Category Archives: US

The Avalons

Sam Camp of the Avalons and later the Voxmen sent in this history of the band, who had a fine 45 on the Pyramid label, “Come Back Little Girl” / “Mad Man’s Fate”:

The Avalons was one of the first successful Rock and Roll bands from Toccoa, Georgia. The original members consisted of:

Lamar Collins – bass / vocals
Jimmy Sipes – keyboards / vocals
Roy Thompson – guitar / vocals
Sam Camp – saxophone / harmonica / vocals
Ronny Crunkleton – drums / vocals

Some time after the band began performing, Tommy Owens, a studio drummer from Greenville, South Carolina, joined the band.

The group appeared roughly from 1963 thru 1967 in Georgia and South Carolina. The Avalons gained much popularity as the house band at a local teen club called The Chicken Shack located in Seneca, South Carolina. It was not uncommon to pack a thousand fans in on Saturday night where records and pictures were sold.

During the band’s popularity, we opened for several national acts including such names as The Swinging Medallions, Billy Joe Royal, Sam the Sham and the Pharohs, Keith, and The Impressions.

The Avalons recorded in the late sixties and the songs were composed by Collins and Thompson. The recordings were done at Arthur Smith studios in Charlotte, North Carolina and Mark V Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.

The two songs, “Come Back Little Girl” and “Mad Man’s Fate”, received airtime on many southeastern radio stations. “Mad Man’s Fate” got the most air time and was the song that was #1 at WHYZ, a local radio station in Greenville, South Carolina. The record also received recognition in the Billboard Top 100 magazine.

Our manager at the time was Tommy Scott. He is still living and is some character. He has a book out, ‘Snake Oil, Superstars and Tommy Scott”. There is a write-up about our band and a very good picture on page 400. Tommy Scott knew a lot of people at the time and got us in with Arthur Smith.

James Brown “The Godfather of Soul” made a personal visit to Toccoa, where he once lived, to discuss the purchase of one of the songs. There were talks of the Avalons touring with James Brown as his opening act, but this did not materialize.

Q.: Why is the name on the record and photo the Avlons instead of the Avalons? Which name did you go by when you played live?

We went by The Avalons. There was another band out there called The Avalons. At the time of our recording, we may have not been able to spell it A.V.A.L.O.N.S, it might have been a legal thing.

Thank you to Sam Camp for sharing his history of the Avalons and for sending the photos seen here. Be sure to read about Sam’s next band, the Voxmen. Special thanks to Ben and Rich for label scans.

The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack

The Brotherhood of Soul

“Save Me” is a slow and intense psychedelic 45 featuring the anguished vocal of Richy Pecchio over the Brotherhood of Soul’s repetitive vamp. The flip is a shorter instrumental version of “Save Me”, retitled “The Morning After” with the bass guitar right up at the edge of the red on the meters.

Released on the Goldbug label, the RCA custom press number ‘UK4M’ indicates this was released in 1967. Both sides were written by Rich Pecchio and B. Sell. The 45 was produced by Ron Gittman, who was the agent that brought the Magnificent Men to Capitol Records.

This session was engineered by Abe Steinberg at Abtone Recording Studio. Abtone was located at 1733 Broadway in New York City, and in 1966 had been the site of some sessions featuring Lonnie Youngblood, Jimi Hendrix, Lee Moses and Herman Hitson, as well as other r&b artists like Ronnie Forte.

I couldn’t find any further info on this record until Richard Pecchio contacted me himself:

I was recruited by an ex-DJ turned manager when he saw me singing at a nightclub. He was or still is the owner of a trucking company in Manhattan, New York, his name is Lonnie Kaufman. He eventually got me signed to a record label called Kip Records in ’61. At that time I did not write songs, so we went with a cover for fast results: “Dream Lover” a cover of Bobby Darin’s hit record. The other side was a song called “Cherrie” by Bobby Rydell.

He also signed Nate Bouknight, also known as “Little Nat” from the Shells. Their hit song was “Baby Oh Baby” (late 50’s fame). Nate wrote a real good song called “Do This Do That,” that made some noise. Certainly I learned a lot from him.

I also went on a tour and performed on television programs, one called Boston Ballroom – the other guest was Brenda Lee. Being only 17, I was thrilled. Our make-up was put on in the same room. Lonnie Kaufman also managed Tony Darryl, who was on the Ed Sullivan show. It was a great start to my recording career.

[For the next] four years I was with various different genre bands trying to find a fit for what type of music I wanted to sing: City Magic – “Going Back to Florida” [b/w] a slow cover of the Loving Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic”, and the Minutemen “A Little Too Much.”

The Brotherhood of Soul was started by a Stan Summers, (real name of group: Stan Summers and the Unsual) who was in a group (don’t remember the name) that did the backups for Dion on “The Wanderer” and “Ruby Baby”.

I don’t remember my group’s last names, but I believe I remember their first names: another Richard: a B3 Hammond Organ player; Andre: bass & sax player, tenor vocals; Steve was the drummer; Stan just sang; finally, I played rhythm guitar, and sang lead and harmonies.

We played our first job on Long Island, NY, we only knew 13 songs at the start, needless to say, we played each song for a very long time. We progressed and the sax player’s father was a policeman who introduced the band to a club owner named Charlie Bates who owned clubs in Manhattan and Westhampton Bay, NY. The club owner liked our music and hired us in 1967 to play the total summer on the shore of Westhampton Bay.

He supplied the band with a large home to stay at, it was part of the package; it was called “Captain’s Lodge.” It was a sweet deal. The name of the club we played at was called “Charlie Bates”. The prior summer the Young Rascals came to fame at a club called The Barge. We played adjacent to a club called The Eye who was featuring the soon to be famous Leslie West. The crowds were enormous throughout the summer; needless to say it was a very successful summer and one to remember.

After that we went searching for “fame” and meet Ron Gitman, who produced the song (“Save Me”) and managed the band. Our tours were great, of course it all went down-hill after that. I still sing & write every so often, here is a link of a song that is on Youtube, called: “The Mojito Song”, also known as “Idle”

PS: this was a long time ago, some of the facts might not be accurate.

Richard Pecchio

The Brotherhood of Soul – Save Me
The Brotherhood of Soul – The Morning After

Sources: Info on Abtone Studios from Soul Source.

John Harrison & the Hustlers, Ideal Records discography

“Don’t Ask Why” is a solid garage number from John Harrison & the Hustlers, with a nice scream before the guitar break. “You Don’t Want That” is a lighter number for fans of that sound. Both sides were written by Johnny Harrison and Jim McMillen (or Jim McMillan) and produced by George Goodman.

I didn’t know anything about the group until Lloyd Stamy left his comment below, which I’ll repeat here in the main article for its useful information:

An outstanding and very popular mid-Sixties band from Fox Chapel, a suburb of Pittsburgh, that could “cover” any Beatles tune better than the Fab Four itself, The Hustlers comprised four guys who attended Shady Side Academy: John Harrison (lead singer and bass guitar), Jim “Bugsy” McMillen (lead guitar), Doug Harrison (drums and John’s younger brother), and Bill Bickerstaff (rhythm guitar).

Incomplete Ideal discography:

Vibra-Sonics – Thunder Storm / ? (from 1964)
Four Challengers – Love Me When You Can / Rayburn Street (Ideal 11111 – from 1965)
7 Dwarfs – Stop Girl / One By One (the Blues Magoos tune) (Ideal 1168)
John Harrison & the Hustlers – Don’t Ask Why / You Don’t Want That (Ideal IR 10)
Al’s Dynamics – Breakdown / Disappointed in You (Ideal IR 20)

Thanks to Lloyd for the helpful info and to Robin for contributing to the Ideal discography.

The Disillusioned Younger Generation

Here’s an obscurity by the Disillusioned Younger Generation from Eagle Rock, California, in the hills of northeast Los Angeles, near Pasadena. Band members were:

Dennis Moore – vocals and lead guitar
Dave Lobrano – rhythm guitar
John McMullen – bass
Greg Lobrano – drums

The songs were recorded at Custom Fidelity Studios in Pasadena and released on the custom DYG label. The great track here is “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” while the flip “A Man” is good but drags a bit.

Rhythm guitarist Dave Lobrano wrote to me:

I started playing guitar in 1964 at the tender age of 14. About 2 years later, my brother Greg got interested in music and started banging on the drums. We would spend many hours together practicing and having fun.

In 1966, my sister’s husband John decided to try his hand at playing the bass guitar. Soon we formed a three-man band calling ourselves “The Stubs”. We played at parties and had a lot of fun. Then one day we got a call from a guy about our band. We met up with him and found out that he played guitar and would like to join us. He was a pretty good guitar player and he liked to sing. So, we continued to play at parties, dances, and for anyone who wanted to hear us play.

Dennis was a talented guy and wrote several songs. We decided to change the name of the band. We were contacted by a nice lady and her husband. They really liked the band, and asked us if we would be interested in someone to help promote our music. Well, we agreed to it and together they got us several gigs to play. They really liked the song “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” and set us up for a recording session. That was in 1967. The record was released somewhere in Texas. I guess it never really took off. A few months after the recording, the band broke up. Greg and I never heard from Dennis again, he moved away. I continued to play but only at home and with friends. I still enjoy guitar playing all these years later.

A blog called CoInside has a good story about finding 28 copies of this record for $5 and selling them off for a small fortune.

Dave tells me John McMullen has passed away.

The Missing Links

The Missing Links have this one excellent 45 on Discovery Records, released possibly in October, 1965. The band is supposedly from Texas, but Mike Markesich believes California is much more likely, as the Discovery label was from the Los Angeles area.

On the top side is “You’ve Got Your Rosies On”, a nicely produced tune where the singer makes it clear his girl shouldn’t expect much of him, while the girl’s voice chimes in asides like “too bad.” It was written by R. Jarrard and James Hilton and arranged by James Hilton.

I never thought I’d make a record babe, but look at Sonny and Cher,
They had something to say, now I’ve got something to say to you,
Babe, you’re expecting too much, so take off your rose-colored glasses,
See me as I really am.

You’ve got your rosies on …

Spend all day writing songs, changing worlds, righting wrongs,
Everyday it’s ‘get a job’, but I can’t see this working hard,
Ain’t me babe, that ain’t me babe..

Wear those funny way-out clothes, my girl says ‘what are those?’
What I am, no I explain, cause your ideas can’t make me change
It’s me babe, ah it’s me babe.

Expecting things from a guy like me, causes problems can’t you see,
Wear my hair mighty long, need that hair to sing this song to you babe,
Just to you babe, oh yeah,

What I’m saying in this song, is maybe I’m right, maybe you’re wrong
And just because my pockets are bare, that don’t mean I ain’t going nowhere.
I’m going somewhere, oh yeah, I’m goin’ somewhere …

If you don’t want me you don’t have to come at all,
But if you want me, you better take off your glasses babe,
See me as I really am…

“They Say You Lie” is the opposite of the light-hearted top side. It’s a brooding song, with slashing guitar chords, pounding toms and self-pitying vocals that rise for the chorus “but they say … you lie, you lie”. The guitar solo has a matching intensity. It was written by D. Abrahamsen and N. Nissenson. Both sides were produced by James Becht.

The Fellowship

Here’s an obscure 45 by the Fellowship, one side a version of Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” with a full band, the other a more fanciful number with only acoustic instruments backing the vocals. “Palace of the King” was written by J. Treese, possibly Jack Treese, an american musician who had a long career in France.

One notable thing about this release is it’s on the Miramar label, most famous for releases by the Dovers. See the separate article on Miramar for more info.

Tony Cary produced all the Dovers 45s as well as the Road Runners, Nick Hoffman and Fellowship records on Miramar. He went on to produce the Alexander’s Timeless Bloozband Lp on UNI, released 1968 and Charles Lamont’s solo LP from 1969, A Legend In His Own Time.

This 45 came from a collection of 45s owned by Bob Buchanan, who co-authored “Hickory Wind” with Gram Parsons and played in the New Christy Minstrels for some time, as well as the International Submarine Band. Perhaps he played on this session? The other 45s in the collection were by the New Christy Minstrels, Brewer and Brewer, and Mike McGinnis.

Max Waller suggests there may be a connection to another Fellowship 45, “You Laughed At Me” / ? on Film Town 6169 from July 1969.

Thank you to Jason Sweitzer for help with information about Tony Cary.

Sanz, Incorporated

Sanz, Incorporated
Left to right: Dave Adams (16), Larry Adams (14) (brothers), Steve Ficklin (16), Ron Hale (17) and Bob Ficklin (14). Not pictured; Steve and Bob Ficklin’s younger brother, Brent (13) who joined the group shortly after.

Sanz, Inc released two 45s on the Skoop label, “My Baby’s Eyes” / “I’m Gonna Leave You” in December of 1966 and “I Just Want You” / “I’ll Never Forget” in May of 1967.

“I’m Gonna Leave You” starts with a catchy bass and drum rhythm, then the vocals and organ combine for a haunting effect. A fast organ sequence and a howling guitar riff open “I Just Want You”, which features a busy, popping rhythm. “I’ll Never Forget” is a slow ballad, very much an early ’60s doo wop vocal style.

Members were:

Steve Ficklin, vocals
Bob Ficklin, keyboards
Brent Ficklin, vocals
Dave Adams, guitar
Larry Adams, bass guitar
Ron Hale, drums

Keyboard player Bob Ficklin wrote to me about the band and sent in the great photos you see here:

I was part of a band called Sanz, Inc. from Petersburg, Indiana. Sanz, Inc. was a popular group that performed in the tri-state area (IN, KY & IL).

We all attended the same high school (Petersburg High). The name Sanz was derived as a word play on the Sands Hotel in Vegas. The “Inc.” was added later.

We played many local street dances and teen centers in the area. Some other venues were a prom at the Sheraton Hotel in French Lick, IN; area county fairs; a political rally in Princeton, IN; Chieftain Restaurant, Lawrenceville, IL; several gigs at Lake Lawrence, also in Lawrenceville, IL; Teen Center in Morganfield, KY; among others. We usually played top 40 hits of the day and original material. Although there were a few other area groups, we were not acquainted with them and were never in competition.

“My Baby’s Eyes”/”I’m Gonna Leave You” was recorded in Santa Claus, IN, home of the first theme park in the U.S. (Santa Claus Land, now known as “Holiday World”) in 1966. Santa Claus, being about one hour away was the best opportunity for recording. “I Just Want You”/”I’ll Never Forget” was recorded on the same label in 1967.

On the way to record “I Just Want You”, we didn’t have “I’ll Never Forget” completed. So, we finished it in the car and recorded it on the flip side. All four songs were written by Bob and Steve Ficklin.

When recording “I Just Want You” and “I’ll Never Forget”, after the music and vocals (Bob and Steve Ficklin) were completed on the first track, Bob and Steve also added background vocal parts. We paid for the session times and the records that were pressed. Both projects were completed in a very short period of time (a matter of a few hours).

The records were played on several area stations in surrounding counties. “My Baby’s Eyes” received air play on WLS/Chicago. We did sell records at performances, at school and at a local retailer.

As older members of the band graduated the band dissolved. Larry Adams played bass with another area group for a time. Steve Ficklin sang with various gospel groups through the years and continues today. While in the Air Force, I sang with a couple of bands. In recent years I have sung with a local group and continue singing with a duet partner. Thanks for keeping the memories alive; it was a great era.

Bob Ficklin

Thank you to Bob Ficklin for sharing his photos and history of Sanz, Inc.

Dave Adams (left, playing guitar), brother Larry Adams (center, playing bass guitar), Ron Hale on drums
Left-right: Steve Ficklin and Bob Ficklin
Left-right: Dave Adams, Larry Adams, Ron Hale
Ron Hale (drummer in background), Brent Ficklin singing, Bob Ficklin playing keyboard
Left-right: Dave Adams and Larry Adams
Steve Ficklin

The Fourgathering

The Fourgathering were from the Chicago area, maybe from Wilmette, a suburb just north of Evanston.

“You’re Mean to Me” flies by in just over two minutes. From the opening chords the pace never lets up, with unrelenting drumming and a twangy rhythm on the guitar. The singer moves from one chorus and verse to the next, pausing only for a very brief solo from the guitarist. The fine background vocals are a nice touch. It was written by A. Gilmore and J. Mayfield.

On the flip, the band gives an energetic performance on the more ordinary blues standard, “Betty and Dupree”. It’s credited as public domain, and arranged by Dan Brown.

The RCA pressing code TK3M-6240 indicates this was most likely a mid-late 1966 release, recorded at RCA’s studios in Chicago.

Thor Records also released the War Lords’ stomping “Real Fine Lady”/ “I’ve Got It Bad” (written by T. Jacobs, J. Papelka).

Thank you to Chris Gilbert for the scans of the white-label promo copy of this 45, seen below.

Clear Blue Sky

Even years after first posting about the Clear Blue Sky, I haven’t been able to find much info about the band.

“Morning of Creation” is a mystical psychedelic number by John Kessler, with dense harmonies and a finely-wrought guitar solo.

The never-before-comped flip “Ugly Girl” is cruder, with the interesting refrain “There’s a place / behind that face / for a girl.” It was written by Douglas Hardie (D.E. Hardie on the 45 label).

Like other Romat 45s this was recorded at Pitt Sound Studios, located northwest of Greenville, on the way to Falkland.

Thanks to Carroll Jenkins for the label photo of “Morning of Creation” and transfer of “Ugly Girl”, and to Ken Friedman of Tobacco a Go Go, for the transfer of “Morning of Creation” and info about the Romat label.

The Kenetics

The Kenetics 45 is one of my very favorites in all garageland. The band may have been from Martin, Tennesee, three hours drive west of Nashville near the Kentucky and Missouri borders.

Buddy Deason wrote both the songs featured here, but I don’t know any other members’ names.

“Put Your Loving on Me” starts out with a simple riff then moves to barre chords over sustained organ notes and drum rolls, then launches into a catchy progression for the chorus where the band chants “Baby, baby put your loving on me.” When the verse starts the band lays off every other repetition while the lead singer hiccups his pleas to this chick. Otherwise the verse and chorus are identical. No bridge, just a simple solo break and it’s back to the chorus and verse pattern again. The instruments are finely balanced and there’s a nice echo applied to the vocals that blends with the organ.

“Jo Ann” is a throwback to an earlier era. The band tries hard to make the song work, but it falls flat compared to the top side.

Nashville was a custom label of Starday, based out of Madison, just outside Music City. The 45 was pressed at the nearby Columbia Records plant indicated by the dead wax “ZTSB-128084/5″ in 1967.