Category Archives: US

93/KHJ Big Boss Battle

KHJ Big Boss Battle with Limey & the Yanks

Starting in February, 1966, KHJ radio (930 AM) in Los Angeles hosted a battle-of-the-bands called the Big Boss Battle, sponsored by Pepsi. According to their program, over 100 bands competed, with semi-finals at the club It’s Boss, and the finals at the Hollywood Palladium on May 10. After I saw the front cover to the program on Ray Randolph’s excellent blog 93/KHJ Boss Radio: a Look Back, Ray sent me the inside of the program at my request.

Judges included Charlie Green and Brian Stone of York-Pala just before the started managing the Buffalo Springfield, Len Waronker and Russ Regan from Warner-Reprise, Fred Rice and Jack Schnyder from Capitol, along with Danny Hutton and Dick and Dee Dee. The DJs included Gary Mack, Johnny Mitchell, the Real Don Steele and Johnny Williams.

Prizes were substantial and included money plus Fender guitars and amps and St. George drums, not to mention being presented the trophy by either Sonny & Cher, Bob Lind or the Blossoms. Unfortunately, recording time was not included, so I’m not sure how many of these groups cut records.

Are any of these bands familiar?

The competing bands were:

Randy Pitzer – St. Monica’s High
The Young Men – Lathrop Junior High
Ron and and the Jumping Beans – Loyola High
Bobby and the SenSaShuns – El Monte High
Los Reyes del Ritmo – Bishop Montgomery High
The What – Stevenson Junior High
Sheilagh and the Trio – Mater Dei High
The Spydres – Eagle Rock High
The Donnybrooks – Bakersfield High
The Teen Turbans – Los Angeles High

plus the Generations, who won the San Diego Pepsi Boss Battle.

Check out this page on Ray’s site to see the front cover of the program and a ticket to the show. Does anyone have flyers or posters for the semi-finals at It’s Boss, or photos from any of the shows?

Update January 2015: check out photos of the Teen Turbans performing at the contest.

Since Limey & the Yanks were the featured act, I’ll include below two photos of the group from a 1966 yearbook sent to me by Barry Kazmer.

 Limey and the Yanks, 1966
Limey and the Yanks, 1966
 Limey and the Yanks, 1966
Limey and the Yanks, 1966

The Heathens

The Heathens, circa 1966
The Heathens, circa 1966. From left: Dirk Acree, unidentified bassist, Don Adey and unidentified drummer Photo courtesy Don Adey Any help in identifying people in this and the other photos would be much appreciated!

The John English III & the Heathens 45 on Sabra, “I Need You Near” is one of the rarest and most highly rated of any mid-60s rock releases. I’ve covered John English in some detail on my site, but now I’d like to give the Heathens their own page, as most of their history comes after English left the group.

Original members of the band seem to be Dirk Acree (aka Vern Acree, Jr., former guitarist for the Blazers of “Beaver Patrol” and “Bangalore” fame), his sister Char Acree (Sharon Acree?) and drummer Johnny Rogers. Vocalist John English joined them while he as a student at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge).

John English told me the Heathens performed at Pandora’s Box, around Orange County and at the legendary Retail Clerks Union Auditorium (8550 Stanton at Crescent in Buena Park) with the Crossfires.

English wasn’t with the band for long, as he doesn’t seem to appear in any photos of the group, at least not that I can tell.

Retail Clerks Auditorium, Buena Park
The Retail Clerks Auditorium, Buena Park Can anyone provide a better photo?
The Heathens at the Pussy-Kat a Go Go
The Heathens at the Pussy-Kat a Go Go, circa 1966. From left: Johnny Rogers (drummer), Don Adey, Colin Adey (with tambourine), unidentified girl in front, Dirk Acree, Char Acree.

The first mention they receive in the press is from the May 13, 1965 edition of the Valley News of Van Nuys, California:

Dance, Show Event at College

NORTHRIDGE — Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity will hold a dance and show, “A Go Go Continental,” on Saturday, May 22, from 8 p.m. to midnight in the college gymnasium at San Fernando Valley State College, 18111 Nordhoff St.

The entertainment will highlight nationally famous recording artists, including The Parlays, formerly with Round Robin who made the Slauson popular. Their records include “Dance to the Slauson” and “Kick Your Little Foot, Sally Ann.”

Also on the program will be Bobby Day who made “Little Bitty, Pretty One” and “Rockin’ Robin” which was once No. 1 all over the world.

Direct from England and the first time in Los Angeles, John English and the Heathens will perform and sing a number of songs soon to be released. Finally, a surprise group will be featured doing many of its million sellers, it was stated.

The dress is school dress and tennis shoes …

The Heathens with Don Adey
From left: Dirk Acree (?), Don Adey, unidentified keyboardist and unidentified bassist

John English III Sabra 45 Some PeopleAs John related the story, someone named Brian who had done PR work for the Beatles brought Lelan Rogers to see the Heathens show at Pandora’s Box. According to John, Lelan had them record three or four sides, but only two were ever issued.

“I Need You Near” has a slashing rhythm from Acree, who takes an excellent solo early in the song. John’s singing is gravelly and cutting, and he has a great shouted bit, something like “alright Vern now step for me, c’mon give me that stroke (?) now!” “Some People” is much different, with a ringing acoustic guitar and an almost whispered vocal.

John’s singing on this record and his later ones shows not a trace of an English accent. I don’t believe the Heathens recorded anything besides this 45 and Don Adey does not recollect them doing any recording while he was with the group.

Both songs are English originals with “Some People” co-written with Vern Acree, publishing by Rattan Music, BMI. The record was produced by Lelan Rogers and arranged by Glen Spreen. Sabra released it in May, 1965, just after another disc produced by Rogers: “I Want My Woman” / “And Then” by the Emperors.

It’s hard to say why the single of “I Need You Near” is so rare now (literally only 4 or 5 copies are known!). Other 45s on the Sabra label, like the Emperors are not as difficult to find. The Heathens single (master numbers S-5009 and S-5010) was actually ready to release before the Emperor’s (S-5011 and S-5012) but was given the next catalog number (5556 compared to the Emperors 5555). I would guess Sabra thought the Emperors disc was stronger, and once it started making an impact, Lelan and Sabra put all their promotional efforts into that record and let the John English & the Heathens record wither on the vine. Another reason could be Lelan soon left Sabra and then returned to Texas.

John English told me the Sabra record received some good reviews, and the band was offered a deal to tour, but some of the Heathens were still in high school. John went out on a 1965 Shindig summer tour as a solo artist.

The Heathens with friends
From left at top: Brian Wilson (?), unidentified woman, Dirk Acree, unidentified woman and Don Adey at bottom: Johnny Rogers, Char Acree and Colin Adey
The Heathens with Dirk Acree
From left: Don Adey, unidentified bassist, unidentified drummer, Dirk Acree and unidentified keyboardist
The Heathens, circa 1967
The Heathens, circa 1967, from left: Don Adey, Johnny Rogers, Dirk Acree and Char Acree Photo courtesy Don Adey

KRLA Beat, September 18, 1965
The September 18, 1965 issue of KRLA’s Beat paper has an interesting “personals” letter from one Chris Jones asking: “To John H. English of the used-to-be Heathen’s: What happened to the group? Will we never heard your beautiful London accent again?”Well, they would hear John again, and the Heathens too. John English joined the Preachers in the fall of 1965: see this page where I’ve written about his career in more detail. The Heathens would continue, adding guitarist Donald Adey, who Dirk knew from Buena Park High School. In addition, the band featured other members I don’t have the names of. Though Colin Adey is in some of their photos, Don told me Colin wasn’t in the group: “my brother was fresh over from the UK just hanging with me.”

There are photos of this group playing live at Pandora’s Box and the Pussy Kat a Go Go, sometimes sharing the stage with the Lady Birds, which also featured Char Acree.

Don’s myspace page lists some of the venues they played:

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the Hollywood Pallaidium opening up for The Dave Clark 5 and Donovan, up and down the coast of California and Count Down 65 (battle of the bands), at the Sea Witch, the Galaxy, the Olympic Auditorium, the Ascot Raceway and the Johnson Theater in Palm Springs.

Don Adey left the Heathens to join a group called Posse. In 1967, Adey and Dirk Acree formed the Churchill Downs with Gary Dalton Stovall, Mick Newton and first Al Stigler, then Fred Darling on drums. The Churchill Downs recorded an album’s worth of fine material produced by Gary Paxton that was finally released on Shadoks in 2011.

Adey was also in Jamme who had an LP on Dunhill in 1970.

All photos from hollywoodagogo.com except those labeled as courtesy Don Adey.

Special thanks to Mark Taylor for scans and transfers of the Sabra 45.

The Heathens, circa 1967
The Heathens, circa 1967. Clockwise from bottom left: Dirk Acree, Char Acree, Don Adey, unidentified person, and Johnny Rogers Photo courtesy Don Adey
The Heathens, circa 1968
The Heathens, circa 1968. From left: unidentified musician, Don Adey, Dirk Acree, Char Acree, unidentified musician with drum sticks
Heathens ad for Pussy Kat a Go Go
The Heathens ad for Pussy Kat a Go Go performances

The Ground Floor People

The Ground Floor People Parfait 45 Walkin' on EggsThe Ground Floor People cut two fine singles, first “Walking on Eggs” / “It’s All Right Now”, produced by Ronnie Eden and Joe Simmons on Parfait 101, from September, 1966, then “Treat Me Better” and “Workaday World”, produced by Morty Croft and Ronnie Eden, and released on Mercury 72719 in mid-late 1967.

Tom Ciulla wrote to me and answered my questions about the group:

The Ground Floor People was my group and I played drums and wrote songs. My brother Don Ciulla originally put the group together. He played rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Lead guitar, Tommy Morrow and Freddie Davidson on bass and background vocals. I played drums and sang lead, background vocals and did the screaming (“Treat Me Better”). I came up with the name “Ground Floor People”. We usually rehearsed in a ground floor apartment or basement. Everyone was from Brooklyn.

We were playing in a club called Freddie’s. The owners were trying to sell the place. The group became very popular and after a few months there was a line down the block. The owners decided not to sell and we played there for over nine months. I am pretty sure that was where we met Ronnie Eden (Edelstein).

The Ground Floor People Parfait 45 It's All Right NowJoe Simmons was a real sweetheart. I wrote “It’s All Right Now” with Joe and collaborated on another song that I wrote and he did the arrangement on. It was called “My Man’s a PHD”. Ronnie Eden produced the session and discovered a young “Aretha type” singer to record the song. I remember Ronnie saying that he got a drummer, Perdie Persaval [Bernard Purdie?], who he said played for James Brown, and Perdie got the other musicians to sit in on the session.

Q. I haven’t heard of a Perdie Persaval, but Bernard Purdie played on tons of NY sessions, including one with James Brown.

That was probably the guy. How many drummers named Purdie could there be?

Ronnie claimed he operated on a tight budget. We never had a chance to correct anything in the studio. Like Don Krantz [of Yesterday’s Children, also produced by Eden] said about the bad note on his recording. We all thought the songs “Wanna Be With You” and “Feelings” were really hit tunes. I never met anyone from Yesterdays Children.

I realized later on Ronnie was more interested in having the publishing and recordings of the artists than the quality and promotion of the production. He told me on several occasions he had publishing on several hit songs and recordings that he produced before they were successful. Unfortunately, I made several recordings but was unable to hold on to any of the demos.

The Ground Floor People Mercury 45 Treat Me BetterMy brother was drafted and the group broke up. I played with a few different bands for a while and eventually put together the second Ground Floor People. Sammy Sicalo, lead guitar, George Mandel on keyboard, and Tony Radicello on bass and lead vocals. I played drums and sang lead, background vocals as well. I wrote “Treat Me Better” and “Work A Day World” with Tony. When Ronnie got a recording contract form Mercury records, Tony and I wrote two more songs, “Wanted To Be With You” and “Make A Little Room”. All four songs were recorded at the Mercury session. I always felt “PHD” and the last two tunes at Mercury were my best efforts.

Tom Ciulla

“I Wanted to Be With You Girl” / “Make a Little Room” would show up on a 45 by the One Way Street on the Boutique label, both songs credited to Anthony Radicello, Jr., Tom Ciulla and Ronnie Eden for Impeccable Music, BMI, with production by Ronnie Eden.

Ronnie Eden’s name only comes up in Billboard in conjunction with Ted Black. Together they sold masters by John Gary to Cameo/Parkway and were sued for it by RCA (Billboard, November 13, 1965).

Tom also tipped me to this article about Ronnie becoming New Orleans record shop legend, Record Ron, who passed away in 1996. I used to go to Record Ron’s shop during the two times I lived in New Orleans in the ’80s and ’90s, but I had no idea of his previous career as a producer.

Thanks to Christian for the Parfait 45 scans.

The Cavaliers


The Cavaliers in 1982 rehearsing for their 15th class reunion
from left: Leslie Landrum, Tim Poole, John Burk, Elmo Peeler, Charlie Davis and Spencer Sanders
The Cavaliers from Mississippi released only one 45 under their own name, “Looking for Love” / “You Better Move On” on the Spot Light label in May 1966. “You Better Move On” is the Arthur Alexander song that the Rolling Stones covered. I particularly like their performance on “Looking for Love,” an original credited to simply ‘Freeman’.

Their version of “You Better Move On” was picked up for release by Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label with a new group name, as the Moving Violations (catchy, right?). The flip was a different song for this release, “In the Deep Blue Sea”, written by Thomas, Mcree and Thomas. Production is by Huey Meaux, who passed away last month.

The Cavaliers also had an unreleased song from these sessions, “Girl Why Can’t You Understand”, that is excellent.


Tim Poole, Les Landrum, Gary Barnett and John Burk

Some of the Cavaliers on the Gulf Coast with first manager Avon Frost
from bottom left: Avon Frost with Les Landrum on his shoulders, Elmo Peeler, center, Charlie Davis with Tim Poole on his shoulders.
I have to thank the Cavaliers’ drummer Charlie Davis for sending these songs to me and giving me the info about the group below:

I was in a band called “The Cavaliers” from Kosciusko, MS:

John Burk – vocals
Les Landrum – lead guitar
Tim Poole – rhythm guitar and bass
Elmo Peeler – keyboards
Gary Barnett – bass guitar
Spencer Sanders – rhythm guitar and vocals
Charlie Davis – drums

Les Landrum formed the group in ’63. We started out as a four-piece band playing instrumentals like “You Can’t Sit Down” and mainly influenced by The Ventures, “Walk Don’t Run”, etc. We broke up in 1967 when we graduated from high school and all went to different colleges. Of course we had added a main singer and keyboards during that time. In 1966 Spencer Sanders joined the group replacing Gary Barnett. Tim Poole then switched to bass guitar and Spencer played rhythm guitar and added vocals and harmony.

We mainly played in and around Mississippi during that time, alot on our Gulf Coast (Biloxi & Gulfport). The only out of state gig I can remember was for a LSU fraternity party in Baton Rouge, LA.

The record came about after we recorded a couple of songs written by our singer, John Burk as demos. We were then asked to record “Looking for Love” written by one of the owners of the studio in Jackson, MS. We played a lot of Animal tunes and Rolling Stones so the flip side was our version of the one put out on an album by The Rolling Stones, “You Better Move On”.

The record was first distributed on the Spot Light label and later on SSS International label (Shelby Singleton) where they changed our name to The Moving Violations. It never made the charts but I think got play on the Chicago AM station WLS.

In 1982 we got back together, practiced for a week, and played for our 15 year class reunion.

Elmo Peeler who played the Hammond organ went on to play with such notable artist as The Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, Ricky Nelson and The Sweet Inspirations. Although he never toured with them, he also played on CD’s by The Flying Burrito Brothers.

I also played drums on the session with The Ravin’ Blue … “Love” and “It’s Not Real”.

Charlie Davis


Charlie Davis, Elmo Peeler and Tim Poole


Charlie Davis at the Neshoba County Fair

Les Landrum, lead guitar

Les Landrum and Tim Poole

John Burk, Gary Barnett and Charlie Davis
Charlie Davis also created this video below, featuring “Girl Why Can’t You Understand” accompanied by some of the photos seen here:

Charlie Davis at the Neshoba County Fair

Charlie Davis

Tim Poole and Les Landrum

Tim Poole, Les Landrum, John Burk and Gary Barnett

Who is this band?

The Wooly Ones? Or some other group?

Can anyone identify this band from the 1967 Estancia High School yearbook? They certainly look sharp. The Wooly Ones came from Costa Mesa, California, but their record “Put Her Down” / “Slings and Arrows” was cut a year or two prior to these photos.

Thank you to Barry Kazmer for sending in these photos. I’ll be posting more of Barry’s scans in the future.

The Outcasts (Greenville, Texas)

The Outcasts, 1966, from left: Mike Shelton, John Harvey, Jerry Shurtleff, Kenny Sargent, Gerry Morris (on drums) and Ted Swindell

These Outcasts came from Greenville, Texas, northeast of Dallas, and shouldn’t be confused with the San Antonio group of the same name that cut “I’m in Pittsburgh (and It’s Raining)” and “1523 Blair”. These Outcasts never recorded and did live shows only in their local area. Guitarist Jerry Shurtleff gives their story:

The Outcasts had their beginnings in the summer of 1965 rehearsing at the Greenville, Texas YMCA. The original members were John Harvey and Kenny Sargent – vocals, Ted Swindell and Mike Shelton – guitars and Trey Warren on drums. Mike Shelton broke both wrists in a weight lifting accident and I saw my chance. All I had was a Kay acoustic – with an eighth note painted on like a pick guard. Mike had a brand new Music Master and Deluxe amp, which I permanently borrowed when I joined the group.

Jerry Shurtleff
When Mike’s casts came off his parents went out of town and he charged a Danelectro bass and Fender Bassman on his parents account at Bob Hames music store on Washington street. Maybe the Music Mart, but they were probably the first Fender dealers in town. (Mike’s parents also had an account at Queen Ann’s Drive Inn. There were legendary parties at his house when his parents were out of town catered by Queen Ann’s!) I got a Vox Clubman guitar from The Melody Shop in North Park and an Alamo amp from David Heath.

Mike, Ted and I took group guitar lessons from Mr. Hames and he taught us the difference in bass, rhythm and lead guitar. I think ‘Walk Don’t Run’ was the song he used. His son played with Trini Lopez’ brother, Jesse.

The main gig in Greenville, TX in 1965-66 was the Saturday night YMCA dances and they were hopping! (Remember the red couch?)

Some of the local bands were:

The Exceptions – Matt Tapp, Charleton Ellis, Randy McNatt and Hal Holley.

The Tyme (or Shades Of Tyme) – Tommy Tolleson, Rush Horton, Gary Shannon, Joe Weiss, Mike Skeen and Mark Phillips.

The Other Half – Phil Sudderth, Alex Bouknight, T.A. Tredway, Carroll Grant and David Heath.

Lots of Stones, Beatles, Animals, James Brown, etc… The boys would form a long line on the dance floor with girls in line in front of them and everyone would jump around and change partners, We played a lot of Y parties. They were a huge party every Saturday night. We made about $12 each from the door. One night my parents were chaperoning a high school Y party and called me at home and said they were coming to get me. They wanted me to hear a legendary band from Dallas, The Mystics. All of our parents were always very supportive (they probably thought I would get a job when I grew up.)

We practiced at Swindell’s house and then moved over to our main headquarters, the garage/playroom at the Morris’ house. It was a hangout for a lot of the bands. We got better equipment around then, again thanks to our parents. Ted’s father, buck Swindell, went to Arnold & Morgan and bought two Mosrite Ventures models, a sunburst doubleneck and a single neck in Pacific blue. He also bought us a Bogen PA system with an orange head and two columns. Mike’s dad bought him a new Gibson 335, which again we switched Mike back to bass and again, I permanetly borrowed the 335, Mr. Shelton wasn’t thrilled. Jerry had his Ludwig drums. I got a Standel Artist amp and eventually an old Telecaster. We all bought everything from Mike Delk at Arnold & Morgan Music in Garland, TX. Mike was now playing bass on a Gibson EBO, then a Gibson hollow body sunburst bass. By then we were taking lessons from Trig Ward.

The Kari and Jerry Duo
We played through the late 60’s, but decided the Outcasts name wasn’t edgy enough so we became The Misfits. We were also The Coachmen. We played a great Battle of the Bands at a short lived teen center on West Lee Street in downtown Greenville with The Exceptions, The Novas and The Redcoats. I think we came in third. It was the same night that the Apollo astronauts were killed. Our biggest gig was at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium for a politician with a patch on one eye. He was later indicted in the huge Texas savings and loan scandal of the late 60s.

After The Outcasts, Jerry Morris and I went on to playing for the rest of high school with Terry Dabbs, Art Grahl and Mark Feingold. We were hippies by then. Sadly Ted Swindell passed away in 1997.

I’m the only one who didn’t have enough sense to quit, so I still play for a living, currently in Black Hawk, Colorado. My wife and I have the Kari and Jerry duo for almost 30 years now. We have been all over the world thanks to music and still kickin’!

Jerry Shurtleff, May 2011

The Ashbury Dream

The Ashbury Dream band
The Ashbury Dream, from left: Mike Jorgenson, Lynn Pierce, Johnney Ammons, Jerry Messmore, Roger Howe and Lynn Mills

Here’s a clipping featuring the Ashbury Dream from the Grand Prairie Daily News, April 29, 1968. Lynn Pierce’s name was misspelled in the photo caption of the article.

Who knows if the other musicians’ names are spelled correctly. I don’t believe this band ever released any records, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Grand Prairie is just east of Arlington, between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas

Other groups to play the YMCA: The Basement Pipes and Tracks, the Accents and the Chessmen.

The Local Traffic

The Local Trafffic, circa 1967, from left: Mick Hassell, Buddy Bullard, Stormy Folse, Steve Morant and Mike Cottage
The Local Trafffic, circa 1967
From left: Mick Hassell, Buddy Bullard, Stormy Folse, Steve Morant and Mike Cottage

 Mickey Hassell singing with the Local Traffic, 1967
Mickey Hassell singing with the Local Traffic, 1967
The Local Traffic’s incredible single on the Black Light label has remained almost unknown until recently and never reissued or compiled since its original release in June, 1968. “Time Gone to Waste” is a wild original sure to take its rightful place at the top of ’60s psychedelia. I love how it ends with that roll on the tom-toms. The B-side is “Second Century”, slow and stately but also excellent. Two copies of the 45 attained huge sums at auction in 2009 and 2010; there’s no doubting the rarity or musical quality of this 45.

Myles Hassell, then known as Mickey Hassell, sent in the photos and memorabilia seen here and wrote this history about the group:

In the later part of 1965, The Local Traffic came into being in the living room of Mickey Hassell’s house on Citrus Road in River Ridge; a sleepy little suburb located about 7 miles west of New Orleans, in between Harahan and Little Farms. The members of the band included Mickey Hassell (lead vocals and guitar), Stormy Folse (guitar, organ, vocals, and saxophone), Mike Cottage (bass guitar and vocals), Steve Morant (lead guitar and vocals), and Buddy Bullard (drums). The band’s manager, Skip Robinson, also played tambourine during live performances.

Our band existed outside the mainstream of the traditional music genres one associates with New Orleans (jazz, R&B, funk, etc.). Instead, we were strongly influenced by the British Invasion bands and the psychedelic music scene. If it was far-out, we played it.

When we began playing music together, we were all in high school (ranging in age from 14-16). From the start, we did not have an easy go of it. Our musical instruments and sound system were second tier: a hodgepodge gathered from pawnshops, family members, and wages earned by working after school. We had to make do with what we had – pushing our instruments and equipment to the limit when we performed. Because we were all underage, many of the local music venues such as bars, nightclubs, and other places where liquor was served were off limits to us; and other doors were slammed in our faces because we were not members of the local union of musicians. Furthermore, nobody knew us; we didn’t even have a booking agent. But we were young, and nothing was going to stop us. Through the efforts of the band’s members and word of mouth, we started to find gigs at local CYO Dances in Harahan, Little Farms, Metairie, and Kenner, along with some frat parties and block parties—anywhere we could find an audience for our music. We were beginning to build a reputation for being a band of versatile musicians that worked up a sweat and put on a good show every time we performed.

Many of the bands in New Orleans frequented Tippet’s Music store in Orleans Parish. Being kids from the suburbs, however, The Local Traffic shopped at Werlein’s Music at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, at that time an open-air facility. It was there that we met Andy Gallien, who was working in Werlein’s music department. Sometime during late 1966 to early 1967, Andy and Mike (our bass player) negotiated a way for us to lease some first-rate equipment—Fender and Gretsch guitars, Ludwig drums and Zildjian cymbals, Fender Dual-Showman and Fender Twin amplifiers, Farfisa keyboards, Shure microphones, a solid sound system, and all the electronics needed to make things hum. This equipment leveled the playing field for The Local Traffic, thus enabling us to stand toe-to-toe with well-known bands from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Gulf South.

Local Traffic Black Light 45 Time Gone to WasteFrom 1967 on, The Local Traffic developed a reputation as a hard-driving force in the local music scene. This led to better-paying gigs at psychedelic teen clubs, such as The Purple Pickle in Slidell and The Hullabaloo Club in Metairie, along with high school dances and private parties. During this time, Bill Strong, a producer and promoter in the music business, approached us at one of our gigs, saying that he liked our music. Ultimately, we signed a recording contract with his company, Black Light Productions. At that time, we were still a cover band, and while we had dabbled in songwriting, we had neither practiced nor performed any original music. Therefore, we had some work to do for our upcoming recording session at the now legendary Cosimo Matassa’s studio on Camp Street in New Orleans.

Mickey wrote the chord progression, words, and melody for “Time Gone to Waste,” which was to be the A-side for our 45-rpm record. During this time, he was living in an efficiency apartment in the French Quarter, scratching out a living playing music, working as a roadie for a couple of bands from the area, and working at the PDQ Car Wash on Metairie Road. As the lyrics below reveal, the song’s imagery came from his mind and soul, his apartment, and life on the streets outside:

Before the flashing dawn, I put my new face on
And I take the time to pull out my mind and then
I can see once more the same mind I had before
In my single window pane with a crystal picture frame

Love lights the night before, it makes me think of you once more
And it leaves me senseless with a time relentless
I pick my eyes up off the floor, I throw them out the open door
And I laugh out crying instead of lying, I’ve got no use for lying

I sing out loudly mine, inside the flashing sign
It’s a neon stillness like a creeping illness
I see the carpets crawl up and down the patterned wall
And they leave me a taste of the time gone to waste

Buddy’s driving drumbeat and Mike’s punching bass line created a rhythm section with the power of a locomotive roaring at full throttle. The guitar work of Stormy and Steve slashed, soared, and intertwined with the rhythm section. Mickey’s vocalization was defiant, yet laden with emotion. As recorded, “Time Gone to Waste” was a kick-ass song—combining poetry with rock-and-roll and psychedelics, and capturing the energy, creativity, and musicianship of The Local Traffic.

Mike created an elegant bass line, then Mickey created the chords, lyrics, and melody for a song titled, “Second Century,” which became the B-side for our 45-rpm record. The song was about a woman who kept others at a distance via mind-games and who tried in vain to ignore the passing of time and her loneliness. The song’s chord progression was tempered by Buddy’s skillful drum work and accentuated by Stormy’s sensitive touch on the electric organ. Steve’s guitar solo was adept, and his harmonic coda ushered the song to a climactic tonal flourish. Mickey’s vocalization was melancholy and the lyrics were poignant:

Second century woman, Second century child
Talk with your mask and not your mind
Singing songs stolen out of time

I feel the thunder, of the senseless words
Open to those who sing your song
Not trying to but aging along

I’ve been playing your lovely games
And I’m tired of feeling just the same
I’m cracked just like a broken dream
That stopped for a while just to scream

Second century woman, Second century child
You can remain with yourself
You can remain with yourself in falling

Second century woman, with a hand of brass
Reaching out to turn to gold
In a world that makes you grow so old
You’ve gone and you’ve left it
How hard to forget where you’re at

Local Traffic Black Light 45 Second CenturyA limited number of 45-rpm discs were pressed on the Black Light label (the label is florescent and glows if you hold it under a black light), and “Time Gone to Waste” was introduced to the New Orleans market in 1968. The song got some airtime on local radio stations WNOE and WTIX, both during the day and on the underground broadcasts at night. Through local record stores, we sold some 45s to our fans, and the radio airtime helped us land some good gigs in the area. During this time, Mickey was becoming prolific as a writer of songs and lyrics, so we laid some more tracks at Cosimo’s recording studio; also teaming up with another local songwriter. None of the tracks made it outside of the four walls of the studio.

In early 1969, The Local Traffic played its last gig at a country club (now gone) near the current site of the Greek Orthodox Church on Bayou St. John, just off Robert E. Lee Boulevard in the Lakeview section of Orleans Parish. After our work was done, we sat on the bank of the bayou, smoking, drinking, and saying our goodbyes. Perhaps it was the strain of balancing divergent interests in music; maybe we were frustrated by the outcome of our efforts in the recording studio; perhaps we were exhausted from busting our chops in the music business in the Crescent City; or maybe it was just time to move on. Whatever the reason may have been, we parted company that night and went our separate ways.

Q. It’s amazing you were able to come up with a song as strong as “Time Gone to Waste” considering the band didn’t do originals in their live shows yet. Did you ever play that song live?

Thank you for your compliment about “Time Gone to Waste.” It was one of the first songs I had ever written. After it was released in New Orleans, we played “Time Gone to Waste” and “Second Century” whenever we performed.

Q. Were there other groups on the local scene that your band was either friends with or saw as competition?

We competed for jobs with bands from out of town, such as The Basement Wall and the Greek Fountains. There was plenty of local competition from groups such as The Palace Guards, Yesterday’s Children, The Clinging Vines, The Gunda Dyns, The Souls of the Slain, The Better Half Dozen, The Glory Rhodes, and Leaves of Grass and more. When I first set foot on the campus of the University of New Orleans, it was like “old home week,” because a lot of the local musicians were going to college there. We had all heard of each other, and got a chance to get to know each other, at that time. That’s where I met and became friends with Rickey Moore, drummer from The Better Half. I also got to know Frank Bua (drummer w/The Palace Guards and later with The Radiators), Camile Baudoin (later with the Radiators), Richard Morant (lead guitar with Yesterday’s Children; his brother, Steve, played lead guitar in the Local Traffic), Quint Davis (tambourine with Yesterday’s Children; started the Jazz Fest in NOLA). During this time, I did roadie work with The Palace Guards and Yesterday’s Children (when the Local Traffic was not working), so I knew the members of those groups pretty well.

Q. Were you in groups before or after Local Traffic?

Before the Local Traffic, I did not play music with anyone else, practicing guitar and singing by myself. After the Local Traffic, I was active as an “outsider” musician in New Orleans, making some studio recordings of songs I had written and trying to form some bands. Much of this activity was not noteworthy, but there are some things of substance. . . . In the late 60s – early 70s, I did some more recording work with Stormy Folse and Bill Strong at Cosimo’s, Butch Elliot (son of Ken Elliot aka Jack the Cat on the radio in NOLA) at his personal studio, and another studio, can’t remember the name, on Tulane Avenue (during these sessions, Rickey Moore, former drummer with the Zoofs and The Better Half was on drums). I co-wrote a few songs with some other musicians; I can only remember Eddie Volker (later with the Radiators). However, no records were released from these sessions.

At several gigs in the early 1970s, I sang lead in a band featuring Emile Guest (lead guitarist with Roger and the Gypsies), short-lived and I can’t recall the name of the group. I sang and played acoustic guitar at several local pubs, such as The Rear End in Lakeview. In 1973 – 1975, I sang lead and shared lead guitar duties with Stormy Folse (from the Local Traffic), in a cover band named Wet Leggs. From 1976 – 1978, I sang lead and played guitar in another cover band–Straight Whiskey–and Stormy played bass guitar. I hung up my rock-n-roll shoes in the later part of 1978, after earning an MA in English Literature and getting a job selling office machines. In 1987, I went back to college to earn an MBA, and taught in the English Department at the University of New Orleans. During that time, I picked up an acoustic guitar, writing several songs, singing and playing in private only for about six months. Since that time, I have not played music or written any songs.

Myles (Mickey) Hassell, April 2011

Thank you to Myles for the history and images, and also for kindly answering my questions.

Update, July 2012

Mike Cottage wrote to me:

I went on, moved to California in ’73 and was a founding member of Sneaker produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. We had moderate success with a few hit songs, “More Than Just the Two of Us” and “Don’t Let Me In” (written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagan). You can view our web site for more songs and info: sneakersongs.com. Sneaker has a number of videos on you tube if you search for Sneaker the band or type the song title “More Than Just the Two of Us”. And of course most of Sneaker’s songs are available on itunes.

Update, March 2016

Myles Hassell (Mickey) passed away on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the age of 66. I’d like to say that I really enjoyed speaking with Myles and learning about the Local Traffic and their single. Working with Myles on this article has been one of the highlights of my work on this website over the last 11 years.

Mike Cottage adds, “all of his band mates from the 60’s and the many friends he made through his journey will always be richer for having known him. Though he will always be with us, those who played music with Mickey will forever share in a special brotherhood and miss his creativity and brilliance. RIP Mickey. Thank you again for leading the way.”

At the Hullabaloo on Airline Highway, 1967 Note other shows by the Gaunga Dyns and the Leaves of Grass
At the Hullabaloo on Airline Highway, 1967
Note other shows by the Gaunga Dyns and the Leaves of Grass