The Knights – from upstate New York to Dallas, Texas

Bob Sanders ran the Knightand Spectra labels, among others, during the mid-’60s in Dallas, Texas.

The Knights 45 was completely unfamiliar to me until Brian Kirschenbaum wrote to me with the scan and transfers of the record. He was surprised to find a Texas 45 had made its way to upstate New York. It’s an interesting single, very much influenced by the British sounds of the time in changes and feel, especially on “I Know It Now”. Bob Kissell wrote both sides.

I had no information on the group until a couple comments were left (see below). As it turns out, this band made an unlikely journey from upstate New York to work in Dallas, Texas. In Watertown they were known as Dick and the Knights.

I’ll repeat most of Dick Kissell’s comment here:

The group consisted of Chuck Martuzas, bass (now deceased); Bob Lawlor, drums; Bob Kissell, lead guitar; and myself on rhythm guitar. The vocals were done by Bob and myself.

On a whim, we went to Dallas in the fall of 1964 because we had a friend down there who said he might be able to help us find some local clubs needing bands. We started out at a place called The Haunted House Club then moved on to the Disc-A Go Go and eventually LouAnns. We became house band at LouAnns.

Lewis Lindsey played the organ part on the “Stay” side. A guy named Bill Petty was friends with Lewis Lindsey and was also part owner in the Haunted House club; that’s how we got the recording deal. Only 300 copies were pressed. Later the following year, we became friends with The 5 Americans and played around Dallas for awhile until returning home.

Dick Kissell added in an email to me:

The single “Only You Hold The Answer” was a regional hit for us around 1967. My brother Bob Kissell wrote the melody while I wrote the lyrics. He plays (blues) around the Daytona Florida area in the winter, and then comes home and plays here (Watertown, NY) summers.

Many thanks to Brian Kirschenbaum for alerting me to the Knights 45 and to retrogirl86 for the info in her comment.

7 thoughts on “The Knights – from upstate New York to Dallas, Texas”

  1. The Knights (aka…Dick & The Knights) were a very popular Upstate NY band in the 1960′s. “B. Kissel” would be Bob Kissel. He and his brother Dick were in The Knights. They had connections with Wool (Ed Wool & The Nomads), and Dick Kissel played with Ed Wool in The Pineapple Heard (Diamond Records – “Valleri”) and The Sure Cure (Cameo/Parkway Records – “I Wanna Do It”). There was also a 45 released on the Knight record label, which I have in my collection. “Only You Hold The Answer” b/w “Walkin’ The Streets” are the songs. I will have to dig it out and scan it and send it to you.

  2. Hi,
    This is Dick Kissell who was in the band “The Knights.” The band hails from Watertown, NY up near the 1000 Islands region. The group consisted of Chuck Martuzas, Bass (now deceased) Bob Lawlor, Drums, Bob Kissell, lead guitar, and myself on rhythm guitar. The vocals were done by Bob and myself. On a whim, we went to Dallas in the fall of 1964 because we had a friend down there who said he might be able to help us find some local clubs needing bands. We started out at a place called The Haunted House Club then moved on to the Disc-A Go Go and eventually LouAnns. We became house band at LouAnns. Lewis Lindsey played the organ part on the “Stay” side. A guy named Bill Petty was friends with Lewis Lindsey and was also part owner in the HH club; that’s how we got the recording deal. Only 300 copies were pressed. Later the following year, we became friends with The 5 Americans and played around Dallas for awhile until returning home. All the info that “retrogirl” provided was correct. She must be from around here to have this information. Anyway, thanks for providing the site and I hope more entries are made. Dick Kissell

  3. I work in a “Big Box Retailer” that starts with a “W” up here in Watertown, NY, and Bob (or Dick) (whoever is the bike rider) visits here in the summer and brings his guitar to play at a few venues up here. It’s always a pleasure to bump into him, and if anyone gets a chance to catch his one man band act it will not be an hour or two misplaced. The geezer still rocks! I remember the band in the late ’60s and early ’70s playing these parts as “Kiss” before another band appeared with that name. They also played as the “South Shore Road Band,” or at least one of them did. As lame as this area is for many other things, one thing it has always had is great musicians. Bob and Dick would be two of them.

  4. Hi, my name is Buddy and one of my best friends grew up in Watertown and remembers Bob’s band being one of the best in the area. My friend Bill is in a band and has been in several over the last 45 years. He recently discovered a version of Bob playing “Only you hold the answer” on youtube. It’s a great song and I would love to give him a gift of the lyrics as I know he is teaching himself the melody to the song. It is bringing back great memories of his life in Watertown. I have left my email address above and hope to hear back from you. If not I understand and will just enjoy the performance as is on youtube. Thanks again.

  5. Hello, all…

    My father (and both sisters, at one point) worked at the Haunted House from the mid-to-late 60s or earliest 70s. If someone would, please contact me regarding the restaurant/club. Thank you.

  6. I went to college in Watertown from 1968 to 1970 and the highlight of our week-ends was finding where The South Shore Road Band was playing. They were the very, very best band within a hundred miles. I still carry on about those week-ends and how great the band was.

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