The Omen & Their Luv

The Omen and Their Luv, 1967: Don McGlamery and Jeff Neighbors, Bill McClain, Bruce Hopper and Tommy Stuart
“We kicked out the horn players and went psychedelic” – The Omen and Their Luv, 1967
Front: Don McGlamery and Jeff Neighbors, back: Bill McClain, Bruce Hopper and Tommy Stuart

Omen and Their Luv released one of the best singles from Alabama during the ’60s. “Maybe Later” sounds fantastic – Tippy Armstrong’s buzzing guitar is all over the song while Tommy Stuart sings his too-cool-for-you lyrics. I especially dig the way he wails the end of each chorus:

Ain’t gonna get me in church
You try all you like, but it ain’t gonna work.
Not gonna go downtown
I’m staying out here where no pictures around

Gotta know you better baby,
And if I like you, well, maybe later!

Won’t thread the needle baby
Don’t wear your shoes and I think you’re crazy
Gonna be a cold day in June
Leave me alone I’m going to finish my tune

Need to know you better baby,
And if I like you, well, maybe later!

Need some time to think about it baby
And if I think real hard, well, maybe later!

Won’t pick flowers in the rain
Leave me alone and I’ll go back where I came,
I see a lot of things I need
And I need your love, but just as long as it’s free

Need some time to think about it baby
And if I think real hard, well, maybe later!

If “Need Some Sunshine” doesn’t catch you at first, wait until 1:22 into the song, when it shifts into a different time signature and, thanks to some eerie backing vocals, a whole other realm.

Bruce Hopper wrote to me about the group, and also sent some unreleased songs, including the fantastic “Another Girl” from the same sessions that produced “Maybe Later”. I’m including an excerpt of the songs here, in the hope that they can receive a proper release at some time in the near future.

I am the founder and former bass player for the Omen and Their Luv. I formed the O-men in 1966 with Fred Deloach. We were originally a 60’s white soul group with horns. The original lineup was myself on bass, Fred Deloach vocals and sax, Mike Hatchett on drums, David Popp on trumpet, Billy McClain on guitar and John Purdue on keyboards.

Omen & Their Luv Daisy 45 Maybe Later
Labels spell Tommy’s name “Tommy Stewart”
We went into the studio in the fall of ’66 and cut a six song demo tape: “Hold on I’m Coming”, “Hungry”, “Steppin’ Stone”, “Wooly Bully” (we were the opening act for Sam the Sham when he played Tuscaloosa), also two originals, “You” and “Hurry on Back” written by me and Fred Deloach. This tape was done at Boutwell’s “church” studio with Ed Boutwell doing the engineering. Boutwell Studios located in Birmingham was the only decent studio in central Alabama that recorded rock’n’roll. This tape I presented to Duane Allman (who liked it) and to Steve Caldwell of the Swinging Medallions / Pieces of Eight, whose dad, Earl Caldwell owned several clubs in Panama City Beach, Fl. This demo landed us a gig in Panama City working for Earl.

The O-men would play a jam session at the Beach Party every day from 2-4. We would then open for the “Pieces of Eight ” at 8pm and do a set. They did a set and we would come back on at 10 for a set. Then we had one hour off to get down beach to the Cork & Bottle Club (later renamed the Red Rooster) for our regular gig of playing from midnight to 5am! This was our work schedule seven days a week for two months straight.

We added Tommy Stuart right before we started this gig. He had just left the Rubber Band after they had a hit with “Let Love Come Between Us” that Johnny Wyker wrote (later with Sail Cat). Tommy played sax, sang and played keyboards. Due to band stress, Fred left the band half way through the summer.

Omen & Their Luv Daisy 45 Need Some SunshineWhen we got back to Tuscaloosa, Mike brought Jimi Hendrix’s first album to practice and that changed everything. We switched from white soul to psychedelic rock. David Popp left on trumpet.

Because of the change to harder rock, we changed the name to The Omen and Their Luv. Hatchet moved to Atlanta and we brought in Jeff Neighbors on drums. We also added Don McGlamery on rhythm guitar and sax. This was the lineup in the pic by the gas pump.

We went into the studio in the fall of 1967 to record four of Tommy’s songs. Again we recorded at Boutwell’s Studio. Tommy Stuart wrote “Maybe Later” and sang lead vocals. We snuck some young girls in to sing backup, but their parents would never let them tour with us.

We brought in Tippy Armstong (later a studio musician in Muscle Shoals) to play lead guitar on all four songs. Since Tippy came to the session, Eddie Hinton (Muscle Shoals session man) showed up to visit and started telling Ed Boutwell how to mix. Boutwell got pissed and told Eddie to mix it. So “Maybe Later” ended up with some top notch studio guys helping us out.

I met David Keller when he was playing with The Preachers in 1967. After the Preachers, David had a booking agency that he ran out of Montevallo where he had attended college. He was wanting to expand into booking and producing and club ownership. He liked our tape and we were the first band he booked onto his Daisy label. “Maybe Later” was the A side and “Need Some Sunshine” was the B side. The record sales had minimal success, but the airplay led to great crowds at gigs promoted by Keller.

“Good Man” which was to be our next single, but it never happened under David Keller. “Another Girl” was to be the “B” side of our next release.

The Omen & Their Luv – Good Man (excerpt)
The Omen & Their Luv – Another Girl (excerpt)

He had a group of bands that included the Omen, The Outer Mongolian Herd and W.C. Doan and Co. that he booked. For a short while he opened a recording studio on 15th St. in Tuscaloosa where some of his bands recorded. He also started a club in Panama City in June of 1968 called the Head Shop. We were the opening act. For two weeks we played as The Omen and Their Luv, then we would play for two weeks as the Preachers doing their hit song “Inspiration”. Fun times.

David countined to book us across the South for at least a year. He also had the Shingaling Club in Selma, AL. We played there every Saturday night for at least six months until one night we let some black musicians sit in with us. The next Saturday we showed up and the Sheriff had put a pad lock on the door with a sign reading “Closed until further notice by order of the Sheriff of Dallas County”. Selma 1968!

 Omen and Their Luv, 1968, from left: Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Jeff Neighbors and Bruce Hopper
Omen and Their Luv, 1968, from left: Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Jeff Neighbors and Bruce Hopper
 The Rubber Band 45 "Your Man Done Gone" from 1970 featuring the last Omen lineup of Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Bruce Hopper and Asa Gaston
The Rubber Band 45 from 1970 featuring the last Omen lineup of Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Bruce Hopper and Asa Gaston

Billy left and was replaced by Mike Thornton from the Shadows. By 1969 we were down to a 4 piece as shown in the other photo. Bill Stewart (Allman Brothers Band) replaced Jeff for about six months and then Asa Gaston (Locust Fork Band) came in on drums.

The four piece of Stuart, Hopper, Thornton, and Gaston went on to re-aquire the name Rubber Band which Stuart owned the copyright on (Tommy later sued and won a copy right infringement case against Bootsy’s Rubberband). We recorded on 1 2 3 Records [“Your Man Done Gone” / “Peeking Through Your Window”] with Tommy playing keyboards, flute, sax and doing the lead vocals. Unfortunately our song had the exact same rhythm and chord changes as “Spirit in the Sky” which was released one week before our song.

We did an east coast tour the summer of 1970. Things were falling apart by that time. Mike Thorton left and was replaced by Tommy Joe White. Asa didn’t want to do the tour because he just got married, so we added a session drummer from Colorado for the tour. I left the group after the tour.

Asa and I later formed another local band with Jim Coleman (check out his website) and Jimmy Butts. We were known as Mr. Wizard and recorded a one hour special for Alabama PBS. More bands in the 70’s. Owned the Chukker in Tuscaloosa in the 80’s and promoted music for years. Now I back up Carroline Shines, the daughter of blues legend Johnny Shines.

Mike Hatchett later went on to play with the Brick Wall out of Atlanta and worked as a roadie for Little Feat and George Jones and many others including Kiss, Ronnie Milsap, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. Billy McClain died of cancer after a succesful photography career. Don McGlamery later moved to Norway and was a succesful street muscian there. [ChasKit: Don passed away in January, 2006].

I have been listening to our body of work with the Omen, Omen & Their Luv and the Rubber Band and am going to talk with Tommy about doing a retrospective CD of all the material from the ’60’s and 1970.

Bruce Hopper

In a comment on the post about the Preachers, Tommy Stuart added:

We’d recorded it on our own but a disc jockey from Northport knew David & that’s how all of that happened. He had a big teen dance place in Panama City in about 1968 & we played there as The Preachers, & also a one nighter or two that way. It was a little weird but we learned their record “Hallowed Ground” & got up there & I sang it like it was mine. Later, I bought Dave’s screaming white Hammond M2 organ he’d used in the Preachers.

Tommy Stuart has a new group called O-Men and Their Luv, with a CD No Twin.

Thank you to Bruce Hopper for sending in the photos and song transfers and for patiently answering my questions.

Omen & Their Luv on the Quad at the University of Alabama: Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Asa Gaston and Bruce Hopper.
On the Quad at the University of Alabama. From left: Tommy Stuart, Mike Thornton, Asa Gaston and Bruce Hopper.

27 thoughts on “The Omen & Their Luv”

  1. What an AMAZING record! As you said, on the b-side, the song doesn’t sounds like anything at all, but then it just flips and becomes a totally different song.

  2. I didn’t know Tippy played guitar on the record, but it all makes sense. His is one sad story…

    Who decided to add “And Their Luv” to the band’s name, and what exactly did it mean?

    1. I believe I was “Their Luv.” Tommy and I were discovering each other and had begun kind of a romance, and he found out I was a singer, and a good one, and he wanted a female singer to do some solos and to harmonize with him. My mother, who was fierce, wouldn’t let me go on tour with the band ever! Or even hang out with Tommy anymore. I snuck off to Birmingham with him and the band to sing back up on Maybe Later and he says on Sunshine, too, and I loved it, but I think my mother found out and called in the pastor of our church, and threatened me with every torture she could think of to get me “away” from Tommy, who I adored. I caved of course, because I was inexperienced in standing up for what I wanted, and we broke up and he moved on without me, and rightly so. I made a wonderful life, but I have felt regret for the things that never came to be.

      Best wishes, Kathy Lawrence Bannon

      1. Hey, Best Wishes to you, Kathy. You were out of my league anyway, you know………I hope your life has been wonderful – you were gone but surely never forgotten by me…..you were indeed my only choice to be the Luv’…I recall it well, I didn’t have enough experience to think I could be THE singer, just a singer & a beautiful girl like yourself was perfect to enhance the whole thing…share singing & I would feel more comfortable over on an instrument like the organ…..and so the story went…..The Omen still ride on YouTube somehow…..Luv’, Tommy

  3. Tommy Stuart added the & Their Luv to the name. It referred to all the girls and women who came to our gigs. We were just trying to make the name weirder to reflect our change in music style. Tippy was a dear friend who played in my first band (I was a drummer then) and then he taught me to play bass. Like Eddie Hinton, he was a genius who died too early and without the recognition he deserved.

  4. We were mostly from Tuscaloosa and Northport Alabama (About an hour southwest of B’ham where the University of Alabama is located). Asa Gaston was from Fairhope, Alabama. Most of our gigs were at high school dances, fraternity parties across the southeast states. We did play 2 summers in clubs in Panama City Beach, Florida.

  5. I was at Livingston University (Livingston, Al….40 miles south of Tuscaloosa,Al) in 1966/67 when Tippy Armstrong was there and The Rubber Band had the hit song “Let Love Come between us”. I just found out that Tippy passed away in June 1979…so young…. anyone know what happened to him and where he was buried?

    The story about Paul Simon doing a session with them at Columbia was fascinating at the time.

    Art Smith

  6. Art, I am Tippy’s sister. I am glad you asked about Tippy’s death, as I wish that people knew the truth.

    Tippy did not kill himself, he was murdered.

    At the time of his death Tippy had been working in a local studio with a friend putting together some music which he felt pretty positive about. He had also broken down his old ’59 Lincoln in the back yard, had ordered parts, and was working on restoring it.
    He was also working on sanding and refurbishing an old hollow body guitar. He was in a good place mentally and emotionally at the time of his death. According to the autopsy, there were no drugs or alcohol in his system, and the physical findings at the scene rule out suicide.

    Tippy is buried in a little cemetery called “Mountain Home,” which is located about halfway between Hamilton and Haleyville in a community called Bear Creek, off highway 241 in Marion County, Alabama, where my mother’s family are buried.

    I have more facts and details, if any of his friends are interested, and will be happy to share those. I also have some of his music on mp3 which can be attached to e-mail. I can be contacted at kay.bone@comcast.net, and my phone number is 931-296-3785.

    Thanks to all who loved and remember Tippy, and are keeping his legacy alive.

    Kay Armstrong Bone

  7. Hi Jeffers_66. Please see my post below to Art concerning Tippy’s death. I would be happy to hear from you. You might have some stories I don’t, and vice versa. Best wishes, Kay Armstrong

    1. Hi Kay, I was just talking to a friend about Alabama State Troopers. My Former Husband Fred Prouty was the drummer along with Tarp Tarrant. Fred was with FAME and we are from Memphis. — Don Nix is a long time friend.—We were talking about Joabinn(sp) on the album and that started us talking about Tippy. He was a good friend to all and ALL of the wives and girlfriends had a Crush on him 🙂 our husbands knew 😉 anyway so many memories came flooding back I had to play the album ( we had a “Alabama State Troopers” Rockin Revival CD release party last year) great but no original vinyl 🙂 If you get this and would like to talk I am on FB Anne Norfleet Prouty—I don’t use my e mail anymore.

      1. Dearest Ann! I am sitting here searching for a way to contact Fred and ‘out of the blue’ I find this site. As I scroll this site, lo and behold I find your post. It would be wonderful to see and talk with you in some way, form or fashion. As I see by your comment, you do not use email but by some chance if you are next to a pooter in the near future, please let me know where you park yourself. I will enjoy hearing from you.
        [email hewlett dale quillen at: mogulsmusic [at] yahoo.com]

  8. Bruce, you were a good friend and important person in Tippy’s life. I appreciate your comments. Please see my reply to Art below concerning Tippy’s death. I would be happy to hear from you, and also have some music on mp3 I could e-mail. I actually have a lot of music I don’t know what to do with but would like to have someone publish a CD if interested.

    Best wishes, Kay Armstrong

  9. This is great…Thanks for putting this together…I’m now listening over and over to need some sunshine…

    Tommy and I were friends way back then. We met as students at Jeff. State Jr. College in Birmingham, where he was rooming with another guy — Gary Berry (sp?). I was a roadie for a Birmingham group called This Side Up — I used to drive equipment all over the south in an old beat up van; I probably spent as much time waiting for tow trucks as I did driving — All for 10 bucks a night and all I could eat! 🙂

    Later, as a student at Mississippi State, I started running dances on the weekends at the Columbus Fairgrounds, and often booked the Rubberband. And whenever I did, we always had the biggest crowds!

    Hoping you might be able to put me in touch with T.S. Haven’t talked with him in years, and would love to touch base.

  10. Hey Jeff, It’s me, I live in the Big Ham & recently asked Herb Rosenbaum about you. He didn’t know if you were still kicking or not. I imagined you were but had no clue, he was supposed to ask some folks & get back to me at the next shooting match he came to(we’re participants in a shooting match) Hey, hit me back Tommy

    1. Tommy, I belong to ARCA in Birmingham and I have been doing research for years of the Birmingham and Alabama bands. We have had many different band members come and talk with us at one of our monthly meetings and would love to have you as well. We’ve had folks from the Rockin’ Rebellions, the Premiers, the Hard Times, The Ramrods and many, many more. Please email me back at burn4580@bellsouth.net if your interested. I would at least like to talk with you.

  11. That is a funny subject & probably no 2 of us remember it just alike. For me, the band was called The Omen when I joined & we added Their Luv’. I wanted it for what now sounds strange. After being a saxophonist for so long, I’d sung with Rudd, Jimmy Wilson & Hatchett in The Rainy Daze aka The Original Blues Group as my first singing gig, but Rudd sang some songs too. I had actually quit the original version of The Rubberband because I wanted to do some singing but not necessarily thinking of myself as THE singer, just A singer. My confidence was not altogether at this point & I’d thought of Their Luv’ as maybe a girl singer we could find & call her Their Luv’, & she could do solos or harmony to me when I sang. The only prospect I ever knew of was Kathy(who sang backup on Sunshine)& her Momma wouldn’t let her go with us. An interesting tidbit is that Kathy later married Fred DeLoach. As we went along, I became most proud to be the lead singer of The Omen & Their Luv & later as The Rubberband. A crazy old name which is fun to use now on some projects like No Twin on CD Baby, & I’m glad it has survived. Back then, we weren’t the ‘A’ team for local bands in Tuscaloosa but I think we held our own in that we did our own stuff earlier than just about anybody & played some of it on The Quad, where the “A” team guys were still copying the Allman Joys & doing stuff like Spoonful. TS

    1. Hey Tommy! I stumbled across this site tonight, and couldn’t believe it — I am the “Kathy” you referred to as a “prospect” for female singer for the band The Omen and Their Luv — Kathy Lawrence. I sang back up on Sunshine and also on Maybe Later! That was so exciting and fun for me, and I regretted more than once not sticking with you and the band. I was pretty romantic back then, and I fancied myself as falling in love with you. But, I was warned off by a jealous former girlfriend of yours, and my mother would not have it! I had to sneak off to Birmingham with you to sing back up and I feared for my life if my mother found out! No back bone in those days, I’m afraid. I was so young in life experiences and my family situation was fierce, and I was too timid and afraid to do something so “radical” as leave home and tour with a bunch of guys in a band! Today, I would do it in a heart beat and love every minute! Haha! We were great together and I would like to think we could have made some great music together. Soon after we broke up, I met Fred in Panama City and, possibly as a means of escape or rebellion, I did defy my mother and my daddy and marry Fred DeLoach in July, 1968, right after high school graduation, but it didn’t last 2 years. (He was playing sax and doing vocals with a group for a while, but it was mostly bars and tiny clubs. R & B was his passion at that time, I think. He and I divorced in 1970, and I only saw him once after that. He had been in an airplane crash, badly injured, and I was in Alabama to see my grandparents who lived in Fayette, so I drove over to Tuscaloosa to see him. We parted as friends.) Like you, I lacked self confidence in my talent, but unlike you, I didn’t keep on trying. I worked in a bank and at the U of A for a while, but I was looking for something more in my life at the age of 21, I just didn’t know what! I found the answer when I met a young Air Force officer on an airplane in Memphis, Tennessee, New Year’s Day, 1972. We married at Christmas, 1973, in Seattle, WA, and traveled to many wonderful places during his 20 years in the Air Force. Along the way, we had two children and now we have 3 grandchildren as well and we live in Arizona. I never pursued a career in music, but I have never stopped singing. I just wanted to say hello, catch you up a bit on some of my story, and thank you for some wonderful memories. I have thought of you often over the years, and it has made me incredibly happy to hear more of your wonderful story. Please feel free to keep in touch. You can find me on Facebook. With love and fond memories, Kathy Lawrence Bannon

  12. Kay, I’d like to share with everyone that Tippy came by my house in Eastlake not long before he was killed & spent some hours with me while he was up here doing something. He was fine & as you said he was getting some work. Actually, at that point, he was doing better than me, I was seperated & feeling kind of sorry for myself. Tippy was in Muscle Shoals when Orbison recorded Hound Dog Man & I think he may have played something on that album, Laminar Flow but wasn’t shown in any credits. So, some of us have some ups & downs but there was nothing I knew of that would have driven Tippy to something like that & to the contrary, he was full of life, socialble & getting some work. I have too many Tippy memories to put here, he was a great friend from The Magnificent Seven to the end. TS

  13. Hey bud! How have you been? This is fantastic! I’m not sure who else is reading this, but send me an email at jefals@yahoo.com with your phone nbr and email addr, ok? Yeah, I’m still kicking…I think I’m kicking harder than I used to! Got a new granddaughter too! I’ll send you some pix! Alright — I’m waiting to hear from you…Be good, now, ok?!

  14. My name is Ray Hair. I was the drummer with Tommy Stuart and Tommy Joe White in their Alabama groups during the late 60’s, and in the Rubberband as “Your Man Done Gone” broke into the charts with a bullet during the early summer of 1970. Our recording efforts were centered in Jackson, Mississippi with producer Mike Daniels, who produced YMDG and the flipside, which he leased to Bill Lowery in Atlanta for $2500. We saw the record move up the Billboard charts and we appeared on the Larry Kane show, a syndicated Saturday afternoon TV show from Houston to promote the side, but we never got a dime off the record. Frustrated and broke, we were approached by Huey Meaux, who offered to take us from Capitol 123 to his label, Crazy Cajun, put up some money and give us the run of Mike Daniels’ studio with Jimmy Jones producing. Tommy would come up with the tunes, we’d work out an arrangement, lay it down and Jimmy would have Tommy sign over the publishing to Huey on the spot. Tommy Joe, Tommy Stuart and I cut dozens of tracks with Jimmy on bass in Jackson that summer for Meaux, who advanced us some cash for room and board, but no real dough to speak of. There, we recorded the original demos for many of Tommy’s later releases, like “I know you,” “If My Life Came Up Again (would I ask you to be my friend),” and many more, which were intended for a Meaux release of the “Band of Friends” album.

    One day we arrived at the studio to find it padlocked by the landlord for lack of rental payments. I managed to get my drums out of there, whereupon I hightailed it back down to Hattiesburg and USM from whence I came, picked up a bunch of gigs there and eventually hooked up with Johnny Barranco, Sergio Fernandez and Hugh Garraway for a good run with the Crackerjacks at the Zodiac in Jackson. Tommy and Tommy Joe stayed with Huey for a while longer, and Huey eventually pressed a couple of albums for Tommy. I pretty much lost track of Tommy after left I Mississippi for Texas in 1975, except for one occasion when I ran into him in Birmingham in 1978 when he was suing Bootsie for Trademark infringement over unauthorized use of Rubberband. I was glad to see him win that case, and I used his award as precedent when I sued Warner in 1982 for the unauthorized use of my band name, Yazoo. If you run into Tommy, a.k.a. “Toby Sausage”, please give him my very best.

    Ray Hair, International President
    American Federation of Musicians
    of the US and Canada

  15. President Hair! Dang, man, I’m proud of you. You can hit me at TommyStuart@bellsouth.net. This site has gotten me in touch with other people, like Jeff Shulmister, who used to to book us in Mississippi some. Anyway, I’m still recording some, the next The O-Men & Their Luv’ cd is: Ghost Band on the Quad & I’ll stick it on CD Baby like the No Twin album that Birdland did in 2004. Heck man, I am proud of you! Hey talking about that Huey P. Meaux stuff, I found albums he’d released I never knew about, it was of course the worst stuff ever. I found a single on Buddha with us as The Mississippi Black Bottom Bayou Band! The song was What Makes Mary Go Round. More Later, Tommy

  16. Hey Ya’ll, Check out : “Obamaville” & “The Sgt. & the Protestor” by The O-men & Their Luv’ on YouTube, put them on there recently. The publisher name on it is spunkthecombo, that throws some folks off…..if it steps on yer political toes, well, just move your foot. Gotta do my part this year……….remember, once an O-men, always an O-men………..naturally I love this site since I’m not dead or anything like so many of my band mates from over the years………see ya’ll on the Quad one day…….along time from now…Tommy

  17. Does anyone know what Tippy Armstrong used for “Maybe Later”? I’ve seen some pictures of him playing a Gibson ES-330 with a Bigsby, was it this one that he used on the record?

  18. Saw the Q. about what guitar Tippy played when he did the session with us……I actually am not sure, Bruce doesn’t seem to have answered, so my guess is he likely used something called his Battar…..a painted up put together thing, might have been some old beatup Fender solid body but it could even have been worse….it sounded cool & he liked to mess with it…..but, for real, I cannot say…….Tippy would play some guitars you might not expect, he had an old classical, a big one, that he liked to tune down & get a deep sound out of, he played that on A River Favorite I believe, not a very well known demo, but it has been floated around…hey, it wasn’t the guitar, it was the player in his case….very inventive……he played an old metal sign on one song I cut with him, as a percussion instrument, bent it back & forth…….over & out again, Tommy

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