The Front Office single on Mijji seems to be a combination of two different recording groups. The A-side “Girl” is polished, Motown-type soul, written by Steve Cook and arranged by Val Garay (who would go on to engineer and produce many high-profile acts in the 1970s and ’80s) and Mark Holly.
The instrumental flip side is something else altogether. “Wow” is first-rate psychedelia done by a band who knows what they’re doing and don’t hold back. The song writing credit goes to Gilbert Day, who is also credited as producer with G. Zacharisen (possibly George Zacharisen). Satori Music, BMI published both songs, released on Mijji M3007 in 1968.
Beyond those names, the identity of the musicians on “Wow” is a mystery. This was the last release on Mijji, which had a handful of other singles. Sound 70 had two singles on Mijji:
Mijji M-3002 – Sound 70 – “There Is No Reason” / “Seven Day Fool” Mijji M-3004 – Sound 70 – “One Too Many Mournings” / “Chicago Blues”
Day-Gardner-Brown produced both singles, and other than song writing and publishing credits for the cover songs, “Seven Day Fool” and “One Too Many Mournings” (sic), there are no other names on the labels. Sound 70 played live around San Mateo, Belmont and San Carlos, California, adjacent towns on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. Sound 70 seems to have come out of the Bundles, whose songs “Mark My Words” and “Watch Me Girl” went unreleased at the time but now appear on the Big Beat CD Dance With Me: The Autumn Teen Sound.
Judging by “There Is No Reason” and the heavy drums on “One Too Many Mournings”, Sound 70 had the ability to cut a track like “Wow”, but that’s only speculation.
The only other single on Mijji that I can find is by the Venus Flytrap:
Mijji M-3005 – Venus Flytrap – “The Note” / “Have You Ever” (both by Donald Danielli – Daniel Sanchez, prod. by Gilbert Day, published by Guard Music, BMI)
The original release came on Jaguar Records J-103, owned by Barry Wineroth. It was a hit in the Santa Barbara area, but the Redwood City band also had a following in the South Bay, which may be why Mijji repressed it. Both songs copyrighted in April and July, 1968, orig. publisher Wren Music BMI, then Guard Music BMI, part of Golden State Recorders.
At the time of the single, the Venus Flytrap were Nancy Morgan, lead singer; Peter Sessions on lead guitar; Dan Sanchez rhythm guitar; Ken Czapkay on bass; and Debbie Binetti. Bard Dupont of the Outfit replaced Ken Czapkay when he was drafted, and Michele Sevryn replaced Nancy Morgan shortly before the band split.
If anyone has more info or photos of the band, please contact me.
The Rubber Maze released one excellent double-sided single on Tower 351 in July 1967, featuring two different styles. The A-side is “Mrs. Griffith”, typical of the soft psychedelia of the era, written by Marty Cooper, who co-produced the single with Ray Ruff.
Ray Ruff and Marty Cooper ran the Ruff and Sully labels, based out of Amarillo, Texas. Their publishing companies Little Darlin’ Music Co. and Checkmate Music BMI published both songs. I’ve read this single came out on the Ruff label but haven’t yet seen a copy.
I really dig the flip, a straight-up garage song “Won’t See Me Down”, written by Rubber Maze member Dennis Swinden.
Bassist Ronnie Verge commented on a video of “Mrs. Griffith”:
The Rubber Maze formed in 1965 in San Francisco and moved to Orange County, CA. They started up as The Young Men From Boston, shortly there after change to The Maze, and in 1967 changed to The Rubber Maze. They disbanded in late 1968.
Lead vocals and drums: Reggie Boyd Vocals, lead guitar and keyboard: Dennis Swinden Vocals, rhythm guitar: Brian Blanchard Vocals, bass and cello: Ronnie Verge Alternate Member on vocals and lead guitar: Chad Blanchard
The clipping at the top comes from Mike Dugo of 60sgaragebands.com, part of a two-page write up on a Dick Clark tour with The Split Ends and Yellow Payges in 1968 in Teen Screen.
The Rubber Maze had no connection to the Maze who had the LP Armageddon on the MTA label.
Star-Bright 3055 – The Niteriders – “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” (Doak) S-1-871 / “Just Call on Me”
Star-Bright 3056 – ??
Star-Bright 3057- Thornbush Ripple IV – “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II (Anonymous – McCoy for Tinadele Pub) S-1-874/5
Paul Johnson produced all the Star-Bright singles.
The Wilde Knights formed when the draft took Ray Kennedy, lead singer of the Furys, who had two fine r&b records on the Lavender label. Furys member Rich Brown ( lead vocals, guitar) and Roger Huycke (drums) added Rich Dey from the Vejtables as a second lead vocalist and Dean Adair and changed the band’s name to the Wilde Knights.
The Furys had originally been based out of Longview, Washington, but the band’s live circuit brought them up and down the west coast, so perhaps it’s not surprising the Wilde Knights cut their two singles in a studio in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles for release by a brand-new label based in a small coastal town in southern Oregon.
“Beaver Patrol” is an instant classic, featuring lead vocals by Rich Brown. Their second single on Star-Bright, also from 1965, features the original version of “Just Like Me” written and sung by Rich Dey. The story goes that Paul Revere heard the song and bought it from Dey for maybe $5,000. It became a monster hit for the Raiders in December 1965, while Dey seems to have died young, circa 1970. The full story of the Furys/Wilde Knights and their later incarnations is best told in Greg Shaw’s liner notes to the 1984 Voxx LP compiling their recordings.
The third release on Star-Bright is one I haven’t heard, an artist called Bruce doing “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”. Bruce is supposed to be a pseudonym for members of the Niteriders, who would have the next two singles on Star-Bright in 1966. I know very little about the Niteriders but their two singles are fantastic. The group may have come from Portland, Oregon. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” b/w “Whatever’s Right” came out in early 1966 followed quickly by their second release “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” b/w “Just Call on Me”.
I can’t find any copyright registrations to Niteriders member Doak, whose name appears on the Niteriders song writing credits, but I have found a copyright registration from June of ’66 for “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by Donald Richard Keefer. Rick Keefer would produce singles by Genesis, the King Biscuit Entertainers, and American Cheese, all bands with roots in the Furys or Wilde Knights. He had a few early copyrights in 1965: ‘Hurt So Good”, “I Saw Sloopy” and “Soul Searchin'”. It’s conceivable he was a part of the Niteriders.
The Los Angeles label Modern Records released “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” under a pseudonym, the Composers, and also put out the Wilde Knights “Beaver Patrol”, supposedly without the band’s knowledge. The Modern releases, along with publishing by Tinadele Pub. BMI suggest a strong Los Angeles connecton for Star-Bright Records.
I haven’t found out what Star-Bright 3056 is, but Star-Bright 3057 (on a purple label) is the Thornbush Ripple IV “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II, a novelty release featuring a not very funny recitation of what’s supposed to be an asylum inmate, spoken over a bluesy guitar, piano and drums backing.
Star-Bright Records: six or seven releases, four of which are essential garage. Not a bad average!
My friend Derek Taylor sent in this cool promotional photo of a group called Outrage, with a logo that could come from some ’80s hardcore poster. The group had one single that I haven’t heard as Allen Fierro And The Outrage “Show Me” b/w “Light My Fire” on Music City 45-870. They were certainly an East Bay group, but what town I don’t know.
That’s all I can find out about the group, but Joey D came through with the info that “the logo was drawn by Don Ryder who did a lot of flyers/posters for Bill Quarry’s Teen ‘n Twenties.” These shows took place in Hayward and San Leandro at the Rollarena and other venues. More info on Bill Quarry’s promotions and many examples of Don Ryder’s poster art can be seen at Bill Quarry’s Teens N’ Twenties site.
A couple years ago I posted some business cards from the Los Angeles area music scene, including two cards from the Starfires. I assumed these were from the Downey group that had six singles, including the famous “I Never Loved Her”.
It turns out that at least one of those cards belongs to a different Starfires group, operating out of Long Beach, only 15 miles to the south. Apparently this town was big enough for two groups of the same name!
Chris Robere sent me the photos and scans seen here with a little info on the group.
In 1965, the band members included:
Pete Wilson – lead guitar John Cameron – bass and rhythm guitar Don Schraider – sax Dave Christopherson – drums
The band seems to have been popular with the Naval base in Long Beach. They had at least one recording session, as an acetate demo exists from the Garrison Recording Studio in Long Beach. I haven’t heard of “No Hair McCann” before so I expect that must be an original song.
John Irvin Cameron passed away on September 15, 2015.
The other Starfires, from Downey, deserves to be covered on this site. That group included Chuck Butler lead vocals, Dave Anderson lead guitar, Sonny Lathrop rhythm guitar, Freddie Fields bass guitar, and Jack Emerick on drums. Freddie Fields seems to have done most of their song writing.
Golden State Recorders used the Golden State Records label for acts that did not have a deal with another company. The music can range from soul to hard rock to gospel, but Custer & the Survivers, Zorba & the Greeks and the Poor Souls all have good garage sounds.
The changing numbering system makes it difficult to put in exact chronological order without knowing the dead wax of each release. Early singles have white labels with simple black print or yellow and greenish blue labels with bridge logo. This changed to red, green, purple, etc in later years without the bridge logo.
I’m sure there are many more releases than I have listed here, any help with this discography would be appreciated.
GSR 653 – The Astros – Space Walk” (B. Please, Rap Music ASCAP and DeGar Music ASCAP)
GSR-657 – Custer and the Survivers – “I Saw Her Walking” / “Flapjacks” (both by J.B. Pavseni, Mark Nine Music BMI, produced by Arvey Andrews) (Nov. 1965, also released on Vardan and Ascot)
Arvey Andrews also produced the Mystic “I Get So Disgusted” / “Weekend People”, D. Witherspoon & the Future, and the Lovers “Without a Doubt” on Frantic Records, and the Emotions “Love of a Girl” / “Do This For Me” on Vardan.
453 – The Lo-Kals – “Look Out Baby Here I Come” / “I’m So Tired” (Bobby King, Guard Music BMI) (J.H. Lewis Production)
GSR-597-A – Zorba & the Greeks – “One and Only Girl” / “You’ve Had Your Chance” (Nov. 1966)
GSR-597-B – Zorba & the Greeks – “Shockwave” (Myrin, Guard Music BMI) / “Memories of You” (Johnson) (Nov. 1966)
GSRC 437 – Joy Higgins – Come Back Big Jack” / “Shoulda Told You” (1978)
recent pressings of unreleased soul recordings:
GS-2001 (GSR346) – The San Francisco TKOs – “Make Up Your Mind” / “Send My Baby Back” GS-2002 (GSR352) – George & Teddy – “Oh Yeah” / “Lover” GS-2003 GSR362) – Spyders – “I Don’t Care” / “I Can Take Care of Myself”
33 and 1/3 rpm 7″ custom pressings:
M-1967 – Leo & Flora de Gar Kulka – A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year GSR-1562 – Garland Dudley & the Voices of Frederick of the Third Baptist Church – “He Touched Me”, “Touch the Hem of His Garment” / “Sweet Sweet Spirit”, “You Must Live Right” (7″, 33 1/3rd rpm)
LPs on Golden State include Paul LaMont – Psychedelia (Opus 1 & 2), War Songs of the Third Reich, and Joel Andrews – Harp Soundings.
The Donnybrookes came from Fairfield, California, about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.
Terry Gifford – vocals John Tipton – lead guitar Jim Ladd – rhythm guitar Ric Eittreim – keyboards Larry Pindar – bass Pat Sheridan – drums
In late ’66 they entered Golden State Recorders at 665 Harrison St. in San Francisco to record their only single, “Time Will Tell” / “You’re Gonna Cry”, released on Golden State 608 in November, 1966. Terrry Gifford wrote both sides, but the labels credit Sneaky O’Fenneman with the lead vocals.
“You’re Gonna Cry” starts slow, reminiscent of Them with Van Morrison, but quickly picks up steam. When the organ kicks in the sound has an awesome power. There’s a fuzz guitar solo, and Larry Pindar’s bass lines stand out in both songs.
Early in ’67 the band had changed members and names, becoming Stonehenge, who would do some recordings that would not see release at the time. By 1968, Ric Eittreim was the only member remaining from the Donnybrookes, the band becoming Maze, with the LP Armageddon released on MTA.
Larry Pindar ended up in the Portland, Oregon group Total Eclipse.
Much has been written about Euphoria’s legendary album A Gift from Euphoria. This article focuses instead on the various releases the band members did prior to the LP and the connections to other bands I’ve covered on this site.
Euphoria had its start as a Cleveland band with David Potter and Wesley Watt called the Bushmen. Although it was thought that the Bushmen was a separate group from Wesley Watt’s projects prior to Euphoria, David Potter’s bio states:
After playing drums at the club [the Clinton Bar in Cleveland, OH] for three months, Wesley Watt, a guitar player came in looking for a drummer for a group he wanted to put together, The Bushman [sic]. When he heard David he knew he was the one. David turned sixteen in January and in May, David, Wesley, Paul Armstrong, and Carl Johnson left for Los Angeles to make their mark. On arriving in L.A. they immediately became the house band for the club, Guys and Dolls.
After only eight weeks they signed a contract with Colpix records, also signing with Buck Ram, the manager of the Platters. Their first single was “Baby” with “What I Have I’ll Give to You” on the flip side.
The Bushmen had one release “Baby” / “What I Have I’ll Give to You” on Dimension 1049 in June of ’65. Dimension Records was part of the Columbia Pictures / Colpix company at this time.
Bill Lincoln had relocated from Seattle to Los Angeles. He must have been in the group at this point as he is the composer of “What I Have I’ll Give to You”.
Potter’s bio continues:
The Bushman [sic] were getting a lot of notoriety and attention from all over, including film producer David L. Wolper. He was looking for bands for a documentary about to start filming, Teenage Revolution. They approached Buck Ram about The Bushman being the premiere band for the documentary. Wolper wanted to show what bands went through while traveling around the country from gig to gig. (Along with The Bushman being were about four other bands, one being The Lovin’ Spoonful.) About a month later Buck set up a live gig in Lancaster CA where they filmed their part of Teenage Revolution.
A portion of Mondo Teeno aka The Teenage Revolution is online. I hear music that may be the Bushmen, but haven’t seen any footage of the band.
In addition to the Bushmen single, Watt and Lincoln recorded their original songs as the War-Babies “Jeanie’s Pub” / “Love Is Love” (Highland 4000, August 1965).
The War-Babies recorded another two songs, “Now It’s Over” / “So Little Time” but these came out under the name The Word on Brent 704.
Although I’ve read that the Bushmen came after the War-Babies and Word singles, release dates suggest the Bushmen single came first.
Potter’s bio continues:
After filming the documentary, David, Wesley, and Bill Lincoln wanted to do their own thing. Now seasoned professionals and highly respected musicians they wanted to play and record their own music. With the chance so did their name, to Euphoria. The newly named group spent all their time playing, touring, and recording material that would lead to two of the groups albums. During a successful tour in Texas, their single. “Baby”, released when they were The Bushman [sic], went to #7 on the charts, staying there for seven weeks.
The newly-named Euphoria added Pat Connolly of the Surfaris on bass by the time they toured Texas in 1966. Bill Lincoln left the group when he married and moved to England, though he would rejoin Wesley Watt within a year or two for Euphoria’s 1969 album on Capitol. Connolly also left so Watts brought in James Harrell on guitar and Peter Black on bass, both of the legendary Houston group the Misfits. I believe David Potter was still playing drums with the group at this point, but it may have been Steve Webb of the Misfits.
This group recorded some tracks at Andrus Productions in Houston, including “Pick It Up”, “In Time”, “Walking The Dog” and “Oh Dear, You Look Like a Dog”, none of which surfaced until Texas Archive Recordings released the LP Houston Hallucinations in 1982. The band had other unreleased Texas recordings which await reissue, including “People You and Me” which has some similarity to Da Capo era Love.
Back in L.A., Bob Shad of Brent & Mainstream Records brought the group into United Studios in Hollywood to record four songs in one session. Shad issued two of these (with vocals re-recorded at additional sessions), “Hungry Women” and “No Me Tomorrow” on Mainstream 655, but two originals by James Harrell, “I Realize” and “It Could Do Us No Wrong” were left unreleased and eventually lost. The single would reappear on the Mainstream compilation LP With Love – A Pot of Flowers in 1967.
Despite a good push from Bob Shad, the single didn’t make much of an impact and the group broke up. James Harrell and Pete Black went back to Texas and rejoined the Misfits, changing the name to the Lost and Found.
Potter and Watt joined Lee Michaels band where they played on Michaels’ album Carnival of Life with Gary Davis and John Keski.
Potter joined the East Side Kids in time to play on their album The Tiger and the Lamb, which featured one of his original songs as well as two by Wesley Watt, “Heavy Love” and “Can’t Feel Love”.
Bill Lincoln had returned by this time. He and Watt worked for almost two years on what would become their album A Gift from Euphoria on Capitol in 1969, produced by Nick Venet. According to his bio, Potter also played on the album. Guitarist Doug Delain is also listed in credits for the LP.
After recording the East Side KidsThe Tiger and the Lamb album, Potter moved to Houston and joined with Endle St. Cloud (Alan Mellinger) for his album on International Artists, which also included Pete Black and James Harrell of the Lost & Found. They moved back to LA to for the Potter St. Cloud LP on Mediarts in 1971.
David Potter passed away in 2011, but there was a detailed biography about him at his website, davidpottermusician.com (now defunct but viewable on the Internet Archive).
Watt and Lincoln co-produced and played on Bernie Schwartz’s solo album The Wheel, released on MGM in late 1969, which features a version of their song “Sunshine Woman” that had been on Euphoria’s Capitol LP.
Potter, Watt and Lincoln all continued in music into the early ’70s. For example, Potter and Watt played on Daniel Moore’s 1971 ABC album, and Watt played guitar on Dory Previn’s 1971 Mediarts album Mythical Kings and Iguanas.
Hamilton Wesley Watt, Jr. passed away on February 20, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.