Category Archives: A&M

The Wanted

 The Wanted on A&M, full page ad in Billboard, April 1, 1967
Full page ad in Billboard, April 1, 1967

The Wanted Detroit Sound 45 Teen WorldThe Wanted released eight songs on six different singles, four on The Detroit Sound and two national releases on A&M.

The names of the band are well-known: they put them on the labels of their 45s. Other information is not easy to come by and I don’t find them mentioned in any detail in my usual sources.

Arnie DeClark – rhythm guitar
Dave Fermstrum – organ
Bill Montgomery – bass
Tim Shea – lead
Chip Steiner – drums

The Wanted Detroit Sound 45 Lots More Where You Came FromAll their releases have excellent songs. “Here to Stay” is an amazingly mature ballad, with a great nasal lead vocal, written by Tim Shea and Chip Steiner. The flip “Teen World” is their most basic song, sounding much like “California Sun” with new lyrics, but it’s a fine party song of the mid-60s and probably their rarest release. It was written by C. Shermetaro.

The Detroit Sound Recording Co. was located at 12730 E. Warren. I’ve read that Chip Steiner’s father Irv Steiner owned the Detroit Sound label, which usually featured soul acts.

The label changed the graphics and re-released “Here to Stay”, backed with a good version of “In the Midnight Hour” that reached #1 on WKNR in Detroit & Dearborn in March of ’67, and #3 on CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. They appeared on Robin Seymour’s TV show Swingin’ Time, probably several times. I don’t know which song was originally featured in the clip below as the audio is dubbed in.

The Wanted in Billboard's Bubbling Under, April 29, 1967
Billboard, April 29, 1967

A&M picked this up for national release in April, 1967 and bought a full page ad in Billboard for it with a neat watch graphic. As far as I can tell, the furthest it reached in the national charts was “bubbling under” at #128, with Michael & the Messengers’ version of the song on the U.S.A. label at #121. Too many competing versions kept these from breaking out nationally, although each has a distinct style.

They had one further release on A&M, a fine pop number with horns called “Big Town Girl” backed with “Don’t Worry Baby”. Despite being a Detroit Sound production I believe this single was only released on A&M.

Their next single was the tough “Lots More Where You Came From”, with the lyric “girl I’m picking up on your bad vibrations”! It was written and produced by Dugg Brown (aka Doug Brown of the Omens and producer of Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Southwind, etc), backed with a version of “Knock on Wood”. Their last on the Detroit Sound label was a good take on Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” backed “Sad Situation”, which is simply “Lots More Where You Came From” with a different title.

An email from a friend of the band was the inspiration for this post:

My name is Michael Surarez Thompson. In the 60’s I was a close friend of the Detroit garage band The Wanted. The guys all came from the Grosse Point area. Chip Steiner’s dad Irvin bought an old Detroit city bus and had it converted to a motor home if you will. The bus took us to gigs in and around Detroit and came with a chauffeur I believe his name was Walker.

I was a bit older then the boys and I left to serve in the Marine Corps. Through the years we lost contact. I have been searching for my former friends but they seem to have vanished from face of earth. I am from Port Huron, Michigan, retired Marriott executive chef living in Eugene, Oregon.

45 releases:

The Detroit Sound 222 (plain red label) – Here to Stay (Shea – Steiner) / Teen World (C. Shermetaro)
The Detroit Sound 222A/223A (red and blue label with instrument graphics) – Here to Stay / In the Midnight Hour (February, 1967)
The Detroit Sound 230 – Lots More Where You Came From (Dugg Brown) / Knock On Wood
The Detroit Sound 232 – East Side Story / Sad Situation
A&M 844 – Here to Stay / Midnight Hour (March, 1967)
A&M 856 – Big Town Girl (Dugg Brown) / Don’t Worry Baby (produced by Doug Brown) (May, 1967)

Source: WKNR chart info from ARSA. Thank you to Jim Heddle for the clean scan of the chart.

The Wanted, #1 on WKNR, March 13, 1967
#1 on WKNR, March 13, 1967
The Wanted, Breakout Singles, Billboard, April 8, 1967
Billboard, April 8, 1967

Vanda and Young post-Easybeats: Paintbox, Moondance and Tramp


Tramp, German release
Harry Vanda, guitar and vocals
George Young, guitar and vocals
George Alexander, guitar
Ian Campbell, bass and vocals
Freddie Smith, drums

When The Easybeats broke up in late 1969, following a final Australian tour, songwriters Harry Vanda and George Young returned to the UK to join forces with Young’s older brother Alex (who had changed his name to George Alexander as leader of Grapefruit) and they recorded under various aliases, including Paintbox, Moondance and Tramp.

While it cannot be said with any certainty who else was involved in the recordings issued under the names Paintbox, Moondance and Tramp, it is likely that Scottish bass player and singer Ian Campbell and Scottish drummer Freddie Smith, both of whom had worked with George Alexander in Tony Sheridan & The Big Six in the mid-1960s, were the remaining musicians involved. Both definitely played on later recordings, released under other aliases, including Grapefruit, Haffy’s Whisky Sour and Marcus Hook Roll Band. Freddie Smith also recorded on some post-Shel Talmy Easybeats recordings in 1967.

Paintbox’s lone single, released in June 1970, was a Miki Dallon production and was a typical British commercial soul number. The ‘A’ side was written by George Alexander while Harry Vanda and George Young composed the ‘B’ side. Interestingly, some copies came in a picture sleeve depicting five black musicians.

The same week the Paintbox 45 came out on Young Blood, A&M Records released a second single by the group under the name Moondance. “Lazy River” is a catchy Vanda and Young song while “Anna St Claire” is by George Alexander. In Germany, the single came in a picture sleeve, depicting two men, who bare no resemblance to the band members! In 1971 ”Lazy River” was released in Australia under the name Vanda and Young for Albert Productions with a different ‘B’ side titled ”Free And Easy”, also written by Vanda and Young.

In July, a second Young Blood single came out under the name Tramp. “Vietnam Rose” is a Vanda and Young composition while “Each Day” is by George Alexander. The single was also released in Germany and France. After this release, the group left Young Blood and signed to Deram, releasing two singles under the Haffy’s Whisky Sour and Grapefruit aliases. The Paintbox single was re-released in 1971 with “Get Ready For Love” having a slightly longer intro.

Paintbox
45s:
Get Ready For Love/Can I Get To Know You (Young Blood YB 1015) 1970
Get Ready For Love/Can I Get To Know You (Young Blood YB 1029) 1971

Moondance
45: Lazy River/Anna St Claire (A&M AMS 792) 1970

Tramp
45: Vietnam Rose/Each Day (Young Blood 1014) 1970

Article by Mike Griffiths and Nick Warburton

Copyright © Mike Griffiths and Nick Warburton, 2009. All Rights Reserved


Top from Disc & Music Echo, July 25, 1970,
bottom review from Music Business Weekly, July 25, 1970


Top one from Melody Maker, June 20, 1970.


French 45 label



German 45 label

Tommy and the True Blue Facts

Tommy & the True Blue Facts A&M 45 I'm BackTommy Faia is the force behind Tommy & the True Blue Facts, writing his own songs, singing and playing the acoustic guitar. I didn’t know anything else about him until he contacted me in January 0f 2009.

“I’m Back” is an anti-drug song, more convincing than most with great lines like “I’m not trying to bring you down, but how long ago was your mind really sound?” The arrangement of guitar, congas and an out of tune electric piano perfectly matches the mood of the song; Tommy sounds like he was way out there indeed.

“Who’s Got the Right” is a bit of a rant sticking up for cops (“he must refrain from protecting his life because if he does, he’ll get the blame”) and denigrating looters, law breakers and welfare bums. It’s just an example of reactionary attitudes in the late ’60s.

I’ve heard one other 45 by Tommy, an original called “You’ve Got My Soul”, which sounds like Neil Diamond, backed with “An Exception to the Rule”. Gone are the politics, instead you get love songs, with fuller production, girl group backing singers and a generally unconvincing result.

Tommy recently got in touch with me and told me the story about his records on A&M:

Around 1966 I jumped in my friend David Rosenkranz’s pick up truck loaded with his drums and my guitar and amp etc and headed down to LA from Carmel. I was about 19-20 years old. We rented a little dump in Hollywood where we could practice..we’d only been playing together for 1-2 months. I had been writing songs for about a year.

David got a gig playing drums for a little recording studio on Santa Monica Blvd. He told the owner about me and the guy recorded Who’s Got The Right … just David and I played. I played an amplified acoustic classical guitar with a flat pick … like Willie Nelson (unfortunately I didn’t sound like Willie but it was a big driving rhythm sound). The guy said he’d take it around town.

About 2-3 days later we get a call at night from a guy that says to me “do you want to be a star?” I said sure but wasn’t convinced by the big talk. His name was Ed Forsyth and he had a nice plush office on Sunset Strip right across from the Whiskey. We loaded up David’s truck and drove over there the same night and played for him in his office.

About a week later we walked into a huge recording studio with lots of musicians. Jim Economides was the producer (he was a producer at Capitol Records and worked with Dick Dale, Johnny Burnette, Bobby Vee, Bobby Darin and others). What really impressed me on that session was that the guitar player was James Burton. He’s doing that Eastern sounding guitar on “I’m Back”. They spared no expense. Funny because David and I were disappointed that we didn’t have much say in the process. All the records are large productions. On the later ones we had three male back up singers and three female (the Blossoms!)

Just a note on “Who’s Got The Right”. I wrote that song during the Watt’s riots. Later my friends told me it was a “right wing song”. I was not yet political. But I think that my manager Ed Forsyth really liked the message of that song and that’s what got us the deal. I later wrote many anti-war songs during Vietnam. Anyway didn’t want you to think I had a shaved head.

The True Blue Facts was really just David and I. Our management came up with the name. We were horrified at the time. We were a duo. Now I kind of like the name. I also played harmonica (Jimmy Reed was my mentor). We had a big sound for two guys.

I’m 63 now and just starting up another band with original music that I’ve written over the years. After Tommy and the True Blue Facts I continued writing music hoping to get another record deal with a hit song….never happened….came close a few times….even spent 3-4 years in Nashville. Finally gave up in 1983 and moved back to my home town on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Today my songs are much better and I’m playing with some guys and eventually will record our stuff. It’s fun to be back and so cool to find your site.

Tommy Faia

Update June 2012

Tommy has a new website and is performing around Monterey. See www.tommyfaia.com for his current shows.

The Magic Mushrooms

 Magic Mushrooms publicity photo taken by Ted Cahill in Philadelphia, Fall, 1966
Magic Mushrooms publicity photo taken by Ted Cahill in Philadelphia, Fall, 1966

The Magic Mushrooms A&M 45 It's-a-HappeningFive students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia formed the Magic Mushrooms. Original members were Stu Freeman vocals and guitar, Ted Cahill lead guitar and autoharp, Dick Richardson keyboards, Charles Ingersol on bass and Joe LaCavera on drums.

Allen Ginsberg gave them the Magic Mushrooms name after a campus lecture in late 1965. In early 1966, Josh Rice joined the band on vocals, flute and harmonica.

Sonny Casella heard the band playing at Drexel University and became their manager. Contrary to previous reports, he did not sing or play in the band, but he was responsible for mixing, arranging and producing their records.

The Magic Mushrooms Philips 45 Never Let GoThey recorded their first 45 in New York, “It’s A-Happening”, an original credited to Casella and Rice, but perhaps really written by Stu Freeman and Josh Rice. A bizarre psychedelic montage, it was released on A&M in September, 1966 and reached as high as #93 on the Billboard charts in November, backed with another original, “Never More”.

The Magic Mushrooms East Coast 45 Let the Rain Be MeA close comparison could be made to the Electric Prunes, but unfortunately we’ll never know how far a record this strange could go – when Herb Alpert of A&M realized the drug reference in the band’s name, he pulled the record from the shops and ended their relationship with the label.

A&M Spurns Psychedelic Records, Billboard August 1967
Item in Billboard, August 19, 1967.

Despite this setback the band hooked up with Philips for their second record, “Look in My Face”, which didn’t chart. However, it was backed with the intense “Never Let Go”, an original by Stu Freeman and Josh Rice and my favorite track by the band.

Their final release is the corny “Municipal Water Maintenance Man” on the East Coast label, hiding a very fine hippie-ish track on the b-side, “Let the Rain Be Me”, another Freeman/Rice song.

 Magic Mushrooms on stage
Magic Mushrooms on stage, from left: Chris Barbieri, Stu Freeman, Joe LaCavera and Josh Rice. Out of frame: Bob Grady and Ted Cahill.

Magic Mushrooms Manager Sonny Cassella, Ted Cahill, Stu Freeman, Chris Barbieri and Josh Rice
Manager Sonny Cassella, Ted Cahill, Stu Freeman, Chris Barbieri and Josh Rice taking a break from recording
Lead guitarist Ted Cahill and vocalist and guitarist Stu Freeman have filled in some details on the band:

Ted Cahill:

I was the lead guitar playing for The Magic Mushrooms. I am still in touch with Stu Freeman. and Joe Lacavera, the drummer.

The original bass and keyboard players were replaced, I think, in the Spring of 1966. Those guys were replaced by Chris Barbieri (bass) and Bon Grady (keyboards). They had both been in a band with Stu in Westchester County, NY before Stu came to Penn.

That summer we played the Jersey shore at a place called Tony Mart’s in Somers Point. We had a dispute with the owner later in the summer and quit. One of our lead singers had been sick and the guy docked us some money. Little did we know it was a mafia bar; our days of playing that part of the Jersey Shore was over. If you have ever seen the movie Eddie and the Cruisers, Tony Mart’s is the club where a lot of the action in the movie happens.

Chris Barbieri and Bob Grady of the Magic Mushrooms
Chris Barbieri and Bob Grady
We played a lot around Philly, the Hy Lit show on tv, some bars around the city and lots of frat parties at Penn. We also were supposedly in a movie the Andy Warhol shot at Penn’s Mask and Wig Theater in Center City Philly, whether that really happened I don’t know, but we were asked to play the party there and there was filming going on.

We saw no reward for the Nuggets appearance, all the money we made was from the gigs we played.

Stu Freeman:

I grew up in New Rochelle and presently live in White Plains. The band I had in high school was called the “Foremost” and later the “Fiendish Thingies”. The other members were Barbieri, Grady and a guitar player named Lloyd McCool. All from Pelham Manor.

Barbieri and Grady replaced Charlie Ingersol and Dick Richardson in the Mushrooms after about a year. After about another year, Cahill, Josh Rice and drummer Joe LaCavera were out and the Mushrooms was composed of myself, a guitar player named Steve Rundle, bassist Pete Gries (both from Penn) and a couple of different drummers from around Philly.

“It’s a Happening” was recorded in Sigma Sound studios on Broad Street in Philly, NOT in New York. Engineer was Joe Tarsia, who worked with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff on all those great “Philly sound” records (Harold Melvin, MFSB, Ojays, Archie Bell, Jerry Butler, Soul Survivors, etc.). Tarsia expanded and opened up a studio in NY after the huge success of the Philly studios.

 Stu Freeman of the Magic Mushrooms
Stu Freeman
Also, Allen Ginsberg did indeed provide the name “Magic Mushrooms” (he was speaking at a Penn function and Josh caught up with him and asked him for a suggestion). And, there was never any “David Rice” on guitar. BTW, Josh Rice is nephew of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Elmer Rice.

Q. Did you ever see much in the way of royalties from It’s a Happening?

We all received some royalties from the original sales (eons ago), but interesting you should ask that, because one of my erstwhile Penn roommates and current good friend asked me a while ago, after noting the success of the “Nuggets” albums, if any royalties had been received from them. I told him no and he suggested that I investigate, but I never did. I have no idea where Josh Rice is so I never contacted him about it either. Casella owned much of the original publishing so he may have received something from “Nuggets” but it’s also possible the publishing had expired and he got nada.

I got involved with “Stars On 45” in 1981 with my current partner Ed Garr and we still play regularly (everything from weddings to CBS News holiday parties to Vegas conventions).

Sonny Casella also helped produce the first record by The Snaps (later known as the Underground Balloon Corps) “You Don’t Want Me”/ “You’re All Mine”.

These Magic Mushrooms shouldn’t be confused with the California group the Magic Mushroom (singular) who recorded “I’m Gone” / “Cry Baby” on Warner Bros.

Photos from the collection of Ted Cahill.

 Chris Barbieri and Ted Cahill, with Stu Freeman in background
Chris Barbieri and Ted Cahill, with Stu Freeman in background

The Implicits


The Implicits, March 1965.
From left, bottom row: Tom Johnston, Beverly Chavez, Jack Love; top row Jerry Hull, Bob Daugherty (Duarte) and Ken Henard.

From Visalia, California come the Implicits. Both sides of their May ’65 release were written by Tom Johnston. “Give Me Justice” is a very catchy slice of garage pop, while “She’s Alright” is a good danceable song.

A&M label picked this up for a July of ’65 release on their Almo subsidiary. Johnston later went on to the Doobie Brothers.

Jerry Hull contacted me about the group:

I was the rhythm guitar for the Implicits at the time the record was recorded. The original Implicits were Tom Johnston, lead guitar and vocal, Jerry Hull, rhythm guitar and vocal, Jack Love, base guitar and vocal, Bobby Duarte, keyboard and vocal, and Kenny Henard, drums.

Our group met through a mutual friend from high school, who was a drummer. Tom Johnston, Jack Love, and Kenny Henard went to Mt. Whitney High School and I went to Redwood High School; the two schools were just a few blocks apart. We were all 14 or 15 years old at the time. Bobby Duarte was a friend of one of the guys and was older than the rest of the group. We played at private parties, and some of the high school after-game dances at Mt. Whitney. We played at events at Woodlake, Hanford, and a March of Dimes sponsored dance in Tulare, which was our largest event at the time. We later added a female singer, Beverly Chavez, to the group.

We were approached by Shelly Martin (who became our manager), about recording a record. We signed an agreement on March 31, 1965, and recorded in Hollywood. I left the group later that year, however, Tom, Jack and Kenny kept the group going for some time, before changing the name.

I still have a picture from the Visalia Times Delta newspaper when we were going to Hollywood to record. I currently live in Henderson, Nevada.

The Beckett Quintet

The Beckett Quintet photo
The Beckett Quintet, featured in KRLA Beat, October 16, 1965. L-R: Steve Nagle, Tommy Muncrief, Norm Reccius, Tim Taylor and Barry Dunkeson

A great 45 by the Beckett Quintet; the producers must have had high expectations, as hundreds of copies exist on the original Gemcor label and this was also picked up by A&M.

“No Correspondence” has been featured on plenty of compilations since its original release, but there was very little information out there on the Beckett Quintet.

Freddy Fortune sent me these clips from the amazing KRLA Beat newspaper site – a full page article on the guys! Now we know, the band consisted of:

Tommy Muncrief, vocals
Tim Taylor, guitar
Barry Dunkeson, guitar
Norm Reccius, bass guitar
Steve Nagle, drums

They were actually students at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, by the Texas border. Over a hundred miles northwest of Lubbock, it’s even further from Amarillo, Albuquerque or Santa Fe, but only fifteen minutes away from Clovis, where Norman Petty ran his studio. I wonder if they ever stepped foot in there.

Most of the article is about how the band saved to move to Hollywood, but, having been ripped off by a manager, they made the journey on a shoestring and half-starved while looking for a break. The subtitle is Cinderella Story, but the band disappeared soon after. What happened to them? What about the stacks of original material that the article talks about – any demos out there?

“No Correspondence” was written by Tim Taylor. The flip is a decent version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. Production was supervised by Nick Venet, a veteran producer with Capitol and Mira who worked with the Leaves, Lothar and the Hand People, and Mad River among others. This was the third and last release on Gemcor.

As a footnote, the article gives the band’s name spelled Becket 5 or Becket Quintet, but the record lists them as Beckett Quintet. It also spells the singer name as Tommy Munirief (I also had it as Tom Munifief) but I believe it should be Tommy Muncrief.

Beckett Quintet articleSteve Nagle wrote to me in November 2009:

I am Steve Nagle and played drums for the Becketts (formerly the Epics out of New Mexico).

The band originally came together as the Epics when we were all students at Eastern New Mexico University starting out playing fraternity and homecoming dances. Tim was a fantastic guitar player and we decided to start a band so I asked my Mom to send out my drums from Missouri – she sent the drum cases on the Santa Fe railroad and they arrived in Clovis, New Mexico at the start of my sophomore year. I had played professionally since I was 12 years old in my hometown of St. Joe with a rock and roll band called the Teen Kings and also worked in little jazz combos and Bill Geha’s Big Swing Band.

I read your remarks about Clovis and yes we got to be friends with the one and only Norman Petty and were in awe of his connections with Buddy Holly, the Fireballs and others. He took our band to lunch once after he had just returned from London and meeting the Beatles. We recorded in his studio and he helped us prepare some demos to take to California. Our other musical mentors were Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. They told us we were the next big group out of the Southwest. That’s when we began to lag in our college work and took the band seriously and began getting calls to play all over New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.

The most fun and spiritual times were playing the Indian proms and homecoming dances at various pueblos and little towns in New Mexico. We would drive around to band gigs in Barry’s Chevy Nova with a rickety trailer in tow. One night after playing the Zuni Indian Homecoming we stopped and got out of the Nova to admire the clear starry night and were enchanted by a very bright shooting star flashing a long trail cross the western sky. That moment was when we made a vow to go to California right after Spring semester and make our way in the music scene which as you know was at its zenith in those days.

Beckett Quintet Promotional Card
Promotional card sent with some copies of their Gemcor single, very rare now

We were working on a major album with A&M Records with Herb Alpert and Tommy LiPuma (following our Gemcor contract with Nick Venet) when I got my draft notice. I have some old masters.

We worked all around Southern CA but mainly the Sunset Strip and even fronted once for Dylan at a place called The Trip. We did see Bobby Fuller in California, shortly before he was murdered. We were invited to a Halloween party and Frank Zappa’s house. We saw the Lovin’ Spoonful, we played for Dick Clark, saw Big Brother and the Holding Company, Sonny and Cher, the Grassroots, et. al.

We even had a groupie who we were proud of, he had just spent time in New Mexico and returned wearing knee high moccasins, silver and turquoise jewelry, he wore a concho belt and sported long grey hair – his name was John Barrymore Jr. and he would come to our manager’s house often to listen and a few of our gigs then one day just disappeared.

After my draft notice from the Army in the Spring of ’65 the band got nervous and basically began to disperse and ended up traveling down separate roads.

After several years in government after my discharge from the Army, I went back to Hollywood and worked in a few films and TV shows and ran into Norm who was a practicing clinical psychologist, but we lost contact.

I have an occasional day dream about rounding up Tim, Barry, Norm and Tommy for a reunion and recording but they have all left only faint trails and I have not been able to make contact. I now play a lot of folk music with my Martin guitars and trying to learn the fiddle. I produced an album just last year featuring some of my original tunes, River Voices and Songs – it was a fund raiser for a local conservation organization. My drums are being used by a PhD student from Ghana at a Methodist church here in St. Louis.

The reason I’ll never forget our good year in Southern California is because we were such a close brotherhood and with that mix of Texas and New Mexican guitar work and vocals – we were unique and when we played we got goose bumps and felt deeply we had something special – if only for a brief shining moment.

Oh yes, by the way we were truly a garage band – our manager’s two car garage in Encino was where we rehearsed almost everyday.

Thanks to Steve for the information, hopefully we can hear the unreleased material someday.

After the Beckett Quintet split, Tommy Muncrief wrote and sang the title song for the feature movie “Didn’t You Hear”.