Category Archives: Cleveland

The Stairway to the Stars on Brite-Star

Stairway To The Stars Brite-Star 45 Dry Run

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.

Info on Brite-Star came from the 45rpm Records site.

Stairway To The Stars Brite-Star 45 Cry

The Bushmen, War Babies and Euphoria

Euphoria Capitol LP A Gift From Euphoria

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 Dimension 45 What I Have I'll Give to YouThe 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”.

Teenage Rebellion aka Mondo TeenoPoster

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.

War-Babies Highland 45 Jeanie's PubIn 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.

The Word Brent 45 So Little TimePotter’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.

Euphoria Mainstream 45 No Me Tomorrow

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.

Euphoria Mainstream 45 Hungry WomenPotter 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 Kids The 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.

Bill Lincoln recorded an album with his wife Lynda and friends as Addie Pray. Late for the Dance went unreleased for years but is now available on www.cdbaby.com/cd/addiepray.

Sources include Alec Palao’s liner notes to the Big Beat CD release of With Love – A Pot of Flowers.

The Night People on Del-Nita

Bob Holcepl – vocals
Terry Paul – guitar
Joe Rose – bass
Frank Rose – keyboards, and recorder on “Erebian-Borialis”
Greg Paul – drums, and bongos on “Erebian-Borialis”

The Night People Del-Nita 45 We Got ItThe Night People formed in 1965 at high school in Parma, Ohio, a suburb about 10 miles south of Cleveland. They recorded their 45 at SIR Recording Studio, released on Del-Nita 1002 in May of 1967.

There’s a lot to like about “We Got It”: the swirling organ over the pounding tom-toms and bass, Bob Holcepl’s snarling vocals, a theramin intro and solo. Joe Rose and Bob Holcepl wrote the song. I’m not sure who was playing the theramin.

The instrumental “Erebian-Borialis” is one of the strangest b-sides by any mid-60s group, featuring a simple melody played by Frank Rose on recorder while Greg Paul handles the bongos and the guitarist goes for psychedelic. It’s credited to Frank Rose and Terry Paul. Both songs were published by Hicks Music, ASCAP.

According to Buckeye Beat, John Hicks, the owner of Del-Nita, persuaded the band he had Motown connections. It’s difficult to imagine Motown would be interested in a band with such an uncommercial single but that’s the story!

Bruce Boehm, guitarist for the Alarm Clocks was also a member for a time. The band made additional recordings that weren’t released of “Signed D.C.”, “One Two Brown Eyes”, and “Hey Joe”. They continued until 1970, changing their name and making some demos for Capitol that never saw light of day.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Night People singles on Tuggie and Nite Life are by different groups, from Illinois and California, respectively.

The Night People Del-Nita 45 Erebian-Borealis

Barry Lee and the Actions

Barry Lee & the Actions Wine and Roses 45 Try MeBarry Lee is the stage name of Lee Cuilli, who came from the Italian section of Cleveland, like Bocky, both of them managed by Redda Robbins.

In 1964 Barry released his first 45 on the Redda label. One side is the upbeat vocal pop “Make It” which earned some radio play at the time and got the record picked up by UA subsidiary Veep. More interesting is “Things Gotta Change” a nice bit of r&b with guitar flourishes, credited to Lee, Redda Robbins and Tony Styles. The backing vocalists really getting a workout trying to keep up the bop-ba-shu-bop-ba-bas. The buckeyebeat site suggests it’s likely that Barry is being accompanied by Bocky & the Visions on vocals with their backing band Richie & the Fortunes.

Barry Lee found a group of teens from Euclid, a town northeast of Cleveland, to become his band the Actions. Members included Dave Zaller guitar, Vince Baskovic bass and Ken Ruscittio drums. With the Actions he released his second record in 1966, almost two years after the first. “For Such a Little Wrong” might best be called a power ballad, but on the b-side “Try Me”, Barry’s vocal blends perfectly with the band’s strong backing and harmonies. Production was by Kenny Lark, arrangements by Barry Lee and Fortunes guitarist Tony Styles (Tony Bodanza). Originally released on the Wine & Roses label, it too was picked up by a UA subsid., Ascot, for a quick ride to nowhere.

Interestingly, Barry Lee puts songwriting credits to both Barry Lee and Lee Allen Cuilli. Barry wrote a number of songs that he didn’t record himself, as BMI lists him as co-author of “Can’t Get You Home on Time”, “Down Down”, “I Can Dance”, “I’m Not Worth It”, “I’m Pickin’ Petals”, “Land Beyond the Moon”, “Little Wheel” and “When the Sun Goes Down”, all written with Tony Bodanza.

Info for this article from Buckeyebeat.com. Thanks to Mark Meinhart for the transfer of Things Gotta Change.

The Outsiders

The Outsiders from Cleveland, Ohio were famous for the nationwide hit, “Time Won’t Let Me”.

Here I’m featuring their fifth single, the classic “I’m Not Trying to Hurt You” (which my band the Trip 9’s used to cover) with the uptempo flip “I’ll Give You Time (to Think It Over)”. Both songs were written by guitarist and leader Tom King with Chet Kelley and Bob Turek.

Tom King’s brother, Don produced another Ohio band on Capitol, the Turfits.