Category Archives: Arizona

The Five of Us

The Five Of Us Platt 45 Hey YouThe Five of Us came from Tuscon, Arizona. Members included Paul Canella on lead guitar and George Maryville on bass (also sometimes spelled George Miraval), Alex Valdez on drums and vocals, Lee Stansrud on vocals and Richard Gomez on organ.

In 1965 they backed Tommy Gardner, a singer who sounds a lot like post-army Elvis on “Why Oh Why” / “Pretty Baby” on Keeson Recording Ltd KRL-125. The labels credit the single to Tommy Gardner and the 5 of Us. Both songs were Gardner originals, published by Keeson BMI and produced by E.M. Keener. This is the same Tommy Gardner who cut “Why” / “That Kind of Love” with the Versatiles on Rev Records.

The Five of Us - Need Me Like I Need You - Current 45Without Gardner the Five of Us cut an interesting single on Platt Records GMJ-8149 in May 1966, “Hey You” / “I Don’t Believe” – covering both sides of the Guilloteens first single on HBR 446 from June of the previous year. The Five of Us version of “Hey You” is almost as good as the Guilloteens, but the group is a little shaky on “I Don’t Believe”. The Platt label has no publishing info; deadwax has the Monarch delta # 61973 and CJM 8149. I can’t think of any other single that covers both sides of another artist’s release.

The next single would be their best, the band original “Need Me Like I Need You” published by Wayne-Houle BMI, with a repeat of “Hey You” from their Platt single. The Current Records label released it in July 1966.

Think of the Good Times: The Tucson Sound features the previously unreleased “Let Me Explain”, recorded in 1966. There’s another unreleased song titled “I Lied” that I haven’t heard yet.

When the Five of Us split, Paul Canella and Alex Valdez joined the Yellow Balloon, and would continue into The Popcorn Explosion.

The Five Of Us Platt 45 I Don't Believe

The Majestic Five

The Majestic 5 at the Can Can, June 1965
The Majestics 5 at the Can Can, June 1965

The Majestic Five Santa 45 Jerk Like MeThe Majestic Five have this one obscure single on Santa Records out of Phoenix, Arizona in 1965.

The A-side, “Jerk Like Me” is a cover of Rudy Gonzalez & the Reno Bops “Do the Jerk Like Me”. The drummer lays down a rock-solid beat up front in the recording, while the rest of the group sounds somewhat distant. The singer does a good job but the record has a sparse sound.

The flip is a ballad, “Queen of Fools” written by Saenz and Escobedo who I guess were members of the Majestic Five. Santa Records was located at 506 W. Cocopah in Phoenix, I haven’t seen any other releases on this label.

They don’t seem to have been around too long at least under this band name. In June of ’65 I find several ads for their week-long engagements as the Majestics 5 at the Can Can on 3rd St. and E. Roosevelt in Phoenix and then in September at the Grand Canyon Bar and Lounge at 119 4th NW at Copper in Albuquerque, but no mentions of the group after that.

The Majestic Five in Albuquerque, September 1965
The Majestic Five in Albuquerque, September 1965

The Majestic Five Santa 45 Queen of Fools

The Young Men

Young Men United World 45 Too Many Times

Young Men United World 45 Go

Young Men United World 45 Baby That's All

Updated February 2011

I can now confirm that the Young Men were from Phoenix, Arizona. Members included Frank Lacey, Pete Axtell, Dave Killingsworth, Richard Adams (who replaced the Metronomes original guitarist) and Tony Boynton.

They were originally called the Metronomes and most were students at West Phoenix High School, playing the prom there in 1966. A friend of the band remembered Frank Lacey being one of the first students at their high school to be sent home for having long hair.

Young Men United World 45 Love's TimeTheir first 45, released on United World #6947 in January ’67 has a minor pop song “Too Many Times” on the A-side, written by ‘Howie’ and produced by Forest Higginbotham. It charted on KRUX 1360 AM, reaching #16 on March 16.

Much cooler is the catchy, upbeat “Go!”. The song writing credits list Axtell and Lacey, but as Mop Top Mike pointed out to me, it’s really a very close version of the Dave Clark Five’s “I’m Thinking”, the b-side of a ’65 single “Reelin’ and Rockin'”. On the DC5 original there’s a great shout of “Oh!” before the first verse. The Young Men change this to a reverb-laden “Go!” and dub it in before each verse. They also speed up the tempo, drop the organ part and substitute an excellent dry guitar solo for the bridge in the DC5 original.

The Young Men had a second 45 United World #0001 in April of ’67, a very competent rendition of the Hollies’ “Baby That’s All” backed with “Love’s Time”, a good original by Axtell, Lacey and Froste.

As Dan Nowicki points out in his comment below, Frank Lacey and Dave Killingsworth later were in Thackeray Rocke, and that both records were recorded at Audio Recorders of Arizona.

Thanks also to Mop Top Mike for the dates of the 45s, to John L. for info on the group, and to Brian Kirschenbaum for the transfers and scans of “Baby That’s All” and “Love’s Time”.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Splitsound Records discography and the Whose Who

Splitsound was a Tucson, Arizona label owned by Dan Gates, DJ/Program Director at KTKT and Dan Peters. Splitsound is best known for the Dearly Beloved’s great “Flight Thirteen”, but it also had fine 45s by the Lewallen Brothers, the Buckett City Distortion Rackett and the Grodes.

The Whose Who were actually a vocal group from Dayton, Ohio Des Moines, Iowa. Dan Gates recorded their tracks at Audio Recorders in Phoenix in return for doing background vocals for another artist produced by Gates, Rena Cook.

James Hagerty of the Whose Who wrote to me, “The group was from Des Moines, IA and included James Hagerty, Kathy Mazzola, Darrell Chrystle, and Al Jinx. We came to Tucson to record at the request of a former member of the group, Steve Harris who had recently moved to Tucson. I don’t know how he met Dan Gates.”

Fans of moody pop should dig “Don’t Let Her See You Cry”, written by Grodes vocalist Manny Freiser. The breezy flip, “The Fun We Had” was written by J.J. Hagerty.

Usually Splitsound releases have a catalog prefix “SSDG” with the DG standing for David Gates. The Whose Who was produced by Steve Harris, so it has the prefix “SSSH”, unique among Splitsound 45s as far as I can tell.

any help with this discography would be appreciated!

Splitsound discography:

SSDG 1-1/1-2: Lewallen Brothers – I Think I’m Glad (Cal Lewallen) / It Must Be Love

SSDG 2-2/2-2: Rena Cook (with The Grodes Orch. & Chorus) – Once in a Lifetime Love (Manny Freiser) / The Lovelost (featuring Reggie Arvizu) – Lost Love

SSDG 3-1/3-2: Buckett City Distortion Rackett – I Can See It’s Coming / I Lied (Steve Lewis)

SSDG 4-1/4-2: Grodes – Give Me Some Time / Background of Give Me Some Time (both by Manny Freiser and Rich Cota Robles) (December, 1967)

SSDG 5-1/5-2: Dearly Beloved – Merry Go Round (Larry Cox) / Flight Thirteen (Terry Lee)

SSDG 6-1/6-2: Lewallen Brothers – Only A Dream / Somethin’ On My Mind (March, 1968)

SSDG 7-1/7-2: Butterscotch – Your Own Love / Three-O-Nine (Fred Porter)

SSDG 8-1/8-2: Spring Fever (The Grodes) – Sand / Give Me Some Time (June 1968)

SSDG 9-1/9-2: Greylock Mansion – Over My Shoulder / Dedication (1970)

SSSH 1-1/1-2: Whose Who – The Fun We Had (J.J. Hagerty) / Don’t Let Her See You Cry (Manny Frieser).

Max Waller writes about Greylock Mansion that it “was released in 1970 but had been recorded in December 1969 at the same time as the ‘Catafalque’ / ‘Amazon’ pairing that was released first in Jan 1970 on Dynamic Records.”

Shep Cooke? – or is that a mix up with the Rena Cook 45?

Sources include: interview with Dan Gates.

Thank you to Max Waller for his help with this discography.

The Caravelles

The furious opening chords and drum rolls, the casual vocal delivery. Sharp guitar and Yardbirds style rave up – “Lovin’ Just My Style” is one of the signature songs from the garage era.

The Caravelles established themselves as a live act in Phoenix and somehow got the attention of Hadley Murrell, a DJ at the AM soul station KCAC. Murrell produced many of Phoenix’s soul acts in the mid-60’s, including Eddie and Ernie (45s “Time Waits for No One”, “I’m Goin’ for Myself”, etc), the New Bloods, and the Soul Setters, whose 45 “Out of Sight” was also released on Onacrest.

When the Caravelles recorded their single in 1966, the lineup included John Fitzgerald on vocals and harmonica, Mike Lipman lead guitar, Jerry Breci rhythm guitar, Danny Reed keyboards and Doug Steiner on drums.

“Lovin’ Just My Style” is an original by Fitzgerald, Lipman and Breci. For the flip, they covered a song by the New Bloods, “Self-Service”, with the memorable lines: “I don’t have no one to love me, I don’t have no one to kiss me … so I’ll have to serve myself … Self-service!”

Rick Anderson may have been bassist at the time of the record; he later joined the Superfine Dandelion. The band’s first keyboardist was Brooks Keenan, and Neal Smith was their last drummer, before he joined Alice Cooper.

The Bitter Sweets

The Bittersweets, Arizona
“The Bittersweets, taken under Butterfly Rock on top of South Mountain. That’s Bob Sutko, lead singer, Paul Bennett, drums, Skip Ladd, lead guitar, Alan Chitwood, bass, & Greg Farley, rhythm guitar.” – Skip Ladd

Bittersweets Hype 45 She Treats Me BadBob Sutko vocals and harmonica, Greg Farley guitar, Allan Chitwood bass and Paul Bennett drums were the Bitter Sweets of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Their first single is the slow and melancholy “She Treats Me Bad”, written by Bob Sutko and Paul Bennett with P. Boynton. I’m not sure who P. Boynton was, but a Tony Boynton played with another Phoenix group, the Young Men. It was released in June or July of 1966 on the Hype label.

For the flip, “Cry Your Eyes Out”, Sutko and Farley wrote new lyrics to the music of the Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, and it worked well enough to reach the charts on KRUX AM in Phoenix in September of ’66.

A few months later they released “She Treats Me Bad” again on the Chari label a with a different b-side, “Road to Rann”, written by Bob Sutko and Allan Chitwood. By this time Paul “Skip” Ladd from the Laser Beats joined on lead guitar.

Bittersweets Hype 45 Cry Your Eyes Out

Bittersweets Chari 45 She Treats Me Bad
Second release of “She Treats Me Bad”

Skip Ladd wrote to me:

The manager Chari Zelman hired me to change the sound of the Bitter Sweets because they sounded too much like the Byrds. I wasn’t on the Hype label 45 and hated playing “She Treats Me Bad”, depressing, but it was a gig and loved playing lead guitar with Twentieth Century Zoo. I wrote the oboe parts, played 12 string parts, and the piano parts, wrote and sang the harmony parts when I was 18.

Bittersweets Chari 45 Road to Rann“Road To Rann” was recorded at Audio Recorders on 7th Street in Phoenix. Only rock song to start with an oboe solo.

The band moved out to Los Angeles in 1967 and released one final 45 on Original Sound: “In the Night” / “Another Chance”, both written by written by T. Evans and Bob Sutko. After this 45, the band became the Twentieth Century Zoo with two 45s on Chari A. Zellman’s CAZ label, plus two more singles and an LP Thunder on a Clear Day on Vault. At some point Randy Wells replaced Paul Bennett on drums.

The Chari and Original Sound 45s list the band as one word, the Bittersweets.

According to a comment below, Bob Sutko and Paul Bennett have passed away.

Thank you to Garry Baur for the scans of the Chari and Original Sound 45s and to Skip Ladd for the photo of the band.

Bittersweets Original Sound 45 In the Night

Bittersweets Original Sound 45 Another Chance

The Tongues of Truth & The Grodes

In honor of the Chocolate Watchband playing the Underground Garage festival in NY this weekend, I’m featuring the original version of their most famous tune, “Let’s Talk about Girls”.

The Grodes and Tongues of Truth were two names for the same band – originally from Tucson, Arizona, but often recording in L.A. They were renamed Tongues of Truth without their knowledge by their manager and promoter, Dan Gates, dj at local KTKT in Tucson. Gates didn’t bother to tell the band about the rechristening until he announced the new single, “Let’s Talk About Girls”, over the airwaves. They stuck with it while the 45 had it’s time on the charts (#37 locally), then returned to being the Grodes. “Cry a Little Longer” is an earlier 45 on the Tri-M label, and one of their best.