Category Archives: Era Records

Marty and the Monks “Mexican Party”

Marty and the Monks Associated Artists 45 Mexican Party

Herman’s Hermits “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1965, so a Hollywood studio owner rushed out a parody, “Mrs. Schwartz You’ve Got An Ugly Daughter” with the artist listed as Marty & the Monks. This version is on youtube if you want to subject yourself to it, but the real gold is the instrumental on flip, cut by a group that seems to have been totally unrelated to the musicians on the A-side.

“Mexican Party” is a rocking take-off on “Money” that sounds like it was actually recorded live in the studio. There are whoops, shouts, lots of string bending, a ridiculous horn blast. It has a lot in common with the Pacific Northwest sound like the Moguls “Avalanche”, the Jesters’ “Alki Point” or even Don & the Goodtimes version of “Money”.

Released on Associated Artists AA-3066, the song was retitled “Psychedelic City” when it came out as the flip to “Mrs. Schwartz” on Era Records 5037.

Marty & the Monks Era 45 Mexican Party
Jesse Hodges is credited as producer. Hodges owned Hollywood Sound Recorders and I believe he owned the Associated Artists label, which released about twenty 45s, including a couple of Hodges’ own singles. K. Young, G. Connor, and T. Reed have writer credits on “Mexican Party”, but none of their names appear on other Associated Artists releases as far as I can tell.

Both the Associated Artists 45 and the Era release have ∆-57190 in the deadwax, which dates the stampers for both 45s to June of 1965. I assume the Associated Artists was the original release. I have no idea when this “Golden Era Series” came out but 1967 wouldn’t be a bad guess, given the new, topical title.

My fellow WGXC deejay Jillian found a possible source for the band name in the obscure Marty the Monk cartoons of the 1930s.

Marty & the Monks Era 45 Mrs Brown You Got An Ugly Daughter

The Colony, Platter Records, Chiyo & the Crescents

The Colony, Platter Records 45, All I Want

The Colony, Platter Records 45, Things On My MindIn April of 1967 a band called The Colony released their only single, the wild “All I Want” b/w a great song called “Things On My Mind” on Platter Records P-105. The two make for an interesting contrast: one is hard-edged r&b with a desperate-sounding vocal, the other a much more polished production that includes string arrangements but keeps its drive.

Both songs were written by Mike Foley and Bill Eucker for Worlday-Jenks BMI.

Platter Records: a redundant name wouldn’t you say? Platter was located at 34 San Clemente St, in Ventura, California.

Warren Patients and the Cobras playing in Hazleton, PA, Feb. 25, 1967
Warren Patients and the Cobras playing in Hazleton, PA, Feb. 25, 1967

The Platter Records discography looks like this (any additions would be appreciated):

Platter 1001: Homer Lee – “Pedernales River” (Bert Peck) / “I’ve Got Some Crying To Do” (June 1966)
Platter 1002: The Cobras featuring Warren Patience – “It’s a Lie” (Michael Walker) Worlday-Jenks BMI / “Thoughts of You (Are Wrecking Me)” Sept. 1966
Platter 1003: Morrie Hamilton “Wimoweh” / “Pickin’ and Grin’in” (Morrie Hamilton – Chas. Wright for Worlday-Proctor BMI) (produced by Joe Bill D’Angelo)
Platter 1004: The Two of Us (Bill & Dorice) “You’ll Love Me” (Richie Carpenter, Lightup Music BMI.) / “Piki Teepee” (no artist listed)
Platter 1005 – The Colony – “All I Want” / “Things On My Mind” (Mike Foley and Bill Eucker) April 1967

Burt Peck, Homer Lee, Platter Records Billboard, June 18, 1966
Billboard mentions Burt Peck and Homer Lee’s Platter release, Billboard, June 18, 1966

The Cobras came from Kingston, Pennsylvania, west of Scranton. I have no idea how they came to be on Platter Records, but their 45 is a rare and classic garage single. The label for the Cobras reads “featuring Warren Patience” but an ad I found in a central PA newspaper puts his name as Warren Patients.

Homer Lee worked with a song writer out of Dallas, Texas. Morrie Hamilton worked in various locations including Denver. The Two of Us (Bill McClure and Dorice Vance) worked around Anaheim and Santa Ana in Orange County.

With the widespread origins of these artists, the Colony may have been the only act on the label actually from the Ventura area.

Chiyo Platter Records 45 Piki Teepee
Platter Records reissue of “Piki Teepee”, originally the b-side of the Sundancers Breakout 45 “Devil Surf”
Bill Eucker produced and arranged both sides of the Colony single. His full name is William Herschel Eucker. I have no other clue as to who performed on the Colony single, or if they were even a real band outside the session for these two songs. Bill Eucker’s name connects Platter Records with an earlier label from the Oxnard area, Break Out Records.

One odd thing about this discography is the B-side to the Two of Us single, credited only by its title “Piki Teepee”. This instrumental had original release two years earlier as the flip to the Sundancers’ Break Out Records single, “Devil Surf”. Who were the Sundancers? They were Chiyo & the Crescents by another name.

Chiyo & the Crescents and Break Out Records

Chiyo and the Crescents Break Out Records 45 Devil SurfThe best info on Chiyo comes from the article and comments section of Office Naps’ post Everybody Wipe Out Now, which I’ll summarize here, though I can’t attest to the veracity of all this information.

Chiyo was supposedly of Hopi Indian descent, originally named Chizomana. In the 1940s Chiyo went to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln to study music. She married an engineer by the name of Fred Ishii who worked at Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station in Oxnard. She began giving lessons in various instruments at her home, but by the early ’60s she opened up her shop, Chiyo’s Guitars and Drums, on Saviers Road in Oxnard where she continued teaching, notably flamenco-style guitar.

Around 1962 or 1963, Chiyo formed a band called the Crescents:

Kresents Break Out 45 Maple SyrupChiyo Ishii – lead guitar
Thom Bresh – rhythm guitar
Tom Mitchell – bass
Ray Reed – sax
Bob Ross – drums

Thom Bresh is Merle Travis’s son. He would have been about 15 or 16 at the time of these recordings. Bresh was taking lessons at Ernie Ball’s store in Thousand Oaks, where Bill Eucker was teaching. Eucker wrote an instrumental he called “Pink Dominos”, which would become the first of three singles by the Crescents on Break Out Records. Oddly each of the three releases has a different artist name, even though all are by Chiyo & the Crescents.

The only single on Breakout not by Chiyo and the Crescents was by the Dar Vons: “Hot Pepperoni” (obviously trying to cash in on the Dartells “Hot Pastrami”) b/w “Bowling Alley Baby”. The Dar Vons or Darvons included Dave Bowers and previously were known as the Surftones – but I don’t believe this is the same Surftones that backed Dave Myers, that band included Johnny Curtis, Ed Quarry, Dennis Merritt, Seaton Blanco, and Bob Colwell.

Break Out Records discography

Break Out BBM-3/4 – Chiyo & the Crescents – “Pink Dominos” (Bill Eucker) / “Devil Surf” (Chiyo) (Sept. or October 1963)
Break Out 105-A/106-B – Kresents – “Purple Checkers” (Bill Eucker, Dimondaire Music BMI) / “Maple Syrup” (Chiyo) (February, 1964)
Break Out 107-AA/108 – Dar Vons – “Hot Pepperoni” (Steve Middleton, B. Peeler) / “Bowling Alley Baby” (Waldemar Mennigen – Jerry Jaye) produced by Moraga- B. Moon
Break Out 111 – The Sundancers – “Devil Surf” / “Piki Teepee” (both by Chiyo)

I could use good scans of the Sundancers single if anyone has it. Also would definitely like to hear the Dar Vons, and would like to purchase a copy of any of the Break Out singles.

Break Out was at least partly owned by Harold Moraga. Moraga also owned part of Dimondaire Music BMI, which published all the songs on Break Out.

The Crescents featuring Chiyo Era 45 Pink Dominos
The Crescents featuring Chiyo, Era 45 “Pink Dominos” – written by Bill Eucker
Kim Fowley bought the master for “Pink Dominos” and placed it with Era Records for a wider release, reaching  #95 in Billboard on December 28, 1963 and reportedly climbing as high as #69 in early 1964. I read Ghoulardi used it on his show so it became an in-demand in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Fowley controlled half the publishing for both sides through Room Seven Music, BMI. The flip side “Breakout” is credited to Moon and Moraga and even though Chiyo’s name is on the label, this sounds like a different group using a cheap organ sound.

Kresents Break Out 45 Purple CheckersDespite the success of the single, the two follow ups on Break Out were recorded under different band names. The Kresents single features a song Bill Eucker wrote called “Purple Checkers”, while the band remade “Devil Surf” with saxophone under a new title, “Maple Syrup”. As the Sundancers, they do yet another version of “Devil Surf” with “Pink Teepee” on the flip. BMI shows he wrote a song called “Torment” during this period, which seems to have gone unrecorded.

I wonder what Bill Eucker was doing in the two or three years between writing for the Crescents and recording the Colony single. It’s also a mystery how “Pink Teepee” shows up on the flip to the Two of Us single, as there doesn’t seem to be any overlap in publishing or production between the Break Out and Platter labels.

I find no more credits for Bill Eucker until 1972, when he turns up playing guitar on the John Henry Kurtz LP Reunion on ABC Records. That record that contains the original version of “Drift Away”, a later version of which continues to be heard in supermarkets across the country.

Thank you to Dick Blackburn for adding the Dar Vons to the Break Out discography. Thank you to Chuck Keever for the scans of the Kresents single and suggestions about the order of release.

The Crescents featuring Chiyo Era 45 Breakout
“Breakout” – credited to the Crescents, but sounding like another group altogether.

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"