Category Archives: US

The Mind’s Eye

The Mind’s Eye at the Action Spot, October 1967 From right to left: James Morris, Mark Finley, Gary O’Neal, Carroll Fuller, with drumsticks in back pocket. In the background is Karen Nunneley, and Larry Lemons

A couple years ago I posted list of bands playing the 1967 Texas State Fair. Many of the groups named are still a mystery to me. There were other bands who played who weren’t even on the list, including this group from a small town near the Oklahoma border.

Carroll Fuller sent in the photos and wrote to me about the Mind’s Eye, and in 2016 Larry G. Lemons gave this history:

Although not listed on your clipping, The Mind’s Eye, from Nocona, Texas, also played in the Battle of the Bands on the Action Spot Stage at the 1967 Texas State Fair. Pictured here are the original members from right to left are James Morris (bass guitar), Marcus Finley (rhythm guitar), Gary O’Neal (lead guitar), Carroll Fuller (drums). In the background are Karen Nunneley (organ and vocal), and Larry G. Lemons (organ).

The band played together at youth centers, dances, and parties in and around Montague County (north of Fort Worth near the Red River) from 1966 to 1968. Marcus was later killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. After a time, James and Karen left the group to pursue other interests. Gary, Carroll, and Larry continued on and added Glen Idell to the lineup on bass.

After disbanding in 1968, Gary and Karen went on to play professionally for several years as each explored other styles of music including gospel and bluegrass. All members went on to pursue successful careers outside of the music industry.

Almost fifty years later, because of their life-long friendships and a love for 60’s rock and roll, the band has reunited to play a one-off concert at their local Nocona High School Triennial Homecoming as they reprise many of their favorite songs. Added to the line-up for the concert will be bass guitarist extraordinaire and master sound engineer, George Geurin, another Nocona 60’s garage band musician who played with Concrete Flower.

Larry G. Lemons

Carroll Fuller adds:

Following us was a band from Denton called The G’s [one single “There’s a Time” / “‘Cause She’s My Girl” on the Young Generation label]. The G’s were a very talented bunch, or at least they were to us, coming from a small town and all!  I just remember them playing “Things I Should have Said” by the Grassroots that really blew us away!

Gary, our guitarist and vocalist went on to play with a band out of Bowie, TX called Horsefly.

Carroll Fuller

The Mind's Eye at the Action Spot, Texas State Fair, 1967
The Mind’s Eye at the Action Spot, Texas State Fair, 1967
The Mind's Eye, Texas State Fair, 1967
The Mind’s Eye, Texas State Fair, 1967 from left: Marcus Finley, Carroll Fuller, Karen Nunneley, Gary O’Neal, James Morris, & Larry G. Lemons
The Mind's Eye at the Action Spot, Texas State Fair, 1967
The Mind’s Eye at the Action Spot, Texas State Fair, 1967

Dave & the Detomics

Dave & the Detomics pose in front of their Cadillac Superior, 1966
from left: Vince Slagel, Jeanne Eickhoff, Bill Sheedy, Dave Bethard, Steve Westhoff and Monte McDermith
Dave Bethard – lead guitar/vocals
Jeanne Eickhoff – lead vocals
Galen Johnson – rhythm guitar
Steve Westhoff – rhythm guitar, back-up vocals
Vince Slagel — organ and vocals
Terry (Fuzzy) Johnson – bass, vocals
Monte McDermith – bass, lead guitar, vocals
Bill Sheedy – drums and vocals

Dave and the Detomics came from the same southern-central area of Illinois, like Oglethorp and Othelow who I profiled last year. Both groups also had record releases on a southeast Texas label named Van, thanks to the connections of local radio show host Oscar Wells. Wells also recorded additional songs by each group that went unreleased at the time.

In the article below, Dave Bethard tells the band’s story in his own words, with some additional input from band mate Galen Johnson where noted. Dave has been very patient with my questions, and also provided all the incredible photos seen here.

My name is Dave Bethard — formerly of Dave & The Detomics of Morrisonville, Illinois, and the surrounding area.

The whole history of Dave & the Detomics included cousins Galen and Terry Johnson (both from Palmer, Illinois—attending Morrisonville High School) on rhythm and bass guitar prior to the band’s later personnel grouping in 1965/66. Dates are hard to fix, but Galen, Bill, Terry (Fuzzy) and I were at it in 1963 and 1964 as the Majestics too, before changing our name. We added Vince Slagel first. Then, later, Monte to replace Terry, and Steve to replace Galen, and then Jeanne was added, but those dates are hazy to me. Vince and Jeanne went to Hillsboro High School (Jeanne lived in Butler), and Steve went to Litchfield High, Monte to Nokomis, so we had a wide following because of the spread-out geography of our members.

Richard Dean’s article [on Oglethorp and Othelow] is pretty accurate—except for the part that we were a rockabilly band. We never thought of ourselves that way, and certainly didn’t work to sound that way or to learn or perform country and western songs, unless they were on the charts and requested. Admittedly, we all had a Midwest twang, which probably sounded country….but that was not our musical intent. We always thought that we were better on instrumentals, compared to vocals, and we worked hard to do numerous Ventures (and other instrumental) songs—indeed, using a version of one of their songs for our theme and break song for years.

Q. How did the band get the name Detomics?

There used to be a gas station in Springfield (between 5th and 6th streets on the South end of town) where the two streets split from divided back to a four lane heading South. That street was only 1 block long, and on the South side, there was a Detomic Gas station. That’s where the name came from.

We all came up with the name together, democratically. I was the leader, but took equal share with everyone else, and didn’t throw my weight around.

Dave’s pre-Detomics band, the Stardusters, Illiopolis, 1963
from left: Joe Hischer (sax), Mark Myers (trumpet), Dave Bethard (vocal and rhythm guitar), Paul Cooler (lead guitar) and Terry Buff (drums)

Original lineup of the band, winter of 1964, from left: Bill Sheedy, Galen Johnson, Dave Bethard, and Terry Johnson.
Taken in Bill Sheedy’s basement by his brother, Richard.

Jeanne was (is) an accomplished vocalist, and her addition certainly made our overall sound better, and our song choices then expanded, allowing us to do more ballads and harmony to accompany her. Along with Jeanne and me, Bill, Vince and Monte all sang individual songs, with Steve doing backup vocals—so we all had mics. Monte’s addition was a great benefit for me, as he could sing and had a higher pitched voice than me—and, he could play lead on some songs, giving me a break on both fronts. We thought it made us look more professional to switch instruments occasionally during the evening for a song or two.Richard is correct that we didn’t draw big crowds in Pana—or in Irving, for that matter–and our enthusiasm to work there shrank after several tries. I’d have loved to hit it off with the Pana, Illiopolis area kids, but multiple trips there for us, at least, were frustrating. We just didn’t click with them, at least, that was our take on it. Too bad.

But, to balance his point, we drew large crowds in Nokomis, Palmer and Morrisonville locations over several years at numerous venues, including the Nokomis Park House, a frequent favorite of ours. Certainly, hailing from the Central Illinois area, we got around as much as we could, and enjoyed nearly every location. The open air Morrisonville Park pavilion was a favorite of ours too, and we used to do Thursday night dances every week during the summer months. It was normal to have between 200 and 300 kids attending—we were subject to the whims of Mother Nature, but rain-outs were rare. The overhead was minimal, so the money take for band members was sometimes better than ‘scale’.

Dave Bethard and Galen Johnson

Dave and Detomics on the Johnny Rabbitt show, November 29, 1964

Johnny Rabbitt and Kay

Johnny Rabbitt of KXOK

The band provided music for the Johnny Rabbitt show – the Rabbitt and Kay signed autographs & did some ticket magic – door prices, chances to another appearance of his, etc. Mainly, it was a venue for him to give away stuff and to mingle with his listeners. To my recollection, he and Kay came alone, I don’t remember any handlers or entourage.The business address for KXOK was was a small one-story house or building as I recall – you could easily drive by it, and we did! I don’t think that our records made it to KXOK—by the time we did them the Rabbit was gone, I think.

Galen Johnson: “One thing I remember from the Johnny Rabbit show was him picking up a phrase we told him while visiting his show, and then using it on his show. That was ‘Hang it on your ear.’ I don’t even know now what that means, but he used it anyway.”

Johnny Rabbitt’s KXOK show, Nov. 29, 1964

Bill Sheedy after setting record for 40 hours of non-stop drumming

Probably the pinnacles of our band efforts would have been two major events—Bill Sheedy became the World’s Marathon Drummer in 1964 (I think). This gave him and us front page coverage on most media in the vicinity, and some world wide coverage as well. He played his drums for 40 solid hours in my dad’s garage (our practice spot) and had hundreds and hundreds of people come through during the event. It was over a weekend, so we all got to skip school on Monday—pretty much excused, as it was a big local event.

Dave Bethard of Dave & the Detomics and Dave Davies of the Kinks, 1965, “taken during our 3 day tour of Central Illinois”

Also, the band did a three day tour (Peoria, Springfield and Decatur, dates uncertain) with The Kinks, Paul Petersen, The Rivieras, and the Hollywood Argyles. Dick and Dee Dee must have been scheduled to appear, but didn’t. Along with another popular local group from Springfield (Randy and the Ramblers) we got to spend a few minutes with the ‘big boys’, while they filled in between bigger audiences in Chicago and St. Louis. That week, all told, with the other ‘normal’ bookings, we appeared in front of about 10,000 people—certainly a huge increase from our norms. And the best part of it all was that they paid us to do what we would have volunteered to do for free!Pretty heady stuff for high school kids!

Galen Johnson writes: “I was in the Illinois State Police and my office was in the Armory Building in Springfield during the last part of my career. One of the people I worked with, Larry Ball, discovered Ray Davies from the Kinks had scratched his name in the marble wall in one of the bathroom stalls in the basement. They used that area as a dressing room during the concert in Springfield. It remains there today. Larry is from Springfield and remembers being at that concert. Mr. John Wayne Gacy was President of the Springfield J.C.’s at the time and that club had sponsored the show in Springfield. That is why he was there. During his murder trial episode there was an article in the Springfield paper about his life in Springfield and it mentioned his involvement with this concert. I wish I had kept that article now.

The Rivieras, on the Kinks tour, 1965

The Hollywood Argyles on the Kinks tour, 1965
(a rare photo of the touring group – may include Ted Marsh, Deary Weaver, Marshall Leib, Gary “Spider” Webb, Bobby Rey and/or Ted Winters. See this site. Can anyone ID the female vocalist? -“all we knew was that she was part of the group!” – Dave)

Dave & the Detomics on the Kinks tour, Decatur, Illinois, 1965

The original Detomics plus new organ player Vince Slagel in the 1965 Picnic Book

The 1965 Picnic Book was a black and white advertising publication for the Morrisonville Picnic and Homecoming (published by the same folks who published the local weekly paper, the Morrisonville Times) that came out each year, and contained numerous advertisements as well as photos and schedules for the upcoming events. The Homecoming was always THE big event in the year, and I’d bet they still have the books in another form, perhaps. They still have a big crowd for the annual event every July! I believe they also still have dances during the evenings too.Fuzzy and Galen were older, Fuzzy by several years, and Galen by one year. Fuzzy really left the group not too long before he went to the Army, and while there were some hurt feelings on both sides for a while, we were able to get past it, and continue our friendship. Galen’s departure was much more planned, but ultimately he went in the Army also. During the transition between Galen and Steve, we played with 3 guitars and a bass for a while.

Nokomis Sadie Hawkins Dance, November 1965

November ’65, Monte McDermith has replaced Terry Johnson on bass

Revised lineup, early 1966, from left: Bill Sheedy, Dave Bethard, Monte McDermith, Steve Westhoff and Vince Slagel. This group recorded the first Detomics single

Valentines Day dance at Litchfield, February 1966

At right is Dave’s father

Stage setup in Litchfield, notice light show below organ

Our [first] 45 was an instrumental, side A being “Detomic Orbit”, and side B being “Shatter”. By way of example about how songs and groups superimposed on one another in those days, a version of that song was the theme song for a group we idolized early in our careers, called the Shattertones. We ‘borrowed it’ for our own—the sincerest form of flattery!

Dave and the Detomics – Detomic Orbit
Dave and the Detomics – Shatter

Q. After I wrote about Van Records, someone from Holland wrote to me to say his copy of Dave & the Detomics’ second 45 “Why Can’t I” / “Soft White Gloves” came from a Dutch publishing company called Belinda Records that had taken out an option on this 45 to release it in the Netherlands in the ’60s, but for some reason it didn’t materialize. The Detomics came close to having a release in Europe! Amazing if true.

The news about someone else releasing it is new to me, at least, and amusing at this stage of my life.

Lillie [who wrote “Soft White Gloves”] was my mom. Both parents were into and involved with the band—my mom actually had a dream, and the lyrics came to her in the dream. When she got up, she wrote them down and gave them to me with the story. I worked only a short time before putting the music to Johnny B Goode behind the lyrics—and with an uptempo beat, it sounded pretty good. My mom gave it her stamp of approval, and Jeanne was enthusiastic about it too. A song is born!

Dave and the Detomics – Soft White Gloves
Dave and the Detomics – Why Can’t I

I did find the 4 Audiodiscs (soft copy records with a metal middle layer) that Oscar Wells made for us. I ended up with more than a double CD full of songs—more than I thought we had.

None of the tracks was recorded in a studio. The 45 records were the best quality, and Oscar did those with his portable equipment in my dad’s garage (the band did adjust our volume and tone accordingly) right where we practiced every week!

The radio station tracks came from three audiodiscs that Oscar gave to us from three radio shows we did in 1966. Sort of like payment…but not exactly. Getting our butts up and on the radio at 09:30 am on a Sunday was tough—especially when we played jobs the night before, which was almost always the case.

Dave and the Detomics – Wailin’ and Oscar’s Theme
Dave and the Detomics – Theme Song and Oscar’s Theme

The rest were from a session Oscar did for our use only, not for sale (to see what we really sounded like), in 1964 when Monte first joined the group — a full 33 1/3 lp of our early days, recorded (the same way) in the Morrisonville (Illinois) American Legion Home, which we rented for $50 just to do that for an evening. I still have the soft discs, and that’s where all of the CD music came from— none of it is even in stereo. At least it’s durable…has survived all these years—and now, it will live forever in the digital world!

Dave and the Detomics – Mr. Moto

Oscar Wells was a country boy trying to navigate in a city world, and he was somewhat out of place. He was a wonderful person, and was honest, very patient, and helpful in all of our dealings with him. That area of Central Illinois, and his show in particular were more country than rock on most days, if my memory is accurate. Any place where the ‘Swap Shop’ is a hit local radio program for years running, isn’t exactly deep in the heart of the city! Oscar did only good for us, and may he rest in peace.

The lineup that recorded “Why Can’t I” / “Soft White Gloves”, with Jeanne Eickoff

Richard Hall, a guitar student of Dave’s, with Dave’s mother Lillie and his father Clete in the back

1966 show

Dave’s red ’65 GTO with the Cadillac

Detomics final show, December 31, 1966
from left: Jeanne Eickhoff, Bill Sheedy (on drums), Dave Bethard, Vince Slagel (on organ in back), Monte McDermith and Steve Westhoff

Vince and Jeanne were the seniors of the group when we broke up at the end of 1966—they were both in college. I had just graduated from high school, and the rest were at least a year behind me, I think—my point being—we were just kids doing pretty good work for our ages. We did several high school proms, which were just making the transition from ‘all slow songs’ to ‘a mix of slow and rock songs’, and we always were nervous about them, as we preferred rocking, to playing endless slow songs….plus we didn’t know all that many slow tunes.Dave & the Detomics disbanded after playing our final job on New Years Eve 1966. We were hired by a younger faction of the Auburn Country Club who wanted a rock band for New Years—so they got an upstairs place in downtown Auburn, and we did that job as my last one, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Dave Bethard at the Detomics final show, December 31, 1966

“During my pre-Japan Air Force leave,” 1967

The Detomics jamming during Dave’s leave, 1967

After that, I went off to the Air Force in February of 1967, and the remaining band members, Monte McDermith, Steve Westoff, Vince Slagel, Jeanne Eichoff and Bill Sheedy went in other directions. All but Bill and Jeanne went to the Reactions[see clipping at bottom of that page], and, so far as I know, neither Bill or Jeanne joined any band on a full time basis after that.Those times were tough on 18 year old males not in college. There was a military draft and we all knew we would end up in the military in some manner. I just scheduled mine by enlisting, which was a very pivotal time of my life.

Galen, Terry and Dave in front of Fuzzy Johnson’s Corvette

Galen Johnson, Fuzzy Johnson and Dave Bethard

Vince and Jeanne Slagel are married, and live in Georgia after both having very successful careers outside of music. Steve Westoff still lives in Litchfield, Illinois, and is married. Bill Sheedy is married, and still living in Morrisonville, Illinois. Terry Johnson is married, still plays bass and lives in Missouri. Galen Johnson is married, still plays guitar, is a retired State Policeman, and has a successful real estate business in Pawnee, Illinois. Monte McDermith is deceased.About 4 years ago I found and reestablished contact with all of our band members that are still living, and with Monte’s dad and family. I was also able to locate and make contact with Jeanne Weber, our band manager from the earlier days, who is also now deceased.

I live in Florida, I’m married to a woman I met in my Air Force tour in Japan in 1970, and I’m retired after an aerospace career, and still own, but rarely play guitar. We are all still friends, and communicate on occasion.

Dave Bethard, 2012

Terry ‘Fuzzy’ Johnson in front of his Corvette, 1967

Bill Sheedy, 1967

Two views of the original Detomics: Galen Johnson, Dave Bethard, Bill Sheedy and Terry Johnson.
Above, 1964: “I was still using a Spiegel catalog guitar–before upgrading to Fender equipment.”
Below: “from a jam session we had when I was on leave in 1967 before going to Japan – October time frame.”

The Earthquakes

The Earthquakes of Virginia Beach
The Earthquakes of Virginia Beach

Kevin Longendyke found this excellent band photo in Richmond, Virginia and was trying to determine who the band is. Chandler Edmunds wrote in with information about the group:

The band’s name is The Earthquakes from Virginia Beach. Drummer is Chuck Martak. Middle guitar player is Doug Christdon. Right guitar player named Ric (that’s all I have), and the other guitar player remains unnamed.

I understand these guys were in a bad car accident in 1966 and one may have died. Doug got seriously hurt in the accident but survived. I don’t think they were together long enough to get a record out.

Stamped on the back is “Clifton Guthrie”, who was a fine photojournalist in the South Norfolk, Virginia area (see this link for a few of his images).

Thanks to Chandler for finding out about the Earthquakes.

The Wanted

 The Wanted on A&M, full page ad in Billboard, April 1, 1967
Full page ad in Billboard, April 1, 1967

The Wanted Detroit Sound 45 Teen WorldThe Wanted released eight songs on six different singles, four on The Detroit Sound and two national releases on A&M.

The names of the band are well-known: they put them on the labels of their 45s. Other information is not easy to come by and I don’t find them mentioned in any detail in my usual sources.

Arnie DeClark – rhythm guitar
Dave Fermstrum – organ
Bill Montgomery – bass
Tim Shea – lead
Chip Steiner – drums

The Wanted Detroit Sound 45 Lots More Where You Came FromAll their releases have excellent songs. “Here to Stay” is an amazingly mature ballad, with a great nasal lead vocal, written by Tim Shea and Chip Steiner. The flip “Teen World” is their most basic song, sounding much like “California Sun” with new lyrics, but it’s a fine party song of the mid-60s and probably their rarest release. It was written by C. Shermetaro.

The Detroit Sound Recording Co. was located at 12730 E. Warren. I’ve read that Chip Steiner’s father Irv Steiner owned the Detroit Sound label, which usually featured soul acts.

The label changed the graphics and re-released “Here to Stay”, backed with a good version of “In the Midnight Hour” that reached #1 on WKNR in Detroit & Dearborn in March of ’67, and #3 on CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. They appeared on Robin Seymour’s TV show Swingin’ Time, probably several times. I don’t know which song was originally featured in the clip below as the audio is dubbed in.

The Wanted in Billboard's Bubbling Under, April 29, 1967
Billboard, April 29, 1967

A&M picked this up for national release in April, 1967 and bought a full page ad in Billboard for it with a neat watch graphic. As far as I can tell, the furthest it reached in the national charts was “bubbling under” at #128, with Michael & the Messengers’ version of the song on the U.S.A. label at #121. Too many competing versions kept these from breaking out nationally, although each has a distinct style.

They had one further release on A&M, a fine pop number with horns called “Big Town Girl” backed with “Don’t Worry Baby”. Despite being a Detroit Sound production I believe this single was only released on A&M.

Their next single was the tough “Lots More Where You Came From”, with the lyric “girl I’m picking up on your bad vibrations”! It was written and produced by Dugg Brown (aka Doug Brown of the Omens and producer of Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Southwind, etc), backed with a version of “Knock on Wood”. Their last on the Detroit Sound label was a good take on Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” backed “Sad Situation”, which is simply “Lots More Where You Came From” with a different title.

An email from a friend of the band was the inspiration for this post:

My name is Michael Surarez Thompson. In the 60’s I was a close friend of the Detroit garage band The Wanted. The guys all came from the Grosse Point area. Chip Steiner’s dad Irvin bought an old Detroit city bus and had it converted to a motor home if you will. The bus took us to gigs in and around Detroit and came with a chauffeur I believe his name was Walker.

I was a bit older then the boys and I left to serve in the Marine Corps. Through the years we lost contact. I have been searching for my former friends but they seem to have vanished from face of earth. I am from Port Huron, Michigan, retired Marriott executive chef living in Eugene, Oregon.

45 releases:

The Detroit Sound 222 (plain red label) – Here to Stay (Shea – Steiner) / Teen World (C. Shermetaro)
The Detroit Sound 222A/223A (red and blue label with instrument graphics) – Here to Stay / In the Midnight Hour (February, 1967)
The Detroit Sound 230 – Lots More Where You Came From (Dugg Brown) / Knock On Wood
The Detroit Sound 232 – East Side Story / Sad Situation
A&M 844 – Here to Stay / Midnight Hour (March, 1967)
A&M 856 – Big Town Girl (Dugg Brown) / Don’t Worry Baby (produced by Doug Brown) (May, 1967)

Source: WKNR chart info from ARSA. Thank you to Jim Heddle for the clean scan of the chart.

The Wanted, #1 on WKNR, March 13, 1967
#1 on WKNR, March 13, 1967
The Wanted, Breakout Singles, Billboard, April 8, 1967
Billboard, April 8, 1967

Al’s Untouchables and the Orphans

The Untouchables, 1966
The Untouchables, 1966 from left: Bruce Nunamaker, Ron Bressler, Tom Hankins and Dick Douglas

Al's Untouchables Hunt 45 Come On BabyAl’s Untouchables’ “Come On Baby” / “Stick Around” is one of long-time classics of 60s garage rock. Original copies are rare and when they do sell, go for well over $1,000. The G45 Central site described “Come On Baby” as “raw energy that may never be equaled”, all within two minutes of playing time. After the band establishes the pounding rhythm, lead guitarist Dick Douglas solos for nearly half a minute, and continues whenever there’s a break in the lead vocals.

Though overshadowed by “Come On Baby”, the flip “Stick Around” is excellent bluesy r&b. The label for “Stick Around” has “Douglas” in parentheses, referring to Dick Douglas on lead vocals.There were actually two different groups on Hunt Records called the Untouchables. The first group consisted of Al Huntziner (drums), Larry Fountain (guitar), Ernie Dvorak (saxophone), Ron Hamad (guitar), Bob Keith (keyboards), Bill Alley (bass), Mel Winder (guitar), Frank Glaser (guitar) and Bob Gaston. This Al & the Untouchables released one 45 on Hunt, “Church Key” / “Danny Boy”.

Al's Untouchables Hunt 45 Stick AroundThen came an all-new Untouchables – but that story is best told by bassist and vocalist Tom Hankins. Tom also sent in the photos seen here.

In 1962, 14 year old Tom Hankins (bass and vocals) started a rock band with Scott Bascom (guitar and vocals), Mike Sexton (guitar and vocals) and Mike Curley (drums). The band was formed in Cedar Rapids, IA and named themselves The Belvederes.

Personnel changes were made at various points and the final version was Hankins on bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals, Dick Douglas on lead guitar and vocals, Bruce Nunamaker on rhythm guitar, Eddy Hood on 12 string guitar, bass and rhythm guitars and vocals and Ron Bressler on drums.

The Untouchables with Sam the Sham and the Everly Brothers
The Untouchables billed with Sam the Sham and the Everly Brothers, among others

They were having moderate success when area manager Al Huntzinger called Tom and asked him if his band would become Al’s Untouchables, as Al’s band of that name had all quit over money issues with Al. Hankins accepted and The Untouchables were born. Al still insisted on putting his name on the band, but they were just known to their fans as The Untouchables and Al no longer performed with them, as Hankins made that part of the deal [which is why “Hankin’s” is included in parentheses underneath the band’s name on the second Hunt single – ed.].They quickly became Iowa’s top group with the backing of Darlowe Olsen, owner of Danceland Ballroom in Cedar Rapids, where The Untouchables became the house band and backing band for touring acts like Sam The Sham, Ike & Tina Turner, The Hullaballoos and dozens more top national and British Invasion acts. They also toured on Olsen’s circuit of venues in the Midwest with Chuck Berry, The Dave Clark Five, The Animals, Johnny Tillotson and others.

In 1965 The Untouchables recorded what turned out to be a double-sided hit in the upper Midwest in 1966 with the songs “Come On Baby” and “Stick Around”, both penned by Hankins and Douglas writing under the name of Thomas Richards.

“Come on Baby” is now being called “The Holy Grail of Garage Punk”. This was recorded in Chicago at Sound Studios, the same studio used by The Stones and also with their engineer Stu Black. Hankins and Douglas produced the songs, but manager Huntzinger listed himself as producer when the record was pressed.

The Untouchables of Jefferson High School

The Untouchables aka the Orphans
The Untouchables at the Spider Web, a youth club managed by Mom Uffelman

They began drawing packed venues. In 1966 the entire band was kicked out of high school because the school board deemed their hair as “unfit”, as it covered the top of their ears and almost went over their collars.It turned out that Jefferson Senior High School principal William Paxton found out that the boys in the band were making more money than he was and he developed a grudge against them, doing his best to make sure the boys wouldn’t get their diplomas, but he failed. This put The Untouchable’s name in the headlines nationwide and they drew record crowds at all of the big ballrooms in the Midwest.

Once they were out of school they immediately headed to Hollywood. They had been there during Spring Break when Liberty Records asked them to come out and sign a contract. Liberty, however, wanted The Untouchables to clean up their image and cut their hair, to which the band refused, ripped up the contract and walked out the door.

The Orphans, 1967
The Orphans, 1967 from left: Ron Bressler, Dick Douglas, Jimmy Carroll, Tom Hankins and Eddy Hood

The Orphans Herbst 45 Without You

They dumped their manager Huntzinger and changed the band name to The Orphans at this point after finding out he had been pocketing up to 80% of the band’s pay before dividing the rest up with the musicians. Famed producer Phil Spector listened to “Come On Baby” and “Stick Around” and helped them get a production deal with producer Marshall Leib. Herb Alpert was just starting A&M records with Jerry Moss and he wanted to sign The Orphans, but they lacked enough original material and Alpert needed someone immediately.They met The Doors and toured California with them. This was before The Doors were known outside California and were not even signed yet. Dissension broke The Orphans up.

Orphans with the Left BankeThe band returned to Iowa where Hankins and Douglas took over the operation of Danceland Ballroom from Olsen and ran it until it was closed for good, to be ripped down to make room for a parking garage and events center. They also put The Orphans back together. The duo also promoted concerts in The Midwest with The Orphans generally headlining, but other groups like The Byrds and Beau Brummels headlined some of these shows.

Douglas and Hankins returned to Hollywood and formed a new group with vocalist Aaron Brownstone and world-famous drummer Sandy Konikoff, who also played with Taj Mahal and George Harrison, among others. They record a 12 song album of original material for ABC Records, but upon completion of the LP, Brownstone was killed in a motorcycle accident, thus negating the contract.

Douglas and Hankins returned to Iowa where Douglas formed Enoch Smokey and they became one of the top Eastern Iowa groups. Hankins former a power blues trio with Dan Daniels and became the house band at the all-African American club called The Cougar Lounge in Cedar Rapids. In 1969 both Hankins and Daniels started training to become professional wrestlers and became known nationwide as “The World’s Most Dangerous Wrestlers”.

 CAC 2004, from left: Verne Gagne, Jack Brisco and Tom Hankins
CAC 2004, from left: Verne Gagne, Jack Brisco and Tom Hankins

During this period they were both offered a berth playing with Charlie Daniels after participating in a jam session in Nashville, where they happened to be wrestling, but they had to turn him down as their wrestling career was just taking off.Dick Douglas still plays in Iowa and is recording a new CD as this is being written. Coincidentally, Hankins is currently recording and producing a new CD with The Powerhouse Blues Band in Los Angeles. Nunamaker lives in Colorado and continues to be one of the state’s top guitarists. Bressler left the music business completely and Eddy Hood is currently an artist living in Northern California, and still plays with his own group around the San Francisco area.

The band was inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, with Douglas and Nunamaker accepting the awards for the band, while Hood and Hankins went to San Francisco for a musical reunion of their own and jammed for two days.

 Tom Hankins, Eric Burdon and Dick Douglas, April 1966
Tom Hankins, Eric Burdon and Dick Douglas, April 1966

Tom kindly answered some of my questions about the Untouchables and also about the unreleased recordings of the Orphans:

Q. What was the connection with the Legends?

The Legends were the top drawing band in Cedar Rapids until The Untouchables hired Douglas out from under them. They did release a song that Eddy Hood and I wrote called “Sunshine Daydream” and the flip side was a cover of “Back in the USSR”. It received airplay in Cedar Rapids only however and their popularity was mainly around Cedar Rapids itself.

The Orphans Herbst 45 Hey GypQ. Is that you playing organ on “Come On Baby”?

Yes, I’m playing organ on both sides of the single and Eddy Hood played bass.

Q. Do you remember where the show with the Left Banke took place?

The Left Banke show was at Danceland Ballroom when Dick Douglas & I were running it and was the last major act to play there in 1967. They no-showed twice and this third time when they finally did show, the fans didn’t and they drew less than 200 people.

Q. The Orphans was at least pressed to vinyl – what happened to all the copies of the 45?

“Without You”, written by Dick Douglas and me and recorded as The Orphans in 1966 in Hollywood at Gold Star Studios. It was never released as the, engineering, production, mixing and mastering was so terrible and the quality of the recording is so bad that we refused to let them release it. This is what broke up The Orphans.

The flip side of “Without You” was “Hey Gyp”. written by Donovan and obtained from him for The Orphans to record before anyone else did. The Animals did a much better version.

Our “manager” and all-around thief Al Huntzinger stole the 45’s when we quit, even though we’d paid for them and for the recording session ourselves, and he must have destroyed them. I only have two myself.

I run into Eric Burdon at times as he lives here in Los Angeles too. He remembered Cedar Rapids and being hungover badly while playing there. We had just come off the road and were really hung over too.

Tom Hankins
May 2012

Despite the muddy sound, the Orphans’ “Without You” is an excellent cut and deserves to be heard. As far as I can tell it’s never been comped or featured before now. Norman Goodman engineered it and Larry Herbst and Dick Michaels are listed as producers. I can’t find much further info about Herbst or Michaels as far as the music biz goes.

Hunt Records discography:
Any additional info would be appreciated

Hunt 450 – Al and the Untouchables – Church Key / Danny Boy
Hunt 1401 – Al’s Untouchables – Come On Baby / Stick Around
Hunt 1201 – Corruption, Inc – She’s Gone (Logel – McCleary) / Somewhere (produced by Jim Logel)
Hunt 270 – Uncle ‘na Anteaters – Kathy Ran Around / I Can’t Go On (formerly the Countdowns)

 The Untouchables
The Untouchables

Pharaoh Records Discography, McAllen, TX

Jimmy Nichols ran a recording studio in McAllen, Texas and owned the Pharaoh label. The Zakary Thaks and Bad Seeds used Nichol’s studio for their early singles. I’ve read that the studio burned down years ago with whatever stock and master tapes was left in it.

Pharaoh discography:

Any help with this would be appreciated

1001 – Ray Wray Quartet – Yes Indeed!


101 – Ray Wray Quartet – “A Song Is Born” / “When Your Love Has Gone” (with picture sleeve – see above)
102 – Robert Burnie – “My Twistin’ Mexicali Baby” / “Come Just a Little Bit Closer to Me” (J. Nicholls) Division of Alki Alki Music Pub. BMI
103 – Johnny Jay & the Pompadors – “You Drive Me Crazy (You Drive Me Wild)” (Johnny Mendez) / “I Feel So Lonely” (Benny Mendez)
104 – Billy Myers Combo – “Oso” / “Ten Little Indians” (some copies on red vinyl)
105 – Johnny Jay & The Pompadors – “She’s Gone And I’m All Alone” / “I Want You So I Need You So”
106 ?
107 ?
108 ?
109 – Don Blackey – “Mona Lisa” / ?
110 – Marvin Nash and the “K” Sisters – “I’ll Cry” / “Happiness”
111 ?
112 ?
113 – Davis Brothers – “I Don’t Hear You” / ?
114 – Noe Pro & The Blue Valiants – “Hit Me With The Stroll” / “My Love Is Real”
115 – Marvin Nash and the Chevelles – “Darling” / “Dina” (1961)
116 – Don Bennett And His Orchestra – “That’s All” / The Balladiers with Don Bennett And His Orchestra ‎- “Texas A & M Waltz”
117 – Don Bennett & Orchestra – “Jersey Bounce” / “Only A Dream”
118 – Noe Pro and the Blue Valiants – “I Know” / “Reina de mi Vida”
119 – Little Joe Parker and the Vikings – “Straight Jacket” / “Feed the Chickens” (both by Joe Gonzales)
120 ?
121- Noe Pro & the Blue Valiants – “Come Along My Baby” / ?? (1964)
122 – Little Joe Parker and the Tigers – “Is That A Tiger In My Tank” / “Movin’ On”
123 – Ronnie Dale – “You’ve Learned How To Cry”
124 – Noe Pro and the Semitones – “I Know What’s Been Going On” / “I Love You My Darling”
125 – The Cruisers – “An Angel Like You” / “The Lonely”
126 – Jeanne Hatfield – “My Babe” / “Summertime” (March 1965)
127 ?
128 – The Cruisers – “Another Lonely Night” / “Please Let Me Be (The One For You)” (with picture sleeve)
129 – Simon Reyes & the Outerlimits – “My Baby Hurts Me” / “Mistake Number Three”
130 ?
131 – Billy D. Nash – “This Little Light Of Mine” / “There Is A Balm In Gilead” (with picture sleeve)
132 ?
133 – George and the Lion’s Den Trio Here’s George – “The Swinger” / “Crazy Ideas” (with picture sleeve)
134 – Arturo & Pat with the Invaders – “Oh Yes Tonight” / “So Tenderly & Faithfully”
135 – Jim Roberts – “Jukebox for Company” / “Hay for My Donkey”
136 – George and the Lion’s Den Trio – “Tequila Sour” / “Como Prima”
137 – The Cavaliers – “Pride” (Billy Rowe) / “Sea Weed”
138 – Danny Mata & the Pathfinders – “Looking Around” / “Iolavay”
139 – The Cruisers – “My Place” (E.J. Ledesma) / “Walkin’ and a Ridin'”
140 – Eddie & the Emeralds – “Preparation X” / “If You Only Knew”
141 – The Playboys of Edinburg – “Wish You Had A Heart” (James Williams) / “Understand Me”
142 – The Playboys of Edinburg – “Look at Me Girl” / “News Sure Travels Fast” (James Williams)
143 – Simon Reyes – “Broken Hearted Fool” / “What Now My Love”
144 – Jeanne Hatfield – “Wowie, Pretty Scary” / “If You Want Me”
145 – Don Pierce – “Take Another Drink” / “One Man Band”
146 – Thee Kavaliers – “That Hurts” / “Symbols of Sin” ( both by Javier Rios)
147 – The Headstones – “24 Hours (Everyday)” / “Wish She Were Mine” (both composed by Dave Williams)
148 – The Cruisers – “The Fire’s Gone” / “Oh! Sweetness”
149 – George Garza & the Lion’s Den Trio – “Watermelon Man” / “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” (1966)
150 – Thee Kavaliers – “The Last Four Words” / “Ballad Of Thee Kavaliers”
151 – Christopher & the Souls – “Diamonds, Rats and Gum” / “Broken Hearted Lady” (both composed by Chris Voss)
152 – The Headstones – “Bad Day Blues” (Williams-Palmer) / “My Kind of Girl” (Dave Williams)
153 – Brother & Sister – “See What Tomorrow Brings” (Arturo Longoria) / “The Answer Is Love” [square flower-power folk!]
154 – Thee Kavaliers (Cavaliers) – “Congregation for Anti-Flirts, Inc” / “Back to You”
155 – The Cruisers – “Celina” / “Baby Doll”

I had erroneously listed 141 and 142 as by the Playboys of Edinburgh, but they were not named after the Scottish city, but rather after Edinburg, TX, a small town northeast of McAllen.

See individual entries on The Cruisers, Christopher & the Souls, Simon Reyes and Noe Pro & the Semi-tones, and Thee Kavaliers for more info on those bands.

There were other Pharaoh labels:

Pharaoh Records 7707 – Hot Coke – “Make This Love Last” / “All By My Self”

Massachusetts: (pressed either in NY or Hollywood):
Pharaoh SA-327 – Roy Victor – “Hot Dog” / “You Are My Wish” (ZTSP-94713, arranged and cond. by Fran Devino, Harvest Hill publishing, ASCAP)
Pharaoh 339 – Scavengers – “You Do It Too” / “Speed Trap”

Tulsa, OK:
Pharaoh 1006 – Paragons – “Who Am I” / “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”   (also released on BTR 1006)
Pharaoh 1235 – Dynamics – ” Lucy Part I” / “Lucy Part II”
Pharaoh 1236 – Roger Wayne & the Clic – “Ballad Of Sara Lee” / “I Gotta Lotta Time”
Pharaoh 1239 – Mike Catron & the Avanties – “Donna” / “Bass Beat”

Thank you to Gilbert Rodriguez for his help with this discography and to Ed Nadorozny for the Ron Wray sleeve scan. Thank’s also to Bob, Drunken Hobo, Jason Chronis, Max Waller and Tommy for the additional entries. Thanks also to Fred Hoyt for the Jeanne Hatfield sleeve scan.


The Solid State

I haven’t seen any concrete info on the Solid State. I’ve read the band was from Bandera, Texas, but the Elpa label was located at 5214 Beautonne in El Paso. El Paso is close to eight hours’ drive from Bandera, while San Antonio is within an hour, Austin two hours drive, and even Dallas is closer.

The A-side is the very moody “Wait and See”, written by Jerry Walker and Sam Lott.

The flip is “The Lynching”, a fascinating original by Jerry Walker with an upbeat rhythm and a catchy six-note guitar line, plus good soloing on the outro. The harmonies are cheery, but the words are most definitely not!

What is the matter in the street,
I hear the clattering of feet,
Here comes an angry bunch,
They’ve had a little too much,
You’d better not get in their way.

I hear a bandit’s on the loose,
They meant to fit him with a noose,
They are looking for a man,
He has gotten out of hand,
And they are going to string him up.

Looks like it’s lynching time again,
And there’s no mercy to be shown,
You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?)
Destruction marks where where it has blown,

Sundown has set the scene for hate,
Come ’round let’s all participate,
Don’t be late for a party tonight,
Celebrate for a triumph of right,
The lynching mob knows where it’s at.

Look out, here they come your way,
Watch out, you may hear them say,
We are looking for a man,
He has gotten out of hand,
This man we’re looking for is you!

Looks like it’s lynching time again,
And there’s no mercy to be shown,
You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?)
Destruction marks where where it has blown.

I have to wonder what inspired this song – perhaps the photos of lynchings that took place in the 40s and 50s where the crowd looks ebullient.

Both songs were published by Linjo Music. BMI’s database lists the song as one of Jerry Jeff Walker’s compositions, but it’s unlikely, as his usual publisher is Grouper Music, and by the time the Solid State released their 45 in October, 1968 Jerry Jeff was part of Circus Maximus and hadn’t made a name for himself as a songwriter yet. Though from upstate New York, Jerry Jeff busked through Texas in the mid-60s, so it is possible he was a member of this group or gave some songs to them.

The Tortians and the De’Vells

The De’Vells from Irving, Texas, from left: Joel Reiner, Rick Surratt, Dicky McDonald, John Tincher, Carl Lowe and Little David.

To the long list of great 45s out of Dallas, add The Tortians’ “Red Cadillac”. The band lays down a chunky groove that never sounds rushed, as John Tincher shouts out the lyrics and plays some fantastic harmonica.

The band was actually from Oak Cliff, but this rare single was released on Karry Way Records, with an address of 4339 Jaffee, Dallas, 75216. The RCA custom pressing code, T4KM-9629/30 indicates it was mastered in the first half of 1966. Woodrow Pearson Baker wrote both “Red Cadillac” and the flip “Vibrations” (which I haven’t heard yet), published by Rightway Pub., BMI.

Guitarist Richard McDonald sent me a photo of his next group, the De’Vells, based in Irving but with some of the same members as the Tortians. Richard has a full bio on the bands at his site, but I asked him some specifics about the Tortians and he kindly answered my questions.

My name is Richard (Dicky) McDonald. I was born and raised in a little suburb in Dallas, Texas called Oak Cliff. A lot of fine musicians and bands came from that area of Dallas like the Mystics, Kempy and the Guardians, the Jokers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, B.W. Stevenson, Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Micheal Martin Murphey and others.

The band formed in Adamson High School in Oak Cliff around 1965, our freshman year. I played lead guitar. The Tortians were James King (rhythm guitar), Johnny Congleton (drums), Carl Lowe (bass), Dick McDonald (lead guitar), Gary McDonald (backup vocals) and John Tincher (lead vocals and sax).

We all played what ever was being played on the radio and some older stuff that we grew up with: Ventures, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino. Duane Eddy. Most bands in Oak Cliff played pretty much the same stuff. That’s all we had besides country, big band, classical. Whatever band listened to the radio and figured out the songs first was the top band. It was Robert Farris of The Mystics who could figure stuff out fast.

How the record came to be. We were playing a gig at a roller rink I think the Shamrock in Lancastor, TX. Woody P. Baker was out listening to bands and asked if we would record some of his songs and we said yes. Woody set up and paid for the studio time. The Tortians were not signed by Kerry Way Records. I don’t remember the name of the studio but, it was the same studio where “Wine Wine Wine” was recorded by the Night Caps. Woody P. Baker wrote both “Red Cadillac” and “Vibrations”.

There are no pictures of the Tortians and I hope someone sees your website and has some.

I also played in a very hot band called the De’vells and I do have a picture of them. Most of the De’Vells played in the Tortians. The De’vells were Joel Reiner (drums), Rick Surratt (lead guitar), Dicky McDonald (lead guitar), John Tincher (lead vocals/sax), Carl Lowe (bass/vocals), and Little David (keyboards/vocals). This band won 2nd place in the 1967 Battle of the Bands at the State Fair of Texas, and got a trophy which We still have. I am surprised that we were not listed in the newspaper clipping on the website [see this page]. We were booked by an booking agency called Showco in Dallas.

Most of the original members still live very close to Oak Cliff. I have a pedal steel guitar shop in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Richard McDonald
Spirit Steel Guitar
Broken Arrow, OK

The DeVells to play at the Olney High School Homecoming, October 25, 1968