Category Archives: Angelus

The Xanadus

Xanadus Angelus 45 Before the DawnXanadus Encore 45 Before the Dawn

I mentioned the Xanadus when I wrote about Angelus Records, a label for Christian music based out of Lorin Whitney’s studio in Glendale. The Xanadus first single was on Angelus, even though it was not a religious record. On hearing their second single recently, I decided the Xanadus deserve their own entry.

Their first single, “Before the Dawn” features a basic ensemble of lightly-amplified guitars, tambourine and harmony singing. “Little Girl” is a ballad, even more low-key than the A-side. Both songs are on youtube but not in great sound quality. It came out on Angelus WR-4442, and then the band reissued it on their own Encore label with the same catalog # 4442.

Xanadus Encore 45 You Turn Me OnThere are only a few instrumental or pop releases on Angelus. The Xanadus single is more pop in style and subject matter, but it’s so light and innocuous it doesn’t clash with the typical Angelus subject matter.

However, there’s no way Angelus would allow the band to use the label for their second 45, the salacious and amazing “You Turn Me On” / “Bankrupt Bothered & Bewildered”, released on Encore 4443. These are sharp, cutting rockers, with good guitar breaks. “Bankrupt Bothered & Bewildered” sounds like it was recorded live, shouting and hooting in the background.

Photos in the videos are different bands.

Angelus WR-4442 – “Before the Dawn” (Boyd & Adams) / “Little Girl” (Wray) produced by J & R Productions
Encore 4442 – Xanadus – “Before the Dawn” (Boyd & Adams) / “Little Girl” (Wray) (WR-4442-45) released Feb. 1965
Encore 4443 – “You Turn Me On” / “Bankrupt, Bothered & Bewildered” released April 1965

Both Encore releases have publishing by Shat-Shep Music BMI.

At this time I know nothing about the band.

The Shat-Shep Music credit shows up on at least a couple other singles of the period. One is Gail Da Corsi ‎– “I’ve Lost In Life” / “Touch Of Yesterday” on Dolton 314. The other is the Universals “I’m In Love” / “A Love Only You Can Give” on Shepherd SR 2200, a doo-wop style 45 from 1962.

Another Shepherd release, though without the Shat-Shep credit is Ritchie Marsh “They Say” (Pat Vegas, R. Marsh, pub. by Debutante Music) / “Darling I Swear That It’s True” on Shepherd SR-2203. Ritchie Marsh is better known as Sky Saxon.

The Shepherd label came out of Hollywood.

Thank you to Dan Peterson for the scan of the Angelus 45. If you have better scans of the second Encore single, please contact me.

Anyone have more info or a photo of the band?

Angelus Records discography

The Moore Evangelistic Party on Angelus
The Moore Evangelistic Party on Angelus

The Lacys Angelus LP HallelujahWhen Jim Lewallen sent me scans of a 45 by his group the Goldenaires on Angelus Records, I started looking into the label’s discography. I really didn’t know what I was getting into!

Angelus Records was the in-house label for Whitney Recording Studio in Glendale, California. Lorin Whitney owned and operated the studio and played organ or piano on many of Angelus albums. Les Roberts described the studio to me, “the main studio was almost 50’ x 50’. Great acoustics!”

The label was either named for, or connected to the Angelus Temple of the Foursquare Church, the Pentecostal sect founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. the studio and label were in Glendale, five miles north of the temple.

The Faith Tones Angelus LP Jesus Use MeAll kinds of artists used Whitney for recording, but Angelus Records tended towards Christian inspirational music, but not African-American gospel music. It was a big operation, putting out hundreds of LPs from the early ’60s into the ’70s. Most Angelus releases were custom pressings: the artists paid for the recording and pressing of their records. However, Lorin Whitney had at least one release of his own, so Angelus may have marketed some of these albums. The acts came from all over the west, from Montana and Colorado all the way to Alaska, with many from Seattle and the state of Washington.

Within the Angelus catalog there are a handful of interesting releases in genres other than Christian spiritual music, but even the few heavy rock exceptions such as Stone Garden and Faction have religious overtones. The only truly secular recordings may be the Goldenaires and the Xanadus singles.

Acid Test Angelus Records 45 What Do I LoveLike the Word label, it had some of the best album covers ever.

7″ singles on Angelus:

There seem to be relatively few 45s on Angelus, but the single by the Stone Garden “Stop My Thinking” / “Oceans Inside Me” stands out.

There’s also a 45 I’ve never heard by a group called The Acid Test, supposedly recorded at Sound Recording in Spokane. Anyone have a transfer of that one? Craig (MojoCools) sent in the scans seen here and wrote:
Acid Test Angelus 45 Make Her Mine

I believe [one copy] was unearthed in the Spokane area, while I found mine in NW Montana and always thought they were from Spokane/Couer d’Alene area. No SRC info on the trail off as it is only etched with WR-4803-A/ WR-4803-B and the “(copyright pending)” statement on the label doesn’t shed much light.

These guys sound like high school kids and can’t manage to pull of a lead break on the A side, and only barely at the end of the flip. A-side “What Do I Love” is almost heavy as Stone Garden but very inept and instead of a break they just modulate. Flip “Make Her Mine” is actually the Rascals “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” and has a simple crude break towards the end.

Foundation Angelus PS

Craig also sent the scan of the Foundation sleeve (above) and wrote:

Picture sleeve is a slick glued to a 7″ inner. It sounds pretty much like the sleeve looks. Acoustic guitar and electric bass. “The Man” = folky original that borrows from “All Along the Watchtower” a bit but adds some female scat vocals / harmony vocals giving it a sunshine pop sound. Flip is more soft folk sunshine which is a weird/happy way to sing about dying on the cross! This is not typical acoustic Christian folk.

First names are listed (Jim, Lou Ann, Jeanette and Mike), and a quote from Corinthians (“I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it”) but no other info on who group was.

Angelus LPs:

Fraction Angelus 45 Moon BloodOf the albums, the most famous by far is Jim Beach’s group Fraction, with their very desirable psych LP Moon Blood. Even this record, it should be said, has Christian theology behind it.

Other interesting releases that I haven’t heard yet are two jazz LPs by Ron Pittner recorded in France, another by Bill Maldonado, a country or folk rock album by an act known as Sierra, and the intriguing Joe Jim Paul’s Sings Song from Alaska with song titles like “The Midget Wildwood Little Girl” and “Pop the Magic Dragon”

I’ve included what I could find from the usual record selling sources, so please write if you have good scans or can help with the discography. This is obviously very incomplete – only about 100 records out of what could be as many as 1,000 Angelus releases.

Engineers on the albums include Doug Smith, Paul Elmore and Frank Kejmar.

Angelus Records discography:

Jack Moore - the only Angelus record I've seen with a different label design45s / 7″ records:
Angelus 45-1012 – Jack Moore – Goodby, World, Goodby (Mosie Lister, with Frances Moore organ and Cathy Bragg piano) / How Great Thou Art (with the Calvary Temple Teen Chorale)
Angelus WR-4342 – The Goldenaires – “What He Said” / “The Mad Hatter”
Angelus WR-4346 – The Music of Dick Charles and the Boys (no song titles, small center hole so probably 33 1/3 rpm)
Angelus WR-4442 – Xanadus – “Before the Dawn” (Boyd & Adams) / “Little Girl” (Wray) (reissued on Encore 4442)
Angelus WR-4749 – Rick and Dennis – “Redeemed” / “The Love Come a Tricklin’ Down” / “Where Will You Be When That First Trumpet Sounds” / “Let Me Fly”
Angelus WR-4803 – Acid Test – “What Do I Love” / “Make Her Mine”
Angelus WR-4819 – The Stone Garden – “Stop My Thinking” / “Oceans Inside Me” (Gary Speer)
Angelus WR-4942 – Foundation – “The Man” / “Can You Live” (with picture sheet glued on plain sleeve)
Angelus WR-5015 – Redwood Chapel Community Church – Sunday Night Sing! (33 1/3 7″ LP)
Angelus WR-5047 – Tom Keene and the Contemporaries – “What a Song” / “May I Introduce You to a Friend”
Angelus WR-5095 – Blue James – “Fairytales, Fishermen, and Fools” / “Sweet And True”
Angelus KO-794881 – Brian Michaels – “Twenty Nine Miles from Boston” / ?

Xanadus Angelus 45 Before the Dawn

Xanadus Encore 45 Before the Dawn
The Xanadus Angelus single WR-4442 reissued on the Encore label

Albums:
Angelus WR-4105 – Kaufman Family Radio Missionaries (cover reads Angelus, labels have Whitney Records)
Angelus WR-4193 – Bud Garmo ‎– Songs Of Comfort
Angelus WR-4216 – Ray Kaady – Amazing Grace
Angelus WR-4227 – Moore Evangelistic Party (Marrles Moore, Frances Moore, Jack Moore & Merv Moore, piano by Loren Whitney)
Angelus WR-4332 – Vincent and Virginia Gizzi ~ Missionaries To Japan
Angelus WR-4342 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4346 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4362 – Don & Norma Tanner – The Tanner Team
Angelus WR-4365 – Lex Ellesin – Yugoslav Songs and Dances
Angelus WR-4368 – Bill Notehelfer – Forward to Christ, with Charles Magnuson & Lorin Whitney
Angelus WR-4371 – Jimmie McDonald – Sings From His Heart to You
Angelus WR-4379 – Bill White – Gentle Hands, with Sue Magnuson and Pattie Stiles, prod. by Wesley Tuttle
Angelus WR-4381 – Malcolm Fry ‎– Overshadowed
Angelus WR-4393 – Woodlandaires – Spring Concert
Angelus WR-4394 – Polly Prieto, Lorene Null, Elizabeth Null & Hilarion S. Raymundo ‎– Melodies From The Mission Field (Philippine Islands)
Angelus WR-4396 – Calvary Temple, Seattle, Bud Tutmarc dir. – My Heart Is Glad
Angelus WR-4409 – Ronald Drye – Balm in Gilead
Angelus WR-4419 – Dale Crowley – From My Heart to Your Heart
Angelus WR-4422 – Marian Estep – The News in Revelation
Angelus WR-4425 – Ron Schloss – Memorial Album
Angelus WR-4437 – Wilbur and Norman Nelson – Sing Praises
Angelus WR-4441 – Lorene Booth Koltovich ‎– Sacred Requests
Angelus WR-4442 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4443 – Bud Garmo – Songs of Challenge
Angelus WR-4447 – Bud Garmo ‎– I Never Walk Alone
Angelus WR-4458 – Roger Crymes – God Understands
Angelus WR-4479 – Marriage, Divorce and Sex (Message by Dr. Joseph Murphy)
Angelus WR-4497 – Marian Estep – Songs of Heaven
Angelus WR-4503 – Cass Schreib My Wonderful Lord
Angelus WR-4520 – First Baptist Church, Crescenta, Calif. ‎– Organ-Music Dedication
Angelus WR-4529 – Donna Reed – Fill My Cup Lord
Angelus WR 4538 – Northwest College Concert Choir ‎– “How Big Is God” Also “It Took A Miracle” (need confirmation of this one)
Angelus WR 4539 – Tom Keene and the Contemporaries – The New Sound In Motion
Angelus WR 4542 – Northwest District Youth Choir of the Assemblies of God, Seattle – I Have Christ
Angelus WR-4551 – Nelson & Jester – Good News Favorites, with Helen Nelson and Mary Jester
Angelus WR-4557 – Korean Blind Quartet – Songs of Another World
Angelus WR-4557 – Fairview Heights (Inglewood Ca) Baptist Church
Angelus WR-4559 – Gilbert Hynes ‎– Heart Songs Of The Spirit (need confirmation of this one)
Angelus WR-4569 – Berl Thomas – Hymns of Hope
Angelus WR-4561 – Fairview Heights (Inglewood, CA) Baptist Church Choir – In His Glory (need confirmation of this one)
Angelus WR-4572 – Harbor-Lites – Girls Trio
Angelus WR-4573 – Witnesses Trio – Nearer My God
Angelus WR-4591 – Don Calhoun – Sacred Songs
Angelus WR-4592 – David F. Webber – Mark of the Beast
Angelus WR-4597 – R. Norheim & Lutheran Gospel Hour Singers ‎– Lamplighter Songs
Angelus WR-4600 – Roy & Arlene Brewer – He Is Everything to Me
Angelus WR-4602 – Marian Estep – Old Favorites of the Church
Angelus WR-4616 – The Singing Servants, directed by Dean Schield
Angelus WR-4619 – Harold Holt – It’s In My Heart
Angelus WR-4638 – Judy Koenig – No Other Song
Angelus WR-4654 – Dr. Joseph Murphy – The Secret Of I Am That I Am
Angelus WR-4659 – Treble Heirs – No Other Song (Jane Fowler, Cherie Miller, Linda Morse)
Angelus WR-4663 – Brandts – No Other Name
Angelus WR-4677 – Wilbur and Norman Nelson – New Life in Christ
Angelus WR-4684 – The Proclaimers
Angelus WR-4701 – Elmer and Lee Bruno – Sonata Sagrada
Angelus WR-4705 – Alma Louise Shurte – Songs from the Heart
Angelus WR-4722 – The Singing Servants ‎– Day By Day
Angelus WR-4732 – Jane Nellis – Songs from the Heart
Angelus WR-4742 – The Lacys – Hallelujah! Unique Gospel Songs & Spirituals
Angelus WR-4749 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4771 – Bethany Park Presents ’68 Camp Meeting – Melodies of Praise
Angelus WR-4778 – Marian Estep – Sing Unto the Lord
Angelus WR-4779 – Linda Baker – Paul Speaks to You
Angelus WR-4781 – Antanas Pavasaris – Dainu Ir Ariju Recitalis
Angelus WR-4789 – Taiwan Men’s Choir – Free China Sings
Angelus WR-4793 – The Hart Family – Paul, Connie & David Hart – Hart To Heart
Angelus WR-4802 – The Faith Tones – Jesus Use Me
Angelus WR-4803 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4811 – Marian Rieth – Moments of Meditation
Angelus WR-4817 – Wilbur and Norman Nelson – More Gospel Favorites
Angelus WR-4818 – Bill Maldonado – … This Dream
Angelus WR-4819 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4827 – Marian Estep with Lorene Kealy, Paul Kealy & Lorin Whitney – Songs of the Holy Land
Angelus WR-4833 – Ben Lippen School, Ralph Parker, Director – Music
Angelus WR-4842 – Jim Bergthold – Personal Peace
Angelus WR-4847 – Rodger Hall – Where Do I Go From Here
Angelus WR-4849 – Roy & Arlene Brewer – This Is the Life
Angelus WR-4853 – King’s Choralons & Northwest College Ladies’s Ensemble, Kirkland WA – God Is Alive
Angelus WR-4858 – Ray Kaady – Volume 2, Tell It Again
Angelus WR-4867 – Cymanfa Ganu & Welsh Church, Los Angeles – I Will Sing Hosanna
Angelus WR-4869 – Donald Rick with Dick Bolks and Lorin Whitney – In Sacred Concert
Angelus WR-4870 – Marian Rieth – Hallowed Moments
Angelus WR-4885 – Marian Estep – Songs You Love
Angelus WR-4891 – Barbara Lowman, Soprano with Morris Mosby – I Asked the Lord
Angelus WR-4893 – Doris Beaulieu – Doris Sings Out in Sacred Concert, acc. by Coral Baerg
Angelus WR-4894 – Malcolm Fry ‎– Grace So Amazing
Angelus WR-4898 – Harbor Masters – The Harbor Masters Sing
Angelus WR-4916 – United Community Church Glendale – 10th Anniversary 1961 to 1971
Angelus WR-4926 – Bibleaires Trio ‎– I Shall Be At Home
Angelus WR-4933 – Ada Mouw Groen – Lord Is My Light
Angelus WR-4936 – Mizpah Singers (Barruel Bros) – The Living Rock
Angelus WR-4937 – Church of the Open Door – His People
Angelus WR-4942 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-4944 – artist? – What Color is Love (blank cover? I need a scan or confirmation of this one)
Angelus WR-4954 – Wilbur Nelson – Sings “These Are a Few of My Favorite Songs”
Angelus WR-4957 – Lutheran Gospel Hour – Anchored in Jesus / Anniversary Album
Angelus WR-4964 – Arnie Hartman – In Concert
Angelus WR-4982 – Kathryn Kuhlman presents Jimmie McDonald
Angelus WR-4990 – Neal Higgins – Fill My Cup, Lord
Angelus WR-4984 – The Sound Impressions – Presents … a Reason for Being (Otis Skillings, orch; Al Reis, photography; Chuck Hernandez, art design; Frank Kejmar, engineer; Jerry Lindsay, director)
Angelus WR-4989 – John and Linnie Olson – Radio Favorites
Angelus WR-4994 – Paul and Louise Greisen – I’m His to Command
Angelus WR-4996 – New Life ‎– Giver Of Joy

Jimmie McDonald Angelus LPMark Greer Angelus LP Searching

Angelus WR-5003 – The King’s Envoys – For Him
Angelus WR-5005 – Fraction – Moon Blood
Angelus WR-5009 – Dick Zeller – He Loves Us More
Angelus WR-5015 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-5024 – Vere Raley with John Lundberg Singers ‎– Baritone Soloist
Angelus WR-5031 – Marian Estep – God Is Our Refuge
Angelus WR-5032 – Chuck Kisner & Rose Parenti – Don’t Let a Day Go By
Angelus WR-5041 – The Brotherhood III and The New Life – A Reason to Sing
Angelus WR-5042 – Tact Singers (Teen Action for Christ Today) – Jesus Is (dir. Roger Clay, First Church of the Nazarene, Denver, Colorado)
Angelus WR-5047 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-5051 – Sierra
Angelus WR-5057 – F.X. McDonald, Jr. – Peace My Friends
Angelus WR-5059 – Robert Bowman – Songs of Enduring Faith
Angelus WR-5060 – Westmont College Choir
Angelus WR-5067 – Ken Hyde – If God
Angelus WR-5068 – Modesto Christian School Choir And The Children Of Modesto Christian School ‎– Good News! (need confirmation of this one)
Angelus WR-5069 – Master Design – Get All Excited with Master Design
Angelus WR-5074 – Mark Greer – Searching
Angelus WR-5082 – Pastor R. Norheim & Lutheran Gospel Singers – Gospel in Song
Angelus WR-5083 – Joyce Okert – Something Worth Living For
Angelus WR-5086 – The Jesters – Messages In Music
Angelus WR-5087 – Tom & Shelly (1974)
Angelus WR-5088 – Mark Greer – Resolutions
Angelus WR-5091 – Bill White – Reaching Out
Angelus WR-5095 – see 45 / 7″ list above
Angelus WR-5099 – The Dick Anthony Family – More Out of Life
Angelus WR-5102 – The Inspirationals and Lawrence Foley – Sacred Songs from the Crystal Fountain
Angelus WR-5108 – Jamie Burghardt ‎– Jamie Sings For God And Country
Angelus WR-5111 – Chuck Kisner – In His Name
Angelus WR-5113 – George Sanchez – Songs of the Shepherd
Angelus WR-5115 – Barruel Brothers – Born to Be King
Angelus WR-5117 – Tim & Roger – At the Twin Pianos
Angelus WR-5120 – F.X. McDonald – F.X. & the Boys
Angelus WR-5121 – Ken Finley – God Is Much Fairer
Angelus WR-5123 – Westmont College Choir
Angelus WR-5126 – John Steele – Closing Night
Angelus WR-5127 – Linnie J. Olson – Linnie (Rufus Harvey Jr. conducting)
Angelus WR-5128 – Clara Shannon – Singing Missionary
Angelus WR-5130 – Daybreak with Dick Anthony & the Orchestra
Angelus WR-5142 – Ron Pittner – Out from the Edge: Recorded in Concert, Paris, France, with Kent Carter (cello), Mototeru Takagi (saxophone), Takashi Kako (electric piano), recorded March 1974
Angelus WR-5143 (?) – Covenant Gospelaires present It’s A True Story
Angelus WR-5152 – Jim Bergthold First Tenor With The Haven Of Rest Quartet ‎– The King Is Coming
Angelus WR-5154 – The Ascensions – Playing Around with Jazz
Angelus WR-5156 – Neal Higgins ‎– To God Be The Glory
Angelus WR-5158 – Pierce Family ‎– A Song About Life
Angelus WR-5165 – F.X. McDonald, Jr. Soloist – Jesus Thou Art Coming w. Laurindo Almeida and Louise de Tullio
Angelus WR-5169 – Larry Vannucci – Anything Goes
Angelus WR-5174 – Freedom Ringers II (handbell music recorded during 1978 European tour)
Angelus WR-5183 – Joe Jim Paul – Sing “Song From Alaska” (with Son Gary Paul and John Angaiak)
Angelus WR-8081 – Jaggers Family – Across the Sea
Angelus WR-1943 – Ron Pittner – The Indigo Mirror and the Ivory Dot, Recorded in Concert, Orly, France,
Angelus WRLW-1981 – Lorin Whitney – Gospel Organ Favorites vol. 1

Master Design Angelus LP Get All Excited WithJoe Jim Paul Sings Song From Alaska Angelus LP

? – Christmas Time with Linnie
? – Riverside Professional Jazz Workshop

Master Design cover from Observatory. Thanks to Max Waller for the titles to the Blue James 45, to Dan Peterson for the Xanadus scans and to Jack for the Jack Moore 45 scans.

 T.A.C.T. (Teen Action for Christ Today!) Singers - Jesus Is! Angelus LP
T.A.C.T. (Teen Action for Christ Today!) Singers – Jesus Is!

Eddie Burkey

Eddie Burkey in Billboard, July 17, 1965
Eddie Burkey in Billboard, July 17, 1965

Eddie Burkey Gemcor 45 Stepping StonesGemcor was a short-lived label based out of Bill Bell’s studio on Melrose in Los Angeles. It had one of the coolest label designs of the 60’s. There were only three releases on Gemcor, and two are very well known to fans of garage rock.

One of these is the Rumors 45, “Hold Me Now” / “Without Her”, among my very favorite 45s of the ’60s. (I still don’t have a copy of it. Anyone have a spare?) Another is the common and excellent Beckett Quintet 45, “No Correspondence”.

Billboard, July 31, 1965
Billboard, July 31, 1965

The very first 45 on the label is almost unknown, however, with Eddie Burkey performing two of his original instrumentals. “Stepping Stones” is a melange of surf, brass and strings, but Eddie cuts loose some ripping guitar lines here and there. The flip is the lighter “Emerald Shadows”.

It turns out Ed Burkey is credited with arranging the Rumor’s “Hold Me Now”, and actually played lead and rhythm guitar on both sides, including the wild reverbed solo on “Hold Me Now”. That solo alone ensures his musical immortality in my book!

 Billboard, September 11, 1965
Billboard, September 11, 1965

I’ve read that Ed Burkey played with the Ventures but can’t find any confirmation of that. He did cut three instrumentals for the Downey label that went unreleased at the time, now compiled on the Ace CD “Intoxica! Strange and Sleazy Instrumentals From the SoCal Suburbs”. Two of these are loaded with overdubs and experimental sounds. Interestingly, the third is labeled “Dreams of Downey” but seems to be identical to “Stepping Stones”.

Eddie’s early groups included drummer Jim Lewallen, related to the Tucson, Arizona Lewallen Brothers who recorded for Splitsound Records.

Gemcor discography:

5001 Eddie Burkey – Stepping Stones / Emerald Shadows
5002 Rumors – Hold Me Now (Ben Turner) / Without Her (written by Norman Prinsky, credited to “Richards”)
5003 Beckett Quintet – No Correspondence (Tim Taylor) / It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Sources include: Norman Prinsky’s article on the Rumors. Billboard mentions Herbert L. Sokol and Walter Nelson as other executives with Gemcor.

Since writing the above summary, I heard from Eddie’s longtime collaborator, Les Roberts, who kindly gave a fuller picture of their music and shared his personal photos:

“Eddie (with my Gibson), my Mom and younger sister”
 Tony Taylor, Les Roberts and Eddie Burkey
Tony Taylor, Les Roberts and Eddie Burkey
Goldenaires business card
Our business card
 Angelus 45 recorded at Whitney Recording, courtesy Jim Lewallen
Angelus 45 recorded at Whitney Recording, courtesy Jim Lewallen
 Les Roberts onstage
Les Roberts onstage
Dick Dale & the Del-Tones circa mid-1970s
The Del-Tones, circa mid-1970s
Les Roberts and Dick Dale

Hmmm, don’t know where to start, except from the beginning!

Eddie was born 1945 in Akron, OH. I was born 1947 in Middletown, OH (between Cincinnati and Dayton). We are not brothers, but might as well have been.

We moved to Downey, CA in 1960. I had been learning guitar for a while and Eddie finally became interested when I learned to played “Bulldog” & “Torque” by the Fireballs. We only had the one guitar and to the surprise and wonderment of family and friends, we were both playing songs, simultaneously on the one guitar. We would switch off on lead and rhythm. It was pretty cool.

December of that year I bought a Gibson Melody Maker solid body ($89.00). Now we had two guitars!

We began playing for friends, BBQ’s and finally a “sock-hop”. Eddie and I were the GoldenAires. By 1964 we had incorporated a drummer (Jim Lewallen) and bass player (Tony Taylor), both from Twenty Nine Palms, CA. They had some connections in 29 Palm and we started getting Friday and Saturday night gigs in the area. Up to and including Disneyland. Most of our music was Ventures, Duane Eddy, Dick Dale, and lots of surf music. He became “Eddie Ladd” and I “Les Roberts”. It was fun, no big deal and we were getting paid to do what was easy! By this time each of us had bought custom made Fender Jaguars and Fender Dual Showman amps. His was Candy Apple Red and mine was Metal Flake Blue.

I had started a carpet cleaning business which was making a lot of money and spent a lot of time involved with that. I knew the Chanteys band members and the Rumblers because of some business I had done with Downey Records, which was run by an interesting individual Bill Wenzel. Bill had a record store, Wenzel Music Town, and in a backroom he had set up a small 6’ x 10’ sound room to record in. He had an Ampex recorder and the local groups would come in for $30/hr to record their music. Eddie had bought an Echo machine (tape loop-like that used by Jordan Ingman – “Apache”) and was doing some great licks. The Rumbler’s even used him in some of their recordings.

at Whitney Recording: (l-r) Tony Taylor, Les Roberts, Eddie Burkey and Jim Lewallen

The studio photo was taken at Whitney Recording Studio in Glendale, CA. around December 1964. Tony Taylor was the bassist. Eddie and I traded lead/rhythm. The studio was a gas! The main studio was almost 50’ x 50’. Great acoustics! At the time our manager, Herb Sokol, was financing the group: recording cost(s), uniforms, musical necessities etc. He had sold Scott Seely (Accent Records) on a recording contract. At the time we had finished recording “Madhatter”, “What He Said”, “Watermelon Man” and “Soundin’ Loud”.

The Goldenaires' Angelus Records 45
The Goldenaires’ Angelus Records 45, recorded at Whitney Recording courtesy Jim Lewallen

Eddie and I were not yet of legal age to sign contracts, so the matter went to the parents and Herb Sokol. Being the fact Herb fronted the money for almost everything, the contract showed the greater percentage of “artist” royalties would go to him until he had recouped his investment (I thought this was reasonable). The parents did not agree. As a result, even though Scott Seely had already signed the contract, to our dismay, it later ended up being trashed.

Not a big issue with Scott Seely, as he had just signed Buddy Merrill. Man, what talent that kid had! He was recording pretty much in the same manner that Eddie and I was doing (Les Paul-type sound-on-sound recording).

Eddie and I were recording some various songs for “future” work. On a couple visits when I could not make it to the studio, Eddie would start laying down the tracks for “Emerald Shadows” and “Thunderhead”. “Thunderhead” was the song that Eddie later edited and called: “Stepping Stones”. (Years later he renamed it; “Memories of Downey”). I loved “Emerald Shadows” as I was a big Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman fan and thought we could edge our music more toward a “tropical” sound.

A few months later Eddie briefly teamed up with Gemcor Records and released the songs around 1965 (Stepping Stone & Emerald Shadows). Another piece of info: Eddie designed the GEMCOR label. If he was involved in any other aspect with Gemcor, I was not aware of the arrangement.

To my knowledge Eddie never worked for or played with the Ventures. They opened an office in L.A. next door to the Mosrite Guitar business office, where we met Semie Moseley, the owner and shortly thereafter Don Wilson and Jerry McGee (who did keyboard and backup guitar work for the group).

Eddy was drafted in 1965 and I enlisted in 1966. Eddie married his high school sweetheart Karen in 1966, while on leave and before going to Vietnam. He settled down in Monterey, CA after the Army and I, after my discharge, in the L.A. area. Eddie was doing some graphic arts design, I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but not too long after Karen gave birth to Brandon, Eddie and Karen moved down to the L.A. area where Eddie and I started Town & Country Apartment Care – something to finance our waning music business.

One Wednesday night we heard of a night club that had a talent contest and opted to go. The house band (which was country) asked if we would like to go to an after-hours jam. Sure! we said. There we met up with Dewayne [Quirico] (drummer for the Bobby Fuller Four), plus some other well know country entertainers who we ended up jamming with for the rest of the night and many times thereafter. It was as if we were an overnight success! We backed a young lady named Trudy Martin and another gent named Ralph Raymonds.

Within a few weeks we were Trudy and Ralph’s back-up band, along with Paul Crum on flat-top guitar and Bobby Fierro on drums. We became: “Rockin’ Country” and was hired as the house band for a nightclub in Azusa CA. We did this gig with great success, for about two years. Ralph and Trudy went in one direction, Eddie and I in another. We tried some gigs as a Trio but things had changed and the “sound” just wasn’t there. I was offered and accepted a job to go on the road with Dick Dale; Eddie took a job playing lead for Barbara Stanton.

Dick Dale’s producer/manager was a cool gent named Jim Pewter, who was also the producer for Jan & Dean, so needless to say we did appearances together. Dick Dale was under contract to perform in Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe, which is what I did up until I realized I was going nowhere. Making great money, but going nowhere! I had moved to Lake Tahoe because it was a reasonable commute between Reno and Las Vegas but had lost track of Eddie. Finally, in 1977 I decided (at 30), I was getting too old for this, and with the approval of my wife, stopped the music business (cold turkey) and went back to college, under the GI bill, finished my degree and took my life into a different direction.

I seldom play music, as I have left that to my two sons, both of whom are heavily involved with the trade. I now live in Madera County, just a few miles from Yosemite Nat’l Park (south entrance), and work as a Safety Consultant for Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

I ran into Eddie in 1983 (in L.A.), he had teamed up with a very talented young lady (Leslie) who played piano, wrote music and they clicked (so to speak). They had a lounge act that lasted for a spell and then, for whatever reason, dissolved. Eddie remarried and to my knowledge still lives in the L.A. area.

Eddie Burkey was one hell of a guitar player, with an imagination to go with it. I have hundreds of hours of recordings, we made between 1963-1974, which I sometime load on the old TEAC and listen. I had pictured him going far, but that was our teenaged dreams.

As I look back, it all seemed to have started with that one song: “Bulldog”.

Les Roberts, June 2009