I picked up Dee Robb & the Robbins’ “Say That Thing” not realizing this was the Robbs in an earlier incarnation. This 1964 Score single is much different from the sound of their Mercury singles and LP from a couple years later.
Early versions of the group included:
Dee Robb (David Donaldson) – guitar & vocals Joe Robb (George Donaldson) – saxophone, bass guitar & vocals Bruce Robb (Robert Donaldson) – keyboards & vocals Dick Gonia – rhythm guitar Craig Krampf – drums
They released three singles before their stint with Mercury. First came Dee Robb’s “Bye Bye Baby” / “The Prom” on Argo 5439 from 1963. Later that year as Robby and the Robbins they cut “Surfer’s Life”, a song written by Dee Robb with the group’s manager, Con Merten, b/w “She Cried” on Todd 45-1089. “Say That Thing” seems to be from 1964, judging by the Score release number.
“Say That Thing” sounds much like “What’d I Say” and has great lead guitar in Lonnie Mack’s style. The flip is a rocked-up version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.
Lenny LaCour’s Score label also put out a couple singles by the Texas/Chicago band the Bossmen, plus Oscar Hamod and His Majestics’ cool “Come On Willie” / “Top Eliminator.”
The Dirty Elbows came out of the Highland and Poughkeepsie music scene. Around 1966 they cut one excellent single on the Solid Gold label, “To Carry On”.
Gene Baker Russ Aldrich – lead guitar Jimmy Galuzzi Al Friedman Reggie Ward
Russ Aldrich wrote the A-side, “To Carry On” a song that shines from the opening riff to the harmony vocals and excellent guitar break.
The flip is a harmony ballad, “I Love You Girl” by G. Whitsell, Jr.
Released on Solid Gold Records SG-10 (UB-721/2), the labels credit J. Levine with arrangements, and engineering by J. Gasper. Both sides are “A Toi Production” and published by Happi Three Music, BMI
The Poughkeepsie Journal reported them opening for the Animals on April 16, 1966, along with a number of other local groups: the Sepians, the Mark IV. the Jule Ettes, the New Pyramids, the Royal Coach men, the Barons, the Sportsmen, the Benders and the Courages. They also played the Club 44 in Pleasant Valley with the Aborigines.
Russ Aldrich continued in music, including with Spyder in the early ’70s and thereafter mainly as a blues guitarist and was featured in another article in the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 30, 1989. Russell Aldrich passed away on March 24, 2015.
Solid Gold also had a 45 by Shorty Billups “Alone / Shake Off That Dream”.
Great double-sider 45 from the Towers, “Not With Him” b/w “Babe”, their only release on the Flame 411 with 102-A/B also on the labels.
The fast, pleading “Not With Him” was written by Einstein, Anderson, Bado, Anderson.
Harmon Einstein wrote the flip, which I like even better, “Babe”. Both songs have Nanni Publication listed for publisher.
The mastering engineer must have been working without a title sheet, as he etched “Said I Love You” in the deadwax of the A-side and “Bab” of the flip. It’s a low-fidelity pressing, with lots of surface noise, but the quality of the performances comes through.
The location of the band and members are a mystery to me, I’ve heard New Jersey but have nothing to confirm this.
The Flame label also released Clay Brown & the Invaders “Talkin’ Soul” (C. Wilson) / “Nothin’ But Love” on Flame 415. Clay Brown & the Invaders formed in Florence, South Carolina in 1967.
I’d like to know the three singles that come between the Towers on Flame 411 and the Clay Brown on Flame 415.
Josie Taylor was of the many women in the mid-’60s who had one or two fine solo singles then disappeared from the music scene and history books. A few others that come to mind include Karen Verros (two singles on Dot including the great “You Just Gotta Know My Mind”), Judy Hughes (“Fine, Fine, Fine” on Vault), and Marilyn Mattson who I covered ten years ago and still haven’t found any info about.
Josie Taylor’s single featured a rarely-performed Goffin – King song, “I’ll Love You For Awhile” given a dark, heavy-hitting arrangement by Leon Russell. Dusty Springfield originally did the song in a plainer arrangement on her LP Ooooooweeee!!!.
The flip is the instrumental “Tra La La” (written by Pell), that could be the Wrecking Crew doing a simple jam, but is very much worth a listen.
Snuff Garrett, produced both sides. It was released June, 1965 on Liberty Records F-55800.
Ronnie Hellard – vocals Ronnie Mobley – rhythm guitar (Fender Jazzmaster) Ricky Hackworth – drums Ronnie Wilson – bass guitar (Gibson EBO) Ronnie Moore – lead guitar (Fender Telecaster)
Ronnie & the Sinsashuns were a teenbeat/surf/rockin’ combo formed in ’62 around Versailles, Kentucky just outside of the small college town of Lexington, Ky.
Vocalist Ronnie Hellard was born and raised in Versailles, Ky. Ronnie Mobley was born and raised in Lexington and moved to Woodford County in 1962; he played a Fender Jazzmaster he bought from local rock n’ roll singer Jimmy Lee Ballard, who recorded for REM.
Drummer Ricky Hackworth and Ronnie Wilson were both from Lexington, and lead guitarist Ronnie Moore came from Woodford County.
Ron Mobley recounts his memory of how the band started in his own words:
“I was 15, all the others were 16 except Hellard, who was 18 when the group formed. I met Moore at Woodford County High School in 1962. He knew of a singer and contacted Hellard. Moore had met Larry Wilson, a good Lexington guitarist and brother of Ronnie Wilson, so we got him on bass and he knew of a drummer, Ricky Hackworth.”
“Our initial rehearsals were at Ricky Hackworth’s parents’ home. We all lived with our parents in 1962. Moore and Hellard had cars and drivers licenses, so they transported the rest of us and our gear.”
“The first time the band received recognition was when we competed in a “Battle of the Bands” in Lexington and won. There, Bill Stakelin, a student at Georgetown College and part-time disc jockey at a daylight to dark AM radio station WAXU in Georgetown heard us play. He had been booking The Castaways, a group that attended his college. He approached us and asked to represent us and we agreed; a move that was not popular with The Castaways. He kept us busy with frat parties and events during the school year and in the bars during the summer months. We were all under age but the bar owners didn’t care because we attracted customers.”
They recorded and released one 45 in the summer of ’64, both original sides penned by Ronnie Hellard and the band. Recorded in Lexington at Lemco Studio, it has a heavy reverb’d production quality and was released on the band’s own custom moniker through Lemco, on the WHAM label – named after neighboring Ohio rocker Lonnie Mack’s song on Fraternity. It is noted that the 45 is the first 2-sided vocal release to come out on a Lemco label – all previous releases having an instrumental b-side.
“Laugh It Up Baby” is the rockin’ side- it has a cool country drawl on the playful lyrics, back-up vocal group chatter, reverb’d guitar and production, handclaps, along with a raucous scream by guitarist Ronnie Moore right before his blistering guitar break.
“Sonya” is the ballad side penned by Hellard, Moore and Mobley- it has a nice laid-back rhumba-beat, with a sparse guitar break, exotic drums and pleading vocals. The song is said to have been written about the prettiest girl in Woodford County who just happened to also be the daughter of a local deputy state trooper.
The group had previously recorded an Audiodisc 5-song 12″ acetate at WVLK, a local radio station situated in the top of the Lafayette Hotel on Main Street in Lexington. This record contains 3 vocal tracks- “True Fine Mama” – “Pretty Girls Everywhere” and “Peepin’ and Hidin'” along with two tasty surf instrumentals called “Caliente” and “San Jose”. This demo was recorded on January 20th 1964, shortly before they recorded their original sides at Lemco.
Ronnie & the Sinsashuns had a regular presence around Lexington performing at Danceland, The Palms and on The Nick Clooney Show to name a few. They also did a brief tour up through Ohio and Indiana to promote the record. They competed in and and won local Battle of the Bands competitions and were well plugged and promoted by WVLK.
They were the featured opening band for shows with the Kingsmen and Bo Diddley on the stage at Joyland, a popular amusement park on the north end of Lexington, circa 1964. In recent interview, Mobley jokingly commented that the Kingsmen only knew about four songs and the Sinsashuns had to play longer to fill out the concert’s bill. He also noted that Bo Diddley was a super nice guy and even sent him a Christmas card that following year. Joyland Park closed down soon after the Kingsmen show and was destroyed by fire in June, 1965.
Ronnie Mobley (rhythm guitarist for the Sinsashuns), who was very in-demand around town, once was called-in as a last minute player for a rockin’ Conway Twitty, circa ’64, at a rough joint called The Palms – another memorable moment and highlight of the band’s short career.
Ronnie Hellard made another similar sounding record, “My Yo-Yo” / “Fun” on the Whirlaway label in Lexington, Ky in 1965 as alter ego “Pepper Swift” with a backing band called the Monzzas, having no known relationship to the Sinsashuns. He later moved to Nashville and became a famous songwriter, penning tunes like “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” and many others.
Ronnie Mobley continued to play music and became an accomplished mandolin player in a professional bluegrass group called Kentucky Blue, who toured all over the US, Europe and Japan- and released 5 albums during their career.
Ricky Hackworth continued playing drums and toured professionally with the Charlie Daniels Band, David Allen Coe, Johnny Paycheck and others. He died in 2004.
Ronnie Moore became a barber and co-owned his own shop, was a US Navy Vietnam veteran and died in 2015 at the age of 69.
Ronnie Wilson is deceased; it is unknown at this time what he went on to do after playing bass with the Sinsashuns.
The Contents Are continued until around 1972, when they changed their name to Tabernash and moved from Davenport, Iowa to Westminster, Colorado, just northwest of Denver. Prior to their move, they made this one single on Dym-a-Nite, the only release they would have under the Tabernash name.
The members of Tabernash were Craig Hute, Dave Neumann, Paul Staack and Mick Orton.
“Head Collect” is an excellent rocker written by Craig Hute. The song dates back to 1969, when a demo was recorded at Columbia studios in Chicago. The single is 44 seconds shorter, quicker in tempo, with a drier sound than the Columbia studio demo, but both are excellent performances.
“Out of the Cold” is another original by Craig Hute, again dating back a couple years, this time to a demo session at Golden Voice Recording Studio in Pekin, Illinois from 1969 or 1970. The Dym-a-Nite 45 is more sparse and plain in production than the Golden Voice demo, and is also 90 seconds shorter. Songs from that session will be released by Alona’s Dream Records in 2017.
The deadwax contains a “tulip” marking that indicates Wakefield in Arizona pressed the single, with a five digit code dating it to February 1972. Both sides have publishing by Sarfran / Unichappel BMI, and “Produced by Tabernash for Experience Group” and “Dist. by the Clouds, Bellville, Ill”.
When I sent scans and audio of the Dym-a-Nite single to Mick Orton, he didn’t recall it. After speaking to Craig Hute, he reported back that one of their managers, Spence Stein owned the Dym-a-Nite label and worked with someone at Unichappel to release the single. The band didn’t hear it until they had made the move to Westminster, but they disliked the quality of the pressing.
The Happy Return came from St. Louis, Missouri, releasing two very different 45s in the space of a couple years.
Members at the time of the Cadet single were:
Steve Noack – vocals, lead guitar Tom Noack – rhythm guitar Jim Cunningham – organ Jimmy Albright – bass Rich Carrell – drums
In November 1967 the Happy Return released a very good Steve Noack original in the Beatles style, “Longed For”, backed with another original “Maybe”, and issued Steve’s own Stack Records TS-XM510. The publisher, Country Stream Music BMI mainly handled country and gospel songs.
In July of 1968 Steve Noack had a light pop single as Steve Lee on the R.S.S.P. Inc label featuring his original “She’s Afraid to Answer” as the b-side to “Baby” (by G. Tomsco, B. Tomsco).
Missouri Music BMI published “She’s Afraid to Answer”. Missouri Music’s biggest copyrights seem to be on the Norman label, including “Rockin’ Little Egypt” by the Egyptian Combo and “Jerkin’ Time” by Bob Kuban with vocalist Little Walter.
The Happy Return next appear in June 1969 on the Cadet label with a great double-sided single featuring two more Steve Noack originals with great production by Norman Petty at his Clovis, NM studio. The plug side at the time was “I Thought I Loved Her”, a gentle ballad with keyboards making harpsichord and flute sounds. The Library of Congress registration for “I Thought I Loved Her” in April 1969 shows words by Rich Carrell and music by Steve Noack.
The flip is the very different and hard-rockin’ “To Give Your Lovin’”, full of crunching guitar and heavy drumming. Both songs list Steve Noack as writer and Heavy Music, Friedman-Collins Music BMI as publisher.
“I Thought I Loved Her” showed up as a “hitbound sound” in a weekly chart of Saint Charles, Missouri’s KIRL 1460 AM that August, but otherwise seems to have missed all radio charts despite being on Cadet. The band broke up the following year.
On the Cadet labels, the band’s manager Stan Friedman is listed as producer of the single. He was a booking agent in St. Louis with a University City address.
I haven’t been promoting my own DJ nights on this site much, but this one is special: a New Year’s Eve party to benefit local community radio station WGXC 90.7 FM. Admission is only $10 all of which goes to the station.
There will be a live band featuring Bobby Previte bashing out some rocking r&b, with DJ sets by Peter Aaron of the Chrome Cranks and me.
If you’re in the Albany / Kingston / Hudson NY area please come out and support community radio.
Saturday, December 31, 2016, 10 PM to 2 AM
The Half Moon 48 S Front St Hudson, NY 12534
Easy walk to the Amtrak station. 21 and over. Food and drink available.