We’d bring in guest musicians and the back porch turned into a stage, actually drew quite a neighborhood crowd through a couple of summers.”


But Janney insists he had no idea that the music they were recording would ever see the light of day. He says “the idea was for us to do kind of a sound tape to send to recording studios, hoping that they would sponsor this and provide studio musicians and studio time and all the rest it takes to make a record. So, we were just using what we had, using the microphones and equipment and amplifiers that we had. The reel-to-reel player was a really poor quality. But at any rate, we did all the takes and ended up with a finished product.”

Paul was recruited to record the band because he “just happened to be the guy with the better of two tape recorders,” a then new Webcor Model 5100dr, which he still owns today.

Paul says the songs were written by the time he was brought on board and some had been taped on an older Sears and Roebuck recorder. At the time, Paul and Larry were roommates at DCC and Larry “asked me to help them out and do some recording. I think they were trying to get some studio time and couldn’t. I don’t know exactly what was going on there but I started going over to Larry’s house in Christiansburg and they played a little bit and I’d record it. Larry and I would spend the week sometimes messing around with the tapes.” He says much of his work involved transferring the tapes, then overdubbing and mixing the music. While some of the recording was done live to tape, Paul says “we recorded on two channels and you know did a little bit of playing around with the channels and sometimes something wouldn’t be exactly right and I would take those two channels and record ‘em into one channel and then have somebody record on the other channel… kind of a sound-on-sound type of thing.”


Effects were “by accident” and Paul says the older machine is “probably the reason some of the songs sound the way they do.” He notes that “going from one recorder to another (and) the heads not exactly aligned tended to do some strange things to the music.” The band “wasn’t heavy on equipment,” working with two microphones, “always patching a wire with some tape or something, trying to get the thing to quit humming.”

Paul believes the sessions started in the fall or winter of 1970 and were conducted mostly on weekends when the band members would travel home from school. He recalls one night in particular when they had finished recording and he had to crawl under his car on “a sheet of ice” to repair a starter before he could make the return trip home.

Roger says the whole process took about three months and believes everything was recorded live, adding: “If we got an acceptable take we’d go with it and if not we’d just record it again.” He says the band got together a couple of times to practice original songs “until we got them the way that we wanted them and then recorded ‘em.”

Recollections differ as to wo played what on the album. It’s agreed that Larry played drums and some rhythm guitar, Mike lead guitar and that Roger handled all of the lead vocals. But Larry says he may have added a bass line or two and possibly some background vocals. He says there are definitely songs where “Roger harmonized with himself,” adding that he (Larry) did sing at the time and that “there might be places where I may have done some back-up harmony.”

Jim Scott

Jim Scott

But he has no recollection of Jim Scott participating in any of the album sessions and says he was surprised to see him credited as a “guest artist, courtesy Bogus Records” on the album jacket. Jim concurs, noting that his contribution to “Swamp Witch” was “an afterthought,” if it occurred at all. He says his “40-something-year-old-memory” is “too foggy” to remember much but recalls visiting with Larry as the recordings were being made and “he was showing me how they were dubbing the tapes.” Jim points out that he “had a little bit of knowledge of dubbing because my dad had taught Gene Pitney how to play guitar and we had gone to some of his recording sessions.” Jim says the two “played around with it and I may have laid down the bass track for them that day, or they may have given me credit simply because I was the only one that was gonna go out and sell the album for them.”

Roger remembers that Jim happened to stop by the day the band recorded “Swamp Witch” and played the bass line.

Jim, who would soon leave for Vietnam, was then selling insurance and traveling through Southwest and Southside Virginia. As he traveled, he would carry boxes of the Virgil Caine album on his route, stopping at mom-and-pop music stores where they were sold on consignment. He even placed the LP in stores in the Richmond area and got a radio station in Rocky Mount to play some of the songs, but admits sales were flat and “we didn’t much more than break even on the cost of producing the album.”

While the sessions were progressing, Jim and Larry were also performing the college circuit as a duo, singing Simon and Garfunkel and the Everly Brothers, with Jim sharing an apartment with Larry and Paul when his insurance calls brought him through Danville. The two were offered regular work and could have quit their day jobs, but Jim says they decided against it because he was already traveling and had met too many musicians with “just as much or more talent” who “were lucky to make $10,000 a year.”

Roger says Virgil Caine never performed live and the members never aspired to be a touring band. With conflicting schedules and their scattered lifestyles “our idea was to kind of be like the Band… we just go to a farm house and make a record every once in a while, kinda be above the fray I guess, and we never did get into the playing in small clubs and trying to work at it that way. So, basically we were just a studio band for one recording.”

Larry says he has few memories of the sessions and never met Mike Campbell until he showed up at his house on Roger’s invitation. He describes Mike as “a very talented musician, much more so than comes out on the album.” Mike’s ad-libbed fretwork is featured prominently on “Biscuit High,” which Roger describes as “the instrumental highlight of the album.” He now wishes they had featured Mike’s guitar work on more of the songs.

Once the sessions were completed, Roger sent the master tapes to Capitol Records and agreed to pay $2,000 to have 1,000 copies of the album pressed. But Capitol engineers were unimpressed with the finished product and contacted Mannon, saying “the quality of the music needed to be bumped up” and offering to do “some studio work” on the tapes. When he enquired as to the total cost of the makeover, Roger was told there would be “a straight fee of $25 an hour,” with no guarantee of how long the sweetening might take. He declined and — in retrospect — believes he made the right decision, adding: “I’m not sure they could’ve done a whole lot to improve it.” Larry agrees, saying it would have “never come (out) quite right if it was just a little bit better quality.”

Roger cites “The Great Lunar Oil Strike, 1976″ as his favorite recording, pointing out that it remains topical given the subsequent Valdez and Deepwater incidents. Jim likes “Swamp Witch” because it strikes him as being “almost mystical,” with references to cypress roots, armadillo meat and “where only dead men walk the swamps at night.” Larry prefers “Blackfoot Boojy,” a song about a barnyard cat, because of its shuffle rhythm and Mannon’s vaudevillian vocal.

With the recording finished, Roger began searching for a location for the album photos. He was looking for “an antiquarian setting” in keeping with the music. He found it on his grandfather’s farm off of Route 8, in Floyd. The three stood in front of an old clapboard building for the group shot. Larry remembers it was muddy that day and he wanted to look different, so he borrowed Paul’s hat. The back cover photo is a chicken house patched up with some windows from an old country store. The photographer was Bill Sumner, who was then editor of the Floyd Press.

Virgil Caine was selected as the name of the group and album. Virgil Caine was the fictional character of Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” from the Band’s second LP from 1969. The song describes the defeat of the South at the end of the Civil War. In the song, Caine rides “on the Danville train.” The Richmond and Danville Railroad was the main supply route into Petersburg where Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia held their defensive line to protect Richmond. The Danville supply train ran until General Stoneman’s Union cavalry troops tore up the tracks, as immortalized in the song.

The liner notes were sparse and listed only the members first initials and last names. Mannon says this was by intention and was designed to add to the “mystique” of the LP.

Euphoria Music Emporium August, 1971

Euphoria Music Emporium August, 1971

When the albums finally arrived, the group began distributing boxes to stores and selling copies to “aunts, uncles and in-laws.” Paul and Larry were in Danville at the community college and left a box at Euphoria Music. Months later, they retrieved the albums and were told that “none had been sold.”

Both made flyers promoting the album, which they posted around campus. Paul says they took typing paper and smeared one side with cooking oil, turned it over and used a hot iron to scorch it, which made the paper look like parchment. Then they added a picture of the album and a brief ad before burning the edges. This gave the effect of an Old West wanted poster.

Roger says the group considered recording a second album, but those plans were shelved because it took so long to break even on the first. He had written a “couple of songs” for the follow-up but they were never recorded by the band. He says when Virgil Caine “didn’t become rich and famous, we were just kind of satisfied with what we’d accomplished and moved on from there.”

While none of the members became professional musicians, all still play and four still live in Virginia.

Larry Janney still works with computers and is now the senior systems manager with a medical insurance company. He is bemused by the album’s sudden recognition and finds it hard to fathom. In fact, he deleted my initial telephone message, thinking it was a practical joke. He admits  “the songs were a little weird but everything was weird about the seventies, so the fact that it sounded a little funny — well — that was okay, I guess. And the songs were a little mysterious, that was okay, too. Like I say, it was the 70s.” In retrospect, he wishes they had spent more time on the album and is unimpressed with the quality of the recordings, adding, “I think the songs were worth a lot more attention than we gave it, frankly.” He doesn’t own a copy of the album, having tossed his box when they warped in his truck on a hot summer’s day.

After 28 moves in 40 years, Jim Scott has come full circle, returning to Southwest Virginia as a circuit-riding preacher. Ironically, the four Methodist churches he pastors are based in Cripple Creek. Jim and Larry are step-brothers and still get together for family jam sessions on holidays. He remains proud of the album, saying “what little small part I played was wonderful.”


Paul Talley managed a True Value Hardware store for much of the past decade and hasn’t seen any of the members in more than twenty years. While the recordings are primitive and he never made a dime for his efforts, Paul says “it was all done for fun and we enjoyed it.”


Mike Campbell moved from Blacksburg to Salem, Va., where he continued teaching at Roanoke College. All of the other band members have lost touch with him, although Larry says years ago he ran into Mike “somewhere,” although he doesn’t recall the time or place.  


Roger Mannon still lives in Floyd and works for the Floyd Press, a weekly newspaper owned by the Media General conglomerate. He points out that “you’re quick to see the genius in your own work,” but believes the album has finally found its rightful place. Roger was responsible for a limited reissue of the LP in 2011 and sees the recent acclaim as a “kind of a vindication of some of the songs, to learn that maybe it had reached the audience it was intended for, but I guess due to distribution and other issues it never really accomplished that at the outset. And you know, even if it’s decades later, I’m pleased that some people have heard it and appreciate it.”

The Four Clark 45 Now Is the Time

The Four on Clark Records

The 4 Photo

The 4, from left: George Parks, Greg McCarley, Larry Rains and Paul Crider

Here’s an obscure one that isn’t in Teen Beat Mayhem, though it certainly deserves to be. I didn’t know anything about the group, called simply, The Four, but then I found their photo in Ron Hall’s The Memphis Garage Rock Yearbook, 1960-1975.The Four Clark 45 Now Is the Time

The band were:

George Parks – guitar
Greg McCarley – guitar
Paul Crider – bass
Larry Rains – drums

“Now Is the Time” is a good mid-tempo song with harmonies and Beatles-type changes. It was written by George Parks.

“Lonely Surfer Boy” is an original by Paul Crider and Greg McCarley.

SoN 15101/15102 indicates it was mastered by Sound of Nashville, while the ZTSB 99962-A / 99963-A in the deadwax indicates it was pressed at the Columbia Records plant in Nashville. I’m not sure the date on this one but early 1965 seems about right.The Four Clark 45 Lonely Surfer Boy

Both songs were published by Lonzo & Oscar Music, BMI and produced by Jack Logan, who was A&R director of Nugget Records of Goodlettsville, Tennessee which also seemed to own the Clark label.

In late 2013 two acetate surfaced of a group called “The 4″ from Sam Phillips Recording of Memphis, “69″ / “I Gotta Go” and “When Ever Your Down” (sic) / “Midnight Hour”.

“69″ opens with one of the most intense screams ever committed to vinyl, and it is now on the shortlist for Back From the Grave vol 9! it was backed with an uptempo pop number “I Gotta Go”. It’s such a different sound that I thought it must be a different group, but both songs were written by George Parks. I haven’t heard “When Ever Your Down” yet, but it was written by Greg McCarley.The 4 Sam Philips Studios Acetate "69"

The Memphis Garage Rock Yearbook notes The Four “cut three singles, all in Nashville in the late ’60′s. After they broke up, Greg McCarley released two singles on the local Klondike label as ‘Beau Sybin.’ George Parks had a release on Epic that he cut in New York and was also a staff writer at Stax.”

The Clark label had two other garage releases that I know of. On Clark CR-235 is the Ebb TIdes “Little Women” (by Donald Kyre, Michael Wheeler, Michael Whited, and Waldron), which sounds something like the Beatles “You Can’t Do That”. The Ebb Tides came from Columbus, Ohio. Their Clark 45 may have come about as part of a deal to do a summer tour of the Ohio Valley area. The flip is “What I Say”, by Gene McKay & the Ebb Tides. McKay was another singer on the tour and though the Ebb Tides backed him on the cover of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”, they did not otherwise work together.

The Ebb Tides had a second 45, the spooky novelty “Seance” (Benny Van, M. Wheeler) b/w a mystical spoken vocal, “Spirits Ride the Wind” (Benny Van) that I really like. This 45 was produced by Rudy Varju on Jar 106 from early 1967. Benny Van of the Ebb Tides became J.D. Blackfoot.

The other is the Jades “You Have to Walk” / “Island of Love”, both written by Paul Helms and released on Clark CR-262 from May of ’67. That group was from Herrin, Illinois, a small city southeast of St. Louis and almost 200 miles northwest of Nashville, but the publishing is also Lonzo & Oscar, and the label states that it was produced and distributed by Nugget Sound Studios, Goodlettsville.Jades Clark 45 You Have to Walk

Other songs on the Clark label seem to be country, such as CR-266, Charlie Haggard’s “Throw Me Out the Door”.

Lonzo & Oscar were Johnny and Rollin Sullivan, whose family had started the Nugget Record company in Tampa, Florida in 1959, but Lonzo & Oscar Music Publishing had a Nashville base from the start. They bought or built Nugget Sound Studios in Goodlettsville, just north of Nashville. Most releases they recorded are on the Nugget label, and most are country.

History of the Nugget label from 45-sleeves.com. Thank you to Buckeye Beat for the info on the Ebb Tides 45.

If anyone makes a youtube video of “Now Is the Time”, please send me the link and I’ll include it here instead of the soundfile.

The site for '60s garage bands