Category Archives: Springfield

Tonky Tomson, David & the Boys-Next-Door, and Skipper Records

Tonky Tomson Skipper 45 On My WaySkipper Records came from Springfield, Missouri and released at least eight singles in 1965-1966 before folding. It was a creation of Si Siman, a promoter, manager and part-owner (along with Ralph Foster and John B. Mahaffey) of Earl Barton Music, Inc., which published most of the songs featured on the Skipper label.

Everything I’ve heard on the label is snappy and well-produced. Half are upbeat country but there are two rock singles and a couple r&b. The releases by Tonky Tomson and David & the Boys-Next-Door are notable for featuring the earliest work of two men who would go on to have huge successes in the music industry.

Siman Launches Skipper Label Billboard, October 2, 1965
Skipper Records announced, October 2, 1965

Tonky Tomson seems to be a pseudonym for Wayne Thompson, who wrote both “On My Way” and “I’ve Been in Love”, and probably sings on this single from October, 1965. I’d say he was listening to a lot of Hollies at the time. I wonder who was the lead guitarist on these tracks, as he did excellent work, with the country tinge that the Beatles and other groups were starting to reach for.

Wayne Carson Thompson is much better known as Wayne Carson, who would write “The Letter” a couple years after his time at Skipper and go on to write many other hits. Wayne Carson died on July 20, 2015.

David And The Boys-Next-Door Skipper 45 Land O' LoveWayne Thompson also wrote the A-side of David and the Boys-Next-Door catchy party song “Land O’ Love”, and co-write “If I Was King” with David Kershenbaum, the leader of the group.

In 1967 David and the Boys Next Door released a second single on Del-Ray Records of Poplar Bluff, MO, “It Ain’t No Use” / “Spring Fever”, both originals by David Kershenbaum published by Earl Barton. I’ve heard the A-side and it’s good pop, with a nice guitar hook. David Kershenbaum had a solo single on Capitol Records in 1968, “White Velvet Cat” / “Forbidden”, both written by Bobby Lile. Kershenbaum would go on to a successful career as a producer starting in the 1970s.

Steve Sanders would sing “Land of Love” for a single on MGM 13475, a single I haven’t heard yet.

David And The Boys-Next-Door Skipper 45 If I Was King

Skipper Records discography (probably incomplete – any help with this would be appreciated)

Labels for Skipper are gold with black print with the exception of the Clint Harrison 45. Some list Radio TV Bldg, Springfield, MO as the address, and the 828 prefix on these indicates their account with RCA custom pressings.

Skipper 828R-0773/4 – Lewie & the 7 Days – “Night Train” / “What You Never Had”

Skipper 828R-1240 – David and the Boys-Next-Door – “Land O’ Love” (Wayne Thompson)/ “If I Was King” (Kershenbaum & Wayne Thompson) (SK4M-1240/1)

Skipper 828S-1241 – Truman-Lankford – “Arkansas Man” / “Here-Comes-Heaven-Again” (both by Truman Lankford, Jim James, Prod. M.A. Box)

Skipper 828R-1408/9 – Tonky Tomson – “On My Way” / “I’ve Been in Love” (both Wayne Thompson, SK4M-1408)

Skipper 828R-2735 – Wavie Self – “Kentucky” (Prichard) / “These Words” (SK4M-2736)

Skipper 828R-5695 – Lewie & the 7 Days – “You’ve Been Cheatin on Me” (L. Taylor) / “You’re the Reason” (T4KM-5695)

Skipper 828R-6255 Clint Harrison – “Record in My Album” (Eppright) / “Thirteen to Nineteen” (T4KM-6255, red label)

Skipper 828R-7917 – Don Clements w. Anita Kerr Group vocal background – “Made in the U.S.A.” (Ronnie Self) / “My Conscience Knows” (S4KM-7917)

Tonky Tomson Skipper 45 I've Been in Love

The Esquires

The Esquires at Parkview High School, from the ’66 yearbook.
L-R (not certain): John Jacobsen, Mike Fielder, Rick Davidson and Mark Morton.

There were many bands that called themselves the Esquires. This group came from Springfield, Missouri.

John Jacobsen wrote all the songs I’m featuring here. He was the only member I could identify until someone sent in the two photos featured here. The other members may have included Mike Fielder on bass, Mark Morton on guitar, and Rick Davidson on drums, with Bill DeLange from the Artificial Flowers replacing Mark Morton at some point. The person who sent the photos also remembered David Kershenbaum substituting for a sick band member on guitar at a Parkview High School dance.

Their first 45, “She’s My Woman” is good rocking fare. Somehow this ended up on Dot records in October of 1966; I presume it had a local release but I’m not sure of that. I haven’t heard the flip yet, called “Misfortune”.

The A-side of their second 45 is “Summer Nights”, a poppy song with horns.

Their greatest moment to my mind is “Settle Down”, the b-side to “Summer Nights”. It’s a beautifully composed song with a perfect balance between the instruments and the group’s fine harmonies. The strong vocal lines remind me of the Jefferson Airplane’s first LP, while the Byrds may have inspired the guitar solo. Released in July of 1967, the Scratch label lists the address as Radio-TV Bldg., Springfield.

Mike Morton, Mark Morton’s younger brother, played in a later band from the area, the Lavender Hill Mob.

Thanks to the person who anonymously contributed the photos and description of the band.

Taken from Springfield’s Community Free Press, August 2, 2006.