Category Archives: Ohio

The Continentals and Tortoise Records

Continentals Tortoise 45 Rufus RastasThe Continentals cut two fratty originals, “Rufus Rastas” / “Donna” on Tortoise Records. I found a copy with an inscription on the “Rufus Rastas” label “First copy to Jim McKee, Oct. 12, 1965 … Joe Doll, President, Tortoise Records”.

I wrote to Mr. Doll and he while he didn’t recall Jim McKee, he replied,

I was president (and janitor, too!) of Tortoise Records. I began college at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 1963, then transferred to U. of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1966 to complete my Electrical Engineering degree.

I most likely met the Continentals when they were entertaining at one of the numerous fraternity/sorority parties in Delaware. Too bad, I have no recollection or documentation of the band members. I do remember the general parameters of the recording session with The Continentals, at the WSLN studios in Delaware, OH, north of Columbus. I also remember thinking at the time that their “Rufus Rastas” made a pretty good side. I don’t think we did a test pressing, so what you found was probably the top copy in the shipment from the pressing factory.

When it was over, they departed with their box of pressings and we had no further contact.

Tortoise Records was named for the very first band on the label, the Turtles, with their “Pungfoo Watusi” from 1964:

“Pungfoo Watusi” was the not-very-carefully-conceived B side of “Pungfoo”. It was the first record I produced.
 
“Pungfoo” originated with me and some fraternity brothers fooling around with a piano, sax, and drum set in the parlor of our fraternity house. We whimsically called ourselves Tuggy and the Turtles. The original title and lyric was “Fungu”. It was a made-up word, but someone thought that meant something bad in another language. One unreleased recording is “Fungu” recorded on cheap equipment in the fraternity house.
 
The record was taped at Fortune Studios in Detroit. I played piano, whistled, and hollered into some sort of trash can. Jim Guiness played saxophone. Our usual drummer, “Tuggy,” could not make it, so we picked up a drummer in Detroit. That’s why the group name is just The Turtles. A couple others assisted with clapping, which I believe we overdubbed. 

I had done some work for the [Fortune] studio the previous summer, and they allowed me to use it without charge. I didn’t do a lot of work there, just came in to help them adjust and maintain their equipment from time to time.
  
Frank Uhle, who took on the project to do a 50th Anniversary re-release of the Beau Biens record, at one time contemplated a vinyl album that would contain some unreleased material. I have about a half hour of covers recorded by the Mark V, a pretty good rock band that played fraternity/sorority parties at Ohio Wesleyan.  I recorded them in the WSLN studios, like the Continentals. There was an outfit called the Crystal Set Radio Band for whom I taped several tunes, originals I believe, in the WCBN studios. Ken Phillips, a U of M student, recorded with a small group a couple of tunes he had written and had them pressed as a demo record.

Joe Doll would become a DJ at WCBN at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he would record the Aftermath and the Beau Biens on Malibu Records. For more info please look at Joe’s website.

Tortoise Records discography:

Tortoise T 64001 – Turtles “Pungfoo” / “Pungfoo Watusi” (both by Joe Doll)

Tortoise T-65001 – Continentals – “Rufus Rastas” / “Donna”

Tortoise T-66003 – Aftermath – “Messing With the Kid” / “Bury My Body” (Campbell, Connelly)

Malibu MB-67001 – Beaubiens (aka Beau Biens) – “Times Passed” (arr. by Salvo & Palazzolo) / “A Man Who’s Lost” (both by Kleene & Tapert, Linnoah Music BMI, produced by Joe Doll)

A special thank you to Joe Doll for his help answering my questions and allowing me to quote him.

Continentals Tortoise 45 Donna

The Nomads on Discotech

Nomads Discotech 45 I Need Your LoveThe Nomads are an unknown band as far as I can tell. They released their only single in June, 1967. It was probably recorded at the Athena Movie Theater in Athens, Ohio. The band came from Sylvania, Ohio, near Toledo, a good 220 miles from Athens.

“I Need Your Love” is stellar 12-string harmony rock, with an interesting middle section. It was written by Rae and Radabaugh and published by B-W Music, Inc. BMI.

“Willow Wind” is a Kingston Trio cover; the Nomads version is a favorite of some teen doo-wop fans.

Gary Rhamy produced the 45. Discotech was his label and also released the Last Exit’s “It’s The Same The Whole World Over” and the Sands ov Tyme.

Credited as a WilMat-Rhamy Production, his partners were Willis Parker and engineer Bob Matthews.

Gary Rhamy became chief engineer of United Audio in Youngstown, which he renamed Peppermint Productions Recording Studio in the early ’70s.

Info from Buckeye Beat.

Nomads Discotech 45 Willow Wind

The Villagers of Dayton, Ohio

The Villagers Hamlet 45 He's Not The SameThere were a number of groups called the Villagers around the country, but these Villagers came from Dayton and cut only one record, the endearing garage original “He’s Not the Same” b/w the melancholy “Sunshine My Way”.

Released on Hamlet Records V-1000 in 1968, the Villagers are a mystery other than the info on the labels: authors J. Mills and M. Copp, publishing by Counterpart Music, BMI, the code 813L which was Counterpart Records account number with RCA custom pressings, and W4KM-6004/5 (indicating a RCA custom pressing from the first half of 1968).

Library of Congress copyright records give one name, Janis R. Mills, who copyrighted “He’s Not the Same” on January 5, 1968, and “Sun, Shine My Way” (notice the different rendering of the title) on May 20, 1968. M. Copp is not in these copyright listings.

BMI’s database lists Janice Mills and Michael Copp. The spelling of her name as Janice certainly is a mistake on BMI’s part, as BMI attributes two recent country songs by Janice S. Mills from Alabama to the author of “He’s Not the Same”. It wouldn’t be unlike BMI to conflate two similar names.

Strangely, BMI lists “He’s Not the Same” and “Sunshine My Way” as registered to Piagneri Music in Astoria, NY, even though Counterpart Music is still active in Cincinnati.

I can find no listings or articles on the band from that time, so it’s possible they were not even a semi-professional band or one that would play battle-of-the-bands. Maybe Janis Mills wrote these songs and brought them to the attention of Counterpart, which had Michael Copp arrange them with some local group or musicians.

The Villagers Hamlet 45 Sunshine My Way

The What Four

What Four Cincinnati Enquirer. April 2, 1966
The What Four on the cover of Teen-Ager, April 2, 1966. kneeling in front: Roy Jordan and Jim Hoerr, in back Frank Johnston and Larry Malott

What Four Box 45 Do You BelieveLong rumored to be from Dayton, the What Four were actually from the Cincinnati area, namely the suburbs of Williamsburg and Bethel.

What Four Cincinnati Enquirer. April 2, 1966
The What Four profiled in Teen-Ager, April 2, 1966
An April 1966 article in the Teen-Ager section of the Enquirer profiled the band:

Although the Greater Cincinnati area boasts hundreds of talented rock ‘n roll groups, only one, the “What Four,” claims a teacher among its members. Twenty-four-year-old Jim Hoerr, who teaches Latin, English and mathematics at Williamsburg High is rhythm and lead guitarist.

Jim Hoerr started rehearsing with student bass player Larry Malott. With Frank Johnson of Madeira High School on drums, they formed a trio called the Noblemen.

When guitarist Roy Jordan of Bethel High joined in 1965, the band became the What Four.

The What Four did well in a battle of the bands sponsored by WONE in Dayton, the prize was a free recording session. They cut two original songs, “Do You Believe” by Jim Hoerr, and “Whenever” by Jim Hoerr and Frank Johnson. The single was released on the Box label, with the band probably paying for the pressing if not the studio time.

 What Four Box 45 Whenever

I can find no further mention of the band after their April 1966 profile. Teen-Ager published the photo of another What Four in December 1966, a completely different group from Taft High School in Hamilton, Ohio to the north of Cincinnati.

What Four Cincinnati Enquirer. Dec. 31, 1966
A different What Four from Hamilton, from left: Dave Bowman, Larry Combs, Tim Neff, and Tom Savage

That group was Dave Bowman on bass, Larry Combs on vocals and guitar, Tim Neff on drums and Tom Savage on lead guitar.

The Epics of Columbus, Ohio

The Epics Dolphin PS White Collar House
The Epics, picture sleeve to their Dolphin single

The Epics Dolphin 45 White Collar HouseThe Epics came from Brookhaven High School in Columbus, Ohio. Warren Knox, Jim Miller and Michael Richards wrote the great A-side, “White Collar House” which refers to some kind of upscale nightspot, whether a dance club or bordello I can’t decide as the lyrics are vague. The band’s performance is a stand-out, and Musicol Recording Studio did a good job recording it.

Library of Congress records show copyright registered on May 1966 to Warren Knox, James Miller, and Mike Richards (Michael Kirk Richards). The band was a quintet but I don’t know who the other two members were.

Michael Richards wrote the gloomier b-side, “She Believe In Me”, and also arranged both sides. S. Graves produced the session.

It’s the only release I know of on the Dolphin label, which Buckeye Beat suggests was tied in with the Blue Dolphin Club for teens. There is a rare picture sleeve which I don’t own that shows the photo at the top, with a blank back.

The Epics Dolphin 45 She Believed In Me

The Cavaliers of Middletown

The Cavaliers profile, Cincinnati Enquirer, Saturday Sept. 16, 1967
The Cavaliers, in front: Ted Lovelace (with drumsticks) and Jim Brandon; in back from left: Jim Wenzel, Roger McIntosh and Walter Johnson

The Cavaliers Style 45 Turn Your LeafThe Cavaliers, often listed as from Tennessee, were actually from Middletown, Ohio, a town roughly halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Members were:

Roger McIntosh – lead guitar
Jim Wenzel – rhythm guitar
Jim Brandon – organ
Walter Johnson – bass
Ted Lovelace – drums

Two of the band were students at Middletown High, one was a freshman at Miami University, while the Cavaliers’ drummer and rhythm guitarist were in Junior High!

The group won a battle of the bands at Fantasy Farm, a kids amusement park next to the larger Americana Amusement Park in Middletown, that led to their recording their single on Style.

The Cincinnati Enquirer profiled the band on the same day they were in a Memphis studio, Saturday, September 16, 1967:

“The boys are in Memphis, Tenn. today to cut their first record for Style Productions.”

“Turn Your Leaf” is excellent pop, I’ve only heard it on the video below, from which I took the label scan seen here. If anyone has a better quality recording, please contact me.

I haven’t heard the flip, “W.F. 67” described by Teenbeat Mayhem as a “military tempo instro”. Roger McIntosh wrote both songs.

Style Record Productions was one of Style Wooten’s many labels, and Pretty Girl Music BMI was one of his publishing companies. Mellow’s Log Cabin has an interesting biography of Style Wooten, along with extensive discographies for his record labels.

The Cavaliers from Middletown do not sound quite like the group of that name from Washington Court House, Ohio, who cut “You Are My Sunshine” b/w “Unchained Melody” for the Sound label.

The Enquirer article mentioned a few groups also competing at Fantasy Farm:

“Other bands reaching the finals of the contest were The Endeavors of Forest Park, The Crickets from Hamilton, The Guardian Angels of Urbana, The Mice and the English Gentlemen, both from Dayton.”

I’m not aware of any recordings by those groups, though given the Memphis connection, it’s possible the Mice are the same group that recorded “Think It Over” / “Norweigan Wood” for Bootheel Records, part of Fernwood.

The Great Society, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Great Society from The Great Society, from left: Steve Sturgil, Tom Wise, Bill Bayer, Tilo Schiffer and Charlie Jung
The Great Society, August, 1967
from left: Steve Sturgil, Tom Wise, Bill Bayer, Tilo Schiffer and Charlie Jung

Great Society Dana Lynn 45 Second DayThe Great Society were students at the University of Cincinnati, except Steve Sturgil who attended the University of Kentucky. The band’s lineup was:

Tilo Schiffer – lead singer
Tom Wise – lead guitar
Bill Bayer – piano and organ
Steve Sturgil – bass
Charlie Jung – drums

First mention I can find of them is from March 1967 at Granny’s and then at the Four Seasons’ Pirates Cove in July.

Great Society Pirates Cove at the Four Seasons, Cincinnati, July, 1967
Great Society Pirates Cove at the Four Seasons, Cincinnati, July, 1967

A letter to the Enquirer from fan Penny Phelps in June, 1967 mentions them playing at the Psychedelic Lollipop, Granny’s, Lakeridge Hall, Seven Hills Veterans Hall and the Round Table.

They released one single, first on the Dana Lynn label in June, 1967, then on Counterpart C-2613 in August. “She’s Got It On Her Mind” has a hypnotic keyboard sound, a great drum backing with accented beats, and a captivating vocal melody.

The flip “Second Day” is another tuneful winner, heavy on the echo like the A-side.

Lead singer Tilo Shiffer wrote both songs, published by Counterpart – Falls City Music, BMI.

A second letter from Penny in December notes that Bill Bayer and Tilo Schiffer both went into the Navy by the end of 1967, but that the three remaining members would try to continue.

Great Society Counterpart 45 She's Got It On Her MindIn 1968 the Great Society played shows at the Coney Island water park and at LeSourdsville Lake with the Rapscallion Sircle.

The Dana Lynn label lists Ray Allen as engineer and reads “A Tom Dooley Production”, while the Counterpart lists Allen as producer.

Dana Lynn only released three singles that I know of, notably the Lemonpipers “Quiet Please” (70610), the Great Society (70611) and Tom Dooley “Talkin’ Bout Love” / “Stay By the Phone” (010).

Counterpart was also local to Cincinnati, but had greater distribution than Dana Lynn.

The Blackwatch and One Step Beyond

The Blackwatch (misidentified as the Wanted), at "One Step Beyond, July, 1967
The Blackwatch (misidentified as the Wanted), at “One Step Beyond, July, 1967
Blackwatch, For Sale, Wolf Pack, the Wanted at One Step Beyond Cincinnati Enquirer, July 1, 1967
Shows at One Step Beyond in July, 1967: Blackwatch, For Sale, Wolf Pack, and the Wanted

Cincinnati group the Blackwatch cut some demos but never released any records. Their name appears half a dozen times in the Enquirer’s pages in the summer of ’67, but unfortunately there was no feature on the band.

Johnny Schott – lead vocals
Doug Hawley – guitar
Rich McCauley – keyboards
John Gilsinger – bass
Jay Sheridan – drums

Buckeye Beat has a long history of the band.

In June of ’67 the Blackwatch played at the Deer Park movie theater on shows with WSAI DJs Bob White and Tom Kennington. In the first week of July, 1967, they played for three evenings at a newly opened teen club, One Step Beyond.

The following week, One Step Beyond featured the Heywoods, Ivan & the Sabres and Salvation & His Army.

From a feature in the Enquirer on July 15, 1967:

They’re springing up like mushrooms – new teen clubs that is! The newest one in this area is “One Step Beyond” at 8532 Beechmont Ave. in Mt. Washington.

“The club features three separate rooms, The Twilight Zone (just for chatting), Our Generation Room (for dancing) and This Place (for eating). Refreshments are being served in This Place here by Pat Hess. Waiting in line are Mary Jo Rickard, Debbie Arnold, Rick Anthony and Bob Barney.

“One Step Beyond” is a joint effort of the young people of Anderson township and an adult group called CONCERN …. Shown playing is the band “Wanted.” The club is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 8 p.m. until midnight and dress is informal.

Blackwatch-not-Wanted, One Step Beyond Correction, July 22, 1967
Letter from Jean Hess correcting the photo caption from the previous week

A week later, Jean Hess “Teen Board Member” for One Step Beyond wrote a letter to correct the caption, saying, “The great band that was pictured is the ‘Blackwatch,’ not ‘Wanted.’ The Blackwatch played four nights at the club and have gained a reputation of being one of the grooviest groups in Cincy!”

The third week of July the club featured the New Lime, then the Lemon Pipers!

I can’t find any mention of the Blackwatch after the summer of ’67. One Step Beyond lasted into 1968, including a show in February with Ivan & the Sabres, the Quaker Rebellion and Red Brale. Then it also disappeared, at least from the news.

Ivan & the Sabres, the Quaker Rebellion, and Red Brale at One Step Beyond, Feb. 24, 1968
Ivan & the Sabres, the Quaker Rebellion, and Red Brale at One Step Beyond, Feb. 24, 1968