I can’t find out much about the Specktrum. The band may have been from Cranston, Rhode Island but I’ve also seen them listed as from Abington, Massachusetts, which is south of Boston and an hour away from Cranston.
In February, 1967 they put out a single on Somethin’ Groovy Records SG-500 featuring two originals by the band, “Confetti” by R. Moore, K. Jeremiah and “I Was A Fool” by R. Schmeisser, K. Jeremiah. Publishing was through Exciting Music BMI but I can’t find anything in BMI’s database on these two songs or the writers.
There were several groups called the Citations recording in the ’60s including ones from Alabama, Maine, Ohio and, most famously, the band from Milwaukee who cut “Moon Race” / “Slippin’ and Slidin'”.
The Citations I’m featuring today were from Lawrence and Methuen, Massachusetts. Though obscure, their July, 1966 release on Pre-Sav Enterprises has two excellent original songs.
“Long Time Wanderin'” was the A-side, a good upbeat cut, but most garage fans prefer the flip, “The Day That She’ll Go”, a good example of the New England sound – moody and with a dense, almost murky production but plenty of atmosphere and emotion.
I had almost no info on the group until I heard from James DiResta, the brother of guitarist Mike DiResta. He sent in the photo seen at top and gave me the names of the band members.
Gino DiMaio – bass and lead vocals John Grasso – lead guitar Mike DiResta – rhythm guitar John Fichera – keyboards Mike Messineo – drums
James wrote to me, “My brother Mike is on the right playing the single cut-away Guild guitar, and wrote the songs on the record. The Vox amps were the original tube amps from England with adapters to play in USA. The club that they use to practice out of, and were the house band for, was the Raven on the Methuen – Haverhill line in Massachusetts. The record had its debut at Turn-Style in South Lawrence and later they showcased at the Hampton Casino.”
Cori Records was the house label for Continental Recordings studio in Framingham, Massachusetts. I discussed the studio in some depth in an article on the Balladeers, who had the first two 45s released by Continental. Max Waller and I put together this discography of the label. It’s incomplete, especially in regard to the LPs, so if you have any additional information please contact me.
All 45s after the first have matrix codes for Capitol Custom pressings. The first letter of the code refers to the year (T=1965, U=1966, W=1967).
Most publishing is either Hyannis Music Co, BMI or Donna Music Pub. BMI.
On “You’ve Got Me Cryin'” BOSS TODES is written below The Mauve but marked out on all copies I’ve seen. The band had a second 45 as the Boss Todes on the Sound City label in 1967, “Have Certainty” / “Sally the Pollywog”.
E.P. Scroggs CR-0001: The Balladeers “Cape Cod (Here We Come) / “Land of the Sea and Sun” (ZTSP-94612/3) (Summer, 1964) Cori CR-31001: The Balladeers “Words I Want To Hear” / “High Flying Bird” (TB 631/2) 8/1965 Cori CR-31002: The Royals “I’m All Alone” / “The Lady’s Bad” (both by Villanucci – Krikorian, June 1965) Cori CR 31003: The Valkyries “Love You Like I Do” (Curtis) / “Blues For Cookie”(TB 476) 1965 Cori CR 31004: Al Gay “Soldier’s Last Letter” / “Over and Over” Cori CR 31005: The Riffs “Outside That Door” (Paul Iannazzo) / “Holy Ravioli” (UB 276) March 1966 Cori CR 31006: The Mauve “You’ve Got Me Cryin'” (Ford-Weeks) / “In The Revelation” (Arranged by Eric Sample, UB 238) March 1966 Insegrievious CR 31007: The End “Bad Night” / “Make Our Love Come Through” (IAM 45-UB-388/6-P1) 1966 Cori CR 31008: Sole Survivors “Love Her So” (D. Cormier) / “There Were Times” (R. Pieroni) PS (UB 423, both sides Hyannis Music BMI) 1966 Cori CR 31009: ?? Cori CR 31010: C.C & the Chasers “Two And Twenty” / “Hey, Put The Clock Back On The Wall” (WB 144/5) 1967 Cori CR 31011: Shyres “Where Is Love” (Cox) / “My Girl” (Beckmann) (WB 218/9, both sides Hyannis Music BMI) May 1967 Cori CR 31012: Jerry Seeco Sextet “That’s All” / “Teach Me Tonight” Cori CR 31013: The Kumbaya Singers “To My Brothers” / “Ruben Harte” Cori CR 222: Brownie Macintosh with the Harry Gronki Corale “Rye Whiskey Joe” (Bill Staines) / “The Call” (Gene MacLellan) – 1971
LPs: Remnant Records RBA 3571: The Rising Storm – Calm Before… Cori CRLP 31002: The Passports and the Tabooz – 66 (Bradford Junior College) Cori CR 3101: Bobby Orr – The Two Sides Of Bobby Orr Cori CR 3111: Paul Wayne – Live At The Garage Cori CS 31009: Endless Knights – Something For You (1971) Cori CS 31016: Endless Knights – Back For More (1975) Cori CS 31017: Brownie Macintosh – Coastline Brownie (1975)
Brownie Macintosh wrote to me about his recordings on Cori:
I met Dan at probably the most troubled time of my life. I was about 19 and had been kicked out of boarding school a year and a half earlier. I used to drive by the studio on my way from Wayland, MA to Hopkinton to see my then girlfriend. After about a year I got up the courage to knock on the door and Dan was very nice and showed me around. I was absolutely in love with the possibility of working in a studio, and after two or so years, Dan hired me to sing on two jingles … I was hooked.
I did first a single “Rye Whiskey Joe” b/w “The Call” which Dan loved and we had some action on radio, but could not get major Boston airplay, even though we came close. We did the single in 1971. It was exciting as Dan and Pudgie knew a lot of DJs and everyone who came through Continental was forced to listen to it. “Rye Whiskey Joe”, the A-side, was four minutes long, unheard of for an unknown at the time.
I have since produced countless recording sessions, commercial jingles, corporate pieces, records, etc, and written songs for and with The Kingston Trio, The Irish Rovers (which produced my first and only gold record) and many large music publishing companies.
Thank you to Max Waller and Brownie Macintosh for their help with this discography.
Bobby & the Farrari’s cut this great 45 in 1967. “Farrari’s” is a misspelling for “Ferraris” as in Ferrari, the car.
“In the Morning” has the dense, moody sound New England is known for. It was the b-side to “Pretty” a song in a somewhat older style of pop balladry. Both songs were written by Carl Gastall, Jr., who later joined Phase IV who had their own 45 on Tuff-Nuff, “Plastic World”, written by D. Bourguet and “It’s You”.
Two later 45s on Tuff-Nuff are Ray Gambio & the Darkest Hour “I’ll Be There” / “The Mountain” and Charlie Quintal’s “It’s a Crazy World We Live In”.
When I first covered Bobby & the Farraris a few years ago, I listed the group as from Bangor, Maine, an error I repeated from a guide to New England bands published in the early ’90s. Bob Hughes tells me the group was based in Fall River and played primarily throughout southeastern Massachusetts and around Providence, Rhode Island.
Bob kindly answered many of my questions and provided photos and a detailed history of his career with the Farraris and his earlier group, Bobby & the Galaxies, along with a cool demo they cut at Metcalf Recording, one side a weeper, “I’m Tearing My Heart Out” and the flip a great upbeat novelty “Giggle Wiggle” with lyrics like “she’s got long black hair way down her back, too bad there ain’t none on her head”. As an aside, Metcalf was the studio for Masada’s “A Hundred Days and Nights”, released on Sadbird in 1968 and written by Paul Brissette.
Bob takes the story from here:
The Farraris were originally a four piece group, me on guitar and lead vocals, Rick Philbert (deceased) on bass and back up vocals, Danny ? on keyboards and Vinny ? on drums. We later added Lenny ?, a sax player from New Bedford, MA. He had the unique ability to play two saxophones at once, and in harmony. Very cool.
The name Farraris was a misspelling. The band was only together for two years. I formed the band because of the breakup or my other band, Bobby & The Galaxies.
Carl Gastall was a friend of mine and a fellow local musician, and really good song writer. His [uncle] Tommy was a catcher for the Baltimore Orioles. Carl admired my work and approached me with these songs. He wanted us to record them and he would get the backer to finance everything. “Pretty” / “In the Morning” was recorded at Wye studios in Rhode Island. It was our only record. It achieved some local success in Providence.
It was the first release on the Tuff Nuff label which was created by a local business man Ritchie Martin, to promote our recording. Later Charlie Quintal and some other local musicians recorded on the label. Don Perry (aka Dino and Don DeCarlo) and Larry Santos also had record labels in Fall River: Honey Bee and Little Town Records. We only sold around 500 of them.
We played mostly in the bars in and around Fall River/Providence area. My day job caused me to transfer out of the area in April of ’69 and that ended the band. I don’t have any pictures of the group.
Ricky Philbert the bass player, and I had been together for quite some time. We first met at a talent show at Lincoln Park Amusement Park in Dartmouth MA. It was a big place and the main attraction in all of S.E. New England.
Ricky’s band and my band, Bobby & the Galaxies, were in the talent contest that was held every Sunday in the outdoor pavilion. My band won that week. Ricky approached me after about teaming up. Since I didn’t have a bass player, I agreed. He immediately joined my band and we went on to win the finals at the end of the summer. The park’s manager asked if we’d like to play in the park’s pub every Sunday and we agreed. We were a big hit in there.
After three weeks he approached us about playing in the large ballroom every Saturday night. We jumped at the chance. The place held 3500 people. He had Al Rainone’s 18 piece orchestra playing there, and drawing about 200 people. When they were fired and we were hired, Al, who was the head of the local Musicians union, threatened to close the park down since we weren’t union. Needless to say, we quickly joined the union. We played there every Saturday night to a packed house for at least five years.
Each week a different star artist or band would appear and do a 45 minute show. We played the rest of the time. We backed up most of the stars of the day. Jerry Lee Lewis, Freddy Cannon, Lou Christy, etc. We opened for The Kingsman, The Beau Brummels, The 4 Seasons, and many more. It was a great experience.
As an aside, I will tell you that after every Saturday gig, we would go to Dirty Nick’s hot dogs, in Fall River. A guy was working there who was at least 10 years older than us, and looked like a bum, and had horrible body odor. He seemed slightly retarded. His name was Joe Baker. Every week he used to beg me to let him sing with my band. He swore he sounded just like Elvis. Well after two years, I relented. He asked me if I could pick him up, since he didn’t have a car. I agreed. The next Saturday I picked him up and he had a bundle in his arms. I asked him what it was and he said it was his outfit. He opened it to show me. He had taken a suit and a pair of shoes and spray painted them gold and sprinkled on gold flecks. That night, he appeared with us, with no rehearsal and just a play list of Elvis songs in the original keys. I introduced him as Golden Joe Baker. So I named him. If you know of him, you know what a huge success he turned out to be (see goldenjoebaker.com. He was a big hit that night and not because he could sing like Elvis, but because he thought he could and went through all the motions and gyrations. He sang badly and the audience thought it was a put on and a hilarious one. But Joe was dead serious about being as good as Elvis. After that night I took Joe with us everywhere we went. He was a big hit at all the frat parties, etc. He ended up being a star of the longest running daytime show in Las Vegas history.
Besides Ricky and me, Bobby & the Galaxies also consisted of Pete Vanasse (Berklee School of Music) on sax, Don Facciano (New England Conservatory of Music) on Hammond organ, and Ron Kook Barrera on drums. Jerry Valle was the drummer for Bobby & the Galaxies for a few years. He ended up being the drummer/singer with the very successful Spi-Dells from Taunton.
We never released any records of our own, but we did back Johnny Locks on his local hit [“I Know You Want Me Baby” / “All I Want From You” from the second half of 1965], on the Locks label. Johnny was a local stock car driver at Seekonk Speedway. Our record would be played there every weekend. It also got some radio play.
Q. Someone on Youtube commented there may be a second 45 by Jonny Locks, “I Really Gotta Go” b/w “My Dead Girl”, and also a demo for “Long Hair and Mini Skirts”.
If Johnny Locks recorded other songs I am not aware of them, and they weren’t with my band.
Other than that we only recorded songs that were never released. “Tearing My Heart Out” / “Giggle Wiggle” is the only record we ever made. This was a demo recorded at Metcalf studios in New Bedford, MA around 1958.
This is the first iteration of Bobby & the Galaxies. The group consisted of me on vocals and guitar, Rick Philbert on bass and backup vocals, Dave Ray on drums, Boh Kiriutowski on sax, and Johnny Pastel on organ. “Tearing My Heart Out” was written by Carl Gastall, and I wrote “Giggle Wiggle”. This record was never released. [There was] a live taping that was done by the later and better version of Bobby & the Galaxies.
We did have offers for record deals, but could not work out a satisfactory deal. We were approached at our Lincoln Park gig, by some producers who wanted to feature us on a weekly TV show, out of Boston. They were going to call it Jamboree, and film it at Lincoln Park, but on a Tuesday night, not at the Saturday gig. It was to be a half hour show with one or two featured guest stars, and my band would be the house band, We would open and close the show with the theme song, Bill Dogget’s “Hold It”, do one featured song a week, and back up the acts that needed back up. It was filmed live with the kids dancing. We signed the contract and filmed four episodes that aired on WBZ, if I remember right. Unfortunately we couldn’t draw a large enough crowd on Tuesdays to finance the producers expenses so they stopped.
I was also involved with Jimmy Crane who owned Ribbon Records, and was a great song writer. He had hits with Elvis, Eddie Fisher, Timi Yuro and Joe Stafford. I was recording demos for him at Wye Records. We also represented WPRO in Providence at the Annual March of Dimes telethon and concert. We appeared on TV and also on the same bill with the Elegants, The Scott Brothers, Anita Bryant, Ritchie Adams and the Fire flies, and other stars of the day.
The Galaxies had an offer to go on the USO tour, for a year, which I rejected, and that caused a lot of dissension in the band. It was the start of the band unraveling. I had finished college, met my wife to be, and had planned on leaving town to get my Masters degree at U. Mass, in Amherst. I had already decided I was not going to pursue a career in music. Of course that meant leaving the Lincoln Park gig too. BTW, at U Mass I hooked up with a bunch of guys from Boston who had a band called the Esquires. I joined them while I was at U Mass. We were a Beatles tribute groups and we worked lots of frat parties. We were one of the two top bands there. The other was Taj Mahal.
After graduation I went home and reformed the Galaxies. I was able to get all of the original members back together. This was ’64. We worked at local clubs and bars, and started to do some society work in Boston. We worked with the Herb Zane Orchestra, as the “rock band” who would play during the orchestra’s breaks, at Debutante parties and such. In ’67 we had a disagreement about the musical direction of the band. The drummer Ronny was pushing to get Ricky out of the group and bring in his friend Manny, who was very good and sang well too, but the reason was to play more soul type music. Ronny didn’t think Ricky had the chops for that. He was wrong. However Ricky got so mad, he quit. Manny joined the group, and the arguments over the material we would play worsened. Three months later I left the group and joined Ricky again, and we formed the Farraris.
When I left the area in ’69, I was transferred to northern New Jersey. There I worked with many fine musicians playing parties and weddings, etc. I got to play at Sardis and the Empire room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
The music scene in Providence and So. E. Mass. was very rich with lots of talented people and groups. The Cowsills came out of Newport R.I. – I actually repossessed their Silvertone Amps when I worked for Sears. To my ears, The Fabulous Raiders were the best band in the area. A few that were outstanding that I remember were Cal Raye, The Spidells, Talk of The Town, Johnny & The Blue Jays, The Royal Coachman, Frankie James, Benny King & the Royal Jesters, Charlie Quintal, Paul Chaplin & Emeralds (Ct.), The Fabulous Raiders, The Blends, The Videls, Jim Scott & The Crusaders, Golden Joe Baker, and more. The only other Tuff Nuff artist I know was Charlie Quintal. Charlie was really good and played with Dicky Doo & the Don’t for a while. I was a member of Johnny & Blue Jays for about a year.
My old sax player Pete and keyboard player Don are still plying music today. Pete is with an oldies group at Foxwood Casino. Kings Row contains original members from several local groups and is also still active in the area.
The Remains – ‘Let Me Through’ b/w ‘Why Do I Cry’ (2011 Sundazed S-231)
Review by Rebecca Jansen
“The new single by The Remains,” now doesn’t that alone sound good? Fortunately this vinyl debut of an original Barry Tashian and Vern Miller composition does sound very good indeed! Performed live on Ed Sullivan’s CBS television studio stage, Sunday December 26th, 1965, Barry’s snarling Guild lead guitar is in good form as the group soars (and sometimes stumbles, true) through some Psychotic Reactions style tempo changes. Very fearless on a national show with a song only cooked up a couple weeks before! Topo Gigio was probably forced into hiding while this punky racket was flowering, not that the sound quality is at all lacking with the minor exception of some audience applause at the start and again at the conclusion.
Sundazed’s sleeve is based on a vintage picture sleeve used by Epic, same design but different shot from the same photo shoot, and it’s that attention to detail that keeps Sundazed high in afficianados’ regard. The flip is a version of “Why Do I Cry” from the essential Session With the Remains LP also available through Sundazed. This single is more fun than Senior Wences’ plate-spinner eating goats; I predict it’ll be really beeg with all the kiddies in the garage!
The Nite Riders were one of many very young bands of the ’60s who cut great records. “She’s Mine” opens with Chuck Franczak’s solid drum beat. Dave Daniel’s guitar has a fine natural distortion on the low notes and good reverb on the higher strings, which he makes use of for some fast runs and licks between chorus and verse.
“Tornado” shows this band had a handle on the tough instrumental style of a few years earlier, like “Shifting Gears” by fellow Worcester group Beep Beep and the Roadrunners. Through some error the label credits this song simply to “Dave”, probably for his lead playing, though the bass runs and drums are excellent here too.
David Daniels wrote to me about the group and included all the photos and clippings seen here:
Dave Daniels – guitar & vocals Bob Dube – rhythm guitar Bernie Thebado – rhythm guitar on the 45 Dean Johnson – rhythm guitar Bill [surname ?] – bass Tony Agby (Tony Agbay?) – drums until late ’66 Charles “Chucky” Franczak – drums
I started the Nite Riders when I was going to school at Chandler Jr. High, Worcester, Massachusetts. We were “The Nite Riders” (not “Night Riders”).
My dad played guitar and he showed me the basic chords. My family has always been around music, my sister “Snooky” (she worked at WORC late 50’s) was in charge most times of making contact and setting up gigs for the stars in and around Worcester. She became real good friends with Bobby Darin, he had been to the house many times. My mom would be making dinners for who ever was in town. So I grew up knowing a lot of famous folks.
The very first Nite Rider gig was a bar on Main St., Worcester, called the New Yorker. We made a $10 bill each and free cokes and chips. My dad who drove for the band in the beginning also got free drinks and $25 go figure. We found out real soon after the first set that this was a gay bar – remember we were 13 to 15 years old, we said “a what bar?”
We met Beep Beep and the Roadrunners when we had Tony Agby as drummer. He showed up with the “Roadrunners” (they were older than us) and boy we thought they were so cool with their full length double breasted dark blue “P” coats. They came to volunteer their time and help us learn how to improve our sound, and WOW! they were already professionals. Tony’s dad was our first manager.
After that is seemed we were always playing the same gigs together, I really had a great time back then. We were all age range 13 to 15 and the Road Runners were our idols. It was so cool that they had two drummers. We played most every place they played, Tony Agbie (spelling?) was our drummer and his dad Tony Sr was manager for the Road Runners.
The band really kicked off after winning a battle of the bands contest sponsored by WORC radio station and winning a chance to record a single, “She’s Mine” / “Tornado”. WORC paid for the session. It was recorded at Hill’s Sound Studio on Chandler St. in Worcester. Hill’s Studio was an old house made into a recording studio, they mostly recorded gospel groups. “Tornado” came about from a combination of the Ventures, Buck Owens, Chuck Barry, and maybe a little bit of “Shifting Gears” from the Beeps, but I think mostly from Danny & the Juniors, good friends of my sister Snooky especially Frankie.
Bernie [Thibodeau?] never played anywhere with us, he really wasn’t a guitar player. I showed him the chords so he could be on the record. You will also see “Hassett” as one of the writers (not). They were my friends and wanted to be involved with band, so I put there names on the record.
We got lots of airplay and loads of offers to play even in New Hampshire. “She’s Mine was #11 on the WORC request charts, July 1, 1967 (I think we had help). We sold our first 500 copies pretty quick mostly at Woolworths and another record store on Pleasant St. in Worcester. We also sold them at the concerts. We ordered another 500 on our dime this time but sales slowed down and we had like maybe 300 left but don’t know what ever happened to them.
The Nite Riders – three notches above Beep Beep & the Road Runners’ second single WORC, August 25, 1967
The Nite Riders had two drummers Tony Agby and then 13 year old Chuckie Franczack, but Tony’s dad still stayed on as our manager.
Later on after the record in ’67 the drummer’s Mom bought a 1959 black hearse and 1960 black limo. Chuck’s mom would drive us to concerts and other gigs in a full chauffeur outfit and we all had black pants with white shirts and gold vests boy we thought we had made the big time.
Chuckie died at age 18 … drugs, he was a great drummer. Dean died in a motor cycle crash I heard. I would love to know if any folks from Worcester have any pictures or stories of The Nite Riders.
Nite Riders with Davey Daniels, November 9, 1967 Lucia’s Restaurant’s Peacock Lounge
Beep Beep & the Road Runners with the Night-Riders (sic), November 25, 1966, Millbury Town Hall
Nite Riders at the Firefighter Dance, Nov. 25, 1966 from left: Dave Daniels, Chucky Franczak and Bob Dube “Our bass player didn’t show up that night” – Bob Dube
Beep Beep & the Road Runners with the Night Riders (sic), December 10, 1966, Webster Memorial Auditorium
Beep Beep & the Road Runners with the Nightriders (sic), St. Bernard’s Parish Hall
at St. Peter’s with WAAB DJ Steve Kane
At Elm Park, clockwise from bottom left: David, Bill, Dean and Chucky
Charles W. Franczak, 14-year old drummer …
The band broke up 1968 and I started a country-rock band “Dave Daniels and US.” When I was 19 years old, the band was playing a bar called Longo’s lounge and there was a big write up about me. Well some goodie goodie complained about an under age kid playing in a bar. I’d been playing bars since I was 13, even the police knew it, but always looked the other way. Well they couldn’t look away this time and I was banned from playing in bars.We fought it and even the Mayor was on my side. There was a town hall meeting and a council chamber meeting and up to 600 people showed up on my behalf. I won and there was an age ruling change for musicians as long as they did not drink and were accompanied by an adult. Until then many groups with minors could not work certain gigs. There was an article with the Cowsills and their trouble with playing certain clubs and in it they mention my case in the article paving the way for other young musicians.
Dave Daniels and US stayed together till 1971. We were to play Le Club International in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and while on the road some how the three cars got separated and the organ player and me wound up in Jacksonville where my car broke down. The organ player Rich went back to Worcester and I stayed and worked with a country band in Jacksonville.
One night some musicians came in and asked if I wanted to go on the road with a well known country singer Claude King (“Wolverton Mountain”) so I moved to Shreveport La. in 1973 and have been here since. We were called the Nashville Knights and then changed to “The Cotton Dan Band”. Our latest CD Claude King Live! can be found almost anywhere on the net.
The best thing I did (not the biggest) was my parents always wished I would be famous enough to play The Wheeling Jamboree WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia. Mom and Dad used to listen to that show every Sat. night and when I was a kid I told them I would be on that show one day. Claude King made it happen. He booked it February 1983 and it was recorded live. On the second half, not recorded but aired, he had me do two songs on his time and dedicated that section of the show to my parents in Worcester MA. Claude King is the best!
Tell Ronnie and the guys of the Beep’s David remembers them and hopes they are all well!
At the suggestion of Mop Top Mike, I’m throwing this one out to the collective wisdom of the internets.
There were plenty of bands called the Wild Ones in the ’60s, but this group doesn’t seem to be related to any of them. A Massachusetts location is possible, as the “200,608” number on the label is similar to others that were produced by Joseph Sala at the AAA Recording Studios in Boston (see for example the Jekyll’s and Hyde’s “You Can’t Judge a Book” on the Boss label). There was a group called the Wild Ones from Shrewsbury/Worchester MA who recorded a 45 I haven’t heard, “Number One Girl” / “Surfin’ Time Again” on Camsul.
Mike wrote: “September, 1965 release. They are not related to the NYC discotheque performing group on United Artists & the Sears label, even tho I’ve seen that mentioned somewhere before. Nothing in copyright matches the titles, songwriters or producer name.”
The highlight is the A-side’s “Please”, a sharp rocker with a desperate singer and a very simple guitar break. “Just Me” is faster, with an even simpler, but effective guitar solo. Good, spare production with a booming sounds to the drums and clearly audible descending bass lines.
Both songs were written by Pratt and Scheurer, and produced by M.A. LaGrotte for the Tiger Productions label.
Info on the Camsul release from Till the Stroke of Dawn by Aram Heller. Song transfers from Gyro1966. Thanks to Mike Markesich for the info and label scans, and to Davie Gordon for pointing out the connection to AAA in his comment below. Thanks also to the Eggman for bringing this subject up!
Beep Beep and the Road Runners formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1962 when the members were only adolescents 10 to 12 years old. Originally they were a quartet: Tom Falconer on bass and vocals, Ron Manley lead guitarist, Louie Dansereau played rhythm guitar and Donny Ouellette drums and vocals.
Don Ouellette lived across Grand Street from Tommy Falconer, and Don’s friend since childhood, Ronnie Manley suggested to Tommy that they start a band. Ronnie knew Louis Dansereau, and the band started practicing in Tom’s living room until they refurbished a room in the basement.
They added their manager’s son Jay Bonen as a second drummer. I asked Don Ouellette if they worked well together musically and Don said no, it was more of a gimmick, which was also what Tom Falconer said in an interview with Fuzbrains magazine. More importantly, the band also added a lead vocalist, Tim Ralston who would be crucial to the sound of their first 45.
As for the ‘Beep Beep’ in their band name, Tom said that it did not refer to any particular member – “There was never a Beep Beep”. Don Ouellette says he was ‘Beep Beep’ but the band kept that secret from the public for a long time.
Early on the band covered surf and r&b instrumentals by the Ventures and Duane Eddy, then added Beatles songs to their repertoire, often playing Friday evenings at St. Peters (Worcester Central). The band backed Gene Pitney twice and competed with local acts the Joneses, the New Breed, the Nite Riders and the Personals at clubs like the Comic Strip, the Speed Club (Speedway Club?) on Mill St., the Red Pony Lounge on Franklin, the Peacock Club in Auburn, and Tatassitt Beach on Lake Quinsigamond in Shrewsbury.
Their first 45 in May 1966 for Vincent Records had an original instrumental by Ron Manley on the A-side: the Link Wray-like Shifting Gears”. On the flip was Tom and Ron’s original song “True Love Knows”. It was an instant garage classic with Tim Ralston’s vocals sounding desperate and at times incoherent, while his cries of ‘true love knows’ on the chorus are echoed by another band member. I hear some evidence of the band’s two drummers in the intro to “True Love Knows”, where the tom rolls sound distinct from the beat kept by the bass drum, hi-hat and snare. I’d like to know details on how the song was recorded. George Gell informs me that it was cut at Al Soyka’s studio in Somers, Connecticut, home of the Glo label (New Fugitives – “That’s Queer”/”She’s My Baby”).
“True Love Knows” was a hit locally, staying at #1 spot on the charts of WORC, 1310 AM. The band’s manager Ray Bonen knew WORC station owner Bob Beyer well. In return for airplay the band appeared at many WORC events, including an opening of a Bradlees store in White City.
Tim Ralston soon left the group: he was older than the rest of the band and became undependable about showing up at their gigs. Jay Bonen also left the band after the first record due supposedly to fainting spells during live shows and from friction caused by Don’s increasing success as lead vocalist.
By late 1966 or early ’67 they added an organ player, Wayne Anderson Warren Anderson, who can be heard on their second 45 from August ’67, the cool “Don’t Run”, an original by Manley and Anderson. To me the song really takes off as the guitarist kicks in with his distortion pedal for the solo. The flip is a bizarre version of “Watermelon Man” that strips out the light touch of the original and turns it into an r&b burner. Don Ouellette sang lead on both sides of this 45. Audio Dynamics 45s were recorded at an old theater in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Don remembers adding his vocals to the instrumental tracks.
A third 45, “Do You Remember the Way We Started” was recorded but not released. The band added horns and became the Lundon Fog with Barry Wilson on vocals then broke up in 1973.
Ron Manley and Don Ouellette continued playing, first in Easy Street with Elaine Christie and then in Breez’n. Tim Ralston died in the late 70’s.
Thanks to George and Mop Top Mike for their comments to my original post, which I’ve incorporated into this revised text. Very special thanks to LB Worm for helping me locate the 1983 interview that the Rev. Joe Longone and Brian Goslow did with Tom Falconer in the first issue of Worcester fanzine Fuzbrains, a major source for this article. Lastly, thank you to Don Ouellette for taking the time to speak to me and correct some errors in the article.