All posts by Chris Bishop

The Dystraction

Dystraction Coast 45 Wonder What Ya FeelThe Dystraction came from Reno, Nevada, its members were juniors in high school when they recorded their single in 1969:

Rick Yancey – lead guitar
Rob Hanna – rhythm guitar
Danny Herring – bass
Scott Monroe – drums

Though young, they cut a great single of original hard rock on Coast Records 6969. Their connection to the Coast label out of Hollywood was Rob Hanna’s father, Bob Hanna, a member of the lounge trio the Esquires who had two releases on Coast. “Where Are We Now” is available on youtube, but I prefer the A-side, the slower and heavier “Wonder What Ya Feel”.

I’ve included the first two minutes of “Wonder What Ya Feel” in this link.

I’ve read the single had two pressings because the labels had songwriter Hanna listed before the band name, leading to confusion as to the group’s name. I haven’t seen the other version of this label, if you have a copy please contact me.

Dystraction Coast 45 Where Are We NowThe Dystraction receive notices in the Reno Gazette-Journal, first on March 22, 1969.

Dystraction Releases Disk

The All-Reno youngster Dystraction hard-rock group has released its first record on the Coast label. Both sides of the single were written by the four-member group. “Wonder What you Feel” is the most popular song on the recording and the flipside is “Where Are We Now?”

The three Wooster High School and one Sparks High School students represented Nevada in Atlantic City last year after winning the state-side competition in the “Battle of the Bands.” Danny Herring plays bass, Rick Yancey plays lead guitar, Rob Hanna (son of Bob Hanna of the popular Esquires) plays rhythm and Scott Monroe plays drums for Dystraction. Terming themselves “Hard-rock” musicians, the youths will tour teen-age nightclubs in California and Oregon this summer with a probable engagement at the popular Sound Factory in Sacramento.

Then again on May 17:

For teen-agers only … a dance set to coincide with the Annual Custom Car and Boat Show at the Centennilal Coliseum May 16018. The Reno-formed, Reno-based Dystraction, featuring Danny Herring on bass, Rob Hanna on rhythm, Rich Yancey on guitar and Scot Monroe on drums, will feature new tunes of its own creation like “Where Are We Now,” “Wonder What You Feel” and “Nassar Blues.” The group should grow in prominence this summer with scheduled northwest tour.

On June 22, 1969 the Nevada State Journal covered the finals of the Reno area Battle of the Bands, with four winners going on to the state competition in Las Vegas the following week. The Dystraction was one of the winners, along with the Town Squires, Frog Rock and Jonathan Goodlife. The article included a couple of quotes from Danny Herring and a photo of the Jonathan Goodlife band, whose members were Jerry Werms, James Stipech, Steve Dunwoodie, James Mask and Terry Peterson.

Other bands in the competition included Chipped Beef on Toast, Wheet Straw Blew Grass, Chalk, Mr. Enzyme & the Electric Bean, Snow, and the Hellenic Invasions.

Anyone have a photo of the Dystraction?

The Cosmic Tones

The Cosmic Tones photo: Morris Ochoa, Vincent Hernandez, David Silva, Terry Williams and (kneeling) Alex Hernandez
The Cosmic Tones, from left: Morris Ochoa, Vincent Hernandez, David Silva, Terry Williams and (kneeling) Alex Hernandez

The Cosmic Tones came out of Bell Gardens, CA, the same town as the Nite Walkers. They cut one single for the Discovery label, “Gonna Build Me a Woman” / “Hold It”. Discovery later released a cool single by the Missing Links. Like the Missing Links, publishing was through Jarhill Pub. Co, (an amalgam R. Jarrard and James Hilton, who are credited on the Missing Links single).

Members of the Cosmic Tones were:

David Silva – lead guitar
Morris Ochoa – rhythm guitar
Terry Williams – rhythm guitar
Alex Hernandez – bass guitar
Vincent Hernandez – drums

Bass player Alex Hernandez sent me a photo of the group and told me about the Cosmic Tones:

My name is Alex Hernandez and I played bass in the Cosmic Tones in Bell Gardens, CA. I had wanted to play the guitar since I was about 5 years old. My uncle Chris asked me what song I wanted him to teach me and I said “La Bamba” by Richie Valens. He taught me this song and it was the start of my playing. When I was 13 I wanted to start a band so I started asking around and my friend Terry Williams was interested. He was 13 also and played rhythm guitar for us. My brother Vincent wanted to play drums, he was 14 years old.

We found David Silva who played lead guitar for us. He was a little older, he was 17 years old. We had a 5th addition in the band, Morris Ochoa and he was 14 then. He only stayed with us for about two months.

We all styled our hair back after ratting it up. We all used about a 1/2 can of Aqua Net hairspray before each play. After being together for about a month we had our first gig on Channel 34, a Mexican channel. We played an instrumental of “La Bamba” and it seemed to be a big hit.

We played songs such as “Whittier Blvd”, “My Girl”, “Land Of a Thousand Dances”. What a great time the ‘60s were. “Twist and Shout” was a favorite. We used to practice at any park that would let us, City of Commerce Park, Bell Gardens Park, Ford Park, and also at a park in Watts. We played at the junior high assemblies.

We also played in many battle of the bands and came in second at Ford Park out of around 12 groups. We played at the Cinnamon Cinder in Hollywood & at the Bob Hope telethon in Hollywood. We played at the Watts Festival and had a great time. We played at the White Front store in L.A. for two weeks after school to promote cerebal palsy research. We played at a teen club the Diamond Horseshoe in La Puenta, & for a CB club in Hidden Valley.

My Dad had us cut one 45 record and on side A was a song sung by my brother, “I’m Gonna Build Me A Woman” and side B was an original instrumental.

Our rival band in Bell Gardens was the Nite Walkers. They were a real good group and we all went to school together. We always tried to be better than them and they wanted to be better than us.

The group broke up after about two years and I started playing the upright bass in high school. I joined the Army for 8 years in 1971, My brother joined the Army in 1969 and went to Viet Nam.

We lost sight of David Silva, and Terry Williams holds a jam session up towards San Diego weekly. I don’t know where Morris Ochoa went, My brother retired with the railroad and now manages a trailer park.  We are all in our mid ‘60s now but I do know we still enjoy music every day. I retired with FedEx freight in 2013.

The last play I had was with my brother’s group the TCB Flash which is one of the best Elvis groups in southern CA. I sang and played four songs for New Years in 2016 at the Grove Theater in Upland CA. My songs were “House of the Rising Sun”, “Hang On Sloopy”, “Gloria” and “Wooly Bully”. Had a blast from the past and the audience seemed to really enjoy the show.

– Alex Hernandez, 2017

The M+M “She Shut Me Down”

 The M + M Glass 45 Where Is SheI can’t find any info about M + M, other than the names on the two singles they released on Glass Records, M. Kane and M. Schools. I’ve tried other variations on their band name, M+M or M&M, without luck.

Although the songs feature a full group of guitar, bass, drums and even harmonica with one vocal, it’s possible this was a duo who overdubbed their parts to fill out the sound.

All four singles have “72” etched into the deadwax along with the Glass Records numbers, so I think that is likely the year of the recordings. Given that two of these are nearly four minutes long, a seventies date makes sense.

I have no idea where they came from, but lead vocals do have a southern sound to them. On the other hand, I bought these from someone in New Jersey and a different copy of the second 45 sold from a Brooklyn location.

I prefer the B-sides of each single. “She Shut Me Down” stands ouf among the four cuts for the melancholy feeling and tempo changes. “Where Is She” is the most upbeat of the four.

The Glass Records release numbers are:

F-201/2: “Your Turn to Cry” / “Where Is She”

F-203/4: “No More Crying” / “She Shut Me Down”

All songs written by M. Kane and M. Schools, no publishing listed.

The M + M Glass 45 She Shut Me Down

The Secrets “Somethin Good For Me” on Raven

Secrets Raven 45 Somethin Good For MeThe Secrets’ “Somethin Good For Me” / “Love” has as obscure an origin as any single out there. The band may have been from southern Illinois or eastern Missouri, but I don’t know anything definite yet. The only name I can associate with the group is Ivan White who wrote both songs.

“Somethin Good For Me” is lo-fi perfection, offering plenty of atmosphere over a chunky rhythm, a pleading vocal and a simple but apt lead guitar break.

“Love” slows it all down and substitutes accordion for the rhythm guitar. I’d put up a clip but my copy gets scratchy sounding on this side.

Released around 1967 on Raven 18569/70, with production credited to “Div – JLJ Enterprise”. This is a Rite release, as was the other Raven release I know of, Johnny Apollo “You’re Sixteen” / “Shake the Hand of a Fool” on Raven 17829/30 from a year or two earlier, with J. Hutcheson credited as director.

Rite 286 is found in the deadwax, an early Rite account number dating back to 1960. 286 was used for at least two other singles: the Harmony Echoes single “Wonderful Guest” / “Gospels Singers Heaven” on Echo CP-6759/60 from 1961, out of WFRX 1300 AM, West Frankfort, Illinois, featuring Joe Williams, Phyllis Williams, Rolla Martin and Don McCool.

Also for Amateur 11421/2, the Coachmen “Lonely Rider” / These Memories of You”, folk & pop from 1963 out of Maplewood, Missouri with J. Buchman credited on the label.

Maplewood is just west of St. Louis, and 115 miles northwest of West Frankfort. It seems possible the Secrets come from this area of southern Illinois or eastern Missouri.

Info on other Rite pressings from www.45rpmrecords.com

Secrets Raven 45 Love

Selling 45s at Allentown Record Expo this Saturday

Del-Vetts Dunwich PS I Call My Baby STPa

I can’t afford to keep all these 45s … and I’m always looking for new ones. I’ll be selling 45s of many genres – garage, surf, r&b, international, soul, etc at the Allentown, Pennsylvania 45 & 78 rpm record fair this Saturday, April 1, 2017. If you haven’t been, there are more 45s than you can look through in three days, let alone one. Not sure my table # yet but if you come ask for Chris Bishop’s table. Or contact me ahead of time, I’ll be in town from Wednesday afternoon on.

1901 S. 12th St. ( S.12th & Vultee Streets ), Allentown, PA 18103

10-4 PM, $3 admission.

More info on the fair’s website, http://www.surroundsoundproductions.com/.

Thee Avantis on Samron

Thee Avantis Samron 45 I Want To UnderstandSamron Records had a great run, only three singles but all of them top-notch rock ’n roll, including this one, Thee Avantis’ “I Want to Understand” / “Nancy” on Samron S-103, recorded in late 1965.

“I Want to Understand” is the kind of single I never get tired of, featuring a neat guitar hook, solid bass and drum playing, the right amount of organ and great vocals. There are fine guitar and organ breaks, the entire song clocking in at 2:27.

The other two singles on Samron are Ognir & the Night People’s “I Found a New Love” (Nehring, Marusak) / “All My Heart” (Nehring, Molinaro), released on Samron S-102 in October 1965 and the Five Flys “Livin’ for Love” / “Dance Her By Me” on Samron S-104.

Samron was run by Ronald Magazzu, and I suppose someone named Sam was also involved. The first two singles listed Magazzu Productions in Hazleton, PA, while the label for the Five Flys changes the town to Coaldale, PA.

I’ve read Thee Avantis were from Scranton, but I found a notice in the Hazleton Standard-Speaker from March 5, 1966 listing the band for a Sunday Dance at the Fiesta Room in Hazleton, about an hour’s drive southwest of Scranton.

I only know the names of two members of Thee Avanti, Nick Fata on bass and Robert Schnessel who wrote both songs. Magazzu Music Co. published both songs.

Thee Avantis Samron 45 Nancy

The Conductors “She Said So”

The Conductors photo: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard
The Conductors, from left: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard

Conductors Dater 45 She Said SoThe Conductors came from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, cutting the great “She Said So” as the b-side to their June 1966 single. Members were:

Larry Borgess – lead vocals
Chad Fenstemaker – lead guitar
Skip Kreitz – rhythm guitar
Regan Meyer – bass
Barry Hirsh – organ
Danny Brungard – drums

Barry Hirsh and Larry Borgess left to join Prince Charles & the Royaltones. Mike Ranck replaced Larry until the Conductors split.

“She Said So” is a stomping fuzz and organ rocker written by Barry Hirsh, with taunting lines:

You gotta stay home and watch the kids tonight,
Because she said so,
But I wanna tell ya,
Better sit up and say that everything’s not right,
Because you said so.

You gotta break free,
Stand on your own two feet,
Stop doing things that you don’t want to do,
Just because she said so!

The original A-side “Whatever’s In Your Smile” is light pop, but worth a listen, it too was written by Barry Hirsh, and features harmonies, piano and a lighter touch on the guitar.

Publishing was through Hi-Mar Music and Ronbeth Music BMI, both of which had other copyrights, most notably Ronbeth with the 7th Avenue Aviators “You Should ‘O Held On”.

The Conductors single came out on Dater DT-1303/4 in June, 1967. Dater was owned by Dave Chackler, and had one other single that I know of, the Soul Generation “I Can’t See You” / “Big Boss Man” on Dater DT-1301. The A-side has the Starlites doing a drier, stripped-down version of their classic on Bar-Clay, “I Can’t See You”. The label notes produced by Dave Chackler for Peter Warren Enterprises. The Starlites came from Reading, PA, 100 miles southeast of Williamsport, so I wonder how the Conductors connected with Dave Chackler.

Info on the band from Rob’s Williamsport Rock Bands

Conductors Dater 45 Whatever's In Your Smile

Something Obviously Borrowed

Something Obviously Borrowed JCP 45 Tell The PeopleSomething Obviously Borrowed are another mystery to me. Their only single is a good two-sider, released on the same J.R.P. label as the Shadow Casters.

“Tell the People” is upbeat, with typical lyrics of the time (“Now is the time to tell the people, all about love”). D. Geinosky and L. Carr wrote the song; they were probably members of the band.

“Joan” is laid-back rock, with a feel something like Loaded-era Velvet Underground, the singer intoning “please come on home, Joan”. Writer credit is to the producer, James Ruff, but members of the Shadow Casters noted he put his name on one of their compositions, “Going to the Moon”.

James Ruff Productions probably paid for recording time and pressing of the single on J.R.P. 004, sometime after April 1968. J.R.P. labels list an address in Aurora, Illinois. Sandpiper BMI published both songs but I don’t see a copyright listing for either. The code TM 2665/6 indicates Chess Records’ Ter-Mar studio in Chicago.

Something Obviously Borrowed seems to be the only other release on JRP besides the Shadow Casters, and also seems to be rarer than their singles.

Something Obviously Borrowed JCP 45 Joan