Category Archives: US

The Jack Rafters

Guitarist Gary Dennis sent in the photo of the Jack Rafters above. Like the Five Coachmen and the Marquees, the Jack Rafters were from Sherman, Texas, and like those bands, the Rafters never released a 45. The only band from Sherman to release a record was the Passions, who have the great “Lively One” / “You’ve Got Me Hurtin'” on Pic 1, who I’ll cover soon.

This picture was taken at the Bells, Texas high school Sr. Prom in the Municipal Building, Sherman, Texas May 1965. The Jack Rafters are right-to-left: Mike Hallett, Bobby Kincaid, Jerry Tucker, Gary Dennis.

Bill Galleon and the Passions were playing gigs and we decided that we could too. The Rafters were a hardcore party band. We rented local venues, advertised by word of mouth and sold cokes. Our parties mostly ended in drunken events that were parents worst nightmares. Years later our ex-sheriff told me that he loved our parties because he could just park outside and keep tabs on all the trouble makers. After seeing our success, several other bands came along that you mention on your website. We made money and had a great time. Our music was pretty bad, but nobody cared.

One of our friends, Ben Mandeville, had some state-of-the-art recording equipment and he recorded all our performances. Sadly this was before digital tech and I doubt that anything survived.

Gary Dennis

The Contents Are

The Contents Are promotional photo
The Contents Are (post-LP lineup) from left: Paul Staack, Mick Orton, Dave Neumann and Craig Hute

Dave Neumann – lead guitar and vocals
Craig Hute – 2nd lead guitar and vocals
Larry Smith – bass and vocals, replaced by Mick Orton – bass, keyboards, vocals
Paul Staack – drums and vocals

The Contents Are came from the Quad Cities area by Davenport, Iowa. High school students Dave Neumann and Craig Hute were in the Blazers when they decided to form a new group to pursue a more original and harmonic direction. Adding Larry Smith and Paul Staack, they started playing live shows in the area, including Cedar Rapids, IA and Rock Island, Illinois.

In April of 1967 they entered the Fredlo studio in Davenport and recorded “I Don’t Know” and “Direction of Mind”. Craig Hute wrote both songs, with arrangements by Dave Neumann. The 45 did well locally, selling as many as 1,000 copies, though it’s pretty scarce nowadays. It’s one of my favorite 45s, I don’t think there’s anything else quite like this band in the ’60s. They have a calm, melancholy sound and their lyrics really stay with me.Once the band was out of high school and mostly attending college, they played shows as far away as Champaign, Illinois and Minneapolis.

Later in 1967 or early ’68 they returned to Fredlo to cut an album of originals by Craig Hute. These are just as good as the single, my favorite being “If You’re Relaxing”. Marianne Dean played piano, oboe and sang on the album.

The band pressed 100 copies and gave them away, and it is now incredibly rare. This record was mostly a rumor until a demo copy surfaced in 2005. Shadoks reissued the album, adding a little color to the line drawing that was the front cover. The original back cover was bland, but the Shadoks release has a photo of the band and and info on who sang or played on each song. There’s also an insert with entertaining notes by Craig, but he doesn’t mention many details of the recording sessions. He does say Mercury bought the Rok 45 for national release which never came about.

The Contents Are had one last single release, “Future Days” / “New Mexico” on Rok Records 6907, which has the same harmony qualities even though the guitars are heavier.

The Contents Are, later promotional photo
The Contents Are, later promotional photo

The group stayed together for four years then split amicably as members went in various directions. Larry Smith and the band’s road manager Christy Peake moved to Portland, Oregon to work on acoustic guitars. Mike Orton (Mick) of the Todd Beat Group replaced Larry Smith, and in the early ’70s the band moved to the Denver and Boulder Colorado area where they changed the band’s name to Tabernash.

Their second bassist Mick Orton sent in the later promotional photos seen here and wrote to me about the group:

The CD liner notes made it sound like the band broke up after Larry left which was not the case at all. But I didn’t play on that album, so I kind of understand leaving me off.

When I joined The Contents Are: we were basically a cover band doing a few original tunes that Craig wrote. We only did a few of the songs they had previously recorded; “Country Roads”, “No Chance to Choose” (which I have live on the tapes I am transferring), “Recurring Changes” (also on the live tape, I think), “I Don’t Know” (one of my favorites), and “New Mexico”. There may have been others, but they don’t come to mind. Anyway, I think Craig wanted to leave the old music behind and focus on the new stuff.

Then we started doing some of mine (“All Around”, “Old Man”, “Grey, Cloudy Skies” and a few others), and finally some of Dave’s.

We put together a bunch of original tunes which we recorded in Appleton, Wisconsin and later we recorded others at Columbia Studios in Chicago. It was amazing what a difference that made in the quality. By then, Dave Neumann was writing, and the A&R man at Columbia really liked all of Dave’s songs. Somewhere there are tapes of us doing Neumann originals like “JTK” and others. “JTK” was about James T. Kirk, as Dave was an avid Star Trek fan.

Tabernash:

By the time we moved to Colorado, we were trying to emulate Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Allman Brothers and Steely Dan. All of the band but me wanted to do “non-commercial” stuff. My feeling was, if it’s non-commercial, who is going to buy it?

When we moved to Westminster, Colorado, our first house, we all lived under one roof: Craig, Marianne, their young son Aaron, Dave, Paul and me. Eventually the girlfriends from Davenport came out; Teresa for Dave and Pam for me. Paul met Dave’s cousin, Donna. Everyone split up to have their own households.

We didn’t play much, so I had to get a job working in factories. Lange Skis was hiring, so I ended up running a bunch of riveting machines and met our eventual road guy, John Zimmer (now deceased). He introduced us to his friend, Clay who also helped out. There also was Colin who did our sound.

We were playing very little when Jon Ludtke called me to join Silver Laughter. I guess my leaving broke up Tabernash. We never recorded any music, I am sorry to say.

“Grey, Cloudy Skies” we revised and recorded on Silver Laughter’s “Handle With Care” album.

Paul Staack would also join Silver Laughter after their first drummer departed. Craig Hute continued writing music and recording on two-track and, more recently, digitally.

The Contents Are have little presence on the internet, other than some reviews of their album and the titles of their songs. The album has one photo of the band, are there others out there?

Information on Silver Laughter from Mick Orton’s website. On that site you can also hear a couple of the demos the band recorded in Chicago, including Craig Hute’s excellent, rocking “Head Collect”, and a live version of Mick’s “All Around”.

Update 2017: info on an obscure 45 single by Tabernash is now at this post on the site.

The Todes

Todes Emanon 45 Good ThingsDespite the Hollywood, CA address on the label and the classic California garage sound, the Todes were from Provo, Utah. They traveled to Los Angeles to cut their only single, released on Emanon E-102 in the fall of ’66.”Good Things” (written by Steven Thomas) is a syncopated fuzz cruncher with the waltz bit of the Beatles “We Can Work It Out” thrown in towards the end of each verse. “One Hundred and Thirty Seven Degrees Below Zero” was filler the band assembled in the studio so as not to give up one of their better songs on a b-side (not an unusual practice at the time). Both sides list Zulu Publishing, BMI, production credited to “A Todell Production”.

At the time of recording members of the band were Steve Thomas (lead guitar and lead vocals), Dan Doty (bass and harmony vocals), Mike Hart (keyboards), David Donahoe (rhythm guitar and lead vocals, harmonica on “Good Things”), and Danny Murphy (drums). Prior members included lead vocalist Danny Davis and two keyboardists, Bill Jemisen and Bob Jetter. After the session for Emanon, Ralph Geddes joined on keyboards and Al Thomas on drums.

Dave Donahoe came from the Remnants with vocalist Jerry York, who had cut a 45 at Goldstar Studio in LA just prior to the Todes traveling there. Released on Gini 103 as Jerry & the Remnants, it features the excellent “I’ve Wasted My Time” plus “If I Love You Girl”.

60s Garage Bands has the full story on the Todes, and features both songs from their single along with two unreleased cuts, including the incredible “Heartbreaker”.

The only other artist on Emanon that I know of was Mike Lyman from Las Vegas, Nevada, a young teen backed with a quality band. Credited to Mike Lyman and the Little People, Emanon E-101 has a cover of Love’s “Message to Pretty” backed with “I Need You” an original that opens with the line “you make me kinda glad I love you”. There was also an unrelated Emanon label from Rochester NY.

Zebra


Zebra, from left to right: Jerry Beasly, Noe Cruz, Bob Silvert, Timo Laine and Bruce Bordon
One of the final releases on the Miramar label was Zebra’s “Helter-Skelter” released in 1969. The b-side was an original by Bruce Bordon and Timo Laine titled “Wasted” that in my opinion is the better side.

Zebra’s guitarist Timo Laine sent me the photos above and told me about the group.

Zebra members were:

Timo Laine: lead guitar
Noe Cruz: bass
Bruce Bordon: vocals
Jerry Beasley: drums
Bob Silvert: keyboards

Zebra was together for about 5 years. Everywhere we played there would be a line around the building to get in. We were loved by the dance crowd, and the club owners kept us busy.

Zebra opened for the Rolling Stones and the Byrds in the late ’60s in Fresno. We also played with B.B. King, Ballin’jack, Zephyr, Ike and Tina Turner and many other name acts, but I don’t remember them all. We were a full time club band, 5 nights a week.

Our main clubs were Pier 11 (Newport Beach), Finnegan’s Rainbow (Newport Beach), The Interlude (Santa Cruz), Odyssey Theatre (Phoenix, AZ), Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Ichabods (Fullerton), Saint George and the Dragon (Tustin), and the Forum in Fresno.

We met Tony Cary at the Forum, where he first saw the act. He kept coming in every night and buying us drinks. Finally he said he was a record producer, and wanted to produce Zebra. Tony had a lot of industry contacts, and radio station friends like the Drake-Chenault radio station owners.

He moved the band to the Marriott in Studio City, and started recording the act at Pat Boone’s Lion and the Lamb Studio. We were almost finished recording the album when we got a telegram that Tony had died. We were told he had overdosed. This was a huge loss for us.

The album was never mixed or mastered, except the single “Helter Skelter” and “Wasted”, that was done first. I don’t know whatever happened to the masters.

After his death, I was offered a recording contract to record an album I wrote called Space Rangers with Neil Merryweather. It was recorded in Capital Records studio, and released by Mercury Records out of Chicago. After Space Rangers, I signed to A&M Records and released Symphonic Slam.

I had a new release this year, and another in 2011. I’m currently working on a new production: Jimmy Haslip (Yellow Jackets, Alan Holdsworth, Robin Ford) will be on bass, Mark Stevens on drums, me on guitars and guitar synths. Talks are in the works that Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) may do the keys.

My later albums are on timolainemusic.com

Timo Laine

Q. Was your band the same Zebra who released “Christmas Morning Parts I & II” on Blue Thumb in Nov. 1969, written, produced and arranged by Sean Bonniwell of the Music Machine.

Timo Laine: No, we were before they came out.

Thanks to Timo for his help with this post. See the page on Just Us for info on Neil Merryweather’s first bands in Ontario.


10″ acetate from Gold Star Studios with both songs from the 45

Miramar Soul Band

Here’s a real oddity, two anonymous and unrelated cuts packaged on one 45. For Miramar label completionists only!

The A-side has the Miramar Soul Band doing a bossa-nova. sax-led instrumental version of “Mr. Tambourine Man”. Somehow I couldn’t get a very good transfer out of this side, but it could be ’cause the cartridge I use for transferring needs to be balanced, and my old Thorens is picking up all kinds of hum in my new house.

I did better on the flip, “Party a Go Go”, labeled as by Friends of the Miramar Soul Band. It’s not bad listening, a fair instrumental along the lines of “Off the Hook” overdubbed with fake party goers cackling and pretending to be hip. Publishing on this one is by Carjone, BMI, which appears on other Miramar releases produced by Tony Cary (real name Tony Luton).

Friends of the Miramar Soul Band – Party a Go Go

Though given a release number of Miramar 127, “Party a Go Go” has master number 111-B, suggesting it was mastered much earlier, likely meant for release just prior to Tony Cary’s one-sided 45 of “She Belongs to Me”.

It turns out “Party a Go Go” also appears on Miramar 110 by Glenn & the Good Guys, with master number 111. Perhaps it’s not the same take, as I haven’t heard it yet. The writing credit on that label reads Burton, Jones, Osborn, so it’s likely James Burton was playing on this 45.

“Party a Go Go” also appears on Nick Hoffman’s 45 for Roman Records, this time titled “Christmas Party”, backing “Santa Claus Is Back in Town”.

I wonder if the version of Mr. Tambourine Man here is the same as the flip to Sonny Firmature’s single “Love Lost” (Miramar 128)?

If anyone has good transfers of some of the early Miramar releases by Jimmy Burton, the Memphis Men and Tony Cary, please contact me. Also please take a look at the list of Miramar releases I’ve posted and see if there are any gaps to be filled.

The Grains of Time

Someone I know is looking for this 45 by the Grains of Time on the Chyme label (if anyone has a copy for sale please get in touch). I realized I haven’t seen any detailed info on the band, so I’m posting here looking for their story.

TeenBeat Mayhem gives the release date as May of 1968, and the band coming from Albertville, Alabama, a small city near Guntersville Lake, northeast of Birmingham.Johnny Striplin (J. M. Striplin) wrote the fine “No Matter What They Say”.The flip, “This Little Girl” is equally good and has a great overdriven solo. It was written by Johnny Striplin and Cecil Matthews. Both songs were published by Mrs. F. Matthews, BMI.

Sound Incorporated

Sound Incorporated - Broadway Recording Studios demoKevin Longendyke sent in scans and transfers of a demo cut by Sound Incorporated at Broadway Recording Studios, 1697 Broadway, NY. Kevin wrote, “I found it in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The owner of the store used to have a shop in Georgia somewhere. So they could from anywhere I guess.”I have no info on the band, other than that someone has written on the labels the names Chris, Bob, Dave, John and Joe. The overall sound is poppy, commercial and well-produced. Both songs are good and either could have had some success as a single.”I Love That Girl” starts off fast and upbeat, but has a slow middle passage.

“Love Is a Gamble” has a good, if familiar hook and interesting bridge.

Sound Incorporated - Broadway Recording Studios demo

El Monte Legion Benefit Dance

El Monte Legion Stadium Benefit Dance ticketA reader sent in scans of the ticket and photos from a benefit dance at the El Monte Legion Stadium at 11151 Monte Vista, on July 30, 1964. The dance was hosted by Arlan Sanders, DJ with KRLA, and featured the Safaris, the Rivingtons, the Coasters, Jody Miller, The Blendells, Johnny Burnette, Ray Peterson, Bobby Sox & the Blue Jeans, The Olympics and Lucille Starr, among others.

My Mother Velma Pulbrook was once the President of a Pony/Colt Baseball League in So Cal (I might add the first woman in the country to be one). In 1964 she organized a fund raiser that played at the El Monte Legion Hall in El Monte, CA. Unfortunately she passed away about 5 years ago but as I was going through some of her pictures and stuff I ran across a ticket to the event.

There were some tremendous performers that showed up. She asked Little Richard to make it that night. He said he couldn’t but he had a couple of friends that would come by and those friends were Ike and Tina Turner. They aren’t billed because they were last minute add ons.

She always told me that a group called Jack and the Rippers played that night (although they are not listed on the attached ticket). I did find a photo though that I believe is them: it’s blurry and not fully in the picture but the bass drum appears to have the band’s name on it.

I sent the photo of a girl singing [to] Jody Miller; she was nice enough to reply that it was her. Jody Miller and Lucille Starr went on to become more famous with recordings shortly after this appearance. “The French Song” by Lucille Starr was released in early 1965 and Jody’s “Queen of the House” released in May of 1965. One of the fascinating things is that Johnny Burnette played that night and that was [possibly] his last event since he died in a boating accident on August 14, 1964.

I am still trying to determine who a few acts are, especially the black performer with the two guitar players (I am thinking it might be Bobby Sheen of the Bobby Sox and the Blue Jeans fame).

The dance was a flop if you can believe it even with all these performers. The attendance was only about 50-60 couples in total.

Steve Pulbrook

If anyone can help identify the performers in these photos please get in contact!

Unknown group (Bobby Sox & the Blue Jeans?)
Jody Miller on stage
Unknown artist signing autograph
Jack & the Rippers (?)