Category Archives: Rally

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 Rally Records label

I can only find half a dozen releases to list for the Rally label. In the notes from the Bacchus Archives CD Let’s Talk About Girls! Music from Tucson Manny Freiser of the Grodes recalls John Fisher as a disc promotion man who owned the Rally and Current record labels. Current was likely Fisher’s, as his name is all over those labels as producer, but I can’t find Fisher’s name on any of Rally’s labels, instead there are other producers: Bob Todd, George Motola, Joe Saraceno, Tony Butala and Dan Gates.

Billy Quarles’ “Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong” was picked up by Columbia (as “Quit Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong”. The flip is listed as by Billy & the Ar-Kets and is an excellent r&b popcorn number.

Beverly Noble’s “Better Off Without You” is a Gold Star studio production, with string arrangements and Spector-like effects.

Hillary Hokum’s 45 is very pop and not my cup of tea. I believe this is Suzi Jane Hokum, it does sound like her.

The Agents were an obscure band from somewhere in the Los Angeles area. I don’t know who was in the group. I had a post on them up for years that received no comments, so maybe the name is a front for another band or studio group. “Gotta Help Me” is a stomping couple minutes of garage pop. The flip is a ballad, “Calling An Angel”.

Each side has its own set of producers and are very different in sound, I could doubt it’s the same group of musicians. “Gotta Help Me” was written by Richards, Todd, Markey and Shay, and produced by Markey and Todd. “Calling An Angel” was written by Johnny MacRae and Bob Todd, and produced by Todd and Tony Butala.

The Grodes’ “Love Is A Sad Song” / “I’ve Lost My Way” comes about mid-way in their discography. The flip is one of my favorite slower-tempo garage songs.

The Perpetual Motion Workshop single comes over a year after the previous Rally release, and possibly represents a different label altogether. In any case, it’s a great single.

Rally Records 45 discography
possibly incomplete – any help would be appreciated

Rally 501- Billy Quarles “Bringing Up What I’ve Done Wrong” (Lanny and Robert Duncan, Wrist Music BMI) / Billy & the Ar-Kets “Little Archie” (prod. by Joe Saraceno, arr. by Rene Hall)

Rally 502 – Beverly Noble “Better Off Without You” (George Motola – Ricky Page, Wrist-Rickland Music BMI)) / “Love of My Life” (G. Motola) – produced by Motola & Saraceno, arranged by Don Ralke

Rally 503 – Hillary Hokom (aka Suzi Jane Hokum) “Can’t Let You Go” / “Tears of Joy” (Lanny Duncan, R. Duncan, Tonto Music, BMI) Prod. by Tony Butala and Bob Todd

Rally 504 – The Agents “Gotta Help Me” / “Calling An Angel” (Oct. ’65)

Rally 505 – Grodes “Love Is a Sad Song” (M. Freiser, Lightswitch BMI) / “I’ve Lost My Way” (M. Freiser, Ramhorn Music BMI) (prod. by Dan Gates, May, 1966)

Rally 507 – The Senate – “Slippin’ And Slidin'” / “Merry-Go-Round” (prod. Bob Todd & Bob Duncan) (need confirmation of this one)

Rally 66506/7 – Perpetual Motion Workshop “Infiltrate Your Mind” (Simon Stokes, Fifth Avenue Music BMI) / “Won’t Come Down” (Dave Briggs, Cannon Music ASCAP) Prod. & arr. by Dave Briggs and Simon T. Stokes, Sept. ’67)

Likely an unrelated label:
Rally R-1601 – Rico & the Ravens – “Don’t You Know” (J. Foust, R. Martin) / “In My Heart”

Thank you to Max Waller for his contributions to this discography.

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.