Category Archives: Oregon

Star-Bright Records discography

Wilde Knights Star-Bright 45 Just Like Me
I’d appreciate any help with this discography.

Star-Bright 3051 – The Wilde Knights – “Beaver Patrol” (Dey – Brown) / “Tossin’ and Turnin'”
Rich Brown, vocal on both songs. S-1-866/7

Star-Bright 3052 – The Wilde Knights – “Just Like Me” (Dey for Tinadele Pub. Co. BMI) / “I Don’t Care” (Dey-Brown) Rick Dey vocals on both songs, S-1-864/5

Star-Bright 3053 – Bruce (pseudonym for The Niteriders) – “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”

Star-Bright 3054 – The Niteriders – “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (Doak) S-1-868 / “Whatever’s Right” (Johnson, Doak, Sells)

Star-Bright 3055 – The Niteriders – “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” (Doak) S-1-871 / “Just Call on Me”

Star-Bright 3056 – ??

Star-Bright 3057- Thornbush Ripple IV – “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II (Anonymous – McCoy for Tinadele Pub) S-1-874/5

Paul Johnson produced all the Star-Bright singles.

Wilde Knights Star-Bright 45 I Don't CareThe Wilde Knights formed when the draft took Ray Kennedy, lead singer of the Furys, who had two fine r&b records on the Lavender label. Furys member Rich Brown ( lead vocals, guitar) and Roger Huycke (drums) added Rich Dey from the Vejtables as a second lead vocalist and Dean Adair and changed the band’s name to the Wilde Knights.

The Furys had originally been based out of Longview, Washington, but the band’s live circuit brought them up and down the west coast, so perhaps it’s not surprising the Wilde Knights cut their two singles in a studio in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles for release by a brand-new label based in a small coastal town in southern Oregon.

“Beaver Patrol” is an instant classic, featuring lead vocals by Rich Brown. Their second single on Star-Bright, also from 1965, features the original version of “Just Like Me” written and sung by Rich Dey. The story goes that Paul Revere heard the song and bought it from Dey for maybe $5,000. It became a monster hit for the Raiders in December 1965, while Dey seems to have died young, circa 1970. The full story of the Furys/Wilde Knights and their later incarnations is best told in Greg Shaw’s liner notes to the 1984 Voxx LP compiling their recordings.

The third release on Star-Bright is one I haven’t heard, an artist called Bruce doing “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”. Bruce is supposed to be a pseudonym for members of the Niteriders, who would have the next two singles on Star-Bright in 1966. I know very little about the Niteriders but their two singles are fantastic. The group may have come from Portland, Oregon. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” b/w “Whatever’s Right” came out in early 1966 followed quickly by their second release “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” b/w “Just Call on Me”.

I can’t find any copyright registrations to Niteriders member Doak, whose name appears on the Niteriders song writing credits, but I have found a copyright registration from June of ’66 for “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by Donald Richard Keefer. Rick Keefer would produce singles by Genesis, the King Biscuit Entertainers, and American Cheese, all bands with roots in the Furys or Wilde Knights. He had a few early copyrights in 1965: ‘Hurt So Good”, “I Saw Sloopy” and “Soul Searchin'”. It’s conceivable he was a part of the Niteriders.

The Los Angeles label Modern Records released “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” under a pseudonym, the Composers, and also put out the Wilde Knights “Beaver Patrol”, supposedly without the band’s knowledge. The Modern releases, along with publishing by Tinadele Pub. BMI suggest a strong Los Angeles connecton for Star-Bright Records.

I haven’t found out what Star-Bright 3056 is, but Star-Bright 3057 (on a purple label) is the Thornbush Ripple IV “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II, a novelty release featuring a not very funny recitation of what’s supposed to be an asylum inmate, spoken over a bluesy guitar, piano and drums backing.

Star-Bright Records: six or seven releases, four of which are essential garage. Not a bad average!

The X-Terminators

X-Terminators Eugene Register Guard July 26, 1964
X-Terminators, July 26, 1964

X-Terminators Century Custom 45 X-TerminationThe X-Terminators came from Oakridge, Oregon, a small town about 40 miles southeast of Eugene, OR. I don’t have this 45 yet (if anyone has a copy please write to me) but came across this article and thought I’d write about the band.

Members were:

Craig Sorseth – lead guitar
Doug Bates – rhythm guitar, electric piano
Frank Worth – bass guitar
Jerry Westling – drums

The group formed in high school in January 1964. About six months later they went to Century Custom Recording Service in Eugene and cut two great original instrumentals, “X-Termination” and “Wild Hare” You can find both on Youtube, but for some reason slowed down by roughly 10%.

An article in the Register-Guard from July 1964 says “the selections are two of ten [original songs] the X-terminators composed by ear, since none of the boys read music for the instruments they play.”

With two of the members going to college in the fall, it’s unlikely the band stayed together much longer.

X-Terminators Century Custom 45 Wild Hare

Graves Discography

Here’s an incomplete listing of released recordings made at Alan Graves’ studio:

any help with this discography would be appreciated

45s:

Graves 1091: Dominions – I Need Her / Spanish Harlem
Graves 1094: Sires – Don’t Look Now / Come to Me Baby
Tork 1095: Moguls – Another Day / Round Randy (Dec. 1966)
Graves 1099: Ethics – She’s a Deceiver / O.K. (March 1967)
Graves 1100: Fifth Row Bac – Please Don’t Go / Destination Train
Graves 1104: Phantoms – Hallucinogenic Odyssey / Sixty Minutes To Nine (1967)
F-Empire 1106: The Barber Green – Gliding Ride / Life (August 1968)

LP:

F-Empire (no #): Beauregarde (features Beauregarde on vocals, Greg Sage lead guitar, Omar Bose keyboards and trumpet, Dave Kolpel bass, Allen Robinson congas and sax, and Jay Lundell on drums.)

The Moguls had two previous 45s: “Avalanche” / “Ghost Slalome” on Century 20449 in Phantoms Graves 45 Sixty Minutes to NineFeb. ’65, and “Ski Bum” / “Try Me” on Panorama 29 in March of 1966.

The Phantoms 45 on Graves lists the band members: Rudie Muller, Steve Reiter, Dennis Chu, Brian Ashbrough and Geoff Soentpiet. Rudie Muller sings lead on “Sixty Minutes to Nine”, Geoff Soentpiet sings lead on “Hallucinogenic Odyssey”. The Phantoms had an additional 45 on Ridon 859, “Story of a Rich Man” / “Our Great Society” both by Ashbrough and Soentpiet.

I asked Alan Graves about the bands that recorded in his studio in the 60’s and sent him a list of what I knew had been cut there:

The only record I can add is one done on the F-Empire label, GRS 1106, “Gliding Ride” and “Life” by the Barber Green.

There may be other “garage” bands, but most of the stuff I did was local schools, etc – some gospel and dixieland jazz band stuff.

None of the records pressed were released by me, but were the property of the individual bands -who either gave them away or sold them. Most were done in a limited press of 500 copies each. So if you have any of them, I guess you could say they are rare. Since the records were the property of the bands, I rarely kept any copies – and have none now.

I re-activated the studio by acquiring a Scully Mastering record cutting Lathe, and under the name of “The Audio Lathe” cut lots of “acetate” records for DJ’s and juke boxes.

I sold that last November, and now back to just hosting the History of the Presto Recording Corp on the internet.

Phantoms Graves 45 Hallucinogenic OdysseyPhantoms Ridon 45 Our Great Society

To right, the Phantoms’ second 45, recorded at Ridon by Rich Keefer Thank you to Barry Wickham for the scan.

The Barber Green


The Barber Green, circa 1968
Top left to right: Doug Collver, Don Harding, Mike McNeil, bottom left to right: Don Hurb and David Harding

The Barber Green came out of Brownsville, Oregon, about a half hour north of Eugene. Like the Moguls, the Dominions, and other acts in the area around that college town, the band recorded at Alan Graves studio. They released one excellent 45 in 1968 on the F-Empire label, which is most well-known for the Beauregarde LP.

One side of the Barber Green single is “Life”, a gentle musing on a search for love and family, with harmonies and nice guitar picking. The flip “Gliding Ride” is more energetic. The guitar plays some excellent repetitive riffs as well as a good, short solo and the bass and drums are clear and well-played.

The lyrics are worth quoting:

Do you want to take a rideBarber Green F-Empire 45 Life
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty
We can see the lights all through the night
We’ll be in a daze until the break of day

Then tomorrow will come
We will go downtown
You’ll be wearing a frown
As you go downtown
The people will stare
As if they don’t care
Then you say, what is this (?)

Do you want to take a ride
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty

Besides the polished songs on the single, there are four unreleased songs also cut at Graves which are much rougher. One is a cover of “Proud Mary”, but for me the other three are much more exciting, all single takes recorded live, with distorted guitar and Barber Green F-Empire 45 Lifevocals that peak in the red.

First comes “Destruction”, with a four-minute long repetitive section featuring guitar chords clipped by turns of the volume knob, a marching drum beat, and a long monologue. Halfway through the song, everything breaks loose for one of the wildest minutes of feedback since “Sister Ray”, then it’s back to the guitar motif and monologue for another three minutes to the close.

“(Thinking About The) Good Times” vaguely reminds me of the Pretty Things song of the same name in the way the lead guitar sustains distorted, wailing notes while the drummer cuts loose. Last is “Toe Jam (That Song)”, fourteen and a half minutes that build and extend into one of the more interesting jams I’ve heard from the time.

The band has plenty of attitude on these tracks, with even the vocalist willing to improvise with abandon for extended periods. Although it sounds excessive at times, I liked hearing this session because it shows a side of bands you don’t usually hear: creating music only for themselves without thinking of how it would come across to an audience, either live or listening to their record.

The Barber Green’s guitarists Mike McNeil and Doug Collver wrote the following history of the group:

We were a Pacific Northwest Rock and Roll band, playing in Oregon from 1966 until 1970. We played rock, pop, R&B and a few country & western tunes. We had a number of original songs and recorded a hit single 45 rpm record. The “A” side was the hit song “Gliding Ride”, the “B” side was a song simply called “Life”, recorded by Graves Recording Service in Eugene, Oregon, circa 1968.

The recording was not generally distributed, but was on the top ten list of a number of radio stations, and went to #1 on some West Coast stations, including KGO 810 AM, in Seattle, WA and KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco.

Band members included the late David Lee Harding, (lead singer), Donald Harding (bass guitar and vocals), Douglas Collver (lead guitar and vocals), Michael McNeil (rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals) and Donald Herb (drums and other percussion). The band’s manager was the late Jack Richardson.

All the band members were students at Central Linn High School except for Doug Collver who attended Harrisburg Union High. We called Brownsville home and rehearsed in the old Brownsville Theater.

We played all over Oregon from Medford to Salem and from the Oregon coast to Oregon’s eastern border. In Eugene we were the opening act for the premier showing of the Beatles Yellow Submarine movie. Other memorable moments included more than one gig at the U of O student union which translated into frat parties. Crazy!

Our manager, Jack Richardson connected with country star Dottie West and she had us lined up for a USO tour in Viet Nam but the Tet offensive of 1968 prompted the cancellation of that tour.

40 years later The Barber Green reunited and that’s another story all together.

As well as our memories will allow this information was provided by:

Mike McNeil of Portland, OR and Doug Collver of Bend, OR

I followed up with some questions for Doug Collver:

Q. How did the band get that unusual name?

If you google “Barber Green” you will find a company that once manufactured a paving machine. Some one in the band came across one of these pavers one day and we became The Barber Green.

Q. How did the band break out of the Brownsville area to start playing shows around Oregon?

We were just kids who wanted to play our music. Jack Richardson was the one who did all the leg work and all the booking.

Q. Who did the song writing for the group?

I’m sure that David come up with the lyrics for “Gliding Ride” and “Life”. The music and orchestration was a collaboration that involved all of us.

Q. How did you find Alan Graves and his studio?

We purchased all of our equipment from Graves Music (Vox Super Beatle amps & Gibson guitars). Again the credit for the connection must go to Jack Richardson. He did all that stuff.

Q. Can you tell me about the four unreleased songs the band recorded?

We only had one recording session that resulted in the two releases mentioned above. With the rest of the studio time that was paid for we jammed. David made up the lyrics as we played. When the band reunited in March of ’09 we all brought whatever memorabilia we had saved over the years including copies of the LP that was cut from that session. I was able play it one time – one take, scratches and all and capture it forever.

Q. Did you or any of the other members stay in music after the Barber Green?

Don Hurb still plays a little. I put it down after the band broke up then started to play again in 1996. For the last 11 years I’ve been in a band called Blues Quarter playing clubs, resorts & special events in and around Central Oregon.

Us Kids

Us Kids: Kent Klinkenbeard, Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach. Location is possibly Hedrick Junior High, Medford
from left: Kent Klinkenbeard, Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach
Location is possibly Hedrick Junior High, Medford

"Denny and the All Americans was pre-Us Kids. I believe that was the time we opened for Gary Lewis and the Playboys."
“Denny and the All Americans was pre-Us Kids. I believe that was the time we opened for Gary Lewis and the Playboys.”
Dennis Chitwood – rhythm guitar, vocals
Bill Leach – lead guitar
Frank McCaslin – bass
Kent Klinkenbeard – drums

I’m constantly amazed at the quality of rock ‘n roll cut by young teens during the mid-’60s. Billy and the Kids from Washington state is one example, another is Us Kids from Medford, in southern Oregon.

They recorded their single at Rex Recording Service in Portland, both songs written by their vocalist Dennis Chitwood. “Check-Out” is a great A-side, with tough lyrics from a thirteen year old boy:

You’re thinking the smiles they gave you were because you’re pretty
Well the smiles you got were actually out of pity!

 Us Kids: Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach at Rex Studios, Portland
Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach at Rex Studios, Portland
I recently spoke to Bill Pitts, who was known as Bill Leach when he played lead guitar for the group:

We were very young at the time. When we made the record, I was the oldest by a month or two and I was 14. The singer, Dennis Chitwood would have been 12 or 13.

We met through word of mouth in those days. Somebody told somebody that I played guitar or that Kurt played drums. Just good old fashion networking. Then we would have “try-outs” to fill or change a spot. Dennis played the Fender and I the Rickenbacker.

Us Kids Rex 45 Check-OutIn actual fact, “I Love The Rain” was the chart song or “A” side. I have two original copies of those “K-Boy Top 25 Pop” charts. August 19, 1966 – #19; August 26, 1966 – #3 (#1 was the Beatles, #2 was Tommy Roe so I guess you could call that “good company”).

We saved our money and our parents helped pay for the session. If memory serves, it was around $200.00 each. I’m not sure who searched out Rex, most likely Chitwood’s parents. I do remember how excited we all were to travel to the studio (Portland). I remember vividly how nervous I was when the “Recording” light came on over the sound control booth. I remember sitting around the control room with the engineer, listening to the final cut and us giving our approval.

Us Kids Rex 45 I Love the RainOur biggest gig (in my mind) was opening for Gary Lewis and The Playboys. As I recall, that’s the only time we played the Medford Armory (which was the only large auditorium in the day). I have pictures of us playing in (I believe) a battle of the bands at the Medford Shopping Center parking lot. These venues happened once a year to a very large turn-out.

Us Kids on local TV
Us Kids on local TV

The pic of us on TV was taken of us on the show Woman’s World. It was local interest type programming. We also did a short interview and, I believe, announced some news and the weather on our local rock station of the day, KBOY AM.

Us Kids "I Love the Rain" reaches #3 on KBOY's Top 25, August 26, 1966
“I Love the Rain” reaches #3 on KBOY’s Top 25, August 26, 1966

At that point, our parents managed us. We were happy to just play music but our parents got involved (we were very young remember) and agendas won out. Ultimately what broke us up. A shame, as we were starting to draw some interest.I just found out that Dennis Chitwood has passed, I believe last year. I did hear a great blues band in Jacksonville while visiting once. Entered the bar and saw my old friend Kent Klinkenbeard still playing drums. Damn good too. Not sure where the others ended up. I played rock for a few more years and ended up trading my electric in for a Lyle “Dove” twelve string and went all Simon and Garfunkel. Now I pluck through Jimmy Buffet and some mild country.

It was a magical time. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Bill (Leach) Pitts

Special thanks to Bill for sending in these great photos and for answering my questions about the band.

Us Kids: Kent Klinkenbeard, Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach
from left: Kent Klinkenbeard, Dennis Chitwood, Frank McCaslin and Bill Leach
Location is likely Happy Camp, California
Us Kids "I Love the Rain" enters KBOY's Top 25 at #19, August 19, 1966
“I Love the Rain” enters KBOY’s Top 25 at #19, August 19, 1966

Note upcoming show listed at bottom of flyer: The Blue Boys (should be the Boys Blue) from Sacramento with the Nervous Navarros.The Navarros were from Ashland and cut “Tomorrow Is Another Day” / “Sad Man” at Golden State Recorders around this time. That went unreleased until many years later, but there’s an earlier 45 I haven’t heard on the Corby label from Corvallis, “Ikie”.
 

The Ethics

Ethics Graves 45 She's a DeceiverAnother one on Graves, like the Sires I covered a couple weeks back. This group is more obscure, I don’t have any real info on them, other than that they were probably from southern Oregon: Ashland, Medford or Grants Pass possibly. Songwriting is listed to B. Watson and M. Kelsey. The publishing was listed under Arky Lewis.

Both original songs have fine arrangements, languid harmonies and excellent interaction between the two guitarists. “She’s a Deceiver” is slower and dreamier, while “It’s O.K.” is faster but still hypnotic with a raga-like guitar solo. The “It’s” of the title was left off the label and added back with a red stamp. The 45 would have benefited from clearer production.

Ethics Graves45 It's OK

The Sires

The Sires, 1965
The Sires, 1965, from left: Rodger Koliece, Dean Loman, Robert Grebb, Ron Craig, Mike Briggs.

Sires Graves 45 Don't Look NowThe Sires were teenagers from Eugene and nearby Springfield, Oregon, forming at Sheldon High School in 1964 and breaking up in 1969.
Members were:

Marty Berg (vocals)
Ron Craig (lead guitar)
Mike Briggs (bass, rhythm guitar)
Roger Koliece (keyboards)
Dean Lowman (bass, vocals), replaced on bass by Warner (Doc) Swebke
Robert Grebb (drums)

Ron Craig had been in the Tempters out of Springfield with Joe Crippen and Dave Rodakowski who were later in the Eugene-based group Truth. They played nightclubs in Florence, Oakridge and at a ballroom in Eugene. They won some battles of the bands and came in second to the Gentlemen Wild in a state-wide contest. Bruce Mitchell managed the band.

Sires Business Card

Bands like the Sires paid Alan Graves to record them in his basement home studio in Eugene, and he would have them pressed up on his own label. Alan was still cutting records here as of 2004, I don’t know if he’s active today.

Their only 45 is definitely crude in recording quality and composition, and the sound is at odds with their neat image in their photos. Recorded in 1966, the members were about 15 years old at the time.

Sires Graves 45 Come to Me BabyI really dig the A-side, “Don’t Look Now” for it’s menacing repetitiveness. Several members are singing in unison, which is unusual, and the lyrics are cool when you can make them out – “give back my ring, then I will see, just how it feels, to be alone and free”. The vocalists draw some lines out in a lower voice and then shout out the chorus for good dynamic effect.

“Come to Me Baby” has chord changes a la Louie Louie, and again the whole group shouts out the lyrics. Ron Craig plunks out a guitar solo lasting some 45 seconds, and there are some good shouts in the song.

Wild and primitive indeed, and hardly the kind of material that would win band competitions, which usually favored slicker pop songs. Dean Lowman is given copyright on both sides of the 45, so I assume he wrote both songs.

Sources include: photos and some info from the PNW Bands site.

Sires Photo

The Fire

April Brooks and Candy Hunt of Fire
April Brooks and Candy Hunt of Fire, featured in the E.J.D. Enterprises Inc. News Bulletin of Nov/Dec ’67

The Fire Vanco 45 Happy SpringtimeJP sent me this 45 by an Oregon group The Fire, released approximately 1968. “Happy Springtime” was written by Candy Hunt and David Kahl, but I prefer the b-side, “Sorry for Tryin'”, written by Candy Hunt and Jeff Kaasted, with a neat organ solo. Both sides were produced by Bill Downer and engineered by Rick Keefer.The Fire included two female singers, April Brooks and Candy Hunt, Jeff Kaasted on guitar, David Kahl on bass, and Jerry Krauser drums. John Lessig was the original frontman and the first keyboard player, Roger was replaced by Omar Burns who also doubled on trumpet.

I spoke to David Kahl about his time with the band:

I was sixteen at the time. I never intended to join the band, I was always basically a blues lover. The Animals and Yardbirds were the only bands that had appeal for me outside the blues.

I had gotten a call to audition for this band when I hadn’t actually put anything out that said I was interested. They were out in the middle of the sticks. They had a gig, needed a bass player temporarily. I agreed to join for thirty days. I stayed longer than I ever anticipated – almost a year. Getting out of class early was compelling!

We did some good rooms all over the Northwest. Opened for Don and the Goodtimes, the Sonics, the Wailers. The manager, Bill Downer … that was an appropriate name – about the slickest guy you could ever imagine … but he got us a lot of gigs.

The Fire Vanco 45 Sorry for Tryin'I’d been trying to write a tune here, a tune there. The manager said “Look, Candy’s got some words, we want to put out a record, give it a try.” Then I heard the words! I said “Oh God!” So I wrote a decent hook and modulated a couple times knowing full well it would be vocally challenging!

Jeff was supposed to write Sorry for Tryin’. I got him interested in using the fuzztone. Once we got into the studio we were told “that will never do!”

We were a tight, well presented group. I got the guys to do a couple Hendrix and Cream tunes. My older brother was a player too, guitar and also violin; we loved the direction Clapton and Hendrix were going in. I was getting paid incredibly well, but my brother and I formed a quartet then a trio, getting paid a fifth of what I got with the Fire. They went on for another year then dissipated as well.

After I worked with Rod Price, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, and spent five years playing with Paul deLay, probably the best chromatic harp player in the world.

David still plays music regularly in Portland. He is now working on MyGigNet.com a social network for musicians and music professionals.

Thank you to JP for sending me the scans and transfers, and to David Kahl for speaking to me about his first band.