Category Archives: Lexington

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns photo
(Left to Right) Ronnie Wilson, Ronnie Mobley, Ronnie Hellard, Ricky Hackworth and Ronnie Moore

Ronnie Hellard – vocals
Ronnie Mobley – rhythm guitar (Fender Jazzmaster)
Ricky Hackworth – drums
Ronnie Wilson – bass guitar (Gibson EBO)
Ronnie Moore – lead guitar (Fender Telecaster)

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns on stage
Moore and Mobley on stage at Danceland, Lexington, Ky.

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns were a teenbeat/surf/rockin’ combo formed in ’62 around Versailles, Kentucky just outside of the small college town of Lexington, Ky.

Vocalist Ronnie Hellard was born and raised in Versailles, Ky. Ronnie Mobley was born and raised in Lexington and moved to Woodford County in 1962; he played a Fender Jazzmaster he bought from local rock n’ roll singer Jimmy Lee Ballard, who recorded for REM.

Drummer Ricky Hackworth and Ronnie Wilson were both from Lexington, and lead guitarist Ronnie Moore came from Woodford County.

Ron Mobley recounts his memory of how the band started in his own words:

“I was 15, all the others were 16 except Hellard, who was 18 when the group formed.  I met Moore at Woodford County High School in 1962.  He knew of a singer and contacted Hellard.  Moore had met Larry Wilson, a good Lexington guitarist and brother of Ronnie Wilson, so we got him on bass and he knew of a drummer, Ricky Hackworth.”

“Our initial rehearsals were at Ricky Hackworth’s parents’ home. We all lived with our parents in 1962.  Moore and Hellard had cars and drivers licenses, so they transported the rest of us and our gear.”

“The first time the band received recognition was when we competed in a “Battle of the Bands” in Lexington and won. There,  Bill Stakelin, a student at Georgetown College and part-time disc jockey at a daylight to dark AM radio station WAXU in Georgetown heard us play. He had been booking The Castaways, a group that attended his college.  He approached us and asked to represent us and we agreed; a move that was not popular with The Castaways.  He kept us busy with frat parties and events during the school year and in the bars during the summer months.  We were all under age but the bar owners didn’t care because we attracted customers.”

Ronnie and the Sinsashuns Wham 45 Laugh It Up BabyThey recorded and released one 45 in the summer of ’64, both original sides penned by Ronnie Hellard and the band. Recorded in Lexington at Lemco Studio, it has a heavy reverb’d production quality and was released on the band’s own custom moniker through Lemco, on the WHAM label – named after neighboring Ohio rocker Lonnie Mack’s song on Fraternity. It is noted that the 45 is the first 2-sided vocal release to come out on a Lemco label – all previous releases having an instrumental b-side.

“Laugh It Up Baby” is the rockin’ side- it has a cool country drawl on the playful lyrics, back-up vocal group chatter, reverb’d guitar and production, handclaps, along with a raucous scream by guitarist Ronnie Moore right before his blistering guitar break.

Ronnie and the Sinsashuns Wham 45 Sonya“Sonya” is the ballad side penned by Hellard, Moore and Mobley- it has a nice laid-back rhumba-beat, with a sparse guitar break, exotic drums and pleading vocals.  The song is said to have been written about the prettiest girl in Woodford County who just happened to also be the daughter of a local deputy state trooper.

The group had previously recorded an Audiodisc 5-song 12″ acetate at WVLK, a local radio station situated in the top of the Lafayette Hotel on Main Street in Lexington.  This record contains 3 vocal tracks- “True Fine Mama” – “Pretty Girls Everywhere” and “Peepin’ and Hidin'” along with two tasty surf instrumentals called “Caliente” and “San Jose”. This demo was recorded on January 20th 1964,  shortly before they recorded their original sides at Lemco.

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns news clip, March 6, 1964

Kingsmen show poster, October 2, 1964 at Joyland Casino, Lexington, Kentucky
Ronnie & the Sinsashuns shared the bill with the Kingsmen at Joyland Casino, October 2, 1964

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns had a regular presence around Lexington performing at Danceland, The Palms and on The Nick Clooney Show to name a few. They also did a brief tour up through Ohio and Indiana to promote the record. They competed in and and won local Battle of the Bands competitions and were well plugged and promoted  by WVLK.

They were the featured opening band for shows with the Kingsmen and Bo Diddley on the stage at Joyland, a popular amusement park on the north end of Lexington,  circa 1964. In recent interview, Mobley jokingly commented that the Kingsmen only knew about four songs and the Sinsashuns had to play longer to fill out the concert’s bill. He also noted that Bo Diddley was a super nice guy and even sent him a Christmas card that following year.  Joyland Park closed down soon after the Kingsmen show and was destroyed by fire in June, 1965.

Ronnie Mobley (rhythm guitarist for the Sinsashuns), who was very in-demand around town, once was called-in as a last minute player for a rockin’ Conway Twitty, circa ’64, at a rough joint called The Palms – another memorable moment and highlight of the band’s short career.

Ronnie & the Sinsashuns on stage
(Left to Right) Moore, Mobley, Hellard and Wilson on stage at Danceland, Lexington, Ky.
Ronnie & the Sinsashuns on stage
(Left to Right) Moore, Mobley, Hellard, Hackworth (drums), Wilson, and a dedicated fan who frequented Danceland on maracas.

Pepper Swift and the Monzzas Whirlaway 45 FunRonnie Hellard made another similar sounding record, “My Yo-Yo” / “Fun” on the Whirlaway label in Lexington, Ky in 1965 as alter ego “Pepper Swift” with a backing band called the Monzzas, having no known relationship to the Sinsashuns. He later moved to Nashville and became a famous songwriter, penning tunes like “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” and many others.

Ronnie Mobley continued to play music and became an accomplished mandolin player in a professional bluegrass group called Kentucky Blue, who toured all over the US, Europe and Japan- and released 5 albums during their career.

Ricky Hackworth continued playing drums and toured professionally with the Charlie Daniels Band, David Allen Coe, Johnny Paycheck and others. He died in 2004.

Ronnie Moore became a barber and co-owned his own shop, was a US Navy Vietnam veteran and died in 2015 at the age of 69.

Ronnie Wilson is deceased; it is unknown at this time what he went on to do after playing bass with the Sinsashuns.

Ronnie and the Sensations news clipping
Ronnie and the Sensations [sic] play a variety show
WKLX Paris, KY Survey August 28, 1964
“Laugh It Up Baby” at #25 on the WKLX survey on August, 28, 1964, Paris, KY
Ronnie & the Sinsashuns photo records
Ronnie Hellard and Ronnie Mobley posing with their new 45rpm release, summer of ’64.
Lee Bryant and Ronnie Mobley
Lee Bryant (author of this article) with Sinsashuns guitarist Ronnie Mobley, October 2015.

Chetwyd Records Discography

Ed Commons started Chetwyd Records in Lexington, Kentucky in 1966. Ed wrote to me with some info about the label:

Walt Harper Quintet Encore Custom LP Harpers Ferry
Walt Harper Quintet LP on the Encore Custom label, recorded at Encore Electrical Recording Co. Pittsburgh, 1962

I had a label and recording service in Pittsburgh PA, (Encore Electrical Recording Company, label Encore Custom) before coming to Kentucky in the summer of 1965. Chetwyd preceded House of Commons. HOC began in in 1972, I believe, and the label was by then no longer in production. Currently I am the Producer/Director of Red Barn Radio, just getting ready to finish our 14th season.

Pepper and the Shakers were a Lexington group, not the one that recorded in New York [the Westland, Michigan group who cut “Semi-Psychedelic (It Is)” / “I’ll Always Love You” on Coral 62523]. There are pix of all artists, and some press and release materials. 
 
CW-45008/9 numbers were held for sessions of the Iris Bell Trio, and were never released.

You show 45010 with a yellow label, there was a re-release with a purple label, the masters were –re eq’d, and re-mastered. The yellow actually has the better sound, and would be preferred.

45001-45007 were release as standard mono 45’s. CW-45007 was released in Compatible Stereo as were both versions of CW-45010.

45s:

CW-45001 – One of Hours – “It’s Best” (Foreman – Bogliole) / “Trifolia” (Foreman – Flynn -Bogliole) 1966, both songs pub. by Chetwyd BMI
CW-45002 – Pepper and the Shakers – “For My Babe” (Oliver Pepper Burdett) / “Need Your Love” (Clarence Scott, Joe Baltimore), 1967. both songs pub. by Chetwyd BMI
CW-45003 – Marshall Jones and the 4th Dimension “It’s Not Unusual” (Reed) / “Maryland Farmer” (Clements)
CW-45004 – Pat and Barbara – “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” / “Noah” 1967
CW-45005 – One of Hours – “Feel The Pain” (Foreman – Flynn – Bogliele) / “Psychedelic Illusion” (Foreman – Willcutt) both pub. by Chetwyd, BMI (RI 2392D/E) Spring 1967
Intimate Cyrcle Chetwyd 45 SomedayCW-45006 – Maltese – “You Better Stop” / “I Want To Talk To You” both by Akers for Chetwyd BMI 1967
CW-45007 – Universal Sound – “What Now?” / “Keep On Running” 1967
CW-45008 – no release
CW-45009 – no release
CW-45010 – Intimate Cyrcle, lead Cal Settles – “Someday (You’ll Be Breaking My Heart)” by Lisa Palas, Gene Deaton / “A World of Love” prod. by Ed Commons

7″ EP:

CWCM 1001 – “The Real Meaning of Christmas” written and narrated by William Rowe (Children’s Series – 33 1/3 RPM, mono only)

Pat and Barbara Chetwyd LP There Is A TimeLPs:

CWM 66003 – Jack Bailey – When Your Lover Has Gone (mono)
CWS 99003 – Jack Bailey – When Your Lover Has Gone (stereo)
CWM 66004 – Pat and Barbara – There Is A Time (mono, 1967)
CWS 99004 – Pat and Barbara – There Is A Time (stereo, 1967)

Although some singles note publishing by Chetwyd BMI, I can find no record of Chetwyd songs in the Library of Congress listings. See the entries on this site for more info on the One of Hours and the Maltese.

Thank you to Ed Commons for his help, and to Max Waller.

The Maltese of Lexington, Kentucky

The Maltese, February 1967, photo courtesy of Ed Commons
The Maltese, February 1967, photo courtesy of Ed Commons

Maltese Chetwyd 45 You Better Stop

The Maltese came from the Winchester, Kentucky area, about 20 miles east of downtown Lexington. They cut one single for Chetwyd Records of Lexington, “You Better Stop” / “I Want To Talk To You” both written by Akers for Chetwyd BMI, released on Chetwyd CW-45006 in 1967.

“You Better Stop” has sustained fuzz notes and sounds something like the Who’s “Out in the Street”. “I Want to Talk to You” is more like the Stones doing Solomon Burke. There’s nightclub noise running in the background but it’s not quite Got Live If You Want It.

Hear excerpts of both sides. I’m not sure where I found this clip, probably from a record auction.

A few months ago I posted about another group called the Maltese, based out of northern Kentucky communities like Covington, Elsmere and Erlanger, but that was an unrelated group.

Thank you to Ed Commons for sending in the photo of the band and clearing up my confusion of the two Maltese, and to Barry Wickham for the scan of the Maltese 45 label.

The One of Hours, Lexington, KY

The One of Hours, September 1966, photo courtesy of Ed Commons
The One of Hours, September 1966, photo courtesy of Ed Commons

One of Hours Chetwyd 45 It's BestOne of Hours came from Lexington, Kentucky and released two singles on the local Chetwyd Records label.

The band members on their first single were:

Shawn Foreman – keyboards
David Flynn – guitar, vocals
Dave Boglioe – bass, vocals
Robert Nelson – drums
Carol Craig – vocals

The band has the very first release on Chetwyd, CW-45001 featuring “It’s Best (by Foreman – Bogliole), a gentle ballad featuring the band’s vocal harmonies, accompanied by what sounds like autoharp and even whistling.

Ed Commons ran a studio in Lexington and also the Chetwyd label.

One of Hours Chetwyd 45 Trifolia“Trifolia” (by Foreman – Flynn – Bogliole) is more rocking but the production gives it a distant sound. The release date was 1966, and like all their songs the labels list publishing by Chetwyd, though there’s no listing for them in the Library of Congress.

One Of Hours Chetwyd 45 Feel the PainIn April 1967 the One of Hours released their second single on Chetwyd CW-45005. The production is so much better, and the band more energetic and tighter. “Feel The Pain” (written by Foreman – Flynn – Bogliele) is a stand-out rocker with blistering lead guitar, some fuzz blasts, good lead and backing vocals, and a solid rhythm section behind it all.

“Psychedelic Illusion” (by Foreman – Willcutt) has the cloudier production of the first single, but has beautiful guitar picking and a melancholy feel to go with lyrics like “the sounds and the colors start to sway / the sounds and the colors are starting to fade / I feel my life slip away”. An organ, barely heard on the flip side, plays the instrumental break.

After speaking to Ed Commons, Lee Bryant reported to me that Carol Craig left, and the band added Bob Willcut on lead guitar for “Feel the Pain”. Lee sent in the news clip, below, of this lineup of the band:

One Of Hours Herald-Leader, May 7, 1967
One of Hours in the Herald-Leader, May 7, 1967, from left: Shawn Foreman, David Flynn, Bob Willcutt, Robert Nelson (at drum kit), Dave Bogliole

Dave Baldwin spoke to a couple members of the band in the 1990s and said that Bob Willcutt played a Mosrite electric 12-string on “Psychedelic Illusion”.

Most intriguingly, Dave learned the group signed to Liberty Records with the group name changed to “Dandelion Wine”, and recorded and mixed an entire album only to have it cancelled by the label. Dave told me Bob’s “description of the unreleased ‘Dandelion Wine’ album made it sound like it was probably good psych with a lot of fuzz guitar.” I hope the unreleased album comes to light someday soon.

Lee Bryant reports that the lineup changed when they became Dandelion Wine, and included singer Vance Arnett and drummer Davie Rudolf (who could also be drumming on “Feel the Pain”).

Lee reports that the band began travelling to Washington, DC in the fall of 1968, trying to establish a foothold in the area’s music scene. In Lexington they were mostly a studio group, so it would be interesting to see some gig ads or news clips of their activity in DC.

Bob Willcutt owns Lexington’s Willicut Guitars.

Thank you to Dave Baldwin and Lee Bryant for their help. Special thanks to Ed Commons for the photo of the band at the top of the article.

One Of Hours Chetwyd 45 Psychedelic Illusion