The Ugly Z are a mystery band to me. There are plenty of names on the labels, but it may be that none of them belong to the band’s members.
“Down to My Very Last Tear” has a cool twelve-string guitar opening and a good band performance full of harmony singing. It was credited to the Ugly Z and Steve Fazio Jr.
Chris Crocket wrote “Kathy’s Back” which is similar to the flip in sound and almost as catchy.
Rick Lawrence, Stuart Richard produced the record, with Richard also arranging both sides.
It was released on Rondo 9158 in June, 1965, as shown from the Alco delta numbers: ∆57098 / ∆57098-X. Rondo had its address at 15101 Magnolia Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA, and also published the songs through Rondo BMI.
Steve Fazio would show up about a year later as a talent scout for Valiant Records and producer Al Kavelin. Steve Fazio, Jr. also wrote “All Because Of You” recorded by Guiseppi Apollo with the Revels & the Mapes Sisters on Impact 12-IMX, published by Anthony Music.
The Cosmic Tones came out of Bell Gardens, CA, the same town as the Nite Walkers. They cut one single for the Discovery label, “Gonna Build Me a Woman” / “Hold It”. Discovery later released a cool single by the Missing Links. Like the Missing Links, publishing was through Jarhill Pub. Co, (an amalgam R. Jarrard and James Hilton, who are credited on the Missing Links single).
Members of the Cosmic Tones were:
David Silva – lead guitar Morris Ochoa – rhythm guitar Terry Williams – rhythm guitar Alex Hernandez – bass guitar Vincent Hernandez – drums
Bass player Alex Hernandez sent me a photo of the group and told me about the Cosmic Tones:
My name is Alex Hernandez and I played bass in the Cosmic Tones in Bell Gardens, CA. I had wanted to play the guitar since I was about 5 years old. My uncle Chris asked me what song I wanted him to teach me and I said “La Bamba” by Richie Valens. He taught me this song and it was the start of my playing. When I was 13 I wanted to start a band so I started asking around and my friend Terry Williams was interested. He was 13 also and played rhythm guitar for us. My brother Vincent wanted to play drums, he was 14 years old.
We found David Silva who played lead guitar for us. He was a little older, he was 17 years old. We had a 5th addition in the band, Morris Ochoa and he was 14 then. He only stayed with us for about two months.
We all styled our hair back after ratting it up. We all used about a 1/2 can of Aqua Net hairspray before each play. After being together for about a month we had our first gig on Channel 34, a Mexican channel. We played an instrumental of “La Bamba” and it seemed to be a big hit.
We played songs such as “Whittier Blvd”, “My Girl”, “Land Of a Thousand Dances”. What a great time the ‘60s were. “Twist and Shout” was a favorite. We used to practice at any park that would let us, City of Commerce Park, Bell Gardens Park, Ford Park, and also at a park in Watts. We played at the junior high assemblies.
We also played in many battle of the bands and came in second at Ford Park out of around 12 groups. We played at the Cinnamon Cinder in Hollywood & at the Bob Hope telethon in Hollywood. We played at the Watts Festival and had a great time. We played at the White Front store in L.A. for two weeks after school to promote cerebal palsy research. We played at a teen club the Diamond Horseshoe in La Puenta, & for a CB club in Hidden Valley.
My Dad had us cut one 45 record and on side A was a song sung by my brother, “I’m Gonna Build Me A Woman” and side B was an original instrumental.
Our rival band in Bell Gardens was the Nite Walkers. They were a real good group and we all went to school together. We always tried to be better than them and they wanted to be better than us.
The group broke up after about two years and I started playing the upright bass in high school. I joined the Army for 8 years in 1971, My brother joined the Army in 1969 and went to Viet Nam.
We lost sight of David Silva, and Terry Williams holds a jam session up towards San Diego weekly. I don’t know where Morris Ochoa went, My brother retired with the railroad and now manages a trailer park. We are all in our mid ‘60s now but I do know we still enjoy music every day. I retired with FedEx freight in 2013.
The last play I had was with my brother’s group the TCB Flash which is one of the best Elvis groups in southern CA. I sang and played four songs for New Years in 2016 at the Grove Theater in Upland CA. My songs were “House of the Rising Sun”, “Hang On Sloopy”, “Gloria” and “Wooly Bully”. Had a blast from the past and the audience seemed to really enjoy the show.
Herman’s Hermits “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1965, so a Hollywood studio owner rushed out a parody, “Mrs. Schwartz You’ve Got An Ugly Daughter” with the artist listed as Marty & the Monks. This version is on youtube if you want to subject yourself to it, but the real gold is the instrumental on flip, cut by a group that seems to have been totally unrelated to the musicians on the A-side.
“Mexican Party” is a rocking take-off on “Money” that sounds like it was actually recorded live in the studio. There are whoops, shouts, lots of string bending, a ridiculous horn blast. It has a lot in common with the Pacific Northwest sound like the Moguls “Avalanche”, the Jesters’ “Alki Point” or even Don & the Goodtimes version of “Money”.
Released on Associated Artists AA-3066, the song was retitled “Psychedelic City” when it came out as the flip to “Mrs. Schwartz” on Era Records 5037.
Jesse Hodges is credited as producer. Hodges owned Hollywood Sound Recorders and I believe he owned the Associated Artists label, which released about twenty 45s, including a couple of Hodges’ own singles. K. Young, G. Connor, and T. Reed have writer credits on “Mexican Party”, but none of their names appear on other Associated Artists releases as far as I can tell.
Both the Associated Artists 45 and the Era release have ∆-57190 in the deadwax, which dates the stampers for both 45s to June of 1965. I assume the Associated Artists was the original release. I have no idea when this “Golden Era Series” came out but 1967 wouldn’t be a bad guess, given the new, topical title.
My fellow WGXC deejay Jillian found a possible source for the band name in the obscure Marty the Monk cartoons of the 1930s.
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.
There 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.
Star-Bright 3055 – The Niteriders – “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” (Doak) S-1-871 / “Just Call on Me”
Star-Bright 3056 – ??
Star-Bright 3057- Thornbush Ripple IV – “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II (Anonymous – McCoy for Tinadele Pub) S-1-874/5
Paul Johnson produced all the Star-Bright singles.
The Wilde Knights formed when the draft took Ray Kennedy, lead singer of the Furys, who had two fine r&b records on the Lavender label. Furys member Rich Brown ( lead vocals, guitar) and Roger Huycke (drums) added Rich Dey from the Vejtables as a second lead vocalist and Dean Adair and changed the band’s name to the Wilde Knights.
The Furys had originally been based out of Longview, Washington, but the band’s live circuit brought them up and down the west coast, so perhaps it’s not surprising the Wilde Knights cut their two singles in a studio in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles for release by a brand-new label based in a small coastal town in southern Oregon.
“Beaver Patrol” is an instant classic, featuring lead vocals by Rich Brown. Their second single on Star-Bright, also from 1965, features the original version of “Just Like Me” written and sung by Rich Dey. The story goes that Paul Revere heard the song and bought it from Dey for maybe $5,000. It became a monster hit for the Raiders in December 1965, while Dey seems to have died young, circa 1970. The full story of the Furys/Wilde Knights and their later incarnations is best told in Greg Shaw’s liner notes to the 1984 Voxx LP compiling their recordings.
The third release on Star-Bright is one I haven’t heard, an artist called Bruce doing “I Got My Mojo Workin'” / “La-La-La”. Bruce is supposed to be a pseudonym for members of the Niteriders, who would have the next two singles on Star-Bright in 1966. I know very little about the Niteriders but their two singles are fantastic. The group may have come from Portland, Oregon. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” b/w “Whatever’s Right” came out in early 1966 followed quickly by their second release “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” b/w “Just Call on Me”.
I can’t find any copyright registrations to Niteriders member Doak, whose name appears on the Niteriders song writing credits, but I have found a copyright registration from June of ’66 for “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by Donald Richard Keefer. Rick Keefer would produce singles by Genesis, the King Biscuit Entertainers, and American Cheese, all bands with roots in the Furys or Wilde Knights. He had a few early copyrights in 1965: ‘Hurt So Good”, “I Saw Sloopy” and “Soul Searchin'”. It’s conceivable he was a part of the Niteriders.
The Los Angeles label Modern Records released “With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends” under a pseudonym, the Composers, and also put out the Wilde Knights “Beaver Patrol”, supposedly without the band’s knowledge. The Modern releases, along with publishing by Tinadele Pub. BMI suggest a strong Los Angeles connecton for Star-Bright Records.
I haven’t found out what Star-Bright 3056 is, but Star-Bright 3057 (on a purple label) is the Thornbush Ripple IV “Room With a Crew” Part I / “Room With a Crew” Part II, a novelty release featuring a not very funny recitation of what’s supposed to be an asylum inmate, spoken over a bluesy guitar, piano and drums backing.
Star-Bright Records: six or seven releases, four of which are essential garage. Not a bad average!
A couple years ago I posted some business cards from the Los Angeles area music scene, including two cards from the Starfires. I assumed these were from the Downey group that had six singles, including the famous “I Never Loved Her”.
It turns out that at least one of those cards belongs to a different Starfires group, operating out of Long Beach, only 15 miles to the south. Apparently this town was big enough for two groups of the same name!
Chris Robere sent me the photos and scans seen here with a little info on the group.
In 1965, the band members included:
Pete Wilson – lead guitar John Cameron – bass and rhythm guitar Don Schraider – sax Dave Christopherson – drums
The band seems to have been popular with the Naval base in Long Beach. They had at least one recording session, as an acetate demo exists from the Garrison Recording Studio in Long Beach. I haven’t heard of “No Hair McCann” before so I expect that must be an original song.
John Irvin Cameron passed away on September 15, 2015.
The other Starfires, from Downey, deserves to be covered on this site. That group included Chuck Butler lead vocals, Dave Anderson lead guitar, Sonny Lathrop rhythm guitar, Freddie Fields bass guitar, and Jack Emerick on drums. Freddie Fields seems to have done most of their song writing.
Much has been written about Euphoria’s legendary album A Gift from Euphoria. This article focuses instead on the various releases the band members did prior to the LP and the connections to other bands I’ve covered on this site.
Euphoria had its start as a Cleveland band with David Potter and Wesley Watt called the Bushmen. Although it was thought that the Bushmen was a separate group from Wesley Watt’s projects prior to Euphoria, David Potter’s bio states:
After playing drums at the club [the Clinton Bar in Cleveland, OH] for three months, Wesley Watt, a guitar player came in looking for a drummer for a group he wanted to put together, The Bushman [sic]. When he heard David he knew he was the one. David turned sixteen in January and in May, David, Wesley, Paul Armstrong, and Carl Johnson left for Los Angeles to make their mark. On arriving in L.A. they immediately became the house band for the club, Guys and Dolls.
After only eight weeks they signed a contract with Colpix records, also signing with Buck Ram, the manager of the Platters. Their first single was “Baby” with “What I Have I’ll Give to You” on the flip side.
The Bushmen had one release “Baby” / “What I Have I’ll Give to You” on Dimension 1049 in June of ’65. Dimension Records was part of the Columbia Pictures / Colpix company at this time.
Bill Lincoln had relocated from Seattle to Los Angeles. He must have been in the group at this point as he is the composer of “What I Have I’ll Give to You”.
Potter’s bio continues:
The Bushman [sic] were getting a lot of notoriety and attention from all over, including film producer David L. Wolper. He was looking for bands for a documentary about to start filming, Teenage Revolution. They approached Buck Ram about The Bushman being the premiere band for the documentary. Wolper wanted to show what bands went through while traveling around the country from gig to gig. (Along with The Bushman being were about four other bands, one being The Lovin’ Spoonful.) About a month later Buck set up a live gig in Lancaster CA where they filmed their part of Teenage Revolution.
A portion of Mondo Teeno aka The Teenage Revolution is online. I hear music that may be the Bushmen, but haven’t seen any footage of the band.
In addition to the Bushmen single, Watt and Lincoln recorded their original songs as the War-Babies “Jeanie’s Pub” / “Love Is Love” (Highland 4000, August 1965).
The War-Babies recorded another two songs, “Now It’s Over” / “So Little Time” but these came out under the name The Word on Brent 704.
Although I’ve read that the Bushmen came after the War-Babies and Word singles, release dates suggest the Bushmen single came first.
Potter’s bio continues:
After filming the documentary, David, Wesley, and Bill Lincoln wanted to do their own thing. Now seasoned professionals and highly respected musicians they wanted to play and record their own music. With the chance so did their name, to Euphoria. The newly named group spent all their time playing, touring, and recording material that would lead to two of the groups albums. During a successful tour in Texas, their single. “Baby”, released when they were The Bushman [sic], went to #7 on the charts, staying there for seven weeks.
The newly-named Euphoria added Pat Connolly of the Surfaris on bass by the time they toured Texas in 1966. Bill Lincoln left the group when he married and moved to England, though he would rejoin Wesley Watt within a year or two for Euphoria’s 1969 album on Capitol. Connolly also left so Watts brought in James Harrell on guitar and Peter Black on bass, both of the legendary Houston group the Misfits. I believe David Potter was still playing drums with the group at this point, but it may have been Steve Webb of the Misfits.
This group recorded some tracks at Andrus Productions in Houston, including “Pick It Up”, “In Time”, “Walking The Dog” and “Oh Dear, You Look Like a Dog”, none of which surfaced until Texas Archive Recordings released the LP Houston Hallucinations in 1982. The band had other unreleased Texas recordings which await reissue, including “People You and Me” which has some similarity to Da Capo era Love.
Back in L.A., Bob Shad of Brent & Mainstream Records brought the group into United Studios in Hollywood to record four songs in one session. Shad issued two of these (with vocals re-recorded at additional sessions), “Hungry Women” and “No Me Tomorrow” on Mainstream 655, but two originals by James Harrell, “I Realize” and “It Could Do Us No Wrong” were left unreleased and eventually lost. The single would reappear on the Mainstream compilation LP With Love – A Pot of Flowers in 1967.
Despite a good push from Bob Shad, the single didn’t make much of an impact and the group broke up. James Harrell and Pete Black went back to Texas and rejoined the Misfits, changing the name to the Lost and Found.
Potter and Watt joined Lee Michaels band where they played on Michaels’ album Carnival of Life with Gary Davis and John Keski.
Potter joined the East Side Kids in time to play on their album The Tiger and the Lamb, which featured one of his original songs as well as two by Wesley Watt, “Heavy Love” and “Can’t Feel Love”.
Bill Lincoln had returned by this time. He and Watt worked for almost two years on what would become their album A Gift from Euphoria on Capitol in 1969, produced by Nick Venet. According to his bio, Potter also played on the album. Guitarist Doug Delain is also listed in credits for the LP.
After recording the East Side KidsThe Tiger and the Lamb album, Potter moved to Houston and joined with Endle St. Cloud (Alan Mellinger) for his album on International Artists, which also included Pete Black and James Harrell of the Lost & Found. They moved back to LA to for the Potter St. Cloud LP on Mediarts in 1971.
David Potter passed away in 2011, but there was a detailed biography about him at his website, davidpottermusician.com (now defunct but viewable on the Internet Archive).
Watt and Lincoln co-produced and played on Bernie Schwartz’s solo album The Wheel, released on MGM in late 1969, which features a version of their song “Sunshine Woman” that had been on Euphoria’s Capitol LP.
Potter, Watt and Lincoln all continued in music into the early ’70s. For example, Potter and Watt played on Daniel Moore’s 1971 ABC album, and Watt played guitar on Dory Previn’s 1971 Mediarts album Mythical Kings and Iguanas.
Hamilton Wesley Watt, Jr. passed away on February 20, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Lead guitarist Eric Zacher sent in these two photos of the Royal Knights, one of the many bands who played the Retail Clerks Auditorium and were listed on a flyer I had posted in 2014.
Phil Whitson – lead vocals Eric “Ric” Zacher – lead guitar, 2nd vocal Mark Drawbolt – 2nd lead guitar and rhythm Steve Werner – rhythm guitar Jim Wilson – bass Terry Buckman – drums
We started in Terry’s garage as a lot of bands did in 1965. We all went to Millikan high in Long Beach, CA. My dad was our band manager and represented us very professionally unlike other bands. We got lots of gigs (most weeks after we got going were 2 per week!).
We played Retail a Go Go as the flyer said (did about 3 gigs there), Cinnamon Cinder in Long Beach, the Elks club and many “joints” (off campus clubs having Friday and Saturday parties).The songs we did included Stones, Zombies, Beatles, Yardbirds, Byrds and others from the mid 60s.
We broke up in 1967, all went our separate ways. I was in a college band called the Woods – very professional and made lots of money! I still play weddings and am jamming with several local bands. I really got into blues after the 70s. I have cut several CDS of 60s and 70s folk rock.
The Gibson 335 that you see me holding in the pics was purchased used for 250.00 in 1965. It is an original limited edition dot neck 1961 cherry – I still play it as my blues guitar!