Oglethorp and Othellow (sic), from left: Greg Carlock, Don Bearup and Dick Dean
|Last week I wrote about Van Recording of south Texas. For some odd reason, at least five singles on Van released between 1965-1967 were produced in Taylorville, Illinois, close to 1,000 miles northeast of Angleton TX, the base for the Van label.|
Richard Dean played bass on one of those records, “Please Don’t Go Away” and “I’ll Still Love You” by Oglethorp and Othelow. We may never know how these recordings ended up on Van, but Richard provides a detailed account of the music scene in the area just south and east of Springfield, Illinois during the mid-60s:
Thank you to Richard and his sister for the photos and clippings used in this article with the exception of the color photo provided by Donnie Bearup. Thanks also to Tom Fallon and Matt Baker for information on the Kenny Biggs 45.
“A photo of my first band, The Fade-Aways, taken in 1965. From left: Greg Carlock (Othelow), lead singer David Brownback, Donnie Bearup (Oglethorp), and me.
Drummer Jim Lowe was not present.
That Stratocaster was my first real guitar, cherry red. Greg’s was a Guild.”
Donnie Bearup and Deb Lynch during the Fade-Aways era, 1966
with the second place trophy at the State Fair
from left: Don Bearup, Richard Dean and Greg Carlock
‘The Re-Actions’, from left: Dick Dean (bass), Steve Westoff (rhythm guitar), Butch Hartel (drums), Monte McDermith (lead guitar) and kneeling, Vince Slagel (organ).
Not pictured, lead singer Donnie Bearup
Bob Ellis from the Alabama Record Collectors Association sent me this history of the Ramblers of Birmingham, written by Chip Sanders.
Back in 1961, the guitar playing Terrell brothers, Tommy and Eddie along with classmate Chris Covey found a junior high school drummer, Johnny Robinson, to play music. It was decided that the eldest brother, Eddie, would be the bass player, and Tommy would play rhythm guitar. Fellow Ramsey High School classmate, Van Veenschoten joined in to round out the group and play lead guitar. The group named themselves The Ramblers, and began playing for high school functions and fraternities and sororities in the Birmingham area. When Eddie Terrell received a tennis scholarship and headed to The University of Alabama, The Ramblers had no trouble in convincing Chris Convey, with the unusual nickname “The Spook,” to take over on the bass.
By mid-1962, The Ramblers were playing weekends regularly in and around Birmingham and cut their first record, “Stop That Twisting” / “Hundred Miles Away”, at Boutwell Recording Studio in Birmingham. Shortly thereafter, guitar player Van Veenschoten met Chip Sanders, a junior at neighboring Shades Valley High School, who was a piano player. The Ramblers auditioned Chip on a Sunday afternoon at Van’s parents home in Mountain Brook, and the nucleus of the group, that would become synonymous with “party band” was established.
An important early performance by The Ramblers at a state-wide Alabama high school Key Club Convention gave the group name recognition throughout the state, and soon The Ramblers of Birmingham were playing in Alabama cities and towns from Huntsville to Mobile. Practicing in a store room in the back of Johnny Robinson’s garage in Mountain Brook, Alabama, or in the basement of the Sanders’ home in Vestavia, The Ramblers were truly the proverbial garage band.
By fall of 1963, it was time for more of The Ramblers to make a decision, music or college! They decided on both, and as Tommy and Spook headed off to the University of Alabama and Johnny and Chip still in high school, the group began playing college fraternity parties at the University of Alabama.
By 1965-1966, The Ramblers were working regularly, primarily at Fraternity Parties around the southeast. Eddie, Tommy, Spook, and Chip had all become members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at The University of Alabama, while Van was at Samford University and Johnny at the University of Montevallo. No longer rehearsing on a regular basis, the guys would meet up whenever and wherever the group might be playing.
In 1967, the group recorded another record at Boutwell Recording Studio, “Come Back, Come Back” / “Whole Lot Of Woman” written by keyboardist, Chip Sanders. The record experienced moderate success in the Alabama area, but college priorities prevented the group from properly promoting the record. Ed Boutwell, Birmingham recording pioneer, continued to use The Ramblers as back up musicians on many recording sessions at his studio.
Throughout this period, local radio station “sock hops” gained popularity amongst the Birmingham teenage population, and The Ramblers worked with local personality Duke Rumore of WYDE radio at Duke’s sock hop at the Ensley National Guard Armory, as well as Dave Roddy, from WSGN Radio at the Aporto Armory, across town. Also during this period the Ramblers were the backup band of choice for singers passing through Birmingham like Bobby Goldsboro or Billy Joe Royal.
As a “special added attraction” The Ramblers added a new set, featuring “Little John,” Chip’s kid brother, 11-year-old John Lee Sanders, who sang and played harmonica. John Lee Sanders, is now a successful song writer, performer and composer in the Bay Area of California. For the last 20 years he has worked with Long John Baldry, Starship, Paul Williams, Linda Arnold, and other popular entertainers.
As 1966-1967 came along, the world was quickly changing and The Rambler’s music began to change as well. Inspired by the psychedelic sounds coming out of the west coast, The Ramblers found a new sound with a young female vocalist, Vicki Hallman. Covers of the Jefferson Airplane, Linda Ronstadt and other female artists were added to their repertoire. After a brief marriage to drummer Johnny Robinson, Vicki continued her career in Nashville as a member of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos group and as a permanent cast member of the long running TV series, Hee-Haw.
With the Viet Nam War continuing to escalate in the late sixties, members of the group began to worry about the draft. This was definitely not the time to quit school and loose a student deferment to become a rock ‘n roll star. At various times during the next few years, Tommy joined George Bush in the Alabama Air National Guard, Chris joined the Coast Guard Reserve, Chip got in the Army National Guard three days before his draft notice, and Johnny became a reluctant member of the Talladega National Guard.
During their respective intermittent absences the group stayed together, with Terrell brother, Eddie, rejoining the group, along with a variety of substitute and fill-in players. As the sixties came to a close, one by one, the group began to graduate from college, get married and begin careers other than music. All the members of the group initially took jobs in Birmingham so that the band was able to stay together, but soon, the pressures of new careers, new wives, and even children began to put a strain on the group. “I don’t remember us ever officially deciding to break up. I just recall playing in a little town somewhere in South Alabama. We all brought our wives. It was a fun weekend. I remember staying in some ‘Bates Motel’ place and we all went swimming in their pool. That’s the last band job I can recall, but there may have been others,” said Sanders.
Johnny Robinson, who had tried to hold things together began touring with a new group, The Homestead Act, and subsequently moved to California to help his new wife start a music career. Chris moved away to seek his fortune, Chip moved near Memphis to start an insurance agency, and Tommy became a bank examiner for the Treasury Department.
The Ramblers were history, or so they thought. They stayed in touch with one another and by 1978 all of the remaining members of the group were thinking the same thing. They wanted to play again.
In 1979, the band regrouped as The Rambler Reunion Band adding Jim Burford on lead guitar to replace Van who died in a motorcycle accident in 1972. Chip moved out of state and was replaced by John Livingston on keyboards. Eddie rejoined the band to replace Chris who resides in Treasure Island, Florida. During the 80’s and 90’s the band continued working around the southeast entertaining at events with their 60’s music. Currently the RRB entertains at wedding receptions, reunion parties, company parties, club dances, and most any event that requires authentic 60’s rock and roll music.
Chip Sanders, 2011
Johnny Robinson answered some follow-up questions I had about the photos and recording sessions.
The picture of the four of us [top of page] was taken at Highland County Club in December 1961. Van played lead guitar, Tommy rhythm guitar, Eddie bass. At this time we had very few vocals. That one mike and the small guitar amp (lower right corner) was our PA system. We bought the vests at Pizitz downtown.
The two professional photos were taken by Ken Ives at his studio in English Village down the street from Boutwell Recording Studio, where we recorded “100 Miles Away”. Chris Convey replaced Eddie on bass when Eddie left for college on a tennis scholarship. We have tons of other pictures through the years.
B.Temple is Brook Temple. He went to Shades Valley High School. We met him through Lee Shook, a mutual friend. Brook wrote “100 Miles away” with words about a girl he dated in Montgomery (100 miles from Birmingham) and asked us to record it. His mother paid for the recording session and the cost of the records. We did not like the words to the song, so we made it an instrumemtal. He also wrote “Stop That Twisting”. The Brook record label is his name. After all his mother paid for everything.
The second record, “Come Back, Come Back” was made in April 1967. The total for the packing slip was $123.10 for 510 records. That made them 24 cents each. The studio time was $300 as I remember. That made the total cost 83 cents each. Of course we did not made the records to make money, we gave most of them away to try and book more jobs. We have other studio recordings and live recordings.
The music scene in Birmingham was very active at this time – 1961 to 1968. The Distortions, Sammy Salvo, Willum Fowler, The Tremolos, Larry Parker, The Nomads, The Strangers, The Reflections, The Brood, and The Gents are just some of the local bands that recorded and released records on labels like Jo-Jo, Vibrato, Vesta, Lemon, Gold Master, Modern Enterprises, Malone, Vaughn-LTD, Malcolm Z. Dirge. There were many more. The ones I listed are part of my 45 collection. Others we were friends with: The Bassmen, Larry and the Loafers, The Kingsmen (not the famous ones), Daze of the Week, and Circus.
Here’s another fine instrumental from Texas.
“Settin’ the Pace” has some sharp guitar playing, though the horn lines basically reprise James Brown’s “Good Good Lovin'”. I still haven’t heard the flip side to this, or even know the title, so if anyone has a copy please contact me.”Settin’ the Pace” appeared on a 1988 LP on Gulf Coast Records LP Texas Guitars. Most of the songs on that compilation came from the Van Recording label, which originally led me to think this was a Van release as well.
One of the comments on my post about Van pointed out this was actually issued on Gemini Records from Freeport, close to the location of Van. DrunkenHobo sent me this scan from on an old auction of the 45, thanks! It provides me with a little info, but I have no clue as to who was in this band or their history.
The ACA-5112 number indicates the Pacers recorded at Bill Holford’s ACA Studio in Houston. “Settin’ the Pace” was written by someone named McQuarter, published by Glad Music, BMI. I’m not sure of the date, but from the sound and catalog #6301, 1963 is a good bet.
The Van Recording label was owned by Bobby Van Meter, his brother Charles Van Meter and Lonny Roberts, who sang on at least two 45s of his own on the label. They ran the label and studio out of a music shop in Lake Jackson or Clute, Texas, though the label shows different addresses, first Angleton and later Brazosport and Freeport.
Any help with this discography would be appreciated.
The numbering is systematic – the first three digits are the release # and last two are the year, so the Raiders “Stick Shift” (Van 00262) is the label’s second release (002) and dates to 1962 (62).
00162 – Lawrence Flippo & the Futuras – Let’s Do It / Cry, Cry, Cry
00262 ¹– Raiders – (It’s a) Stick Shift (J. Caster, T. Simpson) / Skipping Around (also released on Vee Jay 504)
00362 – Lonny Roberts and the Futuras – Don’t You Know / One More Try
004 – ?
00563 – The Futuras – The Hum / The Walk
00663 – Raiders – It’s Motivation (J. Castor, T. Simpson, B. Pitcock) / On a Straight Away
00763 – Raiders – Supercharged / Cruising Low
00864 – Walter Crane with the Raiders – Everyday I Have the Blues / My Chances
00964 – Bobby Clanton – Angel / I Needed Love
01064 – Raiders – Raisin’ Cane / Repetition
01164 – Larry Dallas – The Two Step / I Forgot To Remember To Forget (also on Dallas DS 1)
01264 – Bobby Reed – Twistin’ Petition / Girl Of My Dreams
01364 – Lonny Roberts and the Raiders – Rugged But Right / Room Full of Roses
01464 – Originals – Scatter-Shot / Lucille
01564 – Melody-Aires – Surely I Will (A.E. Brumley) / River Of Jordan (H. Houser)
01664 – Bobby Clanton – The Way That You Are (M. Angel) / Was It Wrong Loving You
01764 – Herb Torres – Dalia / Tribute to J.F.K.
01864 – Ronnie Ellis and the Originals – Honey Blonde / One Little Raindrop (prod. by Wallace Schlemmer)
01964 – (The) Drag Rags – Judy / An Empty Cup (and a Broken Date)
020 – ?
02165 – Originals – Stick Shift ’65 / Blast-Off!
022 – ?
02365 – Larry Dallas – Cheatin’ Woman (Louis Hobbs) / Have I Waited Too Long (also on Majestic 1001)
024 – ?
025 – ?
02665 – Bobby Clanton and the Plateaus – You Can Have Her / An Adventure To You
02765 – The Gudell Brothers featuring the Melody Makers – Heart Full of Country Music / E-String Boogie Rock “recorded live on stage”
02865 – Ronnie Ellis – Goodnight Little Sweetheart / The Right Way of Doing Things Wrong
02965 – Marvin Paul – None of Your Business (Marvin Laqua) / Help Me, Mister Blues
03065 – Originals – Night Flight / Comanche!
03165 – The Hi-Rollers – Slave Chain / Runaway
03265 – The Dinos – Baby, Come On In (Bobby Lira) / This is My Story
033 – ?
034 – ?
03565 – Originals – Searching for Love / How Much of Your Heart (dir. by Lonny Roberts, rec. by Billy Snow)
03665* – Rex Eaton – Lying Lips, Cheating Arms / Shackles and Chains (Taylorville, IL)
03765 – White Twins (Ronnie and Tommy) – I Can Dream / Just Another Face
03865* – Dave & the Detomics – Detomic Orbit (Dave Bethard) / Shatter (issued Jan. 1966)
039 – ?
04066 – Originals – Hop, Skip and Jump / No Love For Me
04166 – Originals – I Can’t Forget / Old Enough to Break a Heart (D. McBride)
04266* – Dave & the Detomics feat. Jeanne Eickhoff – Soft White Gloves (Lillie Bethard) / Why Can’t I
04266 ²– Lonny Roberts & the Originals – Each Night At Nine / Only Want a Buddy (Not a Sweetheart)
04366* – Oglethorp & Othelow – I’ll Still Love You / Please Don’t Go Away (both by Donnie Bearup)
04466* – Embalmers – You’re a Better Man / Somewhere Land
04567* – Stingrays – In the Midnight Hour / Girl You Said It Again
04669 – Bobby Sanders & the Psychlones – Come Over to My World / I Can’t Take It
70-46 – Red Mann And The Country Continentals – Heartaches And Honky Tonks / The One Who Changed Is Me
70-47 ³– Lynn Hendrix and the Country Blue Boys – I Don’t Need Anything / I Let You Go (Freeport TX, prod. by Lonny Roberts)
70-48- Lonny Roberts with music by the Raiders – My Sweet Love Ain’t Around / Guys Like Me
70-49 – Walter Crane & Exposition – Someone Special (P. Pennington) / A Place! (prod.: B.J. VanMeter, dir.: James Henry, eng.: Ray Doggett)
V-70-50 – Larry Weathers and the Raiders – The Crying Man / Driving Wheel, produced by L. Roberts, eng. by Ray Doggett, with pressing numbers LH-7384 and LH-7385
70-51 – ?
70-52 – ?
70-53 – Moonlighters – I Destroyed Myself / My Possessive Love (described as a country ballad, Pee Wee Kubon vocals on both sides)
70-54 – Larry Weathers – Believe In Me / Please Tell Me
V-7201 – The Western Four – Butter Beans / Blueberry Hill
V-73-02 – Mike Pepper, music by: “Pepper & Spice” – Let Me Be The Judge (C. Twitty) / A thing Called Sadness (C. Howard) (Mgr. Bob Geer, Producer: Lonnie Roberts, Director: Mike Pepper, Engineer: Ray Doggell)
V-73-03 – Russell Davis and the Country Alibis – The Devil Made Me Lie / Down On Skid-Row
V-73-06 – Mike Pepper – Seasons of the Past (C. Phillips – C. Kirk) / Take A Look Into Your Mind (M. Pepper) (Producer: L. Roberts, Director B. Sanders, Engineer C. Kirk)
1-69 – Lonny Roberts – Presenting … the Sage of the West
(The Bottle Is My Jailer; Loving You; The Devil & Me; Road To Your Heart; I Don’t Love You Anymore; Old Heartaches; Old Mountain Dew; Lonely, Lonely Man; False Impressions; Too Much Wine From The Bottle; You’re Just A Memory; What About Your Mistakes)
* denotes a Van record produced by Oscar Wells in Taylorville, Illinois.
In the mid-’60s Van released at least six 45s produced by Oscar J. Wells: two by Dave & the Detomics, one each by Rex Eaton, the Embalmers and Oglethorp & Othelow, and one or two by the Sting Rays. I’d like to hear those and learn the story behind them. Dave and the Detomics came from Morrisonville, Illinois. Mike Markesich tells me the Embalmers came from Mason City, IL, and the Sting Rays from Springfield, IL. If anyone has good scans or transfers of these 45s, please contact me.
¹ Very rare three-song EPs of Van V-00262 were pressed prior to the two-song issue, probably as demonstration copies to decide which of the three songs to release. The A-side had “Skipping Around” and the B-side “Stick Shift” and “Gone”. Confusingly, “Gone” was actually the Raiders’ version of the Duals song “Stick Shift” but mislabeled. On the EP scans, publishing and song writing info is written in pen (Jessie Caster and Terry Simpson, Glad Music BMI), along with the prefix “(It’s A)” before “Stick Shift”. “Gone” also has “-Gone” written next to it, which I think means to not include this song in the finished two-track 45. I still haven’t heard “Gone”.
² Two 45s issued given the 04266 catalog #, the Lonny Roberts & the Originals was a Texas recording, Dave & the Detomics were from Illinois.
³ In 1970, the numbering changes, so the first two digits are the year recorded, and the second two seem to indicate release # (a Walter Crane disc has LH-7281 which indicates a May, 1970 pressing).
Thank you to Mike, Brian Kirschenbaum, DrunkenHobo, Jim, Laurent Bigot, Barry Wickham, Billy Gibbons, porcupine, eleelandc, Chris Harpe, Eric Lelet, Jeff Brant, Jason Chronis, Dennis Wilson and Bob of Dead Wax for their help with this discography.
For more on Ronnie Ellis and the Originals see the article I’ve posted here.
Gary Myers sent in this great poster of his band the Mojo Men playing the Retail Clerks Auditorium in a “Retail a Go Go” with the Things, the Stymees and the Little Rascals on October 1, 1965. A news clipping from Gary dated September 29 lists the Only Ones instead of the Little Rascals, and names the Things as winners of a recent Battle of the Bands.
These Mojo Men were not the San Francisco band that hit with “Dance With Me” and “She’s My Baby” on Autumn Records.
Gary and his group had some lineup changes, signed with Mike Curb in 1967 and became the Portraits. I don’t believe any of the other bands mentioned recorded – has anyone ever heard of these groups?
The Retail Clerks Auditorium in Buena Park, Los Angeles had been a famous venue for surf bands in the early ’60s. By 1965 this had changed, and beat groups such as the Heathens did shows there.
If anyone has more info or clippings about the Retail Clerks Auditorium, it would be appreciated!
Thanks again to Gary E. Myers for his help. For more on Gary’s career see his website www.music-gem.com.
The Barber Green, circa 1968
Top left to right: Doug Collver, Don Harding, Mike McNeil, bottom left to right: Don Hurb and David Harding
The Barber Green came out of Brownsville, Oregon, about a half hour north of Eugene. Like the Moguls, the Dominions, and other acts in the area around that college town, the band recorded at Alan Graves studio. They released one excellent 45 in 1968 on the F-Empire label, which is most well-known for the Beauregarde LP.
One side of the Barber Green single is “Life”, a gentle musing on a search for love and family, with harmonies and nice guitar picking. The flip “Gliding Ride” is more energetic. The guitar plays some excellent repetitive riffs as well as a good, short solo and the bass and drums are clear and well-played.
The lyrics are worth quoting:
Do you want to take a ride
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty
We can see the lights all through the night
We’ll be in a daze until the break of day
Then tomorrow will come
We will go downtown
You’ll be wearing a frown
As you go downtown
The people will stare
As if they don’t care
Then you say, what is this (?)
Do you want to take a ride
A gliding ride, oh yeah, a gliding ride
We can see our city,
Yeah, our pretty city
We can see our city,
From a perch, it’s so pretty
Besides the polished songs on the single, there are four unreleased songs also cut at Graves which are much rougher. One is a cover of “Proud Mary”, but for me the other three are much more exciting, all single takes recorded live, with distorted guitar and vocals that peak in the red.
First comes “Destruction”, with a four-minute long repetitive section featuring guitar chords clipped by turns of the volume knob, a marching drum beat, and a long monologue. Halfway through the song, everything breaks loose for one of the wildest minutes of feedback since “Sister Ray”, then it’s back to the guitar motif and monologue for another three minutes to the close.
“(Thinking About The) Good Times” vaguely reminds me of the Pretty Things song of the same name in the way the lead guitar sustains distorted, wailing notes while the drummer cuts loose. Last is “Toe Jam (That Song)”, fourteen and a half minutes that build and extend into one of the more interesting jams I’ve heard from the time.
The band has plenty of attitude on these tracks, with even the vocalist willing to improvise with abandon for extended periods. Although it sounds excessive at times, I liked hearing this session because it shows a side of bands you don’t usually hear: creating music only for themselves without thinking of how it would come across to an audience, either live or listening to their record.
The Barber Green’s guitarists Mike McNeil and Doug Collver wrote the following history of the group:
We were a Pacific Northwest Rock and Roll band, playing in Oregon from 1966 until 1970. We played rock, pop, R&B and a few country & western tunes. We had a number of original songs and recorded a hit single 45 rpm record. The “A” side was the hit song “Gliding Ride”, the “B” side was a song simply called “Life”, recorded by Graves Recording Service in Eugene, Oregon, circa 1968.
The recording was not generally distributed, but was on the top ten list of a number of radio stations, and went to #1 on some West Coast stations, including KGO 810 AM, in Seattle, WA and KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco.
Band members included the late David Lee Harding, (lead singer), Donald Harding (bass guitar and vocals), Douglas Collver (lead guitar and vocals), Michael McNeil (rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals) and Donald Herb (drums and other percussion). The band’s manager was the late Jack Richardson.
All the band members were students at Central Linn High School except for Doug Collver who attended Harrisburg Union High. We called Brownsville home and rehearsed in the old Brownsville Theater.
We played all over Oregon from Medford to Salem and from the Oregon coast to Oregon’s eastern border. In Eugene we were the opening act for the premier showing of the Beatles Yellow Submarine movie. Other memorable moments included more than one gig at the U of O student union which translated into frat parties. Crazy!
Our manager, Jack Richardson connected with country star Dottie West and she had us lined up for a USO tour in Viet Nam but the Tet offensive of 1968 prompted the cancellation of that tour.
40 years later The Barber Green reunited and that’s another story all together.
As well as our memories will allow this information was provided by:
Mike McNeil of Portland, OR and Doug Collver of Bend, OR
I followed up with some questions for Doug Collver:
Q. How did the band get that unusual name?
If you google “Barber Green” you will find a company that once manufactured a paving machine. Some one in the band came across one of these pavers one day and we became The Barber Green.
Q. How did the band break out of the Brownsville area to start playing shows around Oregon?
We were just kids who wanted to play our music. Jack Richardson was the one who did all the leg work and all the booking.
Q. Who did the song writing for the group?
I’m sure that David come up with the lyrics for “Gliding Ride” and “Life”. The music and orchestration was a collaboration that involved all of us.
Q. How did you find Alan Graves and his studio?
We purchased all of our equipment from Graves Music (Vox Super Beatle amps & Gibson guitars). Again the credit for the connection must go to Jack Richardson. He did all that stuff.
Q. Can you tell me about the four unreleased songs the band recorded?
We only had one recording session that resulted in the two releases mentioned above. With the rest of the studio time that was paid for we jammed. David made up the lyrics as we played. When the band reunited in March of ’09 we all brought whatever memorabilia we had saved over the years including copies of the LP that was cut from that session. I was able play it one time – one take, scratches and all and capture it forever.
Q. Did you or any of the other members stay in music after the Barber Green?
Don Hurb still plays a little. I put it down after the band broke up then started to play again in 1996. For the last 11 years I’ve been in a band called Blues Quarter playing clubs, resorts & special events in and around Central Oregon.
The Pleasure Seekers – What A Way To Die (2011 Cradle Rocks Music)
Review by Rebecca Jansen
Following an entertaining intro (by DJ The Lord, of Shangrlaradio.com), the Quatro sisters original composition “Gotta Get Away” comes on heavy with a wall of organ and guitar likes a snarly Detroit version of an Avalon ballroom mainstay! This is the first taste of seven previously unreleased ’60s recordings by Michigan’s Pleasure Seekers. It was long rumored the girls had laid down more in the studio than the three singles well known to serious rock & roll fanatics, but now the wait is over.
The first thing that becomes clear is how Arlene Quatro’s organ work is impeccable throughout, providing a solid foundation to the tracks she performed on. The second track “Never Thought You’d Leave Me” is of an earlier vintage however, when the Ball sisters, Nan and Mary Lou were in the group, and Arlene, the eldest Quatro had yet to join. Not yet out of their teens, Patti Quatro’s lead guitar and Suzi’s vocals are already solid on their 1966 debut on the Hideout record label, from the people who gave Detroit it’s Hideout club. Suzi’s bass is a real highlight here. On the title track from the same single you can hear how the Pleasure Seekers held their own on the same stages as The Rationals and Bob Seger & The Last Heard. In fact Suzi Q’s vocals are pretty much as strong they would be later at the height of her solo ’70s fame.
From the Mercury era the standout track here is “Light Of Love”, an upbeat rocker that equals the best sides by labelmates The New Colony Six. There is a cool chant aspect to the chorus here making me wonder why some glam group didn’t cover this in the ealry-mid ’70s, it would’ve outshone much of the repertoire from the period! Stax/Booker T style organ with soul harmonies tend to dominate the remaining cuts, but Patti’s guitar licks get elastic and really shine making possibly average material something more engaging. There is one great vocal performance, by drummer Darline Arnone apparently, on “Good Kind Of Hurt” also worth mentioning. The set closes with a slower experimental freak-out song called “Mr. Power” which comes over like Joe Meek, a great surprise and a cool note to end on definitely leaving me still wanting to hear more.
A pre-Hideout recording titled “White Line” for the Golden World label is missing or in that label’s archives. The CD also doesn’t include the song “Shame”, the b-side of one Mercury single. With the addition of Nancy Quatro The Pleasure Seekers evolved into the group Cradle, and there is an album’s worth of this material also available for the first time on CD.
Disc ordering info at: www.quatrorock.com.
Garage Hangover accepts recently-released LPs, CDs, books and DVDs for review. Please contact us for a mailing address.
|Joey Newman (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals)|
Bob ‘B.J’ Jones (lead guitar, vocals)
David Price (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Randy Fuller (bass, guitar, vocals)
Don Poncher (drums, vocals)
September Price (b. September 23, 1944, Ballinger, Texas, US) and Poncher (b. July 29, 1947, Chicago, Illinois, US) are recruited by former Buffalo Springfield drummer/vocalist Dewey Martin for his new group named The New Buffalo Springfield, alongside horn player Jim Price, bass player Bob Apperson and lead guitarist Gary Rowles. Apperson, Poncher, Jim Price and Rowles have been playing together in a club in Arizona, which is where Martin spots them, while David Price has previously worked with Austin blues group, The Chelsea, done TV work with the Monkees and played one gig with the L.A based-band, Armadillo. The band rehearses at a diner in Boulder, Colorado and performs at the club with The Everly Brothers for a week.
New Buffalo Springfield, late 1968, from left: Dave Price, Jim Price, Dewey Martin, Bob Apperson and Gary Rowles.
Front: Don Poncher. Photo from Gary Rowles
|December (6) They play at the Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, California with Eric Burdon & The Animals.|
(7) Martin’s new version of The Buffalo Springfield appears at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara, California with Three Dog Night.
(14) The band travels to Texas for a show at the Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.
(20) Billed as The Buffalo Springfield they play at the Civic Center in Bakersfield, California with Gary Lewis & The Playboys.
(21) Travelling up to the Northwest, they appear at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with The Chambers Brothers and The Buddy Miles Express.
(22) Billed as The Buffalo Springfield, they play at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon with The Chambers Brothers and The Buddy Miles Express.
(23) Martin’s band is supported by White Hearts at the Evergreen Ballroom in Olympia, Washington, where it is billed as The Buffalo Springfield.
(26) Billed as New Buffalo Springfield, Martin’s band makes its Bay area debut at the Holiday Rock Festival, Cow Palace, San Francisco alongside Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, The Electric Prunes and others.
(27) Martin’s band appears at San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton, California. Gary Lewis & The Playboys cancel due to illness.
Buffalo Springfield, Portland, Dec. 22, 1968
Poster image thanks to Jerry Fuentes
Listing in Billboard for the Buffalo Springfield, November 1968
Now listed in Billboard as the New Buffalo Springfield, December 1968
January (11) Martin’s band appears at the San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, California billed as The Buffalo Springfield.
Buffalo Springfield show at Mother Duck in Chicago, January 31, 1969
Thanks to Dean Guy
Buffalo Springfield with Iron Butterfly
Albuquerque Civic Auditorium, February 8, 1969
Poster image thanks to Jerry Fuentes
Buffalo Springfield at the Dunes
Westport, Washington, June 7, 1969
Poster image thanks to Jerry Fuentes
Spring 1969 lineup, clockwise from top: Dewey Martin, Bob Jones, Dave Price and Randy Fuller
Buffalo Springfield at the Astoria Armory, July 3, 1969
Poster image thanks to Jerry Fuentes
Blue Mountain Eagle, late 1969, from left: Dave Price, Randy Fuller, Bob Jones, Joey Newman and Don Poncher
|August Back in Los Angeles, the group adds Don Poncher from the original New Buffalo Springfield line up on drums in place of Martin and takes on the name Blue Mountain Eagle after the newspaper the group has seen on the road.|
(24) Studio session logs suggest they record some demo tracks at Wally Heider’s studio in Los Angeles. The tracks include “Trivial Sum” (which the band will complete at a later date) and songs which may have been completed and later released under a different name. The tracks are: “Rock & Roll Please”, “Fourth Time Around”, “Road’s End”, “David’s Song”, “B.J. #1”, “¾ Thing” and “Joey’s Song”.
September (13) Having debuted at the HIC in Honolulu (where it is billed by manager Mike Zalk as New Buffalo Springfield), Blue Mountain Eagle support Santana at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California.
December (1) Blue Mountain Eagle record their debut album in one day at Wally Heider’s studio in Los Angeles.
(27-29) The band appears at the Pozo, San Luis Obispo on a bill featuring The Byrds, Eric Mercury, Spirit, Vanilla Fudge and others.
Clockwise from top left: Bob Jones, Dave Johnson, Dave Price, Don Poncher and Joey Newman
Photo courtesy Henry Diltz
February The group supports Love and Eric Burdon & War at the Ice Palace, Las Vegas.
with the Blue Rose Band at the Brass Ring in Sherman Oaks
Los Angeles Free Press, February 1970
At the Salem Armory with Everyday Hudson (formerly the New Yorkers) and Fatt Twice Together
Left to right: Joey Newman, Bob Jones, Don Poncher, Dave Johnson and Dave Price
Photo dated March 4, 1970, but it might be later
with Manfred Mann at the Whisky a Go Go, April, 1970
|April (8-12) Blue Mountain Eagle support Manfred Mann Chapter 3 at West Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go. Randy Fuller leaves and joins Dewey Martin & Medicine Ball, appearing on its lone album. He is replaced by Dave Johnson (b. October 21, 1945, Burbank, California, US), who has previously worked with Dr John and Alice & The Wonderland Band alongside singer Joanne Vent and future Redbone guitarist Tony Bellamy. The group write and arrange material for a second album over the next few months but none of the tracks are recorded.|
(24) The new line up plays at the Pusi-Kat, San Antonio, Texas.
(26) Blue Mountain Eagle support Jimi Hendrix and The Buddy Miles Express at the ‘Cal Expo’, Sacramento, California.
at the Beach House in Santa Monica, May 1970
(28) – May (3) Blue Mountain Eagle plays at the Beach House, Cheetah Pier, Santa Monica.
Atco ad in the LA Free Press, April 1970
|July (11) The band appears at Bullock’s Department Store in downtown L.A. with Poco, Blues Image and Southwind.|
(18) The group replaces Blue Cheer at Terrace Ballroom, Salt Lake City, Utah on a bill that also features Love and Fever Tree.
August The band releases the double A-side single “Marianne”, which is given favourable reviews. Studio logs also suggest the group records a track called “Rest” but it is never released.
October Blue Mountain Eagle’s final gig is at a ballroom in Dave Price’s hometown, San Antonio, Texas.
NovemberPoncher leaves to join Love for live work and the band splinters. Johnson briefly works with Lee Michaels before reuniting with Jones in Sweathog, while Price does sessions for ex-Sir Douglas Quintet keyboard player Augie Meyer.
January Sweathog’s eponymous debut album is released, but is not a success. Having appeared on sessions for a Love album that is eventually released in the 2000s by Sundazed as Love Lost, Poncher stays with Arthur Lee and his next project, Band Aid, helping him record the Vindicator album. Poncher then joins Blue Rose with Terry Furlong (who wrote songs for Blue Mountain Eagle) and ex-Illinois Speed Press member John Uribe.
September Newman emerges with new outfit, Bandit, who release an album for ABC Records. Having recorded a second album with Sweathog without Jones, Johnson puts together a new band with radio legend Jimmy Rabbit called Rabbit and Renegade, which records an album for Capitol Records, produced by Waylon Jennings.
Newman forms Stepson, who release an album for ABC Records, before later recording two gospel albums. Newman later works with Michael Lloyd, the Osmonds, Bryan MacLean, Shaune Cassidy and with Jimmy Johnson on his Sheena Easton tour. Jones meanwhile, surfaces with The Demons, who issue an eponymous album on Mercury.
Einarson, John and Furay, Richie. For What It’s Worth – The Story Of Buffalo Springfield, Quarry Press Inc, 1997, pages 279-280.
Thanks to Dave Price, Joey Newman, Bob Jones, Randy Fuller, Don Poncher and Dave Johnson for contributing to the band’s story. Thanks to Jerry Fuentes and Neil Skok for help with some of the New Buffalo Springfield dates. Huge thanks to Steve Finger at the LA Free Press for help with concert posters.
I have tried to ensure that this article is as accurate as possible, but some data is difficult to verify. If anyone is able to supply any additional information or correct any errors, please contact me at Warchive@aol.com
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2010. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.