The Scholars (white sweaters) with vocal trio the Perennials, plus manager Nat Segal
Cameo Parkway Studio, Philadelphia, January 28, 1967
|A quintet of Drexel and Temple University students (hence the Scholars name) from the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. The only name I can associate with them is Bernie Winski, who wrote both songs on the 45, “I Need Your Lovin” and “Please Please”.
Opening with a pounding snare, “I Need Your Lovin'” is intense garage. The sound is dense, with background vocals by the Perenials [sic] and heavy swirling organ. A sax solo is followed by some great surf-type runs on the guitar. A remastering from the original tape, if it exists, might really bring out all the elements.
“Please Please” is competent but less exciting, I’m including it for the completists out there. They also cut one unreleased song, “I’m Gonna Make It”, that really shows doo-wop influence. “I’m Gonna Make It” originally appeared on the Crude PA compilation.
The 45 was released in February, 1967 on the Ruby Ray label out of Cornwell Heights (northeast of Philadelphia, I believe) and distributed by David Rosen Inc. Mastering by Frankford/Wayne.
The Perennials at Cameo Parkway Studios, Philadelphia, January 28, 1967
|Update, June 2011
Three years after writing this post I am no closer to knowing the identities and full story of the Scholars, but this month backing vocalist Jack Donadio wrote to me about the session with the fine photos seen here:
I am one of the Perennials who recorded the songs featured on your website: “I Need Your Lovin'”, “Please Please”, and “I’m Gonna Make It”.
Thank you to Jack for providing the photos and information on the recording session.
Nat Segal was a clarinet player who owned the Downbeat Club in Philadelphia and booked jazz shows into the Academy of Music in the ’40s and ’50s. In the early 1960’s he went into personal management for Danny & the Juniors, the Orlons, the Dovells and DJs Bob Horn and Jerry Blavat before working with the Scholars.
Sources on Nat Segal: Jersey Jazz’s December 2009 issue (PDF document) and “To the Geator, Bob Was Horn of Plenty. To this Day, Jerry Blavat Feels Debt of Gratitude to the Show’s Founder … and its Biggest Victim” by Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, August 5, 1997, accessed through Philly.com.
The Perennials, from left: Jack Donadio, Gene (surname?) and Jim Tucker
The Perennials at Cameo Parkway Studio, Philadelphia, January 28, 1967
There’s more to the Counts IV than I originally thought. Don Roof was sixteen when he started his first band The Little Boppers in Goldsboro, NC, southeast of Raleigh. Don was stocking vending machines at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base just outside Goldsboro when he met three musicians stationed at the base: Rick Turner, Joe Booher, and Al Peluso and together they formed the Counts IV.
The original Counts IV were Don Roof – vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica; Joe Booher – lead guitar, vocals; Al Peluso – bass, vocals; and Rick Turner – drums. Their competition around the Goldsboro area came from the Spectaculars, with Bill Stroud on sax.
They were regarded as having the British invasion sound down, which is apparent on “Lost Love”, the breezy B-side of their first 45. The A-side, “Listen to Me” stands out with its vocal trills and purposefully dissonant harmonies. Melodically it sounds sort of like an adaption of Larry Williams’ “Slow Down”. “Listen to Me” was written by Joseph Booher, and “Lost Love” by Albert A. Peluso.
This is one of the earlier releases on Raleigh DJ Jimmy Capps’ JCP label, which would date it to approximately late 1965 or early 1966. It came with a picture sleeve, occasionally done for JCP releases like the Invaders’ “(You Really) Tear Me Up” and a Dayv Butler 45. The group is listed as the Counts Four on the sleeve, but the JCP label and their next 45 both refer to them as the Counts IV.
The band replaced Rick Turner with Enrique Pacheco (‘Chico’), and toured from South Carolina up to New York. They played many shows at the Round Table in Washington D.C. and for a time were the house band at the Cavalier Club in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Their second 45, “Spoonful” / “Where Are You” was recorded in New York and came out on the CBS subsidiary Date in 1966. “Spoonful” is an adaption of the Willie Dixon song, while “Where Are You” is an upbeat original by Donald Roof with some odd female backing vocals.
Around late ’66 or early ’67 the Counts IV recorded two songs at a D.C. studio that went unreleased at the time and are now available on a Sundazed 7″. One is a cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, but the other is a very interesting original by Don Roof called “Discussion Of The Unorthodox Council”.
This turns out to be the same song as “What Good Is Up”, a great track released under the name The Inexpensive Handmade Look on Brunswick in August of 1968. In fact I’m almost positive it’s the same take, though the Brunswick 45 has serious amounts of echo and effects added to the performance. I wonder if someone at Brunswick retitled the song, which doesn’t quite match up with the lyrics. The Brunswick label lists Ben Mullarkey, Mike Divilion and Mike Kelly as producers. It’s backed with “Ice Cream Man”, another Donald Roof composition.
What place is up if fate has no eyes?
What smile is happiness if hate lingers on?
What word is truth if evil holds on?
What lives are lived if this [...?]
What motion is man if Satan holds on?
What is right? – ah, who can tell?
But I know the truth is written … if you look for it.
What cries are heard if people can’t see?
What sins are left if everything’s wrong?
What skies are up if all roads lead down?
What ships can sail if seas have all dried?
What left is death if people don’t live?
What are we, if the world does not turn?
But I know the truth is written … if you look for it!
There were personnel changes around this time, as Doug Farwig replaced Al Peluso.
Bassist Doug Farwig wrote in about his time with the group:
I was a member of The Inexpensive Hand Made Look. Ha! What a name.
I was very good friends with the Counts IV. I actually joined the Counts IV in Washington DC after their bass player Al left the band during a fight at one of their rehearsals. I had just left my North Carolina band “The Fabulous Dimensions”, also out of Goldsboro, NC and had gone to DC to visit The Counts IV who were playing in a Georgetown club called “The Round Table” when their little spat happened and I just so happened to be there.
They all turned to me at once and said “Doug, how would you like to play bass in our band”. I didn’t know what to say at first because I was a guitar player. I didn’t have any bass type equipment or anything. They talked me into it and off we went to Washington Music to make my big purchase. The rest is history so to speak, because I’ve been a bass player ever since.
I now live just outside of Orlando, Fl in one of the suburbs called Longwood and have been here since 1970. During that time, I have played in many bands the best of which was a group called “The Gatton Gang” in the mid 1970’s. That was a very good band and we toured with it thoughout most of the easten part of the country.
I still see and am now recording with the keyboard player (Kibby Gary) and the guitar player (Rick Warsing). Both are excellent palyers and they both have remained active in the business while I only play part time. I started my own construction conpany which is still active now.
Why no mention of “The Embers” from Raleigh? They were fabulous and even had their own strings of dinner clubs through out the state. We would run into them all over the place. Sometimes in Virginia at some frat house were they would be playing next door or as openers for some of the big shows that would come though our area from time to time.
Another one is “The Villagers”. They had their own Saturday morning TV show based out of Charlotte. They were a big band with about 9 pieces and had a guy and a gal out front that were very good. The Inexpensive Hand Made Look actually played on one of their TV shows.
Ken Taylor, drummer for Mike and the Dimensions, told me the story of how he joined the Counts IV:
Doug Farwig and I had played together in The Dimensions … We used to go see the Counts IV at the teen club on Seymour Johnson Air Force base and wanted to be just like them. They wore black turtle neck shirts, tight jeans and “Beatle boots” and we thought they were the coolest thing we had ever seen! We idolized the Counts IV and traveled with them as roadies when they opened for the Dave Clark 5. They also opened for the Zombies and I’ll never forget Chico teaching me how the drummer played the opening lick on “She’s Not There”.
Joe Booher quit the Counts IV and they broke up. Al and Chico went back to New York. We hooked up with Don Roof who had a bunch of gigs already booked to form the new Counts IV which later became the Inexpensive Handmade Look. Joe joined us for a while and we called ourselves the Counts IV but changed the name after Joe quit again.
Chico came to play with us and I was the front man. Chico quit after a while to return to his family in N.Y. and I went back on drums. I am the guy singing on “Ice Cream Man” with Inexpensive Handmade Look. When we went to N.Y. to record “Ice Cream Man” I’m pretty sure the producer was the same guy that the Counts IV had worked with and he decided to put their song on the flip side. I think they added the effects to try to make it more psychedelic.
We added another guitarist named Bill Collins also known as Mojo Collins who is still playing around North Carolina to this day.
After Doug Farwig left IHL, Don Roof and I formed a new band called Strange Brew with some guys we had met in Atlanta, GA and started playing in clubs down there. We met this guy named Jeff Lee who was a local pot dealer with connections in L.A. He supposedly got us booked at the Whiskey A Go Go and we pooled our meager funds and headed West.
We drove across the country in a Chevy van with five guys and all our equipment. When we got to L.A. we quickly found out there was no gig. We managed to find a job three doors down from the Whiskey at a bar called the Galaxy. One night this guy came in and invited us to an after hours party at the Hollywood Landmark hotel. He turned out to be Shep Gordon and offered to manage our band. He said he had a group from Phoenix that he was handling who were starving but that he believed were going to be very successful. That band turned out to be Alice Cooper and Shep is still Alice’s manager today.
We decided not to take him up on the offer (big mistake!) and a few days later we broke up after someone stole our lead player’s guitars. His name is Spencer Kirkpatrick and he was so bummed he flew back to Atlanta the next day. He later signed with Capricorn records and formed a band named Hydra.
Don went back to Atlanta and I went to D.C. where I literally ran into Doug Farwig walking down the street. That’s when he offered me the job with Wild Honey. Their drummer had left so they hired me and we had a house gig at the Bayou in Georgetown, six hours a night, six nights a week making $200.00 a week. That was a really good band with great vocals but a lot of ego problems. Once again the band broke up and I went to London, England to play and record with Denny Laine (Moody Blues, Wings).
After freezing and starving in England, I returned to D.C. and worked with some local bands before moving to San Francisco and hooking back up with Mojo and his band Initial Shock. We played at the famous Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms and opened for Santana, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and many other bands.
Ken’s stories of his time in London and San Francisco will be continued in a later article.
I presumed the group broke up sometime after the Inexpensive Handmade Look 45 but in fact Don Roof continued the band as the Counts IV with different musicians. Mike Malonee wrote to me about this lineup and sent in the photo above:
I first saw the Counts IV at the Teen Club on Seymour Johnson AFB in 1965. I was totally impressed with their look and the great British sound they were producing. I can clearly remember hearing Don Roof knock out “Twist & Shout” and thinking, that’s as good or better than The Beatles! They were very professional and an extremely tight group. I followed this group throughout the mid to late 60’s.
I was 15 years old when I formed a band call “Mike and the Dimensions” in 1965, which included Ken Taylor on drums and lead vocals. I had only been playing guitar for a year and [was] very immature. I was later replaced by Doug Farwig who I considered to be a solid guitar player and later became an even better bassist with the Counts IV.
I played in rather good band that I’d formed in Goldsboro called The Chosen Few and we won the local battle of the bands in 1968. We also opened for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs in 1967. We were all just teenagers then and were living large. Then I grew up and tried to make a living at playing in a band. Big surprise! You can starve doing that!
In 1969, long after the original Counts IV had broken up, Don Roof replaced the original members with some younger, less talented musicians and performed under the name Counts IV. I was asked to join the group as second guitar and lead vocalist.
Don Roof was playing keyboard during this period. The other three [were] Mike Fowler (Blues), Billy Merrit, and the black dude I only remember as Danny. This version of the Counts IV lasted less than one year.
W. Michael Malonee
Rick Turner (Robert Ward Turner) passed away some years ago in Tampa, Florida. Tragically, lead guitarist Joe Booher committed suicide in 1971. Enrique Pacheco (Chico) passed away in July 2007. Don Roof currently plays with The Back Alley Band in the Manassas and Fairfax area of Virginia.
One request – if anyone has photos of the group please get in touch with me at email@example.com
The Originals recorded at least five 45s on the Van Recording label out of Angleton, Texas. Members were Gary King on lead guitar, Tommy King on bass, Ronnie Ellis rhythm guitar and George Shelton on drums.
The Originals first 45 is “Scatter-Shot”, a good instrumental written by lead guitarist Gary King, with a cover of Little Richard’s “Lucille” on the flip. It was released in 1964.
Their second (that I know of) is “Honey Blonde”, released in December of 1964 with the artist listed as Ronnie Ellis and the Originals. The b-side is a ballad, “One Little Raindrop”. Both songs were written by Monte Angell and produced by Wallace Schlemmer.
The third 45 features two rockin’ instrumentals. “Stick Shift” ’65 was written by Terry Simpson and Jessie Castor, lead guitarist and bassist, respectively, for the Raiders, who had scored a big local hit on Van with “Stick Shift” back in 1962. Gary King’s original “Blast-Off!” is just as good as the top side.
Their next had two more great instrumentals, “Night Flight” and “Comanche!”:
Another ballad “Searching for Your Love” is the A-side of their last 45 that I’m aware of, written by Wayne Gust with vocals by Ronnie Ellis and George Shelton.
I prefer the flip, another Monte Angell composition, “How Much of Your Heart”. Ronnie Ellis sings in a rough style while the guitars use heavy tremolo instead of the sharp sound on their earlier 45s. This one was recorded by Billy Snow and also recorded in 1965.
The Originals releases:
Scatter-Shot / Lucille (Van V-01464)
Honey Blonde / One Little Raindrop (Van V-01864), as “Ronnie Ellis and the Originals”
Stick Shift ’65 / Blast-Off! (Van V-02165)
Night Flight / Comanche! (Van V-03065)
Searching for Love / How Much of Your Heart (Van V-03565)
Ronnie Ellis – Goodnight Little Sweetheart / The Right Way of Doing Things Wrong (Van V-02865)
Gulf Coast Records compiled five of these songs on the LP Texas Guitars back in the ’80s. Distortion during the first seconds of “Scatter Shot” seems to be present on original 45s and that LP.
For more on the Van label see the article I’ve posted here.
A psychedelic ode to street walkers! Buried on the b-side of a heavy version of Peggy Sue with a good drum break.
Don’t know a thing about the American Express. “When the City Sleeps” was written by Mani and Fournier.
I’m sure there’s a tie to some other group, but who? Not the American Express from Wisconsin who cut “You & Me” / “You’re Going To Be The One” on the Teen Town label, produced by Jon Hall.
Max Waller connects this to Ed Fournier of the Challengers and Dave Mani – see his comment below for more info.
Delta # in the dead wax dates this to February 1969.
|This is an excellent psychedelic 45 from early 1969. “Light the Glass Candle” has piercing guitar lines; “Keep Right on Living” chugs along to steady tom tom beats with vocals that sound either very young or speeded up.
Both sides written by Jimmy Tillmann. Two other members named Roger and Danny have signed my copy of the 45. There must have been at least one more member, as the lineup includes guitar, bass organ and drums.
The 45 was produced by Alan Posniak, and seems to be their only recording. The Target label was based in Appleton, Wisconsin, but I’ve read the band was from Milwaukee, about a hundred miles south of Appleton.
The äva label – Elmer Bernstein, Fred Astaire, Carol Lawrence, the Pete Jolly Trio – lots of movie themes and light pop music. It makes sense for a label distributed by MGM. Yet I’ve managed to find a couple great instrumental 45s on äva, Allyn Ferguson’s “Your Red Watermelon” and this one, a solid double-sided winner by the Pace-Setters.
Mustang has a nicely tremoloed guitar setting up riffs for a sax to finish off while engines rev in the background. Heads Up is a great r&b guitar workout originally done by Freddie King.
As for the Pace-Setters, they seem to have been a faceless group of studio musicians. Shows how much talent was around in LA in 1964 – two well-produced instrumentals like this get buried in obscurity.
Mustang was written by Gary Moulton, both sides were produced by Steve Benson.
|Frank Stallone sent in these photos of his first band, the American Tragedy. Frank’s playing the ’58 Gibson Explorer. The band never recorded.
Frank wrote, “I had a band the American Tragedy out of Philadelphia from 1965 to ’68. We played all the hops and were in the Battle of the Bands and came in 2nd. I went on from there to form a group called Valentine with John Oates.
“Also the Hangmen are from Maryland, I’m from there as well. I saw them open for the Lovin’ Spoonful at the Shady Grove Music Fair, Rockville MD in 1965.”
For more on Frank and his music and film career check out FrankStallone.com
The American Tragedy, 1965
The Mixed Emotions were from the town of Coden, on the Gulf in Alabama. Members were:
Ronnie Ghetti – lead vocals
Jerry Simmons – lead guitar
Wendell Herrington – keyboards
Tim Hayes – bass
Rodney Linder – drums
The highlight is the great “Can’t You Stop It Now”, featuring a bass player who hits all the right notes, a singer who’s halfway between being hurt and not caring a bit (I like how he tosses off the line “I need a little peace!”), and a guitarist with an ill-sounding fuzz tone. “Go Jerry, do it,” says the singer right before the solo.
The flip is a mellow, bluesy original, “I’ll Fade Away”. This was released in the summer of ’68 on the Kustom Kut label out of nearby Grand Bay, and as it turns out, was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis.
Jerry Simmons wrote both songs with the bands manager, James Bowers.
Jerry Simmons wrote to me about the group:
Making the record was my idea. We met a fellow that had connections with Sun Records in Memphis so naturally I wanted to go there and record some original material.
The bass player, Timmy Hayes and the drummer Rodney Linder and I played together in a couple of more bands in the 60s. I also cut a record in about 1973. As of late I wrote and produced a Christmas album for singer Malcolm Slater.
Our lead singer, Ronnie Ghetti moved to Georgia shortly after we made our record. Our keyboard player, Wendell Herrington didn’t play much anymore.
Anyone have a photo of the band?
The Yes It Is
|From Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior, the Yes It Is do a good cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ the Dog”, backed with a melancholy folk number, “Little Boy”, written by Mike Settle.
They have a second 45 on Studio City “Lovely Love” / “That Summer” which I haven’t heard yet.
That’s as much as I know about them. Studio City was the in-house label of Minneapolis’ Kaybank Studios.
The photo at top was on DuluthRocked.com, which now seems to be off the web. Thanks to Parkeo for finding that.
The Rain Kings, December 1966
Gretta Spoone Band, 1968 lineup