The Sugar Beats formed in Tampa, Florida and had the first release on the Knight label, which is much better known for 45s by the Outsiders, the Tropics and the Mods. The band members were:
Roland Kent LaVoie – guitar Bill Ellington – guitar Bill Denman – bass Rick Emmert – drums
Both sides are upbeat pop cover songs, which may be why it was not included in Teen Beat Mayhem. Produced by Phil Gernhard and recorded at H & H Studios, though I’ve also read this was recorded at Charles Fuller’s studio – some overlap there? It dates from approximately 1964, with SoN #s 22541/2 in the matrix.
Roland LaVoie went into Me & the Other Guys who had two 45s, “Skinny Minnie” / “Crazy” on Hit Cat and “Runaround Girl” / “Everybody Knew But Me” on Boss.
My friend Borja posted this 45 recently on Facebook and I thought I’d put it up here because it seems to be obscure and also because of the Knight Records label. This is not the Texas label I’ve featured before but a label from Wilmington, Delaware, recorded at Ken-Del Studios.
Don’t know anything about the Spectrums. This seems to be their only 45. “I’ll Never Fear” is an original by D. Stewart (Dave Stewart I believe), backed with a good cover of “Wine, Wine, Wine”.
The Knights Band were Ray Edwards (vocals), Dudley Parker (keyboards), Carson Hood (bass), Bill Ashton (sax), Bick Mitchell (drums) and Dave Keller (lead guitar).Vocalist and DJ Ray Edwards sent in the early photo of David Keller’s first band, the Knights and gives some background, below.
The Preachers was David’s third band. In Shades Valley High School in Birmingham in the early 60’s, David played lead guitar for The Knights. I was the singer (little guy on the end) and “booking manager.” Other members were Bill Ashton (sax), Carson Hood (bass), Dudley Parker (keyboards), and Bic Mitchell (drums).
I graduated in 1963 and after a year at UAB in Birmingham headed to Tuscaloosa and a job 5 nights a week as a DJ at WJRD in Tuscaloosa. I was “invited” to drop out of the group. David took over lead vocals and sort of manager. They changed their name to The Original Knights and put out a 45 record to promote the band.
In the late 60’s I ran into David. He had just bought the convertible and told he he was making great money promoting bands. He said he had paid 21 $100 bills for the car. This was in Panama City where he had the club. The next thing I heard was that he was about to be drafted and had headed for Canada.
I have caught up with Bill Ashton, he is in sales and gets to Alabama from time to time. I met Dudley Parker at a wedding I was Djing for. (DJ company is Alabama Entertainment – alaentertainment.com) I talked with Bic who was filling in with a band playing at The Club. Carson died some time after we were in the band.
I have often wondered what happened to David. He was always “Crazy David” even when we had Saturday Morning band practice in his parents garage on Dolly Ridge Road in what became Vestavia Hills.
When Edwards and Parker left, the band became a quartet, now calling themselves the Original Knights. This group released one 45 on their own Knight Enterprise Records recorded at Boutwell Recording Studios in Birmingham. David Keller wrote both songs, “Going Fishing” and “Please Don’t Go”, which has vocals credited to Keller and Carson Hood.According to the sleeve, Keller attended University of Alabama in Birmingham while Hood and Mitchell were students at Walker Jr. College (now Bevill State I believe) in Sumiton, 25 miles to the northwest. Bill Ashton is listed as attending the more distant Auburn University.
For further info on David Keller, check out the page on the Preachers.
Thanks to Ray Edwards for the photo and info about the Knights Band, and also to Jeff Lemlich for the scans and transfers of the 45 as the Original “Knights”.
1046 – Bob Haydon – “Suzanne” / “Gonna Go (Gonna Leave Ya)” (both written by Bob Haydon; July 1, 1964) 1047 – Abby Anderson – “(We Were) Sittin’ in the Balcony” (Lewis Lindsey) / “My Love” 1048 – Lewis Lindsey – “Girls Always Break My Heart” / T”he Promise” (written and arranged by L. Lindsey) 1049 – Jimmy Rabbit with Ron and Dea – “Pushover” / “Wait and See” 1050 – The Knights – “Stay” / “I Know It Now” (both by B. Kissell) 1051 – ? 1052 – Jimmy Rabbit – “Wishy-Washy Woman” / “My Girl” (both by Ron Price, arranged by Bob Rambo)
4121-31 – The Knights – “Only You Hold the Answer” (Dick and Bob Kisslle [sic]) / “Walkin’ The Streets” (Bob Kisslle [sic]) published by Pinent Music, BMI and recorded at Dayson Studio in East Syracuse, NY
Any help with additions or corrections to this discography would be appreciated.
Bob Sanders ran the Knight and Spectra labels, among others, during the mid-’60s in Dallas, Texas. The two Jimmy Rabbit singles are probably the best, though I haven’t heard the Abby Anderson 45, described as doo wop.
Bob Haydon had the first 45 that I know of on Knight, released in mid-1964. “Suzanne” never made much impression on me, but “Gonna Go (Gonna Leave Ya)” has an easy mix of country and pop sounds.
Lewis Lindsey was either co-owner or had some position with the label. Jimmy Rabbit called the Knight label’s studio “Sand-Lin”, though I haven’t seen that name cited by anyone else.
Lindsey co-wrote “Sittin’ in the Balcony” for Abby Anderson, and co-wrote both sides of the Jimmy Rabbit 45, as well as being in Rabbit’s band at the time. For his own Knight single Lindsey wrote and arranged “The Promise”, a pop number with big production. Lewis Lindsey had another release on Vandan VR-7742, “Wish It Could Be Me” / “Is It Love” that I haven’t heard.
All of the above except the second Knights 45 (4121-31) produced by Bob Sanders with publishing by Fieldcrest Music, BMI, often the credits say “An Empire Production”. I would assume the Knights “Only You Hold the Answer” was their own production back in New York, however the logo is exact and their names are misspelled on the song writing credits.
There’s no connection to the Tampa, Florida Knight label that released 45s by the Tropics, Mods and Outsiders or the Wilmington, Delaware label with a release by the Spectrums, “I’ll Never Fear” (D. Stewart) / “Wine, Wine, Wine” recorded at Ken-Del Studios.
Many thanks to Brian Kirschenbaum for alerting me to the Knights 45, and to Tommy “MrTeenSwe” for his help with the Lewis Lindsey 45 info.
Bob Sanders ran the Knight and Spectra labels, among others, during the mid-’60s in Dallas, Texas.
The Knights 45 was completely unfamiliar to me until Brian Kirschenbaum wrote to me with the scan and transfers of the record. He was surprised to find a Texas 45 had made its way to upstate New York. It’s an interesting single, very much influenced by the British sounds of the time in changes and feel, especially on “I Know It Now”. Bob Kissell wrote both sides.
I had no information on the group until a couple comments were left (see below). As it turns out, this band made an unlikely journey from upstate New York to work in Dallas, Texas. In Watertown they were known as Dick and the Knights.
I’ll repeat most of Dick Kissell’s comment here:
The group consisted of Chuck Martuzas, bass (now deceased); Bob Lawlor, drums; Bob Kissell, lead guitar; and myself on rhythm guitar. The vocals were done by Bob and myself.
On a whim, we went to Dallas in the fall of 1964 because we had a friend down there who said he might be able to help us find some local clubs needing bands. We started out at a place called The Haunted House Club then moved on to the Disc-A Go Go and eventually LouAnns. We became house band at LouAnns.
Lewis Lindsey played the organ part on the “Stay” side. A guy named Bill Petty was friends with Lewis Lindsey and was also part owner in the Haunted House club; that’s how we got the recording deal. Only 300 copies were pressed. Later the following year, we became friends with The 5 Americans and played around Dallas for awhile until returning home.
Dick Kissell added in an email to me:
The single “Only You Hold The Answer” was a regional hit for us around 1967. My brother Bob Kissell wrote the melody while I wrote the lyrics. He plays (blues) around the Daytona Florida area in the winter, and then comes home and plays here (Watertown, NY) summers.
The Knights second single, “Only You Hold the Answer” b/w “Walkin’ The Streets” may have been their own production with no involvement from Bob Sanders of Knight Records in Dallas. The labels credit their last name as Kisslle (sic). The single had publishing by Pinent Music, BMI and the band recorded it at Dayson Studio in East Syracuse, NY.
Many thanks to Brian Kirschenbaum for alerting me to the Knights 45 and to retrogirl86 for the info in her comment.
Jimmy Rabbit was a prominent DJ at Dallas station KLIF AM 1190 with a show that mixed British Invasion sounds with Texas acts like Mouse and the Traps, Sir Douglas Quintet and the Five Americans. Having tried his hand at singing as a young rockabilly under his real name, Eddy Payne (Dale Payne), he decided to make another attempt in 1965. With help from friends, Rabbit released three good garage 45s from ’65 to ’67.
“Pushover” is distinguished by a popping rhythm and sharp guitar. It was released with three variations in the name. First as Jimmy Rabbit with Ron and Dea on the yellow Knight label, on a blue Knight label as simply Jimmy Rabbit, and then picked up for national release on Southern Sound as Jimmy Rabbit and the Karats (ha ha).
The b-side “Wait and See” is dark and less catchy, but pretty good too. Both of these were written by Lindsey-Kirkland-Rambo, arranged by Bob Rambo and produced by Bob Sanders.
Next came the bluesy “Wishy Washy Woman” from July of 1965, written by Ron Price. “Wishy-Washy Woman” reached #31 on the KLIF charts thanks to Jimmy’s connection with the station. It’s a formulaic blues, but gains momentum a little over halfway through as Jimmy sings just over the drums, with the other instruments coming in at the end of each measure.
The flip side is “My Girl”, credited as a Price original but really more a version of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe” with some different lyrics.
His biggest hit came in 1966, with a buzzy cover of “Psychotic Reaction” under the name Positively Thirteen O’Clock, recorded at Robin Hood Brians studio in Tyler, Texas with members of Mouse and the Traps: “Bugs” Henderson and Ronnie “Mouse” Weiss on guitars, Ken “Nardo” Murray drums, David Stanley bass, and Jerry Howell organ.
The solo has a frantic, trebly quality that’s a trademark Texas sound. The band ends the song with a final burst of fuzz rather than coming back into the verse as in the Count Five’s original, itself an imitation of the Yardbirds’ raveups. This abbreviated version clocks at a tidy 1:59!
Mr. Rabbit wrote to me:
The Dallas records [“Pushover” & “Wishy Washy Woman”] were a totally different thing than the Tyler recordings [“Psychotic Reaction”]. When Bobby Rambo and I teamed up in late ’64 we were a part of a new kind of music “thing” in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
We all came out of rockabilly music and we all used to hang out at the Sand-Lin Recording Studio (Bob Sanders and Lewis Lindsey) and played at, among other places: LouAnn’s and The Cellar in Dallas. This was right when the change from American to English music was taking place. We really tried to become/sound English! (like my friends in The Sir Douglas Quintet).
I was a teenager with a Beatle haircut who was the number-one d.j. on KLIF Radio. I had brought the Beatles on stage when they played Dallas [fascinating write up was at http://www.radiodailynews.com/rabbittchapter12.htm but is now defunct] and played in several bands, so we all got record deals at different times. There were several bands that hung out and listened to and recorded music. At any given time, there could be a band called ‘Jimmy Rabbit and the Karats’, ‘Jimmy Rabbitt with Ron (Boston) and Dea’ (Kirkland), ‘The Rowdies’, ‘The Bobby Rambo Rock-Kings’ and on and on.
The songs “Pushover” and “Wait and See” were recorded in 1965 and were featured in the movie, High Yellow. The band included Bobby Rambo, Lewis Lindsey, Dea Kirkland, Rex Ludwick, Ron Boston, and others who have been long forgotten!
Bobby Rambo, Rex Ludwick and I (and others) became Jimmy Rabbitt and Texas (on Atco Records) and later Jimmy Rabbitt and Renegade who recorded an album for Capitol with Waylon Jennings producing in 1977. Of all the records that I have made over the years, the only song that Bobby Rambo didn’t play on was “Psychotic Reaction”.
Check out Jimmy Rabbit’s website at www.jimmyrabbitt.com.(defunct)