Category Archives: Ohio

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.

The Turfits

The Turfits
Robert “Whitey” Gwinup was guitarist in a group from Fremont, Ohio called the Vandaliers whose members included Wayne Van Doren on drums and Harry Kerr. The Vandaliers had been playing together since 1962, and recorded a demo, If “It’s Love You Want” on September 2, 1965 at Cleveland Recording.

Meanwhile in Findlay, Ohio was the American Way, with members Roger Hilty drums, Gary Reddick organ, Kenny Turner bass and Bob Peeler lead guitar. Whitey Gwinup left the Vandaliers on July 9, 1966 and took Bob Peeler’s place on lead guitar. This new lineup changed their name to the Other Ones, and later changed it again to the Turfits.

They based themselves in Xenia, at a nightclub the band half-owned called The Castaways. They also played often at a club called the Capitol in nearby Dayton.

Gwinup brought “If It’s Love You Want” with him when he joined the Turfits, who recorded their own version at Cleveland Recording in 1967. Although the original version was written by Gwinup and Harry Kerr of the Vandaliers, writing credits on the label list all the members of the Turfits.

Gwinup also wrote “Losin’ One”, but as with “If It’s Love You Want”, all the Turfits’ names were listed on the songwriting credits (with Gwinup’s name misspelled as Gwinep).

Capitol Records had done very well with the Cleveland band the Outsiders and Youngstown’s the Human Beinz, so they were willing to take a chance on other local Ohio acts. The Turfits didn’t reach the charts like those other acts, but “Losin’ One” has a classic garage sound – mumbled self-pitying lyrics and a high-pitched organ behind a restrained garage solo.

Production was by Don King – not, as I originally thought, the future boxing promoter (though that Don King was producing soul and gospel records in Cleveland at the same time as an investor in Way Out Records), but the brother of Tom King, singer for the Ohio group the Outsiders, who hit big with “Time Won’t Let Me” and cut the garage classic “I’m Not Trying to Hurt You”.

Thanks to BuckeyeBeat for some of the background information about the Turfits. Be sure to check out BuckeyeBeat’s site dedicated to Ohio garage. Additions and corrections were made from contact with Jaremy Hilty, son of Turfits drummer Roger Hilty, and by Wayne Van Doren and Whitey Gwinup.

Odin (Ed Willman)

Odin Willman 45 Oh Why

Odin, real name Ed Willman or Mike Willman from Sidney, Ohio, was a one-man band and true outsider artist. I’m not sure the extent of his recording, but he had two singles pressed by Columbia Records’s Chicago-office plant in Terre Haute, Indiana in the mid 1960s.

First came “Oh Why” / “True”, Odin singing two plaintive ballads accompanying himself on electric guitar, with a pause for each chord change. This single has a Columbia pressing code of ZTSC-107533/4. I’m not sure of the date, but maybe someone out there has a chart for dating Columbia pressings.

Odin Willman 45 LostOdin has a more accomplished sound by the time of his next single, “Lost” and “I’m Out of Here”. His singing has improved and the instrumental backing of autoharp or guitar and snare drum is steady. The echo gives it an otherworldly sound. “Lost” was copyrighted with the Library of Congress in October 1966. This recording seems to be at least a couple years after “Oh Why” / “True”, with a Columbia code of ZTSC-12135/6.

Odin – Lost
Odin – I’m Out of Here

Thank you to Mike Stuart for his comment below, no other info on Odin has turned up since I first wrote this post in 2006.

Odin Willman 45 I'm Out of Here

Sonny Flaharty and the Mark V

Dayton, Ohio’s Sonny Flaharty had been recording since the late 50s. In 1965 he helped a local band called the Rich Kids produce a demo. He ran into them again calling themselves the Mark V “direct from Toronto, Canada”! They asked Sonny to join the band but according to Sonny, “the only problem we had was with my past. I was very well known in Dayton. The band didn’t want to be associated with ‘Old Time Rock and Roll'”!

They changed their names and tried to pass themselves off as English or at least Canadian. They didn’t fool anyone for long, but there was nothing ‘old time’ about their music. Shad O’Shea of Cincinnati’s Counterpart Records asked them to record Sonny’s original, “Hey Conductor”.

There was a nine-month delay between the recording and the release of “Hey Conductor”. In the meantime Mike Losecamp (aka Haywood Lovelace), who played the distinctive organ on the record left to join the Cyrkle.

Once released Hey Conductor was a sizeable hit, selling in the thousands and immediately picked up by Phillips for national distribution. The good times didn’t last long, as its lyrics hinting at drug experiences got it banned on radio before it could break nationally. The song’s frantic pace, strange fuzz guitar and syncopated organ make it an often-heard record at dj nights even today.

Sources include: a detailed interview with the Mark V’s drummer Doug Porter here, and the liner notes to Sonny’s retrospective LP on Dionysius.

The Children of Darkness

True garage fans braved the cold snap to hear an insane night of music in Williamsburg last Friday.

Dinos of WHRB Boston (listen to his show every Tuesday evening 10-midnight [EST] at www.whrb.org) played a box full of 45s including many U.S. obscuros and Greek groups like the Charms and Zoo. Marty Violence treated us to Virginia 45s and LP cuts you just never hear – a track from Skip and the Creations album on Justice among them.

The Children of Darkness were an obscure band until recently, when I learned the band was from from Newark, Ohio. “She’s Mine” was written by John Hull. The flip is “Sugar Shack”. The Royce label is from the little town of Oblong in southeastern Illinois, near the Indiana border. This seems to be the only release on it.

Anyone have a photo of the group?