Category Archives: West Virginia

Blue Creed “Need a Friend”

Blue Creed Mo Go PS Need A Friend

Blue Creed Mo Go 45 Need A FriendRecords like this one keep collecting interesting. Blue Creed came from somewhere in West Virginia. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the band yet.

It seems likely they recorded at Midway Recording Studio in Hurricane, West Virginia. The related Alta record label usually has a Hurricane address on it, but in the case of the Blue Creed single, Midway-Alta is listed at Camden-on-Gauley, WV, two hours drive east of Hurricane.

Luckily the Blue Creed put some of their names on the labels. Gary Gordon, Dave Franco and Bill Rexroad wrote “Need a Friend”, and the three of them plus Ron Sweeney wrote “Sugarbabe”.

Both songs feature hoarse, exaggerated vocals, a heavily distorted organ sound, a guitarist who sounds something like Jorma, especially on “Sugarbabe”, and a drummer who likes to hit the crash cymbal loudly and often.

Amazingly this came with a sleeve (which I don’t own), sporting a photo of the band in hip clothes, wigs and sunglasses. Two or three of the band look like they’re from an earlier generation of musician than 1970 psychedelia.

I’ve seen the label listed as Moigo Records, but I think Mo Go is more correct, release # 4570. The ARP-1339/40 suggests American Record Pressing Co. in Michigan. Publishing by Sexman Pub Co.

Blue Creed Mo Go 45 Sugarbabe

The Cutaways

The Cutaways A Go Go 45 You're Driving Me Out of My MindThe Cutaways (often listed as the Cut-a-Ways) came from Bellaire, Ohio, a town on the eastern edge of the state close to Wheeling, West Virginia. One article I found listed them as a Wheeling band, but that may have been for convenience. That show was in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, 300 miles away from Bellaire and Wheeling!

Larry Gorshe seems to have been the leader of the group and main song writer. I’m not sure of all the other members of the band or who played what instrument, but members included Bill Bell, Gary Parrish, Charles Soltes and Walter McElroy. Also someone named Jurovcik may have been a member as he is listed as one of the song writers on their second 45. Helen Mae was a manager of the group.

The Cutaways put out two 45s, the first from circa 1964 was a Buddy Holly type rocker “You’re Driving Me Out of My Mind” backed with a good ballad, “Now That You’re Gone”. Larry Gorshe wrote both songs for Claridge Music Inc ASCAP. The label was Agogo, which also released “Hitch-Hike” / “Sippy Sippy Sop Sop” by the Fantastic Emanons, another Bellaire band.

The Cutaways Sur Speed 45 I'll Never Fall in Love AgainTheir second 45 is a favorite of mine. The top side is “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” written by Gorshe, Saltes, McElroy and Jurovcik. The flip is “Hold Me” by Larry Gorshe, both sides published by Silver City Music, BMI. It was released on Sur-Speed 205, a record label located in Nashville, TN, over 7 hours drive from Bellaire.

Gorshe also wrote both sides of the Big C on Sur-Speed 202 “(Hey Girl) Come Along With Me” / “Gee Whiz I Love You”

Sur-Speed was located at 1201 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, Tennessee, and the SO-prefix indicates the 45 was mastered at Southern Plastics

Larry Goshe passed away on February 21, 2008.

Does anyone have a photo of the band?

Larry Gorshe & the Cut-a-Ways, the Pottstown Mercury, August 6, 1966
Larry Gorshe & the Cut-a-Ways playing the Morgantown PA fair, August 6, 1966
The Cut-a-ways, New Philadelphia Daily Times, May 11, 1964
The Cut-a-ways to play in New Philadelphia, OH on May 15, 1964

The Cutaways Sur Speed 45 Hold Me

The Esquires (on Raven)

Here’s a strange 45 by one of the many groups calling themselves the Esquires. One side is a ballad and the other a decent garage number, but neither one should be considered essential listening.

I wonder how many lyricists had passed on rhyming “make life brighter” with “like a zippo lighter” before the Esquires wrote it into the top side ballad “What Made You Change Your Mind”.

Better is the flip, “Boo Hoo Hoo”, where the band has a good stop-and-start rhythm going.

Oddly, both sides have been altered to fill out their run time. It appears that the band turned in performances of about one and a half minutes on each of these songs. The engineer deftly repeats sections to extend each closer to the three minute mark. This is especially noticeable on “Boo Hoo Hoo”, where a drum fill introduces a section that is repeated four times in the song.

Dick Welch wrote both sides, and publishing is by Pat Chipps for Panhandle Music.

I knew nothing about the band until Dick Welch commented below, so I’ll repeat it here:

This Raven label was located in Clarksburg, West Virginia in the late 60′s. I wrote both sides of this record and played guitar. It was a four track studio. I also recorded a record there with a group called Them Prodigals.

Them Prodigals’ 45 is “Icing Too” / “Cake Time”, released in February 1968 at Raven 101.

This Raven label is distinct from the Danville, VA label that released the Individuals “I Want Love” / “I Really Do” and the Lost Souls “For You” / “Minds Expressway” 45s.

Anyone have a photo of the group, or know the names of the other members?

The Satisfied Minds

The Satisified Minds, 1966
The Satisified Minds, 1966 clockwise from left: Darrell Fetty, Danny Ward, Yancey Burns and Hale Talbot

The Satisified Minds formed at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and recorded the first and liveliest garage 45 released on the Plato label. Fuzz guitar drives this one throughout, and the distortion gets especially wild during the solo. “I Can’t Take It” was written by Darrell Fetty and Yancey Burns. Darrell Fetty also wrote the softer b-side, “Think About Me”.

I just heard from Yancey Burns, bassist and vocalist (and later guitarist) with the group. Following is his history of the group and his answers to some questions I had about the band.

My name is Yancey Burns, and I’m the Burns in “Fetty/Burns” on the Plato record “I Can’t Take It” by the “Satisfied Minds.” When I found out about your website, I was shocked that anyone remembered what we were up to in 1967.

The Satisifed Minds
from left: Yancy “Ed” Burns, Hale Talbot, Mike Fincham, & Darrell Fetty. Thank you to Lola Fincham for the photo scan

Our record did very well here in the West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio area, but never charted. At the time, Darrell and I were going to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. The band had personnel changes all through our time at Marshall, but the constant in the band was Darrell and I. The first photo is the original line-up on the record: Darrell on B-3 organ and vocals, Danny Ward on guitar, Hale Talbot on drums, and me on bass and vocals.

I switched to guitar later when we went to a three-piece, with Darrell handling the bass by adding a Fender Bass Keyboard (like Ray Manzarek used in the Doors) to his customized B-3 set-up. We had gigs all throughout the south, performed as the opening act for a few local concerts, but mostly played tri-state area rock clubs, college parties, and high school dances.

Local music store owner and county fine arts educator Pat Wiseman began Plato Records in 1967 with a pharmacist and music lover named Bob Ullom. They booked their sessions at King Studios in Cincinnati, Ohio.

We were playing a lot of live gigs at that time, and on the night before our recording date, our hustling manager Hal Scott of Hal Scott Enterprises in Ashland, KY (besides booking rock bands. he ran a mortuary business) had us booked for a high school prom from 9pm to 1am, THEN an after-prom party at a DIFFERENT high school from 4am to 6am! So, with no sleep for 36 hours, our voices raw from singing for six hours, our bodies aching from packing and unpacking our equipment, and driving the hundred plus miles from West Virginia, we arrived for our session at around 11am. Because our voices were so ragged, we weren’t able to do the harmonies that we did live, but everybody seemed to like the rawness of the record.

The Satisfied Minds, 1968
The Satisfied Minds, 1968

After college graduation, I did two years in the Army, then started teaching, while Darrell took off for Hollywood to pursue acting. But we kept in touch, and I kept playing. In 1977 Darrell called me out to L.A. to play music and be in a film he was co-starring in called “Big Wednesday”, a surf epic written and directed by John Milius that’s become somewhat of a classic. Shortly after that, Darrell starred in a CBS comedy series pilot written by Lorenzo Music called “Friends” about a couple of rock stars, loosely based on Flo and Eddie from The Turtles. Darrell got me on that show as the guitar player in his band. In the opening credits for the show, there’s a scene of Darrell & his co-star playing a gig at the legendary Troubadour club. Along with the show’s fictional band, the marquee proclaims “Now Playing ……..The Satisfied Minds!”

The pilot wasn’t picked up, but Darrell and I continued to play in groups in L.A. -. Among them, a group called “Pacific Ocean,” which featured singer Edward James Olmos before he became a famous actor. We also played a number of gigs with David Carradine and his younger brother Robert Carradine. In 1979, we did a concert with the entire family: David, Robert, their brother Keith, and father John Carradine at the Wilshire Ebell theatre, called “An Evening With The Carradines.” Filmed live, the concert became part of a documentary that’s now on DVD.

After that we started a California version of the Minds with our good friend Sam Melville a co-star with Darrell on Big Wednesday who had been one of the three leads on the ABC hit show “The Rookies”. We called this band “Raw Dog”, but it was still the Minds. A couple of years later, I moved back to the family farm in Lincoln County, West Virginia to be with my aging parents. I started teaching again but kept right on playing. Darrell segued into writing and producing TV and films.

The pictures enclosed are the band in 1966 (check those tuxedos), in 1968 (times were a-changin’ and the guy sitting on the stone was our drummer, Jim Frazier–Hale had gone off to the Berklee School of Music in Boston). The third one is 1980 of “Raw Dog,” and the guys with Darrell and me are Sam Melville on bass and Jeff Marx on drums.

Darrell and I still stay in touch and try to play music together whenever he’s in town. Lately, we’ve been talking about writing a stage musical based on some songs I’ve written about the “Chemical Valley” (the heavily industrial Charleston, St. Albans, Nitro area) where I grew up. Don’t worry….we’re not through yet!!!

Raw Dog

Q. How did you start in music? Was the Satisfied Minds your first band?

Yancey Burns: I had played in high school groups, but I didn’t know Darrell or any of the other guys then. When I came to Marshall, I formed an R & B group called “The Seagram Seven.” We featured a big black guy who looked and sounded just like Junior Walker on saxophone and a crazy New York Italian guy who sang soul songs. Since we were a mixed group (black guys & white guys) we played a lot of black clubs and frat gigs.

One night, during a snow storm at about 3 a.m., we were driving from a gig in the customized hearse we used to haul our equipment. No one else was on the road at that hour but the occasional truck driver. Suddenly, we saw this silhouetted figure crawling out of a snow drift in the Interstate median – It was Darrell Fetty struggling across the highway to flag us down. He had been driving from a gig in the opposite direction when his car broke down. He had been out there alone (remember this was before cell phones) for a couple of hours and was about to freeze to death. That’s how we met.

Darrell was still in high school at the time, but had been playing in various rock groups for several years. He started playing piano when he was eight for church choirs and gospel quartets. We happened to be looking for a new keyboard player at the time, so Darrell gave me his number. I called him a couple weeks later, and he was thrilled to join the “Seagram Seven” to play college bookings and get away from the Elks Club and Moose Lodge gigs he’d been playing with an older group.

When Darrell came to college the following year, his Dad bought a boarding house where a bunch of us guys lived and practiced music in the basement.

Q. How’d the band get it’s name?

Yancey Burns: After the “Seven” broke up, we were looking to play a new kind of music that was happening then. It was 1967, so we still had to play a lot of R & B for the local gigs, but we started stretching things out with guitar solos and so forth and played sort of “psychedelic soul” style. We got a light show, and I started burning guitars and setting off smoke bombs onstage. We wanted a name that reflected sounded kind of mind expansive, so Darrell came up with the “Satisfied Minds” which was actually pulled from the lyrics of an old country song about “a man with a satisfied mind.”

Q. Did you know other bands on the Plato label, or were friends with other local acts?

Yancey Burns: We knew all the acts! They weren’t exactly friends, because, then, we saw them as our our competition. Although secretly we were all kinda fans of each other. Most of the acts on Plato were managed and booked around the area by Hal Scott Enterprises.

This was a great time for music in this area. We’d see professional acts like Paul Revere and the Raiders, then later Led Zeppelin, the Who, etc. but none of them seemed as exciting as some of our local groups! Among some of the other groups in the Tri-State area at that time were “The Explosive Dynamiks” who featured three lead singers, a white guy and two black guys (one sounded like James Brown and the other like Brooke Benton). The Dynamiks had a local hit, but it was a record they produced and distributed themselves (not on Plato). [for more info on the Dynamiks, check out this entry at Capitol Soul Club]

There was also “The Fugitives” who went to New York for awhile and actually opened for “The Young Rascals” for a couple of concerts. Darrell and I were also big fans of “Little Archie & The Parliaments” an all-black group who also recorded their own records (not on Plato). Little Archie was about seven feet tall who could sing, dance, and gave as great of a show as Otis Redding!

Q. I’ve heard that Plato was started as a label for black music. This doesn’t really fit in with the fact that the Satisfied Minds was the first record released on Plato. What would you say were Wiseman and Ullom’s ambitions for the label?

Yancey Burns: Maybe because of the number of black groups on the label and in the area. Actually, Wiseman and Ullom just wanted to tap into that locally-happening music scene and just get a hit! Our record was the first release, but remember we were segueing from a soul band (you saw the tuxedos) to a psychedelic/rock band at the time.

Q. Are there any unreleased or live recordings of the band?

Yancey Burns: Not that I know of.

Thank you to Yancey Burns for his history and photos of the group.

Update, October 2010:

I’m very sorry to hear that Yancey passed away on June 6, 2010.

Darrell Fetty wrote to me about some of the music he and Yancey did after the Satisfied Minds:

“Reds and Blues” is from a live performance we did in L.A. (I think it was the old Palomino Club) as “Leon Keyboard & the Bilnor Spashers” – it was the “Raw Dog” core musicians: Yancey on guitar, me singing and on keyboards, etc., but for a few gigs we brought in a number of friends of ours who were celebrities at the time. It was a fun, ever-evolving gang of people modeled after the “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” group. On this performance, in addition to Sam Melville and Mark Singer, and our wives Annie Melville, Hau Nani Singer, Carolyne McCoy Fetty, we had Carradine brother Bobby on guitar.

Yancey wrote “Red and Blues” one night after watching a documentary on Custer’s Last Stand. It’s a funky rock/folk song with a raw reggae feel that tells the story (with real names of some of the soldiers involved) from the Indians point of view. This is also a rare recording of Yancey himself singing the lead vocal.

Leon Keyboard & the Bilnor Spashers – Reds and Blues

The Zephyrs

Both sides of the Zephyrs 45 on Colonial are very sedate ballads.

“Take Her Back” has a loner garage feel to it, though I find the backing vocals intrusive. “The Price of Love” is a folky duet, and if it’s awkward as music, the downbeat vibe is somehow endearing.

Don’t know a thing about the Zephyrs other than the Berkeley Springs, West Virginia location and the songwriting credits – R. Fulton and J. Newbraugh for both songs.

The Blue Chords

The Blue Chords
The Blue Chords circa 1960-61 at a TV studio in Bluefield, W. VA.
From left; Steve Epperly (drums), David Epperly (keyboard /tenor sax), John Laughter (tenor & bari sax), Bluefield College student Alfred Thompson (tenor sax) and Roger Bailey (guitar).
John Laughter writes, “Arnold Smith played bass but was unable to make it in time for the photo. He presently performs with The Emeralds.”

The Blue Chords cut this cool bit of soul-garage with horns for the Reverb label of Roanoke. Steve Epperly wrote “The Mini Movement”, which runs all of 1:28! At Steve Epperly’s request I’ve added the A-side, “So Far Away”, which is really a very well-played and recorded ballad.

Since first posting about the band, Steve Epperly wrote to me:

The Blue Chords were from the Bluefield, VA area, who played from 1958 to 1978.

The Blue Chords were especially known in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk area where they played in The Top Hat and other club venues from 1959-1962. The Blue Chords opened for many nationally known artists including but not limited to The Del Vikings, The Gladiolas (later known as Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs), Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ricky Nelson, Art Neville, The Delfonics, Percy Sledge, Bill Deal and the Rhondells, and The Okaysions.

The Blue Chords recorded “So Far Away” and “The Mini Movement” in May, 1967 in the basement recording studio of James E. Parcell who owned Associated Recording Service in Roanoke, VA. The musicians were Arnold Smith who played bass and provided lead vocal on “So Far Away”; Larry Frost and Ron Sagady on horns: Jack McCormick- guitarist; David Epperly -organist, vibes, and saxophone; and Steve Epperly- drums and lead vocalist on “The Mini Movement”. The Blue Chords made other recordings in that studio, but “So Far Away” and “The Mini Movement” were the only ones ever pressed.

The Blue Chords - Steve Epperly, John Laughter, David Epperly, Alford Thompson, Roger Bailey.Missing from photo, Arnold Smith
The Blue Chords, left to right; Steve Epperly (drums but holding a bass), John Laughter (bari sax),
David Epperly (tenor sax), Alford Thompson (tenor sax), Roger Bailey (guitar).
Missing from photo, the late Arnold Smith (electric bass)

John Laughter sent in the great photos of the band seen here. His comment about Blue Chords around 1960 is worth repeating here in the main article:

I was fortunate to have played sax with the “Fabulous Blue Chords” for about two years before moving to Florida. I recall 1959-1960 or maybe it was 1960-1961. We played in various dance halls and frat houses in and around the Bluefield, West Virginia and Virginia area.

But the real good times were spent during the summer months at Virginia Beach in the Top Hat Club. The club had two stages and two bands six nights a week so when we kicked into our break song the other band picked it up to keep the music going. On an hour, off an hour.

The door next to our stage opened onto the boardwalk where a lot of the underage college kids would stand or dance. When the club was packed some of the patrons would dance on the table tops after consuming the 3.2 beer. And those summer night were HOT! We would sweat and play the new hits of the day.

I remember a drummer with one of the guest bands, “T & T” Braggs. What he could do with only a bass, snare, hi-hat and ride cymbal was fantastic! Another band was from Philly. They also brought down the house.

We would visit the local music store on Saturday and pick up the latest 45 rpm’s to learn on Sunday. Then to the Neptune restaurant at the corner for First Street and Atlantic Blvd. for a seafood dinner in the 56 two tone green Ford station wagon with the band’s name on the side.

One of the apartments that we lived in was on the south end of town next to an all night doughnut/coffee house. I would go down and listen to the jukebox until the hours of the morning. And as with several of the other members, we are still rockin’ to this day!

Update 2015: James Shott of the Sinsations writes that Arnold Smith and David Epperly have passed away.

The Top Hat Nightclub, Virginia Beach
Top Hat interior

Top Hat photos taken from the Bill Deal website

The Flys

The Third Row, featuring members of the Flys
After the Flys: the Third Row. From left: Gary (surname? – original drummer), Tom Smith, Steve Widmeyer, Bill Lyons, Dave Reemsnyder, and Don Ransom

Flys Myskatonic 45 Reality Composition #1The Flys:

Steve Widmeyer – lead vocals, rhythm & lead guitar
Dave Reemsnyder – bass
Bill Lyons – keyboard, vocals
Randy Dunham – guitar, vocals
Jim (surname ?) – drums

The Flys were students at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, close to the Ohio border. I had no information about the band until Steve Widmeyer left a comment (see below).

In 1966 they traveled over 200 miles to McLean, VA, near Washington DC, where they settled for the summer and cut their two 45s for Myskatonic, perhaps their own label.

Flys Myskatonic 45 Be What You IsTheir first 45 is “Reality Composition #1”, written by John Elvin and Stephen Widmeyer, backed by a fine version of the Stones’ “Got to Get Away” and released with a green label.

Then came the fantastic “Be What You Is”, one of Mort Shuman’s more obscure songwriting efforts. Shuman co-wrote it with occasional collaborator Leslie MacFarland (J. Leslie McFarland, who also co-wrote “Stuck On You” for Elvis with Aaron Schroeder). An anonymous commenter below (“The Fly”) says the band outbid the Rascals for the right to record the song.

On the flip is “The Way Things Are”, an original by Steve Widmeyer. I’ve seen both white and orange labels for this one. The records are credited as F.G.I. (Four Guys) Productions.

The band evolved into the Third Row – that band’s drummer Thomas Smith has sent the photo of that band seen above. Steve Widmeyer, Bill Lyons and Dave Reemsnyder remained from the Flys, the others were new members.

Thank you to Tom for the photo.

Flys Myskatonic 45 The Way Things Are

The Kickin’ Mustangs

The Kickin' Mustangs
Back row from left: Albert Richardson, Larry Creech, Larry Talerico, Buddy McCoy, Brad Rhodes; Front row from left: Danny Shortridge and Bruce France. Missing is Pat Loving.

Unlike the other 45s on the Plato label, the Kickin’ Mustangs record is not garage, but has a wild two-minute funk number “Kickin'” on the top side and a fine ballad “Take a Miracle” on the flip. It was recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio the same day as the Outcasts’ record, which shows the range of musical styles of the time.The band was from Ashland, Kentucky, original billed as simply the Mustangs. The original band included

Danny Shortridge – lead vocals
Larry Creech – sax
Darrel Tucker – trumpet
Rudy Hester – keyboards
Boots Shelton – bass, replaced by Larry ‘Frog’ Johnson
Dave Osborne – drums

By the time of the Kickin Mustangs single, Danny Shortridge and Larry Creech remained from the original group, but the rest of the members were new:

Danny Shortridge – lead vocals
Bruce France – lead vocals
Larry Creech – sax
Larry Talerico – trumpet
Pat Loving – lead guitar
Brad Rhodes – keyboards
Albert Richardson – bass
Buddy McCoy – drums

“Kickin'” was written by Parnell, Loving, & Minnefield. “Take a Miracle” on the flip is a nice ballad written by Bob Minnefield. This is also the most valuable record on the Plato label, by the way.

Keyboardist Brad Rhodes sent in the photo above and gave me some background on the group:

I was the keyboardist for the Kickin’ Mustangs when we recorded our 45 rpm disc in Cincinnati. At the time, the members were Larry Creech, Pat Loving, Danny Shortridge, Larry Talerico, Bruce France, Buddy McCoy and Albert Richardson.

Attached is a promotional photo of the Kickin’Mustangs from back in the day with Hal Scott Enterprises. The only person missing is Pat Loving, our guitar player. This photo may have been taken when Pat was laid up after a car accident.

I had joined the Mustangs around 1966-67 after playing in a band out of Flatwoods, KY. “Frog” Johnson was the bass player initially and the group always had an R&B / soul feel to it, but when Albert, Buddy and Bruce were added, it created a whole new sound that complimented the R&B scene during those days. Bruce, Buddy, Albert and Talerico were from Huntington and they were instrumental in taking the Mustangs to another level. Man, I miss the days of R&B!.

We played the usual Tri-State venues, but were also fortunate to have played with Cream, The Grass Roots, and performed in an event in Ashland with The Left Banke and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

I remember when Hal Scott came to us with the opportunity to cut a disc with Plato Records, because all the bands he booked received the same offer. Although I do not recall the date, I remember traveling to Cleveland, Ohio after cutting the record, and appearing on “Upbeat”, a syndicated T.V. show. I imagine it is lost in the archives!

Brad Rhodes, July 2010

Later members included Terry Sanders on drums and Mike Tolone. Pat Loving and Larry Creech have since passed away.