Category Archives: Impression

The Current Records label

In 1964, John Fisher was president of Crusader Records, where he produced a sizeable hit, Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion”, the second release on the label, as well as a 45 by Johnny Fortune. A notice in Billboard on August 15, 1964 announced that Fisher departed Crusader suddenly, to be replaced by Harry Maselow.

The notice doesn’t say why Fisher left or his next plans, but within short order his name appears on the Current label, which I’ve read he owned. His name is on almost every Current single as producer.

Bob Moline’s “Forbidden” saw release on the Imperial label in September of ’64, but I’ve read a Current label version of it exists. If so, I’ve yet to see a copy – if anyone has it please send a good quality scan in.

Johnny Fortune (John Sudetta) was a fine guitarist with a number of surf recordings prior to his Current singles, first on Emmy Records out of Paul Buff’s Pal Studios in Cucamonga
(same label for Johnny Fisher’s own 45, “Tell Me Yes” / “Dream Tonight”). Johnny Fortune’s biggest was “Soul Surfer” on Park Ave Records, also produced by Fisher.

Johnny had three 45’s on Current. I’ve heard both sides of the first, the light pop songs “Say You Will” / “Come On and Love Me”. Better is the top side of Current 104, “Don Stole My Girl”. I haven’t heard the flip to that or his third 45, “I Am Lonely For You” / “I’ll Never Let You Go”.

Two other singers represented on the label include Carl Otis, who has what I believe is a soul 45, “Let It Be Me” / “Never Take Away My Love”, and Bobby Jameson, whose “All Alone” is a fine Stones-y r&b with harmonica, backed with the poppier “Your Sweet Lovin'” came out in early ’65, after his Talamo singles.

The Avengers were from Bakersfield, and are best known for their 45 on the Starburst label, “Be a Caveman”. Both sides of their Current 45 are also excellent, “Open Your Eyes” / “It’s Hard to Hide”. You can read the full story of the Avengers at Flower Bomb Songs.

I’m not sure how the Five of Us, a group from Tucson, Arizona wound up on a California label. For more on that band see the separate entry here.

The Tongues of Truth were really known as the Grodes and also came from Tucson. Manny Freiser of the Grodes had long-standing connections in L.A., first with Jerry Kasenetz who produced his first recording, “I Won’t Be There”. Kasenetz’s roommate Jerry Bruckheimer brought in a the Hustlers to work with Manny and they became the Grodes. Though the band made Tucson their base for live shows, they made further L.A. connections including the disc promoter Mike Borchetta, actor Cass Martin and KRLA DJ Emperor Bob Hudson.

Emperor Hudson had his own 45 on Current, also released on RPR records, the very demented “I’m Normal” (“I fill my bathtub with strawberry jam, and feed my squirrels sugar-cured ham and I spread rumors that Stalin is dead, has to do with wearing a sheepskin when he died in bed … made that up!”), The Emperor’s Friend may be Ron Landry.

For an interesting look at Bob Hudson check out George Lucas’ student film The Emperor:

The Tongues of Truth is of course, the Grodes, and “Let’s Talk About Girls” was the original version of the song later covered by the Chocolate Watchband. The Grodes fired their manager Dan Gates for changing their band name for the single. To add to John Fisher’s connection with the Impression label, the Grodes also issued a 45 on Impression, “What They Say About Love” / “Have Your Cake And Eat It Too” (anyone have a good scan of that 45?).

Current Records 45 discography (any help to make this complete would be appreciated)

Current 100 – Bob Moline “Forbidden” / “If I Were An Artist” (need a scan for this one, either side)
Current 101 – Johnny Fortune “Say You Will” / “Come On and Love Me”
Current 102 – Carl Otis “Let It Be Me” (E. James, Carl Otis for Lightswitch-Jinco BMI) / “Never Take Away My Love” C-1115 prod John Fisher
Current 103 – Bobby Jameson “All Alone” / “Your Sweet Lovin'” (Monarch press #54578/9, Oct. ’64)
Current 104 – Johnny Fortune “Don Stole My Girl” (J. Sudetta, Lightswitch/Algrace BMI) / “You Want Me to Be Your Baby” prod. J. Fisher (Feb. 1965)
Current 105 – Johnny Fortune “I Am Lonely For You” / “I’ll Never Let You Go”
Current 106 – ?
Current 107 – ?
Current 108 – ?
Current 109 – Avengers “Open Your Eyes” (G. Blake) / “It’s Hard to Hide” (G. Likens) both songs Lightswitch Music BMI, prod. by J. Fisher, distributed by Periphery Prods., Inc
Current 110 – Five of Us “Hey You” (L. Hucherson) / “Need Me Like I Need You” (July ’66)
Current 111 – The Emperor “I’m Normal” (Bob Hudson) / The Emperor’s Friends “The Crossing Game” (E. Mackinon), prod. by Fisher
Current 112 – The Tongues of Truth “Let’s Talk About Girls” / “You Can’t Come Back” both by Manny Freiser for Lightswitch Music BMI (prod by John Fisher, May 1966)

This is not to be confused with the Current label out of Nashville in the ’70s.

John Fisher may have also owned the Rally label – I’d like to know more about this, if true. It seems he went back into promotions, as a John Fisher was working for Atlantic Records in the early ’70s.

Johnny Fortune Current 45 Don Stole My GirlEmperor Current 45 I'm Normal

The Sloths


Early photo of the Sloths, from left: Hank Daniels, Michael Rummans, Jeff Briskin, Steve Dibner and Sam Kamarass
Hank Daniels – vocals
Michael Rummans – rhythm guitar
Jeff Briskin – lead guitar
Don Silverman – lead guitar
Steve Dibner – bass
Mick Galper – bass
Sam Kamarass – drums

Recorded by actual Neanderthals in their cave studio. OK, I’m exaggerating, but that’s the image the Sloths’ “Makin’ Love” brings to mind. The sliding guitar rhythm doesn’t really mesh with the other guitar part. The production is so muddled the drummer’s Bo Diddley beat on the toms produces a constant hum that drowns out most of the bass notes. The sound is a turgid, dense r&b, like the Stones’ take on “Not Fade Away” turned inside-out. Hank Daniels shouts his lyrics in a hoarse, slobbering voice: “I wanna be with you all night, makin’ love, good good good lovin’ baby, makin’ love”!

This was not commercial music, but Impression’s owners actually had another group re-record “Makin’ Love” in the hopes of a hit the second time around. Long before I’d heard the Sloths, I knew this song from the version by the Dirty Shames, cut a year later, also for Impression. The Shames’ singer doesn’t have Hank Daniels’ wild incoherence, but the band actually plays together and in tune. Both releases credit Hank with song writing, and publishing listed with Vendo (BMI) on the Sloths and Vendo-Ramhorn (BMI) on the Dirty Shames.

Marty Wons of the Dirty Shames told me there was no connection between his band and the Sloths, and Michael Rummans of the Sloths confirmed this: “I was the rhythm guitarist for the Sloths. Your information is correct – no shared members between Sloths and Dirty Shames.”

The flip, “You Mean Everything to Me” is much tamer but also very good, with twelve string guitar, accomplished playing and clear production. (Thank you to Mike D. and Freddy Fortune for sending clips of this in). It’s another original by Hank Daniels.

This was the first rock release on Al and Sonny Jones’ Impression label, just before they relaunched it with a new design (there had been two or three soul singles before the Sloths). It’s a rare 45 now, with one copy recently selling for over $2,200, and that was without the even rarer picture sleeve!



Sloths logo on drumhead hand painted by Hank Daniels

Mick Galper on Gibson EB3 bass

Sleeve to their Impression single, with original lineup of the Sloths
From left: Michael Rummans, Hank Daniels, Steve Dibner, Sam Kamarass and Jeff Briskin
Michael Rummans wrote the following account of the band, aided by Steve Dibner’s recollections:

This was my first band and, like many other firsts, has its orgins among my high school friends & associates. I attended Beverly Hills High School, ’62 to ’66. During that time, there were many creative individuals including Richard Dreyfuss, Albert Brooks and Michael Lloyd who contributed to an atmosphere of artistic creativity. I first started practicing with Jeff Briskin, a surfer and guitarist. Fun for awhile, but I wanted more – a full band.

I saw my chance when I met Hank Daniels, a transfer student who was attracting a lot of attention. Hair too long, often barefoot with a 12 string Gibson acoustic strapped on his back, he was drawing a lot of attention, both good & bad (there were a lot of preppie types). We started hangin’ out, both of us now hiding from the boy’s Vice Principal and sharing a common interest in music. Soon we decided to start a band, and it wasn’t long before we found Steve Dibner to play bass and Sam Kamarass for drums. We found our name in an American history textbook from a 19th century political cartoon (as did another BHHS band, The Mugwumps).

Once the band was formed, the next step was to learn songs and find somewhere to perform them. Even though the Sloths were by all definitions a garage band, we avoided that actual type of structure when one of Dibner’s parents foolishly agreed to let us rehearse in their living room. We also rehearsed in Hank’s pool house, grudgingly tolerated by his parents. Joking aside I must point out that the band was able to gain invaluble early momentum because most of our families supported and contributed to our effort (most, not all).


Michael Rummans with his first Gibson, Hank Daniels with Electro Voice microphone


Sam Kamarass on drums
Smaller b&w photos originally taken by Julie Olen


Early photo of the Sloths, from left: Hank Daniels, Jeff Briskin, Steve Dibner, Michael Rummans and Sam Kamarass

What we needed next was material. Hank had some backround in acoustic folk music; me and Jeff with surf music but, just like most of the kids of that time, we were all enamored with the music of the British invasion. One of the things that distinguished our group from many others was a realization that we had to develop originality to have success.

This was largely because of a chance meeting I had had with James Brown backstage at the TAMI show. I was with my dad, and when we met JB, he told him I was getting in to music & wanted to know if he had any advice. James said, “Don’t take any lessons, develop your own style – otherwise you’ll never be more than second rate”. That has stayed with me my whole life. So, instead of learning a set of cover songs, we would go to Wallach’s Music City on Sunset & Vine and spend hours in the listening booths looking for songs to cover that no one else was doing, and arrange them in our own style. One of my favorites was “Messin’ With The Kid” by Junior Wells (just stumbled on to it).

Hank also wrote originals, as exemplified by the record. Having an artistic backround, he designed the logo as well (you can see it on Sam’s bass drum).


Wallach’s Music City

Michael Rummans at Pandora’s Box, 16 years old!

Bandmaster amp stood on side, Vox style

The Clubs

Don’t misunderstand me, playing for our friend’s pool parties was fun, but we wanted more. There was the Teenage Fair at the Palladium and all those cool clubs on the Sunset Strip. To this day it amazes me that we got hired – not that we wern’t entertaining, but we were all so obviously underage. The thing is, nobody had told us how impossible it would be, so we were undeterred.

One of the first venues we performed at was called Stratford on Sunset (now the House of Blues). The owner was Jerry Lambert and his nephew’s group, The East Side Kids, was the house band. At that time, they had another name, the Sound of the Seventh Son, I think (no wonder they changed it). They were older, very professional and served as mentors to us. Despite our lack of experience, I think Jerry must of liked our youthful enthusiasm and originality. Anyway, Stratford was great while it lasted (I also got picked up for the first time there). And it was Jerry Lambert again who got me the audition for the Yellow Payges a year later – small world.

Other Strip clubs we played at: The Sea Witch, Pandora’s Box, Hullabaloo – but more about that later …


Michael Rummans, Hank Daniels and Don Silverman
Michael will be adding more about the band at a later date. He left the Sloths and joined the Yellow Payges for a time in 1968. In the ’70s he played with the Hollywood Stars and then the King Bees, among other groups.Michael kindly responded to some of my questions about the Sloths and their record:

Q. How did the record on Impression happen? Did the label sign the band?

We were approached by the brothers at one of our shows. At first I thought they were kidding. I don’t remember signing an official recording contract, but I’m pretty sure we signed an agreement. I do remember them bringing in a copyist to write down lyrics and melody.

Q. Do you remember specifics of the recording session?

Regarding the actual session, I remember the studio quite well. It was an old-fashioned large room, similar to the one used in “The Buddy Holly Story”. It was located on E. Sunset Blvd near Western. The brothers let us do pretty much what they heard on stage, with one exception. One of them suggested the repeating high E on the guitar near the end of the song. I asked why, and he refered to it as a “sensation note”. He was right – it works.


Hank Daniels with Don Silverman (?) to his left

October Country with Sloths graffiti in the background – is this CBS studios at Columbia Square?
Q. I was watching a film on October Country in a studio in ’67, and noticed graffiti: “Sloths” and “Jeff”. The studio may have belonged to CBS Records at Sunset and Gower in Hollywood, California.

I see my name below Jeff’s as well. It may well be the one we recorded the single in.

Q. Did the label do any promotion for the record?

I don’t remember much promotion, other than what we did ourselves. One thing we accomplished was getting it played on KRLA and KFWB, just by having our friends call the station a lot. Some of us even went to KFWB on Argyle & Selma and banged on the door!

As for the record, I only know of three copies; mine, Steve Dibner’s (original bass player) and my sister’s (which she gave to Hank’s son). Jeff Briskin had a box of 100 records in his garage and threw them out a few years ago. However, he’s going to check and see if he can find any other memorabilia-pics, articles, etc. I must have given away most of mine for promotional purposes, which is what they were intended for. We’re going to collaborate and finish the story I started, so I’ll be able to give you more info on Impression and the recording.

Q. Any chance of a Kingbees reunion?

The Kingbees still get together and perform from time to time, but Jamie doesn’t want to hustle gigs any more. Maybe we can find an agent in the future, because the band still sounds great. Unlike the Sloths, I still have a large supply of Kingbees memorabilia.


Don Silverman on Gretsch Country Gentleman, Mick Galper on bass

Friends of the Sloths, the East Side Kids
from left: Joe Madrid, Jimmy Greenspoon, Dennis Lambert, Dave Doud,
Mike Doud and Danny Belsky

Below, photos of the Sloths playing Hollywood au Go Go, October 28, 2011
This was their 3rd show since reuniting.




Photos taken by Angel Jason Peralta. Thanks to Elva for sending the photos in.

The Mark V / C-Minors / Intercoms / Peppermint Trolley Company

I wrote about the Impression label back in 2006, but at the time I didn’t know the full story behind the Intercoms record, and had not yet heard the Mark Five or C-Minors 45s. As it turns out, the Mark V of Redlands, California was responsible for all three of these releases, and a few members also backed Jimmy Robins (aka Jimmy Robbins) on his soul classic, “I Just Can’t Please You”.

The Intercoms’ “Unabridged, Unadulterated, Unextraordinary, Ordinary, Mediocre Unoriginality Blues” (Impression 107) is a cynical parody of protest songs, and one of my favorite Dylan send-ups. Opening verse: “Well I sit right down to write myself a protest song/and I try to think about something particularly wrong/but I couldn’t think of nothing that hadn’t already been said/ I couldn’t get the Siamese cats out of my head.” It was written by Danny Faragher of the Mark Five and M. Fouch. The flipside, Please Try And Understand was written by Dave Kelliher.

I asked guitarist and vocalist Dave Roberts (Dave Kelliher) of the Mark V about the band:

The Mark V (Redlands, CA) was basically a dance combo (piano, drums, bass, trombone, sax, and trumpet) but we dabbled in guitars, harmonicas, and tambourines. The Mark V band members were:

Brad Madson (piano)
Steve Hauser (sax, clarinet, flute, vocals)
Dick Owens (drums)
Danny Faragher (trombone, harmonica, vocals)
Jimmy Faragher (bass, guitar, vocals)
Dave Kelliher (aka Dave Roberts) (trumpet, guitar, vocals)

We had recorded an instrumental at Universal Studios at 5539 Sunset Blvd. in 1964. Instrumentals (particularly surf tunes) were hot. But also you had songs like Wonderland By Night, Midnight in Moscow, The Lonely Bull, The Theme from Mondo Cane, and all of that Al Hirt and Tijuana Brass stuff on the charts in the early 60’s (a lot of trumpet solos there…). Also, novelty songs were big (“No Matter What Shape Your Stomach’s In” from the Alka Seltzer commercial).

Well, there was a fairly new corn chip on the market called Wampums so…we came up with this little gem on our own…and believe or not, it was a big hit at dances and proms…girls in huge prom dresses, dancing like Indians and doin’ the Wampum battle cry…it wasn’t pretty. And Steve Hauser was one helluva saxophonist, as you can hear. Steve, by the way, was the leader of the band and probably has more (and perhaps more accurate) accounts of all of this.

The Mark V – Wampum (Universal Studios demo)

We went back a year later to get our masters but Universal was out of business, replaced by Impression Records. We had some other demos we were shopping around on our own–recorded at Wm. Locy Sound Studio in Riverside, CA. in 1964. No producer, just us and whatever studio time a hundred bucks would buy.

The Mark V – I’m Through with You (Locy demo)

Now, to my ear, it’s got more “soul” to it [than the remake on Impression], as rough as it is. Brad Madson’s piano work is really featured here, with a kind of haunting Gerry & The Pacemakers sound. (Okay, and I like my trumpet solo better.)

We were greeted by Sonny and Al Jones who want to hear our stuff. In no time we signed with Impression and cranked out a couple of things under Mark V, the one record as Intercoms, and another under the C-Minors. But it was the same six guys. It was heady…I was the youngest at 15 and the oldest was 17. Al and Sonny were country guys…Dorsey Burnette used to hang around there all the time.

Al and Sonny needed something quick and probably had a narrow window in which to work with John Fisher, who was riding high with “Suspicion” by Terry Stafford. (Fisher loved to tell the story of how they got that strange sound in “Suspicion” …they put a paper bag over a the organ’s Leslie speaker.) And you can’t underestimate how the British Invasion really fired up the band scene in L.A.

So, they threw all against the wall to see what would stick. We did hear “I’m Through With You” on local radio (KMEN, San Bernardino; KASK, Pomona) and it apparently got a little action in various small markets around the country. I don’t think the other stuff modulated many transmitters out there. They all came out at the same time.

By the way, we hated those other names but we figured they knew what they were doing.

The Mark Five’s first Impression release [is] “I’m Through With You”. They brought in a session guitarist for this and it was either James Burton or Jerry McGee. Both were on one of our recordings and I’m pretty sure it was the former. You could probably tell by listening…at 15 I had no idea I was in the presence of a phenom. Even though I didn’t get to play guitar on it, that is me on the trumpet.

The flip side – “I’ll Keep On Trying”. Again, I’m pretty sure this is Jerry McGee on guitar (think Rita Coolidge riffs). By the way, both were produced by Al Jones, Sonny Jones, and John Fisher.

A Mark Five record released as the C-Minors – “Just A Little Feeling,” / “Don’t Go” Impression 106. That is me on guitar and of course, trumpet, back up vocals, nail biting, etc.


l-r: Dick, Steve, Brad, Dave, Danny & Jimmy


The Intercoms

I wrote “Please Try and Understand” (okay, so my English was bad…not as bad as my singing or guitar work for that matter), the song on the flip side of “Unabridged, un…” I also sing lead and lead guitar. I owned only one copy of it (I was 17) and it warped (and subsequently cracked) in my car trunk.

Three of us did play on “I Just Can’t Please You” by Jimmy Robins: Dick Owens (drums), Danny Faragher (trombone), Dave Kelliher (trumpet). Jimmy Robins is on keyboards and that string-stretching is Sonny Jones on guitar. It was originally on the Impression label.

We left Impression in 1966 to be managed by Dan Dalton (Back Porch Majority). He changed our name to Peppermint Trolley Company (did somebody say 1910 Fruitgum Company?), got us a gig at Disneyland, put us in red-striped pants, blue blazers, and red ties.


“About a month into our new name on a big photo shoot at Knott’s Berry Farm. These handsome lads are (l-r): Danny Faragher, Dave Kelliher (Roberts), Brad Madson, Dick Owens, Jimmy Faragher, Steve Hauser.”

We signed with Valiant, recorded at Moonglow studios, and did get some serious airplay with “Lollipop Train” (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri; Grassroots had done it on one of their albums) in September of 1966.

“Bored to Tears” – written and sung by Jimmy Faragher; we got the chance to go back to our Dixieland roots. It actually had some relevancy given the popularity of “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers about a year before. Buzz Clifford (“Baby Sittin’ Boogie” from the early 60’s) also released this song in about 1967 (he was a Dan Dalton act). We were wildly received with songs like this at Disneyland…a Mickey Mouse gig, but it was Union scale.

Back to “Lollipop Train” … Dan couldn’t get the kick drum sound he wanted at the beginning of each verse so Dick Ownes (drummer) overdubbed the beating of the kick drum case with a tympani stick.

Considering that this was just months after the stuff we recorded at Impression, I think this really does speak to Dan Dalton’s talents as a producer. Valiant Records’ biggest star was The Association, they played right behind us — literally across the alley — at Disneyland that year. We were in the Carnation Pavilion and they were starring in the Pepsi Theatre in FrontierLand.

We disbanded in early 1967. Our break-up was very gentlemanly. We had been playing together since the 8th grade and now we were freshmen and sophomores in college…all at different colleges. We all needed to stay in college or be drafted. Lollipop Train didn’t “pop” (Valiant was purchased by Warner Bros. and phased out; they really only wanted the Association).

I was the one who started it, leaving the band to go off to be a disc jockey. The others decided that their interests, strengths, and weaknesses all differed and they decided to disband. As noted earlier, Danny and Jimmy Faragher took the Peppermint Trolley Company forward with a lot more fame with two other guys we all knew from Junior High/High School. Both good guys and very talented. Danny & Jimmy then formed the Faragher Brothers with two other family members. Very talented family … little brother Davey Faragher is bassist for Elvis Costello.

Now, as I understand it, but grist for revision: Steve actually worked the rest of his way through college and law school playing with bands in Vegas. Brad graduated from the prestigious University of North Dallas School of Music and is a professor of music (jazz) at Jefferson College in Jefferson, MO. Dick went on to become an executive at Broadway Department Stores. I stayed in radio, earned a PhD in Communication, was a VP at RKO Networks and CBS Radio, and became a research consultant. I still have a guitar, drums, trumpet, and my voiceover studio (and this big smash hit in my own mind and about 15,000 “internet hits”: “Armadillos In Mourning” (A parody of Amarillo By Morning by George Strait, written by Terry Stafford).

It’s hard to believe that 40 years later it is this much fun!

– Dave Roberts, February 2008

In August of 2009 Danny Faragher wrote to Garage Hangover:

Here’s a bit more information concerning my song, “The Unabridged, Unadulterated….Unoriginality Blues”. We had recorded “I’m Through With You”/”I’ll Keep On Trying” in August of 1965. In September, I started attending San Bernardino Valley College as a music major (One of my classmates was Jimmy Webb). It was hard for me to focus on my studies. All I could think about was making rock and roll records. A couple of weeks into school, I sat down at the piano in the commons, and performed Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” to a packed room of lunch eaters. I sang every verse with all the inflections, and got a rousing applause, which of course I dug completely. In fact, I wanted more, and I wanted it SOON!

A couple nights later I got the idea for a song which would kind of riff off the “Dylan protest thing”. My good friend Michael Fouch sat next to me as I composed the tune, acting as a sounding board and cheering squad (I don’t think I’d have written it without his being there. Hence the writer credit). The next day I performed the song for the lunchtime crowd. Of course, as people didn’t know the tune, they didn’t respond with the same enthusiasm, but a lot of the students dug it. At the next band rehearsal, we worked it up. In February of 1966, I believe, we recorded it for Impression. Incidentally, I have just recently reconnected with Michael after thirty plus years.

Another bit of information… My brother, Jimmy, and I are going to attend a reunion party for the Inland Empire bands of the Sixties on August 29th. It should be interesting.

The six Impression sides have now been included as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the Peppermint Trolley Company’s 1968 album, entitled “Beautiful Sun”. The CD is selling well.

I have a website up (www.dannyfaragher.com) up with bios of all the bands I was in, including the Mark Five. The bio fleshes out the story even more.

 

Thanks to Mop Top Mike for mp3 of the Intercoms ‘Please Try and Understand’, and special thanks to Dave Roberts for his history of the band and mp3s of their songs. Dave has his own voiceover business, www.DaveRobertsVoiceover.com. Also thanks to Danny Faragher for adding more to the story – check out his site, www.dannyfaragher.com/markv as there’s a lot more information there.

The Dillons

Here’s a 45 on the Impression label that I didn’t know about until finding it last week. It also happens to be the label’s first release on their revamped, yellow Impression label. I’m not sure who the Dillons were, but this 45 was written and produced by Dorsey Burnette.

Along with his younger brother Johnny Burnette and Paul Burlison, Dorsey was one of the Rock and Roll Trio, whose songs include the fuzzed-up version of “Train Kept a Rollin'” that the Yardbirds would cover.

“Simple Way of Living” is a truly fantastic garage tune, contemporary to the times musically, if not lyrically. The flip, “Night Winds”, is out of an earlier era, and was written by Burnette and Joe Osborn, bass player for Ricky Nelson.

I’d love to know the story behind this single! Freddy pointed out the clip from Shivaree, which shows the band as a duo backed by (according to a comment on the video) the Challengers:

More on the Impression label here..

Impression Records discography

The Sloths Impression PS Makin' Love / You Mean Everything

I planned an entry on the Dirty Shames for their great “It’s A Shame” 45, but when I discovered the flip side, “Makin’ Love”, was a cover of an earlier 45 on the same label by the Sloths, I thought I may as well feature whatever I can find out about Impression. It turns out there were a good number of fine 45s on this Hollywood, California label run by two brothers, Al and Sonny Jones.

There were two sets of Impression releases, a first on a blue label with plain logo, and the second on yellow labels with the new, somewhat psychedelic Impression logo.

The Sloths Impression 45 Makin' LoveOn the blue label is the Sloths’ song “Makin’ Love”, which was covered by the Dirty Shames a year later. The Sloth’s version is far cruder, but both are fine perfomances. The Dirty Shames label gives writing credit to Hank Daniels. I had heard a rumor that the two bands shared some members, but Marty Wons from the Dirty Shames says this isn’t true. The Sloths record happens to be by far the rarest garage 45 on this label.

Update June 2011: I’ve included more on the Sloths on a separate page.

Of the releases on the yellow Impression label, first was a release by the Dillons, produced by Dorsey Burnette. See the Dillons’ entry for more on this release.

Next up is one that I hadn’t heard until recently. The Mark Five of San Bernadino featured brothers Danny and Jimmie Faragher, who released “I’m Through With You” b/w “I’Il Keep On Trying” on Impression 102 in 1965 before they went on to form the Peppermint Trolley Co. The Mark Five also recorded as the Intercoms and the C-Minors for Impression, as well as helping back Jimmy Robins on his great soul song, “I Just Can’t Please You”. See their entry for the full story on all four of these Impression releases.

The Tangents have the distinction of releasing two 45s on Impression, “Good Times” / “Till I Came Along” (Impression 105) in 1965, and “Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?” / “Stand By Me” (Impression 111) a year later. “Good Times” starts off like Heat Wave then gets very pop sounding. Their version of “Hey Joe” is one of the best. Like many 45s on this label it was arranged and engineered by Al Jones. Members were: Jim Janesick (Jim Janesich?) lead guitar, Bob Shelton rhythm guitar & lead vocals, Terry Topolski bass guitar and Warren Brodie drums.

Lonnie & the Legends backing Doye O'Dell
Lonnie & the Legends backing Doye O’Dell

Lonnie & the Legends Impression 45 I CriedLonnie and The Legends recorded one of my very favorite songs on this label. “I Cried”/ “Baby Without You” (Impression 109) was released in Mar. 1966. Lonnie Grah’s niece Becky Lynn Ray sent me some photos of Lonnie and info about Lonnie & the Legends. The band was from Sylmar, California, near San Fernando. It may surprise the listener that they were actually more of a country & western band, performing on bills with many big names like Doye O’Dell, Joe and Rose Maphis and Lefty Frizzell, and were friends with early rock ‘n roll performers like Ritchie Valens and the Rivingtons of “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” fame.

Songwriting credits are George and Lonnie Grah, but Becky tells me “I Cried” was actually written by Lonnie and her mother, Nancy Grah, who was also in the group along with Donna Grah. Other musicians included Kenny Ray on bass and Gene Gunnels on drums, who was in Thee Sixpence just before they became Strawberry Alarm Clock, and then joined Hunger. (See SAC’s website.)

Lonnie & the Legends had other 45s:

Rev 1006: Lonnie & the Legends – “Penguin Walk” / “Crazy Penguin” (George Grah, Laucan Music BMI)
Danette Records: Lonnie & His Legends – “Cause I Love You” (Lonnie Grah, Nancy Grah, produced by George Grah) / ?

The Dirty Shames Impression 45 I Don't CareThe Dirty Shames have one great double-sided 45, the garage classic “I Don’t Care” with the flip “Makin’ Love” (Impression 112) released Sept. 1966. Band members include Marty Wons and Bob Larson. Marty wrote a little to me, but hasn’t answered my responding emails. He wrote:

We recorded until we lost two members to the Vietnam war draft. Al Jones did the majority of the engineering with Sonny occasionally sitting in. By the way, the Sloths and the Dirty Shames were two different groups. No crossover members. We were given a copy of their record to create our version of Makin’ Love.

A discussion of the Grodes would take up a whole entry in itself. From Tucson, Arizona, they tried to break out to national success with some 45s released on California labels. Their most famous is the original version of “Let’s Talk About Girls”, covered by the Chocolate Watchband. Over a year later, they released “What They Say About Love” on Impression 114, but it made no mark at all.

Impression discography (any help on finishing this would be appreciated)

Blue label series:

?? – (Impression 101)
Tommy Lee – If You See Me Cry / One of These Days (both written by Al Jones & Joe Osborn, produced by Al Born) (Impression 102)
Big Dave Washington & the Zensations with the Buddy Harper Orch. – You Stay On My Mind / Don’t Say We’re Through (Impression 103)
The Sloths – Makin’ Love / You Mean Everything (Impression 104)

Yellow label series with new Impression logo:

The Dillons – Simple Way of Living / Night Winds (Impression 101)
The Mark Five – I’m Through with You / I’ll Keep on Trying (Impression 102)
Teddy Durant – The Beast Of Sunset Strip / The Night Stalker (Impression 103)
Bob & Judy – We’ll Try It For Ourselves / We’ve Got Something Going (Impression 104)
The Tangents – Good Times / Till I Came Along (Impression 105)
The C-Minors – Just a Little Feelin’ / Don’t Go (Impression 106)
The Intercoms – Unabridged, Unadulterated, Unextraordinary, Ordinary, Mediocre Unoriginality Blues / Please Try and Understand (Impression 107)
Jimmy Robins – I Just Can’t Please You / I Made It Over (Impression 108)
Lonnie & the Legends – I Cried / Baby, Without You (Impression 109)
?? – (Impression 110)
The Tangents – Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go? / Stand By Me (Impression 111)
The Dirty Shames – I Don’t Care / Makin’ Love (Impression 112)
Jan Crutchfield – Front Door, Back Door / It’s Now (Impression 113) (both by Crutchfield and Fred Burch)
The Grodes – What They Say About Love / Have Your Cake and Eat It Too (Impression 114)

Thanks to Rich Strauss, Jason and Max for help with the discography. According to Rich, the Teddy Durant 45 has a couple of good novelty monster songs, and #113 is mediocre country. The Tommy Lee, Big Dave Washington and Jimmy Robins are r&b/soul releases, everything else is rock.

The Tongues of Truth & The Grodes

In honor of the Chocolate Watchband playing the Underground Garage festival in NY this weekend, I’m featuring the original version of their most famous tune, “Let’s Talk about Girls”.

The Grodes and Tongues of Truth were two names for the same band – originally from Tucson, Arizona, but often recording in L.A. They were renamed Tongues of Truth without their knowledge by their manager and promoter, Dan Gates, dj at local KTKT in Tucson. Gates didn’t bother to tell the band about the rechristening until he announced the new single, “Let’s Talk About Girls”, over the airwaves. They stuck with it while the 45 had it’s time on the charts (#37 locally), then returned to being the Grodes. “Cry a Little Longer” is an earlier 45 on the Tri-M label, and one of their best.