Category Archives: Atwell

The Children on Atwell

Along a scenic mountain parkway stretch of I-65 heading south, past Bowling Green and just north of the Tennessee border, in a tiny Kentucky town called Mundfordville, in Hart County, tucked on the hill above the moving Green River, a group of teenage boys formed a band in the winter of ’65.

Hearing the happening mid-sixties sounds of the Byrds, the Animals, the Beatles and the Stones, these boys got stars in their eyes and took up instruments, calling themselves December’s Children, named after the cold season upon them.

The members were:

  • Mike ‘Hoot’ Gibson / guitar, vox (Gibson ES 330)
  • Sam Goodman / lead guitar, fuzz ( Fender Telecaster)
  • Clint Nichols / bass (Fender)
  • Mike Rife / drums, vox

Honing their skills and gaining local popularity in Munfordville at the town’s teen club called ‘The Nightmare’ – the group of high school boys shortened their name to ‘The Children’ and  went on to play Hart County ‘courthouse fairs’, gigs in nearby Glasgow and also competed in the State Fair in Louisville about an hour north.

With a solid high school fan base and local support, the community was pushing them to make a record. By 1968, the members were all seniors and would graduate that following summer- all except Sam who was already a few years older and had his own wheels. The band had about 50 cover songs in the pocket, mostly dialed in on current rock radio hits of the day.

Children Atwell PS I Long To See Her

Disappearing to the parent’s basement, Mike and Sam penned two original songs that year and a recording session was appointed at Atwell Studio about an hour and a half’s drive south in Lafayette, Tennessee. The band loaded their gear in Sam’s car and excitedly roared down the road. The resulting session yielded two amazing tracks, done in one take that summer of ’68.

“I Long To See Her” b/w “Lost Soul Seeker In the Rain” was released later that year on the Atwell label and was issued with a simple picture sleeve of the band with a portrait that was made in a small photography studio along the way in Glasgow. It is not known how many copies of the record were pressed. Sources say that Lorne Atwell would often only have 100 run pressings done of the secular groups that came through the door, as Atwell was mostly a gospel/country label. The group never had any other draft or sketch of another original song, but stayed active as the Children until around ’72. Nonetheless, the two sides made for Atwell that summer have forever set them in garage punk unknown history stone.

The Children from the 1969 Hart County High School yearbook
The Children in December 1968, from the 1969 Hart County High School yearbook

Mike Gibson still lives in Mundfordville and continues to write and perform contemporary christian music. Many thanks to him for sharing his memories of the band from which this article was produced and for the photo from the class of ’69 Hart Co. High School yearbook that shows the band in action (Christmas of ’68).

Mike Rife died in Mundfordville in 2011.

The other band members are still residing in Kentucky, and were unable to be contacted for this article.

Extra special thanks to John Freeman, mayor of Mundforville for sharing his memories, sourcing the record and arranging the interview with Hoot.

Lee Bryant and Mike 'Hoot' Gibson

Atwell Records of Lafayette, Tennessee

The Children Atwell 45 I Long to See Her

Atwell Records of Lafayette, Tennessee released a number of interesting rock record in the late 1960s. Lafayette is about 60 miles northeast of Nashville, and a similar distance southeast of Bowling Green, Kentucky. I haven’t heard all of these, but my favorite so far is the Children single: two very well-crafted original songs featuring strong vocals with lead guitar bubbling in the background.

The A-side was “I Long to See Her” (by Mike Gibson), backed with “Lost Soul Seeker in the Rain” (by Mike Gibson and L.S. Goodman). It came out as Atwell 45-109 in the second half of 1968

Loryn Atwell produced the single, with both sides published by Lonesome Ern & Atwell Publishers, BMI. Publishing credits give full names, Michael Freeman Gibson and Louis Samuel Goodman.

One source stated the band was from Georgia, but this is incorrect. One member and a friend of the band commented below, stating the band was from Munfordville, Kentucky and members were Mike Gibson on vocals and guitar, Sam Goodman on lead guitar, Mike Rife on drums and vocals and Clint Nichols on bass. Joe Terry Crenshaw joined a later version of the band before it finally broke up.

Since writing this post, Lee Bryant contacted Hoot Gibson and wrote an expanded article on the group for this site.

The Children – Lost Soul Seeker in the Rain

The Children Atwell 45 Lost Soul Seeker in the Rain

Atwell had a couple fine rural country releases by the Pedigo Brothers & the Tennessee Rhythm Boys and some later teen releases:

Atwell 100 – “She’s Gone” (Earl Pedigo, Hillard Cliburn) / “You Never Looked Sweeter”
Atwell 101 – “A Love Affair Gone Wrong” / “It’s Hard To Smile” (with picture sleeve)
Atwell 102 – Randy & The Rockets – “Once Upon A Time” (Randy Dillahey) / “Rattlesnakin’ Daddy” 8/1965 “kids”
Atwell 109 – The Children – “I Long to See Her” / “Lost Soul Seeker in the Rain”
Atwell 111 – New Musical Express – “Child Of The Midnight Sun” (Gary Agers, Tommy Ramsey) / “Wrong Side Of Love” (Jerry Ford) 1969
Atwell 115 – Midnite Strobe – “Beyond Reason” / “The Future”
Atwell 45053 – Sweet Revenge – “Love Machine” / “Sweet Revenge” (released with picture sleeve of the band around one member in a coffin, mid 1970s)
Atwell 45057 – Bad LT – “Rock & Roll”/ “God Taketh”

Atwell also released EPs by the Tennessee Harmoneers, spiritual LPs by the Singing Youth, the Singing Gospeltones, and the Tomes Four (actually a quintet), a bluegrass album by Ron Knuth, among other religious and country 45s and LPs.

Atwell Studios is credited on some releases on the Re-Echo Records label of Livingston, TN, including The Madhatters “Unchain My Heart” / “That Kind Of Girl”, as well as on releases on the Breeze Records label, also from Livingston.

Thanks to Max Waller for a couple additions to the Atwell 45 discography.