Category Archives: Pennsylvania

The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones were from Sarver, Pennsylvania, a small town about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. They were originally called the Kruisers and afterwards became Lite Rain. “I Can’t Believe You” is a wild, overdriven raver, too crude for some people.

“I Can’t Believe You” was written by James T. Robeson and produced by Marian Dietrich. The flip, “I Wanna Know”, which moves along at a snail’s pace, was written by James Robeson, Don Dietrich and Bill Farrington. This 45 was released in January of 1967 on the Mersey label.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Tumblers

Tumblers Pocono 45 ScreamHere’s an obscurity from the Tumblers, a quartet from Mt. Pocono, Stroudsburg and Bangor, towns in the eastern part of the Pennsylvania. They had one release on the Pocono label from July, 1965.

I think we can safely say this was not influenced by the British Invasion. The incredible “Scream” was ‘written’ by Larry LaSpina, and backed with a ballad, “Make You All Mine”, another LaSpina original.

Members of the band were:

Larry LaSpina
Daniel Altieri
Alex Coury
Huck Gould – bass and vocals

Tumblers Daily Record Friday, September 25, 1964
Tumblers on the Chief Halftown show, September 26, 1964

Does anyone have a photo of the group?

Pat Wallace

Pat Wallace and the Shadows – prior to the St. Clair 45
Based in the Pittsburgh area, Pat Wallace released many 45s, this one being more garage in style than most.

“Fill the Hole in Your Soul” is a straightforward come-on, but danceable and catchy for all that. The musicians must not have had any other song in mind for this session, as “C’mon and Work” is just the band vamping with Wallace chanting the title repeatedly. Not bad, though.

Pat tells me the band was Prince Valiant and the Knights, who had their own 45 on St. Clair, “Back Yard”/”Front Yard”, though Rick Sharp recalls playing on the session with his group the Sharades (see below). Songwriting credits are Pat Wallace and Jules Kruspir on “Fill the Hole”, and Rick Sharp – Jules Kruspir on the flip, production by J.J. Jules.

The St. Clair label is famous for releasing the Swamp Rats’ most beserk 45s.

Thank you to Pat Wallace for the photos seen here of his early group, the Shadows. Please do not reproduce these images without permission.

The Shadows with Pat Wallace, plus Chubby, Bill, Jim, Ed and Denny
Rick Sharp of the Sharades provides his recollection of how he came to record with Pat Wallace on this single:

Jules Kruspir managed my first Pittsburgh, PA band, The Vel Mars. We knew Jules for a lot of years, from 1963 to the late seventies (he managed the Marcels). Not quite sure how we met him though. He used to invite us over to his house to rehearse every month or so and seemed to have a genuine interest in our band, The Vel-Mars.

We were a guitar band, a la The Ventures, and were playing local school dances. Jules said he knew all the right industry people and we could go places. Actually nothing happened until he signed Bob Stupec to do a Christmas song, “Jake The Flake”. This was a huge production number, full orchestra (Jim Drake conducting & arranging), backing vocals by the Ray Charles Singers (“Love Me With All Your Heart” fame) and recorded at Bell Sound Studios in NYC. The tracks were absolutely beautiful!

But, Bobby (Bobby Star) couldn’t sing. It took 157 takes to complete the lead vocal track. I remember, Phil Ramone was the engineer. Well, we were to record the back side “Jingle Bells”. Studio time was running out, we cut our song in 1 1/2 takes. We broke a guitar string, but they spliced the tape & our record turned out great. The record was released a few weeks later, became the National Record Mart “Pick of the Week” and was played in NRM commercials for a few weeks. Picked up a review in Billboard (Jules had a full page ad), but the record never took off. Too bad. Bobby Star quit recording and went to Vegas and opened a casino.

In 1965, our Vel-Mars band broke up and I auditioned for a club band in Beaver Falls, PA. The leader was Gary Glenn. The group was Gary Glenn and the Jeweltones. The Jeweltones had departed and left Gary without a band, for which I was auditioning & was ultimately hired for. They had a local record out, “Goodnight My Love”, on the Cove label. Great record. I wrote a couple of songs for Gary that were recorded at Jerree Records in Beaver Falls, PA. “Always So True” b/w “What Do You Want”, released early 1966, but went nowhere. The original Jeweltones were later to become the Jaggerz of “The Rapper” fame.

I left Gary Glenn in mid 1966 & formed the Sharades. We were a cover band [but] with a lot of original songs. Jules expressed an interest in us again and asked if we would do a demo session at Glen Campbell Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. We did the session but nothing came out of it. A few of the songs were good though. Jules later asked us to back up Pat Wallace for a couple of songs at the same studio. We did and that’s where “Gonna Fill The Hole” & “Come On & Work” came from. And yes, “Come On & Work” was nothing more than a “B” vamp.

In 1966,Jules opened a record store in the Southland shopping center (Pat Wallace worked there) and I took a job with Kleins One Stop (Itzy Records) heading up their oldies department. Jules bumped into The Fantastic DeeJays (who had some local Music For Young Lovers songs for Terry Lee). He changed their name to the Swamp Rats and recorded “Louie Louie” & released it on his St. Clair label. (Jules lived in a community named Upper St. Clair).

Also in 1966, Jules picked up a group named the Dynatones. They had recorded a record “And I Always Will” b/w “The Fife Piper”. The local DJs flipped it over & the record went to Number 1. HBR Records, who just recently started a pop records division, picked up national distribution. The record went all the way up the national charts. Then … HBR called for a album followup to the single. Jules took the Dynatones down to Glen Campbells studio & cut 10 or 12 absolutely terrible tracks. Truth is, Jules couldn’t produce & Glens’ studio (3 track Ampex) was nothing more than a reverb box. HBR Records rejected the cuts for the “Fife Piper” LP. They produced all the tracks in LA with studio musicians.

I continued on working at Kleins and with my band, the Sharades. We were working steady at local clubs when we decided to go into the studio on our own. Late 1966 we recorded “Only A Tear” b/w “It’s A Groovy Day” at Gateway Studios in Pgh, PA (Some of the Lou Christie hits were recorded there). Our session was quick…maybe 1 1/2 hours. We only recorded the two songs. The record was released on Fasicination Records which was my label. Kleins One Stop (my day job) became our distributor. I started college in January 1967 and played weekends with the band. By springtime Terry Lee had picked up the record & began playing it every night at 11:00 as the opening song for his “Music For Young Lovers” show segment. “Only A Tear” was the only record released by the Sharades. We continued on as a band until the mid-seventies. I recorded “Surfin’ USA – Pittsburgh, PA” b/w “Pipeline” in the mid-eighties with a new group – The Allegheny Surfers.

Rick Sharp

The Centurys

The Centurys of Lebanon, PA
The Centurys

The Centurys - Renco 45 "83"

Considering they were one of the greatest of all the 60s garage bands, there’s not much information out there on the Centurys.

From Lebanon, Pennsylvania, band members were:

Billy Beard – lead guitar and vocals
Larry McKinney – guitar
John Iacovone – bass
Bob Koch – lead vocals and organ
Bernie Orner – drums

In April of 1965, they recorded four songs at WSBA radio’s studios in York, PA, produced by Frank Treida. These four songs were released on two 45s on the Renco label and quickly sold out.

The first is “83” a lo-fi anthem that’s an absolutely classic. On the flip is the moody “So the Prophets Say”, another echo-laden number with wild drumming and intense vocals. It’s been described as anti-Vietnam war, but actually I think it’s pro-war. It’s definitely a dig at Dylan and the protest movement in general, and there’s a condemnation of communism: “a red slave song you’re singing, you’ll wish you had a gun in your hand.”

The second is “Don’t Bother”, with intense guitar riffing and haunting organ. The flip, “Together We’ll Stay” is not nearly as great as the other three songs, but it has some decent surf-type guitar in the break.

Their live reputation helped them land a 45 on Swan. “Hard Times” b/w “Endless Search” did very well in the area and should have been their big break. The Swan label was folding at the time, so it’s possible the record wasn’t promoted as well as it should have been.

Former Swan label head Bernie Binnick put out one last Centurys 45 on his BB label, “And I Cried” b/w “Catch Me Fast”. The band broke up in 1967 due to a combination of draft notices and a lack of success.

All their releases were original songs. Billy Beard wrote most of their best songs: “83”, “So the Prophets Say” and “Don’t Bother”, while “And I Cried”, “Hard Times” and “Endless Search” were co-written by Beard with Larry McKinney.

The two 45s on Renco were reissued on an EP in the ’80s as the Renco Demos. It’s possible the Centurys originally intended these songs to be demos for purposes of securing a record contract. Regardless, the Centurys did release these songs on 45 and sold them at gigs and local shops, which makes them not ‘demos’ in the usual sense. None of the songs on the EP are different versions of what was released on the 45s.

Centurys original 45 releases:

Renco 115 – 83 / What the Prophets Say
Renco 116 – Don’t Bother / Together To Stay
Swan 4265 – Hard Times / Endless Search
BB 4002 – And I Cried / Catch Me Fast