Cole and the Embers

Here are two fine garage tracks from a Kirkwood, Missouri group.

The cool label shows it couldn’t be any earlier than late-’66 (named after the TV show of course), but I was surprised to see it listed in a database as a May, 1968 release. If so, it’s behind the times but sounding great, however, a band member disputes the late release date (see below).

“Hey Girl” rushes through verses and the catchy chorus, with a break for the organ solo, which really has a fine sound, followed by a quick guitar break.

“Love Won’t Hurt You” is much slower but has a brooding sound with the repeated high-pitched note on the organ, clipped rhythm on the guitar and harmony vocals. There’s a neat section halfway through as the band moves through chord changes, and this is repeated at the end of the song after the fuzztone solo and last chorus. Lepore-Martines wrote both songs. The label for “Love Won’t Hurt You” lacks the artist listing.

Lead guitarist Robert Lepore wrote to me with the history of the group, hopefully we’ll have some photos at a later date:

The band started up in 1965. It consisted of Perry Cole (singer), Reggie Shaw (rhythm), Jack Pebbler (keyboard), Scott Lay (bass), Charlie Cablish (drums) and myself (lead). Scott, Charlie, and I were the core of the group. As time passed we brought in Colin Johnson (rhythm), Steve Starr (keyboard), and Doug Paone (keyboard). At the time of the recording Cole was gone and so was the rhythm position.

We all went to and graduated from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Mo. A town about 30 miles from St Louis in St. Louis County. We played many school functions (dances, pep rallies etc.) as well as parties and some of the teen clubs that were so popular then such as Kirkwood Teen Town and the Rainy Daze teen club. We and another local group called the Extremes [who cut “Facts of Life” on Star Trek 1221 as the X-Treems] drew over 1,300 hundred kids one Saturday night. We also played frat parties as far as SE Mo. State in Rolla, Mo. and as far east as DePauw Univ. in Indiana.

At the time we recorded the songs the band consisted of Steve Starr, Scott Lay, Charlie Cablish and myself. Scott and I did the singing. I did the main part on “Love Won’t Hurt You”. We recorded the songs in the basement studio of a local late night DJ named Nick Charles from a top 40 station called KXOK. We recorded at 9 am on a saturday morning. I can remember our voices almost cracking because of the early morning after a late night of playing.

We put parts of the songs together in studio and had a good time doing it. I remember the DJ barking out some instructions to us from the other side of the glass and Steve saying “OK big daddy.” to which he replied “Bullshit.”

As far as the label we had nothing to do with that. My dad took care of that end of it. Cole and The Embers appeared on one [only] side because of a labeling error and we didn’t really pick an A or B side because we thought both sides were good. Martinez was never in the group. He just collaborated with me on the songs.

Q. So the band kept the name Cole and the Embers after Perry Cole was gone?

We kept the name because most people called us the Embers or just the “‘Bers”

I believe the the release date you have is not accurate. I was still playing an old Hagstrom 3 pick up guitar at the time. I replaced it with a Fender Telecaster which I bought long before your release date. We sold about 500 copies localy and both sides of the record were played on a local undergound station that was just starting up. KSHE 95.5 FM.

The band officially broke up in the summer of 1968. Charlie graduated in 1967 but went to a local university. Perry, Reggie, Doug and I graduated in 1968. We all went to college. Perry, Reggie and I all went into the Air Force. Steve, Scott and Collin graduated in 1969. I haven’t kept in touch with any of them.

I did stay in music. The ten years I was in the service I didn’t play much but I did write a bunch of songs that I put on tape just for myself. Then in 1985 I put a classic rock band together called Backtrack. It was very successful in St. Louis and the surrounding area. The band stayed together for nine years when in 1994 my bass player moved to Dallas and I to Florida. In Florida I put another classic rock band together called Goldrush. Everyone in this band could sing lead. We had such great harmonies. I moved to Texas about a year and a half ago. And you know once you’ve got the bug the music’s in your blood so here I am, putting a praise and worship band together at church and I’m also putting another classic rock band together as well.

Robert Lepore
October 2009

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Tony Hendrik Five

“I’ve Said My Say” is a ringer for the Small Faces, but it’s great!

The Tony Hendrik Five were from Germany and mostly recorded typical pop of the day. The A-side, “Tavern in the Town”, is really awful. “I’ve Said My Say” shows they had some talent and should have pursued this tougher sound more often.

The Zero End

The Zero End band

The band came from east of Astoria, Oregon, the small communities of Knappa and Svensen to be exact (the area had a large number of people of Swedish descent).Zero End Garland 45

The members were:

Carl Salo
Bill Tynkila
Tom Kayser (Keyser?) – guitar
Bill Maley
Toivo Lahti – drums

The Zero End’s first 45 on Garland, “Blow your Mind” / “Fly Today” from late ’67 has a dark sound. Their next and last shows the influence of psychedelia, as “Lid to Go” has the lines “don’t you know he’s a flower child/ what a crime, being high.” The version of “Hey Joe” has a good fuzz solo. Dig the cool drum head in the photo above.

Both sides of the first 45 are by Tynkila/Salo. Songwriting on “Lid to Go” is by Bill Maley and Carl Salo. Dale Hansen produced both 45s. The Garland label was from Salem, OR, owned by Gary Neiland of Prince Charles & the Crusaders.

I didn’t much about the band until JP Coumans sent me the article from Hipfish, below. As the article states, the band started out as the Vanchees until Bill Tynkila suggested Zero End. They had a manager, Dale Hansen who booked them throughout the Northwest. At the club below the Portland youth center The Headless Horseman, they saw a band called Seattle Gazebo that was playing the new psychedelic free-form music. It was a revelation to the band, who returned to Knappa and remade their sound completely.

They played venues such as the Riviera Theater in Astoria and the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. The Hipfish article mentions a live recording from the Riviera, which I’d love to hear.

Hipfish – Arts & Culture Monthly, vol. 2, issue 19: Astoria & the North Coast, March 1999
– does anyone have the continuation or know the author?

Thanks to J.P. Coumans for the article scan.

Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters

I’d like to focus on the early career of Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters – four songs released across five singles during 1964-1966, before Huey signed to Curtom and recorded the songs issued on his great posthumous LP.

These four are the influential “Monkey Man” and a great cover of Junior Wells’ “Messin with the Kid”, along with a fantastic soul number, “Just Being Careful”. His version of “Beg Me” isn’t bad, but it’s probably the weakest number on these early 45s.

Baby Huey was born James Ramey in Richmond, Indiana and formed the Babysitters in Chicago in 1963 with guitarist Johnny Ross and organ player/trumpeter Melvin “Deacon” Jones. Melvin Jones is brother of jazz drummer Harold Jones. Reno Smith was the drummer at some point (though I’m not sure if he’s on these singles). “Monkey Man” and “Just Being Careful” were both written by John R. Ross.

Other members of the Babysitters included Plato Jones on percussion, Danny O’Neil on guitar, Rick Marcotte on trumpet, and Byron Watkins on tenor sax.

Baby Huey died in a South Side motel room on October 28, 1970, after a show in Madison, Wisconsin.

Early 45 releases

The history of Baby Huey’s early singles is somewhat confusing because of the repetition of songs. Below seems to be a complete list from this time period:

Shann 73924 – Just Being Careful / Messin’ With the Kid (1965)
USA 801 – Just Being Careful / Messin’ With the Kid (April ’65)
St. Lawrence 1002 – Monkey Man / Beg Me (1965, issued on both blue and white labels)
St. Lawrence 1002 – Monkey Man / Messin’ With the Kid (1965, white label only)
Satellite 2013 – Monkey Man / Messin’ With the Kid (1967)

Some or all of the Shann 45s have the label name marked over with “USA”. I don’t believe “Monkey Man”/”Beg Me” exists on Satellite.

The St. Lawrence white label of Monkey Man was bootlegged in 2011.

In 2005 an acetate came up on auction that was supposed to be an unreleased instrumental by Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters. I had a sound clip up here for over a year before Mark Namath identified it as “Zoobie” by the Noisemakers. The acetate was probably a DJ or collector’s cut misidentified as Baby Huey – there’s no connection whatever between the groups.

Thanks to Dean Milano for scan of the photo of Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters at the top of the page. Check out Dean’s new book The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s.

Transfer of “Beg Me” thanks to a fan of the group.

Gigs and announcements in the press

According to Billboard, promoter Barry Fey’s first production was a Baby Huey show in Rockford, IL. Eventually Huey and the Babysitters were managed by Marv Stuart’s State and Madison Management (listed as Marv Heiman on wikipedia).

Billboard and Jet magazines kept tabs on some of Baby Huey’s doings during the late ’60s. I’m sure Chicago newspapers from the time have more listings.

various months – Thumbs Up, Chicago
February 25 – Harmony Hall, Chicago
October – at Trude Hellers, also an announcement that Capitol Booking has signed the group

January- at Ungano’s club in New York
November 10-21 – at the Cheetah in Chicago
December 31 – at the Cheetah in Chicago with the Exception

March 16 – at the Jaguar with the Shadows of Knight
April 5 – The Deep End, Park Ridge, Illinois
May 31 – The Deep End
June 28 – The Deep End
July 9 – Hullabaloo Club, Genoa Road, Belvidere, Illinois
July 10 – The Deep End
July 12 – The New Place with Christopher Robin & Friends
July 19 – The Green Gorilla
July 20 – The Cellar, with the Byzantine Empire
July 26 – The Deep End
August 7 – The New Place with Fire and Ice
August 9 – The Cellar with the One Eyed Jacks
August 17 – The Deep End
November 23 – at Mother Duck with the Box Tops
November 27 – The Deep End

March 1 – The Wild Goose, Rt 120 & Lewis Ave, Waukegan, Illinois
March 22 – The Wild Goose
April – at Barnaby’s Balcony in Chicago and at the Cheetah in Chicago beginning April 21
May – Billboard reports the group scheduled to record their first LP for Curtom in New York.
May 6 – Appearance on the Soul! TV show, with Dee Dee Warwick, Lord Superior, Shirley Chisholm and Jacob Lawrence – anyone have a clip of this?
May 22 – The Chances ‘R’, Champaign, Illinois
May 21 – appearance on the Merv Griffin Show, in New York
June (2nd week) – Merv Griffin Show broadcast on various dates depending on city
August 14 – Jet announces that Baby Huey was “ailing a bit” in Chicago.

April 24 – Sound Storm Festival, Poynette, Wisconsin (There are a number of excellent photos at (Wisconsin Historical Society – search for Baby Huey or Sound Storm under photos and images.)
August 1 – Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, WI
October 31 – Drake University Homecoming Dance, Val-Air Ballroom (scheduled but cancelled due to Jim Ramey’s passing on the 28th, replaced by Just Us and the Batch)

Billboard also mentions that after Huey’s death, the Babysitters changed their name to Boink for at least one live show. However Robert Baker, in a comment below states “The Babysitters never changed their name to Boink. This was another concurrent group that had at least two ex-Babysitters in the group.” Live dates from publications including The Daily Herald (Chicago), the Des Moines Register, the Belvidere Daily Republican.

at the Jaguar with the Shadows of Knight!
March 16, 1968

Jet, November 12, 1970

Billboard, December 5, 1970

Jet, October 7, 1971

Billboard, October 29, 1966

Billboard, November 26, 1966

Jet, January 19, 1967

Baby Huey & the Baby Sitters, Traverse_City Record Eagle Aug. 8, 1967
This news item was picked up nationally in August, 1967. I can’t find further details.

Billboard, September 30, 1967

Billboard, November 18, 1967

Billboard, December 23, 1967

at Mother Duck with the Box Tops
November 23, 1968

Jet, March 6, 1969

Baby Huey & the Babysitters on Soul!, Bridgeport Post March 6, 1969
Baby Huey & the Babysitters appear on the Soul! TV show, with Dee Dee Warwick, Lord Superior, Shirley Chisholm and Jacob Lawrence, March 6, 1969 – anyone have a clip of this?

Billboard, April 1, 1969

Billboard, April 12, 1969

Billboard, April 26, 1969

Billboard, May 17, 1969 – does the tape of this broadcast still exist?!

Baby Huey & the Babysitters on Merv Griffin, Independent Press-Telegram, June 8, 1969
Broadcast of the Merv Griffin Show on June 11, 1969

Baby Huey & the Babysitters at Lou's Quarry, Appleton Post-Crescent July 31 1970
Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, Wisconsin, August 1, 1970

Jet, August 14, 1969

At Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, Wisconsin, August 1, 1970
Baby Huey & the Babysitters, Daily Journal March 20, 1969
Baby Huey profiled in the The Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minnesota), March 20, 1969

Little Bob

Some r&b for a change. Little Bob (Camille “Li’l” Bob) got this song from Peppermint Harris, apparently making enough of a change to give himself writing credit on the label. Since his version in 1966, it’s been covered several times.

La Louisianne is still in business, and is releasing a CD of Lil Bob and the Lollipops’ recordings. La Louisianne had one great garage 45, the Rogues “I Don’t Need You” / “Tonight” on La Louisianne 8094 from April 1967.

The Pink Fairies

The Pink Fairies – they have plenty of mediocre stuff, but “The Snake” / “Do It”, their first 45 is their best – pure grunge & very heavy for 1971.

“Kakkoi” my friend Ryoma said when I played him “The Snake” for the first time.

Red vinyl from the Italian issue.

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004