Don & the Holidays came from Orlando, Florida, cutting a single on Kam Records and backing other artists on the label. “Grasshopper Pizza” is fratty r&b with lyrics almost impossible to decipher, something about a “Beatle drive” and “grasshopper pizza is really alive”.
I like the flip, “It Won’t Be Long” with its gloomy sound and spare guitar breaks instead of sax. Both songs are originals credited to Don Adams. Kam Record Co. released it in July, 1966.
Bill Clifford posted the video of “Grasshopper Pizza”, above (under his actual name Bill Schwentner), with the names of the other Holidays members and some info:
Don Adams (vocal), Mark Farrel (Farfisa organ), Bill Stancliff (guitar), Bill Clifford (bass). [“Grasshopper Pizza”] was the only song of 13 recorded that day that was released on Kam Records.
I would like to hear the other 12 songs cut at that session! From the business card included with the video, the band seemed to go by the simple name, The Holidays, and also there was another member named Denny.
Interestingly, it appears from the RCA custom pressing codes that Kam Records issued the Don & the Holidays single at the same time as Kam 102 (Buddy Killen’s “I Oughta Be Home With Nell” / “Mister Blue”) and Kam 103, which featured Holidays’ keyboardist Mark Ferrell on his originals, “Go Go Girl” / “I’ll Never Forget You”.
I haven’t had the chance to hear the Mark Ferrell single yet.
Both songs from the Don & the Holidays single were rerecorded for Kam 111 with the artist name changed to Big Don Adams. These versions are supposed to be slicker than the original release, but I haven’t heard either.
Guitarist Bill Stancliff cut his own composition “Redline” with his Holidays band mates Mark Ferrell and Bill Clifford, along with Billy J. Killen, on November 1, 1965 at Wurtle Film Studios, Orlando. Unfortunately this fine instrumental went unreleased.
Some of the photos in the video above have the name Mark IV behind the band. From the credits, this seems to have been a different lineup featuring Bill Clifford and Bill Stancliff of the Holidays with John Oyler on tenor sax, C.E. Stubblefield on Wurlitzer piano, Roy Halpin on bass, and Clark Wormer on drums.
Kam Record Co. discography
– possibly incomplete, any help with this would be appreciated
Kam 101 – Billy J. Killen – “Truly Love You” / “Walkin’ Talkin’ (In My Sleep For You)” (both by Angel, Killen, Martin) S4KM-8406/7
Kam 102 – Billy J. Killen - “I Oughta Be Home With Nell” (Otto P. Martin) / “Mister Blue” (Martin-Killen-Angel) T4KM-9776/7
Kam 103 – Mark Ferrell – “Go Go Girl” (Mark Ferrell) / “I’ll Never Forget You” (Mark Ferrell, Jerry Adams) T4KM-9778/9
Kam 104 – Don & the Holidays – “It Won’t Be Long” / “Grasshopper Pizza” (both by Don Adams) T4KM-9780/1
Kam 105 – Curt Fields – “Man, Woman And Love” / “Five Lonely Rooms” (both by Angel, Killen, Martin)
Kam 106 – Johnny Selph – “My Gal’s Outta Her Tree Again” (Don Gore) / “Working On Your Future” (John Harris Selph)
Kam 111 – Big Don Adams – “It Won’t Be Long” / “Grasshopper Pizza” (different versions of Kam 104)
Many of these songs are copyrighted to Villard J. Killen, Otto Martin and Robert Paul Angel, whose name appears in producer role as Bob Angel in later singles on the Bion label of Orlando, including ones by Mark Ferrell and Johnny Selph. All Kam Records songs published by Ankilmar, BMI.
Billy Sandlin came from Ocala, Florida, starting his recording career in 1959 with the tough-sounding “She’s Mean” b/w “Don’t Let Me Down”, released first on Vim Records then on Gala. From the start he showed an ability to sing a wide range of styles, from uptempo rock to melancholy ballads.
In 1961, Sandlin had a second single on Gala, “Teenager’s Dream” in a slow doo-wop style b/w the latin-ish “Cha Cha Bop”. Around 1962 he left for Germany, presumably for military service.
In 1966 he found a tougher accompaniment by the Interns for the fine “Poor Rich Girl”, especially in the repetitive guitar line, and Sandlin’s voice really suits this hard r&b style. The b-side “Here Comes That Feeling” is very good downer garage. My copy is on Royale 1966.326, but others exist with the label name changed to Royala, which would match his next single.
Jack McGowan owned the Teen Time Club in Ocala, according to a short article in the Ocala Star-Banner from 1967, and I think Royala/Royale was his label. I believe he is the same Jack McGowan who produced the The Great Masquerade, also known as The AC/DC Caper, filmed in Miami in 1973.
John Tabor sent in the photo seen here and gave the lineup of the group:
Henry Rawls – vocals & trumpet
John Tabor – vocals & lead guitar
Andy Facundus – bass guitar
J.W. Howell – drums
Billy Sandlin – vocals & rhythm guitar
“Come on Up to My World” and “Dream Train Ride” are solid psychedelic numbers, while “Sunshine” is a quiet ballad in a folk or country-rock style, and “I Need You” has fuzz guitar but is more of a pop song. All four songs feature two vocalists singing each line of verse.
National Guild Studios were located in Orange City about an hour and a half east-southeast of Ocala. I’ve heard clips of both thanks to Jameson Sweiger, who took the photos of the acetates seen here and gave me some background on them.
Jameson wrote: “Larry had a full album from the sessions of these 45s that was to be released but shelved after his death and never released. Larry had the original reel to reels when I met him. Sandlin apparently was in movies or working on movies at the time of these 45s.”
Sandlin next joined with Barry Winslow of the Royal Guardsmen for a single on Mega, “Have You Seen a Rainbow Lately” / “Peace Time” that got a good mention in Billboard in November, 1971.
Billy Sandlin also recorded two songs I haven’t heard, “Turn Me On” / “Country In The City” that exist on a Capitol custom 8″ demo, I’m not sure of the year.
Tragically, Billy and his wife Melinda were killed when their car was hit by a drunk driver fleeing the police in Ocala in February, 1973.
Billy Sandlin discography:
Vim Records 1006 – Billy Sandlin – “She’s Mean” (Sandlin, pub. by ThreeWay BMI) / “Don’t Let Me Down” (1959)
Gala Records 45-110 – Billy Sandlin – “She’s Mean” / “Don’t Let Me Down” (1959)
Gala Records 45-115 – Billy Sandlin – “Teenager’s Dream”/ “Cha Cha Bop” (Sandlin) (1960)
Strike Records S-103/4 – Billy Sandlin with the Strangers and the Bluetones – “My Little Twisting Baby” (Sandlin) / Billy Sandlin and the Strangers – “My Little Star” (P4KM-5346), recorded in Germany with a group also known as the King-Beats, but issued in the U.S. circa 1963.
Viking Records 1001/2 – Billy Sandlin and the Embers – “You’ll Always Have Someone” / “I Kept on Walking” (Sandlin, pub. by Montague Music), produced by Larry E. Montague
Royale 1966.326 – Billy Sandlin with the Interns – “Poor Rich Girl” / “Here Comes That Feeling” (1966) prod. by Jack McGowan
Royala 1966.329 – Billy Sandlin with the Interns Orchestra – “I Kept On Walking” / “Sweet Loving” (sung by Ace Perryman), 1966
Mega 615-0044 – Winslow & Sandlin – “Have You Seen a Rainbow Lately” (Barry Winslow-Barry Sandlin) / same (1971)
Sounds of Sandlin – “Come on Up to My World” / “Sunshine” (National Guild Recording Studios demo, late ’60s)
Sounds of Sandlin – “Dream Train Ride” / “I Need You Girl” (National Guild Recording Studios demo, late ’60s)
Billy Sandlin – “Turn Me On” / “Country In The City” (Capitol Custom 8″ acetate disc, date unknown)
Sources include That’s All Rite Mama
The Dickens came from Pensacola, Florida. The members of the band were:
Rick Pierce – keyboards & vocals
Louie Boyleston – guitar
Ron Bowman – rhythm guitar & lead vocals
Jimmy Smith – bass, harmonica & lead vocals
Skip Higgins – drums
A news clipping shows the band as a four piece formed at Pensacola High School before Rick Pierce joined. The article notes the band played dances at Pensacola teen clubs the Place and the Beacon Club, and that they won the St. Ann’s Annual Talent Context.
In September, 1967 they cut two good, quirky versions of Left Banke songs on Format Records F45-5004/5, “I’ve Got Something On My Mind” / “I Haven’t Got The Nerve”. The single was produced by Jerry Ray for Daddy Rabbit Prod.
“I Haven’t Got the Nerve” is taken at an incredibly fast pace.
Jerry Ray is again listed as producer, but Rick Pierce arranged them and the production is much better than the first single. The band sounds more mature, with better keyboard work and stronger vocals than the first release, and the horns fit in fine on “Inside-Outside”.
This single had release as Format F-45-5006/7 in March of ’68, with publishing by Tamrof Pub BMI.
I contacted Ron Bowman, the lead vocalist on these songs, who provided this info on the band, plus the photos and sound clips:
The Dickens began forming circa ’62-63. Pensacola, Florida, Gulf Breeze to be precise. Ron Bowman & Louie Boyleston swapped their baseball gloves for acoustic guitars & began playing folk music, until they heard the Beatles. With electric guitars in hand, Winston for Ron & Silvertone for Louie they began scratching up Beatles, Stones, & Hollie records to learn the chords & lyrics. Time for a bass player. We knew a guy who looked the part, but he was too much into surfing, but he auditioned singing “Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”. We figured he could learn to play a 4 string instrument. Next a drummer. In West Pensacola we learned of Skip Higgens. He had a drum set. So voila, we had a band.
We’d play the run of the mill soul music all the other Pcola bands were playing, especially because people could dance to them, but our tastes were deep into the British Invasion, especially the vocals. I did most of it, but Jimmy & I were both the lead singers. We managed to get known, won a couple Battle of the Bands, then we heard about an amazing keyboardist (actually he played everything – from drums to pedal guitar) also from West Pensacola, Rick Pierce.
Once he joined the band, we really took off locally. Our early manager was a local disc Jockey, Daddy Rabbit Ray. We recorded our first session in Memphis where we recorded our first single “I’ve Got Something on My Mind” & “I Haven’t Got the Nerve” both Left Bank songs. We sold 90 copies in Albany, NY. We also recorded the first of Rick’s original songs “No One Seems to Know”, but that didn’t make vinyl. I think this was in ’66, I know we attended a Monkeys concert while in Memphis.
Q. What was the connection with Memphis?
Our manager knew of a studio. Why Memphis, beats me.
Q. Were you all fans of the Left Banke or was that mostly Rick’s influence?
Oh yes. They came to Pcola. We were deep into baroque music. Or ‘broke music’. All of us, not just Rick, but because of Rick’s fine piano/harpsichord musicianship, we were able to pull it off. Our main influence, besides the Beatles & Stones, were The Hollies. Damn those boys could sing harmony.
Because of this mild success, we rented out places in small southern towns like the Natl Guard Armory to make a decent wage for high school kids. In ’68 we recorded in New Orleans. All 3 songs were Pierce originals with Ron singing lead. A-Side “One of a Kind Woman”, B-Side “Inside Outside”, & the unreleased “I’ve Been Gone”. We sold far more of these singles & were listed on Billboard’s Hot 100 Charts with a bullet. Later we found out our manager had sent our tapes to MGM. They offered to fly us to LA to record an album & I guess groom us for a national audience. They offered Daddy Ray $40,000 as a finder’s fee. He thought “Gee if they’re that good, I’ll keep them on my label, FORMAT RECORDS. Just as well we didn’t know this at the time…
Q. Are the unreleased songs, “No One Seems to Know” and “I’ve Been Gone” still around?
I have two versions of the New Orleans session of “I’ve Been Gone”, one with & one without the lead. Jimmy Smith remixed this when he worked at Capitol Records. Another Rick Pierce original. Don’t think “No One Seems to Know” from Memphis survived.
About early ’69 we splintered off & Jimmy, Rick, & I formed a newer ‘Stoned Dickens’ foursome, John Russel played lead guitar, Rick moved to drums. Lots of Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Hendrix.
I did a short stint in the Phaetons as a bass player/ backup singer. Made a ton of money as Charlie Capri, our manager, kept us on the road. But that lasted less than the Stone Dickens, maybe 4 months.
With the narco cops following us around, Jimmy & Ron hightailed it to California. We formed a group called The Alleycats (several versions of members, one including Louie again).
Louie went on to open a mod clothing store, Oz Boutique. He was probably the best rhythm guitarist I’ve ever heard, although I do have one recording of my song “Real Fine Love” where he tears up the lead. He knew the chords to every rock & country song. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack about 2005 in his 50s.
Skip went to New Orleans & kicked around before winding up in Vienna, Austria, where he still lives. We are in touch.
Rick went to Atlanta, got very in with the Atlanta sound. I saw him last playing a solo gig in Marietta, Ga. We are not in touch now, but I’m working on this.
Jimmy’s still in Sherman Oaks. He’s worked a lot in the movie industry & was working at Capitol Records where he had access to their mixing room. This is where our remastered New Orleans session came from.
I stayed based in LA for a total of 17 years. In ’79 I joined the first American band ever to play for Club Med, The Hollywood Party Boys. Mexico, Switzerland, Greece, & always Paris, per diem. When I returned to LA, instead of resuming my music career while working for every record company mail room, including Billboard, I went to LACC & became an Elec tech. Moved back to Pensacola area, where I still live. I’ve always continued to write & record music.
You can hear Ron’s songs since The Dickens era on his Youtube channel.
Thank you to Ron Bowman for answering my questions and his help with this article.
The Inner Thoughts came from Clearwater, Florida, west of Tampa. There’s not a lot of info about them available, but the Inner Thoughts had one of the best and earliest releases on the Paris Tower label, “Smokestack Lightning” b/w a band original, “1,000 Miles (Cheating on Me)”, released in March, 1967.
Paris Tower included a postcard with some copies of the single, featuring the cool photo of the band with this great description on the other side:
Shaaa-Zam!!! THE INNER THOUGHTS are ready to capture your city with their first Paris Tower release, which is a far out, fuzz-toned, revamped arrangement of “Smokestack Lightning.”
Rumbling into high gear; this Clearwater, Florida group has made a name for itself among the cool set on Florida’s West Coast.
Give a close listen to the flip side, “1,000 Miles (Cheating on Me).” This is a surprisingly original number with a wild “MOD” mood featuring tonal transitions indescribable in print. THE INNER THOUGHTS will be around for a long time!!!
Bob Baskin – vocals
Ray Carpenter – lead guitar
Mark Burgess – bass
Sonny (surname?) – guitar
Jeff Covert – drums
Mark Burgess was formerly the lead guitarist for J. R. and the Newtrons, a Dunedin group that didn’t record but whose members included David Muse, later of Firefall; John Roedel, who joined Those Five; Bill Harrill; Buddy Waterman; and Rick Roberts of the Flying Burrito Brothers.
“Miss Dove” has buzzing guitar over a very English sounding track and vocal. The flip is gentler with the piano more prominent than the guitars.
Although the label has an address at 100 Ardmore Ave, on Staten Island, NY, I’ve also read the band was from Jacksonville, Florida. Some copies have a sticker changing the artist name to Blues Uv Purple, vocal Tippy Smith. Confusingly, a CD compilation listed the band as the Powers Uv Purple, I’m not sure where they got that name.
The only other member of the group I know of besides Mike Ogilvie and Tippy Smith is Patrick Ogilvie who played organ. The photo at top is supposed to be the band but I need confirmation of that. Thank you to Ken Friedman for sending it in.
This seems to be the only release on the Sandal Wood Records label. Sandalwood Music BMI published the songs and the pressing was done by Sound of Nashville, SoN 63051.
Charles Fuller owned Boss Records in Tampa, Florida, along with other labels like CFP, Fuller and Tigertown. John Brummage did much of the production work for all of these, at least some of the time at H&H Productions studio. Fuller Music BMI or Fulprod Music Publishing Co. ASCAP published the original songs.
Boss only lasted for a couple years, 1966 and 1967.
Me & the Other Guys included Frank “Dutch” Walton, Billy Aerts, Chuck Doughtery, Kent LaVoie, and Leon Massey, and had an earlier single on Hit Cat Records “Skinnie Minnie” / “Crazy” (J. Wilson, D. Walton, Redrah Music BMI).
I haven’t identified 001 or 005 yet. Any help with this discography would be appreciated.
BOS-001 – ?
BOS-002 – Rovin’ Flames – “I’m Afraid To Go Home” / “I Can’t” (Feb. ’66)
BOS-003 – Ravens – “Reaching For The Sun” / “Things We Said Today”
BOS-004 – Berkley Five – “You’re Gonna Cry” (M. Newman, Yubash Music BMI) / “In the Midnight Hour”
BOS-005 – ?
BOS-006 – Trojans – “The Kids Are Allright” / “Leave Me Be” (Dec. ’66)
BOS-007 – Souldiers – “Would You Kiss Me” / “Lemon Sun” (Jan. ’67)
BOS-008 – Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” / “Short And Sweet” (both by McMillan) FulProd Music ASCAP
BOS-009 – Me And The Other Guys – “Runaround Girl” (C. Dougherty, D. Walton) / “Everybody Knew But Me” (J. Wilson, D. Walton)
BOS-0095 – Purple Underground – “On Broadway” / “Rain Come Down”
BOS-010 – Purple Underground – “Count Back” / “Soon” (Aug. ’67)
Mike Regar – lead vocals & keyboard
David Lasswell – lead guitar & vocals
Tom Saussy – rhythm guitar & vocals
James Spoto – bass & vocals
John Trujillo – drums
Released on Boss 006 in December 1966, the band do an excellent job with their harmony singing on the Who’s “The Kids Are Allright” (sic) and the Zombies’ “Leave Me Be”. I know bands in my high school never sounded this competent.
It was their only single. Mike Regar eventually joined a longer-lived Tampa band, Amanda Jones.
Info on the Trojans from Tedd Webb’s Tampa Bay bands site.
Bands with singles on Boss that I haven’t covered yet include the Berkley Five, the Journey Men, Me & the Other Guys, and the Purple Underground.
The Ravens came from Tampa, Florida. They two singles a couple years apart with different band lineups. The first single is on Charles Fuller’s Boss label, the original and gentle “Reaching for the Sun” b/w a slamming instrumental version of “Things We Said Today” on Boss BOS 003 in 1966.
According to Brian Egan on the Tampa Bay Garage Bands website (originally published in Fuzz, Acid & Flowers I believe), the first line-up of the Ravens consisted of Mark Maconi on lead vocals, Richard “Rick” Vincent Simpson on lead guitar and vocals, Richard “Thor” Simpson on rhythm guitar and vocals, Brian Egan on bass and vocals and Paul Purcell on drums and vocals.
By 1966 the two Rick Simpsons had left the band. Al Schweikert joined on lead guitar – at 21 he was four years old than the rest of the band and became their leader. John Hallenstein came in on organ and the band started playing bigger gigs. This was the lineup that Charles Fuller saw at the Spot in Tampa and brought in to cut a single. “Reaching for the Sun” had song writing credits to Albert Schweikert and Bob Orrick, an early manager and subbing bassist with the group. Brian Egan credits Richard Vincent Simpson as the original writer of “Reaching for the Sun”, however Schweikert at least would prove himself to be a fine song-writer in the near future.
Soon after the Boss single, the band dropped Brian Egan and replaced him with Ken Spivey. Chris Krawczyn replaced Hallenstein on keyboards, and later Beau Fisher replaced Spivey on bass. The band split up around 1968 and Schweikert reformed the group, bringing in Kent Pearson on bass. Mark Maconi and Paul Purcell were the only original members to last the full time with the band. Their second manager was major Tampa area promoter A.J. Perry
Albert Schweikert and Karl Lamp (Karl Leopold Lamp, Jr.) wrote “Calamity Jane” for Roznique Music, BMI. Schweikert and Lamp had scored a success (artistic anyway) in 1967 when they co-wrote “As Time’s Gone” for the Tropics, a classic of ’60s garage.
The Gernhard Productions credit on the Rust label refers to Phil Gernhard, who co-wrote “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” and brought the Royal Guardsmen to Laurie Records (Rust Records’ parent label). Gernhard surpassed himself on “Calamity Jane”, blending bullet ricochets, morse code beeping, horns, fuzz guitar, electric sitar, flute and melodica sounds and cowbell into the backing track. The single attracted no chart action – perhaps Laurie Records was in the process of phasing out the Rust subsidiary so they didn’t promote this late single. In any case, “Calamity Jane” has become a catchy hit among club DJs in recent years.
Schweikert’s original “Now She’s Gone” has none of the flashiness of the A-side, but an inventive organ track and good harmonies back up an impassioned lead vocal. Copyright registrations from that era show another Schweikert song never recorded to my knowledge, “The Prism”.
Towards the end of the band, Albert Schweikert left. Tommy Angarano came in on organ and Charlie Bailey on guitar for the final lineup of the band.
If anyone has more input on their time with the Ravens I’d like to hear about it.