Category Archives: Washington

Billy and the Kids

 An early photo of Billy and the Kids, with Mike Rice at top center.
An early photo of Billy and the Kids, with Mike Rice at top center.

Billy & the Kids Julian 45 Say You Love Me

Bob Gourlie – lead guitar
Ken Laymance – rhythm guitar
Mike Rice – keyboards and vocals
Russ Wagner – bass
Bill Burns – bass and vocals
Bob Burns – drums and vocals

In the mid-60’s, twelve and thirteen year-old kids regularly recorded better music than most of what has been done since by groups of any age. “Say You Love Me” is such a song, featuring a tough rhythm, vocals tossed off without a care, and some wild high-pitched screams. It even has a good guitar solo! The a-side of their first 45, “It’s Not the Same” is definitely lighter pop, but will interest some listeners.

Billy & the Kids Julian 45 When I See YouThey recorded “When I See You” a year or two later, and the band is even sharper, with a fast bass line and frantic drum playing.

I’ve seen Loren Bolinger, who played guitar and keyboards for the Talismen also listed as a member, but I’m not sure if this is correct.

A local article wrote about the group:

‘Billy and the Kids’, five talented junior high school youngsters from East Wenatchee, Wash., make their professional debut on records with ‘It’s Not the Same,’ b/w ‘Say You Love Me.” Uniquely, this group is comprised entirely of 12- and 13-year-old boys who write all their own material. This group consists of twins Bill and Bob Burns on the drums and guitar, lead singer Mike Rice, lead guitar man Bob Gourley [Gourlie], and Ken Laymance on the rhythm guitar. An attractive and vibrant ‘go-go’ girl, Pam Cartwright, joins the group for public appearances. ‘Billy and the Kids’ demonstrated exceptional poise on their first professional recording endeavor. ‘They play the good hard rock as well as any group I’ve ever heard,’ was the appraisal made by veteran Wenatchee disc jockey Don Bernier, who helped launch the professional careers of these teenagers by recording ‘It’s Not the Same’ on the Julian label, a Bernier enterprise.

The band was managed by the twins’ father, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Burns, who was also a promoter of shows in the area.

In an interview by Oktay Gurbuz, Bill Burns wrote:

My father Ollie Burns (Jollie Ollie) booked and managed us at that time. My father was the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer of Douglas, County Washington. He also was a promoter. Every weekend he would rent halls, hire bands (Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Shindig Show, etc) and have dances.

I was able to hear live music and ask the musicians questions. There was a local band The Talismen. They were older guys and Bob Burns (my brother the drummer) and I would go watch them practice. They took us under their wing. I was the bass player. I played guitar but, we needed a bassist.

The first single was released between 7 and 8 grade so [it was] juvenile. The second record [“When I See You”] only a year later was a better recording, for 8th graders. The owner of the local radio station was in on the Julian Label. It was certainly exciting.

We played in Washington, Oregon, Idaho…for kids we had a following. Opening for the Wailers, Don and the Goodtimes, Billy, Dino and Desi, etc. The two records helped.

I have a tape (somewhere) of later incarnation of Billy and The Kids that was never released.

Bob and I formed Double Image, then News, recorded with Meredith Brooks, that album was released internationally. We have a project The Called. Bob Gourley I have not talked to since.

Don Julian Bernier owned the Julian label, issuing records by Wenatchee and Chelan acts the Aztecs (actually from Waterville I’ve since learned), the Talismen’s great “She Was Good” (Julian 105) and “I Know a Girl” b/w “I’ll Take a Walk” (Julian 108), the Chargers, Blane and the Julians, Linda Jo and the Nomads, and Judd Hamilton and the Furies. Don Bernier passed away on August 30, 2010.

Mike Rice and Bill and Bob Burns formed Double Image, a group that lasted until 1972 and had some lineup changes with members including Loren Bolenger, Steve Burdette (vocals), Don Gilbert, Doug Johnston (keyboards), Steve Nelson, Dave McKibbin (guitar) and Eric Peterson. For later photos of Double Image see PNWbands.com.

Russ Wagner went into Brand X, Inc from Portland, OR, with Jimmy Holt, Greg Johnson, Cliff Leisure and Scott Medler. Ken Laymance became a DJ in the Ukraine. Ken passed away in November, 2006. Mike Rice passed away of complications from lung disease due to smoking on February 25th, 2008.

Thank you to Paul Wentink for sending the top photo of the band on the slide and the poster, and for notifying me of Mike Rice’s passing. Bottom photo from the Pacific Northwest Bands site.

Billy & the Kids promotional photo A Happening

Very early photo of Billy & the Kids, courtesy of Bob Gourlie
Very early photo of Billy & the Kids, courtesy of Bob Gourlie
Billy & the Kids, circa 1967
Billy & the Kids, circa 1967

Billy & the Kids playing live, March 1967
Billy & the Kids playing live, March 1967
Billy & the Kids playing live, March 1967
Billy & the Kids playing live, March 1967

Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967

The two photos above and four below, Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967

Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967

Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967Billy and the Kids in the studio, September 1967

Billy & the Kids

 Bob Burns on drums
Bob Burns on drums

Billy & the Kids with the Fabulous Wailers in Walla Walla
with the Fabulous Wailers in Walla Walla
Early photo of the Double Image, which featured Bill and Bob Burns and Mike Rice.
Early photo of the Double Image, which featured Bill and Bob Burns and Mike Rice.
Early photo of the Double Image
Early photo of the Double Image

Early photo of the Double Image

Early photo of the Double Image

The Jolly Green Giants

The Jolly Green Giants are THE great Pacific Northwest band whose story remains unknown.

They took their band name from the Kingsmen’s hit. They had only one record but both sides are monsters! It was originally released on the Redcoat label, but maybe because the Green Giant company objected, it was re-released on Result with the band name changed to the J.G. Giants.

“Caught You Red Handed” is up there with the Sonics for heaviness. It was written by C. Anderson, and D. Cole, though on the Redcoat label only Anderson is listed.

“Busy Body” was originally written and recorded by Roy Lee Johnson on the Okeh label in 1962, but the Jolly Green Giants probably picked their version up from Jimmy Hanna and the Dynamics, a popular Washington live act who released both studio and live versions of the song on the Bolo label in around 1965.

The Jolly Green Giants up the pace and energy level considerably on their version with clipped guitar and Hammond organ chords and a strong vocal performance. Locked into the drums during the verses, the bass guitar breaks into fantastic runs during the choruses. Maybe this is why their song publishing company is called Pulsation Music!

For some reason, the spoken intro common to all the previous versions (“Busy body one time y’all!”) is left off the Result 45.

The 45 was produced by John Fisher, and released in January of 1967. The band also has an unissued acetate which I haven’t heard, “Up Above Their Knees”, that’s supposed to be good as well.

Here’s a possible lead from reader Steve Snell:

In the mid-late 60’s I used to play Hammond B-3 organ with a group called Chuck Anderson and the Jolly Green Giants at a club called Shapps in Pasadena. I know they played in Vegas sometime before I joined them. When I played with them we were simply a cover band – top forty stuff. We didn’t do any recording while I was with them. Is this that C. Anderson and that Jolly Green Giants? If so I would love to hear from someone.

I’d long read they were from Oregon but it turns out they were from Spokane, Washington, all the way to the east of the state near Idaho. The brother of the Jolly Green Giants lead singer is Bob Anderson, who commented and answered some of my questions about the Jolly Green Giants:

The lead singer of the Jolly Green Giants is my brother. Chuck Anderson. My brothers group started in Spokane. With Gary on drums; Dennis on keyboard; Harvey on sax; and Vick on bass.

I also played in a band based out of Spokane WA. The Madd Hatters. We had a record out for a while called “Little Girl In The 4th Row”. Written by Paul Revere. The other side was “Hey Girl” written by Chuck Anderson. We changed it a little.

My band the Foosteps changed the name the the Madd Hatters when we put out the 45. A lot of air time in the northwest but only sold a few thousand copies.

That’s all I have for now, but I hope to get more answers soon.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Thanks to Tage Weie for the Redcoat label scans.

The Twilighters

Some of the Twilighters may have attended the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington, not far from Portland, Oregon. Their records are often found with braile lettering on the covers or labels. They released at least this 45 and two LPs on Vanco.

Members were Dave Hugh Dave High on guitar, Pat Mulvey, Mike Mulvey, Darrel Deck on organ and William Webber on drums. According to the liner notes of their LP Both Sides of the Twilighters, Dave Hugh was the only sighted member of the group.

From the track list of the first LP Sides of the Twilighters (Winchester Cathedral, Hello Dolly, Liechtensteiner Polka, Truck Driving Man, Fiesta in Acapulco, Kansas City, Elmer’s Tune, My Heart Is an Open Book plus both sides of this single) and the title of the second (Country Our Way), it’s likely this 45 is as garage as they ever sounded.

Given their obvious songwriting talent – “Out of My Mind” was written by Pat Mulvey and David High; “I Need Your Lovin” by David High – I wonder why they didn’t make more records in this style. “Out of My Mind” is particularly strong, though it does sound like the singer renders the lyric “so painfully clear” as “so plainfully clear”!

Like the 45 by the Bystanders this was released on Vanco, the label owned by Bob Gibson. Another 45 on Vanco is #208: Sorry For Tryin’ / Happy Springtime, by The Fire, two songs firmly on the pop side of psychedelic, from about 1968.

The Bystanders

Vanco was a label from Vancouver, Washington, near Portland, Oregon, so bands on the label could be from either side of the Columbia River.

The Bystanders had at least two 45s on Vanco, but I haven’t been able to find out much else about the band. The label credits Rick Keefer as engineer – he later went on to produce the New Tweedy Brothers among others. “Just Exactly Off” is pretty fine garage. The b-side is a ballad, “Flower Song”. Songwriting credits for both songs are Robinson – Tobius.

Another band on the Vanco label was the Twilighters.

Anyone have a photo of the group?