The Incrowd came from Hillsboro, Ohio, close to 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Members were:
Larry Zuggs – vocals Randy Applegate – guitar Paul “Bud” Long – guitar Charles Murphy – organ Mike Waddell – bass Jay Cooper – drums
Circa 1965 they traveled to Dayton’s Mega-City Studio to record their only single, featuring an overwrought soul ballad “Keep It” on the A-side. Most listeners now prefer the frantic and distorted “Set Me Free” on the flip. Both songs were supposedly written at the recording session!
Instead of release on Mega-City’s in-house Pixie label, or on the standard Prism label, they were given the plain b&w Prism package plan for their pressing of 500 copies. Other bands on this 3000 custom series included the Senators and the Warbucks.
The Stairway to the Stars came from the Pittsburgh area, but cut this 45 for the Brite-Star label out of Newberry, Ohio, near Cleveland. Newberry is only a couple hours from Pittsburgh, but the labels indicate a Nashville base.
One side has a moody, echoing vocal, “Cry”, written by Tom Sellosi and Dave Benard. The intensity grows for the short recitation at the end.
On the flip is “Dry Run” a great instrumental featuring a lot of tremolo on the guitar, a strong three note riff that sounds like a keyboard more than guitar, and a long and dissonant middle section for the lead break. Phil Dirt pointed out the similarity of the opening melody to the Vistas “No Return” on Tuff, but the Stairway to the Stars really expand on that theme in the rest of the song.
John Barbero produced the 45. The Rite account number is 728 and the release numbers are 17909 (“Dry Run”) / 17910 (“Cry”), released in September or October 1966.
The Library of Congress has a registration for “Cry” from September 12, 1966, to David Benard and Thomas Sollosi. The “Dry Run” label lists T.R. Sollosi, but this song wasn’t registered.
Teen Beat Mayhem indicates this came with a picture sleeve, which I’ve never seen. Anyone have a scan of it?!
On 45 cat, DeadWax suggest the band could have been from Monongahela, outside of Pittsburgh.
The Continentals cut two fratty originals, “Rufus Rastas” / “Donna” on Tortoise Records. I found a copy with an inscription on the “Rufus Rastas” label “First copy to Jim McKee, Oct. 12, 1965 … Joe Doll, President, Tortoise Records”.
I wrote to Mr. Doll and he while he didn’t recall Jim McKee, he replied,
I was president (and janitor, too!) of Tortoise Records. I began college at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 1963, then transferred to U. of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1966 to complete my Electrical Engineering degree.
I most likely met the Continentals when they were entertaining at one of the numerous fraternity/sorority parties in Delaware. Too bad, I have no recollection or documentation of the band members. I do remember the general parameters of the recording session with The Continentals, at the WSLN studios in Delaware, OH, north of Columbus. I also remember thinking at the time that their “Rufus Rastas” made a pretty good side. I don’t think we did a test pressing, so what you found was probably the top copy in the shipment from the pressing factory.
When it was over, they departed with their box of pressings and we had no further contact.
Tortoise Records was named for the very first band on the label, the Turtles, with their “Pungfoo Watusi” from 1964:
“Pungfoo Watusi” was the not-very-carefully-conceived B side of “Pungfoo”. It was the first record I produced.
“Pungfoo” originated with me and some fraternity brothers fooling around with a piano, sax, and drum set in the parlor of our fraternity house. We whimsically called ourselves Tuggy and the Turtles. The original title and lyric was “Fungu”. It was a made-up word, but someone thought that meant something bad in another language. One unreleased recording is “Fungu” recorded on cheap equipment in the fraternity house.
The record was taped at Fortune Studios in Detroit. I played piano, whistled, and hollered into some sort of trash can. Jim Guiness played saxophone. Our usual drummer, “Tuggy,” could not make it, so we picked up a drummer in Detroit. That’s why the group name is just The Turtles. A couple others assisted with clapping, which I believe we overdubbed.
I had done some work for the [Fortune] studio the previous summer, and they allowed me to use it without charge. I didn’t do a lot of work there, just came in to help them adjust and maintain their equipment from time to time.
Frank Uhle, who took on the project to do a 50th Anniversary re-release of the Beau Biens record, at one time contemplated a vinyl album that would contain some unreleased material. I have about a half hour of covers recorded by the Mark V, a pretty good rock band that played fraternity/sorority parties at Ohio Wesleyan. I recorded them in the WSLN studios, like the Continentals. There was an outfit called the Crystal Set Radio Band for whom I taped several tunes, originals I believe, in the WCBN studios. Ken Phillips, a U of M student, recorded with a small group a couple of tunes he had written and had them pressed as a demo record.
Joe Doll would become a DJ at WCBN at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he would record the Aftermath and the Beau Biens on Malibu Records. For more info please look at Joe’s website.
Tortoise Records discography:
Tortoise T 64001 – Turtles “Pungfoo” / “Pungfoo Watusi” (both by Joe Doll)
The Nomads are an unknown band as far as I can tell. They released their only single in June, 1967. It was probably recorded at the Athena Movie Theater in Athens, Ohio. The band came from Sylvania, Ohio, near Toledo, a good 220 miles from Athens.
“I Need Your Love” is stellar 12-string harmony rock, with an interesting middle section. It was written by Rae and Radabaugh and published by B-W Music, Inc. BMI.
“Willow Wind” is a Kingston Trio cover; the Nomads version is a favorite of some teen doo-wop fans.
Gary Rhamy produced the 45. Discotech was his label and also released the Last Exit’s “It’s The Same The Whole World Over” and the Sands ov Tyme.
Credited as a WilMat-Rhamy Production, his partners were Willis Parker and engineer Bob Matthews.
Gary Rhamy became chief engineer of United Audio in Youngstown, which he renamed Peppermint Productions Recording Studio in the early ’70s.
There were a number of groups called the Villagers around the country, but these Villagers came from Dayton and cut only one record, the endearing garage original “He’s Not the Same” b/w the melancholy “Sunshine My Way”.
Released on Hamlet Records V-1000 in 1968, the Villagers are a mystery other than the info on the labels: authors J. Mills and M. Copp, publishing by Counterpart Music, BMI, the code 813L which was Counterpart Records account number with RCA custom pressings, and W4KM-6004/5 (indicating a RCA custom pressing from the first half of 1968).
Library of Congress copyright records give one name, Janis R. Mills, who copyrighted “He’s Not the Same” on January 5, 1968, and “Sun, Shine My Way” (notice the different rendering of the title) on May 20, 1968. M. Copp is not in these copyright listings.
BMI’s database lists Janice Mills and Michael Copp. The spelling of her name as Janice certainly is a mistake on BMI’s part, as BMI attributes two recent country songs by Janice S. Mills from Alabama to the author of “He’s Not the Same”. It wouldn’t be unlike BMI to conflate two similar names.
Strangely, BMI lists “He’s Not the Same” and “Sunshine My Way” as registered to Piagneri Music in Astoria, NY, even though Counterpart Music is still active in Cincinnati.
I can find no listings or articles on the band from that time, so it’s possible they were not even a semi-professional band or one that would play battle-of-the-bands. Maybe Janis Mills wrote these songs and brought them to the attention of Counterpart, which had Michael Copp arrange them with some local group or musicians.
Long rumored to be from Dayton, the What Four were actually from the Cincinnati area, namely the suburbs of Williamsburg and Bethel.
An April 1966 article in the Teen-Ager section of the Enquirer profiled the band:
Although the Greater Cincinnati area boasts hundreds of talented rock ‘n roll groups, only one, the “What Four,” claims a teacher among its members. Twenty-four-year-old Jim Hoerr, who teaches Latin, English and mathematics at Williamsburg High is rhythm and lead guitarist.
Jim Hoerr started rehearsing with student bass player Larry Malott. With Frank Johnson of Madeira High School on drums, they formed a trio called the Noblemen.
When guitarist Roy Jordan of Bethel High joined in 1965, the band became the What Four.
The What Four did well in a battle of the bands sponsored by WONE in Dayton, the prize was a free recording session. They cut two original songs, “Do You Believe” by Jim Hoerr, and “Whenever” by Jim Hoerr and Frank Johnson. The single was released on the Box label, with the band probably paying for the pressing if not the studio time.
I can find no further mention of the band after their April 1966 profile. Teen-Ager published the photo of another What Four in December 1966, a completely different group from Taft High School in Hamilton, Ohio to the north of Cincinnati.
That group was Dave Bowman on bass, Larry Combs on vocals and guitar, Tim Neff on drums and Tom Savage on lead guitar.
The Epics came from Brookhaven High School in Columbus, Ohio. Warren Knox, Jim Miller and Michael Richards wrote the great A-side, “White Collar House” which refers to some kind of upscale nightspot, whether a dance club or bordello I can’t decide as the lyrics are vague. The band’s performance is a stand-out, and Musicol Recording Studio did a good job recording it.
Library of Congress records show copyright registered on May 1966 to Warren Knox, James Miller, and Mike Richards (Michael Kirk Richards). The band was a quintet but I don’t know who the other two members were.
Michael Richards wrote the gloomier b-side, “She Believe In Me”, and also arranged both sides. S. Graves produced the session.
It’s the only release I know of on the Dolphin label, which Buckeye Beat suggests was tied in with the Blue Dolphin Club for teens. There is a rare picture sleeve which I don’t own that shows the photo at the top, with a blank back.
The Cavaliers, often listed as from Tennessee, were actually from Middletown, Ohio, a town roughly halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati.
Roger McIntosh – lead guitar Jim Wenzel – rhythm guitar Jim Brandon – organ Walter Johnson – bass Ted Lovelace – drums
Two of the band were students at Middletown High, one was a freshman at Miami University, while the Cavaliers’ drummer and rhythm guitarist were in Junior High!
The group won a battle of the bands at Fantasy Farm, a kids amusement park next to the larger Americana Amusement Park in Middletown, that led to their recording their single on Style.
The Cincinnati Enquirer profiled the band on the same day they were in a Memphis studio, Saturday, September 16, 1967:
“The boys are in Memphis, Tenn. today to cut their first record for Style Productions.”
“Turn Your Leaf” is excellent pop, I’ve only heard it on a youtube video which has since been taken down. If anyone has a good quality recording, please contact me.
I haven’t heard the flip, “W.F. 67” described by Teenbeat Mayhem as a “military tempo instro”. Roger McIntosh wrote both songs.
Style Record Productions was one of Style Wooten’s many labels, and Pretty Girl Music BMI was one of his publishing companies. Mellow’s Log Cabin has an interesting biography of Style Wooten, along with extensive discographies for his record labels.
The Cavaliers from Middletown do not sound quite like the group of that name from Washington Court House, Ohio, who cut “You Are My Sunshine” b/w “Unchained Melody” for the Sound label.
The Enquirer article mentioned a few groups also competing at Fantasy Farm:
“Other bands reaching the finals of the contest were The Endeavors of Forest Park, The Crickets from Hamilton, The Guardian Angels of Urbana, The Mice and the English Gentlemen, both from Dayton.”
I’m not aware of any recordings by those groups, though given the Memphis connection, it’s possible the Mice are the same group that recorded “Think It Over” / “Norweigan Wood” for Bootheel Records, part of Fernwood.