The Avalons

Sam Camp of the Avalons and later the Voxmen sent in this history of the band, who had a fine 45 on the Pyramid label, “Come Back Little Girl” / “Mad Man’s Fate”:

The Avalons was one of the first successful Rock and Roll bands from Toccoa, Georgia. The original members consisted of:

Lamar Collins – bass / vocals
Jimmy Sipes – keyboards / vocals
Roy Thompson – guitar / vocals
Sam Camp – saxophone / harmonica / vocals
Ronny Crunkleton – drums / vocals

Some time after the band began performing, Tommy Owens, a studio drummer from Greenville, South Carolina, joined the band.

The group appeared roughly from 1963 thru 1967 in Georgia and South Carolina. The Avalons gained much popularity as the house band at a local teen club called The Chicken Shack located in Seneca, South Carolina. It was not uncommon to pack a thousand fans in on Saturday night where records and pictures were sold.

During the band’s popularity, we opened for several national acts including such names as The Swinging Medallions, Billy Joe Royal, Sam the Sham and the Pharohs, Keith, and The Impressions.

The Avalons recorded in the late sixties and the songs were composed by Collins and Thompson. The recordings were done at Arthur Smith studios in Charlotte, North Carolina and Mark V Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.

The two songs, “Come Back Little Girl” and “Mad Man’s Fate”, received airtime on many southeastern radio stations. “Mad Man’s Fate” got the most air time and was the song that was #1 at WHYZ, a local radio station in Greenville, South Carolina. The record also received recognition in the Billboard Top 100 magazine.

Our manager at the time was Tommy Scott. He is still living and is some character. He has a book out, ‘Snake Oil, Superstars and Tommy Scott”. There is a write-up about our band and a very good picture on page 400. Tommy Scott knew a lot of people at the time and got us in with Arthur Smith.

James Brown “The Godfather of Soul” made a personal visit to Toccoa, where he once lived, to discuss the purchase of one of the songs. There were talks of the Avalons touring with James Brown as his opening act, but this did not materialize.

Q.: Why is the name on the record and photo the Avlons instead of the Avalons? Which name did you go by when you played live?

We went by The Avalons. There was another band out there called The Avalons. At the time of our recording, we may have not been able to spell it A.V.A.L.O.N.S, it might have been a legal thing.

Thank you to Sam Camp for sharing his history of the Avalons and for sending the photos seen here. Be sure to read about Sam’s next band, the Voxmen. Special thanks to Ben and Rich for label scans.

The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack
The Avalons at the Chicken Shack

29 thoughts on “The Avalons”

  1. thanks for another gem, I wonder if the Avlons has soomething to do with the group of the same name you that recorded “Patterns of Emptiness” for the original NJ-sampler “It’s Happening Now”…?

    Michael Vee – Milano

    1. Actually, the Avlons were a different band and had nothing to do with this Avalons band. I was a founding member and original bassist for the Avlons and fired shortly before the recording… I was replace by Ron Tullo on bass by my co-found/guitarist/vocalist Frank Lees (who passed away in January 2014). John Kardell played lead guitar (he had replace guitarist John Monnett who went to England) and drums were Tom Hemsey (who left the band shortly after recording “Patterns” to become a Policeman. I think I am the only member still performing and frankly got over getting canned a long time ago and forgave Frank….

  2. Hi Michael,
    I am the harmonica player for “The AVALONS”. This was our tour name and not “The AVLONS”. The AVALONS were from Toccoa Georgia and recorded back on the later 60s. You can see more history about The Avalons and The Voxmen by clicking the VOXMEN link in Georgia.
    Thanks, Sam Camp.

  3. I am sitting here on a Sunday morning listening to “Mad Man’s Fate” on the Garage Web site. I played harmonica and tambourine on this record 40 years ago. While recording, I had to switch back and forth between harmonica and tambourine. I had a wooden stool that I used to lay the two instruments on. If you listen very close, at the end of the second chorus, when I switch from tambourine to harmonica you can hear the rattle of the tambourine as I dropped it on the stool. This was never corrected in the studio.
    You can take this information and 69 cents and go to McDonald’s this morning and buy yourself a cup of coffee, HA!!!!!!!!!!
    Have a great morning, Sam Camp

  4. This is so cool. I just recieved a letter from my Uncle that he found in the newspaper. It got me thinking about the band my Dad was in. So wow I found this site. Lamar Collins is my DAD. I was so blown away by hearing these songs again. Of course I have the records myself but I have not heard them since I was 12 or so. Back when we still had record players.—Connie Collins Garrett

  5. Thank you so much for having the 2 songs on here to download. “Come Back Little Girl” stays on my turntable all the time, but I couldn’t put it on the computer. Now I have. Thanks so much for sharing my all time favorite. I went to Westminster High School and remember the Chicken Shack which is where my record came from.

    Jerry Cleland

  6. Sam, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this website and to see the picture of the band. I have been looking for you guys for years with no success. I would sure loved to hear from you and talk about old times. I’ve lived in Easley, SC for the last several years and work for a company in Boston. Do you know where, Jimmy and Roy are these days. I knew that Lamar passed away, I was able to visit with him before he died. Man it would be so awesome to hear from you. The website is great we still live on.


  7. Hi Ms. Garrett,
    I was pleasantly surprised to read your email. I got my start in music and rock and roll with your dad Lamar Collins when I was barely 14 years old. I was a car hop at Bell’s drive Inn in Toccoa Georgia and happened to wait on him. He asked me was I the kid that played saxophone and I shyly replied, “yes”. We began to talk about music and in a matter of a month I was jamming with his band. The rest is history. Lamar was my dear friend and has inspired me down through the years. I am gathering information for a web page about Lamar and I would enjoy talking to you about that. You can email for my contact information. P.S., Would that uncle that gave you the newspaper article be Robert Collins?

  8. Jerry, I appreciate your comments about the Avalon’s records. Enjoy those downloads and tell your friends about them. I probably sold you the 45s at the Chicken Shack 40 years ago myself. Small world. I hear that record is selling for $25 dollars on EBAY. Maybe I will re-press a few so I can retire early, ha!. Take care, Sam Camp – sax player / harmonica player.

  9. I wanted to take this time to thank everyone at this web site for bringing friends back together.
    I just had an hour and a half phone conversation with The Avalons drummer, Tommy Owens. We have not seen or heard from each other since the late sixties.
    What a GREAT!!!!!! conversation. We shall have many more. We hope to meet up with each other in the near future.

    Happy Sunday, Sam Camp

  10. Sam, what a way to start a new year, finding an ole friend I haven’t seen or talked too in over 40 years. All the old times we had and the places we went. I thought of many more things after we hung up. It was a great experience to make our old friendship again. I’m looking forward to seeing you again and talking more about old times playing in the band. WOW, thanks to all on this website for helping me find my long lost friend. Tommy Owens

  11. I didn’t miss a Saturday night in 1968-1969 going to the Chicken Shack. I still play the record of the Avalons. They were great. Another great band that played at the Chicken Shack were the Nurks from Anderson, SC. They also cut a record. It would really be great to have a Chicken Shack reunion. I truly think it would really be a hit. Those were certainly some great days!

  12. I also visited the Chicken Shack almost every Saturday night, until I went into the Army in 1970. I loved the Avalons as well as the Nurks. I went to a birthday party for Charley Stancil at the Anderson Civic Center around 15 years ago. The Nurks were there, and others, as well as the pictures that Charley would take. Thanks for this site.

  13. Connie told me about this site. was so nice to see the pictures and listen to some of the history. Lamar was my husband, I am Connie’s mother, we both loved him very much, he has a special talent which I miss so very much, When he left the band he kept up his singing in church. He is missed and was loved very much, but we know that he’s in Heaven singing.

  14. I was there at The Shack every weekend from 66 until it’s closing and I was in the last house band from Liberty SC , Joshua. Played bass. I remember the Avalons and the Voxmen, the Nurks, and a few other later bands, the Jade Coffin for one.Good times, good friends and good memories.

    1. You were in the band, Jade Coffin from Liberty, SC? I remember them. I used to date a guy named Glen Forrest who played bass for them back in the 70’s.

  15. Does anyone remember the Tydes who played at the Chicken Shack in Seneca? The original members were: Jud Hair, Jimmy Hightower, Chuck Van Blaricom, Erwin Laytila, David Hunt — then John Hightower came in as drummer and co-lead with Russ Kingman. Any pictures of the Tydes and the Chicken Shack would be greatly appreciated.


  16. Hi Sam and all, I didn’t have the honor of playing with the Avalons, but I did get an opportunity to play with a later version of the group called Tom Collins and the Chasehers as trumpet player. Prior to my joining the group they had recorded a 45 at Mark V Studios on UNCLE records and the label featured a graphic of Lamar’s cane with the snake coiled around it. Side A was “Without My Girl” written by Lamar and Roy. Side B was “The Wind” by Roy (I still have about 10 or 20 of the original 45’s). During that iteration of the band there were a number of members that came and went including Terry Cole (drums), Doug Goolsby (trumpet), Bobby Allen (keyboard). I used to have a photo taken during a gig we did at the La Mans apartments in Atlanta, but I have been unable to find it. I really miss those days – they were a very important and memorable time in my life. Lamar was a great talent and I feel very honored to have been able to be a temporary part of that group. Would I wave the magic wand and go back to be a part of it all again? In a New York minute.

  17. I was able to find another Avalon band member, Jimmy Sipes, the Keyboard guy. I was able to find Jimmy only 3 miles from where I live. He is married and has grown children and grandchildren. He is still working and loves to play music. I found him through a life long friend who had kepted in contact with Jimmy through the years. It was great to hook up with Jimmy after all these years. Tommy Owens

    1. hello, Tommy Owens! I am Jimmy Sipes’ youngest sister and i remember you well. So happy that you and Jimmy got together again!! I love him so much and he is my hero!! Always…..Sandy Sipes…

  18. Hello Sammy,thank you so much for this article. I am still one of the Avalons biggest fans. Hope you remember me. I never missed a single performance at the Chicken Shack. I am looking forward to looking at the voxmen link. It is so good to hear from you. Cheryl sent this to me as you may remember she and Lamb were very close.

  19. Hello this is awesome. I loved the friend Cheryl and I used to hang with them even after they left the Chicken Shack.We use to go listen to Lamar and Jimmy in Greenville in some of the clubs.They were the greatest guys. I got to see Lam before he passed. It broke my heart.He was a very special person.I know he is singing in heaven. Tommy I remember you too and hope you are doing good.For some reason I didn’t get to know you as well as the others. It is so good to hear about Jimmy Sipes and all the fellows. They are great guys with a lot of music talent.This is wonderful to hear from old friends.
    Marian(Miryam) Clark (Scovil)

  20. Please join in on the comments about The Chicken Shack….Everyone would love hearing some stories and seeing some pictures…

    1. Jimmy Sipes is my Dad and I was thrilled when I saw this and read the history ..thanks for posting..:) I remember all the stories about Dad is one of the most talented people I know …

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