All posts by Chris Bishop

The Ugly Z on Rondo

Ugly Z Rondo 45 Down To My Very Last Tear

The Ugly Z are a mystery band to me. There are plenty of names on the labels, but it may be that none of them belong to the band’s members.

“Down to My Very Last Tear” has a cool twelve-string guitar opening and a good band performance full of harmony singing. It was credited to the Ugly Z and Steve Fazio Jr.

Chris Crocket wrote “Kathy’s Back” which is similar to the flip in sound and almost as catchy.

Rick Lawrence, Stuart Richard produced the record, with Richard also arranging both sides.

It was released on Rondo 9158 in June, 1965, as shown from the Alco delta numbers: ∆57098 / ∆57098-X. Rondo had its address at 15101 Magnolia Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA, and also published the songs through Rondo BMI.

Steve Fazio would show up about a year later as a talent scout for Valiant Records and producer Al Kavelin. Steve Fazio, Jr. also wrote “All Because Of You” recorded by Guiseppi Apollo with the Revels & the Mapes Sisters on Impact 12-IMX, published by Anthony Music.

Info on Steve Fazio’s connection with the West Coast Branch from the West Coast Fog site.

Ugly Z Rondo 45 Kathy's Back

The Tierdrops

Tierdrops Photo
The Tierdrops, back row left to right: Rick Shelton and Wendell Peterson; front row: Joey Wilbur, George Browning, and Steve Hill

Steve Hill sent in the cool photo and news clippings about the Tierdrops, a fellow band to the Devil’s Own, and one of several groups from Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the mid-60s. Steve gives info on the band:

The Tierdrops were a Portsmouth top 40 rock band. We were the house band for the EM club at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and frequently played at the Pine Grove Pavillion as well as the PAL club in Lewiston, ME and the PAL club in Rockland, ME.

Tierdrops at the Pine Grove PavilionJoey Wilbur – lead singer
Rick Shelton – lead guitar
George “Spike” Browning – organ
Steve Hill – bass guitar
Wendell “Pete” Peterson – drummer

“Spike” Browning managed the Devil’s Own and us. Joey played guitar with the Devil’s Own and later became our lead singer and Spike wanted to play so he came to us and became our organist. We did not record a record. Spike did record us on many occasions with his Akai reel to reel, however, the tapes are lost.

We had tried out to become a “surf” band along with bands such as the Rockin’ Ramrods, the Pilgrims, the Techniques, and several others and were accepted, however, I was drafted before we had our first gig as a surf band.

Thank you for keeping the bands of that era alive.

Steve Hill

Tierdrops, Devil's Own, & Cobras, Lewiston P.A.L. Dance, February
Awesome lineup: Tierdrops, Devil’s Own, & the Cobras!

The Alan Franklin Explosion – The Blues Climax

Alan Franklin Explosion Blues Climax Horne 45 Piece of Your LoveThe Alan Franklin Explosion have received some attention from collectors of private underground albums, but this 45 is worth discussing. Both “Piece of My Heart” and “Bye Bye Baby” were taken from Alan Franklin’s second LP, the one that has his b&w photo and both “The Alan Franklin Explosion” and “The Blues Climax” on the front cover, on the Horne label, J.C. 888-L.

Franklin was from Tampa, Florida, but recorded at Bee Jay Recording Studio in Orlando. The musicians were:

Alan Franklin – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Chris Russel – lead guitar
Buzzy Meekins – bass
Dave Dix – drums

Apparently this was not an actual band but consisted of some teenage musicians invited to play with Alan in the studio.

“Piece of My Heart” is a wild, weird come-on, you can hear this version on youtube. “Bye Bye Baby” more conventional blues-based rock. The label was Horne, with a release # J.C. 888-4. These two songs were included on the first side of the album, Alan Franklin Explosion – The Blues Climax cut in 1969 and 1970. Alan Franklin produced and Bill Vermillion engineered. Alan Franklin wrote all the songs, published by Penetraion Sound Publishing Company.

The notes on the back cover of the LP are worth quoting in full for their hype:

This is a wild savage approach to hard rock blues combining vicious jungle rock rhythm with very tight and lightening fast rhythm and lead progressions with a base that goes right inside of you. The vocals are wild and insane yet loving and caressing. The sound that these four cats put out is so fantastic that you won’t be able to turn it off. This is a new sound, a sound as wild and free as the Climax itself. For the Climax is made up of four rebellious wild fanatical musicians who literally go insane on stage, causing riots at every performance. People are going all the way with the Blues Climax. If you like hard rock music then you will love the Blues Climax.

– Albert Freeman ~ Penetration Publishing Company

Alan Franklin Explosion Billboard 1971, July 24The LP was chosen as Album of the Week in a small ad featuring “Brite Star’s Pick Hits”, run by a Nashville promotion company that was probably paid for the endorsement.

Alan Franklin’s first LP was called simply Blues Climax, recorded about 1968. The musicians are only Alan Franklin on guitar and vocals and Ray Vaughn on drums. It was released with red Horne labels, J.C. 333-7. Three of songs on this first would appear on the second LP in somewhat more polished versions. This earlier version of “Piece of My Heart” is so amazingly raw and crude, with great Bo Diddley type rhythm guitar playing:

His next LP seems to be titled Alan Roy Franklin released sometime in the 1970s. I haven’t heard any of it, nor his 1980 LP, Come Home Baby, credited to The Alan Franklin Explosion. This last one has a cover that has to be seen to be believed: Alan reclines on a bed, long-haired and shirtless, a jug of wine, copy of High Times, some cash and what looks to be a bong next to him on the red velour sheet.

Alan Franklin Explosion Blues Climax Horne 45 Bye Bye Baby

The Statics

Statics JB Leeander 45 Again and AgainThe Statics are an obscure band from the St. Louis, Missouri area. In the spring of 1968 they cut their only single. “Again and Again” veers from a slow start to a hurried pace and back again, with some very gloomy organ playing and frantic drumming.

The Library of Congress catalog shows it was copyrighted in April, 1968 as simply “Again”, featuring words by Lanny McCormick and music by Bob Gleitze, who seems to have signed my copy of the 45.

Statics JB Leeander 45 I Can't Hold It Back
The designated A-side was “I Can’t Hold It Back”, a sedate ballad also written by McCormick and Gleitze, but this side suffers from a constant high-pitched sound throughout the song.

Produced by Albert Gleitze, and with a credit to Leeander Productions at 2335 Weaton in the Hanley Hills section of St. Louis, a little north of Washington University. Seems to be the only release on the JB Leeander label.

The band had one further copyright for a song called “You Didn’t Believe Me”, again by McCormick and Gleitze, and submitted by Mark Schieferle in November 1968.

The Original Sinners

Original Sinners Discotech 45 You'll Never Know (What Love Is All About)The Original Sinners formed at Yale University in New Haven. Robert Brentson Smith wrote “You’ll Never Know (What Love Is All About)”, which borrows the opening riff of the Stones’ “Empty Heart” for an archetypal garage single, with put-down lyrics, good harmony vocals, harp and a guitar break.

Brent Smith and Stew Metz wrote the stomping, bluesy “(Any Time You Need Me) I’ll Be Home”, freshened like the flip by good harmonies and balance in rhythm & lead guitar.

Original Sinners Discotech 45 (Anytime You Need Me) I'll Be HomeBoth songs were copyrighted in April of 1966 with Cowardly Lion Music BMI. Produced by Bass & Reiser, it was released in May, 1966 on Discotech DTR-1001 (stamped Columbia custom pressing code ZTSP 122156/7 – 1A).

There’s no link between this Discotech label and the Ohio label that had cool releases by the Nomads and others.

The Bristols on Audio Dynamics

Bristols Cash Box Record Reviews 1967 August 26The Bristols have a 45 well-known among soul collectors, “(Go Away) With a Girl Like Her” / “Where Am I Going”. Cash Box gave it a positive review in August, 1967.

According to a youtube comment from band member Dale Monette:

The black label was the first issue of the recording. After Audio Dynamics re-released it on the white label. It was engineered by Don Carmody who owned the studio, and Dick Booth who was a great guy and helped us get airplay on WHYN is Springfield MA and other stations around the western New England area in the summer of 1967. It rose to number 11 on the WHYN top 40. It stayed on the chart 8 weeks.

The band was from Worcester, Massachusetts, and included Dave Rivers on vocals and Dale Monette on drums. Judging from song writing credits on their first 45, other members may have been Gabrenas and Strom.

Bristols Audio Dynamics 45 Cross My HeartMuch more obscure is their second single, also on Audio Dynamics. “Cross Your Heart” has some of the soulfulness of their first single, but I like the slow dreamy quality of the flip, “I Need Only You”. Both sides lack the commercial production of the “(Go Away) With a Girl Like Her” / “Where Am I Going”.

Like their first single, there’s a credit to Dick Booth for arrangment and production, but no song writing credits, only the Audyn Music BMI publishing.

The Audio Dynamics discography is a jumble of different codes, making an exact release chronology difficult. Some releases have numbers ending three digits beginning with 6: the Pentagons is 671, the first Bristols 45 672, and the second Bristols single has 673 on one side and 674 on the other. The Chain Reaction single has 682 in the code.

Bristols Audio Dynamics 45 I Need Only You

The Nomads on Discotech

Nomads Discotech 45 I Need Your LoveThe Nomads are an unknown band as far as I can tell. They released their only single in June, 1967. It was probably recorded at the Athena Movie Theater in Athens, Ohio. The band came from Sylvania, Ohio, near Toledo, a good 220 miles from Athens.

“I Need Your Love” is stellar 12-string harmony rock, with an interesting middle section. It was written by Rae and Radabaugh and published by B-W Music, Inc. BMI.

“Willow Wind” is a Kingston Trio cover; the Nomads version is a favorite of some teen doo-wop fans.

Gary Rhamy produced the 45. Discotech was his label and also released the Last Exit’s “It’s The Same The Whole World Over” and the Sands ov Tyme.

Credited as a WilMat-Rhamy Production, his partners were Willis Parker and engineer Bob Matthews.

Gary Rhamy became chief engineer of United Audio in Youngstown, which he renamed Peppermint Productions Recording Studio in the early ’70s.

Info from Buckeye Beat.

Nomads Discotech 45 Willow Wind

The Bacchantes & the Bacchanalia label of Kit Haaland

Bacchantes Bacchanalia 45 Child of the Morning Sun

The Bacchantes were a studio creation of producer Carsten “Kit” Haaland. Kit Haaland ran the Bacchanalia label and production company in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with enough of a presence to get a listing in the Billboard Buyer’s Guide for five years running from 1968-1972, once with Tom McBryde and DanTaylor listed as Vice Presidents.

Beginning in 1967, Haaland registered a number of songs with the Library of Congress copyright office, including such intriguing titles as “Sun Machine Goddess”, “Bad Dream”, “Focus Your Love Lamp Baby”, “Get Off Your Rock” and “I Want You, Big Man”. I’d like to see the lyrics for these as Haaland seems to have had some message he was trying to deliver.

Bacchantes Bacchanalia 45 I'm Leaving YouThis single also appears to be from 1967. “Child of the Morning Sun (Bacchanalia #9)” was one of the first songs Haaland copyrighted. The production is upbeat baroque-psychedelic with female vocals. “I’m Leaving You (Bacchanalia #3)” has complicated shifts in tempo and melody.

Both songs were also released in a soul style with different arrangements and vocalists. This exists on a white label with blue print – if anyone has a scan of that 45 please let me know. As far as I can tell, these were the only releases on the Bacchanalia label.

If music was a dead-end for Haaland, he received much more attention for his next venture as an expert on UFO sightings. A 1975 profile in the Kingsport Times-News states “Dr. Kit Haaland is a physicist in the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, currently working on a study of how the nation might survive a hypothetical nuclear war. In his spare time, he directs a group of about 40 scientists who are establishing a tracking network for aerial phenomena [UFOs].”

I believe Carsten Haaland passed away in December 2010.