Category Archives: Sully

The Dinks

The Dinks photo
The Dinks, from left: Bob Bergmann, Bill Hollingsworth (seated with glasses, Dean Dietz, Bruce Brown, Mike Moran (seated) and Gale Scanlon. Photo courtesy of Bob Bergmann

Pat Waddell – lead vocals, replaced by Dean Dietz
Steve Kadel – lead guitar, replaced by Bill Hollingsworth
Bob Bergmann – rhythm guitar and vocals
Gail Scanlon – organ
Bruce Brown – bass
Mike Morrand – drums

The Dinks’ “Nina-Kocka-Nina” takes the repetitive nonsense of “Surfin’ Bird” and adds a bizarre parody of an Asian accent. The soft-spoken opening has the Japanese inflection down well, even if most of the words are gibberish. Once the song gets going the tone shifts to something that sounds like no real language except variations on “papa ooh mow mow”. The few lyrics in English, “get out your pencils, get out your books, try to catch all the teacher’s grubby looks” and “I’m taking English, History, Biology and Chemistry” imply that school is turning him into a raving idiot! Ironically, the writer of the song would become a teacher himself after leaving the Dinks!

“Penny a Tear Drop” is very different, and the contrast between the twelve-string guitar and organ sounds great. It’s something of a shame that the success of “Nina-Kocka-Nina” put the Dinks into the novelty category and ended their chances of making it as a sincere pop act. Song writing credits for “Penny a Tear Drop” go to Ray Ruffin (a variation on Ray Ruff’s name I hadn’t seen before) and Jack Dunham, whose name also turns up on the Dinks second 45.

Needing a follow up to “Nina-Kocka-Nina” they predictably cut another song in that vein. “Kocka-Mow-Mow” lacks the magic of the first record. Instead of being a band original, it was knocked off by two of Ray Ruff’s associates: Jack Dunham again, and Royce Taylor, a singer who had his own 45 for Sully as part of Gaylen & Royce, “I Can’t Stay” / “Modern Day Fools”.

Oddly it comments directly on their first disc: “all the DJs across the nation, thought we had a bad creation, they just thought we were up in smoke, but that’s kind of funny because we’re on all the charts” … “radio stations started getting calls, they said our band made their skin crawl, they didn’t like the music ’cause it made them sick, but everybody wanted to hear it, kids” … “they said ‘Nina-Kocka-Nina’ was the most … you better think twice before you put this one down.” On the flip is an incredibly insensitive song by Royce Taylor, “Ugly Girl”, sung in the sweetest voice.

Dink’s rhythm guitarist Bob Bergmann answered some of my questions about “Nina-Kocka-Nina” and the band:

I am Bob Bergmann, the writer and lead singer for “Nina-Kocka-Nina” on the Sully label. I played rhythm guitar for the Ragging Regattas and the Dinks back in the 60’s out of Beloit, Kansas.

The band was started earlier by Steve Kadel, from Beloit, Kansas. He was one of my best friends growing up in the 60’s. We graduated together in ’62. We learned guitars together during high school, by ear. We learned with 5-strings on our guitars–THANK GOD–there was no little E-string.

After graduating, Steve went to Fort Hays College which is now Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and I went to St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas. Steve started the band The Ragging Regattas in Hays. After two years, I transferred to Fort Hays State College and joined the band. Steve was the person who should be giving credit for starting the band.

I was in my froshmen year in college at Dodge City, Kansas and came up with the song “Nina-Kocka-Nina” and the jibberish language. We put the song together after a performance somewhere in Nebraska. We were sitting there on our amps, very tired, and I got up and started to sing the song which the band had never heard. They all plugged back in and the song was created. I had no idea what the jibberish meant, but at some performances, I was asked by orientals if I knew what I was saying and I think they agreed, I was saying some real words. Pat created his own background words during the recording. Pat’s name should have never been first on the record [writing credit] and he will admit that.

The reason we went to Texas to record, two different times, was our so call it manager had contacted Ray. We did not write “Penny A Tear Drop”. It was written by a person in the 30’s. The song was the reason we were asked to come to Texas to record. I would say it got us in the recording field. “Penny a Tear Drop” took hours. [We] needed a flip side and we did “Nina-Kocka-Nina” in a few minutes and it went over the best.

We were called the Regattas when we went to record, but Ray sent our contract back and changed our names to the Dinks because Ragging Regattas didn’t match the “Nina-Kocka-Nina” song. I did sign a contract with BMI in New York after “Nina-Kocka-Nina” came out. There was a nice writeup in one of the top record magazines in the US about the song. Full page showed a picture of the record and around the record were comments from DJ’s around the nation about the song.

We were mainly an instrumental band. The song list was very long and mixed between vocals and instrumentals. Our main songs were by the Ventures, and other instrumental groups, many from England. We recorded an album of instrumental songs at Sully Studio after the two 45s, but it never came out.

Somewhere I have one of the many sheets of songs we had taped to our our Fender Dual Showmans. We all had Fender instruments and amps. I did have a Country Gentleman at one time. I also played rhythm on a Fender 6-string bass that was owned by one of the guys in the Blue Things. It had a very funky sound and the frets were very far apart which made it tougher to play.

One of the hardest songs that I remember doing was “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” by the Ventures. Our lead guitar, Bill Hollingsworth was the greatest, and I don’t think I could have learned the rhythm without his help. You mention “Surfing Bird” by The Trashmen: Bill was first cousins with their lead guitar player.

After a few years, Bill Hollingsworth replaced Steve on lead guitar, and Dean Deetz replaced Pat Waddel on vocal. I left the band in ’66. I got married in January 1967 and finished my teaching degree. I am a retired business teacher here at Jetmore, Kansas of 35 years.

If my memory serves me correctly, [the Dinks] went on a year or so before some of the guys were drafted. After that, they split company and two bands were started – I think the Beasts and another Dinks band. I was one of the junior high school sponsors and we hired the Beast for our high school prom. I remember joining the band for “Nina-Kocka-Nina”. The students and staff couldn’t believe it. One student came up to me and said “Mr. Bergmann, I didn’t know you had that in you”!

On March 7, 2009 the Dinks were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a gala celebration for our band who I had not seen for forty years. Steve could not make it to the induction ceremony.

Bob Bergmann

Thanks to Brian Kirschenbaum and Christian for scans of the Dinks original 45s.

Full page ad in Billboard, December 4, 1965
The Dinks – Bob Bergmann at bottom left of photo

Ruff and Sully Records discographies

Ray Ruff (Ray Ruffin) of Amarillo owned the Ruff label, and was also a partner in the Sully label, eventually taking it over from Gene Sullivan, who had started Sully Records in Oklahoma City in 1959.

Ruff also had the Storme label, with one release I know of “I’m Gonna Love You Too” / “Ummm Oh Yeah” as Storme #101 in 1964.

Ruff was also part of the Checkmates.

Any help with these discographies would be appreciated.

Ruff Records

The Ruff discography is fairly straightforward, though there are some weird jumps in the numbering after #1020, maybe because of distribution deals with Tower Records. Interestingly, Mop Top Mike pointed out that numbers 1010-1020 were all released between March and April, 1966.

1000 – Blue Things – Mary Lou / Your Turn To Cry (Feb. 1965)
1001 – Buddy Knox – Jo Ann / Don’t Make a Ripple (December 1964)
1002 – Blue Things – Pretty Thing, Oh / Just Two Days Ago (May 1965)
1003 – Checkmates – Hey Girl / All the Time Now
1004 – Henson Cargill – Joe, Jesse and I / Pickin’ White Gold
1005 – ?
1006 – Charming Checkmates – Just to Make Me Cry / So Hard To Find
1007 – Bob Finn – Existing In City Stone / Why
1008 – ?
1009 – Arcades – She’s My Girl / Stay Away (Kent Tooms) arr. by Ruff and Paul Mathis
1010 – Trolls – That’s The Way My Love Is (Fred Brescher) / Into My Arms
1011 – Finnicum – Come On Over / On the Road Again
1012 – ?
1013 – ?
1014 – Robin Hoods – My Love Has Gone Away
1015 – BC’s – Oh Yeow! / Comin’ On Home
1016 – Y’Alls – Please Come Back / Run For Your Life
1017 – Burch Ray – Love Question
1018 – Troy Watson & the Del Troys – Sherry / Girl I Love And Adore (both by Troy Watson & M. Boyking, April ’66)
1019 – Tiaras – Sticks And Stones / Southern Love
1020 – Page Boys – All I Want / Sweet Love

1088 – Them – I Happen to Love You / Walking in the Queens Garden (1967) (with picture sleeve)
1098 – Rubber Maze – Mrs. Griffith / Won’t See Me Down (with picture sleeve)

Sully Records

Begun by Gene Sullivan in Oklahoma City, Sully also operated out of Amarillo, Texas under Ray Ruff’s supervision. The 100 and 200 series are Oklahoma City productions, while the 900 and 1000 series are Amarillo, TX productions.

Generally the 100 series have “Oklahoma City, Okla” under the logo, while all the ones in the 900s (along with #100), have “Checkmate Productions” under the logo, indicating Ruff’s production company.

Also, some records (#929, #931 and #933 for example) have the label name spelled “Sölly” instead of “Sully”, why I’m not sure.

100 – Ray Ruff and the Checkmates – Long Long Pony Tail / Pretty Blue Eyes
101 – The Serenaders – Hymn-Time with the Serenaders (EP)- Whispering Hope / Beyond The Sunset (Should You Go First) / What Will You Say / The Twenty – Third Psalm (Oklahoma City)
102 – Gene Sullivan – Sleepin At tHe foot Of The Bed / Paul Revere O’ Malley
103 – Danny Williams – All American Girl / Fidel Castro Rock (Al Good – Danny Williams)
104 – The Plainsmen Chorale – Dream / Herb Jimmerson- Poinciana
105 – The Plainsmen Chorale – September Song / Herb Jimmerson- Goofus
106 – Bob Starr – Blue Train / Walls of Love (July 1959)
107 – Wiley Walker & Gene Sullivan – When My Blue moon Turns To Gold Again / Live And Let Live
108 – Charles Jones and the Stardusters – Whoo-oee and Oh So Fine / Natalie (1959-60)
109 – Danny Williams – Deck Of Cards / If Jesus Came To Your House
110 – Hyatt Stamper – Life You’re Living Now / Wild Side Of Life
111 – Shadows Five – Gary’s Boogie (Gary Sullivan) / Dynamic Drums (1960)
112 – Bill Snow & Sonny Woodring – Cry For Me Darling / Timber Wolf
113 – Dub Snow – Greyhound Talkin Blues / Yuma Pen
114 – Jo Kiser – True Love Is Hard / Lovey Dovey
115 – Bill Snow & Sonny Woodring – Golden River / Hands You’re Holding
116 – ?
117 – ?
118 – ?
119 – ?
120 – Jim Fitzgerald – Day On The Highway Patrol / Cryin Time (1966)
121 – Decades – I’m Lovin’ You / Thinking of You (1966) (also issued as Sully 921)
122 – ?
123 – ?
124 – Those Ellis Bros. – That Girl / Heaven
125 – George Peterson – Time Will Change Everything / I Could Have Been A Doctor (both by Peterson)
126 – Terry Canady – Hollywood Hotel / Scotch and Soda (1968)
127 – Bobby Caldwell – This House / Bronc-Buster
128 – Jerry Abbott – Big River / It’s Better Than I Got At Home
129 – Bobby Kent – When You Hear Me Call / I Fell In Love With An Angel
130 – B Bros. – Call Me Anything / Just Blue Memories
131 – ?
132 – Jay Hamilton – Somebody Anybody / Walkin & Talkin

201 – Jody Bennett – Heartland U.S.A. / Katy Is Now a Lady

910 – Techniques – Short ride / Can’t Be Wrong To Be In Love (1965)
911 – Fantom – Baby Come on Home / Time Seems to Fly
912 – Rising Suns – Land of a Thousand Dances / Concentration
913 – ?
914 – Dinks – Nina-Kocka-Nina / Penny a Tear Drop
915 – Burch Ray – Love Questions / Blues Stay Away From Me (Oct 1965)
* “Note – different version of ‘Love Questions’ than the one recorded and released later on Ruff. Discog also shows it as Sully 913, but I think this is a mistake” – (MTM)
916 – Bob Baker – Short Fat Texan / Suzurak
917 – Drivin’ Dynamics – So Fine /Hurt Me
918 – ?
919 – Gaylen & Royce – I Can’t Stay / Modern Day Fools
920 – ?
921 – Lanny Madden – My Only Son / Pressure Pains
922 – ?
923 – Danny Ferguson – Revengers / Long Neck Bottle
924 – Mike – I’ll Set Her Free / You Won’t Have Nothing
925 – Dinks – Kocka-Mow-Mow / Ugly Girl
926 – Carolyn Bennett – So Bad So Bad / I Wonder
927 – J. Frank Wilson – Me and My Tear Drops / Unmarked and Uncovered with Sand
928 – Tracers – She Said Yeah / Watch Me (1966)
929 – Patti Seymour – The Silencer / This Feeling He Left (produced by Nick Yazbek)
930 – Rick West – Crackin Up / What I’m Lookin For
931 – Patti Jo – I’ll Sleep Tonight / Heading for A Heartbreak (Il Suffirait d’un Rien)
932 – Carolyn Bennett – You’ll Always Be A Part of Me / Give Me Your Love
933 – Knu Castles – Bulldog (George Tomsco) / Boy Blue (Mike Reinheart) both songs Dundee Music BMI

1004 – Epic Five – Don’t Need Your Lovin’ (Richard Ramiraz) (October 1967)

1021 – Them – Dirty Old Man / Square Room (August, 1967)

Mop Top Mike writes: “There is also a 200 Sully series starting at 201 which followed the 100 series. Looks to be mostly or all country-western sounds.”

LP: Al Good “A Good Time For Music” Sully S-SLP-100

This discography was compiled from many sources, of which Rhett Lake & Ted Blackwell’s Oklahoma Guide to 45rpm Records and Bands ~ 1955~1975., Rockin’ Country Style and members of the G45 Central forum were the most helpful. Thanks also to Rich Strauss, Patrick, Mop Top Mike, Jim, Bob Garrett, Lisa Wheeler, Pete Adams, Keith, and eleelandc for their help.

The Checkmates

Updated January 2010

For every fuzz-driven garage screamer, there are a dozen records like this one by the Checkmates: competent and upbeat but uncompromised pop music. I didn’t know much about the group until people commented and wrote to me, so I’m adding some of the comments into this article.

Ray Ruff was an Amarillo impresario, owning the Checkmate night club, a recording studio and Ruff Records. He was also a partner in Sully Records, eventually taking it over from Gene Sullivan, who had started it in Oklahoma City in 1959.

A paragraph from Ruff’s obituary gives some background on his early music career:

Ray Ruff befriended Buddy Holly’s record producer Norman Petty and, after Holly’s death, he made several soundalike recordings, deliberately wearing spectacles like Holly’s when he recorded. Ruff often worked with his group the Checkmates, but they became the Executioners and wore hooded masks on stage.

There are at least eight different 45s by Ruff with the Checkmates, mostly on Norman Records, from between 1959 to the early ’60s.

Bobby Hacker commented below:

I was his first drummer and I recorded several records with the Checkmates under the Norman label. Ray was the vocalist along with Chuck Tharp. Tharp was the original vocalist for the Fireballs. Charles McClure was the lead guitarist, Tharp was rhythm guitarist and Tom Beck was bass guitarist. We toured the mid-west U.S., along with two provinces in western Canada. Most of our recordings were done in Clovis, N.M. at Norman Petty studios. While on the road, we. the Checkmates, recorded in St. Louis, Mo. backing a singer, trumpet player named Gabriel.

The year was 1961 and I am the only living survivor of the original Checkmates mentioned here. Ray Ruff went through several musicians during the 1960’s and he passed away a couple of years ago in L.A. He was very sucessful as a record producer but not that good a singer when I worked with him. He supposedly along with Norman Petty, formed the Checkmates.

Tom McCarty of the Page Boys wrote to me:

Ray Ruff had a recording studio in Amarillo at the Trades Fair shopping center at N.E. 24th and Grand. Ray was a Buddy Holly look-alike/wannabe who toured the mid-west with the Checkmates from Scotts Bluff, Nebraska – Minot, Minnesota, etc. If memory serves me right, The Checkmates had pretty well disbanded by 1966 which is about the time I met Ray Ruff. They were really a good group. Larry Marcum, their lead guitarist, was a good musician and a nice fellow.

Jerry Hodges commented:

I played with Bob and Larry Marcum with the Checkmates. I remember a tour to North Dakota with with Ray Ruff. I think we traveled in a Nash Rambler. I can also remember going into the Norman Petty studio and Larry wanted to play bass, so we switched as I was the bass player.

The band’s lineup had changed considerably since Ruff fronted the group, and by the time of the 45 I’m featuring here the band included Galen Ray (Galen Ray Englebrick) on bass. Galen Ray wrote both sides of this 45. There’s another 45 on Ruff by the Charming Checkmates – Just to Make Me Cry, that I haven’t heard.

Also see the Ruff and Sully discographies I’ve posted here.

Anyone have a photo of the group?