All posts by Chris Bishop

The Voyagers on Feature Records

The Voyagers came from Racine, Wisconsin, cutting two 45s for the Feature Records label out of Janesville.

The band first recorded as a quintet with:

Mark Peterson – vocals
Jay Sieger – lead guitar
Ed Hauser – rhythm guitar
Lance Davenport – bass
Steve Porter – drums

Their first 45 was the excellent “Away” backed with “I’m So Lonely”, both songs written by Sieger and Davenport, from August 1966 on Feature Records 817R-111, an RCA custom press. Spad Music would publish all their original songs.

Voyagers Feature 45 Can't Save This Heart

Voyagers Feature 45 I Want You Back

By the time of their second single, in 1967, Marc Peterson and Ed Hauser had left, replaced by Joey Carrion (Tino Gonzales) on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. This lineup recorded two more originals, “Can’t Save This Heart” by Sieger / Davenport, and “I Want You Back” by Carrion. It was released as Feature Records F-101, and produced by RAM Prod. After the single, Jay Sieger left and was replaced on lead guitar by Bob Spock.

Steve Sperry in Chicago, 1966
Steve Sperry in Chicago, 1966

Arthur Sullivan sent me Stephen Sperry’s photo and business card, and wrote to me with some information:

This group, The Voyagers was produced by Steve Sperry who operated Ram Productions during the 1960s. This group was probably managed for bookings by Ken Adamany who lived in Janesville during that time. Steve lived in Janesville WI and also managed Dick Campbell of Monroe WI for a while. I don’t know where it was recorded but it has a very good clean sound. There was Leaf Studio in Janesville or Cuca at Sauk City. 

Stephen Sperry Ram Productions, Janesville
Stephen Sperry & Ram Productions card, Janesville
Steve Sperry had an early 45 on Cuca J-1008 “That Ain’t So” / “Our Summer Love” before starting Ram Productions artist management and the Rampro label.

Arthur Sullivan had his own release on Swan Records ‎S-4153 as Artie Sullivan with the Rhythm Beats ‎– “It’s Time” / “Suzanne”, and produced singles with vocalist Dick Campbell on Camsul Records out of Worcester, MA (The Wild Ones “Surfin’ Time Again” for example), and CineVista Records out of Monroe, Wisconsin, among many others.

Sources: Gary E. Myers Can You Hear That Beat and On That Wisconsin Beat, and 45 cat

The Grim Reepers “Two Souls” on Chalon

Grim Reepers Chalon 45 Two SoulsThe Grim Reepers cut the excellent single “Two Souls”, but are still something of a mystery group. I haven’t been able to find any photos or gig listings for the Grim Reapers or Reepers, however they intended to spell the band name.

Two likely members are Greg Magie and Mark Paterson. Greg Magie’s name is in the song writing credits of the album “Stuntrock” by the late ’70s Los Angeles group Sorcery, (sound track to the movie Stunt Rock), and he is also, I believe, the vocalist in Sorcery as Greg McGee.

J. Sturgis is another name on the song writing credits, but in the BMI database, “Two Souls” shows only Mark Patterson, Richard Serrana and Joanne Funk.

“Two Souls” / “Joanne” was released on Chalon 1003 in January of 1967. Besides a few country singles by Roy Stevens, the Grim Reepers is the only other release on Chalon Records that I know of. Produced by Walker – J-P Productions (including B. Walker?).

Grim Reepers Chalon 45 JoanneChalon Records shared an address of 5539 Sunset Boulevard with Impression Records. Ramhorn Pub. Co. published “Two Souls” and also published many of the songs released on the Impression label. J-P Productions shows up on the Dirty Shames’ Impression single. A. Jones who is credited with arranging the Grim Reepers single is almost certainly Al Jones. Al Jones and Joe Osborn’s names show up on many Impression singles, and on the writing credits to Roy Stevens “Over Again” on Chalon 001.

Greg Magie’s “Joanne” is published through Reklaw Music Co.

Beau Hannon on Dionysian

Beau Hannon Dionysian 45 Who's Got The Right Of Way“Who’s Got the Right of Way” is the snotty, upbeat B-side to the light “Rosie, Rosie”. Beau Hannon was a Canadian singer from Niagara Falls, Ontario. This single on Dionysian from late 1967 comes roughly in the middle of his recording career.

He started as Beau-Hannon and the Mint Juleps with a good rockin’ teen single “It’s All Over” / “Brainstorm” on the Hot Springs, Arkansas label United Southern Artists, Inc in 1961. The song writing credits for “It’s All Over” reveals his actual name, Jim Bohannon; “Brainstorm” is credited to Larry Fite.

His second single “Stop Me From Falling In Love” on Eskee was picked up for release in Canada, Belgium and Germany, and later he had an LP of lighter pop, Most Requested on Birchmont.

This was the first of two releases on Dionysian Records, DP-101 / DP-102. Arnold Rosenthal wrote both songs, published by Appolonian (BMI), and Georgie Dee and Rick Centman produced both sides. Δ-69230 in the deadwax indicates a December 1967 pressing. It was almost certainly cut in Los Angeles.

The only other release I know of is Dionysian DP-103 A/B, Richard Williams singing I’m a Free Man” with a similar arrangement of “Who’s Got the Right of Way” on the flip. Notable on this release is Jesse Edwin Davis credited with arrangement, and a co-writing credit on “I’m a Free Man” to Davis and Bramlett (published by Appolonian / Lawana).

A white label promotional copy of Dionysian DP-103 has the artist credited as “Beyond Good And Evil”. On the label photo I’ve seen, this artist name is crossed out and Richard Williams’ name is written at top.

One source notes Richard Williams was Dick Anthony Williams who had a career as an actor, but I can’t confirm this.

Arnold Rosenthal has many song-writing and occasional production credits, but he doesn’t seem to have held a position at any label or company for long. He seems to have been most active from ’69 to ’72, when he wrote much of Gary Lewis’s ‎”I’m On The Right Road Now” album, and played bass on Jesse Ed Davis’s version of “White Line Fever” and on a couple tracks from Ben Sidran’s Feel Your Groove LP.

The Duprays on Prism Records

The Duprays came from Washington Court House, Ohio, which lies about 40 miles southwest of Columbus and a little further from Dayton.

Duprays Prism 45 You Make MeMembers were:

Bruce Daulton – lead vocals
Ray Joslin – guitar
Mike Burnette – guitar
Dennis Minshall – keyboards
Don Miller – bass
Carl Mullen – drums

Guitarist Ray Joslin wrote the excellent top side, “You Make Me”, which starts with what is supposed to be his girl’s wailing, with some unusual echoed drumming. The wailing continues through the guitar break and short recitation.

The band shares composition credit on the bizarre B-side, “The Frog (Froggy)”.

Released on Prism Records PR-1929, the RCA custom pressing code SK4M-1497/8 dates it to late 1965.

B-W Music, Inc and WWMG Pub. published “You Make Me”, while WelDee Music and WWMG Pub. published “The Frog (Froggy)”, though I couldn’t find Library of Congress registrations for either song.

Unlike many Ohio bands of the era, the Duprays did not seem to get any local press coverage, perhaps because they were young teenagers.

Does anyone have a photo of the group?

More info is at Buckeye Beat.

Duprays Prism 45 The Frog

The Incrowd “Set Me Free” on Prism

Incrowd Prism 45 Set Me Free

The Incrowd came from Hillsboro, Ohio, close to 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Members were:

Larry Zuggs – vocals
Randy Applegate – guitar
Paul “Bud” Long – guitar
Charles Murphy – organ
Mike Waddell – bass
Jay Cooper – drums

Circa 1965 they traveled to Dayton’s Mega-City Studio to record their only single, featuring an overwrought soul ballad “Keep It” on the A-side. Most listeners now prefer the frantic and distorted “Set Me Free” on the flip. Both songs were supposedly written at the recording session!

Instead of release on Mega-City’s in-house Pixie label, or on the standard Prism label, they were given the plain b&w Prism package plan for their pressing of 500 copies. Other bands on this 3000 custom series included the Senators and the Warbucks.

Anyone have a photo of the band?

Info from Buckeye Beat.

Incrowd Prism 45 Keep It

The Breakaway Five “Jivin” on Bullet

Breakaway Five Bullet 45 JivinThe Breakaway Five cut the great instrumental “Jivin” for Red Wortham’s revived Bullet label, featuring pounding drums in the intro and great guitar work, including a quote from Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On”. The flip “I’m Gonna Walk” is a country song by F.L. Parrish, livened up by the echo on the guitar lines.

Members of the Breakaway Five included Norman Davis, Larry Davis, Larry Morgan, and possibly Ronnie Morgan. According to a comment on youtube, the band may have started as the Rivieras from Dickson, Tennessee, just west of Nashville.

Sur-Speed Music ASCAP is listed as publisher on both songs, though “Jivin” does not have any writing credit.

I’m not sure of the release date on this, but I would guess late ’50s or early ’60s. The label credits do not match the Villains 45s or any other Bullet 45 releases of the 1960s. The release number 241 is closer to Bullet’s early 78 rpm releases by Cecil Gant and Wynonie Harris. No other Bullet 45s have similar mastering codes (869-1165/6 in this case), a production credit to Wortham, or (in most cases) lack of an address.

The Cordials “Tell Me Please”

Cordials Bundy 45 Tell Me Please

The Cordials recorded for the Bundy label of Freeport, New York. They may have been a local group, but Freeport is not far from Brooklyn, so the group could have been from anywhere in the New York metro area.

The Cordials cut a fine version of “Misery”, originally done by the the Dynamics on their 1963 single on Big Top. I prefer the flip, “Tell Me Please”, a moody original with great harmonies, written by Rick Stevens and published by M.C. Music Pub. BMI.

Cordials Bundy 45 MiseryAn article in Cash Box from August 7, 1965 gives an approximate date for the Cordials release and some background on Bundy:

“Bundy-Fonic Expands”

Mickey Carr, top man at The Bundy-Fonic Corp., is in the process of expanding the firm’s activities, and has appointed Bob Spina to veep and Clarence Finnell as A&R boss.

The diskery, with Dee Dee Records as a subsidiary line, will be offering two new releases, the first tagged “Misery” b/w “Tell Me Please” by the Cordials, and another by the Diablos, the titles on which will be announced at a later date. Both disks will be on Bundy Records. The address of the firm is 22 Pine St., Freeport, L.I.

Although Bundy had a 1962 release by Ray Artis, “Dear Liz” / “Wella-Wella” (Bundy BU-222), I haven’t found the Diablos single or anything else on Bundy. There were several record companies called Dee Dee, and I’m not sure if the one mentioned in the Cash Box article actually released anything.

The Cordials is a styrene 45, released on Bundy BU7711, Mickey Carr gets credit for arranging and producing both sides, and Bundy is listed as a subsidiary of Bundy Phonic Ent. Corp.

Bob Dorough singing “The Dream Keeper” by Langston Hughes

As you may have heard, Bob Dorough passed away this week at the age of 94. He had a range of talents, including a unique singing voice, arranging, writing and playing piano.

My favorite of his works is “The Dream Keeper”, one of his three adaptions of songs by Langston Hughes, from the Jazz Canto LP on Pacific Jazz. The other two songs are “Daybreak in Alabama” and “Night and Morn”, plus the LP features his setting of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Dog”. None of these were mentioned in reports when he passed, or even on his Wikipedia page.

I wrote to Mr. Dorough in 2013 and this is what he told me about this album:

Billy Bean used to come to NYC, from his native Philadelphia, to blow in a jam session I held at my apt. – in the 50’s.

Then I lived in LA for 3 years. I had already composed and performed the three songs to Langston Hughes, with Ralph Pena on bass, at the Lenox Jazz School.

After Ralph knew I was in LA he spoke to Lawrence Lipton about the songs and Dr. L called me to ask me to record them for Jazz Canto. I said “It’s not ‘Jazz & Poetry’ – they’re ‘art songs’ in the jazz idiom.” “I want them on the album anyway,” he said. So I said, “OK, but let me do one at least that I would think of as ‘Jazz & Poetry.'”

“What would you do” he asked – without hesitation I said “Dog” by Ferlinghetti. He was astounded and said OK.

Bunker and Hardaway were just cats I’d met since moving to LA and also special pals of Pena’s.

The lineup on the album is:

Bob Dorough – piano
Ralph Pena – bass
Billy Bean – guitar
Bob Hardaway – tenor sax
Larry Bunker – drums and vibes