Category Archives: Tampa

The Alan Franklin Explosion – The Blues Climax

Alan Franklin Explosion Blues Climax Horne 45 Piece of Your LoveThe Alan Franklin Explosion have received some attention from collectors of private underground albums, but this 45 is worth discussing. Both “Piece of My Heart” and “Bye Bye Baby” were taken from Alan Franklin’s second LP, the one that has his b&w photo and both “The Alan Franklin Explosion” and “The Blues Climax” on the front cover, on the Horne label, J.C. 888-L.

Franklin was from Tampa, Florida, but recorded at Bee Jay Recording Studio in Orlando. The musicians were:

Alan Franklin – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Chris Russel – lead guitar
Buzzy Meekins – bass
Dave Dix – drums

Apparently this was not an actual band but consisted of some teenage musicians invited to play with Alan in the studio.

“Piece of My Heart” is a wild, weird come-on, you can hear this version on youtube. “Bye Bye Baby” more conventional blues-based rock. The label was Horne, with a release # J.C. 888-4. These two songs were included on the first side of the album, Alan Franklin Explosion – The Blues Climax cut in 1969 and 1970. Alan Franklin produced and Bill Vermillion engineered. Alan Franklin wrote all the songs, published by Penetraion Sound Publishing Company.

The notes on the back cover of the LP are worth quoting in full for their hype:

This is a wild savage approach to hard rock blues combining vicious jungle rock rhythm with very tight and lightening fast rhythm and lead progressions with a base that goes right inside of you. The vocals are wild and insane yet loving and caressing. The sound that these four cats put out is so fantastic that you won’t be able to turn it off. This is a new sound, a sound as wild and free as the Climax itself. For the Climax is made up of four rebellious wild fanatical musicians who literally go insane on stage, causing riots at every performance. People are going all the way with the Blues Climax. If you like hard rock music then you will love the Blues Climax.

– Albert Freeman ~ Penetration Publishing Company

Alan Franklin Explosion Billboard 1971, July 24The LP was chosen as Album of the Week in a small ad featuring “Brite Star’s Pick Hits”, run by a Nashville promotion company that was probably paid for the endorsement.

Alan Franklin’s first LP was called simply Blues Climax, recorded about 1968. The musicians are only Alan Franklin on guitar and vocals and Ray Vaughn on drums. It was released with red Horne labels, J.C. 333-7. Three of songs on this first would appear on the second LP in somewhat more polished versions. This earlier version of “Piece of My Heart” is so amazingly raw and crude, with great Bo Diddley type rhythm guitar playing:

His next LP seems to be titled Alan Roy Franklin released sometime in the 1970s. I haven’t heard any of it, nor his 1980 LP, Come Home Baby, credited to The Alan Franklin Explosion. This last one has a cover that has to be seen to be believed: Alan reclines on a bed, long-haired and shirtless, a jug of wine, copy of High Times, some cash and what looks to be a bong next to him on the red velour sheet.

Alan Franklin Explosion Blues Climax Horne 45 Bye Bye Baby

Boss Records of Tampa discography

Me and the Other Guys Boss 45 Everybody Knew But MeCharles 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.

See separate posts on the Rovin’ Flames, the Ravens, the Trojans, and the Souldiers for more info about those bands.

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)

The Trojans

Trojans Boss 45 The Kids Are Allright“The Kids Are Allright” / “Leave Me Be” by the Trojans is another of the lesser-known singles on Tampa’s Boss label. High school kids from the Harry B. Plant and Jesuit high schools, members were:

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.

Trojans Boss 45 Leave Me Be

The Ravens (Tampa, FL)

Ravens Boss 45 Reaching For The SunThe 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.

Ravens Boss 45 Things We Said TodayBy 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

The Raven Rust 45 Calamity JaneThe lineup of Marconi, Purcell, Schweikert and Pearson recorded “Calamity Jane” / “Now She’s Gone” as the Raven on Rust 5123 in late 1968.

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.

The Souldiers

Souldiers Boss 45 Would You Love Me

Here’s an obscure single on Tampa, Florida’s Boss label, the Souldiers with a great harmony song “Would You Kiss Me” b/w an underrated ballad, “Lemon Sun”. Release date was approximately January 1967 on Boss BOS 007 (BSKM-1119/20)

Lewis and Swilley wrote “Would You Kiss Me” for Fulprod Music Pub ASCAP, while Hillert wrote “Lemon Sun” published by Fuller Music Pub. BMI.

Despite the obscurity of the band, the other two names on the labels are famiilar, John Brummage and Charles Fuller.

John Brummage had a hand in the production of the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron”. He produced the Split Ends “Rich with Nothin'”, the Noah’s Ark “Love In”, several for the Rovin’ Flames including “I Can’t” (which he wrote) on Boss, “Gloria” on Fuller and “How Many Times” on Decca, and many for the Boss label including the Berkley Five’s “You’re Gonna Cry” and the Ravens who I’ll feature soon.

Charles Fuller headed the CFP, Fuller, Tigertown and Boss labels, among others, with Brummage most often listed as producer.

There’s a possibility this Souldiers band is connected to another local group called the Soljers aka Blues Syndicate, with Bob Conn as either member or manager, but otherwise I can’t find any definite info on who was in the band or any photos of the group.

Souldiers Boss 45 Lemon Sun

The Sugar Beats

Sugar Beats Knight 45 What Am I Doing HereThe Sugar Beats formed in Tampa, Florida and had the first release on the Knight label, which is much better known for 45s by the Outsiders, the Tropics and the Mods. The band members were:

Roland Kent LaVoie – guitar
Bill Ellington – guitar
Bill Denman – bass
Rick Emmert – drums

Both sides are upbeat pop cover songs, which may be why it was not included in Teen Beat Mayhem. Produced by Phil Gernhard and recorded at H & H Studios, though I’ve also read this was recorded at Charles Fuller’s studio – some overlap there? It dates from approximately 1964, with SoN #s 22541/2 in the matrix.

Roland LaVoie went into Me & the Other Guys who had two 45s, “Skinny Minnie” / “Crazy” on Hit Cat and “Runaround Girl” / “Everybody Knew But Me” on Boss.

Sugar Beats Knight 45 Have You Ever Had the Blues

The Surprize

The Surprize, from left: Roger Fuentes, James Marvell and Buddy Good. (Paul Paris not shown)
The Surprize, from left: Roger Fuentes, James Marvell and Buddy Good. (Paul Paris not shown)

The Surprize Cent 45 I Will Make HistoryYou can hardly find a better intro than the one to the Surprize’s “I Will Make History”, with an immortal fuzz riff that hooks the listener immediately. I find the lyrics don’t match the intensity of the music, and that hokey interlude just doesn’t make sense to me, cutting the momentum in the middle of the song.

The flip “Too Bad” is more consistent, if more conventional, and is the side I play the most these days. I’ve seen this listed as from the summer of ’67 but I would speculate it was cut a little later.

The Surprize Cent 45 Too BadMembers of the band included:

James Marvell (Carlos Zayas) – lead vocals
Paul Paris – lead guitar
Buddy Good – bass and vocals
Roger Fuentes – drums

Roger Fuentes came from the Early Americans who have a great single on Paris Tower, “Night After Night” / “It’s So Cold Outside” where his drumming stands out. Carlos Zayas wrote “Too Bad” and co-wrote “I Will Make History” with Centinaro.

John Centinaro managed and produced the band on his own Cent Record label out of Tampa, Florida. Centinaro he also managed the Robbs and the Mysterians for a time.

Prior to the Surprize, Good and Marvell collaborated with Centinaro as the Skopes with “She’s Got Bad Breath” / “Tears In Your Eyes” on the USA label in the summer of ’67.

Together Cent 45 I Love YouIn 1968 Good and Marvell released one single with lead guitarist Eddie Wasenberg as ‘Together’, with “I Loved You” (credited to Centinaro, Wonderbuna and Zayas) / “Don’t Laugh at Me” on Cent Records, recorded at Charles Fuller Studios in Tampa. Both sides are poppy productions, and “Don’t Laugh at Me” seems to feature some zippy speeded-up guitar runs.

Marvell, Fuentes and Good went on to join Mercy (“Love Can Make You Happy” on Warner Bros), another band managed by Centinaro. After Mercy, Marvell and Good formed the gospel country music duo the Country Cavaleers, again with Centinaro managing, then went solo in 1976.

James Marvell wrote to me:

The Surprize was originally a 1966 three piece Tampa, Florida band.

Before their days as The Surprize, James Marvell and Buddy Good were singing and writing songs together. It was during those teen years that James and Buddy formed The Scopes. They released a song co-written by their manager John Centinaro titled “She’s Got Bad Breath.” Scope mouthwash banned the song and the duo changed their group name to The Surprize.

Around 1968 Surprize members James Marvell, Buddy Good with their drummer Roger Fuentes joined Mercy and recorded the million seller “Love Can Make You Happy” written by Mercy founder Jack Sigler Jr.

James & Buddy wrote many songs during their teenage years in Florida and even had songs published by The Isley Brothers’ publishing company in New York. James hopes to dig up those recordings from the middle to late 60s.

After Mercy, Marvell & Good went on to form The Country Cavaleers. Today, James Marvell is still traveling and reliving the the music of the 60s. Joining Marvell is his wife Faye.

Sources include: Jeff Lemlich’s rundown on Mercy at Spectropop, the Limestone Lounge, James Marvell’s site and BoggessMusicandSound.com.

 Mercy with Buddy Good and James Marvell
Mercy with Buddy Good and James Marvell

The Rovin’ Flames

 The Rovin' Flames at "Safety Village" theme park, 1966
The Rovin’ Flames at “Safety Village” theme park, 1966

Revised November 2009

The Rovin’ Flames were a major group out of Tampa, Florida. They went through many lineup changes, and it’s only thanks to Dorothy Chapman, the former Secretary and later Vice President of the Rovin’ Flames Fan Club that I can give a detailed listing of lineup changes.

Original lineup, 1965 – spring or summer of 1966:

Paul Battle – rhythm guitar, vocals
Jimmy “Mouse” Morris – lead guitar
J. R. Maietta – bass
Jerry Goff – drums

Rovin Flames Fuller 45 GloriaI don’t know how the band started, but at least some of the Rovin’ Flames were students at Chamberlain High. The Rovin’ Flames first record was “Gloria” / “J.J.J.P.” cut in September 1965 on the Fuller label owned by Charles Fuller who also ran the Boss and CFP (Charles Fuller Productions) labels. This 45 was produced by John Brumage, whose name crops up repeatedly on Rovin’ Flames records, usually as producer.

The group uses the guitar line to “Shakin’ All Over” to open “Gloria”. The singer’s voice on “all I have to do is call her on the phone, and … she’ll be … huggin’ me and kissin’ me” doesn’t make him sound like much of a lady killer – this Gloria might be too much to handle! Mop Top Mike pointed out that this was one of the earliest covers of the Them song, released about six months before the Shadows of Knight had a major national hit with their version.

“J.J.J.P.” is the band’s original, an instrumental take on the Louie Louie bass line and changes. Paul Battle handled the vocals for “Gloria”.

Rovin Flames lineup with original band plus Hardy Dial
Early lineup with original band plus Hardy Dial

Rovin Flames Boss 45 I Can'tSpring or summer, 1966:

Hardy Dial – lead vocals
Paul Battle – rhythm guitar, vocals
Jim Morris – lead guitar
J. R. Maietta – bass
Jerry Goff – drums

Forvus with the Rovin' Flames Tampa Bay 45 Now That Summer Is Here
Forvus (Brooke Chamberlain) with the Rovin’ Flames

Hardy Dial came from the Outsiders, another Tampa group that cut two great 45s for the Knight label, including “She’s Coming On Stronger”. Dial left the Outsiders before their second 45, a ripping take on “Summertime Blues” sung by John Delise. Interestingly, Delise would be behind the microphone with the Rovin’ Flames as well, but not until their last 45 in 1967.

The Rovin’ Flames second record was the demented “I Can’t”, written by producer John Brumage and released on the Boss label in February or March of ’66. The short verse is followed by six bars where Dial (or is it Paul Battle?) simply chants “I Can’t” or sometimes just wails. After a short guitar solo it’s right back to more of the chant, a repetition of the verse and then a fadeout to those maniacal words.

Rovin' Flames Tampa Bay 45 Bo DiddleyFor the flip they do the entirely more sedate “I’m Afraid to Go Home”, a cover of a Brian Hyland song. Despite the catchy rhythm of the guitar and bass this song drags, with rhymes of “what I’ll see” and “Tennessee”.

Next they provided the rhythm tracks for Brooke Chamberlain, a DJ who fancied himself a songwriter and singer. “Now That Summer Is Here” is nearly a parody of beach pop music, with lyrics like “‘watermelon so good” and a chant of “summertime, summertime” in the middle of the tune. Brooke tries holding the last word of each line, but he’s no Beach Boy. Interestingly there’s phasing on the backing tracks, I wonder if that was intentional or caused by some mishandling the tape.

Rovin' Flames Tampa Bay 45 Seven Million PeopleBrooke’s taking himself even less seriously on the flip, “It’s Nothing New”. The awkward artist credits on the labels are another clue to the tongue-in-cheek nature of this 45, with “Now That Summer Is Here” billed to “The Forvus featuring Brooke Chamberlain with the Rovin’ Flames'”, while “It’s Nothing New”, is credited to “Brooke Chamberlain with the Forvus and the Rovin’ Flames and Harvey Swadnungle”. Chamberlain’s alias in BMI’s database is Frank Edmondson Jr.

Jeff Lemlich wrote to me “I think Tampa Bay was Brooke Chamberlain’s label. He was a disc jockey on WALT Radio in Tampa, and as such had a lot of influence. So when he wanted to cut a record, bands like the Rovin’ Flames and Four Letter Words obliged.”

Rovin' Flames opening for the Dave Clark Five, July 1966
Rovin’ Flames opening for the Dave Clark Five, July 1966

The Rovin’ Flames work with Chamberlain had some benefit to the band, as he contributed lyrics for a good ballad, “Seven Million People” for their next 45, released in June of ’66. The group runs the lyrics over an adaption of the Byrds “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”. There’s more action on the other side, a good cover of “Bo Diddley”.

Like the Forvus single and the Outsiders 45s on Knight, this was recorded at H&H Productions in Tampa. The producer for this one is Phil Kempin, the only record they cut not produced by John Brumage.

 

Rovin' Flames at Curtis Hixon with the Tropics and the Dave Clark Five
Rovin’ Flames at Curtis Hixon with the Tropics and the Dave Clark Five

 

 Rovin' Flames third lineup with Jim Davis, John Rogers and Dave Tabak joining.
Third lineup with Jim Davis, John Rogers and Dave Tabak joining.

September, 1966:

*Jim Davis – lead vocals
Jimmy Morris – lead guitar
*John Rogers – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
*Dave Tabak – drums

Paul Battle and Jerry Goff left the band for another project and about this time Hardy Dial left the group as well. By September of ’66 the band had added Jim Davis on lead vocals, Davy Tabak on drums, and for the first time they had an organ player, John Rogers, who came from Mississippi. This group would stay together for a few months but not record.

December, 1966:

*Paul Battle – lead vocals
Jimmy Morris – lead guitar
John Rogers – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
Dave Tabak – drums

Jim Davis left the group in December of ’66 and Paul Battle returned for a very short time as lead vocalist. This lineup also would not record.

Rovin' Flames profiled with the Changin' Tymes
Article with the Changin’ Tymes
 The Rovin' Flames, late 1966
The Rovin’ Flames, late 1966
Rovin' Flames photos, November '66 - March '67
November ’66 – March ’67 photos
 Rovin' Flames at the Sacred Heart Academy, February 25, 1967
Sacred Heart Academy, February 25, 1967
Rovin' Flames Summer of '67, with John Delise and new drummer Eddie Taylor
Summer of ’67, with John Delise and new drummer Eddie Taylor
Rovin' Flames at the WALT beach party, June 24, 1967
WALT beach party, June 24, 1967

February, 1967:

*John Delise – lead vocals
Jimmy Morris – lead guitar
John Rogers – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
Dave Tabak – drums

Rovin' Flames July 1967 photos
Rovin’ Flames July 1967 photos

July 1967:

John Delise – lead vocals
Jim Morris – lead guitar
John Rogers – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
*Eddie Taylor – drums

The next big change for the group was adding John Delise on lead vocals, the same singer who previously had replaced Hardy Dial in the Outsiders. Delise had a good run with the Outsiders. With their name changed to the Soul Trippers, a 45 of “I’m a King Bee” on the Laurie subsidiary label Providence was a minor sensation in the summer of ’66.

The Rovin' Flames, 1967In fact, the Outsiders/Soul Trippers and Rovin’ Flames stories seem intertwined in ways that aren’t fully clear to me yet. With Delise moving on to the Rovin’ Flames, The Soul Trippers became Noah’s Ark, cutting two 45s for Decca, including a cleaned-up version of the Fugs “Group Grope” retitled “Love In” that the band credited to themselves. Ed Sanders could have sued over that one! One of the writers credited on “Love In” is Helen Uncapher who would co-wrote both sides of the Rovin’ Flames next release, “How Many Times” / “Love Song #6” with John Delise. As producer of these discs, John Brumage at H&H seems to have been responsible for placing both Noah’s Ark and the Rovin Flames with Decca in 1967.

Rovin' Flames Decca 45 How Many Times
“How Many Times” is one of the most memorable of all 60’s band 45s, with a swinging organ sound and Delise delivering the wild opening lyrics:

How many times can you put a gun up to your head,
thinking about the pleasures of being dead

along with a lighter verse:

How many times have you pulled into a hamburger stand,
waving your money in your hand,
yelling and screaming like a hungry man,
but the lazy waitress takes all of the day,
but you don’t care she’s ugly anyway!

It was released a little late for its style, in September of 1967. The freewheeling flipside “Love Song #6” was also included on the 1968 Tener various-artists LP release Bee Jay Video Soundtrack.

John Delise went on to join Those Five, probably after their cool 45 “Sidewalks” was released on Paris Tower.

In July of ’67, Eddie Taylor replaced Dave Tabak on drums, though I believe Dave is playing on the Decca 45.

The Rovin' Flames photo, Autumn 1967
Autumn 1967, from left: John DeLise, Johnny Rogers, Jimmy Morris, Eddie Taylor and J.R. Maietta
The Rovin' Flames with new lead singer Bob Thompson, November 1967
The Rovin’ Flames with new lead singer Bob Thompson, November 1967

November 1967:

*Bob Thompson – lead vocals
Jim Morris – lead guitar
John Rogers – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
Eddie Taylor – drums

July 1968:

*Ronnie Goedert – lead vocals
Jim Morris – lead guitar
*Jay Colding – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
*Jerry Nickerson – drums

Autumn 1968:

*Hobie O’Brien – lead vocals
Jimmy Morris – lead guitar
Jay Colding – organ
J. R. Maietta – bass
Jerry Nickerson – drums

John Delise lasted longer than most of the Rovin’ Flames lead singers, but still was with the group less than a year. Bob Thompson took over in November of ’67. Around this time the Flames started appearing with ‘Rovin’ Things’ emblazoned on Eddie Taylor’s drumhead, though I’m not sure if they really changed their name in their bookings.

Johnny Rogers died in March 1968 and Bob Thompson and Eddie Taylor left the band. Jim Morris and J.R. Maietta must have barely been able to hold the group together, but by July they had recruited three replacement musicians – Jay Colding on organ and Jerry Nickerson on drums, plus Ronnie Goedert on lead vocals. Ronnie didn’t stay long and was replaced by Hobie O’Brien in the fall of ’68. The band broke up for good in early 1969.

J.R. Maietta stopped performing and owned a record store for some years. He passed away in 1996. John Delise died on October 3, 2004, and the band’s last keyboard player Jay Colding passed away just this November 26, 2009. Ronnie Goedert later joined White Witch, and passed away in 2000.

Last known photo of the Rovin' Flames, Soap Box Derby Parade, July 13, 1968
Last known photo of the Rovin’ Flames, Soap Box Derby Parade, July 13, 1968

Much helpful information in writing this piece was found at The Limestone Lounge. Special thanks to Jeff Lemlich for providing additional info as well as scans of the Fuller, Boss and Forvus 45s, and transfers of “Gloria”, “J.J.J.P”. “Now That Summer’s Here” and “It’s Nothing New”.More information on John Delise is on the Tampa Bay Garage Bands site, where I also found the photo of the band from the autumn of ’67.

Very special thanks must go to Dorothy Chapman. Her scrapbook of photos and fan club letters provides the timeline and documentation for this article. Without her help I could not have given an accurate account of the band’s history.

Here are Dorothy’s comments on the Rovin’ Flames:

My sister and I met the Rovin’ Flames during the summer of 1966, just before I started 10th grade at Chamberlain High School, through friends who were next-door neighbors to Hardy Dial’s family in our subdivision – he had just joined the band. J.R. Maietta lived with his parents, also in our subdivision, and they practiced there in the screened porch. Shortly thereafter Paul and Jerry left the band, taking the current “official Fan Club officers” with them, and my sister and I took over as “President” and “Secretary” respectively from about August 1966 until the band broke up in early 1969.

The Rovin' Flames van with Fan Club officers, August, 1966
The Rovin’ Flames van with Fan Club officers, August, 1966

Every day after school we would either walk or ride our horses to J.R.’s parents’ house to listen to the band practice. While our school friends were going to football and basketball games, we spent our Friday and Saturday nights (and weeknights in the summers) traveling with J.R.’s parents (who were their managers) to their “gigs” all over Tampa, Clearwater and Sarasota. We even got to go to the Tiger’s Den in Cocoa Beach a couple times to cheer the band on and dance the night away! I kept a scrapbook containing photos, mementos, and some of the monthly newsletters that I laboriously typed on an old manual Underwood typewriter and mailed to our loyal Fan Club members, keeping them up-do-date on the band’s comings and goings. In addition to the newsletters, the members received a membership card and a copy of their latest record, all for $1.00 a year. We even had t-shirts with “Happiness is the Rovin’ Flames” printed on them.They performed some of their recorded songs live – Gloria and Bo Diddley were always favorites. They did play How Many Times regularly, but if I recall correctly they all hated Love Song #6 (which they called Love Song #69). It wasn’t theirs, but I remember that Mustang Sally was always the “dance contest” song. Among others, they performed with the Dave Clark 5, the Grass Roots, the Robbs and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels here in Tampa, and with ? and the Mysterians in Gainesville.

It’s hard to explain to people what it was like to run around with a local rock band in the late 60’s – they were truly local celebrities. There were so many places for kids to go for dancing, where they just sold cokes and pretzels and it was such fun to be a part of the scene! In the Tampa area we regularly went to the FCA Hall, Temple Terrace Rec Center, Sacred Heart Academy Auditorium, The Inn Crowd, Gandy Ballroom, Strawberry Patch, and the Hullabaloo Clubs in Clearwater and Sarasota, to name a few. The memories make me smile (well, most of them anyway).

When Johnny Rogers died it was a real shock – he was such a sweet guy, but obviously had problems we didn’t know about. Things were never quite the same after Johnny died although the band stayed together for about a year. They finally phased out in January or February 1969. Sadly, I’ve heard that a number of the guys have passed away.

Documented gigs and timeline:

August 1965 – first 45 “Gloria” / “J.J.J.P.” released (Fuller CFP2627).

1966:

Feb. or March – second 45 “I Can’t” / “I’m Afraid to Go Home” released (Boss BOS-002)
? – Rovin Flames back the Forvus featuring Brooke Chamberlain on “Now That Summer Is Here” / “It’s Nothing New” (Tampa Bay BC-1110)
June – third 45 “Seven Million People” / “Bo Diddley” released (Tampa Bay BC-1111).
July – Hardy Dial joins on vocals
July 10 – Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, with the Dave Clark Five and the Tropics, set list: “It’s All Right”, “Hey Little Girl”, “Younger Girl”, “Wild Thing”.
July ? – Lakeland Shower of Stars
July ? – Tiger Den, Cocoa, FL
August 13 – Billboard predicts “Bo Diddley” likely to crack top 100 (it didn’t)
Aug. 24 – Sacred Heart Academy
September – Dave Tabak joins on drums, Jim Davis on vocals, followed shortly by John Rogers on keyboards
Sept. 10 – Delta Sigma Phi, Gainsville, FL
Sept. 17 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL – first show with lead singer Jim Davis
Sept. 24 – Patricks Air Force Base
Oct. 1 – Sacred Heart Academy
Oct. 15 – Sacred Heart Academy/ “FCA”
Oct. 29 – Sacred Heart Academy
Oct. 31 – Lakeland
Nov. 1, 2, 3 – Lakeland
Nov. 4 – Umitilla
Nov. 5 – Fla. Pres. College, St. Petersburg
Nov. 11 – Daytona Beach
Nov. 12 – Cocoa, FL
Nov. 17 – Lakeland
Nov. 18 – Fla. Pres. College, St. Petersburg
Nov. 19 – Sacred Heart Academy
Nov. 25 – Carrollwood Country Club
Nov. 26 – Trowel Building, Tampa / Benefit for Robert McCord Oral School – with the Surfsiders
December 1966 – Paul Battle rejoins as lead vocalist
Dec. 25 – Sacred Heart Academy
Dec. 31 – King Solomon’s Mine

1967:

Jan. 16-22 and late January – Beachcomber Club, Jacksonville
Jan. 20 – Sacred Heart Academy
Jan. 21 – band starts using new Vox equipment
Jan. 31 – Feb. 6 – Lakeland
February – John Delise joins on lead vocals
Feb. 17 – Temple Terrace
Feb. 18 – Punta Gorda
Feb. 25 – Sacred Heart Academy
Late Feb. – early March – Lakeland
March 7 – Largo Fair
March 11 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL with the McCoys
March 17 – Big Moose Showcase
March 18 – Apopka Youth Center
March 20 – April 3 – Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami
April 7 – Big Moose’s Showcase, St. Petersburg
Apr. 8 – Sarasota Armory
Apr. 9 – Benefit in memory of Charlie Beecham of the Emotions
Apr. 21 – Big Moose’s Showcase, St. Petersburg
Apr. 28 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL / benefit for Crippled Children’s Home
Apr. 29 – Sacred Heart Academy, Tampa
May 6 – Lake City
May 12 – Sebring
May 13 – Umatilla
May 19 – F.C.A.
May 20 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL
June 2 – Inn Crowd, with the Robbs and the Gents (“15-minute psychedelic version of ‘Summertime Blues'”)
June 3 – Sacred Heart Academy
June 7 – Melborne Civic Center
June 9 – Aloha
June 16 – Temple Terrace
June 17 – Inn Crowd
June 23 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL
June 24 – Aloha / WALT Beach Party
June 28 – Sacred Heart Academy
June 30 – Sacred Heart Academy Luau (private)
July – Eddie Taylor replaces Dave Tabak on drums
July 1 – Sacred Heart Academy Semi-formal (private)
July 10 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, FL
July 14 – J.C. Club
July 17 – Temple Terrace
July 19 – Sacred Heart Academy
September – fourth and last 45 “How Many Times” released (Decca 32191)
November – Bob Thompson joins on lead vocals
Nov. 25 – Clearwater Hullabaloo
late Nov. – Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, with Noah’s Ark, the 13th Hour and the Puddin’ Basin Group

1968:

March – Johnny Rogers dies
March 9 – Tiger’s Den, Cocoa
July – Ronnie Goedert joins on lead vocals, Jay Colding on organ and Jerry Nickerson on drums
July 13 – Soap Box Derby Parade
Autumn – Hobie O’Brien joins on lead vocals

1969: Band breaks up in January or February

Rovin' Flames at the Tigers Den in Cocoa, March 9, 1968
At the Tigers Den in Cocoa, March 9, 1968
Rovin' Flames at the Tiger's Den, Cocoa, November 1966
At the Tiger’s Den, Cocoa, November 1966
Rovin' Flames at the Inn Crowd with the Robbs, June 2, 1967
At the Inn Crowd with the Robbs, June 2, 1967
J.C. Club, Clearwater, July 14, 1967
J.C. Club, Clearwater, July 14, 1967
 Clearwater Hullabaloo, November 25, 1967
Clearwater Hullabaloo, November 25, 1967