Category Archives: Pennsylvania

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 Four Counts – unknown band

The Four Counts photo

Here’s an unknown group, the Four Counts, or the Counts Four, possibly from Reading, Pennsylvania. There’s a chance they could have evolved into the Counts who came from Valley View and cut “Last Train” / “I Will Lose My Mind” for the Kingston label in July of 1969, but from the small b&w photo I’ve seen of the Counts I’d say this is unlikely.

Any ideas?

Thee Avantis on Samron

Thee Avantis Samron 45 I Want To UnderstandSamron Records had a great run, only three singles but all of them top-notch rock ’n roll, including this one, Thee Avantis’ “I Want to Understand” / “Nancy” on Samron S-103, recorded in late 1965.

“I Want to Understand” is the kind of single I never get tired of, featuring a neat guitar hook, solid bass and drum playing, the right amount of organ and great vocals. There are fine guitar and organ breaks, the entire song clocking in at 2:27.

The other two singles on Samron are Ognir & the Night People’s “I Found a New Love” (Nehring, Marusak) / “All My Heart” (Nehring, Molinaro), released on Samron S-102 in October 1965 and the Five Flys “Livin’ for Love” / “Dance Her By Me” on Samron S-104.

Samron was run by Ronald Magazzu, and I suppose someone named Sam was also involved. The first two singles listed Magazzu Productions in Hazleton, PA, while the label for the Five Flys changes the town to Coaldale, PA.

I’ve read Thee Avantis were from Scranton, but I found a notice in the Hazleton Standard-Speaker from March 5, 1966 listing the band for a Sunday Dance at the Fiesta Room in Hazleton, about an hour’s drive southwest of Scranton.

I only know the names of two members of Thee Avanti, Nick Fata on bass and Robert Schnessel who wrote both songs. Magazzu Music Co. published both songs.

Thee Avantis Samron 45 Nancy

The Conductors “She Said So”

The Conductors photo: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard
The Conductors, from left: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard

Conductors Dater 45 She Said SoThe Conductors came from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, cutting the great “She Said So” as the b-side to their June 1966 single. Members were:

Larry Borgess – lead vocals
Chad Fenstemaker – lead guitar
Skip Kreitz – rhythm guitar
Regan Meyer – bass
Barry Hirsh – organ
Danny Brungard – drums

Barry Hirsh and Larry Borgess left to join Prince Charles & the Royaltones. Mike Ranck replaced Larry until the Conductors split.

“She Said So” is a stomping fuzz and organ rocker written by Barry Hirsh, with taunting lines:

You gotta stay home and watch the kids tonight,
Because she said so,
But I wanna tell ya,
Better sit up and say that everything’s not right,
Because you said so.

You gotta break free,
Stand on your own two feet,
Stop doing things that you don’t want to do,
Just because she said so!

The original A-side “Whatever’s In Your Smile” is light pop, but worth a listen, it too was written by Barry Hirsh, and features harmonies, piano and a lighter touch on the guitar.

Publishing was through Hi-Mar Music and Ronbeth Music BMI, both of which had other copyrights, most notably Ronbeth with the 7th Avenue Aviators “You Should ‘O Held On”.

The Conductors single came out on Dater DT-1303/4 in June, 1967. Dater was owned by Dave Chackler, and had one other single that I know of, the Soul Generation “I Can’t See You” / “Big Boss Man” on Dater DT-1301. The A-side has the Starlites doing a drier, stripped-down version of their classic on Bar-Clay, “I Can’t See You”. The label notes produced by Dave Chackler for Peter Warren Enterprises. The Starlites came from Reading, PA, 100 miles southeast of Williamsport, so I wonder how the Conductors connected with Dave Chackler.

Info on the band from Rob’s Williamsport Rock Bands

Conductors Dater 45 Whatever's In Your Smile

Bill Hamilton’s Groovey Grooves Records and Hamilton Productions

Satyrs Spectrum 45 Yesterday's HeroHamilton Productions, run by Bill Hamilton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, produced several garage singles with different label names including:

Sands of Time – ”Come Back Little Girl” / “When She Crys For Me”) Stearly 8167, August 1967)
Satyrs – “Yesterday’s Hero” (C. Morrill, G. Williams) / “Marie” (Spectrum 2668, released 1968, Haddonfield Heights, NJ)
Groop Therapy with Gary Dial “I’ve Got To Leave This World” (Gary J. Dilllio) / “Ronnie Ronnie” (Lisa 6865, June 1968, Ripley Park, PA)

For more on the Sands of Time, see the separate entry for the band.

Exceptions Groovey Grooves 45 Baby You Know I Need YouHamilton also put out a number of singles, mainly soul, on the Groovey Grooves label starting in 1968, including the Exceptions “The Look in Her Eyes” and Phillies player Rich Allen and the Ebonistics doing “Echoes of November”.

Groovey Grooves discography
any help with this would be appreciated

Groovey Grooves 160 – Rich Allen and the Ebonistics “Echoes of November” / “Fannari”
Groovey Grooves 161 – Exceptions “The Look in Her Eyes” / “Baby You Know I Need You” (Hynes, Walker, Ellis, Jones, arr. by Bob Lowden)
Groovey Grooves 162 – Collectors “Cruel World” / “I Still Love You” (March, 1969)
Groovey Grooves 163 – Isthmus of Sound “River” / “Sweet Love”
Groovey Grooves 164 – Stone Dawn “Agent Promise Blues” / “What You Think Is Right” (both by Penny Stubbs, Assoc. prod Bill Hoy)
Groovey Grooves 165 – ?
Groovey Grooves 166 – Norwood Long “I’d Like to Have You” / “She Belongs to Me”
Groovey Grooves 167 – Exceptions “The Shagg” / “Danny Boy”
Groovey Grooves 168 – Great Compromise “Let The Evening Roll On” / “He Was A Man”
Groovey Grooves 169 – Les Stewart, Jr. “One Woman Man” / “Mind Your Own Business”
Groovey Grooves 170 – Fairwinds “She & Me” (J. Swank, R. Smith) / “Height in Funland”

Groovey Grooves 176 – Fantastic Soul-Locks “Come On Home Girl” / “Funky Prance”

The Exceptions recorded at Impact Sound Recording Studio on Castor Ave in Philadelphia, while Stone Dawn recorded at Baker Sound in New Jersey.

Groop Therapy with Gary Dial Lisa 45 Ronnie, RonnieFolsom Music, BMI published many of the original songs on Groovey Grooves.

Klemen Breznikar has an interview with one of the members of Stone Dawn at It’s Psychedelic Baby!. The piece doesn’t identify which member he interviewed but I believe it’s George Manney.

Thank you to Laurent, Max Waller and Mike Markesich for help with this post.

Facts of Life “I’ve Seen Darker Nights”

Facts of Life Frana 45 I've Seen Darker NightsThere isn’t much information about the Facts of Life despite the group’s fine 45 single. The group came from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, which lies just to the west of the Philadelphia city line. Members included Bruce Klauber, later a jazz drummer and professor, and Robert Yampolsky, who wrote both songs on their only single. I don’t know the other members’ names.

“I’ve Seen Darker Nights” begins with a blast of distorted guitar but otherwise is free of fuzz. The lyrics are heartfelt, the singing good, the arrangement has good hooks and momentum from the rhythm section. There’s a long solo on the organ and a brief guitar break.

The flipside, “All In Good Time” has a good ballad sound with a basic guitar solo. Robert Yampolsky copyrighted both songs in October, 1967, and the record came out as Frana Records 59-A/B. I don’t know of any other releases on the Frana label.

Facts of Life Frana 45 All In Good Time

The Prisoner’s Dream

The Prisners Dream Rene 45 Autumn Days

The Prisoner’s Dream came from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, just southwest of Pittsburgh, on the way to Wheeling, WV. I don’t know who was in the band. Canonsburg is notable as the hometown of Bobby Vinton and Perry Como.

The Prisoner’s Dream had one single, the melancholy “Autumn Days” / “You’re the One I Really Love” on Rene R 1008 in November, 1967. John Bruno produced the session. The band’s name seems to be misspelled as the Prisners Dream on the labels, which also give an incorrect spelling of the song writer’s name.

The A-side has the melancholy sound some garage fans may like:

The Rene labels list both songs as written by Zaranoff and published by Ride On Music BMI, but copyright notices give his name as Peter Zaharoff. One listing from July of 1967 says Zaharoff also wrote under the pseudonym of Bryan Garret.

BMI’s database lists another song of his, “Get Away” published by Sheri Glen Publications. Library of Congress copyright notices give several more, “Curtain of Green”, “One Night”, “Place Where Lovers Go”, “Woman Who’s Never There” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me”, published in November and December 1966.

Chuck Edwards founded the Rene label, its related label Punch and Ride On Music. He had his own releases on the labels, including “Downtown Soulville” which Mr. Finewine has made into his theme song, and produced a handful of others. Most of the pressing were done by Rite.

Chuck Edwards went on to form a family musical group called the The Edwards Generation. Chuck passed away in 2001. There’s an article I can recommend on Chuck and his labels on That’s All Rite Mama.

This is not the same Rene Records as the one from Tennessee that released the Creepers’ “Jammin’ Granny”.

The Prisners Dream Rene 45 You're The One I Really Love

The Myst

The Myst Open 45 Coney Island Wild Child

The Myst came from Philadelphia PA and cut this one single for release on Open Records 1252 in September, 1969. The A-side was a Gary Usher- Roger Val Christian song, “Coney Island Wild Child” which had been cut by Billy Harner for Lawn back in 1964. It could sound dated but the singer has a rushed, off-hand attitude that suits the song.

Following the Myst single, Open Records released three singles and an LP by Billy Harner, and I believe the Myst was backing Harner in live appearances at this time.

“I’m Crying” is a heavy guitar and Hammond rocker, with a good lead vocal and sustained guitar running continuously throughout the song. The song was written by Joe Siderio, who may have been a member of the group, published by Caldwell Music, BMI.

I don’t know anything else about the Myst or who was in the group.

Open Records, later shortened to OR, was located at 3126 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, most of their records have “A Call-Bill Production” on the label.
The Myst Open 45 I'm Crying