Category Archives: Des Moines

Splitsound Records discography and the Whose Who

Splitsound was a Tucson, Arizona label owned by Dan Gates, DJ/Program Director at KTKT and Dan Peters. Splitsound is best known for the Dearly Beloved’s great “Flight Thirteen”, but it also had fine 45s by the Lewallen Brothers, the Buckett City Distortion Rackett and the Grodes.

The Whose Who were actually a vocal group from Dayton, Ohio Des Moines, Iowa. Dan Gates recorded their tracks at Audio Recorders in Phoenix in return for doing background vocals for another artist produced by Gates, Rena Cook.

James Hagerty of the Whose Who wrote to me, “The group was from Des Moines, IA and included James Hagerty, Kathy Mazzola, Darrell Chrystle, and Al Jinx. We came to Tucson to record at the request of a former member of the group, Steve Harris who had recently moved to Tucson. I don’t know how he met Dan Gates.”

Fans of moody pop should dig “Don’t Let Her See You Cry”, written by Grodes vocalist Manny Freiser. The breezy flip, “The Fun We Had” was written by J.J. Hagerty.

Usually Splitsound releases have a catalog prefix “SSDG” with the DG standing for David Gates. The Whose Who was produced by Steve Harris, so it has the prefix “SSSH”, unique among Splitsound 45s as far as I can tell.

any help with this discography would be appreciated!

Splitsound discography:

SSDG 1-1/1-2: Lewallen Brothers – I Think I’m Glad (Cal Lewallen) / It Must Be Love

SSDG 2-2/2-2: Rena Cook (with The Grodes Orch. & Chorus) – Once in a Lifetime Love (Manny Freiser) / The Lovelost (featuring Reggie Arvizu) – Lost Love

SSDG 3-1/3-2: Buckett City Distortion Rackett – I Can See It’s Coming / I Lied (Steve Lewis)

SSDG 4-1/4-2: Grodes – Give Me Some Time / Background of Give Me Some Time (both by Manny Freiser and Rich Cota Robles) (December, 1967)

SSDG 5-1/5-2: Dearly Beloved – Merry Go Round (Larry Cox) / Flight Thirteen (Terry Lee)

SSDG 6-1/6-2: Lewallen Brothers – Only A Dream / Somethin’ On My Mind (March, 1968)

SSDG 7-1/7-2: Butterscotch – Your Own Love / Three-O-Nine (Fred Porter)

SSDG 8-1/8-2: Spring Fever (The Grodes) – Sand / Give Me Some Time (June 1968)

SSDG 9-1/9-2: Greylock Mansion – Over My Shoulder / Dedication (1970)

SSSH 1-1/1-2: Whose Who – The Fun We Had (J.J. Hagerty) / Don’t Let Her See You Cry (Manny Frieser).

Max Waller writes about Greylock Mansion that it “was released in 1970 but had been recorded in December 1969 at the same time as the ‘Catafalque’ / ‘Amazon’ pairing that was released first in Jan 1970 on Dynamic Records.”

Shep Cooke? – or is that a mix up with the Rena Cook 45?

Sources include: 60sgaragebands.com interview with Dan Gates.

Thank you to Max Waller for his help with this discography.

The Second Half

The Second Half were long rumored to have come from southwestern Minnesota, Jasper to be exact – if a rumor could be exact. Actually they were from Des Moines, Iowa, as I learned from Steve Acheson, who put me in touch with his brother David, the bassist for the group.

The IGL label was based out of Milford, Iowa, about two hundred miles from Des Moines. “Forever In Your World” is a really fine uptempo song, written by the band’s vocalist Deni Bell, published by Okoboji Music – Okoboji being a lakeside town in Iowa near Milford.

The flip, “Knight in Armour” is a contrived kind of pop, but the band gives a good performance. It was written by Wes McGlothlen, who turns out to be the group’s friend and manager.

Steve Acheson first gave me some info on the band:

The band was based out of Des Moines, Iowa, not Minnesota. My brother played bass in the band, and they often used to practice in our living room. I’m not sure exactly how long they were together, but it was long enough to get pretty good, and play some local venues. I am several years younger than my brother, and was extremely interested in playing drums at the time, and used to watch them practice for hours.

Their drummer had a set of Ludwig drums, with that classic “60s” color, sort of like the drums Ringo used during the Beatles’ early years. Occasionally, he’d let me play them. (Thanks Bob.) I recently talked with my brother, and between the two of us we remembered some of the details below:

The lineup at the time the record was made was:

Bob Spooner – Drums
David Acheson – Bass Guitar
Deni Bell – Lead Vocals
Dean Arnold – Rhythm Guitar
Fred Shaffer – Lead Guitar
Wes McGlothlen – Manager

When they made the record, I remember there was a lot of “buzz” around our house. They loaded all their equipment into a trailer, and hitched it behind our Mom’s ’63 Ford Falcon, and towed it off to somewhere, which I now find was IGL studios in Milford.

My recollection of the “B” side of the record is that it wasn’t that good a song. Certainly not on a par with Forever In Your World.

When I played this for my brother, he, at first, didn’t recognize it, having not heard it for 40 years. But then, the memories all started coming back.

After the band broke up, and after my brother graduated high school, he joined the Army, and ultimately ended up in Denver, CO. He doesn’t play an instrument any more. The funny thing is, I remember more about the band, and the song than my brother. Even before I found the song again, I knew the opening bass line, the basic melody and the first verse and chorus. For some reason, that stuck with me for all these years. We have no idea of the whereabouts of any of the other members.

David Acheson added:

I don’t remember many specifics about the band. Don’t even remember how I got involved with it. I do remember that I played a red Guliettin bass guitar.

Bob Spooner (drummer) and Dean Arnold (rhythm and keyboards) were out of school. Bob was married. Deni and Fred went to North High School, Fred Scheafer (lead) was a junior, Deni Bell (lead vocals) was a senior, I believe. I went to Roosevelt HS, I was a senior. Wes McGlothlen (manager) was out of school.

Our name came about because Wes and Deni wanted us to be “the second half” of the music revolution that The Beatles began. My mother was very involved … we practiced a lot in the living room of our home, and she drove us to some of our gigs. Two that I remember the best were at Fort Des Moines Roller Rink for a battle of the bands, and at a frat house on the University of Iowa campus for their homecoming. I remember many students at U of I telling us they thought we were the best band on campus that weekend. We also received a very enthusiastic reception at the battle of the bands.

Wes, and especially Deni and Dean, wrote a lot of songs, many of which were incorporated into our playlists. For the most part, the original music was very well received.

I don’t remember much about the studio work, except that the day was very long. The weeks prior to the recording date were spent in constant rehearsal on “Forever in Your World”.

I am not inclined toward music. It was hard work for me to play any instrument, so I didn’t continue my “career” after I graduated (1967). Shortly after I graduated I joined the Army and left everything with my mother. While I was in Germany I learned that she traded or sold it for a sewing machine. I was glad she did as she got much more use out of that than I ever would have with the guitar. It was quite an experience for me at the time. I wish my mother were alive …. she remembered everything, and I am sure she could have provided us with details that have been long forgotten by everyone else. I remembered a few things just talking with my brother the other night … things that I hadn’t thought of in years. When I left Des Moines I didn’t stay in touch with anyone.