The Dagenites


Late 1965. l-r: Julian Bardi, Jimmy Musgrove, Roger Fallin, Jon Rowzie and John Bardi

The Dagenites were a great band from Oxon Hill, Maryland who formed in 1964 and cut two crucial garage 45s in their short time together. Original members were John Bardi lead guitar, Bruce Kennett rhythm guitar, Geoff Robinson bass and Roger Fallin drums. Their name came from Dagenham, a working class suburb of London where John Bardi’s mother grew up.

They shared a manager with Link Wray, leading to weekly bookings with Wray at the 1023 Club.Because of a connection Bruce’s father had with the owner of Pixie records, the band traveled to Megacity Studio in Dayton, Ohio in the early spring of 1965 to record their first 45, “I Don’t Want to Try It Again,” an original by Geoff Robinson. John Bardi’s guitar drives the verses and before his wild lead break you can hear someone shout “Play it J.B.!” Lyrics are hard to make out, though it’s clear the singer is trying to get out of an entanglement with a girl.

The flip side is Bruce Kennett’s original “Now That Summer’s Gone,” which the band would re-record for their second record. The Pixie label also released also released 45s by Bittervetch and Dave and the Stone Hearts.

Record collector Mike Markesich told an interesting story about this 45:

The initial pressing run for promo copies of The Dagenites 45 printed the name of the group on the label incorrectly as the Joy Boys, and the label name as Fencoe. I own a copy of this 45. Someone at the record company affixed corrected labels by pasting them over the errant labels (I also have the detached corrected labels for both sides). There were probably a few hundred that went out this way. The rest were correct, as are the yellow label stock copies.

After the band members graduated from high school in 1965, the lineup changed. Geoff Robinson and Bruce Kennett left to be replaced by Bardi’s brother Julian on bass and Jon Rowzie on guitar. Jimmy Musgrove was added as vocalist.

John Bardi describes the next phase of the band’s career: “Ron Barnett got us the contract with Heigh Ho records. There was what we were told was a nationwide talent search. My brother and I applied, Ron (a beatnik looking character probably in his mid-20′s, maybe a few years older) auditioned us and we won! He wanted to call us the “Howling Wolves” and have a trained wolf appear with us when we performed. We of course mocked the idea, but he had such an air of certainty about him, and he DID have this recording contract, that we went along. He had big ideas. I once heard that he had become a successful producer (I can believe it), but apart from that, I never heard anything about him after our short time together.”

The band traveled to New York City to record their next 45 “I’m Gone Slide” released on Heigh-Ho in September, 1965. The song is credited to Barnett, who supplied the words and idea for the song, though John Bardi arranged the music. John says, “A studio musician was hired to record an organ part for ‘I’m Gone Slide.’ He had played on the Wilson Pickett ‘Mustang Sally’ sessions (which at the time had not yet been released) and during breaks regaled the band with stories about those recently completed sessions. He played a rough cut of ‘Mustang Sally’ in order to try to influence the band in their approach to ‘I’m Gone Slide.’” For the flip they included a new version of “Now That Summer’s Gone.”

Two other tracks were recorded at the New York sessions, “The Fugitive” and “Poison Ivy,”. These songs were pressed with a Heigh Ho label and released in early 1966, though perhaps on a promotion-only basis as copies are extremely rare now. “The Fugitive” earned a pick hit review in Record World Magazine.

“The Fugitive” (“Once I was a respected man, but then they said I killed with my hands….”) was going to be offered as the theme song for the TV show the Fugitive, but the show was cancelled that summer. John believes it would have been the first rock style TV theme song.

There was also a second version of “I Don’t Want to Try It Again” recorded. This one had smooth vocal harmonies and a wild guitar break, and it was also released on the Heigh-Ho label. Like “The Fugitive” it was not released widely, and in fact only one copy is rumored to exist.

John wrote to me, “I still play, but the innocent immediacy of those days is long gone” – as fine a summary of the appeal of this music as I’ve ever seen.


l to r: Roger Fallin, Bruce Kennett, John Bardi, Geoff Robinson, Jimmy Musgrove, Julian (Lenny) Bardi, and Gus Perrotta; and in front Kenny McConkey

Gina C. writes, “On June 28, 2008 Jimmy Musgrove threw a party in Benedict, Maryland reuniting all of the members of the Dagenites. They were tighter then ever and brought the house down of close to 200 class mates and friends of Oxon Hill High School.”

22 thoughts on “The Dagenites”

  1. Hi Brittany – I went to school with these guys. Which one is your Dad? I have a website for Oxon Hill High Class of 1965, please visit it. Pass the info onto your Dad please. I don’t have email addresses for any of these guys. We have started a data base to contact our classmates thru emails on events we are having. We just had a celebration in Ocean City (Sept 07) on all of us turning 60.
    http://www.ohhs65.highpowersites.com

  2. Hi Brittany – I went to school with these fellows. Which one is your Dad? I have created a website for the Oxon Hill Class of 1965 please visit if you get a chance. These guys were good – we had many a good time dancing while they played.

  3. Hello all, my father is Jimmy Musgrove and he would like to let all of his old class mates know that he is alive and well, and also still playing and singing.

  4. Hi,

    My dad is Julian Bardi and my uncle is John Bardi. I remember going to see them play when I was younger! I googled my dad and up popped this page.

  5. HI this is brittany fallin. My dad is Roger Fallin. I am 14 years old. I had never heard him play in this band before, except off of his records. He said that those guys made him feel proud. We all had the best time.. specially when my sister and I were able to get up and play with dad`s band by doing the cow bell and the little drums.. It was really fun! The Dagenites were better than what I had heard on the records. Thanks for letting me and my sister have such a good time. Dad ROCKS*** GO DAGENITES!****

  6. I just happend by chance to catch this band on sirius satellite radio on little
    steves underground garage. The song was I don’t wanna try it again. So I started to research this band more on the internet and found this awsome web page with more of their songs. I love 60s garage rock and this band to me is great I like all their songs.

  7. This was a dream of mine to get the band back together for over 40 years. We were all, to my surprise feeling the same vibes about playing again. Actually we sounded damn good considering we had one practice on Friday before the party on Saturday. We were so tight back in the day that i knew we could rock out 41 years later. I want to thank Gina Croci who worked so hard to help me pull off the Dagenites reunion. Without Gina I could not have done it.

  8. Jimmy Musgrove, I took a shot at google and there you are. Hope alls well & good to hear your still playin’ I’m living in Cincinnati and playin’ christian music. When you get some time shoot me an e-mail or feel free to call me @ 513-703-8781,
    Old playin’ buddy, Scott Powers

  9. By your assumption, “Liar Liar” would be a rip-off of “I Don’t Want To Try It Again”

    The Dagenites 45 came out in March’65

    Castaways “Liar Liar” was released in June ’65

    In any event the songs really don’t sound anything like one another – different chord progressions, etc, plus “I Don’t Want To Try It Again” has a chorus part

  10. I do hope I’ve contacted Jim Musgrove. I’m an old band mate from back in the 70′s. We played at some of the schools in the Oxon Hill area. I’d like to get in touch with Jim. Please shoot me an e mail! Scott Powers

  11. Scott Powers,
    I remember you from Oxon Hill Senior High School and you lived in Rosecroft 1970. I played in several bands with Bill Burson in the 60′s in 70′s (Billy lived down the street from you). For the last seven years I’ve played with the band “Four of a Kind” which plays the southern Maryland bar and club circuit. http://www.marylandparty.com/performers/default.aspx?id=9052.

    Scott, you did contact the correct Jimmy Musgrove. The website I’ve attached has more pictures and maybe you can contact Jim through this site. Once you open the site, click on “Dagenites party”.
    http://www.ohhs65.highpowersites.com/page/page/1716206.htm

    Hey…I know you won’t remember me but I do remember you. You where a very good singer and guitar player. Glad to hear you’re still performing.

    Steve Berry

  12. Bill Verrill emailed me with the very sad news that Dagenites lead singer Jimmy Musgrove has died:

    Sadly…Jimmy (Blue) Musgrove of the Oxon Hill, MD popular band “The Dagenites” passed away September 9, 2010 from his battle with cancer.

    To myself and everyone who knew him, he was an inspirational figure and a wonderful loving person. In 1965, at age 13, I was an aspiring musician when I first saw him perform and I eventually became a full time musician following in his footsteps.

    Although we knew each other from school and played the same East Coast & DC circuit, recorded in some of the same DC studios in the late 60′s & early 70′s, we never performed together. Just recently we had reconnected and were planning on performing together at one of my bands upcoming shows in Virginia. Now we will dedicate our next show to his memory.

    Needless to say, I am devastated as I have lost a childhood friend and missed my chance to perform with one of my music heroes. He is survived by his Sons & many, many fans.

    Rock on Jimmy Blue, you were the best!

    See his facebook (James William Musgrove Sr) for tons of pictures and video webcasts of him performing recently.

    Bill Verrill
    Oxon Hill High School Class of 1969

    1. To all Jimmy Musgrove friends & family :: I would like to respectfully request that if you post more pics to Jimmy’s Facebook Page memorial, that you add 1 or 2 at the following Facebook pages too as they are full of Jimmy’s fans & DC area musicians. Just fb private message the Page Admin by clicking on Message at top right of all FB pgs. Just a few of the dc music fb pgs are :: 60s DC Music Scene ~and~ 70s DC Music Scene ~ and ~ The Bayou of Georgetown ~and~ I partied at Louie’s

  13. I was there when my father set this up and got everyone back together.I honestly never saw more energetic or more proud to have brought this party and the one that came a few years later together.My father ,i can whole heartedly say was and still is one of the best singers/performers ever.The rest of The Dagenites helped bring his life long passion together and i am forever greatful to them.I always remember meeting them and having fond memories of that time of “the party in the barn”.One thing i will truely miss about my father is his constant singing and just all around passion for making people happy.I love him and miss him and am so greatful that this site has immortalized him and the other members for what they did for this great genre.

    Jonathan Musgrove.

  14. to Jimmy’s family & friends, if you have older pics of early days of Jimmy & bandmates etc, please consider posting them on his fb page :
    Jimmy William Musgrove Sr. and 2 fb pgs:
    60s DC Music Scene; 70s DC Music Scene; The Bayou of Georgetown; DC Old musicians. All of these fb pages are open to the public & full of Jimmy’s old DC metro friends, fans & musician buddies. Check them out & my fb pg: Linda Kilroy Bresnahan ~ many thanks to all

    1. Hey we’re trying to include or 4 of The Dagenites tracks on our upcoming Psychedelic States: Maryland In The 60′s, our 22nd State compilation. Trying to contact the band members to work with us on band photos, bios, good quality sound and scans of the 45s. Can somebody please email us? Thanks

      roger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>