The Clue of Midland, Texas cut one of the classic garage numbers “Bad Times”, featuring swinging drumming, screams and a sputtering lead vocal, pumping organ and a good guitar break. Despite its fame in recent years, I can find very little info on the band.
Steve Thomas wrote “Bad Times”, and Steve Thomas and Larry Grubb wrote the flip side, “She’s the Reason”, an eerie ballad that borrows some of the melody from the Beatles “I’ll Be Back”. Recorded and released circa 1967 on Byron BR 101. I can’t think of any other releases on the Byron label.
Byron Barber (“Bo”) was drummer for the Sensations who cut “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” / “Big Boss Man” in 1965 as the Sensations Sound on Kingco Records. In 1966 Barber produced the Clue 45 for his own Byron label, engineered by Ken Hall.
The Sensations members included Bill Thomas on bass and Dennis Grubb on guitar and vocals, so I wonder if the Steve Thomas and Larry Grubb listed on the Clue single are their younger brothers.
Phil Briscoe and the Sessions cut two of Briscoe’s original songs “You’re No Good” / “Dream of Me” at Recording Service Studios in Pasadena, Texas. The single came out on Huey Meaux’s Pic 1 label in October, 1965, one of over 40 releases on that label. “You’re No Good” is a good rocker in something of a Doug Sahm style.
Philip Charles Briscoe copyrighted both sides with Crazy Cajun Music in January 1966, but that’s the last mention I can find of him in the music world. I don’t know who else was in the Sessions band or where they were based.
The photo above came from a Pic One discography by Doug Hanners for his 45 RPM column in Discoveries in July 2000.
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 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”.
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.
In 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.
Potter’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.
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.
Potter 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 KidsThe 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.
Leo and the Prophets cut one of the legendary Austin singles of the ’60s, “Tilt-A-Whirl” b/w “The Parking Meter” on Totem Records T-105 in April, 1967.
The band members were:
Leo Ellis – vocals and lead guitar Travis Ellis – tambourine Dan Hickman – rhythm guitar Rod Haywood – bass Bill Powell – drums
In January or February of 1967 they recorded their first songs with Sonobeat’s Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley, resulting in a finished vocal, “Flowers on the Hill” and two instrumentals “Ozone Forest” and “Prophecy of Love”. Unfortunately none of which were ever released, but you can hear about half of “Flowers on the Hill” at the impressive Sonobeat website. Thirty seconds of “Ozone Forest” used to be on the old Sonobeat site but I can’t find it now. It’s a pity these songs weren’t finished and released, but at the time Bill Josey and the band felt there was too much distortion in the recording.
Andrew Brown published interviews with Dan Hickman, Rod Haywood and Bill Powell on his site 1966: Texas Music in the Sixties, which makes the best history of the band. I don’t have much to add to that.
My copy of the single is signed by Leo W. Ellis, Bill Powell, Haywood and “To the Roman Nose … Danel Boone” which I believe is Daniel Hickman as he signed the copy on the 1966 site in the same manner.
A possibly complete discography of Totem Records:
Totem T-101 – Rix Slaughter “Listen Little Girl” (Rix Dale Slaughter and James O. Glass)/ “Shades of Dawn” (Slaughter), November 1964 Totem T-102 – Rix Slaughter “Bright Lights” / “Everybody’s Fallin’ In Love” Totem T-103 – Damon Meredith & the Western Caravan “Don’t Interfere With Love” / “(I Know That) You’re Trying to Forget Me” (WAM-45-66126, copyright reg. May 1966) Totem T-103 – Cecil Moore & The Diamondbacks “Wind It Up” / “Stuff” (WAM-45-66125, copyright reg. June, 1966) Totem T-105 – Leo & the Prophets – “Tilt-A-Whirl” (Ellis, Haywood) / “The Parking Meter” (Ellis, Hickman), April, 1967
J.O. Glass (James Otto Glass) and J.C. “Scat” Hamilton produced all the singles.
Totem advertised Rix Slaughter’s first single in conjunction with KCFH in the Cuero Record on November 3, 1964.
The Meredith and Cecil Moore singles have a code I’m not familiar with, WAM, the Moore reading WAM-45-66125, while the Damon Meredith notes WAM-45-66126. Both singles share catalog number Totem T-103.
The singles list Totem Records at 4307 Speedway, Austin, with publishing by Fathom Pub. Co.
James Otto Glass copyrighted other songs in 1963 and ’64 that may not have been recorded, including “Halfway to Heaven (I Can’t Believe In You)”, “Window In My Heart”, “Fleeting Love”, “Just a Tear Away” and “What Doesn’t Show (I’ll Feel in My Heart)”.
Denny Murphy – lead vocals Terry Murphy – lead guitar, lead vocals Kenneth Sigler – bass John Sebring – rhythm guitar Ronnie Cooper – drums
The great majority of the information in this post is from Andrew Brown’s Brown Paper Sack.
Terry Murphy started playing with school friends when he was in 7th grade in 1964 in Tyler, Texas. The group was dubbed Murphy and the Mob by an adult as a joke but it stuck. A year later Terry found a more serious group of musicians, kept the band name and started practicing regularly in the Murphy family living room.
The group played live at a local teen club called The Plum, at the Bergfeld Park ampitheatre, at the YMCA and at their Catholic high school. At the Bergfeld Park battle of the bands produced by Rodney Kamel, Murphy & the Mob would compete with The Marauders (from Troup, TX), the Hobos from Jacksonville, and the Indifferents from Tyler, featuing Terry’s friend Sam Blanchard. (The Indifferents had a 45 on Valor, “Cindy” / “She’ll Be Back”).
In October 1966, the band went to Steve Wright Studios in Tyler to cut their only single, hoping for some success with “Because You Love Me” an original by Terry and featuring his lead vocal. Funds for the recording came from the father of Terry’s girlfriend, Diane Whitten. For a B-side, the band tried “Born Loser”, a song co-written by Terry, Denny and the group’s manager, Steve Brewerton, who was attending Tyler Junior College that year.
Dennis and Terry Murphy and Steve Brewerton (and their moms!) signed publishing contracts with Steve Wright’s Thunderball Music Co. for “Born Loser” in October 1966. Interestingly the three also signed a contract on July 14, 1966 for an unrecorded song called “Don’t Let It Blow Your Mind”.
The band pressed 500 copies to be sold at Anton’s Records in the Weingarten Shopping Center, and reached #11 on KDOK’s charts in November 1966. The band continued until the summer of 1967. Terry Murphy stayed in music while Denny Murphy and Ronnie Cooper left music. Sadly, Kenneth Sigler and John Sebring passed away many years ago.
I was a nerd going to junior college trying to avoid the draft. I began making fur vest out of old fur coats discarded behind a local high end department store. I began selling these fur vests to rock bands. Some were sold to bands that recorded at Robinhood Bryan’s recording studio and Steve Wright’s recording studio. I met Terry and Dennis Murphy and somehow became their manager. I wrote the lyrics to “Born Loser.” I managed them for two months. After I quit managing them, Terry and Dennis put music to my lyrics and recorded the songs at Steve Wright’s recording studio. The “A” side made it to the top 10 on KDOK radio station, the local rock station. “Born Loser” made it into the top 40 on KZEY, the local R & B station. After that I joined the Navy and went to war and became an alcoholic. I am a hell of a lot more proud of my small volume of poetry, “Ramblings Of An Alcoholic Mind” than I am the lyrics of “Born Loser.”
Stephen added to Oktay Gürbüz:
I have lost touch with all persons involved in [the] Mob and don’t know where to find them. As I stated before, I am not interested in an MOB projects. I cant remember even one word of “Born Loser”. Terry and Dennis probably consider this infatuation with Murphy and the Mob as I do as a mere childhood juvenile frivolity.
Thank you to Andrew Brown, Morgan Young, Terry Murphy and Stephen Brewerton, and to Oktay Gürbüz who prodded me to do this article for a long time!
I am a loner baby, I swing alone I’ve got my own pad and an unlisted phone A steady job, that’s all I need One pocket to fill, baby, just one mouth to feed
I got no pals, but look who’s got the gals They come to my pad because they want me so bad I sleep all day and I swing all night I’m so cool, baby, I’m just out of sight
(spoken) All these people. I mean, people they just don’t understand. They see me coming, they shake their head and say, “Look at him. He’s the born loser. Well, look at him. Born loser.” All right.
The Ninth Street Bridge released one 45 on Cecile in August, 1968, featuring two originals by Tommy Bourque (misspelled on the label as Tommy Bourgue). “Wild Illusions” has a simple riff and beat with overdriven lead guitar and a vocal delivery very much in a Texas garage style. “Hey Boy” is as good as the flip, with the same saturated guitar sound and heavy drumming.
I don’t know anything about the band other than a Houston location and that Sonny Richards produced the single. I did find an ad for the 9th Street Bridge and the Moving Sidewalks for a show on March 15, 1969 at the Safari in Baytown.
The Pawns had two releases on Bobby Fuller’s Exeter label. First was Exeter 125, featurin, two good surf type instrumentals, “South Bay” / “The Pawn”, released about August, 1964.
Just a month later they released their next 45 on Exeter 127. The top side has David Hayes, the leader and vocalist with the Pawns, listed as the artist, with his original “Meet Me Here (In New Orleans)”. The Pawns are listed on the flip for the sleepy instrumental “Lonely”.
Interestingly, both sides were re-released as the first record on the Coronado label, but given the same release number, 127, as the Exeter 45. Credits are the same, including “A Fuller Production”, Todd Music BMI, and the RCA custom master code RK4M-3630/1. Since 127 was the last of seven 45 releases on Exeter, I assume Fuller gave up the label when he moved to California and let the Pawns take record and/or contract to Coronado.
David Hayes and the Pawns were one of only three 45 rpm artists on Exeter, the others being Bill Taylor & the Sherwoods and Bobby Fuller himself. Exeter also had an LP by Los Paisanos.
Their last 45 came out as David Hayes and the Pawns and featured two vocals, a cover of Charlie Rich’s “Lonely Weekends” backed with a strange original by Hayes, “What Do the Voices Say”. Produced by Calvin Bowls, it saw release sometime in 1965 on Coronado 132.
I know David Hayes was in the group, but the other members are unclear. Songwriting credits on “The Pawn” and “South Bay” are Doize’, Paz and Hayes. Since these are instrumentals and Hayes was definitely part of the group, I assume Doize’ and Paz were the other two members of the group.
However a post by Patrick Lundborg from 2012 on the Acid Archives Updates states “Jack Duncan (bass) and Gary Davis (drums) [I think this should be Barry Davis] learned their chops … in surf-band the Pawns. The leader of this group was one David Hayes, who presumably took on vocal duties on the later 45s, at least he receives separate billing. The two would-be Dragonflies Duncan and Davis did not contribute any songwriting from what I can tell, but were definitely present for the Pawns’ 1964 debut 45 … Duncan and Davis left the Pawns to join a more experienced musician friend in a band called Lords Of London, based in Durango, Colorado. After some time they recruited their old El Paso friend Randy Russ who left the Infants Of Soul to join them, and the band also changed its name to Legend around this time (1967).” Legend had three 45s and two LPs on the Megaphone label, the second and better of the two as Dragonfly.
The Runaways came from Baytown, across the San Jacinto River and about 25 miles east of Houston. The band formed in June of ’65; most of them were students at Ross Sterling High School. They cut one fine 45, notable for the rockin’ harmony cut “Love”, released in May, 1966.
Robert Campbell – lead vocals and guitar John Govro – lead and rhythm guitar, vocals Ray Hayden – lead guitar Eddie Norris – bass Glenn Dew – drums
An article in the Baytown Sun from August 14, 1966 mentions their 45 on Hitt, stating that “What’s Happening Baby” (good vocal harmony pop, written by Robert Campbell) reached #21 on KEYS in Corpus Christi and #29 on KOLE in Port Arthur, and “Love” (written by John Govro) made #24 on KLVI in Beaumont.
Jack Sims managed the group and produced the single. Bobby Bon was equipment manager with Jack Conway and Steve Shrier.
There was another Texas group called the Runaways, from San Antonio, with the legendary single on Alamo Audio, “18th Floor Girl” / “Your Foolish Ways”.