The Originals

The Originals recorded at least five 45s on the Van Recording label out of Angleton, Texas. Members were Gary King on lead guitar, Tommy King on bass, Ronnie Ellis rhythm guitar and George Shelton on drums.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Originals first 45 is “Scatter-Shot”, a good instrumental written by lead guitarist Gary King, with a cover of Little Richard’s “Lucille” on the flip. It was released in 1964.

Their second (that I know of) is “Honey Blonde”, released in December of 1964 with the artist listed as Ronnie Ellis and the Originals. The b-side is a ballad, “One Little Raindrop”. Both songs were written by Monte Angell and produced by Wallace Schlemmer.

The third 45 features two rockin’ instrumentals. “Stick Shift” ’65 was written by Terry Simpson and Jessie Castor, lead guitarist and bassist, respectively, for the Raiders, who had scored a big local hit on Van with “Stick Shift” back in 1962. Gary King’s original “Blast-Off!” is just as good as the top side.

Their next had two more great instrumentals, “Night Flight” and “Comanche!”:

Another ballad “Searching for Your Love” is the A-side of their last 45 that I’m aware of, written by Wayne Gust with vocals by Ronnie Ellis and George Shelton.

I prefer the flip, another Monte Angell composition, “How Much of Your Heart”. Ronnie Ellis sings in a rough style while the guitars use heavy tremolo instead of the sharp sound on their earlier 45s. This one was recorded by Billy Snow and also recorded in 1965.

The Originals releases:

Scatter-Shot / Lucille (Van V-01464)
Honey Blonde / One Little Raindrop (Van V-01864), as “Ronnie Ellis and the Originals”
Stick Shift ’65 / Blast-Off! (Van V-02165)
Night Flight / Comanche! (Van V-03065)
Searching for Love / How Much of Your Heart (Van V-03565)
Goodnight Little Sweetheart / The Right Way of Doing Things Wrong (Van V-02865) credited to simply “Ronnie Ellis”
Hop, Skip and Jump / No Love For Me (Van V-04066)
I Can’t Forget / Old Enough to Break a Heart (D. McBride) (Van V-04166)
Each Night At Nine / Only Want a Buddy (Not a Sweetheart) (Van V-04266) as “Lonny Roberts & the Originals”

“Old Enough to Break a Heart” features vocals by Larry Weathers and Ronnie Ellis.

Gulf Coast Records compiled five of these songs on the LP Texas Guitars back in the ’80s. Distortion during the first seconds of “Scatter Shot” seems to be present on original 45s and that LP.

For more on the Van label see the article I’ve posted here.

Originals Brazosport Facts, April 29, 1965
profile in the Brazosport Facts, April 29, 1965

6 thoughts on “The Originals”

  1. I’ve always been an instrumental buff, and The Originals really
    knew how to lay down some rockin’ tracks. The Duals (Henry Bellinger &
    Johnny Lageman)had the big ’61 hit with Stick Shift, and it’s really amazing
    how The Originals did a great job of inverting it to create a memorable 1964
    update. Indeed, The Originals were a great all-around combo of musicians and
    singers.

  2. Ronnie Ellis & The Originals actually did another 45 on Van too entitled “The Right Way Of Doing Things Wrong”. I don’t have the no. in the head right now but i’ll get back to you when i find it.

  3. The Stick Shift that the Originals recorded is a cover of the Van Records recording by The Raiders (Tery Simpson, Bill Pitcock and Jessie Caster)in 1963 which they compossed. Which was later released nationally on VeeJay records out of Chicago, Ill. It stayed on the national and local music charts for over 10 weeks.
    The Raiders recorded three songs in on their first session for Van records. “Gone-Gone”, “Skipping Around”, and “Stick Shift”. The record presser and the distributor got the names mixed up on the release and “GONE-GONE” became “Stick Shift” with another song that The Raiders was doing which they did call “Stick Shift”.
    Also Van Records was owned by Bobby and Charles VanMeter from Clute, Texas. It was originally setup in their music store there. They had a gospel singing group which is how the recording label got started. Lonnie Roberts was another one of the Van Records artist.
    I do know that after Bill and Jessie left the Raiders that some of the Originals which I believe split up in 1964 did get with Terry to go on and play as the Raiders for a couple of years.

  4. Those years was a great time for me and the guys! wouldn’t trade anything for that. Wish we could put more records we did on the web but only have a few 45s. Two memorable gigs for me (and there was many) was the back to school spectactulars of KILT radio in Houston at the Sam Houston Colisuem and the colisuem in Brownwood Tex when our hit “Comanche” by Gary King (lead guitar) was on the charts!

  5. Thank you GARAGEHANGOVER for this Awsome sight! Back in 1963-1965 I played Drums with The Hitch Hikers, The White Twins and the Twilights and the Checkmates in and around the Brazoria County Texas area. My brother Gary and I wrote “Was It Wrong Loving You” recorded by local artist Bobby Clanton on the Van Records Label. Made a lot of great memories back then. Allen Greene/Arlington, TN

  6. I got a 45 of the Originals l purchased at a consignment antique store in south Texas with all the signatures the 4 members. It took me a few years to realize it. I thought was just scribblings that people do to mark the record.

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