The Rockin’ Continentals and Casino Records

Rockin' Continentals Casino 45 Cobra 289The Rockin’ Continentals made two 45s for the Casino label in 1962 or 1963, but I know little about the band. Rockin’ Country Style lists them as a Topeka, Kansas group, with members Johnny Thompson, Melvin Ralston, Chuck Smith, and Bill Doyle, but I can’t confirm this anywhere. Thompson and Ralston’s names show up on the song writing credits on the labels, but so does Ralph Sandmeyer and I don’t know his connection to the group.

The Rockin’ Continentals first release was a great rockabilly song with fierce drumming and scorching guitar and piano breaks called “The ‘309’”, written by Johnny Thompson. The singer has a strong southern accent that doesn’t appear on their other songs. The original A-side was “2-3-4,” written by Melvin Ralston, which in comparison is simple riffing on blues changes.

Rockin' Continentals Casino 45 The "309"Their next and last single was “Cobra 289″ written by Ralph Sandmeyer in tribute to the Ford/Shelby AC Cobra sports car first manufactured in 1962.

“Count Dracula” is mainly instrumental with a spooky reverbed riff. Like “The ‘309’” it was written by Johnny Thompson.

Both releases are now rare and have been bootlegged, along with another Casino release, the Argons’ “Do the Dog”. For more info about the authentic pressings vs the reproductions, go to my page on reproduction 45s and search for Casino.

The Casino Records label has an obscure history. It seems to have started in 1957 with a single by Jerry Dyke doing two songs written by Bob Bobo and Carl Lewis for Southern Belle, BMI, “Deep Within My Heart” and “My Empty Heart”. That release, Casino 1001/1002 had a gothic style font for Casino and an address on McGavock St. in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gerald Dyche (aka Jerry Dyke) in the Emporia Gazette, February, 1958
Gerald Dyche (aka Jerry Dyke) in the Emporia Gazette, February, 1958

An article in the Emporia Gazette from February 1958 discusses how Jerry Dyke was the stage name for Gerald Dyche, a student from Topeka who was singing songs written by Topekan disc jockey Bob Bobo for demos to be sent to Southern Belle publishing in Nashville, which led to the Casino single, presumably recorded in Nashville. Although the article makes something of the Casino Recording Corporation of Nashville, I suspect Bob Bobo and Carl Lewis were at least part owners of Casino, and produced the Jerry Dyke single on their own hoping for attention for their song writing.

Dyke does not seem to have worked with Bobo after this single, and that may be because Bobo had a better chance of success with other artists, such as Ronnie Pearson of Osage City. Pearson’s first single on the Herald Label in April of ’57 included Bob Bobo’s song “Hot Shot”.

Bobo would place other songs in the late ’50s, including “I Close My Eyes” (co-written with Lewis) for the Wilburn Brothers on Decca in August of ’57, “The Answer” and “Warm as Toast” (co-written by Lewis) for Russ Veers on the Trend label, and “Let Me Go to the Hop” (co-written by Russ Veers) by the Sweethearts on Power.

By the early 1960s, Bobo seems to have stopped pursuing a career as a song writer, but kept the Casino label active. I don’t know what Casino 1003/1004 is, but 1005/1006 is the Nubbins doing two standards, “The King’s Highway” / “Stormy Weather” with a different font for the logo and no address.

By the time the Rockin’ Continentals “The ‘309’” comes out around 1962, it’s numbered 1007/1008. This and all future release feature Kansan artists; there is no longer any Nashville connection that I know of.

The Rockin’ Continentals singles were followed by:

1011/1012 – The Argons “Spiked” (Bryson, Myers) / “Do The Dog” (Mikkelsen, Wilcox) 1964
1321/1322 – The Jerms – “That Word” (G. Senogles) / “Love Light” (Sept. 1965)
2305/2306 – The Thingies – It’s a Long Way Down” (L. Miller, Dalton) / “Merry Go Round of Life” (August 1966)

One interesting oddity about the Casino discography is that the RCA code for the Jerry Dyke single, HO8W-0066/67 would be adapted for later releases, even though most later releases were not pressed at RCA but at Wakefield Manufacturing in Phoenix, AZ. Another code on the 45s, 2 AFM also increases with each release, though I’m not sure the meaning of that code.

Bobo also owned a restaurant called Bobo’s Drive In in Topeka from 1948 until sometime recently.

I want to thank the discussion of Casino on 45Cat, which gave me some leads to follow up and confirm.

Rockin' Continentals Casino 45 Count Dracula

Buddy’s Buddies

Buddy's Buddies Photo
Buddy’s Buddies, photo from

Buddy's Buddies Macon 45 Tell Me What I SeeBuddy’s Buddies came from Macon, Georgia, home to Otis Redding and Little Richard, but a town that had very little ’60s band action. I know of the Malibus of “I Want You to Know” / “I’ve Gotta Go” on PJ came from nearby Fort Valley, GA but that’s about it.

Buddy’s Buddies included:

Buddy Greene – lead vocals
David Gory – lead guitar
Steve Kent – drums
Any Waits
Phillip Parker

They were very young, as you can see from the photo and hear on their record. I really like “Tell Me What I See” with its solid back beat and bass line, repetitive piano and Buddy’s shouts of “mercy me!” The flip “I Love My Baby” is a ballad, with a plaintive vocal from Buddy.

Buddy Greene wrote both sides of their only release, on the Macon label from July of 1965, published by Macon Music BMI. The only other release on Macon that I know of is Phil Gandy singing “Hula Baby” / “Rainbows End” both by Phil Skelton for Cedarwood Music BMI from circa 1964.

Buddy Greene went on to a long career in music. See his website,, the source of the info and photo for this post.

Buddy's Buddies Macon 45 I Love My Baby

Current list of garage 45s for sale

Email me at to reserve items or with questions.

Grading is strict, even VG condition should play well with absolutely no skips or serious scratches, and minimal noise. “wlp” means “white label promo”

Payment: Paypal (‘as Friend’) to, personal check, cash, money order.

All packages will have tracking. I pay for insurance through Shipsaver for orders between $100-$750. $100 or under you can insure package for an extra $1.

U.S. shipping: $4.00 1st class with tracking for up to three 45s in U.S. Priority available at exact cost. Please email me for options.

International shipping: $12.00, +1.00 each additional 45 for 1st Class International. Priority International is possible, but costs about $37 for 1 single – contact me for exact shipping cost. $750+ must ship Priority or Express Intl, contact me for exact costs including insurance.

New ArrivalsMay 20, 2015
Counts IVListen to Me / Lost LoveJCP 1006VG vinyl / G sleevePicture sleeve front is presentable with tape residue, creases, discoloration from glue underneath, blank back is in poor shape with tear. Ask for photos. Vinyl is VG scuffed but playing very well on the A-side, an a little noisy on the ballad on the flip.$90
Essex St. JournalProgression 256 / Walk OnPlanet 76VG+$80
Gentlemen WildYou Gotta Leave / I BelieveNWI 2694VG+
GodfreyThe Trip / Come On, Come OnCee-Jam #3NM
white label promo, "31" stamped on each side$85
Goodly RubensonInside Outside / Crystal LoveStonehenge 22889NMlight wear to label along hole on A-side$90
Group Inc.Like a Woman /Just Call Me UpStaff BP-177VG plays well$125
IngredientsPlease Don't Leave Me / Hey WhoToddlin' Town 101NMunplayed store stock$25
Larry & the LoafersLet's Go to the Beach / WhoSurefine 017VG++ close to NM
PastelsCause I Love You / Don't You KnowPhalanx 1006VG-scuffy, no skips, no heavy scratches but some noise on A-side$30
Princeton FiveSummertime Blues / Sure Know a Lot About LovePrinceton PR 711NMunplayed store stock$8
Princeton FiveRoll Over Beethoven / Passing ByPrinceton PF 1001NMunplayed store stock$8
Red HouseMary Anne / SunflowerBig "K" 1004VG+ hardly playedadaption of 'On the Road South' by former members of the Stereo Shoestring$275
Satisfied MindsI Can't Take It / Think About MePlato 80284VG$100
StarlitesI Can't See You / Baby Set Me FreeBarclay 17134NMrare Rite press$160
Terry Knight & the PackHow Much More (Have I Got to Give) / I've Been ToldLucky 11 225VG+
X's on A-side labelHOLD
Tommy AdderleyI Just Don't Understand / Whole Lotta Shakin' Going OnMar-Mar 314NMunplayed store stock but with drill hole$12
Tony Rivers & the CastawaysI Love the Way You Walk / I Love YouConstellation C-128NMunplayed store stock but with drill hole$15
VagrantsI Can't Make a Friend / Young BluesVanguard 35038NM vinyl, VG PS
PS in at least VG shape - has some wear at top and light creasing and ring wear, but no splits or serious issues. Ask for photos. White label promo. A-side label has writing and promotional sticker$120
Wry CatchersWhen I Met You / Collision CourseAOK 1005VG plays fine1/4" circular dark stain near title on A-side label$35
49th ParallelLaborer / You Do ThingsRCA Victor 47-9293NMwlp, company sleeve, beautiful labels and vinyl$75
Al CaseySurfin' Hootenanny / Easy Pickin'Stacy 962VG plays fine$5
All That the Name ImpliesAugust Pine / LiarOro 45-3VG++wlp, ESP-Disk related$18
All That the Name ImpliesBlack Tuesday / So Am IORO 45-2NMwlp, ESP-Disk related$18
Amboy DukesJourney to the Center of the Mind / Mississippi MurdererMainstream 684VG++drill hole$8
American DreamTioga / All the Way in MourningDemik 101VG+promo stamp on vocal side$26
Ann-MargretI Just Don't Understand / I Don't Hurt AnymoreRCA Victor 47-7894VG plays +1961, early use of fuzz guitar$12
ApollosThat's the Breaks / Country BoyDelta MM 183VG++$250
ArielIt Feels Like I'm CryingBrent 7060VG+scratch on b-side dnap$22
B.G. RamblersGet a Little Closer / Those Little Brown EyesM Records 1277VG plays +vinyl needs a cleaning, very little wear$7
BalladeersWords I Want to Hear / High Flying BirdCori CR 31001VG plays +A-side has "71" in pen on label$70
BarracudasI Can't Believe / 20-75Cuda 501VG-, plays wellsurface scuffs, no deep scratches. Labels have some wear and pencil marks - arrows and circle around Cuda$70
Basil & the BaroquesIt's No Use / We'll Meet AgainDore 745Vg plays better$48
Beat MerchantsSo FineTower 127VGflip is Freddie & the Dreamers "You Were Made for Me"$10
Beaten PathDoctor Stone / Never NeverJubilee 5556VG++wlp$35
Belfast GipsiesGloria's Dream / Secret PoliceLoma 2051VG- plays better$18
Big ThreeSome Other Guy / Let True Love BeginDecca F.11614VG+center intact$40
Billy Bob BowmanMiss Pauline / ShowersUA 50957VG++$6
BirdwatchersGirl I Got News for YouScott 143VG plays EXpen marks, tape residue on lbl$11
Bitter LemonsOne More Chance / Canberra BluesEMI Custom Service PRS-1289VG++$125
BittervetchA Girl Like You / Bigger FoolPixieVG plays +$55
Black and BluesCome to Me / Bye Bye BabyUnited Artists UA 50245VG- plays betterwlp, date stamp on a-side$22
Bloomsbury PeopleMadeline / Have You Seen Them CryPage 843K-1109VG+$20
Blue WoodTurn Around / Happy Jack MineJet Set JSR-45-4VG- plays +scuffy, plays better than it looks, no skips, no heavy clicks$26
Blues MagoosGotta Get Away / (We Ain't Got) Nothin' YetMercury 72622VG+drill hole$12
Bob Seger SystemLucifer / Big RiverCapitol 2748VG++orig. orange and red label$14
Bobby Fuller FourLove's Made a Fool of You / Don't Ever Let Me KnowMustang 3016VG++$14
Bobby GonzalesPaiyakan / SunglassesMayon 031VGFilipino pop/garage$11
Boo Boo & BunkyTurn Around / This Old TownBrent 7045VG$12
BoysI Wanna KnowSVR 1001VG+$10
Boys Next DoorSuddenly She Was Gone / Why Be ProudSoma 1439VG+$24
BoystownHello Mr. Sun / End of the LineSotto 124VG+early Michael Lloyd, small x on labels$48
Brass ToadIn the Back of My Mind / Easy to Be HardTwo Worlds 1071VG++white label$34
Brian Redmond & the Sound BoxI Want You / Boogaloo up Bord du LacRegency 983VG++$32
British WalkersDiddley Daddy / I Found YouTry 502VG plays wellmarker line on b-side$15
Brym-Stonz LtdYou'll Be Mine / Times Gone ByCustom 143VG+light dish warp, dnap$42
Bubble PuppyThinkin' About Thinkin' / Days of Our TimeInternational Artists IA-136VG+$26
Caeser & His RomansGreen Grass Makes It BetterGJM 505VG++$70
CedarsFor Your Information / Hide If You Want to HideDecca 68.107VG plays fineTurkish press, center intact$70
ChapsRemember to Forget Her / You'll Be BackPaula 250VG++wlp$40
Charity ShayneAin't It?, Babe / Then You TryAutumn 22VGfuture Manson Family member, scuffy plays well$25
CheckerladsShake Yourself Down / Baby Send For MeRCA 47-8986VG++wlp, radio stamp, writing in red pen on both sides$75
Cherry SlushI Cannot Stop You / Don't Walk AwayUSA 895VGtwo drill holes!$25
Cherry SlushI Cannot Stop You / Don't Walk AwayUSA 895VGdrill hole, larger marker on b-side label$20
Chris Parry & the MockersI Need You Now / Angela JonesMonte-Vista 3-12-65G+
plenty of scuffs and scratches but plays with no skips or loud clicks. Light noise, more noticeable on the b-side$36
CoastlinersAlright / Wonderful YouBack Beat 554VG++name written on A-side$22
Combination, TheDon't Cry Buddy/LonelyDamon 12873VG++Maudlin song, more country than garage. Label completists only. $8
CountdownsShe Works All Night / Skies Will Be Happy to See YouWG Records WG-1NM$24
CountsI Will Lose My Mind / Last TrainKingstonVG++$42
Crabby AppletonGo Back / TryElekra 45687VG$9
Craig & MichaelThat Kind of Girl / DriftyDowney D-140VGwlp, light moisture stains on label, pressing has light noise throughout$14
Creedence Clearwater RevivalCall It Pretending / PortervilleScorpio 412VG+unplayed stock, minor dish warp, small scuff, dnap$125
Cryan ShamesBen Franklin's Almanac / Sugar & SpiceDestination 624VG$10
Cush (Jim Cushman)Are You Mine / Say We're in LoveHull 1000VG-scuff causes some noise on rotation, no skips$9
DalidaJe Prefere Naturallement / Petit HommeBarclay BRC-1021VG++, sleeve VGTurkish issue - sleeve is nice but has 1" crease and tiny tear at top and light staining on the back$30
DanielaDanas Je Davan Dan + 3Radio-Televizija BeogradVG+ / VG+ sleeveone crease on sleeve, otherwise fine. Very rare EP$75
Danny & the SessionsMojo / Grand Times & Gay NightsCobra 1114VG$10
DantesCan't Get Enough of Your Love / 80-96Jamie 1314VG+$25
DantesCan't Get Enough of Your Love / 80-96Jamie 1314VG++$40
DantesUnder My Thumb / Can I Get a WitnessCameo 431NM$30
Dave Kennedy & AmbassadorsYou Didn't ListenCuca 1036G, worn, plays ok, some noiselabel tears$8
DecisionsTears, Tears / Don't You Know It's Love?Topper T-114VG- plays wellname in pen on b-side$55
Dee & the YeomenYou Should Know It/ Say Baby Who Am IWolff 101VG++$12
DeltasShe's My Girl / Wild In the SunEmp 10-001VG++2nd Emp label (without devil), light wear on labels$14
Dickey LeeBig Brother / She's Walking AwayHall 45-1924VG++small sticker and pen marks on A-side$16
Dickey LeeBig Brother / She's Walking AwayHall 45-1924VG- plays OK$7
Dino, Desi & BillyI'm a Fool / So Many WaysReprise 0367VGlight scuffs, name on A-side, no picture sleeve$7
Dino, Desi & BillyI'm a Fool / So Many WaysReprise 0367VG++ / VG++with picture sleeve$14
DisraeliSpinning Round / What Will the New Day BringMantra M-113NM disc, PS VG+front of sleeve NM-, back has 1/4" tear and small crease - otherwise very fresh looking$60
DolphinsSurfin' East Coast / I Should Have StayedYorkshire 125VGscuffy, plays well, large chip in A-side at edge - doesn't affect music$15
Dr. T & the UndertakersThings Have Changed / It's Easy ChildTarget 4610VG+$45
DruidsGirl Can't Take a Joke / I Can't Leave YouSelect 45K-743VGglossy, but one 1/2" feelable scratch on b-side makes light clicks before song starts. Once music begins, it's almost inaudible.$35
Dynamic DischordsPassageway (To Your Heart) / This Girl of MineIGL 45-150VG plays +$120
DynamicsClap Your Hands / Roses & ThunderAthon 106VG plays finea few surface scuffs dnap, light wear to labels$50
DynamicsClap Your Hands / Roses & ThunderAthon 106VG-one mark makes click just before start of music, otherwise plays solid VG+$30
Dynasty FyveA Faithful Man / Poetry in MotionBuff 51568VG+$16
East Side KidsClose Your Mind / Take a Look in the MirrorOrange-Empire OE 500VG plays +$34
Eastfield MeadowsFriends of Unequal Parallel / Love All Men Can ShareVMC 745VGscuffs, plays well$12
Eighteenth EditionWhen You Love SomeonePanther 355VG plays well$14
Electric PrunesThe Great Banana Hoax / Wind Up ToysReprise 0607VGwlp$12
EmeneesRockelation Beat / Jubilee Juke Box Jamboree JiveEmeneeG+$5
Emperor, TheI'm NormalCurrent 111VG++first label$24
EthicsCan't You See / A Letter to KathyUp Tight E196715/6NM$48
EuphoriaHungry Women / No Me TomorrowMainstream 655VG+white label promo$40
ExoticsMorning Sun / Fire Engine RedMonument MN45-984VG+wlp$18
Fabulous PharoahsHold Me Tight / Sometimes I Think AboutReprize RZ-36-22-36VG+b-side plays light background noise$50
Fairviews & Fifth DimensionA New Direction / DiscumbooberSpinIt 124VG+Bud Mathis$34
Fantastic ZooThis Calls for a Celebration/ Midnight SnackDouble Shot 105VG-plays with some noise$4
FelicityHurtin / I'll Try ItWilson 101NMWLP, release date written on labels$80
First FourHurt Me to My Soul / That's Where Love Has GoneStrata 103NM-whitel label promo, X on A-side in marker, pencil marks on labels$25
Five EmpreesHey Baby / WhyFreeport 1002VG++great b-side$15
Five EmpreesLittle Miss Happiness / Over the MountainFreeport 1007VG+$12
Five TymesHold Me Now / Around and AroundBear 1969VG plays well$15
FliesHouse of Love/ It Had to Be YouDecca F 12594VG- plays OKdemo copy, center intact$35
FlockCan't You See / Hold On to My MindDestination 628VG++drill hole$14
Flowers, Fruits and Pretty ThingsTake Me Away / Wanting YouG&P 101VG+white label promo$25
FlysNo More Heartaches / Halfway to SeattleWarped RI3914NM but dishwarpthin vinyl has consistent warp that doesn't cause skipping$12
FortunesHere It comes Again / Things I Should Have KnownPress 9798VG+$13
ForumI Fall in Love / The River is WideMira 232VG++price sticker on label (.07)!$7
Four Below ZeroGetting Thru to You / HappinessJerden 903VG$7
Four, TheNow Is the Time / Lonely Surfer BoyClark CR-225VGalmost VG+, plays well, rare, uncomped$115
Fresh AirCircles / I Think of Seeing HerGM 723VG-$7
Fruit MachineFollow Me / Cuddly ToySpark 3702VG+ / VGsuper-rare Italian art sleeve$125
FugitivesMean Woman / I'll Be a ManColumbia 4-43261VGwlp, A-side plays well, flip has 1 cm feelable scratch that made minor click$22
FurysMerryann / Sand FleaLavender R-1926VG plays +labels have water stains and discoloration$35
Galaxies IVLet Me Hear You Say Yeah / Till Then You'll CryVeep 1211VG+white label promo$36
Gershon KingsleyHey Hey / Twinkle TwinkleAudio Fidelity AF-154VG+includes 8 page 6" booklet on moog & gershon in VG+ condition (light crease, price sticker residue)$30
Giant SunflowerFebruary Sunshine / More SunshineTake 6 1000VG+Pat Vegas$22
Golden CabaleersCome Back to Me / All AloneIGL 123VG close to VG+Plays great, no noise, signed by two band members first names on both sides$60
Great ScotsThe Light Hurts My Eyes / You Know What You Can DoTriumph 67VG+white label promo, label has light wear near center hole edge on A-side$40
Greek FountainsWell Alright / That's the Way I AmBofuz 1104VG+one light scratch, dnap$30
GT'sFarewell Faithless Farewell / Bad GirlNashville NV 5302VG+$17
H P. & the Grass Route MovementOn the Road / You Don't Know Like I KnowBBTC 811P-2120VG plays +$30
Hal & the ProphetsShame Shame Shame / She's Doing FineScepter 1287VG plays +promo copy$18
HazardsHey Joe / Will You Be My GirlGroove 502VG- plays wellBlue label. B-side has pen circling label name. No skips, loud clicks, only light noise$75
Heart and SoulAfterthought / IfStrive STR 829Gtear on label, heavy marker on label, plays with background noise, no skips$20
HolliesI'm Alive / You Know He DidParlophone R 5287VG+great b-side!! UK issue$14
HullaballoosDid You Ever / BewareRoulette of Canada Ltd 4593VG+$7
Human BeingsI Can't Tell / An Inside LookImpactVG-, plays bettermany light scuffs, scratches, nothing deep$26
Ides of MarchI'll Keep Searching / You Wouldn't ListenParrot 304VG+Canadian issue, small sticker on b-side$16
ImpacsAin't That the Way Life Is / Don't Cry BabyKing 5910VG++drill hole$16
In-CrowdNothing You Do / In the Midnight HourRonn 1VG++wlp$38
Individual ActivityTen O'Clock / Don't Let the Sun Catch You CryingTee Pee 74VG plays well$16
Inner LiteTabula Rasa / Hold On to HimssExx 666
JadsMiss Pretty / Hottie-ToddyAshley 770VGpen marks on both labels, heavy marker on b-side$16
James Bryant & the KrittersLong Long Time / True Lovers Are Hard to FindParrot 45016Vg plays +promo copy$15
JayhawkersDawn of Instruction / Searchin'Deltron 21VG$12
JayhawkersSend Her Back / To Have a LoveDeltron 1228VG++great moody one$15
JermsI'm a Teardrop / Green DoorHonor Brigade #1VG$14
Jerry RayeAway / I'm SpinningDeVille 206
Jim & JeanChanges / Strangers in a Strange LandVerve Folkways KF5005VG+DJ promo copy, X and "Yeah" marked in biro on Changes label$8
Joey VineThe Out of Towner / Down and OutHercules 103VG++vinyl clean but A-side label faded and b-side label has some wear$35
John Fred & His Playboy BandHey, Hey Bunny / No Letter TodayPaula 294VGlarge biro marks on both labels$12
John Fred & His Playboy BandJudy In Disguise / When the Lights Go OutPaula 282VG++white label, but without "Promotional Copy - Not For Sale" etc$8
Johnny Thompson QuintetColor Me ColumbusGuitarsville 2125VG+ vinyl / PS goodPS has one presentable side with only a few light spots of wear and staple holes top and bottom, other side has 2" area of tear and wear from being stuck to another sleeve. Both sides have some creasing$140
Jon T. BoneJonathan's Lament / In a Summer's TimeHue 376VG plays EXwlp$15
JourneymenRealities in Life / You're a Better Man Than ITee Pee 834T-4558VG+$350
Just Us FiveI'm So Lonesome I Could Cry / Tennessee StudWA 111VG plays +$12
Kaleidoscope MachineWhy / We Can WaitDab 101VG++almost NM, beautiful glossy vinyl$1450, offers
Karl ThalerThe Storm / Phoebeno labelVGname written on "Phoebe" side$30
KazeechesYou Told a Lie / So-LongMuriel M-1111VG+$34
KennelmusNo Way to Treat Your Man / No ReplyPhoenix Intl 10871G+no skips, light noise on playback$15
Kenny & the KasualsIt's Alright / You Make Me Feel GoodMark 1003VG+a couple light scuffs that dnap, beautiful labels and vinyl$350
Kenny Wayne & the KamotionsThe Day When the Sun Goes Down / How Should I FeelCandy 1011VG-$12
KeytonesI Don't Care/ La Do Da DaChelsea 101VG- plays OK$9
Kim and the CharactersSinbad Stomp / Jawbone
Kimley 1744VGone label has discoloring. Kim Fowley production
Already Mine, Wait and See, Stop Little Girl, Out of LinePalette EPPB 7277VG plays + / VGDutch EP. Sleeve is VG with wear to top right corner and small tear at bottom left, otherwise very nice, no seam splits. Vinyl is strong VG, hairlines that do not affect play, excellent sound throughout.$40
Knights Bridge QuintetSorrow in C Major / Hits Don't Come EasilyK-101VG- plays OKrare first label, different b-side$400
La Revolucion de Emiliano ZapataNasty Sex / Todavia NadaPolydorPoorone side skips, the other plays$4
LandlordsI'll Return / I'm Through With YouReed 1069VGplays with background noise, inscription in pen on I'll Return label$200
LeavesHey Joe / Funny Little WorldMira 222VG+red pen mark on b-side
Legendary Stardust CowboyParalyzed / Who's Knocking at My DoorMercury 72862VG++close to NM$15
LemonpipersQuiet, Please! / same (long version)Dana Lynn 70610VGmany light scuffs & scratches, no skips or deep scratches$40
Les Habits JaunesOu-va-t-elle / Monsieur LongtempsVisa V-102NM$14
Lewis & Clarke ExpeditionBlue RevelationsColgems 66-1006VG++wlp$14
Lightning BrothersWild Smoke / Crazy JaneBrothers TwoVG- plays betterSouthern-type rock from Schenectady, NY! Light warp, A-side label scuffed from bad cleaning job, plays very well$30
Liverpool FiveEverything's Alright / That's What I WantRCA Victor 47-8578VG+wlp$14
Local TrafficTime Gone to Waste / Second CenturyBlack LightVG++rare Louisiana psych$800
Lonnie & the LegendsI Cried / Baby, Without YouImpression 109VG++$50
Lord Alan & Sir RichardLittle Things / Run in the DarkCannon 101VG++in the G1000 for some reason$50
Los ArlequinesNo Hay Amor Para Mi / Tomando Cafe
RCA Victor 3-10264VG+ / VG+Great Spanish garage with good soul-rock on flip
Los DoltonsRey Tablista / Vision de OtonoSono Radio 12412VG$14
Los Dug Dug'sAl Diablo / Ya Te DejeRCA SP 4099VG++ / VG++with PS$24
Los SirexActo de Fuerza / Faldas cortas, piernas largasVergara 45.160VG-record only, no PS, some noise on playback, no skips$10
Los SoñadoresVete / Lo Se Por MiRCA Victor 3-10332VG plays + / VGPS has tape residue on one side, sticker and narrow tear on back, otherwise very presentable.$30
Lost in SoundYou Can Destroy My Mind / Stubborn Kind of FellowShowcase 9811VG$15
Love SocietyYou Know How I Feel / Let's PretendTarget 1006VG plays better$8
LuluLove Loves to Love Love / Best of Both WorldsEpic 5-10260VG plays finesome scuffing dnap$15
Lulu & the LuversForget Me Baby / ShoutParrot 9678VG++promo copy$18
M.G. & the EscortsPlease Don't Ever Change / Sorry to HearREO 8936VG$18
Magnificent 7In Mist and Rain /Stubborn Kind of FellowLemco 882VG plays +b-side has skip$12
MalemenMy Little Girl / She Means the World to MePine Hills 664P-2455VG plays +$100
Manfred MannDo Wah Diddy DiddyCapitol 72178VG+US stock copy$10
Manfred Mann & Mike HuggSki 'Full of Fitness'/Sweet Baby JaneSki no#VG plays +odd UK issue$12
Max Frost & the TroopersShape of Things to Come / Free Lovin'Tower 419NM$15
MembersWish I'd Never Met You / Jenny -JennyLabel 101VG$20
MercyFire BallSundi 6811NM$14
MercyFire BallSundi 6811VG++$12
Merrell & the ExilesCan't We Get Along / That's All I Want from YouGolden Crown GMA-102VGscuffs, plays OK$12
Michel et Les ChanceliersAttends et tu verras / A Paris la nuitCitation CN-9031VGplays fine$14
Miramar Soul BandMr. Tambourine ManMiramar 127VGlooks clean but A-side plays with some noise. Rare - see$25
MonotonesWhat Would I Do / Is It RightHickory 45-1520VGwriting on labels$15
Moorpark IntersectionI Think I'll Just Go and Find Me a Flower / Yesterday Holds OnCapitol P 2115VG plays finescuffy but plays better than it looks, labels worn$40
Moss & the RocksEP - Where She Goes /Please Come Back (both Ikon and Chattahoochee versions)Shadoks 040NM$25
MoversLeave Me Loose / Birmingham123 1700VG+$15
Music MachineTalk Talk / Come On InOriginal Sound OS-61VG++drill hole$7
Music Track / Frankie & JohnnyTimes Gone By / Sweet ThangIA 112VGwlp$15
MysticsThis Is What I Was Made For / Ride My Pony (Come)Ren-Vell 320VG+$15
New ArrivalsJust Outside of My Window / Let's Get With ItSouthbay SBM-104VG- plays better$18
New OrderYou've Got Me High / Meet Your MatchWB 5816VGwlp, a-side has writing in biro$30
Newcastle BluesCotton's Mama / Walking the DogAlley 1042VG+price written on A-side in grease pencil$18
NightcapsWine Wine Wine / Nightcap RockVandan VR-7491VG$9
NightcrawlersThe Little Black Egg / Running WildKapp KE-110VGa few light scuffs, glossy$6
No Strings AttachedYou're More Than a Miracle / What Shall I DoAccent AC 1240VG plays EXa few surface scuffs, vinyl is glossy and plays fine$40
NoblemenTwo Faced Woman / You Didn't Have to Be So NiceParis Tower PT-110VG++$75
One Eyed JacksLove / Sun So HighWhite Cliffs 265VG plays well$22
OrpheusCongress Alley / I've Never Seen...MGM K13947VG$3
Other SideWalking Down the Road / StreetcarBrent 7061VG+wlp$50
PacificsLost My Baby / Slowly But SurelySunshine QK-799VGscuffy, plays OK, name written on each label$45
PastelsMirage / Here Is the AnswerCentury 23507NM$475
Paul LondonDon't Believe Anybody / This Time Tomorrow (baby)Kingston International 333VG+writing on b-side label$8
PedestriansThink Twice / Snyder's SwampFenton 2102VG$20
PedestriansIt's Too Late / Think TwiceAtco 6567VG+ vinyl, G+ labelsugly spiral marker on labels$6
Preacher, TheLost Love / Dear BrotherBedias 101VG$15
PreachersShake that Thing/Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Columbus CS-702VG++white label US issue$28
Professor Morrison's LollipopYou Got the LoveWhite Whale 275VG++$14
Quicksilver Messenger ServicePride of Man / Dino's SongCapitol P 2194NMpromo copy, both sides have two large black stamps from Wheeler Television in Bakersfield$15
Rainbow PressBetter Way / There's a War OnMr. G 817VGb-side noisy, A-side plays fine$12
Rationals - I Need YouSir Richard Case - Get the PictureA Square 402NM$90
Rationals - I Need YouSir Richard Case - Get the PictureA Square 402VG++storage warp does not affect play$60
RattlesBye Bye Johnny / Sticks & StonesPhilips 345 620VG+blue label german issue, no PS$15
RavensReaching for the Sun / Things We Said TodayBoss 003VGsmall tear on A-side label, writing on B-side label$70
Rear ExitExcitation / Miles BeyondMTA 132VG++wlp$180
Richie's RenegadesDon't Cry / Baby It's MePolaris PS002NM$45
Ricky and BobShu Fly Shu! / My Love's For YouFonseca 150VG plays +$50
RitesThings / Hour GirlDecca 32218VG-$9
RivierasLet's Have a Party / Little DonnaRiviera R 1402VGsticker, pen mark on label$5
RockatonesBad Girl / I'm a ManMelbourne WG 3201VGsmall tears on label$38
Rockin' RebellionsBy My Side / Run For Your LifeVaughn-Ltd 751VG plays +very faint writing on label$35
Roger McGuinnBallad of Easy Rider / sameno label nameVG+"Promotion Record for Radio Airplay only from the Motion Picture Easy Rider"$20
RomansYou Do Something to Me / I'll Find a WayMY 2905VG+ / VG+sleeve hads light creases, browning with age$160
Ron & the ContinentalsRebound Baby / Rolling StoneCuca 1156VG plays +bizarre 'folkabilly'$8
Ron-DelsIf You Really want Me To, I'll Go / Walk AboutBrownfield 18VG$14
RoostersThe Rooster Song / Lost and FoundKrishna 2690VG plays +$75
RumblersI Don't Need You No More / BossDot 45-16421VG dish warpplays well with rolling dish warp$22
Rupert's PeopleHold On / Reflections of Charles BrownBell 684VG+drill hole$26
Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs(I'm in with) the Out Crowd / Not by the Hair of My Chinny Chin ChinMGM K13581VG+drill hole, label has some creasing around center hole from pressing$7
Sandels (Sandals)All Over Again / Always (I Will Remember)World-PacificVG"Always" has black x on label. White label promo$60
Sands of TimeCome Back Little Girl / When She Crys for MeStearly 8167VGno skips or clicks, swoosh noise at opening $50
Scotland YardleysSome Guys Have It / Instrumental versionSmash 2036VG+drill hole$13
SeedsWild Blood / Fallin' Off the Edge of My MindGNP Crescendo 422VG+$22
SeedsI Can't Seem to Make You Mine / I Tell MyselfGNP Crescendo GNP 354VG+reddish/orange label$10
Shadden & the King LearsAll I Want Is You / come Back When You Grow UpArbet 1016VG++$30
Shados-MAll the Time / Sweet LoveQuintet 2010VGrare!$55
Shadows of KnightGloria / Dark SideDunwich 116VG plays well$9
ShaprelsA Fool for Your Lies / You're Cheating on MePKC 1017VG$25
Shaun HarrisI'll Cry Out (mono) / I'll Cry Out (stereo)Capitol P-3697NM-promo copy$24
Shiva's Head BandKaleidescoptic / Song for PeaceIgnite H-681VG plays +labels have light soiling$28
Shiva's HeadbandTake Me to the Mountains / Lose the BluesArmadillo 811VG++edge has a rough spot - does not affect grooves$25
Shocking BlueAcka Ragh / Long and Lonesome RoadColossus 116VG$7
ShondelsDon't Put Me DownEagle 106VG plays +Shake a Tail Feather VG-, noise at intro$26
Shooting StarsI Love Her Anyway / After 3 AMRandolph RecordsVG plays betterrare, edge is milled poorly - as are all copies, dnap$175
Simon Dupree & the Big SoundKites / Like the Sun Like the FireParlophone R 5646VG plays +UK issue, center intact, tape residue one side$12
Sin-Say-Shun'sYou Said to Me / I'll Be ThereVenett 106VG plays fine$16
Sir Douglas QuintetShe's About a MoverTribe 8308VG plays +$6
SkunksI Need No One / I Recommend HerWorld Pacific 77889VG+small pen mark on b-side$12
SkylinersSchroeder Walk / Amon JoyScotte 2666VGplays well, red mark on b-side$22
Small FacesI Feel Much Better / Tin SoldierImmediate IM 062VGwhite label promo$12
SmokeNo More Now / Never Trust Another WomanRCA Victor 60438Good
Plenty of scuffs and wear. "Now More Now" plays with light noise but no skips or heavy clicks. It's not perfect, but it has a full rich sound. The flip has some distracting noise in the quiet intro but is OK once the main part of the song starts. A-side label has tear and tape that's been crudely repaired with marker and pencil - ask me for scan. B-side label is better but has pen marks on the red RCA circle.$450
SnobsBuckle Shoe Stomp / Stand and DeliverLondon 9671VG++proto-glam!$24
Sonny Day & the SundownersLittle Lonely OneZodiac 1135VG+wlp, radio mark and sticker residue on flip lbl$18
SoothsayersI Don't Know / Please, Don't Be MadAcropolis 6601VG++ / NMunplayed stock, light dishwarp$24
Soul BendersSeven and Seven Is / PetalsPhantasm 2568VGPetals label has sticker and name in pen$40
Soul TwistersSwinging on a Grapevine / Soul FeverRomat PSS-1002VG+Tobacco a Go Go$150
SouldiersWould You Kiss Me / Lemon SunBoss 007VG- plays +scuffy but plays OK, no skips, clicks or loud noise$45
Sounds of RandallWasting My Time / sameCarl C-101VG++$40
Spirits and WormFanny Firecracker / You and I TogetherA&M 1104VG++almost NM$45
SplitBlowing Smoke / DriftingSolid SR 4817NM20
Stained GlassMy Buddy Sin / Vanity FairRCA Victor 47-8952VG$10
StarfiresThe Hardest Way / Something You've GotYardbird 4006VGlight scratches dnap$25
StatesidersPatterned the Same / She Belonged to AnotherProvidence 410VG plays +white label$14
Stephen Sargent & the PrideNobody's Child / Grey Eyes WatchingCompass 7001VG++minor sticker residue one side$18
StompersFoolish One / "????"Landa 684VGwlp$12
StratfordsNever Leave Me / EnajO'DellVG-$8
Sunny & the SunglowsTalk to Me / Every Week…Tear Drop 3014VG++$8
Sunny & the SunlinersNo One Else Will Do / Out of Sight - Out of MindTear Drop 3027VG+small writing on label$20
Sweet SmokeMary Jane Is To Love / Morning DewAmy A-11042VG++"1968" written in pen on b-side label$40
Swingin' ApolloesSummertime Blues / Slow DownWhite Cliffs 262VG+clean vinyl, light wear to label$25
TalismenCasting My Spell / Masters of WarAmerican Arts AA-22VG plays welllabel has small tears by opening (no missing paper)$30
TeematesMoving Out / Dream On Little GirlAudio Fidelity 45-1040VG+ / VGwlp 45, clean, PS has small tears at top, some ringwear, otherwise nice$95
TelstarsHold Tight / Keep on RunningColumbia 4-44141VG- plays OKwlp$25
The New WingThe Thinking Animal / My PetitePentacle 101VG-would grade higher but A-side has mark that makes a few clicks$12
The TruthBaby You've Got It / I Go to SleepPye 7N.17095VG+centre intact$85
ThemSquare Room / But It's AlrightTower 407VG plays +wlp, pen marks on A-side label$28
Thirteenth Floor ElevatorsI'm Gonna Love You Too / May the Circle Remain UnbrokenInternational Artists 126VG scuffy plays OKpromo, red Xs in marker on May the Circle label$55
ThymeSomehow / Shame, ShameA2 201VG++$28
Tidal WavesFarmer John / She Left Me All AloneHBR 482VG+$18
Tom NorthcottWho Planted Thorns in Miss Alice's Garden / Sunny Goode StreetWarner Bros 7051VG plays +$22
Tommy & the True Blue FactsI'm Back / Who's Got the Right?A&M 900VG+$15
Tommy AdderleyI Just Don't Understand / Whole Lotta Shakin' Going OnMar-Mar 314VG plays +$7
Tommy FlandersThe MoonstoneVerve Forecast 3075VG++ / VGrelease date stamped in ink on pict. Sleeve$9
Tony CaryShe Belongs to MeMiramar 112VG- plays OKone-sided promo, stamp on label$12
ToronadosRainy Day Fairy Tales / She's GonePhalanx 804P-1014VG+$42
TorquaysHarmonica Man / Our Teenage LoveOriginal Sound OS-66VG plays +$28
TouchstoneLast Laugh / The ShowTransaction 708VG plays +A-side is light garage, flip is femme vox hippie$45
TrashmenBird Dance Beat / A-BoneGarrett 4003VG+drill hole, glossy vinyl except light marks on b-side make light noise$12
Travis WammackFire Fly / ScratchyARA 204VG, plays betterlight scuffs only$18
TropicsThis Must Be the Place / Sumertime Blues - LandColumbia 4-44248clean but stress crackEX but has tight styrene stress crack which does not affect play$40
TwilightersOut of My Mind / I Need Your Lovin'Vanco 204VG- plays OKplenty of scuffs, plays well with light noise only$24
Underground Sunshine9 to 5 (Aint My Bag) / Rotten Woman BluesIntrepid 75019VG+hear it: - one scuff on b-side, otherwise NM-, drill hole, comes with Intrepid company sleeve$9
Underground SunshineAll I Want Is You / BirthdayIntrepid 75002VG+drill hole$10
UniquesFast Way of Living / Not Too Long AgoPaula 219VG$5
UniquesToo Good to be TruePaula 222VG+stains, small tear on label$5
Unknown Artist acetateLittle By Little Fallin' Apart / Have FaithAudiodiscG+Lacquer demo with blank Audiodisc labels. Two great songs. Titles are my guess. Ask to hear clips and see scans$300 or offers
Unrelated SegmentsWhere You Gonna Go / It's Gonna RainLiberty 55992VG++2 small X's in pen on A-side label$80
Us TooI'll Leave You Crying / The Girl with the Golden HairHi 45-2133VGstock labels$35
Van TrevorSatisfaction Is Guaranteed / Louisiana Hot Sauce
Corsican M-138VG+1" faded area on b-side label
Various artistsArrows: Love Theme from the Wild Racers, Eternity's Children: Again Again, Sunrays: Hell Cats, Main Attraction: If I'm Wrong, and EverydayTower SPRO 4558VG+/VG+promo ep "Selections from New April Albums on Tower" with b&w PS depicting album covers
VestellsWon't You Tell Me / Please Walk AwayBJo 001VG+$125
VibrantsSomething About You, Baby / Danger ZoneColumbia DO-4761VG+$45
VibratonesExpressway / Man of MysteryLeedon LK-379VG+rare Australian surf/instrumental, first 45 for Vince Maloney$50
Vinnie BasileGirl / Gypsy GirlDavy Jones Presents 661NM / VG++with PS, sleeve has light creasing at corner otherwise very fine$28
Vinnie BasileGirl / Gypsy GirlDavy Jones Presents 661VG++no PS
West Coast Natural GasGo Run and Play / A FavorSan Francisco Sound EU-2048NM$175
What FourDo You Believe / WheneverBox 4000VG++$24
What-KnotsI Ain't Dead Yet / Talkin' About Our BreakupDial 4067VG++wlp, sticker residue on A-side$25
White KnightsRun, Run Baby / Love that's TrueGaiety 117VG$15
WhoThe Seeker / Here for MoreDecca 32670VG++drill hole$14
Wicked TruthTake a Chance / Rock No MoreTeru 305119NM$24
Wild OnesCome On Back / (instrumental version)Sears 2181VG disc, VG+ sleeve$9
Willow GreenFields of Pepperment (vocal/ instrumental)Whiz 619VGdate stamp on label$8
Winkle PickersI Haven't Got YouCP 796VG+$18
WrestHatfield Junction / Bet Your Sweet BippyTarget 1003G+$5
X-Cellentssleeve only - Hang It Up / Little Wooden HouseSure PlayVG++7" envelope printed on one side in blue ink. Paper has light age discoloration but is otherwise in excellent shape$90
Young IdeasBarney Buss / MelodyDate 2-1614VG plays EXwlp$12
Reissues/ Eps / 7" Comps:Vinyl / Sleeve
Bobby Fuller FourWine wine wine, 3 moreEva 2003NM / VG++$8
Davie Jones with the King BeesLiza Jane / Louie Louie Go HomeVocalion Pop V.9221NM70s repro$50
East L.A. ep, 1995Atlantics / Cannibal & the Headhunters / AldermanBacchus BA05VG+ / VG+PS VG - corner dings$7
FlowBaghdad Express / Things We Said TodayShadoksNM7" bonus from Shadoks LP$12
Garage Dreams Revisited4 song ep with rare Reekers acetate, moreAmber Star 083VG++ / VG+with nice orange PS$15
Graveyard FiveThe Marble Orchard / Graveyard Theme
StancoNM2014 repro$14
HauntedMessage to Pretty, 3 moreEva 2002VG+ / VG+$7
Moxie 60's Punk Sampler vol. 46 songs by Electric Company & othersMoxie 1049VG++ / VG++blue paper picture sleeve$12
Moxie Folk Rock EP6 song ep w/ Beer, Avengers, Bats, BeesMoxie 1040VG+ / VG+gold wax$18
OliversBeeker Street / I Saw What You DidBreakawayNM new$10
Outspoken BluesNot Right Now / Mister You're A Better Man Than IOrlyn 66821NMnew repro$12
PsychopathsTill the Stroke of DawnDavid-Lloyd CoNMnew repro from Mighty Mouth Music$12
Ray Brown & the WhispersGo to Him, Aint it Strange, 3 moreRaven EP 03VG+ / VGRaven compilation EP with sleeve, small tol$8
Tongues of TruthLet's Talk About Girls / You Can't Come BackMoxie boot, 1977VG++ / VG++one-sided, two song ep with cover sheet$14
LPsemail me for postage costs
Scum of the Earth vol. 2sealedSealedOriginal pressing with old 8th St. Venus Records price sticker on the shrink wrap$32
Glimpses vol 3NM$45
AbstractsHey Let's Go NowBreakawayNew$16
Fifth OrderBonfire!BreakawayNew$16
JujusYou Treat Me BadBreakawayNew$16
Morning DewEarly YearsBreakawayNew$16
OliversLost Dove SessionsBreakawayNew$16
RedondosFull CircleBreakawayNew$16
RoostersAll of Our DaysBreakawayNew$16
SyndicateThe Egyptian ThingBreakawayNew$16
United Travel ServiceWind and StoneBreakawayNew$16
Plastic CloudPlastic CloudLion ProductionsNewnew reissue, beautiful quality, a must!$20
Search PartyMontgomery ChapelLion ProductionsNewnew reissue, great sound, insert with liners, highly recommend this one$20
Yay's and Nay'ss/tGroovieNew$18

The Pebble Episode

Vincent Oddo J-2 45 Tripsey
mistaken first label with studio owner Vincent Oddo’s name as artist

Bill DeFalco – lead guitar
Frank DeFalco – rhythm guitar
Jimmy DiGiacomo – bass
Joey Erico – drums

Brothers Bill and Frank DeFalco had a previous group called the Rock Monacles with a different drummer, Henry Bauman and vocalist George Malin. In the summer of 1967 the Pebble Episode went to O.D.O. Sound Studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan to record two songs, “Tripsey” (by William DeFalco, Frank DeFalco) and “The Plum Song” (by William DeFalco, Frank DeFalco and James DiGiacomo). Publishing by Mozella Music BMI, and produced by S. & J.

Juggy Murray of Sue Records signed the group to J-2 Records, his new label as Sue was sliding into bankruptcy to be sold to United Artists around 1968.

Pebble Episode J-2 45 Tripsy
Artist name corrected, song now spelled “Tripsy”

To compound the problems Murray had with Sue at the time, the first pressing of this 45 was mistakenly labelled with Vincent Oddo’s name, the engineer and owner of the ODO studio where the band recorded, but most definitely not the artist! New labels were printed up with the correct band name, though this time the A-side was spelled “Tripsy”.

“Tripsy” is an apt name for this wild instrumental loaded with echo and repeating riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on The Inner Mystique. By comparison, “The Plum Song” is much more conventional in sound, dominated by Bill DeFalco on organ and Joe Erico’s fine drum fills.

This was the first release on J-2 Records followed by Baby Washington doing “Like a Rolling Stone” (I’d like to hear that version!) b/w “The New Yorker” (J2-1301) and the Poets in-demand soul classic “Wrapped Around Your Finger” / “Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow” (J2-1302).

The Pebble Episode continued until 1972, with home recordings I haven’t heard but no further releases.

More info is in the comments to the Discogs page for the single.

Sorry for the atrocious condition of the labels for this post, but if you have a better high-resolution scan of Tripsy, please send it in.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Pebble Episode J-2 45 The Plum Song

The King Pins of Albuquerque, NM

King Pins Albuquerque Journal Jan. 31, 1964
King Pins, January 1964

King Pins Larse 45 94 Second Surf
94 Second Surf – first version with girl chorus
The King Pins came from Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though they recorded in 1965, they were an instrumental group, not at all ‘garage’ but I dig this record.

Members were:

Steve Maase – lead guitar
Gary Shouse – rhythm guitar
Rob Cardin – bass
Larry Kuck -drums

In August 1965 they released a 45 “Rod Hot Rod” / “94 Second Surf” on Larse 101, recorded at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, NM. The group’s manager Bill Sego, a DJ on KCLV in Clovis, wrote the top side “Rod Hot Rod”. This song has its fans but Steve Maase’s original “94 Second Surf” commands the most attention nowadays.

King Pins Larse 45 Rod Hot RodMGM picked up the single for a national release in November 1965. “94 Second Surf” is retitled “Door Banger” on the MGM 45, but there is a difference. The Larse single features a female vocal chorus on both sides, while the MGM leaves it off completely on “Door Banger” and cuts the vocal intro on “Rod Hot Rod” but keeps the rest of the vocals.

I’ve found a couple news clips of the group but haven’t found a photo yet.

There are many clips of “94 Second Surf” and “Door Banger” on Youtube but let me say they’re a mess, often slowed down, and mixing up the versions.

Below is the Larse version with chorus:

Below the MGM version without the chorus:

Larse was Bill Sego’s label but I don’t know of any other releases on it. Prior to managing he had his own single on the Nor-Va-Jak label “Down From The Clouds” / “Come Along Dolly”.

King Pins Albuquerque Journal  Nov 23, 1965
Announcement of King Pins signing with MGM, November 23 1965

Eric & the Chessmen

Eric & the Chessmen Kama picture sleeve
Eric & the Chessmen Kama picture sleeve
L-R; Freddie Faccioli, Eric Thorngren, Dale Rider and Slivers Matrassi

Eric & the Chessmen Kama 45 You Don't Want My LovingEric and the Chessmen were a well-known group from Utica, New York. They toured throughout upstate New York and into Vermont, and even had a stand at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City. They released only one single: the original song “You Don’t Want My Loving” by the band’s leader, Eric Thorngren, backed with a rocked-up version of “Blue Skies”, on Kama Records 777.

The band’s membership changed many times, so I’ll list some of the lineups below to the best of what I can gather:

Eric and the Chessmen at the Evening Inn, Colliersville, June, 1965
Eric and the Chessmen at the Evening Inn, Colliersville, June, 1965
As simply the Chessmen, the original lineup consisted of:

Eric Thorngren – guitar
Tony Frontera – saxophone
Jon Hynes – bass
Butch DeAngelo – drums

By March 1965 the band consisted of:

Eric Thorngren – guitar & vocals
Norm Knapp – guitar
Dale Rider – bass
Wayne Bohling – drums

Eric and the Chessmen Five Flys Club, Bennington, October 1966
Eric and the Chessmen Five Flys Club, Bennington, October 1966
When Norm Knapp took a leave of absence in 1965, Chuck Schoenley became the band’s first keyboardist:

Eric Thorngren – guitar & vocals
Chuck Schoenley – organ
Dale Rider – bass
Wayne Bohling – drums

After Chuck Schoenley left the group to join the Rogues, Frankie Convertino became the keyboard player, then Fred Faccioli.

Slivers Matrassi replaced Wayne Bowling on drums by early or mid-1966.

Eric & the Chessmen Kama 45 Blue SkiesThe band featured on the picture sleeve to their 45 and probably on the recording is:

Freddie Faccioli – organ
Eric Thorngren – guitar & vocals
Dale Rider – bass
Slivers Matrassi – drums

The sleeve at the top of this post seems to be very rare. The labels note “Recorded at Chadwicks Recording Studio, Chadwicks, NY”. For more on the Kama and related labels like Krishna and Sutra, see the final section of my post on the Roosters.

The band had other recordings that weren’t released at the time. An atmospheric instrumental featuring organ and a reserved guitar solo called “Too Much” appeared on The Best of Twist-a-Rama: Crude 1965 Garage Sounds from the Mohawk Valley. There are also demos of “Wooly Bully”, “New Orleans” and “Heat Wave”.

The Chessmen continued in different forms into the late 1960s, eventually without any original members. Sometime in 1967 or 1968 Ted Alexander replaced Freddie Faccioli. Dale Rider left to join the Rochester group the Oxford Watchband – a group by that name had a 45 in 1969 on the Hand label, “Diagnosis (One Way Empty and Down)” / “Welcome to the World”.

Eric Thorngren joined the Brass Buttons and went on to a long career as a recording and mixing engineer.

I found this info on the band at the forum After Bebop a Lula: Utica Bands 50s 60s. There are many photos of the band in that thread, see these pages for some of them:

Eric and the Chessmen at the Halfway House, Norwich, March 1966
Eric and the Chessmen at the Halfway House, Norwich, March 1966

The Majestic Five

The Majestic 5 at the Can Can, June 1965
The Majestics 5 at the Can Can, June 1965

The Majestic Five Santa 45 Jerk Like MeThe Majestic Five have this one obscure single on Santa Records out of Phoenix, Arizona in 1965.

The A-side, “Jerk Like Me” is a cover of Rudy Gonzalez & the Reno Bops “Do the Jerk Like Me”. The drummer lays down a rock-solid beat up front in the recording, while the rest of the group sounds somewhat distant. The singer does a good job but the record has a sparse sound.

The flip is a ballad, “Queen of Fools” written by Saenz and Escobedo who I guess were members of the Majestic Five. Santa Records was located at 506 W. Cocopah in Phoenix, I haven’t seen any other releases on this label.

They don’t seem to have been around too long at least under this band name. In June of ’65 I find several ads for their week-long engagements as the Majestics 5 at the Can Can on 3rd St. and E. Roosevelt in Phoenix and then in September at the Grand Canyon Bar and Lounge at 119 4th NW at Copper in Albuquerque, but no mentions of the group after that.

The Majestic Five in Albuquerque, September 1965
The Majestic Five in Albuquerque, September 1965

The Majestic Five Santa 45 Queen of Fools

Raven Records, Frank Koger and the House of Sound Studios

By Jack Garrett

Frank Koger photo
Frank Koger, 1977, photo taken by Pete Walker

In the mid-sixties, Frank Koger started Raven Records, a small, independent label based in Danville, VA, that released a large catalog of mostly Southern gospel, bluegrass and country and western 45s. All were recorded locally, or at larger studios in North Carolina. About a half-dozen of these have gone on to become garage and soul classics among collectors.

Koger was born May 10, 1931 in the Henry County town of Bassett and spent most of his life in Southside Virginia. He managed the appliance/electronics department at Kmart on Riverside Drive in Danville and opened a small studio (The House of Sound) on the Piney Forest Road, after receiving requests from local musicians who were looking for an engineer to record and release their songs.

None of the 45s and albums recorded for Raven Records or its subsidiaries (Hoss, Hippie, Piedmont and Colony 13 Records) were pressed locally. Master tapes were sent to Tennessee and custom pressed by Nashville Record Productions, Inc.

Gene and the Team Beats

Gene and the Team Beats were one of the first rock acts to record for Koger in early 1966. The Team Beats (AKA Teenbeats) formed in Martinsville in 1959 and had many personnel changes during their ten-year lifespan. The one constant was leader and sax player Gene Rumley.

Gene and the Team Beats early lineup
Gene and Team Beats lineup that would record their first two singles
L-R: Charles Hairston, Lonnie Woodall, Gene Rumley, Brian Thomason, Rickie Fox

The band started recording relatively late in their career, cutting their first 45 (“I’ll Carry On” b/w “Apple Fuzz”, Leatherwood RI 2096) in the basement of a Rocky Mount home after a gig. 

Their second single (“I Want’A Be Your Baby” b/w “Sorry ‘bout That”, Raven HOS 45-2006) was released on Raven Records but was actually recorded at Copeland Studios in Greensboro, although Koger accompanied the band to the sessions and can be heard speaking the title at the end of the instrumental B-side. Rumley believes Copeland was chosen because Koger was just getting started and the Greensboro studio had better equipment. In addition to Rumley, who plays sax and contributes backup vocals, the songs feature lead vocalist Charles Hairston; Lonnie Woodall on lead guitar and backup vocals; drummer Rickie Fox; and Carl Barrow on bass.

Gene and Team Beats later lineup photo
Lineup on Gene and Team Beats last single
L-R: Lonnie Woodall, Carl Barrow, Gene Rumley, Eddie Scott, Jimmy Mitchell

The band would return to Raven in 1967 to record their third, and final single: “I’ll Let Nothing Separate Me” b/w “Here I Stand” on Raven HOS 42-2011. This time, the sessions were recorded in Danville.

Drummer Eddie Scott plays on the record and recalls that the studio was small and Koger did very little overdubbing. As he remembers, “it was more or less cubicles and everything was recorded together… pretty much live to tape.” Rumley, Woodall and Barrow were still with the band, although Scott had replaced Fox on drums, and Jimmy Mitchell was now their lead vocalist. The backing tracks to a fourth single were recorded, but the project was abandoned after vocalist Alfonzo Martin was drafted.

Lost Soul

Lost Soul poster, October 28, 1967Like the Team Beats, Bluefield’s Lost Soul recorded two singles at House of Sound, (“A Secret of Mine” b/w “Minds Expressway” Raven HOS-45-2016 and “I’m Gonna Hurt You” b/w “For You” Raven HOS-45-2032) both in 1967.

Lost Soul started in 1965 as the Prussians, a five-piece band fronted by vocalist Jimmy Johnson, with Charlie Bassett on keyboards. Bassett and Johnson soon exited the band, before the group entered the recording studio in early 1967.

Steve Calfee composed all four songs (Conley co-wrote “A Secret of Mine”) recorded by Lost Soul and is the lead vocalist. He also plays keyboards on the recordings, which feature Randy Conley (guitar); Steve Cook (bass); and Donnie Fields on drums.

The Lost Soul business card
The Lost Soul business card

Guitarist Emerson Randall “Randy” Conley (who continues to record today as Emerson Conley) says Lost Soul came together when he was still in junior high school and rehearsed at bassist Steve Cook’s house, which was on the Virginia side of Bluefield. Conley was the only West Virginian in the band and recalls that his dad worked with drummer Donnie Field’s father at N&W Railroad, “and that is how I was introduced to the situation.” Cook’s father, John, managed the band and learned of Raven Records through his work as a sales representative for farm machinery. He credits the elder Cook with making contacts and “booking us everywhere,” including a live appearance on WHIS TV in Bluefield, where the group performed both sides of their first single.

Conley remembers that while traveling to Danville to record, the band passed a huge Klan rally in downtown Lynchburg. It was cold and snowy when the group arrived. And he says “A Secret of Mine” was recorded in “a big room (that) didn’t even look like a studio.” “There were no cubicles or anything like that, and just a few mics; there were no gobos… and everything was right there just real close together. There was no separation between anything that I can remember,” he adds. The building looked like a makeshift studio in “a big warehouse with high ceilings and a large room” for recording.

Lost Soul Raven 45 Mind's ExpresswayConley played guitar on all four sides recorded for Raven and explains that mixing the blue-eyed soul sound of “A Secret of Mine” with the psychedelic ramblings of “Minds Expressway” was a conscious effort “to blend in with the pop scene,” while appealing to “the psychedelic influences from (their) older musician friends at Bluefield State College.” 

While the band “never received a dime of compensation for anything,” Conley recalls that their first record was big in the Bluefield area. He said the label did little to distribute their first 45, with the band hand delivering copies to dee jays and radio stations.

That summer, Lost Soul accompanied Steve Cook’s family to North Myrtle Beach, with Conley and another band member following them down by bus. They ended up ten miles from their destination and were lugging a heavy suitcase in the median of the bypass when Cook’s family spotted them. During the week, Cook’s dad got Lost Soul a job at the famed Pavilion. They also talked their way onto the stage at the Bowery and the Rathskeller.

While the band would split in 1968, Conley insists there was no acrimony. Several were finishing high school and he left within 5 days to enroll in an auto diesel school in Nashville. That was short-lived, and four months later Conley was back in the band business full-time. He moved back to Bluefield, then to Roanoke, Arizona, South Carolina and finally back to West Virginia, performing and recording all the while. He played in a number of bands, including Razzmatazz, Rat Salad, Friends, and most notably, Sweet Toothe, a band that recorded one album and opened for Iron Butterfly before their performance at the Bluefield Armory.

Emerson Conley at the Propeller Club, Radford, VA 1972
Emerson Conley at the Propeller Club, Radford, VA 1972

Sweet Toothe LP TestingRecorded at Bradley’s Barn and produced by Benny Quinn and Patrick Glossop, “Sweet Toothe Testing” features Conley’s tasteful fuzz guitar. Released in 1975 on a small, Nashville-based label (Dominion Records TN 37214), the melodic heavy metal album was limited to a pressing of about 900 copies.

Sweet Tooth Dominion 45 KarenA promotional 45 from the LP (“Karen” b/w “Music’s Gotta Stay”, Dominion NR 7224) was a song about Karen Ann Quinlan and the debate over disconnecting the brain-dead patient from life-support. It was hampered by poor distribution, with only 200 copies pressed. The album has been bootlegged and was later reissued (with a different cover and on colored vinyl) on the Void label. Conley insists none of the band members received any compensation from the original release, referring to “a fake royalty check” with Dominion of “about 15 cents or something, to get us to sign away that album.” The band was one of only two artists to record for Dominion, the other a female country singer from Indiana.

An even rarer 45 followed. Lead vocalist Michael Hopkins left the band, but Conley, bassist P.D. (Pierce) Bratton, and drummer Michael Chilco reformed with two new members as Pyramid, releasing two self-penned numbers (“Buffalo Creek” b/w “Elusive Things”) on Studio One Records (SR-075) in Tazewell, VA. The songs were engineered by Nashville’s Joe Deaton on a 16-track recorder.

Sweet Toothe Photo
Sweet Toothe

Conley and Calfee’s paths would cross again in the mid-80s, when both were living in Myrtle Beach and Emerson played with the Beachcombers. The group was the house band at the Sands Ocean Club for six years and Calfee lived just a few miles up the road. He would sit in for the guitarist when Conley needed a break from the six-days-a-week gig.

Conley has operated a home studio since the eighties. He recorded his first CD (The Power of Love, LGM 2222) as Emerson in 1992. More recently, he has released discs as Little Ronny and the Blues Bots (as Randall Conley) and Flying Saucer Heads (“Inner Limits,” LGM 2223), both released through his publishing company, Los Gatos Music. He continues to live in West Virginia.

In a 2012 interview, lead vocalist, keyboardist and song writer Steve Calfee recalled the studio sessions in detail.

Your band was from Bluefield, VA, so how did you learn about Raven Records in Danville?

We did a lot of promotions… there was a radio station in Bluefield, West Virginia, WKOY, there was a DJ there by the name of Charlie Duff. I think that was his air name. But he had done radio promo dances with several different groups and one of the groups he did a promo with was Gene and the Team Beats. And I think they were from the Danville, VA vicinity, but they recorded for Raven. And he at one of the dances talked to the guy that was our manager at the time, who was John Cook, who was our bass player Steve Cook’s father. And at some point I think John Cook worked for the Caterpillar Corporation and he traveled a lot selling generators and heavy duty equipment, things like that. At some point he actually went to Danville and I think met with Frank Koger and talked about this and that and that’s when he decided we should do this and what were we gonna need to do to raise the money and that kinda thing. So, that’s how we made the connection with him. It was through the radio station and then through Gene and the Team Beats, and then finally to Frank Koger at Raven Records himself.

Were both 45s recorded in 1967?

I know we did the first one in ’67. I think we did. Yea, I think we did them both in ’67. They were probably stretched about six or seven months apart. I think one was done, the first one was done in early ’67 and the second one was done later on, like about the end of the summer in ’67.

Ernie Dickens of the Soulmasters photo, Danville, 1967
Ernie Dickens of the Soulmasters at the Coke plant in Danville, 1967.

Ernie Dickens, the Soulmasters bassist, is listed as arranger/conductor on your second single. What role did he play?

He acted kind of like our cheerleader. Get us through the sessions, tell us what to expect, what was gonna go wrong, kind of just keep us going out there because back when we did those nobody had multiple tracks in that general vicinity, so everything was like direct to two-track. I know we did multiple takes of every cut and we were doing, I think it was the flip side of the first one there was actually a mistake on there where the drummer — if you listen to the uh, it might be Minds Expressway, I’m pretty sure it is — there’s a “pa-ping” sound on the cymbal. And we’d gotten just to the very end of a take and it was an accident that he did and as soon as we ended the take I think Ernie and Frank actually came out of the booth and said “What was that?” And he took the drum stick and did a ping off the bell of the cymbal, from the bell of the cymbal to the body of the cymbal itself to do the “pa-ping” sound and Frank said, “Well that’s fantastic; it actually makes the record.” He said, “Do you think you can do that every time?” So, we spent probably the next two hours doing take after take after take of him trying to do that pa-ping sound through the entire cut ’til we finally got it. It was almost like working with a child or a dog in a movie where it doesn’t matter what you do as long as the dog hits its mark. So as soon as we got a take where he had done that on every single cut, that was the take that they pressed for the flip side.

What do you recall about House of Sound Studios or Frank Koger?

I think where it was, it had originally been an ice house where they did ice I guess for restaurants, grocery stores and things like that because it had a loading dock in front. It was a white building on the right side of the road on the outskirts. And I think it had just a little tiny entranceway room (and) then there was the room that was the main recording room that was probably not more than 10×12, if that. And the control room was probably, maybe a 6×6 room with a glass window. I know they had to turn the air conditioning off every time we got ready to record because the air conditioner was just a window unit. They cut a hole in the wall and put an air conditioner in there, so for the length of time you were in there, every time between takes you almost prayed for a mistake sometimes because that’s the only time the air conditioner would get turned back on. It was not a really big building but I think they told us it had been an ice house.

What did you play on the records?

I think on both of the records, I played keyboards. It was an interesting situation. We had a keyboard player, actually a fifth member and about a month or six weeks before we knew we were going into the studio our keyboard player got married and left the band. So me and the other guitar player, we were two guitars, bass, keyboards and drums, but when the keyboard player left we just kind of split up the duties. And the other guitar player was named Randy Conley. And he learned half the songs so that we could get it done quickly and I learned half the songs, so that we would switch off when we played jobs. He would play guitar on some songs and I would play keyboards; and then he would play keyboards and I would play guitar. And then probably over about a six month period I think for the duration of the band I just switched over to the keyboards. That’s how we did it at the time. I think I played keyboards on all four cuts that were released. I’m pretty sure I did. I don’t remember playing guitar on any of them.

Is the personnel the same on both records?

Yes, the group members are the same on both.

Tell us about the second single, I’m Gonna Hurt You/For You.

Lost Soul Raven 45 For YouI think the band was a lot tighter when we did those. Actually, those we didn’t need to do near as much press. I think we were actually playing more jobs on the road, but actually the radio stations that played the first single really picked up on that one without us having to do as much work to back it up. It was almost like that one was too easy. We were more focused on playing the jobs than we were really on doing promotion on the singles. And a lot radio stations — I think in Roanoke and Charlotte — and a lot of other markets would take that song, back then it was one of those things where they did the thing on American Bandstand where they would rate a record. And there were a lot of rate-a-record shows on, where they would have kids that would come into the studio and they would play 8 or 10 records and rate them. And that record got taken to a lot of those promo-type things, so the band didn’t do it; the radio station kind of did it. It really got a lot more airplay that the first one did.

Did you sell these at live performances? Who handled the distribution?

What Frank would do, he gave uh, everybody I think got two boxes of records and I think there were probably fifty 45s in each box, so those were the records that we would sell or give away at jobs and things like that. Think we probably gave away a lot more than we sold because it was one of those situations where somebody would come up and they really, really liked the band and you’d meet somebody after a show or something like that and it was just much easier to give ’em a record that to try to say, “Give me a dollar.” So I think we probably gave away four or five-thousand like that. Especially the second one, because that was the one that had the larger pressing.

But I know the company that Frank had that pressed that one was called P.M. Distributors in Pittsburgh, Pa. I’m not sure when they went out of business. But that was the one where the manager had run some kind of a trace on and found out that they had received somewhere between ten, fifteen, twenty thousand copies that they had distributed. And by then, he tried to go back and get an accounting and it was just sort of, “Well, we’ll get around to it.” And of course nobody ever got around to it and by the time the band broke up at that point everybody lost interest. But, I don’t think they did the first one, P.M. Distributors. I think that was probably done pretty much like Frank did most things. He sent out copies to radio stations, that kind of thing and we took copies around to radio stations as well. But the yellow one, the one that was “I’m Gonna Hurt You” and “For You,” that’s the one that P.M. Distributors put out to rack jobbers and radio stations. They even sent it to the radio stations direct, or they had a promotion person that did that.

The band recorded a demo tape with Koger. Did you keep a copy?

We didn’t keep a copy. We did some demos. We had done kind of a soul version of, this is interesting because we never figured out exactly how this happened, but we had done a more soulful, Memphis-type feel to “Day Tripper” by the Beatles. That was just one of the demos that we did. We never even thought anything else about it, what happened to it or where it went. But about somewhere a year or so later there was a version that was almost, very close to what we thought we had done that came out by, I think it was by the Foundations. And we always wondered if they got hold of that demo, or you know somebody said, “Oh, you guys can do this.” But I don’t think we kept any of those demos. We did some stuff between takes that Frank recorded just to get loose in the studio. And that version of “Day Tripper” was one of the songs that we did, and I think we probably played some Sam and Dave stuff and a couple of other things like that. I know they got recorded, but what happened to them I have no idea. I know the guy that was our manager that we shared with Archie Bell got a copy somehow, some way and he was putting that with the two 45s and taking it to different companies. But once again, we never heard it. He kind of imploded at one point, the manager did, and we never heard from him again. That was another interesting story.

Do you have the master tapes for any of the band’s recordings?

No, we don’t have master recordings of anything, and of course as long ago as it’s been I know the statute of ownership has run out and I doubt seriously if anybody redid the copyrights. I know they’re not on my list. I’m a BMI writer. None of the things that we did are anywhere on the list of, I’ve only got maybe a dozen songs listed with BMI, but none of those four are anywhere on that list. So, probably they could be edited, they could be redone and I could file a new copyright on them. I just never have thought about doing it.

While he was told at the time that “I’m Gonna Hurt You” b/w “For You” (Raven HOS 45-2032) had cracked Billboard’s Hot 100, Calfee has since learned that wasn’t the case. While researching his songs, Calfee discovered that BMI had never heard of Choptank Music (Raven’s publishing company) or Frank Koger. All four songs were signed over to Frank and Choptank and never listed with BMI. Calfee says “that’s why when ‘I’m Gonna Hurt You’ was supposed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, it never happened. It seems that at that time, when a song was being promoted and pushed, at the point it was getting sufficient airplay enough to be added, Billboard would double-check the copyright license and the copyright owner. When they found none for ‘I’m Gonna Hurt You,’ they let it drop.”

After searching BMI’s records, Calfee discovered that the songs were not listed or actually published with BMI. “That’s also the reason we never received any royalties for airplay or sales,” says Calfee. He has since listed all four songs with the agency.

Gene Rumley had a similar experience. A letter from Broadcast Music, Inc. to Rumley dated May 10, 1966 lists the A-sides of the first two Team Beats’ singles and “I’m Sorry About That,” urging Rumley to notify the publisher (Old Standby Music Co.) and have the songs registered with BMI as soon as possible.

Individuals band Danville Photo
An early photo of the Individuals practicing at Glenn Meadows’ house.
L-R: Tommy Redd, Ben Vaughan, Ronnie Couch, Glenn Meadows, and Ronnie Vaughan. Photo courtesy of Ronnie Couch.

The Individuals

Apparently the situation wasn’t unique. Ronnie Couch played drums with another Raven act, The Individuals. The Halifax/South Boston band recorded one 45 (“I Want Love” b/w “I Really Do”, Hos-45-2018) at Koger’s studio. Bassist Tommy Redd penned both and paid Koger $6 to have both sides registered with BMI. That never happened and the garage classic has since been bootlegged in England.

The Individuals, ad for Oak Level Club show
The Individuals, ad for show at the Oak Level Club

The Individuals were truly a garage band and started out practicing in the basement of Couch’s home in 1964. Besides the drummer, the original group included vocalist Glenn Meadows; bassist Tommy Redd; and lead guitarist Ben Vaughan. Then known as the Rhythm-Makers, the four-piece group played their first gig at the American Legion Hall in South Boston on March 25, 1965. The band soon changed names and musical directions and Meadows left over creative differences. Redd and Vaughan took over as lead vocalists. Sammy Moser was added on organ and stayed with the group through 1967, when Mike Oakes joined on keyboards.

The Individuals paid Koger $250 to record, press and distribute 500 records. The Individuals sold 200 copies locally and Koger agreed to distribute the remainder to radio stations across the country. When they entered House of Sound Studios, the band consisted of Ronnie Couch on drums; Tommy Redd, who played bass and sang lead on both sides; Ronnie Vaughan and Ben Vaughan on rhythm and lead guitars, respectively; and Sammy Moser on organ.

The Individuals, South Boston VA photo
The Individuals, from left: Sammy Moser (keyboard); Glenn Meadows (lead singer); Tommy Redd (bass guitar); Ronnie Couch (drums); Ronnie Vaughan (rhythm Guitar); Ben Vaughan (lead guitar)
The Individuals receipt signed by Frank Koger
The Individuals receipt signed by Frank Koger to Ronnie Couch ($108) as payment for reorder of their 45

The band recorded both songs in a marathon session in the summer of 1967. Couch and Redd remember scaling a long flight of steps to reach the small recording room. Couch’s drums were set up “behind some kind of plastic shield and there was another man on the board with Frank.” The band “toted our equipment up the steps to the studio. We got there around 5 or 6 pm and left around 11 pm.” According to Couch, the band “played our two songs seemed like a thousand times apiece” before Koger got acceptable takes. Raven HOS-45-2018 was released in August of 1967 and charted on WHLF radio in South Boston. “I Want Love” also made the playlist of a radio station in Brookneal, VA, while WYPR in Danville picked up the record and even had the band in the studios to promote the song. The group remained a popular regional attraction, sharing the bill with the Soulmasters and opening for popular recording artists like Sam and Dave.

Interestingly, the vinyl version of “I Really Do” was not the intended release, but an outtake. When the master tapes were sent to Nashville for pressing, Koger mistakenly sent an alternate version of the song, not the one the group intended for release.

The initial run sold out and Couch still has the $108 invoice for a second pressing of the 45. The band wrote a follow-up (“The Fire Is Out”) and hoped to return to Danville for a second recording session; however, the group broke up and the plans were shelved. Home recordings show a radical shift in the band’s sound just before the split, with the Individuals adding extended solos, fuzz guitars and feedback to their performances.

The Individuals publicity photo taken for Gazette-Virginian
The Individuals publicity photo taken for Gazette-Virginian newspaper story in ’67
from left: Tommy Redd, Ronnie Vaughan, Ronnie Couch, Ben Vaughan and Sammy Moser
The Individuals color photo
The Individuals from left: Sammy Moser (keyboard); Tommy Redd (bass guitar); Glenn Meadows (lead singer); Ronnie Couch (drums); Ben Vaughan (lead guitar); Ronnie Vaughan (rhythm guitar)
The Individuals photo
The Individuals, from left: Mike Oakes (keyboard); Ronnie Vaughan (rhythm guitar); Ronnie Couch (drums); Tommy Redd (bass guitar); Ben Vaughan (lead guitar)
The Individuals 1st business card
The Individuals 1st business card
Individuals 2nd business card
Individuals 2nd business card

The VI Pak (aka The IV Pak)

About the same time, the VI Pak of Ruffin, N.C. entered the studio after winning a battle of the bands competition and a free session at Raven. Frank Carter played organ in the band and remembers Koger’s studio was located in the same building where guitarist Mike Carter’s uncle (E.C. Gerringer) operated a piano and appliance store, which adjoined Merchants Delivery, a moving and storage company also owned by Gerringer.

Merchants Delivery House of Sound Studio
Merchants Delivery, according to one musician, the House of Sound Studio was located above

Carter remembers lugging their equipment up a flight of stairs to a small studio located above the business. He describes 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.” He remembers one large room and another “engineering room where Koger had the multi-track recorder.” According to Carter, the bigger room “wasn’t really that large — I’d say maybe 14×14 or so. It was enough room for four or five small cubicles and a mike for each.”

former location of House of Sound Studios
according to another, this was the former location of House of Sound Studios, across the street from Merchants Delivery.

William “Pete” Walker has a different recollection. He played bass on many of the country and western sessions at House of Sound and is certain the studios were located in the building across from Merchants Delivery. Walker notes that the long staircase leading up to the studio has been replaced and some cosmetic changes have been made, but otherwise the building is much the same 50 years later. He remembers Koger had the second floor, while an auto repair shop was located in the basement. The building now houses a Muslim church. 

The VI Pak sessions produced a garage-psyche classic – “Whatzit?” – along with an interesting cover of Booker T’s “Boot-Leg,” released on the one-off Hippie Label as HOS–45–2019. Carter recalls that the band was given the option of choosing their own label after balking at Koger’s request for an extra $10 to release the 45 on Raven. Besides the Carter cousins, the VI Pak included Brandon Cardwell on drums; Anthony Hodges on bass (lead vocals on Whatzit?); Lonnie Bowes on sax; and Sidney Vernon, trumpet.

There was again a problem at the pressing plant, this time with labeling. Someone in Nashville couldn’t read Roman numerals and the six-member VI Pak was listed on the label as the IV Pak. The band made the best of 500 mislabeled 45s, which sold few copies at the time but has gone on to grace several garage compilations. VI Pak members were also given a 12” acetate containing both sides of their single on one side and the Individuals’ songs on the other. Ronnie Couch (Individuals) was unaware of the record’s existence until shown a copy recently.

Soulmasters at the Sweetheart Dance at Stratford College in Danville, Va., 1967
Soulmasters at the Sweetheart Dance at Stratford College in Danville, Va., 1967. L-R: Dennis Shepherd, Jerry Wilson, Jimmy Matthews (obscured), Larry Davis (obscured, drums), Doug Hyler, Junie Walton (obscured), John Irby, Charles Gentry, Ernie Dickens.

The Soulmasters

Danville’s Sensational Soulmasters also recorded at Raven in ’67. The Soulmasters started out in Eden, N.C. in 1965 as a nine-piece rhythm and blues band. Black vocalists John Irby and Jerry Wilson were added as the group merged with Danville’s Majors to create the 10-to-12-piece aggregation that would record at Raven and tour Virginia and the Carolinas extensively through 1970.

Rickie Fox was the first drummer in the Danville incarnation of the Soulmasters. Another former Team Beat, Brian Thomason, was the original bassist. The first band only performed for 5-to-6 months and included “the original band from Eden and a few more people who were leaving the Majors, like (guitarist) Steve Scearce,” says Fox. Larry Davis was Fox’s best friend and was recruited on drums when Rickie left the Soulmasters to join his brother Butch in the Majors.

The Majors, 1964
The Majors, 1964, L-R: Juni Walton, organ; Larry Payne, drums; Marvin Farr, sax; Joe Johnson, vocals; Ernie Dickens, bass; Dennis Shepherd, trumpet; Charles Gentry, guitar.

Bassist Ernie Dickens recalls that “George Parrish was lead singer and fronted the Majors, (while) Vance Yarborough and Junie Walton also sang a few. Back in those days we also performed a lot of instrumentals.” The group also featured black vocalist Joe Johnson, who earlier sang for the Imperials. The Majors “kinda fell apart in late ’64 after a few members were drafted or left for other reasons,” says Dickens. He says the remaining members “reformed with new drummer Larry Davis. Wayne (Womble) and Doug (Hyler) were already trying to form the Soulmasters around John and Jerry, so we basically merged the two groups.” Junie Walton moved from organ to sax and Dennis Shepherd was added on trumpet.

Soulmasters at the Sweetheart Dance at Stratford College in Danville, Va., 1967
Soulmasters at the Sweetheart Dance at Stratford College in Danville, Va., 1967. L-R: Wayne Womble (organ), Denis Shepherd (trumpet), Jimmy Matthews (trumpet), Doug Hyler (sax), Junie Walton (sax), Larry Davis (drums), Charles Gentry (guitar), Ernie Dickens (bass guitar).

SoulmastersRaven45YouTookAwaytheSunshineDickens also worked as Koger’s assistant, later producing the second single recorded by Lost Soul of Bluefield, VA. He recalled the Soulmasters’ two-day recording session in a 2015 interview.

Frank in the early days wanted to create a recording capability that rivaled the big studios. Problem was he had to try to do it on a Danville-sized budget. When we recorded our 45, Frank had acquired a 4-track reel-to-reel system that allowed control of each of the 4 input tracks, but had no capability to overdub.

This meant songs had to be rehearsed over and over again until the balance was right. Once this was accomplished, we then had to record the entire song start to finish in a single take. I remember rehearsing and balancing the sound for “I’ll Be Waiting Here” pretty much all day on the Saturday. We then recorded the version that was released the next day, Sunday. The B-side (“You Took Away the Sunshine”) moved along faster since we did not need to readjust the balance and only took several hours that Sunday. We probably spent 20 hours in all over the two days to complete the project.

SoulmastersRaven45IllBeWaitingHereThe studio was very rudimentary in those days (and had) little in the way of acoustic absorption or isolation between the instruments. The horns were recorded on 1 track; the bass, organ and guitar on the second; drums on the third track; and vocals on the fourth.

We were used to playing in halls for large crowds at pretty high volume levels. We found it very difficult to adjust to playing with only a fraction of the volume we were used to. Hence the somewhat distorted sound that we ended up with.

Frank was pretty obsessed with trying to make it work, as were we. We must have played each of the songs 50 or more times over those two days. By the time the record was released, we were all pretty sick of both songs and could hardly stand to perform them.

After this Frank continued to make improvements and learned much from the early experiments. Each time he recorded another group the sound improved and the process became more refined.

Soul Masters Bowmar promo photo
Soulmasters 1967 Bowmar publicity photo, Riverside Drive Danville. Front row left to right: Paul Brooks, Bill Hundley, Doug Hyler and Jimmy Mathews. Back row left to right: Charles Gentry, Larry Davis, John Irby, Jerry Wilson, Bill Adams and Ernie Dickens

Wayne Womble was the band’s keyboard player and said the studio was sparse, with a single, two-track recorder. Bill Dudley was a disc jockey at the local Top 40 station (WYPR) and fronted the $200 to finance the sessions. The band spent two days recording Raven HOS 45 2020, “I’ll Be Waiting Here” b/w “You Took Away the Sunshine.” Dickens says the 45 had an initial run of 500 copies but believes the band “gave away more than we sold.” Both songs were pressed at the wrong speed and the 45 is slightly faster than the original recordings.

Sax player Doug Hyler wrote the B-side in his bedroom and recalls the sessions as “lengthy, tedious and fun,” describing trumpeter Dennis Shepherd’s idea to pause near the end of the “You Took Away the Sunshine” as awesome and innovative. In addition to Hyler and Juni Walton on saxophone, the record features hot guitar licks from Steve Scearce; Larry Davis on drums; Ernie Dickens on bass; Dennis Shepherd and Jimmy Matthews on trumpet; Wayne Womble on organ; and vocalists John Irby and Jerry Wilson.

While not in the group at the time, keyboardist Bill Adams was friends with several of the members and attended the sessions. He recalls that “Wayne used a Farfisa organ on “I’ll Be Waiting Here” and an old upright piano on “You Took Away the Sunshine,” adding that “everything was recorded on a two track machine as the group played live.” According to Adams, the intro to “You Took Away the Sunshine” was put together that night with “a little alcohol involved in that one.” Dickens had written out chord charts for the arrangements and Adams was given the task of turning the pages while Wayne played the organ. Womble would soon leave the Soulmasters and Adams would take his place, but Bill said he had no inkling at this point that he would soon be playing with the group.

Soulmasters at Peabody's Warehouse 1968
Soulmasters at Peabody’s Warehouse 1968, Charles Gentry (guitar); Ernie Dickens (bass)
The Soulmasters first practice, 1965
The Soulmasters first practice, 1965 in Doug Hyler’s basement.
Back L to R: Rickie Fox, Wayne Womble, Jerry Wilson
Front L to R: Doug Hyler, Jimmy Matthews, Steve Scearce, Brian Thomason
Soulmasters at Peabody's Warehouse 1968
Soulmasters live at Peabody’s Warehouse in Virginia Beach, VA 1968
L-R: George Parrish, Paul Brooks and Jimmy Matthews on trumpets, Bill Hundley and Doug Hyler on sax.
In the background: Bill Adams (keyboards); Larry Davis (drums); Ernie Dickens (bass); Charles Gentry (guitar)
Soulmasters at Peabody's Warehouse 1968
Soulmasters live at Peabody’s Warehouse in Virginia Beach, VA 1968
L-R: George Parrish, Paul Brooks and Jimmy Matthews on trumpets, Bill Hundley and Doug Hyler on sax.
In the background: Bill Adams (keyboards); Larry Davis (drums); Ernie Dickens (bass); Charles Gentry (guitar)
Jerry Wilson of the Soulmasters at the Apollo Theater
Jerry Wilson of the Soulmasters at the Apollo Theater

Both sides charted on AM stations in Danville and South Boston and the single became a regional hit for the band, while reaching the Top 10 on WLAC in Nashville. The band re-recorded both songs at a better studio in Raleigh, but the master tapes were given by Wilson to soul singer Eddie Floyd, in hopes of landing the group a major recording contract. No copies are known to exist.

Vocalist Jerry Wilson looked back at those sessions during a 2013 interview.

People in Southside still remember your record, which was a big regional hit.

Yea, in Tennessee it reached 7 or number 4 (on WLAC) in Nashville. And that’s one thing I add: If it was anything to regret it was that we didn’t go back in the studio and cut any more. Because Ernie Dickens asked me, “Jerry, you and John wanna cut some more?” And we looked at him and said “no,” because it wasn’t what you’d call a great looking studio. But the sound wasn’t bad. And it was for free. But after ten years you say, “Man, we should’ve done a bunch of songs.” And if we had, I know one side hit real good so I know what would’ve happened if we had followed up. But we were young.

Jerry Wilson of the Soulmasters
Jerry Wilson of the Soulmasters, circa early ’70s

What do you remember about those sessions?Man, we had fun. It was just fun. We went in and you know back then you didn’t have all this digital equipment. You made one mistake and you had to do the song over again. I think we did it about four times until everybody became relaxed, laughing and carrying on. And then after that I think it took us two days to record it, both sides. And then when we did our song, “I’ll Be Waiting Here” that Dennis Shepherd wrote and “You Took Away the Sunshine” that Doug Hyler wrote, it was great! You know, we were signing (autographs) and I think we only had about 500 copies made.

Who had the idea for the stop and start on “You Took Away the Sunshine?”

Dennis Shepherd, the trumpet player who wrote the song. Dennis was a diminutive type in stature, but he had a big heart. He was one of my favorites, man.

Stones Unturned Photo
The Stones Unturned in 1966. L-R: Jim Ray, Pete Hilliard, Curtis “Inky” Vaughan, Doug Starnes, and Truxton Fulton

The Stones Unturned

The Stones Unturned House of Sound reel for Tobacco Road
The Stones Unturned House of Sound reel for Tobacco Road
The Stones Unturned House of Sound reel
The Stones Unturned House of Sound reel

Another Danville band – the Stones Unturned — entered House of Sound Studios in 1967, although none of their recordings were ever released. The Stones, as they preferred to call themselves, were a cover band and borrowed much of their early catalog from the British band of the same name. The Stones were: Pete Hilliard, bass and vocals; Jim Ray, lead vocalist; Truxton Fulton, organ; Curtis “Inky” Vaughan, drums; Doug Starnes, lead guitar.

Starnes dated and soon married vocalist Florence “Flo” Penn, who would later front the band when they performed as the Purple Haze Publication and Light Show. The couple recorded a number of demos in Koger’s studio. Starnes discussed the Raven sessions shortly before his death in October 2013.

How did the Stones come to record “Tobacco Road” and “Sunny” at Frank Koger’s studio?

How we got that (recording) time was that we were backing up (vocalist) Flo Penn Starnes, your cousin, on some songs that she wanted to record. She was fixing to go up to New York City that coming summer and she already had an agent up in New York. And he’d lined up, well she didn’t have a band she (always) used the house band wherever she had to play. I went up there (New York) with Flo and her mother, Anne Penn. And Flo, maybe she had to pay (Frank) extra, I don’t remember. But anyway, we had that time that she had set up for us with Frank. And we rehearsed a lot, not in the studio but here at home. We always rehearsed at my parents’ house here at South Woodberry in Danville. And it was a lot of fun because everything was a new experience for us back then. We didn’t know how it would sound. And fortunately it sounded good enough on tape to be worthwhile. And that was probably one of the biggest turning points for the Stones Unturned.

I have your master tape of about six original songs with the band backing Flo. There are multiple takes and false starts with dialog between songs. However, a smaller reel of just the Stones appears to be a dub. It’s only recorded in one channel and there are finished takes of only two songs: “Tobacco Road” and “Sunny.”

We had done more songs than that. There is a tape… it may be the one that you have listened to. I thought we had between 4 and 6 songs on that one. She (Flo) had done her songs in order that we could have a tape to take with us when we went up to New York City. I didn’t know how that tape (the reel with just the two songs) came about but I do remember there being more than just two songs on it. There’s another tape that may be around here or not. Over the years, the tapes have been loaned out and some of make it back and some don’t. And then there are a lot of them that the boxes aren’t even labeled and I don’t have a reel-to-reel recorder.

(Note: Stones Unturned vocalist Jim Ray believes there were two sessions at Raven and that the first in ’67 was to record the band. He thinks the group returned some time later to back Flo Starnes. Bassist Pete Hilliard sings lead on both and thinks the Stones’ songs were hastily recorded at the end of Flo’s session because they still had studio time remaining.)

Fabulous Fingermen Photo
The Fabulous Fingermen at the Moose Club in Danville, 1966.
L-R: Lee Glasgow, Ray Carper, Johnny Glasgow (deceased) and Julian A. Lillard (deceased).

The Fabulous Fingermen

Local Bluegrass legend Julian Lilliard started out playing in the mid-sixties in an instrumental guitar band known as the Fabulous Fingermen. The group played frequently at local sock hops and fraternal lodges in the Danville area and also recorded some unreleased songs at House of Sound. Lilliard says the band committed “3 or 4 cuts on a reel-to-reel” and he kept the master. He died in 2014 before locating the tape.

The Mustangers

Mustangers Piedmont 45 That's My WayPiedmont Records was another House of Sound offshoot that produced at least two records of note for collectors. The Mustangers recorded “What Do I Have to Pay,” listed on the label as a “rhythm and blues vocal.”

Nothing is known about the record (Piedmont CSP 45-2556) or the group, which featured a spirited soul singer and a good rhythm and horn section. The flip side (“That’s My Way”) is an odd instrumental that was also penned by the group and sounds as though it was recorded in a single take.

Moon Mullins Piedmont Records Picture Sleeve
L-R: Gwynn Kallam, Moon Mullins and Mickey Hawks

Moon Mullins and the Night Raiders

Mickey Hawks (Moon Mullins vocalist)
Mickey Hawks (Moon Mullins vocalist)

Moon Mullins and the Night Raiders also recorded their fifth single for Piedmont Records (“Baby, I Got You” b/w “Ain’t Gonna Cry”, Piedmont Records 45-2044) around 1968. At the time, Mullins’ band was performing throughout Virginia and North Carolina and he also owned a club in Madison, N.C., “Moon’s Danceland.”

“Baby I Got You” features a duet with vocalists Mickey Hawks and Gwynn Kallam. Hawks takes the lead on the flip side, “Ain’t Gonna Cry.” A picture of Mickey Hawks, Dallas “Moon” Mullins and Gwynn Kallam Montgomery appears on the sleeve, which was a rarity for Raven. While she sang with the band for several years, this was the only time Montgomery entered a recording booth. She recalls that Koger had the walls of the studio lined with egg cartons and that Stoney Bowman was their guitarist.

Moon Mullins Piedmont 45 Baby I Got YouThe sound was also a departure for the Night Raiders, who’d been recording rockabilly ravers since the fifties. The band is best remembered for their first recording, “Bip Bop Boom,” which was released on Profile Records in 1959 and did well in Chicago and the Midwest.

Gwen Kallam at 18
Gwen Kallam at 18

The single on Piedmont was the first release by the Night Raiders in seven years. The group had last been heard in a 1961 instrumental (“Gonna Dance Tonight, Part 1 & 2″) on country singer Jim Eanes’ label (Lance Records 005) out of Richmond, VA. While this would be Moon Mullins last commercial release, Mickey Hawks continued performing and recorded an album shortly before his death in 1989. Mullins also continued playing and was a fixture at the Eden Flea Market until shortly before his death in 2014.

Soulmasters’ bassist Ernie Dickens assisted Koger on many of the sessions at this point and recalls that “before Frank left for Nashville he was recording anyone that could show up with $200, whether they were up to the task or not.”

Greater Experience at Uncle Sam's 1972
Greater Experience at Uncle Sam’s 1972
from left: Jay McKee, Ed Burnette, Chuck Wall (in back on drums), Chip Wood, Roger Scruggs (guitar in back), Rocky Robertson (at mic), Kenny Arthur (in back) and Jenny Green.

The Greater Experience

Some of the last recordings Koger made in Danville were by an eight-man Lynchburg horn band, the Greater Experience, and their lone 45 has gone on to become one of the most coveted records among Northern Soul fans. “Don’t Forget to Remember” was seldom heard outside Southwest Virginia until it was rediscovered by collectors across the pond, but Lynchburg’s Greater Experience had quite a local following in the early seventies.

The Greater Experience Business Card
The Greater Experience Business Card, Stan Jayson manager

Chip Wood played alto sax on the 45 and says a chance encounter with vocalist Jerry Mitchell on a summer afternoon “around 1968” got the ball rolling. Wood was visiting friend Milton “Winkie” Blanks at his home on Trents Ferry Road and Mitchell was seeing Blank’s older sister, Brenda. While waiting for his date, the conversation turned to music and Mitchell remarked that he was trying to start a band. Wood mentioned that he played sax and said he also knew a good drummer, Chuck Wall. Wood was playing in a soul band at the time. This was Mitchell’s first band and he enlisted trumpeter Ricky Height and guitarist John Williams. Neither stayed long and both were soon replaced by Ed Burnette and Roger Scruggs. Johnny Dodson joined on organ, with Robert Tunkel on tenor sax, and Russ Hovda on bass.

Greater Experience card for Uncle Sam's
Greater Experience card for Uncle Sam’s

A name was needed and leader Jerry Mitchell came up with Greater Experience. Burnette says he never knew the significance, adding: “It was just one of those sixties things.” Drummer Chuck Wall was just 16 when he joined the band and believes the name was agreed upon while the band was holding its first rehearsal in Wood’s basement. “I think we were just kind of kicking around, trying to come up with (a name) and I’m not sure if it was Jerry Mitchell or Robert Tunkel, or just kind of a collective effort,” he says. While he had played in a couple of other neighborhood groups, Wall says the Greater Experience was his first serious foray into music, and the first band capable of playing an entire set.

Burnette, Scruggs and Wood all played together in the E.C. Glass Stage Band and Wood and Burnette were also in the high school’s marching band. Wood recalls that “many a time on a Friday night we played for the marching band and then at half-time Ed and I would sneak out to go to a gig with the Greater Experience.”

The Greater Experience publicity photo for Virginia Talent Associates in Lynchburg, Va.
The Greater Experience, from left, standing: Rpger Scruggs, Johnny Dodson, Robert Tunkel, Ed Burnette, Russ Hovda and Chuck Wall;
seated: Jerry Mitchell and Chip Wood.
Publicity photo for Virginia Talent Associates in Lynchburg.

The band was a favorite in the Lynchburg-Danville area and soon set their sights at recording an original song composed by Mitchell and Tunkel. Scruggs plays lead guitar on the single and says he was 18 when “Don’t Forget to Remember” was released in the fall of 1970 on Colony 13 (CSP 45-2572) Records. He remembers little about the sessions and says they may have been in Danville, but he is “not 100% sure of that.” He remembers a “pretty good sized studio,” with partitions and headphones. While he doesn’t remember the particular studio, Chuck Wall says the sessions were “definitely in Greensboro” and that the band was in and out in four hours.

While the sessions were most likely done at Copeland Sound Studios in Greensboro, the recordings could have been made in Danville at Frank Koger’s House of Sound Studios. The band performed frequently at Happy’s, a pizza restaurant and nightspot located directly across from his studio on Piney Forest Road. Scruggs doesn’t remember whether Koger produced the sessions, but he often used Copeland to record bands, especially when the projects were beyond the capability of his small studio in Danville. The 45 was apparently his last hurrah in Southside Virginia, as Koger moved to Nashville around 1971. While he used the Colony 13 label in Danville, most of the studio’s earlier output was on Raven Records. Koger used the Colony 13 logo exclusively in Tennessee, but again only for country and western artists. While his involvement with “Don’t Forget to Remember” may have been limited to pressing the record, it does appear on Koger’s label and bears the notation “Nationally Dist. by Colony Sound Prod., Danville, VA.” A later release on Colony 13 Records by Jamie Reeves (A Mother’s Salute to Lt. Calley b/w I’ll Wait, CSP 45-2580) lists a Nashville address for Colony Sound Productions. The labels are identical and, like the Greater Experience 45, Kitten Britches Music – BMI is listed as the music publisher. Koger’s wife, Jean, was nicknamed Kitten. Frank James is listed as both writer and producer on Reeves’ 45. From this point on, Koger referred to himself as Frank James in production credits.

Trumpeter Ed Burnette agrees that the recordings were made in Greensboro and recalls that the band purchased a designated amount of time for the recordings, with the studio “charging $1 a minute” for any time they ran over, “so we tried to get it done as quickly as we could.” He remembers the group “spent an inordinate amount of time getting the rhythm part down: the guitar, the bass, the drums, and the organ.” He recalls that “it just seemed to take an eternity to get that down and we actually did the brass part in one take, and then we added the vocals on top of that.” Burnette says he is “confident” the sessions were in Greensboro, “because when I saw the actual record label for the first time and it showed ‘Colony 13’ in Danville, VA. I questioned why we went to a studio in Greensboro to record it.” He believes the pressing was limited to 500 copies.

GreaterExperienceColony13_45_DontForgetToRememberScruggs says both sides of the single were recorded “in an afternoon” and that the 45 received extensive airplay in on WLLL in Lynchburg, placing 99th on the station’s top 100 songs for the year. He remembers the band miming the song on a television show “around Christmas, 1970.” Wood says the band’s only TV appearance was for the Labor Day Telethon. The Greater Experience performed on the local segment of the telethon, which was broadcast from the WLVA (now WSET) studios, where Mitchell worked. Wood remembers that the band had to pantomime “Don’t Forget to Remember,” which he says “was harder than actually playing the song live.” Scruggs and alto saxophonist and rhythm guitarist Chip Wood had just finished school and two of the other members – Burnette and Wall – were both 17 and still at E.C. Glass High School when the 45 was released. Lead singer Jerry Mitchell wrote the lyrics, while sax man Bob Tunkel composed the music. John Dodson played Hammond organ on the record, with Russ Hovda on bass and Roger Scruggs on lead guitar.

Greater Experience Photo
courtesy Mark Windle and Roger Scruggs

While not listed as a co-writer, Scruggs believes keyboard player Johnny Dodson contributed to “Don’t Forget to Remember.” He points out that the song’s progressions contain “mostly major and minor 7th chords, not your average chords (and ones) only a keyboardist or guitarist would have played.” He believes Dodson “probably helped Jerry write the basic chord structure and Tunkel wrote out the music to be copywritten.” He points out that Tunkel had a music degree and did compose the music to the flip side, “Carol’s Carol,” which features a flute solo and is dedicated to his wife. Tunkel majored in music composition at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition to tenor sax, Tunkel also played flute and trumpet.

Greater Experience Photo
courtesy Mark Windle and Roger Scruggs

Chip Wood plays alto sax on the 45 and is uncertain whether the sessions were in Greensboro or Danville. He does recall that as they were leaving Lynchburg for the recordings, WLLL disc jockey Stan Jayson (who was also managing the group) played Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and dedicated the song to the band. “Being 18 and just out of high school, that was really cool,” says Wood. Before the band recorded “Don’t Forget to Remember,” Wood says they played an afternoon job at Lynchburg College. Chicago played at LC that night “and we all had front row seats for the concert.” Wood concurs with Burnette about recording the rhythm section, saying it took “forever to get their part down.” And while the horns got just one shot, Wood says: “I guess we got lucky, although listening to the record now I think the horns were just a little bit out of tune.”

In addition to original material, the Greater Experience was known for their covers of songs by Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cold Blood, Sly and the Family Stone and the Ides of March. The band gained a reputation as one of the best live acts in the area and opened for the Ides of March, the Classics IV, Percy Sledge and the Spiral Staircase in Lynchburg. A recently discovered live tape (made at Happy’s in Danville in 1970) captured the Greater Experience at its peak and includes the unreleased original song, “Mail Day Lament,” which Wood describes as “in the vein of the Ides of March.”

The band booked through Virginia Talent Association (VTA), a Lynchburg-based agency owned and operated by Phil Vassar, Sr., who was the singer and front man for the Lancers, a rock and roll group that recorded the 45, My Little Girl/Alone (Panther Records SP-1051) in 1964. He was also the father of country singer/songwriter Phil Vassar, Jr.

TheGreaterExperienceSpiralStaircaseFlyerIt’s said that timing is everything, and such was the case with the Greater Experience. A demo tape was given to WLLL and the song was already receiving heavy airplay on Lynchburg radio. Band manager Stan Jason was also a popular DJ at the local radio station and had earlier gotten the group’s photo in a national publication, TV Radio Mirror Magazine, in an article profiling Jason. He was also able to get the song in heavy rotation at WLLL. The problem, says Burnette, was that the records hadn’t arrived from the pressing plant and none were available in stores. And by the time the single was in stock, interest in the song had already started to fade. Wall said Jason could get the group air time on the radio, “so we thought maybe we could make a little money out of this and it wouldn’t be a total bust if we could get the airplay and get local ears on it, and maybe enough money that if people would go out and buy it that we could at least pay for it, or the recording itself.” Wall believes that the delay kept the record from being a much bigger regional hit, noting “there was an issue with the pressing of the record, so the idea was Stan was going to give it a week or two in advance to start putting it on the radio to get it out over the airwaves and peak a little interest, and hopefully by then people would go out and want to buy it.” It took a little longer for the records to arrive and they weren’t available when fans requested the 45. Wall recalls that it was a month to six weeks before the song was in stores, “so anybody at the time that was out there who was looking for the record to buy, it just wasn’t available. They just weren’t there at that point in time when the demand was probably at the peak.”

Greater Experience For TV Radio Mirror Magazine Interview 1969
Greater Experience For TV Radio Mirror Magazine Interview 1969

Burnette still has a memo Mitchell distributed after the sales had completed. He recalls band members “all got some records back because we made the mistake of releasing the song to radio stations before we actually had the 45s.” It was a case of the group “having our 15 minutes of fame; it went up the charts locally and then down the charts and by the time we got the records actually in hand, our moment in the sun had come and gone and we were basically stuck with a bunch of records.” Wall believes that Jerry Mitchell ended up with most of the surplus. 

Mitchell wanted to release another 45 or album with the band, but plans to return to the studio were scrapped after his departure. Wood explains that “Jerry was the contact guy (and) really the manager of the band,” taking care of all the finances and contracts while “the younger guys like myself, Chuck, Ed and Roger… just kind of did as we were told and went on from there.” Money from several gigs was set aside to finance their 45, which the band sold at live performances, small shops like L. Oppleman Pawn Shop and at the G.C. Murphy Department Store in Lynchburg.

The group hoped to record “Mail Day Lament” in a controlled setting, but Mitchell left and the band never made it back to the studio. Soundman Steve Dunaway made a crude live recording of the song, but Scruggs says the quality isn’t suitable for release. The line-up featured on the 45 only performed together for about 18 months and the band underwent numerous personnel changes before calling it quits in 1975. Wall says while the band hoped to record an album, only three original songs were written during their eight-year existence. The Greater Experience went through numerous personnel changes, but Wall says “the nature of the band pretty much remained a copy band,” leaning heavily toward brass numbers, while remaining flexible enough to cover “pretty much whatever was popular at the time on the radio.” While members preferred more progressive music, Wall says the reality was that “because the fraternities and clubs we played were basically just dance halls,” the music had to be danceable. The idea, says Wall, was to “blend what was a challenge to play,” with what was on the radio, adding: “You just couldn’t go to a club and play the music that you wanted to play and have people sit there at their chairs and just kind of twiddle their thumbs. So, it needed to have a good solid beat and at the same time be popular.” The key to the band’s success was its amazing rhythm section.

The Greater Experience Jerry's wreck. 1970
Jerry’s wreck. 1970

Mitchell left on November 21, 1971, after a final performance for a Circle K fraternity party at the Holiday Inn in Lynchburg. He became the lead vocalist for a Roanoke band, the Divots. Wood believes Mitchell saw the move as “a step up” and felt Roanoke offered more opportunities than Lynchburg. Rocky Robertson was recruited as his replacement and was joined by female vocalist Jenny Greene. Jay McKee was added on trombone in ’71 and stayed with the group until the end. He was already familiar to the group and played in the E.C. Glass Concert and Marching Bands with Wood and Burnette. Scruggs recalls that Russell Hovda “just quit” and was replaced by bassist Robin Tolley. Kenny Arthur succeeded Tolley on Rickenbacker bass, but left to attend college in Alabama, where he still lives. Billy Bragg was their fourth, and final bass player. Dodson departed and was replaced by Billy DeZonia on keyboards, while Burnette left in the fall of ’71 to attend William and Mary College. He is now a General District Court judge in Lynchburg. David Cooper replaced him on trumpet. Wood remained with the band on sax until the breakup but then stopped performing and installed commercial entertainment systems until his retirement. Wood and Wall were the only two founding members who remained with the band until the end. The two were good friends and Chuck dated Chip’s sister during the band’s formative years. Tunkel, Wall, Williams and Hovda still live in the Lynchburg area and Williams and Hovda continued doing trio work until just recently. Sound and light man Steve Dunaway stayed in the business and went on to run sound for the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Mother’s Finest and Ted Nugent.

The Greater Experience band, 1974
The Greater Experience band, 1974

Scruggs remained with the Greater Experience until 1973 and was succeeded by guitarist Dale Ollweiler, who attended Lynchburg College with drummer Chuck Wall. Wall decided to stay in Lynchburg so he could continue performing with the band on weekends, which he did until the split in 1975. By that time, he says the group had “had kind of just run its course.” He had finished college and was growing weary of the long road trips, adding that “every time you pulled in new people it was just kind of a hassle to have to get back to square one.” He regrets that he no longer plays, adding: “You get married and you get a job and all of a sudden the reality is there.” Scruggs says he left a couple of years earlier because most of the original members were gone and the popularity of horn bands had started to wane. He remains active in music to this day, while Dodson, DeZonia, Bragg and front man and lead vocalist Jimmy Mitchell have since died. Mitchell died of cancer on March 16, 2011 in Roanoke, Virginia. He was 62. 

While Wall, Wood, Scruggs, Burnette and McKee occasionally get together to reminisce or to watch a concert on Chip’s entertainment system, they doubt there will be a Greater Experience reunion. While he admits it would be nice, Wood points out that their front man is gone and he no longer plays the sax. “I guess we’re too old for that,” says Wood. Wall says he always admired the progressive, British bands of the early seventies and finds it ironic that their music now has a following in the UK. Burnette admits that all the attention from across the pond has been nice, adding that the surviving members are “all basking in the glory of that delayed gratification now.” His only regret is that vocalist Jerry Mitchell “who wrote the music and was kind of the leader of the band did not live to experience this wonderful delayed popularity of our record.”

Frank and Kitty Koger at the last show at the Ryman with Johnny Cash, March 18, 1974.
Frank and Kitty Koger at the last show at the Ryman with Johnny Cash, March 18, 1974. Frank is in the center with mustache but no glasses. His wife, Kitty Koger, is the brunette second from right with the big hair. I’m assuming they sang back-up on the final hymn.

Move to Nashville

Around 1971, Koger decided to move to Tennessee. Danville guitarist Butch James knew Koger and his wife and helped the couple pack when they made their move to Music City. James was 17 at the time and recalls that Koger had connections with the music industry and wanted to be closer to Nashville. He remembers that Frank’s wife was also a talented seamstress and made dresses for Dolly Parton.

Raven - Frances Ingram's 2nd LP
Frances Ingram’s second Raven LP, Singing His Praises

Francis Ingram was a gospel artist who recorded for Raven. She remembers posing for pictures with Dolly as Jean Koger, who was nicknamed Kitten or Kitty, pinned a dress for the singer. She says Parton was talking about ending her long-standing partnership with Porter Wagoner, a move she would ultimately make in February 1974. She wanted Ingram to accompany her on the road, but Ingram said she declined because she had three small children at home. 

Ingram, who’s now 84, was a lifelong friend who attended school with Koger. She recorded two gospel albums (My God Is Real, Raven Hos-33-2022; Singing His Praises Vol. 2, Raven LPM – 2041) for Raven Records. Ingram borrowed $800 from Schoolfield Bank to record and press 600 copies of her second album in 1968. She returned to Nashville with Koger and his wife around 1970 to record a 45: “Nobody Knows (Where No One’s At)” b/w “Love and Memories”, for Plowboy Records PAL-0001. Interestingly, Koger does not receive producer credit on the labels.

Russ Lindley Colony 13 45 Lonely RealtyKoger set-up shop in Tennessee and began producing country artists like Russ Lindley, Wayne Snow and Prince Guitar for Colony 13 Records, now listing himself as “Frank James” on all label credits.

Prince Guitar Colony 13 45 All You Want When You PleaseIngram accompanied the Kogers several times to Nashville and remembers the walls of his studio being lined with albums. She remained in contact with the couple and heard from Koger just before he died of cancer in 1980, at the age of 48. According to Ingram, he became a minister in his later years and was buried in the Old Primitive Baptist Church cemetery in Sanville, VA, not far from his birthplace. His widow told Ingram in 2010 that Koger kept the masters from her albums, but got rid of all of the other tapes made during his days in Danville.

Peggy Wiggins (Harville) worked with Koger at Kmart, assisting him with newspaper ads the store ran in the Danville Register and Bee. She said he kept his day job as manager of Kmart’s appliance department until the couple left for Tennessee. “Frank and his wife Kitty would go to Nashville and stay with Wagoner and Parton,” she says, and “Frank had Porter and Dolly autograph their picture in a Grand Old Opry magazine,” which he gave to Wiggins. She also remembers that Kitty designed and made many of Dolly’s stage outfits.

Truxton Fulton played keyboards in the Stones Unturned and recorded with the band at House of Sound. He recalls that Koger was a huge country music fan, years before it became mainstream. He remembers Koger as “someone who could take a little and stretch it a long way.” Frank’s job at Kmart “gave him access to recording equipment at a discount but it was just home stereo stuff, nothing professional or even top of the line Sony,” says Fulton. Given those budget constraints, Fulton believes the studio was still able to produce an “amazing” sound, pointing to the Soulmasters’ single as Koger’s crowning achievement.

Pete Walker was probably Frank Koger’s best friend when he lived in Danville, and describes him as likable and friendly, adding: “He would give you the shirt off his back.” Walker credits Frank with getting him started in the business. The two met one night at Kmart and struck up a conversation about music. Walker told Koger he was “just playing a little flattop” on the side. But Koger needed a bass player, so “he started me playing bass and we formed a little group.” Bass players were hard to find and “when I told him I didn’t have a bass, he gave me one from Kmart and that’s what started me in music.” He went on to play on many Raven sessions (backing Susan Lea, Jack Transou, Homer “T” and Paul Parker) and recalls driving with Frank to Copeland Studios in Greensboro to back a black female vocalist on a recording of “Harper Valley PTA” (Millicent Williams, Harper Valley PTA/Ode to Billy Joe, Piedmont 45-2050). Koger also played flattop guitar and even recorded a 45 at one point, although Walker can’t recall the title or label.

“All of the local musicians knew Frank,” recalls Walker, “and the T-Birds did their practicing at the studio before playing their first job at T-Bird Country,” a popular honky tonk on the outskirts of Danville owned by popular W.D.V.A. disc jockey Homer “T” Thomasson, who also recorded a recitation 45 for Raven, Thru A Soldier’s Eyes/It’s Santa Claus (HOS-45-2008).

Walker helped the Kogers make the move around 1970-71, renting a truck and hauling their furniture from Danville to Nashville. Frank continued moonlighting in the studio in Nashville, while working a day job selling television sets. While he no longer played on any of the sessions, Walker remained close friends with Frank until his death, and the couple would visit him whenever they returned to Southside Virginia.

Jean Koger was also a songwriter and Frank bragged that she could compose a song about anything. Walker was visiting the couple one night and was sitting in the recreation room when Frank remarked that “Kit could write a song in 10 minutes.” He pulled a nickel and two pennies from his pocket, the two walked upstairs and Koger handed his wife the change and asked her to “put a song together.” It wasn’t long before she did just that, much to Walker’s amazement. Walker says the couple became good friends with Dolly and Porter, and Jean designed custom gowns for Parton and other Nashville singers. While Frank had a knack for finding and recording undiscovered talent, it was his wife who had a fixation with fame.

Frank Kroger's grave
Frank Kroger’s grave in Henry County, VA

In the late seventies, Koger had a serious wreck that left him in severe pain. Walker said while x-raying his back, doctors discovered he had spinal cancer. They began treatment and the cancer was in remission. But Walker says “it came back and he died not long after that” on February 24, 1980. Walker attended his funeral in Henry County but soon lost touch with Frank’s widow, who remained in Franklin, Tennessee. 

Walker believes Koger would be pleased that his music lived on after his death, but says he never achieved his biggest ambition, which was “to own a town where everybody was equal.”

More information can be found at these articles by Jack Garrett:

Gene and the Team Beats: Have Soul, Will Travel
In Search of the Lost Soul
The IV Pak or the VI Pak, Whatzit Gonna Be?
The Stones Unturned: Institutionalized Delinquency

For more on the Individuals see Chris Bishop’s post on this site.

Discography of Raven / House of Sound and related labels

It’s nearly impossible to compile a complete discography of Raven-related releases, since as few as 50 copies of some of the 45s were pressed.

Since Raven Records of Danville, Virginia was connected to the House of Sound Studio, other House of Sound Productions are included in this discography, including occasional releases on the Hoss, Hippie, Piedmont and Colony labels. Singles have the 45- prefix, LPs the 33- prefix. This discography was compiled by Dennis Minter and Jack Garrett.

Any help with this discography would be appreciated

Raven HOS-45-2006 – Gene & The Teambeats – I Want’a Be Your Baby / Sorry ‘Bout That
Raven HOS-45-2007 – Earl Wilkes – Too Many Nancys / Keep This Song
Raven HOS-45-2008 – Homer “T” – Thru A Soldier’s Eyes / It’s Santa Claus
Hoss HOS-45-2009 – Kathy Bledsoe – My Baby’s Gone / Shattered Dreams
Raven HOS-45-2011 – Gene & The Teambeats – I’ll Let Nothing Separate Me / Here I Stand
Raven HoS-45-2013 – Hender Saul – You Really Put a Hurtin’ on Me / What I Need Most
Raven HOS-45-2014 – The Ambassador’s Quartet – I’m Free Again / Lord I Need You
Raven HOS-45-2015 – The Bowes Brothers – Ain’t Got Time To Think / Bottom of The Glass
Raven HOS-45-2016 – The Lost Soul – A Secret of Mine / Mind’s Expressway
Raven HOS-45-2018 – The Individuals – I Want Love / I Really Do
Hippie HOS-45-2019 – The IV Pack – Whatzit? / Bootleg
Raven HOS-45-2020 – The Soulmasters – I’ll Be Waiting Here / You Took Away The Sunshine
Raven HOS-33-2022 – Frances Ingram – My God Is Real
Raven HOS-45-2024 – Susan Lea – Home Loving Girl / I’m Going To The Back Room
Raven HOS-33-2027 – Dan River High School Band
Raven HOS-45-2028 – Katie Lee – It Takes Two / Mommie What Would Daddy Say
Raven HOS-45-2029 – The Wilsons – Rabbit In The Log / White House Blues
Raven HOS-45-2030 – Hughes Memorial School – We Sing
Raven HOS-45-2031 – Jack Transou – Wait Until The Weekend / When You’re Thru Hurting Me
Raven HOS-45-2032 – The Lost Soul – I’m A Gonna Hurt You / For You
Raven HOS-45-2033 – Paul Parker – Don’t You Sometimes Get Lonely / I Just Want You
Raven HOS-45-2034 – Susan Lea – If This Dam Ever Breaks / Teenager’s Dream
Raven HOS-33-2038 – Old Country Church Quartet – The Old Country Church
Raven HOS-33-2041 – Frances Ingram – Singing His Praises Vol. II
Raven HOS-45-2042 – Charlie Chandler – The Drunken Driver / I’m Fine
Raven HOS-45-2043 – Charlie Massey – I’m My Daddy’s Man / The Kingdom of God
Piedmont HOS-45-2044 – Moon Mullins & Night Raiders – Baby I Got You / Ain’t Gonna Cry
Raven HOS-33-2046 – The True Gospel Singers – The Man On The Middle Cross
Raven HOS-45-2047 – Cathy Bledsoe – Leave Well Enough Alone / Cold And Lonely Grave
Raven HOS-45-2048 – Ralph Viar – When The Money Runs Out / The Stains of Time
Raven HOS-45-2049 – Susan Lea – Hillbilly Willie / Lonely Too Long
Piedmont HOS-45-2050 – Millicent Williams – Harper Valley PTA / Ode To Billy Joe
Colony 13 – CSP-45-2554 – Bill (Mr. “G”) Glover – Weeping Willow/Liberty Dance
Piedmont CSP-45-2556 – The Mustangers – What Do I Have to Pay / That’s My Way
Colony 13 CSP-45-2572 – The Greater Experience – Don’t Forget To Remember / Carol’s Carol
Piedmont HOS-33-2585 – Old Country Church Quartet – Singing Time


Raven 7-701 The True Gospel Singers – The True Gospel Singers
Raven 7-702 The Savage Family – The Savage Family Sings

Included is the Greater Experience 45 on Colony 13. Most on this label were out of Nashville after Frank Koger moved, but this one (“Don’t Forget to Remember”) was distributed locally.

The Specktrum

The Specktrum Somethin' Groovy 45 ConfettiI can’t find out much about the Specktrum. The band may have been from Cranston, Rhode Island but I’ve also seen them listed as from Abington, Massachusetts, which is south of Boston and an hour away from Cranston.

In February, 1967 they put out a single on Somethin’ Groovy Records SG-500 featuring two originals by the band, “Confetti” by R. Moore, K. Jeremiah and “I Was A Fool” by R. Schmeisser, K. Jeremiah. Publishing was through Exciting Music BMI but I can’t find anything in BMI’s database on these two songs or the writers.

The Specktrum Somethin' Groovy 45 I Was A Fool

Blue Wood

Blue Wood Jet Set 45 Turn AroundBlue Wood has the third release on the Jet Set label of Santa Barbara, California, though this time the label features a detailed logo. I don’t know anything about the group yet.

The A-side has a somewhat rural psychedelic sound (harmonies and no fuzz) on “Turn Around” by Rich Geiger. The flip is a hokey country-rock song, “Happy Jack Mine” by Ralph C. Multon and Lance Rose. Both songs published through Jet Set Publishing ASCAP, as were all the other original songs on the Jet Set label.

Produced by Tom Lubin, with Doug McGuire, the owner of the label, listed as executive producer.

As far as I can tell there were only three releases on Jet Set:

JSR-45-2: Planned Obsolescense – “Exit Sticky Icky” / “Still in Love With You Baby” (Sept. 1967)
JSR-45-3: The Calliope – “I’ll Take It Back” / “Ryan 5″ (eng. by Frank Kajmar, February 1968)
JSR-45-4: Blue Wood – “Turn Around” / “Happy Jack Mine” (1968)

Jet Set was located at 4296-A Modoc Road, Santa Barbara.

For more on Planned Obsolescense, see the post I wrote last year.

This is not the same Jet Set label that released singles by Jimmy Armstrong, Barbara Long, Jimmy Castor, Eldrige Holmes and others.

Blue Wood Jet Set 45 Happy Jack Mine

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