Category Archives: Connecticut

The Original Sinners

Original Sinners Discotech 45 You'll Never Know (What Love Is All About)The Original Sinners formed at Yale University in New Haven. Robert Brentson Smith wrote “You’ll Never Know (What Love Is All About)”, which borrows the opening riff of the Stones’ “Empty Heart” for an archetypal garage single, with put-down lyrics, good harmony vocals, harp and a guitar break.

Brent Smith and Stew Metz wrote the stomping, bluesy “(Any Time You Need Me) I’ll Be Home”, freshened like the flip by good harmonies and balance in rhythm & lead guitar.

Original Sinners Discotech 45 (Anytime You Need Me) I'll Be HomeBoth songs were copyrighted in April of 1966 with Cowardly Lion Music BMI. Produced by Bass & Reiser, it was released in May, 1966 on Discotech DTR-1001 (stamped Columbia custom pressing code ZTSP 122156/7 – 1A).

There’s no link between this Discotech label and the Ohio label that had cool releases by the Nomads and others.

Chris Parry and the Mockers

The Mockers Monte- Vista 45 MadalenaThe Mockers Monte- Vista 45 Children Of The Sun
Here are two obscure singles that seem to have been recorded in one session on the same day, apparently March 12, 1965. Both feature the Mockers, and each was released on the Monte-Vista label and numbered 3-12-65.

The first features two surf instrumentals: the atmospheric “Children of the Sun” backed by a first-rate surf-rocker “Madalena” with crunching wet guitar. Both songs were written by someone named Norgord for Monte-Vista Music BMI.

The Mockers were obviously a very competent group, but the second single has them backing what sounds like a prepubescent lead singer, Chris Parry, on another single written by Norgord, “I Need You Now”. The flip is a cover of “Angela Jones”, written by John Loudermilk (composer of “Tobacco Road”).

The producer was Dale Smallin who in 1963 managed the Surfaris’ and brought them to Paul Buff’s PAL studio in Cucamonga to record “Surfer Joe” / “Wipe Out” (Smallin also contributed the maniacal laughter to the opening). Smallin may have lost the Safaris when he and Dot Records brought in the Challengers to record tracks to fill out the album. In any case, the Mockers may have been the only records after the Safaris to feature his name as producer. If there are others, I haven’t found them yet, nor have I found any info on the Mockers or Chris Parry.

Monte Vista Street runs in Highland Park in Los Angeles, not far from the Glendale origin of the Safaris. Smallin would name his film production company Monte-Vista and produced a 28 minute movie show in West Covina, The Day That Sang and Cried in 1968, featuring another band, The West Coast Blues Company. Dave Smallin died on March 1, 2011.

Chris Parry and The Mockers Monte- Vista 45 I Need You NowChris Parry and The Mockers Monte- Vista 45 Angela Jones

The Pentagons


The Pentagons, from left: John Coggeshall, Dave Lemieux, Steve Morse and Gary Lamperelli.

The Pentagons cut one 45 at Audio Dynamics Studio, with the great rocker “About the Girl I Love” on the b-side. There’s a fine sense of urgency throughout the song starting from the opening bass line that immediately grabs the listener. I was surprised to learn it was played not on a bass but a Doric organ. Mistakenly listed as a Massachusetts band in the www.ugly-things.com database, the band was actually from Connecticut, as organist and song writer John Coggeshall informed me:

I was the founder and lead singer of The Pentagons; a four-man group (yes, I know, a pentagon has five sides) based in Montville, Connecticut between 1964 and 1969 (our high school years at Montville High School). We featured Steve Morse on Kent guitar, Gary Lamperelli on C-melody sax (until I, uh, accidently kicked it down the stairs so he had to go buy a tenor sax like the Dave Clark Five had), Dave Lemieux on drums and me on Doric portable organ (it had the most bass notes of all the portables and there were no bass guitar players at Montville High).

We originally recorded on acetate at Thomas Clancy Recording Studio in New Haven studio before Audio Dynamics; “Summer’s Over” and “The Walk”, a pretty good vocal rock tune with a good hook. It predates our Audio Dynamics effort by about a year.

The Pentagons – The Walk

(© 1974 by John Coggeshall, used with permission)

We cajoled my grandfather into springing for some studio time in Stafford Springs, CT. Audio Dynamics was the only close and easily accessible studio we could find (Stafford Springs up a country road or two from Uncasville, if I remember correctly. There were no recording studios in the Norwich/New London area at the time, ya know, there was next to nothing in the way of any professional music business in that area at the time).

We recorded two songs I wrote on the Audio Dynamics label: “About The Girl I Love” and “Summer’s Over.” “Summer’s Over” the “A” side of our record is pretty depressing and forgotten. “About the Girl I Love” is the tune that has legs. Who would have thought that song, a “B” side, done in a few hours one afternoon, would be remembered and currently on two limited release compilation CDs [Gravel vol. 3 and Quagmire vol. 5].

The Pentagons – About the Girl I Love
The Pentagons – Summer’s Over

Audio Dynamics seemed somewhat fly-by-night to me (set up in an old theatre with obviously moved-in equipment, difficult to reach by telephone, vague publishing promises, very rough-cut 45 rpm records, etc.). I think the huge theatre is what gave us that reverb sound. Also, can’t complain about the heavy density bottom, since we never had a bass player except my left hand and, that early on, I didn’t have the best concept of how to imitate a real bass guitar player, (on “Summer’s Over”, which was supposed to be the “A” side, I was playing three-note chords for the bass part on some of the song—real dumb), but the studio made my left hand sound pretty bass guitar-ish on “About The Girl I Love”.

We got the local Norwich record store, Gaffney’s, to carry it for awhile by sending our girlfriends to the store every day to breathlessly request copies. We sold it at gigs, too. I recall we weren’t happy with the very rough pressing of the record, which gave turntable needles difficulty at times. Maybe we sold most copies.

I also had ties to The Breakers out of New London, CT, who took a song I wrote, “She Left Me” through various Battle of the Band competitions, eventually landing an MGM Records contract, releasing a bubblegum tune, “Jack B. Nimble” that went nowhere and is barely mentioned on the Internet and un-findable. I have “She Left Me” and “An Always Time” written by me and performed by The Breakers on acetate, before they became The New York Thruway.

The Breakers – She Left Me

(© 1968 by John Coggeshall, used with permission)

Then there’s New London based Davy Jones and the Dolphins, who actually did a soundtrack to a “B” Hollywood movie, “Hellcats”, that barely survives mention, and who actually had Columbia Records release their song, “Shannon” a pretty good number, and that’s NOWHERE on the Internet. And yet, beyond all those major league labels, better recordings and “A” sides, “About the Girl I Love” is the one that survives for posterity.

We play New London’s meaner nights,
The “backdoor” clubs, the dance floor fights,
Rowdy Norwich Rooftop fans,
Who punch Steve out whilst in the can.
That high school gym was so fantastic,
Tossing chairs and making baskets,
Trashcans on the roof by Dave,
Who claimed we were “The Purple Sage”,
And after we had done all that,
How come they never asked us back?

(from My Garage Rock Band ‘65 – ‘73, © by John Coggeshall)

It was a backstreet New London club on the first floor of an old house, and people would walk by and throw lit firecrackers through open windows onto the dance floor while we played and people danced. Talk about a showstopper. My dad came to pick us up at the end of a gig one night, and a fight broke out on the hood of our family station wagon.

The Pentagons – Mercy Mercy (live)
The Pentagons – She’s Not There (live)

In regard to “Burnt Toast,” that’s The Pentagons minus our original drummer, Dave Lemieux, and with our original sax player, Gary Lamperelli, taking over on drums and us playing as a threesome. After we all graduated from high school in 1969, the group split up and three of us went to colleges in different states, and one went to air conditioning school (I think). After the end of our freshman years, we, for the first time in our teenage lives, had to get REAL summer jobs (during high school, our weekend Pentagon gigs made us enough money to keep our parents quiet regarding that “Get A Job!” syndrome). But now, it was GENUINE WORK time: me at the Thermos Factory on swing shift, Steve at McDonald’s, I think, and Gary sweeping up at his dad’s famous nightclub, “Lamperelli’s 7 Bros.” on Bank St. in New London.

About halfway through those backbreaking months, I met up with Gary and his dad and we hatched a brilliant scheme: for the following three years, his dad (and the other 6 brothers) would hire us for the summer, every night, at less than what the club was paying other bands, and for advertising purposes we would re-name the band every week and say we were from a different big city (“Burnt Toast from Miami”, “Direct from Las Vegas, ‘Fistful of Worms’, etc. etc.). We cut our personnel to three to make more money apiece, and the club always let us pick the band name and didn’t much care what it was, thus, “Running Sores” from Boston, “Prep H” from Detroit—I remember making posters: cardboard stock with a real slice of burnt toast nailed to it, to place outside the club. Actually, the scheme worked great for three summers, and none of us had to get anymore real jobs through college. I loved that New London club (pretty well-known, it turns out), and Gary’s dad and uncles.

At the end of our run (around 1973), I wrote a three-page epic poem about the beginning, middle and end of The Pentagons. It covers every highlight and lowlight we experienced. I have had a lengthy time in the entertainment field, the legal profession and even politics (the meeting place of law and entertainment) since then.

John “Cog” Coggeshall.

 

A special thank you to John for his help with this article, including all photos and the transfer of the acetate of “The Walk”.


This photo is so old: it’s before Gary joined as sax player (notice one of our neighbors/friends playing maracas) and before me (left, playing the wheezing, air-run organ), Steve and Dave became The Pentagons.


Receipt for John’s Doric organ


Early Pentagons from left: Steve Morse, a neighbor/friend guitarist, Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, John Coggeshall




Steve Morse (yellow shirt and pitchfork), Gary Lamperelli (yellow shirt), Dave Lemieux (gray shirt, kneeling) and John Coggeshall (blue shirt and jug)

Update, September 2010

John has a new CD, John Cog: Bay Blues available on CD Baby with previews of the songs. Proceeds go towards restoring Chesapeake Bay.

Update, January 2014

John announces the upcoming release of the second and third volumes of his Bay Blues trilogy, Bay Blues Fools and Bay Blues 3 Times The Legal Limit.


The Pentagons from left: Steve Morse, Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, some neighbor/friend, and John Coggeshall.

Fan letter to the Pentagons




from left: Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, Steve Morse and John Coggeshall



Where The Pentagons rehearsed until the boyfriend of a female fan burned it down.









Steve Morse – Guitarist for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

Gary Lamperelli – Drummer for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

John Coggeshall – Lead singer/keyboardist for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

The Madhatters

Madhatters Mask 45 Just Won't LeaveI know very little about this 45, other than these Madhatters were a group of high schoolers from Stamford, CT who traveled to New York City to record their only 45 in late February of 1966. They broke up soon after, with most members going to college that fall. I’ve also seen the band’s name given as two words, the Mad Hatters.

The Madhatters’ cool original “Just Won’t Leave” has credits to Sills, Young and Davidson. Copyright registration from April 28, 1966 shows words by John Sills, words and music by David Young and arrangement by John Davidson.

John Davidson was the Madhatters lead guitarist, Jim Cantor played bass, and they had a drummer named Eddie (surname?)

For the flip they do a better than average cover of Mike Hugg’s “Mister You’re a Better Man Than I”.

Released on Mask Records (a Jaysina Production, 143 W. 51st St., NY), with Lady Grace publishing. The only other productions I can attribute to Jaysina Enterprises are two 45s by Tommy Walters on Bardell and an Otis Rush session co-produced with Funtown and sold to Gamble.

A 10″ three-song acetate surfaced that contained the two songs from the single plus a version of “I’m a Man”, produced by Jaysina Enterprises, Inc. I haven’t heard the Madhatters’ version of “I’m a Man” yet.

There’s no connection to the Mad Hatters from Annapolis, Maryland (45s on Ascot and Fontana) or Minnesota (two 45s on Cardinal).

Madhatters Jaysina Enterprises, Inc demo acetate

The Stains and Five Cards Stud

Updated December, 2008

The Stains came out of Yale University in New Haven. They recorded one 45 in 1966, then disbanded and reformed as the Five Cards Stud.

“Now and Then” is a garage classic, written by Gordon Strickland, Jonathan Coles and Mike Farmer. The actual A-side is a good cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind”, done with just a little crunch on the guitar.

Richard Perry produced the Stains 45 as well as their first single as Five Cards Stud, “Everybody Needs Somebody” / “Be-Bop-A-Lula” on Lieber-Stoller’s Red Bird label. Perry would go on to produce Tiny Tim’s and Captain Beefheart’s first LPs. The Five Cards Stud cut another 45 for Smash, “Beg Me” / “Once”, and the A-side became a pick hit on WLOF in Orlando in March of 1967, breaking into the top 20 in April.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist D. Gordon Strickland spoke to me about his time with the Stains and Five Cards Stud:

I recall hearing “Hearts of Stone” when I was around 8 years old and became very interested in music. When Elvis hit the scene I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. While I liked to sing and play the guitar, I didn’t form a band until 1964, freshman year in college. I had been asked to be the drummer in a band in high school, but I declined since they only played instrumentals. It was also partly because I didn’t know how to play the drums!

The Stains were essentially myself, Jon Lippincott on drums, Jonathan Coles on lead guitar, Rick Lander on bass and later Mike Farmer on Farfisa. Jon and Jonathan were roommates of mine and Rick lived across the hall. Mike was a year or two older and we hooked up with him after a few months.

In the beginning, I played rhythm guitar. Jon had never played drums and Rick had never played bass. We were pretty bad for a while. Jonathan played classical guitar having studied with Andres Segovia and cared little for rock and roll but agreed because he thought it would be fun. He never used a pick but played electric guitar with his fingers.

I don’t quite remember how we hooked up with Tom Curtis, also a Yale student, but he became our manager. His grandfather and grand uncle were the Cohn brothers who founded Columbia Pictures so he had a flair for promotion. He actually came up with the name. Initially he wanted it to be Vandal Stains and the Daises but I declined to become Vandal so we settled on the Stains.

The first dance we played at was at the Yale Divinity School. It was actually quite amusing as the crowd was somewhat subdued. I got so worked up on stage dancing around that I kicked the main electric plug out of the wall so we ended a song midway through. The audience thought we were new wave.

There were several bands at Yale at the time. Prince La La was one that was heavy R & B. A local New Haven band called the Shags was popular. The Stains mostly played at colleges in the northeast.

Richard Perry was working for George Goldner when we met George and was also dating his daughter, Linda. George was old school. At one point, I was ad libbing during the fade out of one song we were recording and said Mary Jane. George asked me what that had to do with anything and when I told him it was slang for marijuana, he went back and deleted it. His glory days were behind him and he let Richard be more involved.

We signed with Red Bird but as you’d expect, never saw a dime. The problem was, and may still be, that the real money is in promotion. All we could ever get anyone to do was essentially pay for the session time and mail out some 45s. I remember going to a radio station in Hartford, CT and being shown a room stacked with probably 1000 45s that represented a few weeks of receipts. The station would obviously have slots for new songs by known artists so you were competing for very few openings in the play list. To get a better audience, you needed to spend money which our label never did.

Richard Perry had his “office in the Brill building in NYC. We visited him once and he told us he wanted us to do a cover of “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind” by the Lovin Spoonful. He had us practice it in his office. What he didn’t tell us was that Kama Sutra Records was next door, the Spoonful’s label. They heard us and came over to find out what we were doing. Needless to say they quickly released their version as a single which they hadn’t planned on doing.

Richard Perry is the same guy who produced Streisand, the Pointer Sisters and others. I remember he played me a demo and said that this was going to make him a name. It was an atrocious song but he was right. He had discovered Tiny Tim. I was under whelmed by his musical prowess but shows what I know.

Tom Curtis got us a summer job at Harlow’s in NYC, where the Rascals had recently played. Tom felt that the band members were not sufficiently strong to go “professional” so we held auditions and got three new Yale students and a keyboard player from Upsala College, in essence an entirely new band. The new members were all accomplished musicians but we had to learn a lot of material in a short period of time.

We were at Harlow’s for 10 weeks, playing from 9 – 3 am, half hour on half off, six nights a week. We were reviewed by Variety, again courtesy of Tom’s connections. That summer we also opened for Otis Redding at Central Park. Again, Tom called up and spoke to the President of Rheingold Beer, the sponsor, and talked us on to the show. This was the first time I had seen Otis live and afterwards it made me wonder what I was doing in the business although he said to me as we left the stage, “Not bad, kid”. We also played at Palisades Park on a Cousin Brucie show that included Marvin Gaye.

The last song we recorded was produced by Artie Kornfeld, who later organized Woodstock. That song, “Beg Me”, was a remake of a Chuck Jackson song and had some success, reaching number 2 in Raleigh and number 18 in Orlando. Again we saw no money and there was no effort to promote the song.The way it got to number 2 in Raleigh is that the local radio station was doing a spot for a local band that didn’t have a record so just happened to pull ours from a pile and played it in the background. He started to get calls so started playing the record. He told me it would have reached number 1 but it was based on local record sales and they ran out of copies. We ended up playing before about 10,000 people in Raleigh on a show with the Tams.

I would have continued to pursue music but after college in 1968, I had two choices, get drafted into the Army or volunteer for the Navy. I did the latter and when I got out about three years later, it just seemed too late. I did write a few songs and even had Richard Perry interested in one of them but nothing came of it.

D. Gordon Strickland

Anyone have a photo of the group?


“Beg Me” at #8 on WKIX’s top 30 in Raleigh NC, May 20, 1967