Photo scan courtesy Andrew Brown
|The Chancellors Ltd. were a Houston band with members David Singleton, Brian Evans, Clark Clem and Gary Bowen.
Somehow they connected with a local socialite, Dene Hofheinz Mann, who had written a book about her father Judge Roy Hofheinz titled You Be the Judge. Roy Hofheinz was a former mayor of Houston, Texas, owner of the Houston Colt 45s baseball team which became the Astros, and builder of the Astrodome.
Dene Hofheinz Mann wrote the song “You Be the Judge” and had the band record it for her own Dene label (dig the dome!) It was produced by Mann and Burchfield, and arranged by F. Beymer.
I’d say it was a tie-in to the book, except the lyrics are all centered on a love interest, not about politics (maybe indirectly – “who understands the rules that we live by!”)
In any case it’s a great moody rocker, catchy but completely uncommercial. The flip is a fine instrumental written by lead guitarist Clark Clem – its title, “From the Sublevels”, describes its sound perfectly.
Evans Music City, listed on the card, is still in business at a new address.
Clark Clem turns up in another bit of Houston music history, as the guitarist of the band Deuce Is Wild (or Deuces Wild).
This is the same Del Counts of Minneapolis who had a couple 45s on Soma, “Bird Dog” / “Let the Good Times Roll” and “What is the Reason” / “With Another Guy”. They also recorded a full album at Dove Studios that was never released.
Charlie Schoen, bass player and vocalist, wrote both songs on this 45, produced by their manager, Marsh Edelstein. I really dig “Ain’t Got the Time” with its whining guitar bends, fast beat and drum break. The flip is the less convincing “Don’t Ever Leave”.
The Del Counts had a long career playing at the Marigold Ballroom and around the Minneapolis area. They continued into the early 70′s, releasing a final 45, “Who Cares” / “Don’t Let the Green Grass”, in 1972, and were still playing live in recent years.
Charles Schoen contacted me about the band recently:
Members were Steve Miller on guitar, Bob Phalen on bass, Kelly Vincent on drums, myself on keys and vocals. What Is the Reason sold over 20,000 in the first two weeks it was out because the District Manager of Musicland Records told me that we had a four star pick in Record World magazine with a bullet. That was just Minneapolis and St. Paul MN.
Sources include: Birdland Revisited article in City Pages.
The Shadows, from left: Frank Cannon, Curtis Goodman, Donnie Walker,
Stanley Fowler, Jack Bigham and Roger Young
Photos from Facebook
|Here’s a great 45 by the Shadows, a group from Northport, Alabama, across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa.
I recently spoke to guitarist and lead singer Mike Thornton, who helped me straighten out the history of the band. He was only 14 when he joined and the other members were just a little older, mostly students at Tuscaloosa County High School. I believe he replaced their original singer Curtis Goodman.
Along with Mike, Frank Cannon and Jack Bigham played guitars, Stan Fowler played bass and Donnie Walker the drums. Roger Young played keyboards, but he wasn’t present at the recording session so Mike Thornton filled in that day.
The band played semi-professionally for about three years, playing on weekends and when school was out. A rival band was the Misfits from Tuscaloosa, featuring Chuck Leavell and Ronnie Brown.
“If You Love Me” is classic garage with a good performance all around, notable for the repeated distorted guitar riffs and a fine solo, excellent drumming, and good vocals. It was written by Jack Bigham and Mike Thornton.
“The Big Mess” is a sharp take on Watermelon Man, credited to the whole group. Mike Thornton moved from organ to piano for this song.
Does anyone have better-quality photos of the group?
After the Shadows, Mike Thornton joined The Omen and Their Luv with Bruce Hopper, Billy McLain, Tommy Stuart, Gary Barry and others. That band had a great 45 on David Keller’s Daisy label, “Maybe Later” / “Need Some Sunshine” (both songs written by Tommy Stewart). David Keller himself was in the Preachers. The Omen and Their Luv with Thornton later became Tommy Stuart and the Rubber Band.
For a long time it was believed the band was from Tennessee or northern Alabama, as the Woodrich label was based in the northern Alabama towns of Rogersville then Lexington, both near Huntsville and Decatur. Mike isn’t sure why the band went so far to record when there were studios nearby in Birmingham, but thinks one of their managers set the deal up.
I had also heard that most of the Woodrich label’s recordings were made in Nashville, about 120 miles away, but K.S. in a comment below, says that owner Woody Richardson did most of the recording in his home studio. Woodrich released mainly pop sides by Buddy Hughey, Patsy Penn, the Campbell Trio, the Light House Gospel Singers, the Rocks, and Aaron & Sue Wilburn.
The Group – l-r: Noel Odom, Sonny Williams, Bob Fell and Fred Engelke
“circa 1965 – rear of Walker & Rodie Music in downtown Shreveport”
|I don’t own any of Noel Odom and the Group’s three 45s – not for lack of trying, but they’re in high demand since “Come on Down to Earth” became a staple of 60′s music nights around the world.
You might assume an artist on Tower and its subsidiary Uptown would be based in California, but the Group was actually from Louisiana. Their songs were licensed by Tower, but without any push from the label or band presence on the L.A. scene, the 45s undeservedly dropped out of sight. Noel recently took the time to answer some of my questions of his time in music:
|Drummer Fred Engelke filled in some details on the band:
On a side note, Susan Christie recorded a nine-minute version titled “Yesterday, Where’s My Mind” after meeting Blackwood Music songwriter John Reid in Memphis. Hear it on B-Music’s CD – Susan Christie – Paint a Lady.
The Group continued after Noel’s departure, eventually becoming the second of two versions of the Bad Habits who recorded for the Paula label.
Thank you to Noel Odom for his comments and the photo of the Group, and to Fred Engelke for his comments and 45 scans.
Noel Odom & the Group 45 releases:
Noel Odom & the Group – Come on Down to Earth / Love Too (Tower 441, 1968)
Sonny Salisbury and Stan Bernstein of the Hazards
|Here’s one of the all time great versions of “Hey Joe”, cut by a group of high-schoolers in Richmond, Virginia.The band consisted of Andy Hrabovsky vocals, Sonny Salisbury lead guitar, Alan Sidenburg guitar, Greg Ellerson bass, Stanley Bernstein organ, and David Moore on drums.
Andy Hrabovsky added some specifics about the band members in a comment below:
David Moore and Stanley Bernstein went to Thomas Jefferson High, Greg Ellerson and Alan Sidenburg went to Douglas Freeman, and Sonny Salsbury and myself went to John Randolph Tucker High. Stanley left the band not long after the release of “Hey Joe”, and was replaced by Steve Bassett from Freeman, who has gone on to some degree of notoriety. He and Robbin Thompson [of the Tasmanians] did “Sweet Virginia Breeze”.
Sonny Salisbury really distinguishes their “Hey Joe” by staccato picking high up on the frets alternating with fuzz riffs on the bass strings. Hrabovsky delivers some of the best shouting on vinyl and the rest of the band is solid as well.
The flip is the milder “Will You Be My Girl” by Stan Bernstein and Andy Hrabovsky. The record was produced by Martin Gary.
My copy seems to be from a radio station, dated June of ’67, and though both sides have “keep in regular play” written on them, “Hey Joe” is also marked to be played only after 6 PM!
The Groove label was owned by Marty Gary. Radio play on local WLEE led to a second pressing on a blue label. I’ve seen the band referred to as the Hazzards, with two ‘z’s, but on the label it’s just Hazards.
Thank you to Stan for the photo at top.
Kelly Park was lead guitarist for the Romans, a band based in Columbia, Missouri. He writes about the group:
This band was formed in Columbia, Missouri in 1964. I was lead guitar in that band from the start until the spring of 1965. Like many other bands, we were heavily influenced by the British invasion, including the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five and others. We played songs by the Ventures, the Thunderbirds (we had a sax player), the Beach Boys, and others I have long forgot.
The band was formed by Jimmy Jay (the lead singer) out of Clarksville, Arkansas. All of us were University of Missouri students at the time. I have no pictures or recordings of the band, we did not make any records while I was there. Our saxophone player’s first name was Paul, from Kansas City, Missouri. I have long since forgotten Paul’s last name as well as our drummer’s and bass guitarist’s. We stayed very busy playing for college fraternity gigs at the University and nearby Westminster College in Fulton.
I’d dropped out of school shortly after my father died in February 1965. I lost touch with the band and know nothing about what happened to them after that. I read about the Arkansas band called the Romans that were obviously formed after us to did not recognize anyone in it. As a side note, I grew up across the street in Springfield, MO from Steve Cash of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
l-r: Tom Minga, Dale Roark, Ronny Williamson, Ron Gorden and Bennie Kisner.
The Escapades were among the dozens of working teen bands in Memphis in the mid-’60s. Vocalist Tommy Minga had been part of the Jesters, who cut “Cadillac Man” for Sun Records. Though Minga was the primary songwriter for the Jesters and is given songwriting credit for “Cadillac Man”, the song was actually written by Jesters guitarist Teddy Paige. Paige disliked Minga’s vocal arrangement on an early take of the song and forced Minga out of the band soon after the session. Jim Dickinson was brought in to play piano and sing on the released version.
Within a couple months of leaving the Jesters in late 1965, Minga formed a new version of the Escapades with Bennie Kisner guitar, Ron Gorden keyboards, Dale Roark (not Rourke as has been listed before) bass and Ronny Williamson drums.
They released their first 45, “I Tell No Lies”, on the local Arbet label in January of 1966. The band moves seamlessly from verse to chorus, with swirling organ playing from Gorden and solid bass playing from Roark propelling the rhythm for Tom Minga’s strong vocal. Bennie Kisner provides a neat sitar-like solo on his Rickenbacker.
“She’s the Kind” is a little slower in tempo, and reminds me of the Zombies, Minga at times sounding very much like Colin Blunstone. Ronnie Gorden and Ron Williamson wrote “I Tell No Lies”, while Minga, Gorden and Roark wrote “She’s the Kind”.
This record was picked up by the XL label, but it’s unfortunate that Verve didn’t re-release it when they signed the band soon after its release, as “I Tell No Lies” should have had some chance at chart action.
Despite Kisner’s hard riffing fuzz sound, their second 45 doesn’t quite capture the magic of the first. Released on Verve in May of 1966, it failed to ignite the charts and the band was dropped.
The flip, “I Try So Hard” may be the band’s most ordinary composition, but Bennie Kisner’s interesting guitar picking is a highlight, and sounds great with headphones. Both sides are credited to the entire band, and produced by Stan Kesler.
The draft broke up the group in 1967. Ron Gorden joined the Bar-Kays and later worked as an artist for Stax.
Keyboard player Ron Gorden contacted me with the photos you see here and his story about the band:
Our first release “I Tell No Lies” was on a small independent label in Memphis. As it had success regionally, we were signed by Verve Records, a subsidiary of MGM Records, through Phillips Recording Studio (Sam Phillips of Sun Records/Elvis, Jerry Lee, etc. fame) with Stan Kessler producing us. For some reason the decision was made to not release I Tell No Lies nationally on Verve, but to record another song. So “Mad, Mad, Mad” was the result. I agree with you that it is unfortunate that “I Tell No Lies” did not have a chance to go further. I see it sell on E-Bay these days for as much as $350 for a 45rpm. I wish I had stashed a case of them!
The band wasn’t actually dropped by the label. We split up due to the draft, as you said on your site. Williamson, Roark, and Minga all entered the service. I continued in music for several years, ending with the Bar-Kays (1968-1970) before going to work for Stax Records where I eventually became Advertising Manager. During my tenure there, I was directly responsible for coordinating the development of more than 130 album covers and the trade and consumer advertising that accompanied those products. We did great work and won numerous awards including a “Grammy Award” nomination for package design (“Isaac Hayes Live at Sahara Tahoe”).
Benny Kisner died sometime in the late Seventies. Tom Minga died in approximately 2000. Williamson now lives in North Mississippi and does not play drums anymore. I am in Northwest Arkansas, where I own an insurance agency. I do not play professionally any more, but sometimes play in church.
Thank you to Ron Gorden for the photos and story on the band. The Ace/Big Beat CD Cadillac Men: the Sun Masters includes Minga’s vocal take of the Jesters’ “Cadillac Man” along with some great Minga originals and an unreleased Escapades track, “What You Know About Love”. I highly recommended it.
l-r: Minga, Williamson, Roark, Kisner and Gorden
|I wrote about the Impression label back in 2006, but at the time I didn’t know the full story behind the Intercoms record, and had not yet heard the Mark Five or C-Minors 45s. As it turns out, the Mark V of Redlands, California was responsible for all three of these releases, and a few members also backed Jimmy Robins (aka Jimmy Robbins) on his soul classic, “I Just Can’t Please You”.
The Intercoms’ “Unabridged, Unadulterated, Unextraordinary, Ordinary, Mediocre Unoriginality Blues” (Impression 107) is a cynical parody of protest songs, and one of my favorite Dylan send-ups. Opening verse: “Well I sit right down to write myself a protest song/and I try to think about something particularly wrong/but I couldn’t think of nothing that hadn’t already been said/ I couldn’t get the Siamese cats out of my head.” It was written by Danny Faragher of the Mark Five and M. Fouch. The flipside, Please Try And Understand was written by Dave Kelliher.
I asked guitarist and vocalist Dave Roberts (Dave Kelliher) of the Mark V about the band:
The Mark V (Redlands, CA) was basically a dance combo (piano, drums, bass, trombone, sax, and trumpet) but we dabbled in guitars, harmonicas, and tambourines. The Mark V band members were:
l-r: Dick, Steve, Brad, Dave, Danny & Jimmy
Three of us did play on “I Just Can’t Please You” by Jimmy Robins: Dick Owens (drums), Danny Faragher (trombone), Dave Kelliher (trumpet). Jimmy Robins is on keyboards and that string-stretching is Sonny Jones on guitar. It was originally on the Impression label.
“About a month into our new name on a big photo shoot at Knott’s Berry Farm. These handsome lads are (l-r): Danny Faragher, Dave Kelliher (Roberts), Brad Madson, Dick Owens, Jimmy Faragher, Steve Hauser.”
We signed with Valiant, recorded at Moonglow studios, and did get some serious airplay with “Lollipop Train” (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri; Grassroots had done it on one of their albums) in September of 1966.
In August of 2009 Danny Faragher wrote to Garage Hangover:
|Thanks to Mop Top Mike for mp3 of the Intercoms ‘Please Try and Understand’, and special thanks to Dave Roberts for his history of the band and mp3s of their songs. Dave has his own voiceover business, www.DaveRobertsVoiceover.com. Also thanks to Danny Faragher for adding more to the story – check out his site, www.dannyfaragher.com/markv as there’s a lot more information there.|
The Ruins, 1968, l to r: Paul Turchetta, Paul Ferda, John Menadrysa on drums, and Dennis Girard.