The Bristols have a 45 well-known among soul collectors, “(Go Away) With a Girl Like Her” / “Where Am I Going”. Cash Box gave it a positive review in August, 1967.
According to a youtube comment from band member Dale Monette:
The black label was the first issue of the recording. After Audio Dynamics re-released it on the white label. It was engineered by Don Carmody who owned the studio, and Dick Booth who was a great guy and helped us get airplay on WHYN is Springfield MA and other stations around the western New England area in the summer of 1967. It rose to number 11 on the WHYN top 40. It stayed on the chart 8 weeks.
The band was from Worcester, Massachusetts, and included Dave Rivers on vocals and Dale Monette on drums. Judging from song writing credits on their first 45, other members may have been Gabrenas and Strom.
Much more obscure is their second single, also on Audio Dynamics. “Cross Your Heart” has some of the soulfulness of their first single, but I like the slow dreamy quality of the flip, “I Need Only You”. Both sides lack the commercial production of the “(Go Away) With a Girl Like Her” / “Where Am I Going”.
Like their first single, there’s a credit to Dick Booth for arrangment and production, but no song writing credits, only the Audyn Music BMI publishing.
The Audio Dynamics discography is a jumble of different codes, making an exact release chronology difficult. Some releases have numbers ending three digits beginning with 6: the Pentagons is 671, the first Bristols 45 672, and the second Bristols single has 673 on one side and 674 on the other. The Chain Reaction single has 682 in the code.
The Pentagons cut one 45 at Audio Dynamics Studio, with the great rocker “About the Girl I Love” on the b-side. There’s a fine sense of urgency throughout the song starting from the opening bass line that immediately grabs the listener. I was surprised to learn it was played not on a bass but a Doric organ. Mistakenly listed as a Massachusetts band in the www.ugly-things.com database, the band was actually from Connecticut, as organist and song writer John Coggeshall informed me:
I was the founder and lead singer of The Pentagons; a four-man group (yes, I know, a pentagon has five sides) based in Montville, Connecticut between 1964 and 1969 (our high school years at Montville High School). We featured Steve Morse on Kent guitar, Gary Lamperelli on C-melody sax (until I, uh, accidently kicked it down the stairs so he had to go buy a tenor sax like the Dave Clark Five had), Dave Lemieux on drums and me on Doric portable organ (it had the most bass notes of all the portables and there were no bass guitar players at Montville High).
We originally recorded on acetate at Thomas Clancy Recording Studio in New Haven studio before Audio Dynamics; “Summer’s Over” and “The Walk”, a pretty good vocal rock tune with a good hook. It predates our Audio Dynamics effort by about a year.
We cajoled my grandfather into springing for some studio time in Stafford Springs, CT. Audio Dynamics was the only close and easily accessible studio we could find (Stafford Springs up a country road or two from Uncasville, if I remember correctly. There were no recording studios in the Norwich/New London area at the time, ya know, there was next to nothing in the way of any professional music business in that area at the time).
We recorded two songs I wrote on the Audio Dynamics label: “About The Girl I Love” and “Summer’s Over.” “Summer’s Over” the “A” side of our record is pretty depressing and forgotten. “About the Girl I Love” is the tune that has legs. Who would have thought that song, a “B” side, done in a few hours one afternoon, would be remembered and currently on two limited release compilation CDs [Gravel vol. 3 and Quagmire vol. 5].
Audio Dynamics seemed somewhat fly-by-night to me (set up in an old theatre with obviously moved-in equipment, difficult to reach by telephone, vague publishing promises, very rough-cut 45 rpm records, etc.). I think the huge theatre is what gave us that reverb sound. Also, can’t complain about the heavy density bottom, since we never had a bass player except my left hand and, that early on, I didn’t have the best concept of how to imitate a real bass guitar player, (on “Summer’s Over”, which was supposed to be the “A” side, I was playing three-note chords for the bass part on some of the song—real dumb), but the studio made my left hand sound pretty bass guitar-ish on “About The Girl I Love”.
We got the local Norwich record store, Gaffney’s, to carry it for awhile by sending our girlfriends to the store every day to breathlessly request copies. We sold it at gigs, too. I recall we weren’t happy with the very rough pressing of the record, which gave turntable needles difficulty at times. Maybe we sold most copies.
I also had ties to The Breakers out of New London, CT, who took a song I wrote, “She Left Me” through various Battle of the Band competitions, eventually landing an MGM Records contract, releasing a bubblegum tune, “Jack B. Nimble” that went nowhere and is barely mentioned on the Internet and un-findable. I have “She Left Me” and “An Always Time” written by me and performed by The Breakers on acetate, before they became The New York Thruway.
Then there’s New London based Davy Jones and the Dolphins, who actually did a soundtrack to a “B” Hollywood movie, “Hellcats”, that barely survives mention, and who actually had Columbia Records release their song, “Shannon” a pretty good number, and that’s NOWHERE on the Internet. And yet, beyond all those major league labels, better recordings and “A” sides, “About the Girl I Love” is the one that survives for posterity.
We play New London’s meaner nights, The “backdoor” clubs, the dance floor fights, Rowdy Norwich Rooftop fans, Who punch Steve out whilst in the can. That high school gym was so fantastic, Tossing chairs and making baskets, Trashcans on the roof by Dave, Who claimed we were “The Purple Sage”, And after we had done all that, How come they never asked us back?
It was a backstreet New London club on the first floor of an old house, and people would walk by and throw lit firecrackers through open windows onto the dance floor while we played and people danced. Talk about a showstopper. My dad came to pick us up at the end of a gig one night, and a fight broke out on the hood of our family station wagon.
In regard to “Burnt Toast,” that’s The Pentagons minus our original drummer, Dave Lemieux, and with our original sax player, Gary Lamperelli, taking over on drums and us playing as a threesome. After we all graduated from high school in 1969, the group split up and three of us went to colleges in different states, and one went to air conditioning school (I think). After the end of our freshman years, we, for the first time in our teenage lives, had to get REAL summer jobs (during high school, our weekend Pentagon gigs made us enough money to keep our parents quiet regarding that “Get A Job!” syndrome). But now, it was GENUINE WORK time: me at the Thermos Factory on swing shift, Steve at McDonald’s, I think, and Gary sweeping up at his dad’s famous nightclub, “Lamperelli’s 7 Bros.” on Bank St. in New London.
About halfway through those backbreaking months, I met up with Gary and his dad and we hatched a brilliant scheme: for the following three years, his dad (and the other 6 brothers) would hire us for the summer, every night, at less than what the club was paying other bands, and for advertising purposes we would re-name the band every week and say we were from a different big city (“Burnt Toast from Miami”, “Direct from Las Vegas, ‘Fistful of Worms’, etc. etc.). We cut our personnel to three to make more money apiece, and the club always let us pick the band name and didn’t much care what it was, thus, “Running Sores” from Boston, “Prep H” from Detroit—I remember making posters: cardboard stock with a real slice of burnt toast nailed to it, to place outside the club. Actually, the scheme worked great for three summers, and none of us had to get anymore real jobs through college. I loved that New London club (pretty well-known, it turns out), and Gary’s dad and uncles.
At the end of our run (around 1973), I wrote a three-page epic poem about the beginning, middle and end of The Pentagons. It covers every highlight and lowlight we experienced. I have had a lengthy time in the entertainment field, the legal profession and even politics (the meeting place of law and entertainment) since then.
John “Cog” Coggeshall.
A special thank you to John for his help with this article, including all photos and the transfer of the acetate of “The Walk”.
Update, September 2010
John has a new CD, John Cog: Bay Blues available on CD Baby with previews of the songs. Proceeds go towards restoring Chesapeake Bay.
Update, January 2014
John announces the upcoming release of the second and third volumes of his Bay Blues trilogy, Bay Blues Fools and Bay Blues 3 Times The Legal Limit.
Beep Beep and the Road Runners formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1962 when the members were only adolescents 10 to 12 years old. Originally they were a quartet: Tom Falconer on bass and vocals, Ron Manley lead guitarist, Louie Dansereau played rhythm guitar and Donny Ouellette drums and vocals.
Don Ouellette lived across Grand Street from Tommy Falconer, and Don’s friend since childhood, Ronnie Manley suggested to Tommy that they start a band. Ronnie knew Louis Dansereau, and the band started practicing in Tom’s living room until they refurbished a room in the basement.
They added their manager’s son Jay Bonen as a second drummer. I asked Don Ouellette if they worked well together musically and Don said no, it was more of a gimmick, which was also what Tom Falconer said in an interview with Fuzbrains magazine. More importantly, the band also added a lead vocalist, Tim Ralston who would be crucial to the sound of their first 45.
As for the ‘Beep Beep’ in their band name, Tom said that it did not refer to any particular member – “There was never a Beep Beep”. Don Ouellette says he was ‘Beep Beep’ but the band kept that secret from the public for a long time.
Early on the band covered surf and r&b instrumentals by the Ventures and Duane Eddy, then added Beatles songs to their repertoire, often playing Friday evenings at St. Peters (Worcester Central). The band backed Gene Pitney twice and competed with local acts the Joneses, the New Breed, the Nite Riders and the Personals at clubs like the Comic Strip, the Speed Club (Speedway Club?) on Mill St., the Red Pony Lounge on Franklin, the Peacock Club in Auburn, and Tatassitt Beach on Lake Quinsigamond in Shrewsbury.
Their first 45 in May 1966 for Vincent Records had an original instrumental by Ron Manley on the A-side: the Link Wray-like Shifting Gears”. On the flip was Tom and Ron’s original song “True Love Knows”. It was an instant garage classic with Tim Ralston’s vocals sounding desperate and at times incoherent, while his cries of ‘true love knows’ on the chorus are echoed by another band member. I hear some evidence of the band’s two drummers in the intro to “True Love Knows”, where the tom rolls sound distinct from the beat kept by the bass drum, hi-hat and snare. I’d like to know details on how the song was recorded. George Gell informs me that it was cut at Al Soyka’s studio in Somers, Connecticut, home of the Glo label (New Fugitives – “That’s Queer”/”She’s My Baby”).
“True Love Knows” was a hit locally, staying at #1 spot on the charts of WORC, 1310 AM. The band’s manager Ray Bonen knew WORC station owner Bob Beyer well. In return for airplay the band appeared at many WORC events, including an opening of a Bradlees store in White City.
Tim Ralston soon left the group: he was older than the rest of the band and became undependable about showing up at their gigs. Jay Bonen also left the band after the first record due supposedly to fainting spells during live shows and from friction caused by Don’s increasing success as lead vocalist.
By late 1966 or early ’67 they added an organ player, Wayne Anderson Warren Anderson, who can be heard on their second 45 from August ’67, the cool “Don’t Run”, an original by Manley and Anderson. To me the song really takes off as the guitarist kicks in with his distortion pedal for the solo. The flip is a bizarre version of “Watermelon Man” that strips out the light touch of the original and turns it into an r&b burner. Don Ouellette sang lead on both sides of this 45. Audio Dynamics 45s were recorded at an old theater in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Don remembers adding his vocals to the instrumental tracks.
A third 45, “Do You Remember the Way We Started” was recorded but not released. The band added horns and became the Lundon Fog with Barry Wilson on vocals then broke up in 1973.
Ron Manley and Don Ouellette continued playing, first in Easy Street with Elaine Christie and then in Breez’n. Tim Ralston died in the late 70’s.
If anyone has photos of the group, please email me
Thanks to George and Mop Top Mike for their comments to my original post, which I’ve incorporated into this revised text. Very special thanks to LB Worm for helping me locate the 1983 interview that the Rev. Joe Longone and Brian Goslow did with Tom Falconer in the first issue of Worcester fanzine Fuzbrains, a major source for this article. Lastly, thank you to Don Ouellette for taking the time to speak to me and correct some errors in the article.