Below is an incomplete discography of Jean Alford’s Alear Records label from Winchester, Virginia.
Most of the disks are country, except the Don Dupree is supposed to be doo wop backed by a girl group. Only the Smacks are garage rock as far as I know.
Publishing is usually either Alear Music or Pamper Music.
incomplete – any help would be appreciated
45s: Alear no #: Don Dupree & Palisades “Phyllis” (Petty & Greer) / “Power of Love” (R4KM-2381, 665A-2381, early 1964) Alear A-103: Teenie Chenault “I’m So Alone” (Chenault & Tipton) / “It’s a Big Old Heartache” (Chenault & Overman) (R4KM-8016/7, early ’64) Alear A-105: Carroll Bridgeforth “Next Fool in Line” (Jean Alford) / “The Magician” (RK4M-7356, second half of 1964) Alear A-106: Teenie Chenault “Make Me Laugh” / “Forgetting” Alear A-108: Jean Alford “First Man on the Moon” (Harvey Price, Jean Alford) / “The Great Society) (SoN-24015) Alear A-109: Smacks “I’ve Been Fooling Around” / “Say You’ll Be Mine” (SK4M-0953, Oct. 1965) Alear A-111: Dean Greer “I Can’t Throw the Ashes Away” (Curley Putnam, Don Wayne) / “I’ve Got a Hold on You” (Jean Alford, Harvey Price) (T4KM-5063/4, March 1966) Alear A-112: Teenie Chenault “She Tried Hard To Love Me” (Lee Emerson) / “Pushed In The Corner” (Jean Alford) (T4KM-5066, April 1966) Alear A-113: Vicki Day “Another Hurt” / “Don’t Wake Me” Alear A-116: Smacks “Reckless Ways” / “There’ll Come a Day” Alear A-117: Tommy Lake “Out of the Dark” / “(If You Want Some Lovin’) Get It From Me” (Jean Alford) (T4KM-2355/6, 655A-7355) Alear 665A-117: Teenie Chenault “Where Happiness Ends and Heartbreak Begins (Fred Carter) / “(You’re No Inspiration Gracie for) A Hit Song” (Jean Alford) (U5KM-4601/2, first half of 1967) Alear AL-121: Lone Star “Assumed Love” / “I Write This Letter” (820748) (need confirmation of this one) Alear A-202: Al Hogan “The Key That Fits Her Door” / “He Didn’t Become Famous For His Song” Alear A-221: Frank Darlington “You’re My Girl” / “Have a Little Patience” (July, 1969) Alear A-350: Dave Elliott “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” / “Other Lover”
LPs: Alear ERS-517: Teenie Chenault & the Country Rockers Alear SLP 198: Leroy Eyler & the Carroll County Ramblers – Mr. Bluegrass Here’s to You Alear SLP 200: Leroy Eyler & the Carroll County Ramblers – Sing Gospel
Thanks to Max Waller for his help with the Alear discography.
A partial discography for Showcase shows the styles and production credits to be all over the map, with soul, folk, and even show tunes. Mop Top Mike wrote to me “The S400 series was the 1965 release numbering for Showcase. They switched it to 98xx in 1966; 99xx in 1967.”
S-401 – Gary Burghoff – As I Am / Rainbow S-402 – Little Freddie & the Gents – Betty / Push, Kick & Shout (group from Ft. Lee, New Jersey) S-403 – The Wouldsmen – What’s The Use Of Crying (Adler-Ross, pub. by George Paxton, Inc., ASCAP) / Summer’s Over S-404 – Shan Dels – Please Stay / Treat Me Like a Man
9800 – Mat Matthews – Milk and Honey / Shalom 9801 – ? 9802 – Sonny Stevenson – Night Stroll (parts 1 and 2) 9803 – ? 9804 – ? 9805 – Beverly Ann – Great Pretender / We Got Trouble 9806 – Adam & Eve – The Game of War / Hang Me From The Highest Tree 9807 – Johnnie Shepherd – Coming Home / Mr Weather Man 9808 – ? 9809 – The Parris Mitchell Voices featuring Chips Murphie – We Need a Little Christmas / Mame 9810 – Henry the IX – Don’t Take Me Back, Oh Nooo! / Don’t Take Me Back (part 2) 9811 – Lost In Sound – You Can Destroy My Mind / Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (August 1966) 9812 – Yesterday’s Children – Feelings / Wanna Be With You (September 1966) 9813 – ? 9814 – Don Goldie – Popcorn / Summertime
9901 – Maurice Bower – What’s More American / America The Beautiful 9902 – Beechnuts – Nature’s Company / My Iconoclastic Life
The Beech-Nuts (not the Lou Reed group the Beachnuts – even though he did plenty of work for Pickwick) cut their Showcase 45 at Majestic Studios in Manhattan, a studio also used by the Lovin’ Spoonful. I’ve read the Beechnuts record was bootlegged years ago.
There were at least two other Showcase labels, unrelated to the Pickwick one. Davie Gordon writes, “The 2500 series was from Nashville … the label changed its name to Sound Stage 7 and became Monument’s R&B subsidiary. There was another Showcase label using a 10xx series but it has no connection to the others. It’s from the early sixties.”
2500 – Barbara Grindstaff – Have Mercy (Mr. Lonely) / Where the Red Roses Grow 2501 – Delcos – Arabia / Those Three Little Words (Distributed by Monument Records, Nashville)
Sources include: Beech-Nuts info from Beyond the Beat Generation. Special thanks to Mop Top Mike and Davie Gordon for help making sense of the Showcase release numbering, and to Rich, Max Waller and Ad Z. for their help.
I’ve had this 45 for years but am only now getting around to covering it. I don’t recall ever reading about the band in any detail.
“I’m Grounded” is a well-known psychedelic classic written by Timmy Phelan (Jitters Music, BMI), but originally it was the b-side to “If You Can Put That In a Bottle” written by Billy Meshel for Meager Music, BMI.
The record was released on Tower 372 in October of 1967. The band came from Wantaugh, Long Island but other than that I don’t know anything about the group, nor have I seen a photo of them.
I don’t believe there’s a connection to a release by the Minimum Daily Requirement (singular) on Mercury, “Free the People” / “I Do Believe the Sun Will Shine”.
The Army, February 1968 at The Grange Club in Hayes, left to right: Richard Herring, Steve Priest, Alan Bennett, Anita (surname? – our go-go dancer), Richard Bennett, George Russell, Ron Lewingdon, John Barter and Dennis White.
Richard Bennett – lead vocals Richard Herring – lead guitar John Barter – tenor sax George Russell – tenor sax Ron Lewingdon – trumpet Dennis White – keyboards Steve Priest – bass/vocals Alan Bennett – drums
The Army are best known as the group that spawned future Sweet bass player/singer Steve Priest.
Originally from Hayes, Middlesex, the group’s origins can be traced back to 1960 and local outfit, The Satellites led by cousins Richard Bennett (lead vocals) and Alan Bennett (drums).
The Army was formed from this band, The Satellites, formed in 1960. Left to right: Richard Bennett, Dave Harris, Alan Bennett, Ian Orton and Mick Orton. This photo was taken at the opening scene of Goldfinger, The James Bond movie with Sean Connery.
The Satellites also comprised Dave Harris (bass) and siblings Ian Orton (lead guitar) and Mick Orton (rhythm guitar). In 1964, this band was featured in the opening scene of the James Bond movie Goldfinger.
Around August 1965, the band’s line up changed dramatically when the Bennett brothers linked up with two members from another Hayes band, The Countdowns – lead guitarist Richard Herring and bass player/singer Steve Priest.
The Satellites also expanded by taking on a horn section comprising sax players John Barter and George Russell (the latter from Jeff Curtis & The Flames), trumpet player Ron Lewingdon and Dennis White on keyboards.
At an after-gig party one night, the band got talking to Spencer Davis Group frontman Stevie Winwood, who suggested a name change to The Army.
The name stuck and the group began to pick up gigs around the country as well as playing regularly at local haunts – the Grange Club in Hayes, Middlesex and Bell Works in Harefield, Buckinghamshire. They also played several garden parties for the Conservative Party.
The line up remained constant over the next three years. During 1966-1967 the band also gigged regularly on the central London club scene, including shows at the Marquee and The Whisky A-Go-Go in Soho.
In 1967, The Army cut two tracks that were never released – a cover of the Joe Tex hit “Sugar” and another of the Sam & Dave hit “You Don’t Know Like I Know”.
During the early months of 1968, Steve Priest began rehearsing with The Sweetshop on the side. In February, Richard Herring departed and Tony Tacon, who’d played with future Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan in The Javelins came in on lead guitar.
Barely a month later, Priest left to debut with The Sweetshop (who subsequently became The Sweet) and a replacement bass player was brought in. The Army continued on until mid-1969 before splitting up.
Richard Bennett subsequently moved to Australia.
At The Adelphi Club in Slough Buckinghamshire, above the cinema. Left to right: Steve Priest, Richard Bennett on lead vocals, Tony Tacon, Ron Lewingdon and George Russell. “This particular night my PA played up and I borrowed one from Ian Gillan (before Deep Purple). He also took the photo.” – Richard Bennett
Notable gigs: 24 December 1965 – Pontiac, Zeeta House, Putney, Surrey 27 January 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with James Royal Set 29 April 1967 – Tiles, London with Lemon Line and The Penny Blacks 14 October 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with Georgie Fame and Four Point Five 3 December 1967 – Starlight Ballroom, Crawley with The Temptations 31 December 1967 – Burton’s Club, Uxbridge, Middlesex with Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers 26 May 1968 – New Pink Flamingo, London 8 June 1968 – New Pink Flamingo, London with The All Nite Workers (billed as Army Soul Show)
I would like to thank Richard Bennett, John Kerrison and Keith Kendall for providing some information about this band. Thanks to Richard Bennett for providing the photos.
I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com
The Smacks had two primary members, Lloyd Semler from Hagerstown, Maryland, and Bill McCauley from Winchester, Virginia. Both towns are along the I-81 corridor, about 45 minutes drive apart. Other members include John Glosser on bass and David Hall on drums.
They had two singles, “I’ve Been Fooling Around” / “Say You’ll Be Mine” on Alear 109 from October ’65, and “Reckless Ways” / “There’ll Come a Day”, released in May of ’66 on Alear 116. All songs written by Lloyd Semler and William McCauley, with publishing by Alear Music and Sand-Wayne Music BMI.
The first release is somewhat basic, but the second single really shines for both songwriting and production.
According to the liner notes to the excellent CD Aliens, Psychos & Wild Things, vol. 2, “Their first 45 was recorded at Accent Sound in Baltimore. The second was done in Harrisonburg at Weaver Sound in Spring ’66. The organist on ‘Nobody Else Is Gonna Do’ may be Front Royal’s soon-to-be-semi-famous, Roger Powell. The unreleased ‘There’ll Come a Day’ is the Smacks backing up two sisters from Winchester whose names are not recalled. Both Smacks discs came out on Alear, a Winchester label run by Jean Alford.” Front Royal is just south of Winchester.
Photo of the band from Aliens, Psychos & Wild Things, vol. 2. Sorry but I don’t remember where I found the promo sheet for their first single – please write to me if it was yours!
Here’s an incomplete listing of released recordings made at Alan Graves’ studio:
any help with this discography would be appreciated
Graves 1091: Dominions – I Need Her / Spanish Harlem Graves 1094: Sires – Don’t Look Now / Come to Me Baby Tork 1095: Moguls – Another Day / Round Randy (Dec. 1966) Graves 1099: Ethics – She’s a Deceiver / O.K. (March 1967) Graves 1100: Fifth Row Bac – Please Don’t Go / Destination Train Graves 1104: Phantoms – Hallucinogenic Odyssey / Sixty Minutes To Nine (1967) F-Empire 1106: The Barber Green – Gliding Ride / Life (August 1968)
F-Empire (no #): Beauregarde (features Beauregarde on vocals, Greg Sage lead guitar, Omar Bose keyboards and trumpet, Dave Kolpel bass, Allen Robinson congas and sax, and Jay Lundell on drums.)
The Moguls had two previous 45s: “Avalanche” / “Ghost Slalome” on Century 20449 in Feb. ’65, and “Ski Bum” / “Try Me” on Panorama 29 in March of 1966.
The Phantoms 45 on Graves lists the band members: Rudie Muller, Steve Reiter, Dennis Chu, Brian Ashbrough and Geoff Soentpiet. Rudie Muller sings lead on “Sixty Minutes to Nine”, Geoff Soentpiet sings lead on “Hallucinogenic Odyssey”. The Phantoms had an additional 45 on Ridon 859, “Story of a Rich Man” / “Our Great Society” – if anyone has scans of that I would appreciate them, or hearing “Our Great Society”.
I asked Alan Graves about the bands that recorded in his studio in the 60′s and sent him a list of what I knew had been cut there:
The only record I can add is one done on the F-Empire label, GRS 1106, “Gliding Ride” and “Life” by the Barber Green.
There may be other “garage” bands, but most of the stuff I did was local schools, etc – some gospel and dixieland jazz band stuff.
None of the records pressed were released by me, but were the property of the individual bands -who either gave them away or sold them. Most were done in a limited press of 500 copies each. So if you have any of them, I guess you could say they are rare. Since the records were the property of the bands, I rarely kept any copies – and have none now.
I re-activated the studio by acquiring a Scully Mastering record cutting Lathe, and under the name of “The Audio Lathe” cut lots of “acetate” records for DJ’s and juke boxes.
In 1964, John Fisher was president of Crusader Records, where he produced a sizeable hit, Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion”, the second release on the label, as well as a 45 by Johnny Fortune. A notice in Billboard on August 15, 1964 announced that Fisher departed Crusader suddenly, to be replaced by Harry Maselow.
The notice doesn’t say why Fisher left or his next plans, but within short order his name appears on the Current label, which I’ve read he owned. His name is on almost every Current single as producer.
Bob Moline’s “Forbidden” saw release on the Imperial label in September of ’64, but I’ve read a Current label version of it exists. If so, I’ve yet to see a copy – if anyone has it please send a good quality scan in.
Johnny Fortune (John Sudetta) was a fine guitarist with a number of surf recordings prior to his Current singles, first on Emmy Records out of Paul Buff’s Pal Studios in Cucamonga (same label for Johnny Fisher’s own 45, “Tell Me Yes” / “Dream Tonight”). Johnny Fortune’s biggest was “Soul Surfer” on Park Ave Records, also produced by Fisher.
Johnny had three 45′s on Current. I’ve heard both sides of the first, the light pop songs “Say You Will” / “Come On and Love Me”. Better is the top side of Current 104, “Don Stole My Girl”. I haven’t heard the flip to that or his third 45, “I Am Lonely For You” / “I’ll Never Let You Go”.
Two other singers represented on the label include Carl Otis, who has what I believe is a soul 45, “Let It Be Me” / “Never Take Away My Love”, and Bobby Jameson, whose “All Alone” is a fine Stones-y r&b with harmonica, backed with the poppier “Your Sweet Lovin’” came out in early ’65, after his Talamo singles.
The Avengers were from Bakersfield, and are best known for their 45 on the Starburst label, “Be a Caveman”. Both sides of their Current 45 are also excellent, “Open Your Eyes” / “It’s Hard to Hide”. You can read the full story of the Avengers at Flower Bomb Songs.
The Five of Us came from Tuscon, Arizona, and members included Paul Canella, George Maryville, Tommy Gardner and Alex Valdez. E. Hucherson is the write of “Hey You”. They had two prior 45s, “Why Oh Why” / “Pretty Baby” on Keeson, and “Hey You” / “I Don’t Believe” (the Guiloteens song) on Platt in May of ’66. They also have a demo that went unreleased at the time with two songs, the great “Let Me Explain” (which was issued on Think of the Good Times: The Tucson Sound) and another one I haven’t heard, “I Lied”.
I’m not sure how the Five of Us wound up on a California label. The Tongues of Truth were really known as the Grodes and also came from Tucson. Manny Freiser of the Grodes had long-standing connections in L.A., first with Jerry Kasenetz who produced his first recording, “I Won’t Be There”. Kasenetz’s roommate Jerry Bruckheimer brought in a the Hustlers to work with Manny and they became the Grodes. Though the band made Tucson their base for live shows, they made further L.A. connections including the disc promoter Mike Borchetta, actor Cass Martin and KRLA DJ Emperor Bob Hudson.
Emperor Hudson had his own 45 on Current, also released on RPR records, the very demented “I’m Normal” (“I fill my bathtub with strawberry jam, and feed my squirrels sugar-cured ham and I spread rumors that Stalin is dead, has to do with wearing a sheepskin when he died in bed … made that up!”), The Emperor’s Friend may be Ron Landry.
For an interesting look at Bob Hudson check out George Lucas’ student film The Emperor:
The Tongues of Truth is of course, the Grodes, and “Let’s Talk About Girls” was the original version of the song later covered by the Chocolate Watchband. The Grodes fired their manager Dan Gates for changing their band name for the single. To add to John Fisher’s connection with the Impression label, the Grodes also issued a 45 on Impression, “What They Say About Love” / “Have Your Cake And Eat It Too” (anyone have a good scan of that 45?).
Current Records 45 discography (any help to make this complete would be appreciated)
Current 100 – Bob Moline “Forbidden” / “If I Were An Artist” (need a scan for this one, either side) Current 101 – Johnny Fortune “Say You Will” / “Come On and Love Me” Current 102 – Carl Otis “Let It Be Me” (E. James, Carl Otis for Lightswitch-Jinco BMI) / “Never Take Away My Love” C-1115 prod John Fisher Current 103 – Bobby Jameson “All Alone” / “Your Sweet Lovin’” (Monarch press #54578/9, Oct. ’64) Current 104 – Johnny Fortune “Don Stole My Girl” (J. Sudetta, Lightswitch/Algrace BMI) / “You Want Me to Be Your Baby” prod. J. Fisher (Feb. 1965) Current 105 – Johnny Fortune “I Am Lonely For You” / “I’ll Never Let You Go” Current 106 – ? Current 107 – ? Current 108 – ? Current 109 – Avengers “Open Your Eyes” (G. Blake) / “It’s Hard to Hide” (G. Likens) both songs Lightswitch Music BMI, prod. by J. Fisher, distributed by Periphery Prods., Inc Current 110 – Five of Us “Hey You” (E. Hucherson) / “Need Me Like I Need You” (July ’66) Current 111 – The Emperor “I’m Normal” (Bob Hudson) / Emperor’s Friend “The Crossing Game” (E. Mackinon), prod. by Fisher Current 112 – The Tongues of Truth “Let’s Talk About Girls” / “You Can’t Come Back” both by Manny Freiser for Lightswitch Music BMI (prod by John Fisher, May 1966)
This is not to be confused with the Current label out of Nashville in the ’70s.
John Fisher may have also owned the Rally label – I’d like to know more about this, if true. It seems he went back into promotions, as a John Fisher was working for Atlantic Records in the early ’70s.
I can only find half a dozen releases to list for the Rally label. In the notes from the Bacchus Archives CD Let’s Talk About Girls! Music from Tucson Manny Freiser of the Grodes recalls John Fisher as a disc promotion man who owned the Rally and Current record labels. Current was likely Fisher’s, as his name is all over those labels as producer, but I can’t find Fisher’s name on any of Rally’s labels, instead there are other producers: Bob Todd, George Motola, Joe Saraceno, Tony Butala and Dan Gates.
Billy Quarles’ “Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong” was picked up by Columbia (as “Quit Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong”. The flip is listed as by Billy & the Ar-Kets and is an excellent r&b popcorn number.
Beverly Noble’s “Better Off Without You” is a Gold Star studio production, with string arrangements and Spector-like effects.
Hillary Hokum’s 45 is very pop and not my cup of tea. I believe this is Suzi Jane Hokum, it does sound like her.
The Agents were an obscure band from somewhere in the Los Angeles area. I don’t know who was in the group. I had a post on them up for years that received no comments, so maybe the name is a front for another band or studio group. “Gotta Help Me” is a stomping couple minutes of garage pop. The flip is a ballad, “Calling An Angel”.
Each side has its own set of producers and are very different in sound, I could doubt it’s the same group of musicians. “Gotta Help Me” was written by Richards, Todd, Markey and Shay, and produced by Markey and Todd. “Calling An Angel” was written by Johnny MacRae and Bob Todd, and produced by Todd and Tony Butala.
The Grodes’ “Love Is A Sad Song” / “I’ve Lost My Way” comes about mid-way in their discography. The flip is one of my favorite slower-tempo garage songs.
The Perpetual Motion Workshop single comes over a year after the previous Rally release, and possibly represents a different label altogether. In any case, it’s a great single.
Rally Records 45 discography possibly incomplete – any help would be appreciated
Rally 501- Billy Quarles “Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong” (Lanny and Robert Duncan, Wrist Music BMI) / Billy & the Ar-Kets “Little Archie” (prod. by Joe Saraceno, arr. by Rene Hall)
Rally 502 – Beverly Noble “Better Off Without You” (George Motola – Ricky Page, Wrist-Rickland Music BMI)) / “Love of My Life” (G. Motola) – produced by Motola & Saraceno, arranged by Don Ralke
Rally 503 – Hillary Hokom (aka Suzi Jane Hokum) “Can’t Let You Go” / “Tears of Joy” (Lanny Duncan, R. Duncan, Tonto Music, BMI) Prod. by Tony Butala and Bob Todd
Rally 504 – The Agents “Gotta Help Me” / “Calling An Angel” (Oct. ’65)
Rally 505 – Grodes “Love Is a Sad Song” (M. Freiser, Lightswitch BMI) / “I’ve Lost My Way” (M. Freiser, Ramhorn Music BMI) (prod. by Dan Gates, May, 1966)
Rally 507 – The Senate – “Slippin’ And Slidin’” / “Merry-Go-Round” (prod. Bob Todd & Bob Duncan) (need confirmation of this one)
Rally 66506/7 – Perpetual Motion Workshop “Infiltrate Your Mind” (Simon Stokes, Fifth Avenue Music BMI) / “Won’t Come Down” (Dave Briggs, Cannon Music ASCAP) Prod. & arr. by Dave Briggs and Simon T. Stokes, Sept. ’67)
Likely an unrelated label: Rally R-1601 – Rico & the Ravens – “Don’t You Know” (J. Foust, R. Martin) / “In My Heart”
Thank you to Max Waller for his contributions to this discography.