Category Archives: Washington

The Chambermen of Spokane

Chambermen 45 Louie Go HomeMany bands tried their hand at “Louie Go Home”, an original by Paul Revere and Mark Lindsey released as Paul Revere & the Raiders’ second Columbia single, “Louie Go Home”, in early 1964.

Some of the best versions are the Mussies of South Haven, Michigan who cut it on Fenton, the Fugitives of San Antonio on Alamo Audio, and the Missing Lynx of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, who have it on the flip of “Hang Around” on United Sounds 100.

One of my very favorite versions is by the Chambermen, a sextet from West Valley High School in Spokane, Washington. Their version of “Midnight Hour” on the flip is good too. Members were:

Don Hines – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lanny Beck – lead guitar
Jim Ryder – rhythm guitar and vocals
Steve Myers – keyboards
Pat Teague – bass
Jon Conant – drums

Steve Mauss (saxophone, vocals) may also have been a member at some point.

After winning a Battle of the Bands at the old Spokane Coliseum, the Chambermen had a chance to record, produced I assume by Larry Wacholtz of 4111 Willow in Spokane, whose name is on the label.

John Conant and Don Hines have since passed away. That’s all I can find on the band.

Does anyone have a photo of the group?

Chambermen 45 Midnight Hour

Star-Bright Records discography

Wilde Knights Star-Bright 45 Just Like Me
I’d appreciate any help with this discography.

Star-Bright 3051 – The Wilde Knights – “Beaver Patrol” (Dey – Brown) / “Tossin’ and Turnin'”
Rich Brown, vocal on both songs. S-1-866/7

Star-Bright 3052 – The Wilde Knights – “Just Like Me” (Dey for Tinadele Pub. Co. BMI) / “I Don’t Care” (Dey-Brown) Rick Dey vocals on both songs, S-1-864/5

Star-Bright 3053 – Bruce (pseudonym for The Niteriders) – “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”

Star-Bright 3054 – The Niteriders – “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (Doak) S-1-868 / “Whatever’s Right” (Johnson, Doak, Sells)

Star-Bright 3055 – The Niteriders – “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” (Doak) S-1-871 / “Just Call on Me”

Star-Bright 3056 – ??

Star-Bright 3057- Thornbush Ripple IV – “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II (Anonymous – McCoy for Tinadele Pub) S-1-874/5

Paul Johnson produced all the Star-Bright singles.

Wilde Knights Star-Bright 45 I Don't CareThe Wilde Knights formed when the draft took Ray Kennedy, lead singer of the Furys, who had two fine r&b records on the Lavender label. Furys member Rich Brown ( lead vocals, guitar) and Roger Huycke (drums) added Rich Dey from the Vejtables as a second lead vocalist and Dean Adair and changed the band’s name to the Wilde Knights.

The Furys had originally been based out of Longview, Washington, but the band’s live circuit brought them up and down the west coast, so perhaps it’s not surprising the Wilde Knights cut their two singles in a studio in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles for release by a brand-new label based in a small coastal town in southern Oregon.

“Beaver Patrol” is an instant classic, featuring lead vocals by Rich Brown. Their second single on Star-Bright, also from 1965, features the original version of “Just Like Me” written and sung by Rich Dey. The story goes that Paul Revere heard the song and bought it from Dey for maybe $5,000. It became a monster hit for the Raiders in December 1965, while Dey seems to have died young, circa 1970. The full story of the Furys/Wilde Knights and their later incarnations is best told in Greg Shaw’s liner notes to the 1984 Voxx LP compiling their recordings.

The third release on Star-Bright is one I haven’t heard, an artist called Bruce doing “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”. Bruce is supposed to be a pseudonym for members of the Niteriders, who would have the next two singles on Star-Bright in 1966. I know very little about the Niteriders but their two singles are fantastic. The group may have come from Portland, Oregon. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” b/w “Whatever’s Right” came out in early 1966 followed quickly by their second release “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” b/w “Just Call on Me”.

I can’t find any copyright registrations to Niteriders member Doak, whose name appears on the Niteriders song writing credits, but I have found a copyright registration from June of ’66 for “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by Donald Richard Keefer. Rick Keefer would produce singles by Genesis, the King Biscuit Entertainers, and American Cheese, all bands with roots in the Furys or Wilde Knights. He had a few early copyrights in 1965: ‘Hurt So Good”, “I Saw Sloopy” and “Soul Searchin'”. It’s conceivable he was a part of the Niteriders.

The Los Angeles label Modern Records released “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” under a pseudonym, the Composers, and also put out the Wilde Knights “Beaver Patrol”, supposedly without the band’s knowledge. The Modern releases, along with publishing by Tinadele Pub. BMI suggest a strong Los Angeles connecton for Star-Bright Records.

I haven’t found out what Star-Bright 3056 is, but Star-Bright 3057 (on a purple label) is the Thornbush Ripple IV “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II, a novelty release featuring a not very funny recitation of what’s supposed to be an asylum inmate, spoken over a bluesy guitar, piano and drums backing.

Star-Bright Records: six or seven releases, four of which are essential garage. Not a bad average!

The Chargers

The Chargers: Ron Kinscherf, Steve Barone, Curt Dorey, Steve Nelsen and Tony Morgan
From left: Ron Kinscherf, Steve Barone, Curt Dorey, Steve Nelsen and Tony Morgan
Photo from pnwbands.com.

The Chargers came from the central Washington state town of Wenatchee, like Billy and the Kids. Steve Barone was 16 years old when he played lead guitar on the Chargers single on Julian Records, “Taxi” / “I’m So Alone”, released in October 1966. Steve plays some great lead on Steve Nelsen’s original “Taxi” with its super-cool lyrics. The girl’s going to leave so he might as well just call her a taxi and get it over with. “I’m So Alone” is one of the better downer songs of the ’60s, with a neat sliding guitar riff towards the end of the break.

About a year after the single, they recorded three more songs in Spokane that have so far been unreleased. I’ve only heard short excerpts of each. “Need Your Love” sounds a lot like “Taxman” but has its own charms. “You Got a Hold” has a great distorted guitar opening. “In the News” might be my favorite, with it’s heavy tom-tom opening, fine organ playing and interesting rhythm changes. All three of these deserve getting a proper release on CD or vinyl, I hope it happens soon.

Steve Barone wrote to me in detail about the band:

I am the lead guitarist and vocalist for the Chargers. I was born in 1951, and my earliest memories are of watching my dad play with his bands, and by five years old was playing his instrument. In junior high, I had a little group called The Hustlers. One guitar, one drummer, and five singers! We had the chicks screaming when we played Beatles songs at assemblies and dances … how naive they were.

Then I met Ron Kinscherf, Curt Dorey, Tony Morgan and Steve Nelsen. They had a band The Undertakers with Larry Youngblood (passed on) singing, and they were very good; the Hustlers didn’t have a bass man. We did a “battle of the bands” … they even had a coffin to haul equipment in! I was so impressed with them, and they with me, that I quit the Hustlers.

Early lineup of the Chargers, March 1966 L-R, standing: Don Sandstrom, Larry Roller and Curt Dorey; kneeling Tony Morgan and Steve Barone
Early lineup of the Chargers, March 1966
L-R, standing: Don Sandstrom, Larry Roller and Curt Dorey; kneeling Tony Morgan and Steve Barone
Steve and Ron were part of the Undertakers but Tony, Larry, and Curt formed the three-piece Chargers, then I joined. Larry Roller was lead singer in the beginning but he liked ripping off stuff, like other people’s cars, so we axed him. There was also Don Sandstrom, who sang as well.

Don and Larry are both [in the talent show clipping]. That is because Don had just joined the group. He hadn’t been at the talent show but joined before the picture so there he is. Then Ron replaced Larry, then Steve Nelsen joined later on keys.

We actually let Don into the band because he was the only one with a driver’s license and would drive us all around in his mom’s Corvair … and usually with one or two of us in the trunk as that was a very small car! Especially on drive-in nights! One other friend, Phil Dorschak, had a ’58 Chevy with a tri-power 348 and a big trunk. We always gave him a few beers if he would help haul the equipment for us. I don’t know where he is and haven’t seen him since 1968.

Don quit after a couple years, leaving us a five-piece for the duration. Me on my 1963 Tiesco art-deco Japanese guitar and Silvertone twin-twelve amp, playing lead and singing, Ron on his red Lyle guitar and Paul McCartney vocal stylings, Steve Nelsen on the Farfisa keyboard, Curt Dorey on Fender Mustang bass, and Tony Morgan on drums. Toward the end of the band Tony quit, and was replaced by Jerry Riley on drums. He was the absolute best drummer ever.

We played all over, every high and junior high school dance we could handle, plus Yakima, Bridgeport, Spokane, all over except for the Seattle area. We weren’t ready for that yet.

Steve Nelsen and Ron Kinscherf lived on the East side. Me, Tony, Jerry and Curt lived on the West side. When we played at either high school, or junior high, we had fans in either case. The town didn’t matter much to us, but Billy & the Kids were all living with their folks in East Wenatchee so they had a “town loyalty”, as it were. Billy & the Kids didn’t go over that well at Wenatchee High … we ruled there, and played for nearly every dance from 1966-68. Especially after the record came out. But on the East side, Billy & the Kids had the edge. We always enjoyed the competitive nature of it, but were all brothers and respected each other a lot. I do give them credit, they took it a lot further than I ever did, and now Bill and Bob Burns have a group called “The Called”! Christian stuff of course.

The Chargers won a talent show in 1966, first prize being recording time at Julian records. We were excited, to say the least. We packed up the trailer and headed for Spokane one Friday afternoon. We went to some restaurant for dinner and cruised around town for a while, trailer proudly in tow. Nobody knew who we were then … but that was about to change. After settling in at a motel; the band in one room and the manager and his wife in another, we commenced to “hootenanny” and light farts all night long. After they shut the power off, we continued to sing and light farts in the dark!

In the morning, all fucked up from not sleeping, we headed to the other side of town, and pulled in to an unassuming, plain-looking building. Inside were many rooms and corridors, all full of amps, wires, speakers, etc. I was in heaven. We proceeded to lay down all the instruments at once, and got the songs down fast, albeit with a couple small mistakes that we left in just because. Then we went into a booth and did the vocals. All this recorded on reel-to-reel, very primitive even then.

When that hit the street, and went to #3 on the local survey the first week, we were gods. How overwhelming it is to hear your songs on the radio! We played at virtually all the big dances after the record came out.

The Chargers: Curt Dorey, Steve Nelsen and Tony Morgan; seated: Steve Barone and Ron Kinscherf
Standing, from left: Curt Dorey, Steve Nelsen and Tony Morgan; seated: Steve Barone and Ron Kinscherf
Photo courtesy Steve Barone

I have one old picture of the band in our suits, in a frame. We took many poses, in the house, in a tree, on another part of the roof, and gathered around our trailer that had the logo and a crazy horse on the sides. I don’t know where these photos ended up. It must have cost a lot; it was a professional photographer, and we took a LOT of shots.

Chargers Julian 45 TaxiQ. I notice Ron looks to be left handed and playing with a right-handed guitar turned upside down. Is he really left handed, or was this just for the photo?

Ron was intrigued with Hendrix but only for the photo was the guitar reversed unfortunately. That would have been something though! Sorta like I painted the “Vox” logo on my Silvertone/Tiesco guitar. Nobody ever knew but the band.

The story of “I’m So Alone” is a book in itself. I met Carl Hunt in 1963, at Pioneer Junior High. My neighbor, Jerry Highfill and I played guitars together a lot, and thus entered our first talent show playing a couple Ventures songs, and a tune called “Bulldog”. We caused pandemonium; nobody suspected I could really play and was actually “cool”. I looked like Fearless Fly; skinny, horn-rimmed glasses and clothes my mom picked out. But when Jerry and I won that first show, I suddenly had a lot more friends. Carl was way cool, smoking on the corner in his leather jacket, just being next to Carl made you cool.

He had one of those Silvertone guitars with the amp in the case. I never would have dreamed it, but Carl wanted to learn how to play, and all through junior high he was my body guard more or less, in exchange for guitar lessons. I spent the weekend at Carl’s often; his mom always fed us and let us smoke in his room, and occasionally we would smuggle in a few beers too. We had a few tunes down, and were joined by a drummer, Jerry Riley, in 1964. One night at Carl’s house, he said he had a new song, kind of a ballad. Then he started playing the two opening chords to “I’m So Alone” and started the plaintive vocal. I knew he was on to something, and before too long we sounded like the Everly Brothers on the chorus. But then I got asked to join the Chargers, formerly the Undertakers, and I spent a lot less time with Carl. Jerry joined the Chargers as well.

Chargers Julian 45 I'm So AloneWhen the Chargers decided to record our first single, we already had “Taxi” on our playlist. But we needed a “B” side. So I remembered Carl’s song. I played it, and everybody liked it right away … and we ended up recording it. I never gave Carl credit for it though, and always felt a little bad. I didn’t see him much so I never knew if he was upset about me claiming his song. I did refine the lyrics but the music is all Carl.

Around 1976 I spoke with a man who was a former detective, and he said Carl had committed suicide that summer. I had not seen him since 1968.

You can sure tell in “I’m So Alone” that there is a Farfisa screeching away (man I hated that sound). We did an outdoor gig and it got so hot it just freaked out. The notes would go up and down and it finally pooped clear out. We got it fixed and jammed on. Later with Double Image, Steve got a B-3.

Ron Kinscherf, Steve Nelsen and I were always coming up with ideas for songs. Some were ok, most sucked, a lot of them were rip-offs of the Beatles or the Wailers songs, and all were eventually forgotten but for the five recordings. I spent a lot of time at Ron’s house in those days, and we would jam for hours on end.

We released the record, and in early 1968 went back, older and wiser, doing “You Gotta Hold”, “News in General” and “I Need Your Love”. With the three tunes in the can, the band split up before it was pressed. Only the masters and copies remain. By some miracle, of course, as Ron ended up with the masters at first. His stepdad was the manager. He ended up with at least 300 copies of unsold records, and used them for skeet. The rest of us were quite pissed when we found out where all the records went, but it was too late. I do have a copy, one I gave to my mom, and she gave it back to me just before she died. So it is priceless to me now and never sees daylight.

The Chargers, Eagles Hall, 1967 poster
Eagles Hall, 1967 poster
One summer day, Ron and I went to a department store with a friend named Dale. He was, unbeknownst to us, a compulsive kleptomaniac. He would fill his trenchcoat with stuff and go unload it in the car while we were looking around the store. When we discovered how easy it was to rip stuff off, I tried to hork Jimi Hendrix’s first album and got caught by store security. After the cops came, and my folks came to get me from them, my guitar and amp were locked in a closet and I was forbidden to play music until I graduated the following year. This put an end to my membership in the band. They tried to carry on with replacements but it just didn’t work.

After I actually showed some remorse, worked hard at school and for the first time ever, made the honor roll, I got my guitar back. Then I hooked up with Dick and Jerry Riley, Bob Herron and Rick Troppman and formed “Subtle Difference”. We were cutting-edge, with a keyboard (Hammond B-3 and Leslie), two hot guitars and Jerry was one hell of a drummer. Rick was, and is, one of the best bassists I ever knew. We did Vanilla Fudge and all the hot psychedelic stuff.

Too bad it was the time of drugs, partying, Viet Nam and thoughts of marriage … all this combined to send all five of us in different directions. By 1969, the smoldering remains of the Chargers was officially put to rest.

Ron moved to Tacoma to play new wave, Tony and I joined the Army, Steve Nelsen joined “Double Image” with the Burns Brothers in Seattle, Curt Dorey went to work at Alcoa on the night shift. Jerry Riley overdosed on 96% pure heroin (from VietNam) in 1971. RIP old pal.

I moved to Tacoma in 1979, and played with Ron in “Kicker”, a three-guitar and keyboard band that specialized in AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I also did time with Wakefield Manor and No Cheese Please … check them out on pnwbands.com. I left Tacoma in 1982 and never looked back.

Ron and I are the only ones still performing. I am in “Trio Deluxe + 1”, an oldies band ( the +1 is a sax player), “the Steamers” (check ’em out at lakeboys.com) and the church worship team. So I am heavily involved but in Wenatchee, also heavily poor. This town does not have a very supportive music scene, I have to spread it thin to stay working. But I will keep playin’ that rock and roll … until I die.

If there’s one thing I pray to never lose, it is my memory of those crazy times with that first “successful” band. This past October, on the occasion of Curt’s 60th birthday, we all got together, even some of our old “groupies” were there. I brought my Strat and Ron brought his bass and another guitar. We howled at the moon from 3pm until after midnight, and would not have stopped then except the neighbors complained. I still can’t believe we remembered all those old songs. But we are NOT going to get the band back together!

Steve T. Barone aka Bonehead

Thanks to Doug Shirk for his help in making this article possible.

The Chargers: Tony Morgan, Ron Kinscherf, Steve Nelsen, Steve Barone, and Curt Dorey
clockwise from left: Tony Morgan, Ron Kinscherf, Steve Nelsen, Steve Barone, and Curt Dorey (holding Ron’s guitar)
“My guitar is still sunburst … sort of. When I bought this ugly guitar, it had long cutaways which I took off with a hacksaw and made it a teardrop. The edges of the cuts still show raw wood in the pic. Then I painted it Krylon sea blue and hand-painted psychedelic stuff, along with boobs and snatches, all over it. I still have this guitar!”
Photo from the cover of Teenage Shutdown “I’m Down Today”

Keith Kessler

Keith Kessler picture sleeve Don't Crowd Me / Sunshine Morning

Keith Kessler’s “Don’t Crowd Me” is an anthem to garage-punk fans, with a sound to match the intensity of the lyrics: “Inside looking out, got no place to shout … I’m locked inside this place, problems I can’t face, I’m getting out breaking free … don’t crowd me! / My soul is cramped and bare, there’s freedom I can’t share … my independence crushed, don’t crowd me, give me air, give me time …”

Keith Kessler recorded “Don’t Crowd Me” at Kearney Barton’s Audio Recording Studio at 2227 5th Avenue in Seattle in 1966, using musicians from Keith’s group, the Impulses.

The Impulses formed in Bellevue (just across Lake Washington from Seattle) in 1964 and included Michael Elliot on lead guitar, Jack Joseph on rhythm, Keith on keyboards and vocals, Jim Simmons on bass and Lew McCall on drums. After the session for “Don’t Crowd Me”, Doug Holloway replaced Lew on drums. The Impulses split around 1967 and Keith joined Calliope for a time but left before they signed to Buddah.

“Don’t Crowd Me” wouldn’t be released for two years, and it was only with some luck that it was issued at all.

During the summer of 1968, Mike Wing, a Bellevue musician and aspiring record producer, liked one of Keith’s original songs “Sunshine Morning” enough to set up a publishing company and finance the recording, pressing and promotion of the record. Keith’s 1966 recording “Don’t Crowd Me” filled in for the b-side, and they released the record and sleeve in August. “Sunshine Morning” didn’t hit, but “Don’t Crowd Me” deserves to be ranked among the top examples of the tough Pacific Northwest sound.

My friend and fellow record collector Gregor Kessler (no relation to Keith) asked Keith about this record and his career in music:

I wrote “Don’t Crowd Me” back in 1966 during a period of general turmoil. Vietnam War. Seemingly mindless, rigid authority by government. Suffocation. A need for freedom of thought and action. Dissatisfaction. Frustration.

That was the backdrop.

Although I was with the Impulses at the time, this was never an Impulses song. We did play it at some of our gigs, but the late 60s and early 70s dance styles made it difficult to dance to.

Guitar on “Don’t Crowd Me” was Mike Elliott (also in the Impulses). I let him go wild on his solo in the middle of the song. My last contact with him was many years ago when he was a studio musician in Los Angeles.

Jim Simmons was on bass (also in the Impulses). He was respected for a creative, rapid walking movement. Although he wasn’t James Jamerson, he was very likely the best in Seattle.

My brother Kent sang back-up. We’d sung together throughout our youth. He wrote a number of songs that I always felt would be hits if he pushed them.

Both Kent and I recorded at the MTW studio (Mike Wing), along with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. They obviously made the most of their talent.

The sleeve: “Sunshine Morning” was intended as the “A” side – sort of a Young Rascals light-weight, mellow 60s song. So the photo was taken at Golden Gardens State Park in Seattle to suggest waking up and enjoying a new morning. Although it was covered by two bands on separate recordings, it was basically not that exciting and lacked traction.

The “B” side – “Don’t Crowd Me” – got the airplay and, oddly, was popular with late Boomers and early GenXers. It was included (without permission) on a number of punk rock albums. Only one group – The Flying Saucers – asked for permission to record it. When I said “Of course”, they told me that there were at least 15 versions recorded by different bands across the country, and they sent me a tape with several versions. I have kept that very interesting tape, as wells as the Flying Saucers’ vinyl 45 version.

What caused the break-up of the Impulses? It’s incredibly difficult to keep musicians together. I was offered an opportunity to work with a newly forming band of the top musicians in the Pacific Northwest. Each of them had been with a band that had successful records. They were all extremely talented, and it was an amazing experience. The band – Calliope – worked day and night while I was trying to also attend college and raise a family. Ultimately, I left and was replaced by Danny O’Keefe who later had a popular hit – “Good-time Charlie’s Got the Blues”.

For what it’s worth, I chose law school over rock-n-roll, and am a trial attorney today. But in the process, I became addicted once again to playing rock music, and ended up doing a lot of writing, working with exceptional musicians from Alaska. We made no recordings, but, given their incredible talent, I thoroughly enjoyed the year that we spent together. Ultimately, as expected of musicians, we exploded, and most of them returned to Alaska.

Keith Kessler, September 2010

Mike Wing added this history in consultation with the Kessler brothers:

“Sunshine Morning” was recorded in June 1968 at Audio Recording’s 5th Avenue studio in Seattle, with engineer Kearney Barton at the controls and me in the producer’s chair. The musicians on the session were:

Keith Kessler – vocal, keyboards, songwriter, named artist
Kent Kessler – backing vocal, keyboards, chimes
Jack Joseph – bass, trumpet, arranger
Doug Holloway – drums
Leonard Olive – violin

We pressed up copies of the record with a photo sleeve and sent them to every music-oriented radio station in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. We got airplay on a number of the smaller stations, but unfortunately not in the larger markets like Seattle, Portland or Spokane.

The promo guy at a Seattle record wholesaler liked the record and pitched it to his contacts at RCA Records. I followed up with them a number of times hoping to work out a master licensing deal, but they eventually backed out citing the lack of major market airplay.

Meanwhile, a contact in London pitched the record to the Beatles’ newly formed Apple label. I was hoping for a master licensing deal for the UK or Europe. But to my surprise they asked about a publishing deal for the record’s flip side, “Don’t Crowd Me,” for possible use by their new group known as Badfinger. [Cool!!] Unfortunately, the deal never came together.

“Don’t Crowd Me,” was recorded at Audio Recording by Keith and his band at the time, the Impulses, in 1966. I was not involved with that session. Years later it was discovered as a punk/garage classic, but by that time neither Keith nor I were involved in the music business. I’ve always felt honored by the underground popularity of the track even though my involvement was limited to picking it as a flip side.

While there have been a number of cover recordings of “Don’t Crowd Me,” there is only one cover of “Sunshine Morning” that I am aware of. That was by New Era on their Observation album (the track can be found on YouTube).

Notes by Mike “MTW” Wing, January 2015.

Thanks to Keith Kessler and his brother Kent, and to Gregor for bringing this article together.

The Impacts

The Impacts of Longview, Washington

One of several bands called the Impacts in Washington state, this group was from Longview, a small city along the Columbia River, a half-hour’s drive north of Portland. Original members were Ron Baldwin and LaDonna Lockman on vocals, Bruce Farquhar on guitar, Dick Sayles keyboards, Bill Uhlig bass and Spook Brusco on drums.

By the time of their first 45, Dan “Spyder” White and Steve Green had replaced Sayles and Brusco, respectively, and LaDonna Lockman had either left the band or was only appearing at their live gigs, as she isn’t on any of their recordings.

Impacts NWI 45 A Little Bit MoreThey recorded their first 45 at Northwestern Inc., the legendary Portland studio where the Kingsmen cut Louie Louie, and paid the studio to press it on its NWI label. “A Little Bit More” is a fine original, and may have helped get them signed with Pat Mason, a major booking agent in the Pacific Northwest.

“Leavin’ Here” is an Eddie Holland song on Motown that became a staple of live acts like the Who and the Birds in the UK, but in the states was less often covered. The Impacts probably learned it from Jimmy Hanna & the Dynamics’ version on Bolo.

Compared to the frantic pace of the UK groups who recorded “Leaving Here”, the Dynamics and the Impacts versions take a much more languid approach. The Dynamics make it work with swirling organ fills and horns responding to the vocal lines. The Impacts start off well, with a sharper sound than the Dynamics, but the band somehow fails to generate the energy to make this work, especially on the chorus.

Impacts Lavender 45 Green Green FieldOnce signed with Pat Mason, the Impacts started releasing records on his Lavender label, and recording at Bob Gibson’s Ripcord Studio in Vancouver, WA.

“Green Green Field” and “Don’t You Dare” show a much more confident and accomplished band. Like “A Little Bit More,” these two songs are originals by Dan White (Robert Douglas White on the BMI registration).

After this record they changed their name to the Impact Express and released three additional 45s on Lavender in progressively pop stylings. I’d feature “I’m Gonna Change the World” if I had a copy, but by “Sunshine Day” they sounds like a completely different band.

45 releases:

The Impacts:

A Little Bit More / Leavin’ Here (NWI 2006)
Don’t You Dare/Green Green Field (Lavender 2005)

The Impact Express:

I’m Gonna Change The World/ You Get Your Kicks (Lavender 2006)
Sunshine Day / Don’t You Dare (Lavender 2007)
A Little Love/Fly With Me (Lavender 2008)

Photo from PNW Bands

The Pastels

The Pastels from Pasco, WA

Pastels Century Custom 45 What Can I SayFrom Pasco in south eastern Washington State, near Kennewick and the Oregon border, the Pastels formed in 1964. Original members were:

Dale Anderson on guitar
Mark Gage on keyboards
Ron “Arjai” Jones on guitar and bass
Red Elder on drums

They became one of the bigger draws in that part of the state, playing shows at Richland Roller Rink and other venues, and appearing occasionally on local TV.

This original lineup of the band released three 45s between the fall of 1965 and the spring of ’66. All were recorded at Ron Jones’ family house by a Century label agent.

Pastels Century Custom 45 Circuit BreakerThe first of these is the upbeat “Why Don’t You Love Me” b/w the slower “What Can I Say”. It did well enough locally to have a second pressing. Their second 45 was “Circuit Breaker”, demonstrating a darker sound, probably influenced by other Northwest acts like the Sonics.

Their third 45 is their best, at least to me. Fast and danceable, “Mirage” is an intense four minutes of music! Things slow down considerably for the flip, “Where Is the Answer”, a good, idealistic song but a little repetitive at over about four minutes long.

Pastels Century Custom 45 MirageFrank Hames wrote on PNW bands.com:

I was in The Pastels from 1966 until the summer of 1968. I played keyboards. The guitar player was Dale Anderson who was eventually replaced by Larry Rogers sometime during 1967. The other guitar player who also doubled on bass is Ron Jones. Red Elder was the original drummer and was replaced by Larry Horne from Richland in 1966. The first keyboard player was Mark Gage from Pasco. I replaced the second keyboard player who was Don Clauson. Ron Jones’ father, Don, was our manager and produced our recordings.

The Pastels were very well organized. We each had several professionally designed costumes, individual voice coaches, a paid account at a local barber shop in Pasco as well as individual college fund bank accounts.

In 1967 we played the Teen Fair in Spokane where we were forced to join the union. We opened for The Vanilla Fudge there. Other bands on that show were Harpers Bazaar, The Chambers Bros, and Glen Campbell. Our PA system that was designed and built by Don Jones ended up being the house PA because it was so good. We worked almost every weekend and played all over the northwest.

In an interview with 60sgaragebands.com Frank Hames discussed recording with the group:

I joined the band after these recordings [the three 45s] were released. I did record with the band subsequent to the singles. All the Pastels’ recordings were done in the band’s rehearsal room in the band house: The Jones’. Don performed all the engineering and everything was cut on a consumer stereo recorder.

I recall recording eight or ten songs that were never released. There were many original pieces written and dragged on the stage. Most didn’t last long. Dale Anderson was the primary composer.

The band ended when Ron graduated from high school and went away to college. It was in the summer of 1968.

Red Elder and Mark Gage left the band in 1966 to join the Rock n’ Souls, who won a big area Battle of the Bands sponsored by KALE and later released one 45, Not Like You / Got No Love on Rich Tone.

Red Elder and Arjai Jones later formed the Backward Door with Billy Blair, and later added Larry Rogers as well.

Sources include: PNW Bands.com, and Mike Dugo’s interview with Frank Hames on 60’sgaragebands.com.

The Raymarks

The Raymarks formed in 1962 in Bremerton, Washington, across the Puget Sound from Seattle. They began as the Orbits, changing their name twice, first to the Galaxies, and in 1964 to the Raymarks. They embody the Pacific Northwest sound – playing tough organ-based r&b numbers with a heavy rhythm section with little or no British Invasion influences.

Their first 45 is a stomping version of “Work Song”, my favorite cut by the band. The flip, “Backfire” is a good instrumental. Mike Spotts wrote most of the band originals, including their second 45, the pounding “Louise”, which was mistakenly released under the name the Paymarks.

Their last 45 is another fine garage number, “I Believed”, again written by Spotts. The Raymarks also had several good songs that went unreleased at the time, including “Walking Down the Street”, “Feelin’ No Good”, “Hard Times” (which uses the same rhythm as “I Believed”) and an untitled piece.

Members included Mike Spotts on keyboards, Ken Huff and Chuck Snyder on guitars, Greg Pettit and Terry Carter on saxophone, Larry Trudeau bass, and Terry Selvidge on drums. Like the Wailers (whose live album At the Castle features singer Gail Harris), the Raymarks’ live shows included a female vocalist, Gail Davies, who is not on their studio recordings.

Chuck Snyder went to the Tacoma group the Noblemen in 1964. Ken Huff and Terry Selvidge were drafted in 1966 which spelled the end for the band.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Sources include: The PNW Bands site.

Jack Bedient and the Chessmen

Jack Bedient was born in Mason City, Washington, by the Coulee Dam. Kevin Woods tells me “Jack was voice trained and was a member of an acappella quartet at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.”

In 1961 he had a small hit with a pop ballad “The Mystic One” on the Los Angeles label Era, while he was living in Wenatchee, WA.

By 1964 he and his band, the Chessmen had a series of standing engagements in the Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada region, and they lived in Carson City, Nevada for some of that time. Long-time members were Jack Bedient vocalist and rhythm guitar, Kevin Woods lead guitar, Bill Britt on 6-string bass, and drummer Jewell Hendricks. Jewell would leave the group in the later half of 1965.

Jack Bedient and the Chessmen’s live show catered to the pop sound of the times, featuring covers of current hits, lounge songs and comedy bits, and the band wore tuxedos for some upscale engagements. They released twelve 45s and five LPs during the ’60s, much of which is a reflection of their lounge act or too pop for my taste. Within all this product are some very fine cuts.

That year they cut their second 45, “Pretty One” / “Silver Haired Daddy” for the Trophy label, along with an LP, Two Sides of Jack Bedient, which I haven’t heard.

In 1965 the band recorded five songs at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The first single, “See the Little Girl”, is a British-influenced number. Interestingly Fantasy released it twice with the same catalog number, once as by ‘Jack Bedient and the Chessmen’ backed with “Here I Am” and once as simply ‘The Chessmen’ backed with “Looking for a Good Love”.

Kevin Woods wrote to me that this 45 was “intended to be released under the name ‘Jack Bedient and the Chessmen,’ [but] the first copies were printed as ‘The Chessmen.’ A corrected label soon followed. When the performing name was corrected, the B- side song title was also corrected. ‘Here I Am’ and ‘Looking for a Good Love’ are the same song. The correct title is ‘Here I Am’ written by Glen Campbell and Marc Douglas. The lyrics are, ‘If you’re looking for a good love, here I am….’ Easy to see where the confusion exists.”

Their next Fantasy single is the fantastic hard-edged rocker “Double Whammy”, backed by “I Want You to Know” (the Fats Domino song, “Don’t you Know”). The guitar riff for “Double Whammy” comes from Dorsey Burnette’s “Bertha Lou” as done by Johnny Faire on the Surf label. “Double Whammy” reached #19 on KCBN 1230 AM Reno in early July, 1965.

Seeking to update their sound they hired Walter Hanna as keyboardist in time to record their Fantasy LP, Live at Harvey’s. I’ve only heard parts of the album, but there are good takes on “Louie Louie”, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (aka the Searchers “Ain’t That Just Like Me”), “See the Little Girl” and “Double Whammy”, though for this last one I prefer the single version.

October 1965 saw the band’s next 45, “Drummer Boy (Play Us a Song)” / “Dream Boy (Count Your Dreams)” on Tutti Camarata’s Palomar label, then being distributed by London Records. Walt Hanna co-wrote “Drummer Boy” with Jack and Bill.

In 1966 they cut their great single, “Glimmer Sunshine” for the obscure Rev Records label. It’s not like anything else the band ever recorded and is now their most sought-after release.

Their 1967 album, Where Did She Go? seems to have been drawn from various recording sessions and shows both sides of the band with one side each of schmaltzy pop and tougher rock material. From the first side I’ve included “Candy Roses and Love” as maybe the best example of the group’s commercial pop. The second side is quite solid, with highlights being “Glimmer Sunshine” (the same version as on the 45) and “I Used to Feel Bad”. The opening guitar on “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is so crude it’s practically hardcore, and “Repunzel” and “Love Work Shop” are also good.

A later LP has typical covers of the day, but a version of “Purple Haze” is supposed to be good. Other members of the Chessmen include Steve Eggleston, and drummer Jerry Bledsoe. Drummer Sam Wisner worked with Jack after the group disbanded in August, 1970. In 1972 bookings became scarce and the band broke up for good. Jack Bedient passed away in 1998.

Walter wrote about his time with the band:

I was the 1st and I think only organist for Jack Bedient and the Chessmen, added just before their first venture into the world of Nevada casino lounge and then headliner room bookings. They had some earlier 45’s out and one album when I joined. I recorded on the later 45’s and wrote a couple of songs that went on ‘B’ sides. We also had an album recorded “Live At Harvey’s” casino at Lake Tahoe. This was in their new “go-go” room, all dance stuff, done by a on-site Sunset Sound recording crew from Los Angeles, released with Fantasy Records pre-Creedence, not to mention Sunset Sound pre-Electra records in Hollywood.

I was “discovered” by the Chessmen playing in a pizza parlor in Redwood City, California on their night off – they had a gig down the road at a classy night club. I played organ and an early Wurlitzer electric piano with friends from 1st year of college. We were the house band for a couple of pitchers of free beer and pizzas plus $15 per man a night playing surf music and whatever else was on the Top-40 radio, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Ray Charles etc. This was around “spring break” 64-65 when I dropped out of Belmont Community College and split from friends and pizza gig to grab a lucrative job offer and regular gigs with Jack and the Chessmen, $300 a week to start – big money in those days and the end of my former every-day life.

As it turned out, this was the beginning of Jack Bedient and The Chessmen’s first real big-money success, mainly in Nevada, changing gradually from a dance-club band into more of a ‘Vegas show group’ act. As I joined and went to Nevada with them, ‘instant local stardom’ continued for nearly two years.

[Manager] Bob Dee had the Chessmen lined up with good Nevada bookings: the Golden Hotel in Reno, the Silver Nugget nearby in Carson City, and Harvey’s Hotel and Casino just up the hill at Lake Tahoe. We soon were headlining at the Golden Hotel (later to become Harrah’s Club. We started getting airplay on recently recorded 45’s and over about a year had 4 # 1 Top-40 hits. The line at the casino hotel was so long to get in for our shows, the tail of the line was near the start, going around the whole city block. It really was a mind-blower for hicks like us.

In between some Nevada bookings we went to Sacramento to play a couple of weeks at one of the popular local nightclubs, following Question Mark and the Mysterians, with one of our 45’s at # 16 on [Sacramento] radio… [but] the Chessmen’s popularity was not able to break out of the local area.

The drug scene in Nevada consisted of the casino pit bosses making easily available a steady supply of Dexamil Spansules, a great, ‘tiny-time-pill’ combination of the ‘upper’ Dexadrine and ‘downer’ Miltown (Mother’s Little Helper) which kept you wide awake without being ‘wired’ for 12-24 hours. If you weren’t near a ‘cool’ casino, the constant stream of truckers through everywhere always had something ‘speedy’ on hand. A user could stay up for days, gambling, drinking, making out, etc.

Time passed quickly and popularity faded. Following a dreary dinner plus music/entertainment booking at a dead Bakersfield eatery, Bob Dee actually booked us into the Playboy Club (the “Tiger-A-Go-Go” disco?) at the S.F. airport. Part of the show was Jack Bedient backed by the house orchestra – his dream come true.

Jack, with Bob Dee’s urging, was trying to ‘secretly’ slip away and become a single big-name artist, like Roy Orbison, Jimmy Rogers, Andy Williams, etc. Jack’s attitude towards ‘his’ musicians reflected this – we got ‘no respect’, especially drummer Jewell and I, and later Jewell’s replacement. The Chessmen were cut to a trio of Jack with Bill and Kevin – drummer and keyboard as sidemen with a cut in pay!

So, Jewell, the original drummer was relegated to sideman status with a cut in pay, and so was I, just before we did the Live At Harvey’s album. Jewel quit soon after, moved to L.A. Jewell was replaced by Art – can’t recall the last name – and I stayed as a sideman for a while, needing the money, which was still pretty good, and enjoying the life-style. It’s an old story in music ‘show-biz’ – one person in a successful group is willing to dump the others, despite their hard work on the way up. That’s a different situation than being in a dead-end band moving from one subsistence gig to another. And, it’s a different situation from a long-term success combination deciding to call it quits and go their own ways – some then on to personal star status. Jack had the voice, absolutely beautiful – but, lacking strong musicianship, he needed musicians with him that knew his weaknesses and could compensate.

I headed for Los Angeles into a long career of fun garage and original bands, a few ‘almost-made-it’ big rock ‘n’ roll bands, and many better-to-forget traveling club bands, always with Hollywood as home base. Reliable gossip I heard years later said Jack was working as a solo act with his guitar at Harold’s club in Reno hotel in one of their in-house bars.

Jack Bedient and the Chessmen releases:

This is the most complete list of releases for the group out there, and corrects several errors from other sources. Any additional info would be appreciated, especially on his “Executive Productions” releases.

45s

The Mystic One / Question – Era 3050, July 1961
Pretty One / Silver Haired Daddy – Trophy 1001, 1964
See the Little Girl / Here I Am – Fantasy 595, 1965
See the Little Girl / Looking for a Good Love – Fantasy 595, 1965 (released as by “The Chessmen”)
Double Whammy / I Want You To Know – Fantasy 598, 1965
Drummer Boy (Play Us a Song) / Dream Boy (Count Your Dreams) – Palomar 2212, October 1965
Glimmer Sunshine / Where Did She Go – Rev 104/5, 1966
Love Workshop / I Could Have Loved You So Well – Columbia 4-44302 1967
Pretty One / See That Girl – Columbia 4-44481, 1968
The Pleasure of You / It’s Over – Columbia 4-44565, 1968
My Prayer / Independence Day – Columbia 4-44671, 1968
I’ve Been Loving You / I Could Never Lose My Love for You – Executive Productions 21, 1969, with picture sleeve
Beautiful (Takes a Trip) / Release Me – Executive Productions 21

LPs

Two Sides of Jack Bedient – Trophy 101, 1964
Live at Harvey’s – Fantasy 3365, 1965
Where Did She Go – Satori 1001, 1967
Songs You Requested – Chessmen no #, 196?
In Concert (Harolds) – Chessmen no #, 1969
Jack Bedient – Executive Productions, 196? (rumored, but apparently this does NOT exist – if so please send confirmation)

Thank you to Jeffrey Lee for the scan and transfer of “I’ve Been Loving You” and to Fred Hoyt for the scan of the Executive 45 sleeve. Special thanks to Kevin Wood for his help in correcting some of the information in this article.

Sources for this article include: Inland Empire Rock: The Sound of Eastern Washington, and The PNW Bands site.
Jack Bedient & the Chessmen, Executive PS "I Could Never Lose My Love for You"