Category Archives: New Mexico

The Outer Limits on Goldust Records

The Outer Limits on top of Amador Hotel, 1966, from left: Jim Westbrook, Pete Hecker, John LeDuc and Jerry Bachman. Photo from elpasomusicians.blogspot.com
The Outer Limits, 1966, from left: Jim Westbrook, Pete Hecker, John LeDuc and Jerry Bachman

Outer Limits Goldust 45 Don't Need You No More

Years ago, Wayland L. Davis wrote a detailed story about his time with the Outer Limits, and the Las Cruces, New Mexico music scene he grew up in. He was going to expand on it for publication in Garage Hangover, but then we lost contact. I won’t publish it since I haven’t received his permission, but I will include a little info about the band from our email back in 2009:

I grew up in Las Cruces and was one of the original members of the Outer Limits. I left the group before they recorded with Golddust. But, I helped write “The Waves” and “Walking Away” long before that, and we recorded our first version of both songs with Steve Crosno

Keith Hackney [of the Four Dimensions] lived a block away from me and taught me how to play a barre chord, which led to me playing rhythm guitar for the Outer Limits and Pete Hecker playing bass.

The original Outer Limits were Jim Westbrook, Wayland Davis, Pete Hecker and multiple drummers. First, Jerry Savage and later Jerry Bachman. We named ourselves after the TV show and not the Markettes “Out of Limits” song. John LeDuc [was] my replacement as I left the band before this picture and Goldust recordings.

The Feebeez

Feebeez Stange 45 Walk Away

Albuquerque, New Mexico was home to the Feebeez. According to a couple comments on the web, the band members were:

Sharon Westcott – lead vocals, guitar
Sherry Haglar – keyboards
Chris (surname?) – bass
Sherry Stange – drums

Luckily the group cut a single with two original songs by guitarist Sharon Westcott. “Walk Away” has a quick, unusual beat with vocals in unison. The flip is maybe even better, the moody “Season Comes”.

Sharon Westcott copyrighted both songs in October, 1966 with Scovel Music, BMI.

The band released the single on Stange R-2216, according to one comment on youtube, Ed Stange financed the single for his daughter Sherry. There’s a rare promotional insert with a photo of the group – if anyone has a copy please send me a scan of it!

Feebeez Stange 45 Season Comes

The King Pins of Albuquerque, NM

Early lineup of the King Pins, 1962. Photo courtesy of Lily Maase.
Early lineup of the King Pins, 1962, showing piano and saxophone

King Pins Larse 45 94 Second Surf
94 Second Surf – first version with girl chorus
The King Pins came from Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though they recorded in 1965, they were an instrumental group, not at all ‘garage’ but I dig this record.

Members were:

Steve Maase – lead guitar
Gary Shouse – rhythm guitar
Rob Cardin – bass
Larry Kuck -drums

In August 1965 they released a 45 “Rod Hot Rod” / “94 Second Surf” on Larse 101, recorded at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, NM. The group’s manager Bill Sego, a DJ on KCLV in Clovis, wrote the top side “Rod Hot Rod”. This song has its fans but Steve Maase’s original “94 Second Surf” commands the most attention nowadays.

King Pins Larse 45 Rod Hot RodMGM picked up the single for a national release in November 1965. “94 Second Surf” is retitled “Door Banger” on the MGM 45, but there is a difference. The Larse single features a female vocal chorus on both sides, while the MGM leaves it off completely on “Door Banger” and cuts the vocal intro on “Rod Hot Rod” but keeps the rest of the vocals.

There are many clips of “94 Second Surf” and “Door Banger” on Youtube but let me say they’re often slowed down, and the labels pictured sometimes mix up the versions.

Below is the Larse version with chorus:

Below the MGM version without the chorus:

King Pins We Go Sego Larse 45 DoorbangerLarse was Bill Sego’s label but I don’t know of any other releases on it. Prior to managing he had his own single on the Nor-Va-Jak label “Down From The Clouds” / “Come Along Dolly”. When he ran for the New Mexico Senate he reissued “Doorbanger” on the flip side of a campaign message with the motto “We Go Sego” on the labels and sleeves.

Steve Maase joined Lindy Blaskey and the LaVells, playing the wicked lead on their Space single “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” (on the flip, “Would You Believe” Lindy shouts out “Hey Steve, would you believe …” after the guitar break), and on “You Ain’t Tuff” / “Let It Be”. In the early ’70s, Steve formed a band called Tala, and then played with Linda Cotton and Sparxx, among others, while composing his own music and becoming a well-respected music teacher. Steve Maase passed away on October 1, 2016.

Thank you to Lily Maase for sending in the photo of the King Pins and for informing me about her father’s career after the King Pins.

King Pins Albuquerque Journal Jan. 31, 1964
King Pins, January 1964
King Pins Albuquerque Journal  Nov 23, 1965
Announcement of King Pins signing with MGM, November 23 1965

The Torques of Farmington, New Mexico

The Torques of Farmington, New Mexico
The Torques of Farmington, New Mexico
from left: Skip Batchelor, Bob Amerman, Dwight Babcock and Fender Tucker
Fender Tucker of the Torques
Fender Tucker

Fender Tucker wrote this history of his band the Torques from Farmington, New Mexico. The Torques lasted from 1963 to 1965 and had one single on the Delta label: a cover of the Chartbusters’ “She’s the One” along with an original by Skip Batchelor, “She’s With Him”.

The germ that infected the gentle souls who later became Torques appeared in 1963 when Fender Tucker, the sole constant in the group, got together with Dwight Babcock and Geno Jaramillo for some guitar picking at his house. They soon saw that they needed a drummer real bad, and heard that Louis Pope, a classmate of Dwight’s, had just bought some drums. Fender, Geno and Dwight all played guitar but Dwight kept on the big strings and simulated a bass.

Geno Jaramillo of the Torques
Geno Jaramillo
Dwight Babcock of the Torques
Dwight Babcock
Louis Pope of the Torques
Louis Pope

The four got together at Louis’ house for a few practices and it was time to play a dance at the Farmington high school cafeteria. But they needed a name. At the time there was a cute commercial on TV with an animated character pushing Burgomeister beer, and so they called themselves The Burgie Boys. The dance went over fairly well and another was slated.

But they tired of their name and Fender came up with The Napa 4. He had read a book about California surfing and apparently he thought “Napa” was a word that meant “cool” or “hip”. Later on, in the 70s, Fender married a woman who had lived in the northern California area and when she heard the band was called The Napa 4 she guffawed. To people of the Sacramento area, Napa was the town where the insane asylum was and anyone saying they were from Napa was certifiably nuts.

The Napa 4 only lasted for one dance and then Fender came up with “The Torques”. He noticed a weird wrench that Dwight was using on a rebuilt engine in his back yard and asked what it was called. “A torque wrench.” He liked the sound of it so much he painted a logo on a sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves. It was an armed and legged torque wrench (a long tool with a circular dial at the “head” end) riding a surf board with “Fender des Torques” underneath. Apparently he was taking French in high school that year. The other guys in the band made similar sweatshirts with their names “des Torques” on them and that was the genesis of The Torques.

Andy Sandoval of the Torques
Andy Sandoval

Graduation in 1963 caused Dwight and Louis to leave the band and their places on drums and bass were taken by Andy Sandoval and Bill Smart. They were pretty good on their instruments, but mainly they had cars. Finding a way to get to dances was always a problem for Fender and Geno.

Bill Smart of the Torques
Bill Smart
Harry Batchelor of the Torques
Harry “Skip” Batchelor

Everybody got better in 1964 and then the band split up and Fender joined the biggest band in town, Cecil Irvin’s The Invaders. That lasted for one dance at McGee Park that signaled the end of dances put on by bands. After expenses the band barely broke even.

Barry Dunkeson of the Torques
Barry Dunkeson

But then late in 1964 Dwight Babcock came back from college and he and Fender teamed up with a guitar player from Bloomfield named Harry Batchelor. They added Barry Dunkeson, a guitar player from another group, but he played drums plenty well enough for The Torques.

The four Torques played at dances in Farmington and then booked several weekend jobs at a 3.2 beer bar in Durango CO, Poor Boys. The unexpurgated story of what happened to Fender and Harry at the Central Hotel on Main Street in Durango on a chilly autumn night in 1964 is told in Fender’s 2007 book, The Compleat Calhoon.

But Barry left to go to college (where he joined the Beckett Quintet, a band featured here on Garage Hangover) and The Torques picked up young Bobby Amerman, an excellent drummer a year behind Fender at Farmington High School.

The Torques Delta 45 She's with HimIt was the spring of 1965 that The Torques, Fender, Dwight, Harry and Bob, drove down to Albuquerque and recorded a song that Harry had written, “She’s With Him”. The B-side was a song by The Chartbusters called “She’s the One”. They were recorded at John Wagner’s studio and it was released as Delta R-2078A and R-2078-B.

300 copies were pressed and bought by the guys and a few were sold at Torques dances in Farmington. Most were given away and the rest were lost. In 2010 a collector from southern California found a copy and sent me transfers of the songs and scans of the labels.

The Torques – She’s With Him (music and lyrics by Skip Batchelor)
The Torques – She’s the One (written by J. Dubas of The Chartbusters)

The Torques Delta 45 She's the OneSoon after they had made the record, they got a call from Albuquerque from their fan club. What? They didn’t even know they had a fan club. They were told that if they could come back to Albuquerque The Torques would be featured on “Johnny’s Record Party” a TV show that was the Albuquerque equivalent of American Bandstand. So the four Torques drove to Albuquerque and were interviewed on air by a local DJ in a studio above the Kimo Theater on Central Avenue. The DJ kept trying to build up The Torques as a huge phenomenon but Fender kept bringing him back to earth with reality. Listeners said they could hear Harry cackling in the background.

Then they went to the TV studio to tape “Johnny’s Record Party”. They were to do their hit song, “She’s with Him” and the original idea was to mike the live-playing band. But something (probably the band) didn’t sound right and at the last minute the director said, “Just lipsync the song.” The only problem was that there were no monitors and the band couldn’t hear anything. The director pointed at the band and apparently the band started at the right moment, but did they play the same tempo and arrangement as the record? Hell no. They fumbled around mindlessly until they were told to stop “playing”.

The next day at Harry’s grandparents’ house The Torques watched themselves on TV. It was as bad as they feared. If there is a tape of the show, it should be a shoe-in for America’s Stupidest Videos, but I’m afraid that there probably is no record of the debacle left. Go figure; the Torques’ only TV appearance is lost forever.

Jon Kottke of the Torques
Jon Kottke

The Torques had a chance to be heard by a lot of different people when they played the Farmington Senior Prom in early 1965. It was sort of an experiment to have a local band play for the prom so we had to learn a bunch of old fogey songs like “Stranger on the Shore” that of course we couldn’t sing, so we hired a sophomore named Jon Kottke to play sax. It was probably the best The Torques ever sounded.

The end of the summer of 1965 came and that was the end of The Torques. Dwight and Fender left for college in Las Cruces. Harry became “Skip” and went into the Navy. Bob Amerman went to school in Albuquerque but within a year he developed a rare form of cancer and died. He was 19 years old.

All of the members of The Torques were in it for the fun. It was a blast playing dances at the Boys’ Club, the high school, the parks and private dances, and we knew it was a lark. Unlike John, Paul, George and Ringo, who wanted to be the absolute best in the world, The Torques just wanted to have fun, drink some beers, play some songs, and most importantly, to NOT have to wake up for a day job. They were eminently successful at it until the draft (or the alternative to the draft, college) split up the group permanently.

Here are some songs recorded by The Torques at the Farmington Boys’ Club on an October night in 1965. They recorded it by placing a microphone in front of a crummy speaker that was attached to the PA. Surely the sound out in front of the band was better than these recordings? Surely? I hope so.

The Torques 2011
Skip and Fender of the Torques, 2011

Do You Wanna Dance
Let The Good Times Roll
Maybelline
She’s With Him (written by Skip)
Mojo Workout
No Reply
The Last Time
She’s the One
Things We Said Today
Reelin An Rockin
Satisfaction

Hooterville Trolley

Hooterville Trolley in the Albuquerque Journal, December 4, 1967
Hooterville Trolly in the Albuquerque Journal, December 4, 1967

Long considered to be a studio group only, the Hooterville Trolley who cut “No Silver Bird” were a working band in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hooterville Trolley Lynnette 45 No Silver BirdGary Garman wrote a profile of the band in the Albuquerque Journal on December 4, 1967:

The sound is that of a hard-hitting ‘psyche-rock’ group called the Hooterville Trolly.

The band has been fortunate enough to have appeared with the Buffalo Springfield and the Seeds.

Composed of five seniors from Highland High School seniors and one from Sandia High School, the sextet was originally a three-man band which grew last summer.

In the group are Cris Arlenth, manager; Martin Nassif, lead and rhythm guitar; Don Kinney, bass guitar; Wayne Galio, lead and rhythm guitar; Bill Chreist, organist; and Doug Borthwick, drummer. Wayne is the outsider from Sandia.

Martin, Don and Doug were the original group, formed this past April.

“We decided we needed more members to make our sound complete,” they said. “So we auditioned Wayne and he came into the group in May. Bill joined us in July.”

With practice sessions at least twice a week and engagements each weekend, the group claims their favorite spot for a job is Carnaby 66, a teenage night club.

“We play with a style of our own,” they say.

All compose the songs performed by the Hooterville Trolly, “but Martin is the brain power behind most of our songs,” Wayne said.

Tommy Bee Lance Albuquerque Journal, January 20, 1968
The Albuquerque Journal, January 20, 1968

Note the band’s name is spelled Hooterville Trolly in both the news clippings and in the sign at the front of the stage. This is the same Hooterville Trolley that recorded the single “No Silver Bird” / “The Warmth of Love”. How that single ended up on a Mississippi label is a story that requires me to back up and discuss the Lance Records label and their in-house producer, Tommy Bee.

Tommy Bee, Lance Records and Lynn’s Productions

Tommy Bee (short for Tom Benegas according to an Albuquerque Journal article) produced records for Albuquerque’s recent upstart, the Lance Records label including the Lincoln St. Exit’s “Paper Place” / “Who’s Been Driving My Little Yellow Taxi Cab” and the Cellar Dwellers’ “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” / “Working Man”. Many of the compositions he published through his company Stinger Music, BMI.

In February 1967 Bee produced the Fe Fi Four Plus Two’s “I Wanna Come Back (from The World of LSD)” at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, New Mexico. He would later return there to record the Hooterville Trolley.

According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal, Tommy Bee resigned from Lance Music Enterprises on August 25, 1967, dissolving his partnership with Dick Stewart and Ross Benavidez. After Tommy’s departure Lance released six more singles, half of them Spanish music, then closed up the label and the Lance newsletter by the end of 1967.

Tom Bee (as Tommy Benegas) filed a lawsuit against Lance over ownership of the exclusive contract with the The Sheltons, whose single “Find It” he had sold to Dot Records that summer. The suit was settled out of court. Terms were not disclosed, but it seems Tommy Bee won control of the artists and productions he had brought to Lance.

Tommy Bee Lance Records, Albuquerque Journal, September 27, 1968
The Albuquerque Journal, September 27, 1968

Bee continued to produce and release music by some of the artists he had worked with back in New Mexico, mainly by placing recordings with Reginald Records distribution out of Greenville, Mississippi. I’d like to know how he found Reginald and its owner Henry Reginald Hines (aka Lynn Williams). In any case it was to be a fruitful collaboration.

One of the most surprising things about this arrangement is how many of the songs Bee would send to the Mississippi company had been already released on Lance. These include two Lance recordings of the Sheltons, “Find It” / “I Who Have Nothing” were re-released on the Reginald-distributed Bar-Bare label, Doc Rand & the Purple Blues “I Want You (Yeh I Do)” / “I Need a Woman” (originally Lance 119/120), which was re-relased on Landra Records 020, and the Vendels’ version of “Try Me”, originally released on Lance 113, shows up on Lynn’s Records LR 1728, backed with one I haven’t heard, “Boo Ga-Louie”.

Besides re-releasing earlier Lance singles, Tommy Bee also produced new 45s by the artists he worked with in Albuquerque, either for a Reginald imprint or for his own Souled Out label.

These include the Fe-Fi-Four Plus 2’s second single, “Pick Up Your Head” / “Mr. Sweet Stuff” for Odex, and the Trademarques’ “I Can Set You Free” / “Free Your Fears” on Randolph. Tommy Bee produced “Straighten Up and Fly Right” by the Beaumont, Texas group The Kidds for another Randolph front, the Big Beat label.

Those interested in reading more on the history of Henry Reginald Hines and his various labels and productions should take a look at Greenville And Beyond. Be sure to check out the chilling debt collection letter at the bottom of that page, it has to be read to be believed.

Creation Centurion 45 What the Daisies KnowThe Creation and “No Silver Bird”

Another band with a connection to Lance was the Albuquerque group the Creation, of whom I have no information. They had one or two 45s on the Centurion label. “What The Daisies Know” / “Sun And Stars (I Miss Her So)” on Centurion 45-3001 from October 1967 definitely exists. Both sides were written by O’Donnell and Phillips for Tenmand Music, BMI. Distribution was by Lance Music Enterprises on SW 4th St.

Creation Centurion 45 No Silver BirdWhat I’m less sure of is listed as Centurion 45-3002, “No Silver Bird”, possibly backed with “The Warmth of Love”. The B-side is not confirmed by anyone I know, and the A-side only showed up on The Incredible Expanding Universe Of Brain Shadows, Vol. 1 with a poor quality b&w photo of the label.

The quality of the band’s performance is very different from the Creation’s first 45, much more disciplined and better-recorded, with a droning, trance-inducing sound. The label design is also not much like Centurion 45-3001, with a different typeface, nor does it have the Lance distribution credit at the bottom.

It’s possible this is an earlier recording of the Hooterville Trolley’s “No Silver Bird”, but it could also be a fraud, with either the recording or the label or both produced at a much later date than ’67 or ’68. At this point I have no way of knowing.

Lyrics consist of only six lines!

Go on, take an airplane ride,
Get on that big silver bird and fly,
The world would be so heavenly,
If you would come along drifting with me.

Go on, take an airplane ride,
Don’t need no silver bird by my side.

Hooterville Trolley Lynnette 45 The Warmth of LoveOn July 7, 1968, Tommy Bee went into Norman Petty’s recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico to record two songs written by an Albuquerque, New Mexico teacher named Ernest Phillips, “No Silver Bird” / “The Warmth of Love”. Six months later, in January of 1969, Bee released the songs on Lynnette Records, one of Hines’ labels in Greenville, Mississippi.

The writing credits to Ernest Phillips, Tenmand Music BMI match what is on the Creation single but the music is even more hypnotic with touches of strings and what sounds like a Moog or some other early synthesizer.

Bill Chreist answered some of my questions about the Hooterville Trolley:

Hooterville Trolly Photo
Hooterville Trolly

The band was formed in 1967 in Albuquerque New Mexico. The original members of the band were Don Kinney (bass & vocals), Martin Nasiff (lead guitar & lead vocals), Bill Chreist (keyboards & vocals), Wayne Galio (rhythm guitar) and Doug Borthwick (drummer and back up vocals). We played live at dance clubs in Albuquerque (Carnaby 66 was one of the popular clubs in 1968), Santa Fe & Colorado. We also played at the Hullabaloo club in Oklahoma.

Ernest Phillips wrote the original song but we (Martin, Don and I) re-wrote the words because we didn’t think the original words were “heavy” enough for the songs of that time, but let him still get the credit for the song.

Norman Petty who owned the recording studio had just received a new “string machine” that he was excited to try out. He asked us if he could add it to the song “No Silver Bird” saying if we didn’t like it he would take it out. We told him to go ahead and see what he could come up with. We loved it and thought it added a new sound that we hadn’t heard before. The only problem was when we played live we couldn’t duplicate it but no one seemed to care at the dances we played at.

The song was played a lot in Albuquerque but never became a national hit. Our manager at the time (Tommy Benavidez) paid for the recording so he owned the master.

The lyrics have been changed on this version. Still only six lines, but sung twice:

Go, get ready to fly,
Lock all the doors as if to hide,
Don’t worry about faces inside,
Just come with me, and ride.

Go, get ready to fly,
You’ll see silver birds in the sky,

Go, get ready to fly,
Lock all the doors as if to hide,
Don’t worry about faces inside,
Just come with me, and ride.

Go, get ready to fly,
You’ll see silver birds in the sky.

Regarding the string sounds, Alec Palao says he believes Norman Petty had a Chamberlin, a U.S. manufactured precursor to the Mellotron. Alec added “Petty treated instruments a lot with EQ, compression and echo/reverb, and got some pretty unique sounds in the process. His multi-tracks are amazing to listen to.” I haven’t heard “The Warmth of Love” yet, if anyone has a clip please let me know.

In March of 1969, the Journal reported the death of Wayne Galio in a traffic accident, describing him as “formerly a member of the ‘Hooterville Trolly'”.

Magic Sand Uni LP
Magic Sand’s LP on Uni

In 1970 the Hooterville Trolley’s exact recording of “No Silver Bird” turned up on Magic Sand’s eponymous UNI LP, retitled “Get Ready To Fly”, sounding like nothing else on the LP, which is a rougher soul or blues-based rock. Ernest Phillips’ name is off the song writing credits which instead go to A. Klein (Highwood Music Corp./Segway Music BMI) whose name is on many of the songs on the LP, while the musicians’ names are not listed. A. Klein also turns up in the credits for Mud’s Uni LP Mud on Mudd.

Buffalo Bill Productions Billboard, August 1, 1970
Al Klein and Buffalo Bill Productions in Billboard, August 1, 1970

A. Klein is Al Klein, head of Buffalo Bill Productions. He may have been the same Al Klein who was Southwestern district sales manager for Motown in the mid ’60s. Vic Gabriele, who had been in the Monkeymen (“Route 66” / “Mojo” on QQ 311) and the Piggy Bank (“Thoughts of You” / “Play With Fire” on Lavette), and whose name also turns up on Magic Sand writing credits, was vice president for Buffalo Bill productions. Harry Narviel and Rick Knott were other employees.

For more information on Lance Records, see Mike Dugo’s article on Lance Records.

Thank you to Bill Chreist, Gregor Kessler, Alec Palao, Max Waller and Westex for their help with this post.

The Imposters

Writing about Danny and the Counts has brought in a lot of information about the Coronado and Frogdeathlabels, so I’ll feature some more artists from these companies, starting with the Imposters.

The A-side is “Wipe In”, their take on the surf standard “Wipe Out” of course, with plenty of reverb and a deranged introduction. It was written by E. Teleheny, published by Conte Music. The flip is a standard blues, “Tulsa”, written by L. Miller.

I can’t find any info or photos of the band, if anyone has one, please let me know.

Although a DJ in El Paso, Steve Crosno’s Frogdeath label was based in University Park, New Mexico. At least some records were cut at his house. He usually put a witty quip on the label, this one has “Produced by Shteve [sic] Crosno”.

Thanks to Sam Stephenson for the scans and transfers of this 45.

Frogdeath Discography

Any help with this discography would be appreciated.

Frogdeath (sometimes listed as Frog Death) was run by Steve Crosno, a DJ on El Paso’s Top 40 radio, KELP. He also had a TV dance show Crosno’s Hop on the local Channel 7 that ran from summer of 1961 into 1970. He obviously had a sense of humor, from the logo to the messages on the labels like “Do Not Write in This Space”, or “for best results use riaa curve (whatever that means)”. Crosno passed away in September 2006.

Early releases like the Imposters have a University Park address, by Las Cruces, New Mexico, the same location as the Goldust label.

Froth 1 – The Imposters – Wipe In / Tulsa
Froth 2 – Cain & Able – Creí / La Bamba (arranged by Rick Young) / A Moment of Soft Headedness
Froth 2 – Four Frogs* – Think I’m Losing You / Mr. Big (both by Colin Flannigan) (some copies with picture sleeve)
Froth 4 – Danny & the Counts – It’s All All Over / For Your Love

Froth 66/1 – The Night-Dreamers – Mr. Pitiful (vocal Sunny Powell) / I Can’t Help It (I Just Do) (James Brown)
Froth 66/2 – El Paso Premiers** – This Is the Beginning (Bobby Rosales) / Let Me Call You Darling (vocal by James Patterson)
Froth 66/3 – Mike Reynolds and the Infants of Soul – When Will I Find Her*** / It’s Judy (both written by Mike Rosen)
Froth 66-4 – The Astros – Amarga Navidad / I Love You Dear (Hector Luna)

Froth 67-1 – The Night-Dreamers – I Take What I Want (featuring “the amazing ‘Sonny & Sam'” / Wisdom of a Fool (vocals by Al ‘Mr. Tears’ Sanchez)

There are two releases labeled Froth 2, but I haven’t found a Froth 3 yet.

* According to Doug Neal, the Four Frogs were Bert Peters, Claude Perilli, Colin Flannigan, Billy Withers with one other member.

** aka Bobby & the Premiers, who also recorded for C.L. Milburn’s Souled-Out of Texas label.

*** Westex tells me an earlier version of “When Will I Find Her” was released on a Las Cruces label. I’ve heard there’s also an LP on Frogdeath by Mike Reynolds, but I haven’t seen it.

More info on Steve Crosno can be found at Lone Star Stomp (which also discusses the Four Frogs release) and Borderlands.

There was also a very rare LP titled Steve Crosno Day, July 9, 1967, Recorded Live at the El Paso Coliseum, but I’m not sure if that was released on Frogdeath or some other label. Anyone have photos, scans or a transfer of it? A CD release may have additional songs but the track list seems to be:

The (Las Cruces) Starliners
01. Instrumental
02. The One That’s Hurtin’ Is You
03. It’s Not Unusual
04. Tramp

The El Paso Drifters
07 – 09 Featuring Martha Sifuentes
05. Intro / Sweet Soul Music
06. Groovin’
07. Respect
08. Close Your Eyes
09. All In My Mind

The Las Cruces Majestics
10. Band Intro
11. Instrumental
12. Intro / Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
13. Goin’ Back To Miami
14. More

The Impressions
15. Let’s Go Steady / You Are My First Love
16. I’ve Been Lonely Too Long

The Gene Willis Aggregation
17. Instrumental
18. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag / Instrumental
19. James Brown Jam

The El Paso Premiers (Bobby And The Premiers)
20. I’m A Practical Guy
21. I Dig Girls
22. Hello Stranger
23. Put Me In Jail

Sonny Powell And The Night-Dreamers
24. Kind Of A Drag
25. Mr. Pitiful

Bernard Tanchester
26. Steve Crosno Tribute Presentation

Thanks to Ken Prichard for the Cain & Able scan and to Sam Stephenson for the Mike Renolds scans.

The Henchmen

Photo of the Henchmen, Hobbs, NMJosh Pettibone sent in the photo of the Henchmen above in response to my post looking for info on some mystery Texas bands. It came from the collection of a DJ from Hobbs, New Mexico, just over the state line from Texas. I couldn’t find any information about the band until member Ben Boyett contacted me in January 2014.

Ben writes:

We were from Hobbs, New Mexico, and played gigs throughout eastern New Mexico and west Texas. The (original) Henchmen pictured are, left to right, Dennis Spillman, lead guitarist; Kirk Smith, bass (sitting on floor); Danny Spivey, drums; and, me, Ben Boyett, second guitar and vocals. We played in this configuration during the 1964-65 era, recording some pretty forgettable singles [unreleased], “Put That Phone Back On The Hook,” “Two Lives,” and “Animal Crackers.”

After a year, we reformed, with Robert Pampell on keyboard replacing Spillman. In that lineup, we recorded with the late Ray Ruff in Amarillo, TX. Ray Ruff’s studio in Amarillo was a tiny thing in an old shopping center. Just after the Henchmen recorded there, a fire pretty well gutted the place. In the last years of his life, Ray Ruff was a very successful country record promoter. He had a great memory, and even recalled several events about me when I ran into him almost twenty years after recording with him.

Somewhere, recordings exist, including the Ray Ruff session, but I’ll have to do some looking through many boxes of memorabilia.

I re-entered the music business about 20 years after the photo, and recorded a single with the late Norman Petty that was released. I think it sold about ten copies, and most of those to relatives. But, getting to work with the legendary Norman Petty was like getting to work with Mozart or da Vinci.

Danny Spivey is still playing on sessions and in church, after having toured with Up With People back in the late sixties. (He’s the only one of us who actually read music.) Dennis Spillman, the lead guitarist, writes oil and gas leases in Oklahoma. Kirk Smith, the bassist, came to an ignominious end during the seventies.

Q. Did the Henchmen make it as far as Dallas? I came across a band called the Henchmen in a list of bands at the 1967 Texas State Fair.

No, my version of the Henchmen did not make it to Dallas. We were strictly an area phenomenon.