Category Archives: North Carolina

The Teen-Beets and Words of Luv

The Teen-Beets, from left: Ken McGee, John McGee, George Samaras and Paul Doby
The Teen-Beets, from left: Ken McGee, John McGee, George Samaras and Paul Doby

The Teen-Beets of Winston-Salem, North Carolina released four fine records, the first three featuring original songs by vocalist and guitarist John McGee along with covers of Barbara Lynn’s “Oh Baby”.Drummer George Samaras sent in these cool photos and clippings and told me about the group:

The band was formed in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the end of 1964. The original line-up consisted of two brothers, John McGee (lead guitar & lead vocals) and Ken McKee (rhythm guitar & lead vocals). The two other band members were Paul Doby (bass guitar) and me – George Samaras (drums).

By the summer of ’65 we had recorded our first record at Arthur Smith’s studio in Charlotte, NC (“I Guess That’s Why You’re Mine” / “Not In Love With Me”) and released it on our own label, Chain Records. It received considerable local air play and reached #20 on one of the local radio stations top 40 list. Around this time we all dyed our hair bright red (as in Teen “Beets”) to attract attention. It worked!

Our second local release (“I Should Wait” / “Oh Baby”) was also recorded at Arthur Smith’s studio and released on Chain Records. Although it received considerable local air play it did not chart.

 Winston-Salem Journal, June 19, 1965, with hair stylist Bobby Todd
Winston-Salem Journal, June 19, 1965, with hair stylist Bobby Todd

We stuck with the bright red hair and high energy stage shows achieving local notoriety. We also had a change in the band membership. Paul, our bass player, was replaced by Stan Ratcliffe.

In early ’66 we traveled to Nashville, Tenn. and re-recorded “Not In Love With Me” and “I Should Wait” in Fred Foster’s Sound Studio for Tree Publishing Company. It was released on Dial Records under the name the “Beets” but quickly faded into obscurity.

 Opening for Roger Miller at Memorial Coliseum
Opening for Roger Miller at Memorial Coliseum
 Paramount booking Promo photo
Paramount booking Promo photo

Soon afterwards, management of the group was taken over by Pete Berry – a local DJ and program director better known as the Flying Dutchman. Under Dutch’s guidance we got rid of the red hair and changed our name to the “Words of Luv” and returned to the studio to record “I’d Have To Be Outta My Mind” / Tomorrow’s A Long Time”.

Dutch was able to get us signed with a booking agency in Washington, D.C. and also with Hickory Records for a four record deal. We went on the road playing up and down the east coast. Hickory Records released “I Have To Be Outta My Mind”. While the record received good reviews in Cashbox and Billboard magazines, it only received limited air play on the national scene.

In order to earn a living, Paramount kept us booked steady in real night clubs (usually a week or two at a time) which gave a break from doing one nighters all the time. Also, we would occasionally back up some of Paramount’s fading stars. We worked with Little Eva a few times, she had a national hit called “The Locomotion” about five years prior to that time. Whenever we were with her we were the Locomotives. Also, with Jimmy Jones a couple of times. Jimmy had two national hits a few years before that – “Handyman” was his first and then “Good Timing”. With Jimmy we were the Handymen.

The promotion picture of the “Words of Luv” has the name of the band misspelled – “Love” instead “Luv”. It was the printer’s mistake and Paramount Artists made them redo the entire order. Mistakes seemed to follow us around. When Hickory Records did the initial pressing of promotion copies for “I’d Have To Be Outta My Mind” they accidently put the plug side star on the flip side and starting sending it out to radio stations before they caught their mistake. Because of this, they had to do another promo pressing and start sending it out again.

Promo sheet showing later member “Fab” Foltz

We didn’t get all the way up to Montreal. We only toured on the U.S. side of the border and the closest we played to Canada was upstate New York. As I recall, the very first gig booked through Paramount Artists was in Massena, New York (right on the Canadian border). We traveled extensively up and down the eastern seaboard (north and south), but only as far north as New York. I guess “Montreal to Miami” just sounded good to whoever wrote that promo sheet. However, we did go just about everywhere in-between.

We did a few TV shows: Some local shows in North Carolina, a show called ‘Wing Ding” in Washington, D.C. and a syndicated show (taped in Maryland) called the “Kirby Scott Show”. We also played a lot of teenage night clubs, dances and auditorium shows.

We had a fifth band member for a short period of time on the road. His name was Doug Foltz (nick name: Fab). Fab played electric piano and also sang lead.

By the early Fall of 1967 the road was taking its toll and the band broke-up. Although we had recorded a few more songs, due to the band’s break-up, they were never released. They were independently produced by Flying Dutchman Enterprises and I don’t know whether or not they were ever turned over to Hickory Records. I’m sure those master tapes are long gone by now.

“I’d Have To Be Outta My Mind” was re-mastered and put on Garage Beat ’66 Vol. 1 three or four years ago. It was a CD released by Sundazed Records. Our local releases were put on Tobacco a Go Go (Blue Mold Records) several years back.

Even though I later played in a few other road bands, and still occasionally play locally on weekends, my fondest memories will always be of the Teenbeets.

One more thing – I came across an interview that Ken Friedman of Tobacco A Go Go did a little while back. He was relating the story of the Teenbeets as one of his favorite garage band stories. In the interview Ken said he had met one of the former band members back in the 1980’s and that person was now a Moravian minister after finding religion on the battlefield in Viet Nam. Ken misidentified that person as the drummer. In actuality it was Paul (our original bass player).

George Samaras
Review of Hickory 45 in Cash Box

Paramount booking card
back of Paramount booking card

Thank you to George Samaras for photos and scans.

Mike and the Dimensions

Mike and the Dimensions photo
Mike and the Dimensions, from left: Jim Phifer, Mike Malonee, Ken Taylor, John David Kitts, and Foster Braswell. Ken Taylor writes: “This was our first picture. We had those suits made and mine wasn’t finished in time for the photo shoot so I was the only one dressed differently. I painted the name on the bass drum with nail polish.”

Mike and the Dimensions 45 Little Latin Lupe LuKen Taylor gave me the history and photos of his first group, Mike and the Dimensions, also known as the simply the Dimensions, or the Fabulous Dimensions:

I was blown away to listen to “Little Latin Lupe Lu”. I haven’t heard it in 45 years! That is me singing and playing drums. We recorded it in one take with everyone playing live. No overdubs in those days! The guitars are horribly out of tune!

We recorded it at Frederick’s music store in Goldsboro before Doug [Farwig] joined the group. We only had 500 copies pressed and gave away most of those. We did manage to sell a few and they played it a few times on the local radio station WGBR.

We were called Mike and the Dimensions then and had a guy named Mike Malloney [Malonee] on guitar. The song “Why” was actually written by Mike with input from the rest of the band. Mike was moody and hard to work with. We replaced him with Doug after Mike broke a friend’s guitar at rehearsal one day.

Doug had been playing with another group called the Cobras at the time. They were more of a “surf” band and we were more “beach music” and R&B. We opened the first rock club in the area in an old abandoned county jail and called it “the Bastille”. I was still in high school at the time and we had studied Bastille Day which is where we got the name. We were the house band and also booked all the top Beach music groups to play there. The Embers performed there many times. We were just kids and had our own club! Pretty amazing at the time!

Doug Farwig’s Dad was our manager. He was so cool, he loaned us the money ($200.00) to buy our ’51 Cadillac hearse which was a party on wheels!

We used to go see the Counts IV at the teen club on Seymour Johnson Air Force base and wanted to be just like them. They wore black turtle neck shirts, tight jeans and Beatle boots and we thought they were the coolest thing we had ever seen! We started to play more rock and would go to their rehearsals to learn from them. I was the drummer and Chico taught me a lot!

We got Doug in the band and had a guy named Bill Stroud from a band called “The Spectaculars” on piano for a while. He was one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever known but … he would show up late or sometimes not at all so we had to let him go too.

We hired a local singer named Scotty Todd and started getting real popular, playing fraternity parties and other venues across the state. Meanwhile, Joe Booher quit the Counts IV and they broke up. Al and Chico went back to N.Y. We hooked up with Don Roof who had a bunch of gigs already booked to form the new Counts IV which later became the Inexpensive Handmade Look.

Ken Taylor

Click here for more on the Count IV and their later incarnation as the Inexpensive Handmade Look.

Thanks to Debbie Daniels for correcting the ID of the top photo above with David Kitts’ name.

The Dimensions: Jim Phifer, Foster Braswell, Ken Taylor, Doug Farwig and Scottie Todd.
The Dimensions, standing left to right: Jim Phifer, Foster Braswell and Ken Taylor, seated: Doug Farwig and Scottie Todd.

Mike and the Dimensions, Goldsboro Hi News October 1965

The Monarks

Here’s an obscure 45 by a band out of North Carolina.

“Gonna Miss Me Girl” has a cool, dense garage sound and a crude guitar solo. The original a-side, “I’m Gonna Be Glad” is kind of a blue-eyed soul number. Chuck Eatman wrote both songs. I believe Chuck is still active in music with his own band in Greenville.

The Monarks recorded at Sound City Studios in Bailey, North Carolina, about 10 miles west of Wilson. This is the same studio that the Challengers would record “Moon Send My Baby” a few years later, and also where the Kallabash Corp recorded their LP.

Clear Blue Sky

Even years after first posting about the Clear Blue Sky, I haven’t been able to find much info about the band.

“Morning of Creation” is a mystical psychedelic number by John Kessler, with dense harmonies and a finely-wrought guitar solo.

The never-before-comped flip “Ugly Girl” is cruder, with the interesting refrain “There’s a place / behind that face / for a girl.” It was written by Douglas Hardie (D.E. Hardie on the 45 label).

Like other Romat 45s this was recorded at Pitt Sound Studios, located northwest of Greenville, on the way to Falkland.

Thanks to Carroll Jenkins for the label photo of “Morning of Creation” and transfer of “Ugly Girl”, and to Ken Friedman of Tobacco a Go Go, for the transfer of “Morning of Creation” and info about the Romat label.

Romat and Pitt Records discographies

Pitt Records was one of the labels for Pitt Sound Studios, located northwest of Greenville, on the way to Falkland. I believe the studio is still there, though under different ownership. The most notable song cut at Pitt Sound Studios was the O’Kaysions “Girl Watcher”, though the original label was North State.

Pitt Records had a number of gospel releases, a couple of country singles by Larry Anderson, and garage cuts by the Inspirations and the Empalas. I’d like to know more about the Royal Charmers, which I’ve read is garage.

Romat Records was owned Roy Matthews, now deceased. He was a DJ and barber from Robersonville, north of Greenville. All of the Romat releases were recorded at Pitt Sound.

One source told me Roy sang on the 45 by the Forbes Brothers on Pitt, “Arkansas Jail” / “Idaho Red” which included members who went on to the Supergrit Cowboy Band. Roy’s daughter says that was incorrect, and the label seems to bear this out, with lead vocals by Ola Forbes, Jr. That 45, like most of the Pitt and Romat releases was produced by Carl Lineberger, with publishing by Roy Matthews Music.

Pitt discography:
any help with this would be appreciated

Pitt 657 – Larry Anderson – “On The Losing End” / “After You Leave”
Pitt 658 – Royal Charmers – “Hey Girl” (Greg Williamson) / “Midnight Hour”
Pitt 659 – Summitts – “On My Knee’s” (David Erdman) / “Mercy, Mercy”
Pitt 661 – The Singing Spiritual Heirs (Bill Harris and Lloyd Adams) – “A Higher Mansion” / “I Need A Blessing” / “One More Valley” / “Cast Your Cares Upon The Master”
Pitt 662 – Forbes Brothers featuring Ola Forbes, Jr. – “Arkansas Jail” / “Idaho Red”
Pitt 665 – Larry Anderson – “Memories of the Past” (Vernal Gaskins) / “Absent Without Leave” (produced by Patrick Woodard)
Pitt 667 – The Inspirations – “Loving Man” / “I Had You Always”
Pitt 669 – The Empalas – “Girls, Girls, Girls” / “Gentle On My Mind”
Pitt 670 – Elder Lanier and the Zion Travelers – “Yes I Know” (N.L. Lanier) / “Christmas Gift”
Pitt 675 – Terry Carraway – “Put Your Hand In The Hand” / Deborah Wooten – “Reach Out to Jesus”
Pitt 678 – Robert Fuller and the Southern Spirituals – “It Won’t Be This Way (Always)” / “Thinking Of A Friend” (Andrew Herring)
Pitt 680 – Waterside Male Chorus – “Wave On The Water” / “I Know The Lord Will Make A Way”
Pitt 682 (?) – The Uptighters featuring Tyron Green – “Smoke” / “I Need Some Magic”
Pitt 11197 – Dan Marshburn – “Disc Jockey’s Last Show” / “Round and Around”

Is the Summitts release the same group with the 45 from 1970, “I Can’t Get Over Losing You” (Joe Tate) on Dontee? That was supposed to be a DC group.

PSS-LP 1006 – The Gospeletts – Hand in Hand, recorded at Pitt Sound Studio Greenville, NC; Roy Matthews Audio Engineer.

Romat discography:

Romat 1001 – The Sound System – Take A Look At Yourself / Serenade
Romat 1002 – The Soul Twisters – Swingin’ on a Grapevine / Soul Fever
Romat 1003 – The Scotsmen – Down and Out / A Groovy Place
Romat 1004 – The Soul Twisters – Doing Our Dance / If It Takes A Year
Romat 1005 – Clear Blue Sky – Morning of Creation / Ugly Girl

Thanks to Doug Pickette for the sleeve to the Scotsmen 45, below. Doug tells me the lead guitarist was Harold Stephens, and the keyboardist was Wilbur Weeks (RIP), who ran a music store in Scotland Neck, NC.

Check out my earlier posts on the Sound System the Soul Twisters, and the Clear Blue Sky.

Thanks to Ken Friedman of Tobacco a Go Go for info about the Romat label, to Brad Hufford for info on the Gospelettes album and to Lightnin’ Wells for filling in many of the gaps in the Pitt Records discography.

Huckleberry Mudflap

At the Woodland Armory, February 21, 1970

Several people have requested I post the songs of Huckleberry Mudflap, a band from the North Carolina coastal town of Beaufort.

Jerry Lewis had this information about the group:

I was in high school with the band members (East Carteret High School, Beaufort, NC). They were together from 1969-1972. Most popular song was “Blue Surf.”

Jimmy Amspacher, drums
Clinton Nelson, lead guitar
Morris Willis, rhythm guitar
Donnie Vrooks, bass

The band split up when their main songwriter and lead singer found Jesus and went off to sing in choirs instead of doing rock n roll. In fact, the church where Clinton Nelson has been pastor for over a decade was recently struck by lightening and burned to the ground [article here].

Clinton Nelson wrote Blue Surf (credited to H.C. Nelson). Michael D. Collins wrote Goodnight Mrs. Kollendoffer and co-produced the record with B. Martin.

Special thanks to Jay Jenkins of for sending the poster at the top and to Jeff Lemlich for the scans and transfers of the 45.

The Counts IV and the Inexpensive Handmade Look

The Counts IV circa early 1966, from left: Al Peluso, Rick Turner, Joe Booher, Don Roof.

There’s more to the Counts IV than I originally thought. Don Roof was sixteen when he started his first band The Little Boppers in Goldsboro, NC, southeast of Raleigh. Don was stocking vending machines at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base just outside Goldsboro when he met three musicians stationed at the base: Rick Turner, Joe Booher, and Al Peluso and together they formed the Counts IV.

The original Counts IV were Don Roof – vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica; Joe Booher – lead guitar, vocals; Al Peluso – bass, vocals; and Rick Turner – drums. Their competition around the Goldsboro area came from the Spectaculars, with Bill Stroud on sax.

They were regarded as having the British invasion sound down, which is apparent on “Lost Love”, the breezy B-side of their first 45. The A-side, “Listen to Me” stands out with its vocal trills and purposefully dissonant harmonies. Melodically it sounds sort of like an adaption of Larry Williams’ “Slow Down”. “Listen to Me” was written by Joseph Booher, and “Lost Love” by Albert A. Peluso.

This is one of the earlier releases on Raleigh DJ Jimmy Capps’ JCP label, which would date it to approximately late 1965 or early 1966. It came with a picture sleeve, occasionally done for JCP releases like the Invaders’ “(You Really) Tear Me Up” and a Dayv Butler 45. The group is listed as the Counts Four on the sleeve, but the JCP label and their next 45 both refer to them as the Counts IV.

The band replaced Rick Turner with Enrique Pacheco (‘Chico’), and toured from South Carolina up to New York. They played many shows at the Round Table in Washington D.C. and for a time were the house band at the Cavalier Club in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Their second 45, “Spoonful” / “Where Are You” was recorded in New York and came out on the CBS subsidiary Date in 1966. “Spoonful” is an adaption of the Willie Dixon song, while “Where Are You” is an upbeat original by Donald Roof with some odd female backing vocals.

Around late ’66 or early ’67 the Counts IV recorded two songs at a D.C. studio that went unreleased at the time and are now available on a Sundazed 7″. One is a cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, but the other is a very interesting original by Don Roof called “Discussion Of The Unorthodox Council”.

This turns out to be the same song as “What Good Is Up”, a great track released under the name The Inexpensive Handmade Look on Brunswick in August of 1968. In fact I’m almost positive it’s the same take, though the Brunswick 45 has serious amounts of echo and effects added to the performance. I wonder if someone at Brunswick retitled the song, which doesn’t quite match up with the lyrics. The Brunswick label lists Ben Mullarkey, Mike Divilion and Mike Kelly as producers. It’s backed with “Ice Cream Man”, another Donald Roof composition.

What place is up if fate has no eyes?
What smile is happiness if hate lingers on?
What word is truth if evil holds on?
What lives are lived if this […?]

What motion is man if Satan holds on?
What is right? – ah, who can tell?

But I know the truth is written … if you look for it.

What cries are heard if people can’t see?
What sins are left if everything’s wrong?
What skies are up if all roads lead down?
What ships can sail if seas have all dried?

What left is death if people don’t live?
What are we, if the world does not turn?

But I know the truth is written … if you look for it!

There were personnel changes around this time, as Doug Farwig replaced Al Peluso.

Bassist Doug Farwig wrote in about his time with the group:

I was a member of The Inexpensive Hand Made Look. Ha! What a name.

I was very good friends with the Counts IV. I actually joined the Counts IV in Washington DC after their bass player Al left the band during a fight at one of their rehearsals. I had just left my North Carolina band “The Fabulous Dimensions”, also out of Goldsboro, NC and had gone to DC to visit The Counts IV who were playing in a Georgetown club called “The Round Table” when their little spat happened and I just so happened to be there.

They all turned to me at once and said “Doug, how would you like to play bass in our band”. I didn’t know what to say at first because I was a guitar player. I didn’t have any bass type equipment or anything. They talked me into it and off we went to Washington Music to make my big purchase. The rest is history so to speak, because I’ve been a bass player ever since.

I now live just outside of Orlando, Fl in one of the suburbs called Longwood and have been here since 1970. During that time, I have played in many bands the best of which was a group called “The Gatton Gang” in the mid 1970’s. That was a very good band and we toured with it thoughout most of the easten part of the country.

I still see and am now recording with the keyboard player (Kibby Gary) and the guitar player (Rick Warsing). Both are excellent palyers and they both have remained active in the business while I only play part time. I started my own construction conpany which is still active now.

Why no mention of “The Embers” from Raleigh? They were fabulous and even had their own strings of dinner clubs through out the state. We would run into them all over the place. Sometimes in Virginia at some frat house were they would be playing next door or as openers for some of the big shows that would come though our area from time to time.

Another one is “The Villagers”. They had their own Saturday morning TV show based out of Charlotte. They were a big band with about 9 pieces and had a guy and a gal out front that were very good. The Inexpensive Hand Made Look actually played on one of their TV shows.

Ken Taylor, drummer for Mike and the Dimensions, told me the story of how he joined the Counts IV:

Doug Farwig and I had played together in The Dimensions … We used to go see the Counts IV at the teen club on Seymour Johnson Air Force base and wanted to be just like them. They wore black turtle neck shirts, tight jeans and “Beatle boots” and we thought they were the coolest thing we had ever seen! We idolized the Counts IV and traveled with them as roadies when they opened for the Dave Clark 5. They also opened for the Zombies and I’ll never forget Chico teaching me how the drummer played the opening lick on “She’s Not There”.

Joe Booher quit the Counts IV and they broke up. Al and Chico went back to New York. We hooked up with Don Roof who had a bunch of gigs already booked to form the new Counts IV which later became the Inexpensive Handmade Look. Joe joined us for a while and we called ourselves the Counts IV but changed the name after Joe quit again.

Chico came to play with us and I was the front man. Chico quit after a while to return to his family in N.Y. and I went back on drums. I am the guy singing on “Ice Cream Man” with Inexpensive Handmade Look. When we went to N.Y. to record “Ice Cream Man” I’m pretty sure the producer was the same guy that the Counts IV had worked with and he decided to put their song on the flip side. I think they added the effects to try to make it more psychedelic.

We added another guitarist named Bill Collins also known as Mojo Collins who is still playing around North Carolina to this day.

After Doug Farwig left IHL, Don Roof and I formed a new band called Strange Brew with some guys we had met in Atlanta, GA and started playing in clubs down there. We met this guy named Jeff Lee who was a local pot dealer with connections in L.A. He supposedly got us booked at the Whiskey A Go Go and we pooled our meager funds and headed West.

We drove across the country in a Chevy van with five guys and all our equipment. When we got to L.A. we quickly found out there was no gig. We managed to find a job three doors down from the Whiskey at a bar called the Galaxy. One night this guy came in and invited us to an after hours party at the Hollywood Landmark hotel. He turned out to be Shep Gordon and offered to manage our band. He said he had a group from Phoenix that he was handling who were starving but that he believed were going to be very successful. That band turned out to be Alice Cooper and Shep is still Alice’s manager today.

We decided not to take him up on the offer (big mistake!) and a few days later we broke up after someone stole our lead player’s guitars. His name is Spencer Kirkpatrick and he was so bummed he flew back to Atlanta the next day. He later signed with Capricorn records and formed a band named Hydra.

Don went back to Atlanta and I went to D.C. where I literally ran into Doug Farwig walking down the street. That’s when he offered me the job with Wild Honey. Their drummer had left so they hired me and we had a house gig at the Bayou in Georgetown, six hours a night, six nights a week making $200.00 a week. That was a really good band with great vocals but a lot of ego problems. Once again the band broke up and I went to London, England to play and record with Denny Laine (Moody Blues, Wings).

After freezing and starving in England, I returned to D.C. and worked with some local bands before moving to San Francisco and hooking back up with Mojo and his band Initial Shock. We played at the famous Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms and opened for Santana, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and many other bands.

Ken Taylor

Ken’s stories of his time in London and San Francisco will be continued in a later article.

The Counts IV in 1969, from left to right, top: Mike Fowler, Don Roof and Mike Malonee bottom: Billy Merritt and Danny (surname?)

I presumed the group broke up sometime after the Inexpensive Handmade Look 45 but in fact Don Roof continued the band as the Counts IV with different musicians. Mike Malonee wrote to me about this lineup and sent in the photo above:

I first saw the Counts IV at the Teen Club on Seymour Johnson AFB in 1965. I was totally impressed with their look and the great British sound they were producing. I can clearly remember hearing Don Roof knock out “Twist & Shout” and thinking, that’s as good or better than The Beatles! They were very professional and an extremely tight group. I followed this group throughout the mid to late 60’s.

I was 15 years old when I formed a band call “Mike and the Dimensions” in 1965, which included Ken Taylor on drums and lead vocals. I had only been playing guitar for a year and [was] very immature. I was later replaced by Doug Farwig who I considered to be a solid guitar player and later became an even better bassist with the Counts IV.

I played in rather good band that I’d formed in Goldsboro called The Chosen Few and we won the local battle of the bands in 1968. We also opened for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs in 1967. We were all just teenagers then and were living large. Then I grew up and tried to make a living at playing in a band. Big surprise! You can starve doing that!

In 1969, long after the original Counts IV had broken up, Don Roof replaced the original members with some younger, less talented musicians and performed under the name Counts IV. I was asked to join the group as second guitar and lead vocalist.

Don Roof was playing keyboard during this period. The other three [were] Mike Fowler (Blues), Billy Merrit, and the black dude I only remember as Danny. This version of the Counts IV lasted less than one year.

W. Michael Malonee

Rick Turner (Robert Ward Turner) passed away some years ago in Tampa, Florida. Tragically, lead guitarist Joe Booher committed suicide in 1971. Enrique Pacheco (Chico) passed away in July 2007. Don Roof currently plays with The Back Alley Band in the Manassas and Fairfax area of Virginia.

One request – if anyone has photos of the group please contact me.

Update: I’m sorry to report that Don Roof passed away on April 8, 2016 at the age of 73. Don was the primary song writer for the band.

The Si-Dells

Hubert Deans was organ player for the Durham, North Carolina band the Si-Dells in 1968, when they recorded his song “Watch Out Mother” for the East Coast Sound label, produced by Don Scoggins.

Hubert gives the history of the band in his own words:

The Si-Dells was the first “real” band I was in. In those days bands would typically reorganize in the summer, due to people going off to college.

The Si-Dells were started by:
Keith Thompson on guitar
John Thomson on drums
Lee James on guitar

They advertised in the Durham Herald-Sun for an organ player. That’s where I came in and brought a bass player named Joe Kirschner.

Charlie Clark joined last to play sax. However, Charlie played piano on both sides of the the record – no sax.

Side A was a sappy love song called “She’s The Only Girl For Me”, nothing like “Watch Out Mother”.

The record was recorded “live” in a studio that was built and run by a HVAC contractor. It was a converted corner of his warehouse. It was located at the intersection of 751 and HWY 70 across the street from Jacobs glass.

The record was actually the second recording of the song. The first (and probably better) version was lost by the pressing plant. We were called at around 3pm one Saturday and told to come back in and re-record it. We did and still managed to make our gig later that night.

I left the Si-Dells to join the Bondsmen. I replaced Gene Galligan in the Bondsmen when he went off to college. We (Bondsmen) recorded several tapes but never released anything else.

Q. Listening to the lyrics closely, is Watch Out Mother about a nuclear winter?

No, it’s just about the “natural” end of the world. It was the result of a homework assignment in the tenth grade. The teacher told us to choose a poem by Robert Frost and write one of our own, similar to the one we picked. It was easier for me to write a song and then use the lyrics as a poem. The big news story at the time was a cold spell all across the country, sub zero in the midwest and even in single digits here in NC. It sort of inspired me to go in that direction.

Plus, there was a TV commercial at the time about margarine featuring Mother Nature. The narrator tries to fool mother nature into thinking it’s butter. She ends up causing thunder and lightning and saying “it’s not nice to fool mother nature”. I guess the song was just a product of what was going on in my life at the time. Or maybe a premonition about the greenhouse effect we are seeing now.

After the Bondsmen, I joined a group called “Daze End” which later changed names to Still Creek Band and in 1974 released “Can I Move You”, an international release on MCA. We were pick hit of the week in the UK and Japan, but never sold enough records to amount to anything – no chart action. It’s so bizarre to me that the first thing I ever did seems to be stirring up the most notoriety.

Keith Thompson went on to play with Staircase Band and is still in Durham. His brother John is still around too, I believe, though I haven’t seen him in a while.

Lee James worked for IBM and I haven’t seen him since the 80s. If he’s still around it would probably be in Raleigh. Charlie worked for IBM also. Don’t know what ever happened to him. Joe Kirschner left the state with his family before we graduated from high school (’69). Haven’t heard from him since.

Thanks to Hubert for sharing the history of the band, and for the scan of the 45. Hubert runs the Snow Hill Music recording studio in Hillsborough.