All posts by Chris Bishop

The Hallmarks “Soul Shakin’ Psychedelic Sally”

Hallmarks, Asbury Park Press, September 26, 1967
The Hallmarks present “Soul Shakin’ Psychedelic Sally” to Oceanport Mayor Edward C. Wilson and Councilman Felix Foggia, September, 1967

Hallmarks Smash 45 Soul Shakin' Psychedelic Sally

The Hallmarks came from the towns of Oceanport and Long Branch, New Jersey. An article from the Ashbury Park Press of September 26, 1967 gives the full membership of the group:

The Hallmarks are Russ Scalzo, the composer who plays rhythm guitar; his brother, Joseph, drums, and cousin, Anthony Scalzo, rhythm guitar; Ricky Gager, lead guitar, and Jim Bova, bass guitar.

At the time of the article, Russ was the oldest, at 19, Tony Scalzo was 18, Joe Scalzo was 16, and Ricky and Jim were 15.

The article continues, “The record was produced by Thomas Falcone, who was instrumental in bringing the group together through a contest and for promoting the record with Mercury.”

The band cut Russ Scalzo’s original “I Know Why” as early as 1966. With a new title and lyric changes, plus layers of echo and effects to the recording, the Hallmarks released the song as “Soul Shakin’ Psychedelic Sally” on Smash in the summer of 1967. Many listeners prefer the original version without all the echo and effects, but the single does have a zany power that’s made it a classic.

The flip, “Girl of My Dreams” is more conventional. A demo acetate from Bedminster Sound Corp. in West Orange has one unreleased song produced by Tommy Falcone, “Baby We Can Make It Together”, the band trading off with a girl group chorus.

Unfortunately this was the only release the band had. I’m not sure how or why the group broke up.

A few years ago Russ Scalzo produced a musical based on his experiences with the group, “Running Through the Fire” written with daughter Rachel, and is now an author of Christian books. His website is www.russscalzo.com.

Producer Tommy Falcone has an interesting history. In 1963 he and Gino Viscione started the Cleopatra label, famous for labels featuring a reclining woman, often mistaken for Elizabeth Taylor but actually Tommy’s wife in costume. Cleopatra had at least eight releases, ranging from the Tabbys’ bizarre “Hong Kong Baby” to the Centuries great instrumentals “The Outer Limits” and “Jack 23”.

After Cleopatra folded, Falcone had his hand in producing, including the Inmates’ excellent “You Tell Lies” on Columbia and the Shoestring’s “Candy Andy”. Unfortunately Tommy Falcone passed away around the age of 40 in the late ’60s, supposedly from a heart attack after playing an accordion concert.

Background on Tommy Falcone from Crud Crud and On the Record.

Hallmarks Smash 45 Girl Of My Dreams

Dee Robb and the Robbins (the Robbs)

Dee Robb and the Robbins Score 45 Say That ThingI 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.”

Dee Robb and the Robbins Score 45 He's Got The Whole World In His Hands

The Dirty Elbows

Dirty Elbows Solid Gold 45 To Carry OnThe 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”.

Members were:

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”.
Dirty Elbows Solid Gold 45 I Love You, Girl

The Towers “Not For Him” and “Babe”

Towers Flame 45 Not With Him
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.

Towers Flame 45 Babe

Josie Taylor “I’ll Love You For Awhile”

Josie Taylor Liberty 45 I'll Love You For Awhile

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.

Josie Taylor Liberty 45 Tra La La

Tabernash “Head Collect”

Tabernash Dym-A-Nite 45 Head Collect

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.

Mick Orton has posted photos and info about Tabernash and the later Contents Are on his extensive website. I highly recommend checking it out.

Thank you to Mike Markesich for the Wakefield pressing info.

Tabernash Dym-A-Nite 45 Out of the Cold

The Happy Return

Happy Return Stack 45 Longed ForThe 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.

Steve Lee RSSP 45 She's Afraid To AnswerIn 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.

Happy Return Cadet 45 To Give Your Lovin'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.

Info from Alec Palao’s notes to Get Ready to Fly: Pop-Psych from the Norman Petty Vaults on Big Beat Records, which also have two small photos of the group.

Happy Return Stack 45 Maybe

WGXC New Year’s Eve benefit in Hudson NY

WGXC New Year's Eve 2017 Half Moon, Hudson NY

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.

Happy New Year!