Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Thee Avantis on Samron

Thee Avantis Samron 45 I Want To UnderstandSamron Records had a great run, only three singles but all of them top-notch rock ’n roll, including this one, Thee Avantis’ “I Want to Understand” / “Nancy” on Samron S-103, recorded in late 1965.

“I Want to Understand” is the kind of single I never get tired of, featuring a neat guitar hook, solid bass and drum playing, the right amount of organ and great vocals. There are fine guitar and organ breaks, the entire song clocking in at 2:27.

The other two singles on Samron are Ognir & the Night People’s “I Found a New Love” (Nehring, Marusak) / “All My Heart” (Nehring, Molinaro), released on Samron S-102 in October 1965 and the Five Flys “Livin’ for Love” / “Dance Her By Me” on Samron S-104.

Samron was run by Ronald Magazzu, and I suppose someone named Sam was also involved. The first two singles listed Magazzu Productions in Hazleton, PA, while the label for the Five Flys changes the town to Coaldale, PA.

I’ve read Thee Avantis were from Scranton, but I found a notice in the Hazleton Standard-Speaker from March 5, 1966 listing the band for a Sunday Dance at the Fiesta Room in Hazleton, about an hour’s drive southwest of Scranton.

I only know the names of two members of Thee Avanti, Nick Fata on bass and Robert Schnessel who wrote both songs. Magazzu Music Co. published both songs.

Thee Avantis Samron 45 Nancy

The Conductors “She Said So”

The Conductors photo: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard
The Conductors, from left: Larry Borgess, Chad Fenstemaker, Skip Kreitz, Regan Meyer, Barry Hirsh, and Danny Brungard

Conductors Dater 45 She Said SoThe Conductors came from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, cutting the great “She Said So” as the b-side to their June 1966 single. Members were:

Larry Borgess – lead vocals
Chad Fenstemaker – lead guitar
Skip Kreitz – rhythm guitar
Regan Meyer – bass
Barry Hirsh – organ
Danny Brungard – drums

Barry Hirsh and Larry Borgess left to join Prince Charles & the Royaltones. Mike Ranck replaced Larry until the Conductors split.

“She Said So” is a stomping fuzz and organ rocker written by Barry Hirsh, with taunting lines:

You gotta stay home and watch the kids tonight,
Because she said so,
But I wanna tell ya,
Better sit up and say that everything’s not right,
Because you said so.

You gotta break free,
Stand on your own two feet,
Stop doing things that you don’t want to do,
Just because she said so!

The original A-side “Whatever’s In Your Smile” is light pop, but worth a listen, it too was written by Barry Hirsh, and features harmonies, piano and a lighter touch on the guitar.

Publishing was through Hi-Mar Music and Ronbeth Music BMI, both of which had other copyrights, most notably Ronbeth with the 7th Avenue Aviators “You Should ‘O Held On”.

The Conductors single came out on Dater DT-1303/4 in June, 1967. Dater was owned by Dave Chackler, and had one other single that I know of, the Soul Generation “I Can’t See You” / “Big Boss Man” on Dater DT-1301. The A-side has the Starlites doing a drier, stripped-down version of their classic on Bar-Clay, “I Can’t See You”. The label notes produced by Dave Chackler for Peter Warren Enterprises. The Starlites came from Reading, PA, 100 miles southeast of Williamsport, so I wonder how the Conductors connected with Dave Chackler.

Info on the band from Rob’s Williamsport Rock Bands

Conductors Dater 45 Whatever's In Your Smile

Bill Hamilton’s Groovey Grooves Records and Hamilton Productions

Satyrs Spectrum 45 Yesterday's HeroHamilton Productions, run by Bill Hamilton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, produced several garage singles with different label names including:

Sands of Time – ”Come Back Little Girl” / “When She Crys For Me”) Stearly 8167, August 1967)
Satyrs – “Yesterday’s Hero” (C. Morrill, G. Williams) / “Marie” (Spectrum 2668, released 1968, Haddonfield Heights, NJ)
Groop Therapy with Gary Dial “I’ve Got To Leave This World” (Gary J. Dilllio) / “Ronnie Ronnie” (Lisa 6865, June 1968, Ripley Park, PA)

For more on the Sands of Time, see the separate entry for the band.

Exceptions Groovey Grooves 45 Baby You Know I Need YouHamilton also put out a number of singles, mainly soul, on the Groovey Grooves label starting in 1968, including the Exceptions “The Look in Her Eyes” and Phillies player Rich Allen and the Ebonistics doing “Echoes of November”.

Groovey Grooves discography
any help with this would be appreciated

Groovey Grooves 160 – Rich Allen and the Ebonistics “Echoes of November” / “Fannari”
Groovey Grooves 161 – Exceptions “The Look in Her Eyes” / “Baby You Know I Need You” (Hynes, Walker, Ellis, Jones, arr. by Bob Lowden)
Groovey Grooves 162 – Collectors “Cruel World” / “I Still Love You” (March, 1969)
Groovey Grooves 163 – Isthmus of Sound “River” / “Sweet Love”
Groovey Grooves 164 – Stone Dawn “Agent Promise Blues” / “What You Think Is Right” (both by Penny Stubbs, Assoc. prod Bill Hoy)
Groovey Grooves 165 – ?
Groovey Grooves 166 – Norwood Long “I’d Like to Have You” / “She Belongs to Me”
Groovey Grooves 167 – Exceptions “The Shagg” / “Danny Boy”
Groovey Grooves 168 – Great Compromise “Let The Evening Roll On” / “He Was A Man”
Groovey Grooves 169 – Les Stewart, Jr. “One Woman Man” / “Mind Your Own Business”
Groovey Grooves 170 – Fairwinds “She & Me” (J. Swank, R. Smith) / “Height in Funland”

Groovey Grooves 176 – Fantastic Soul-Locks “Come On Home Girl” / “Funky Prance”

The Exceptions recorded at Impact Sound Recording Studio on Castor Ave in Philadelphia, while Stone Dawn recorded at Baker Sound in New Jersey.

Groop Therapy with Gary Dial Lisa 45 Ronnie, RonnieFolsom Music, BMI published many of the original songs on Groovey Grooves.

Klemen Breznikar has an interview with one of the members of Stone Dawn at It’s Psychedelic Baby!. The piece doesn’t identify which member he interviewed but I believe it’s George Manney.

Thank you to Laurent, Max Waller and Mike Markesich for help with this post.

Facts of Life “I’ve Seen Darker Nights”

Facts of Life Frana 45 I've Seen Darker NightsThere isn’t much information about the Facts of Life despite the group’s fine 45 single. The group came from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, which lies just to the west of the Philadelphia city line. Members included Bruce Klauber, later a jazz drummer and professor, and Robert Yampolsky, who wrote both songs on their only single. I don’t know the other members’ names.

“I’ve Seen Darker Nights” begins with a blast of distorted guitar but otherwise is free of fuzz. The lyrics are heartfelt, the singing good, the arrangement has good hooks and momentum from the rhythm section. There’s a long solo on the organ and a brief guitar break.

The flipside, “All In Good Time” has a good ballad sound with a basic guitar solo. Robert Yampolsky copyrighted both songs in October, 1967, and the record came out as Frana Records 59-A/B. I don’t know of any other releases on the Frana label.

Facts of Life Frana 45 All In Good Time

The Prisoner’s Dream

The Prisners Dream Rene 45 Autumn Days

The Prisoner’s Dream came from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, just southwest of Pittsburgh, on the way to Wheeling, WV. I don’t know who was in the band. Canonsburg is notable as the hometown of Bobby Vinton and Perry Como.

The Prisoner’s Dream had one single, the melancholy “Autumn Days” / “You’re the One I Really Love” on Rene R 1008 in November, 1967. John Bruno produced the session. The band’s name seems to be misspelled as the Prisners Dream on the labels, which also give an incorrect spelling of the song writer’s name.

The A-side has the melancholy sound some garage fans may like:

The Rene labels list both songs as written by Zaranoff and published by Ride On Music BMI, but copyright notices give his name as Peter Zaharoff. One listing from July of 1967 says Zaharoff also wrote under the pseudonym of Bryan Garret.

BMI’s database lists another song of his, “Get Away” published by Sheri Glen Publications. Library of Congress copyright notices give several more, “Curtain of Green”, “One Night”, “Place Where Lovers Go”, “Woman Who’s Never There” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me”, published in November and December 1966.

Chuck Edwards founded the Rene label, its related label Punch and Ride On Music. He had his own releases on the labels, including “Downtown Soulville” which Mr. Finewine has made into his theme song, and produced a handful of others. Most of the pressing were done by Rite.

Chuck Edwards went on to form a family musical group called the The Edwards Generation. Chuck passed away in 2001. There’s an article I can recommend on Chuck and his labels on That’s All Rite Mama.

This is not the same Rene Records as the one from Tennessee that released the Creepers’ “Jammin’ Granny”.

The Prisners Dream Rene 45 You're The One I Really Love

The Myst

The Myst Open 45 Coney Island Wild Child

The Myst came from Philadelphia PA and cut this one single for release on Open Records 1252 in September, 1969. The A-side was a Gary Usher- Roger Val Christian song, “Coney Island Wild Child” which had been cut by Billy Harner for Lawn back in 1964. It could sound dated but the singer has a rushed, off-hand attitude that suits the song.

Following the Myst single, Open Records released three singles and an LP by Billy Harner, and I believe the Myst was backing Harner in live appearances at this time.

“I’m Crying” is a heavy guitar and Hammond rocker, with a good lead vocal and sustained guitar running continuously throughout the song. The song was written by Joe Siderio, who may have been a member of the group, published by Caldwell Music, BMI.

I don’t know anything else about the Myst or who was in the group.

Open Records, later shortened to OR, was located at 3126 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, most of their records have “A Call-Bill Production” on the label.
The Myst Open 45 I'm Crying

The Sands of Time on Stearly Records

The Sands of Time, circa 1967-8
The Sands of Time, circa 1967-8

Sands of Time Stearly 45 Come Back Little GirlThe Sands of Time came from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and recorded one single on Stearly Records 8167 in August, 1967.

“Come Back Little Girl”, written by Feliciani, has a catchy intro with a distorted treble guitar sound.

The singer breathlessly calls out the lyrics to the flip “When She Crys For Me”, written by Ellis, with more cool buzzing guitar between verses. Bill Hamilton of Hamilton Productions produced the single.

I didn’t know the members’ names or anything much about the band until I heard from Mike Marr:

The Sands of Time, early photo with Bill Ellis and Joe Feliciani
“Here is the earliest picture of the band, Bill Ellis (top right) and Joe Feliciani (bottom right). The accordionist did not stay very long with the band.”

At the time of this recording I was the bass player in the Sands of Time; the band members were:Joe Feliciani – lead guitar and vocals
Bill Ellis – rhythm guitar and vocals
John Furterer – drums and vocals
Art Bernie – organ
Mike Marr – bass

The original band members were all neighborhood friends. Back in the mid to late 60’s everybody wanted to play guitar. We would play in someone’s basement or living room. I guess you could say the band was officially organized by an older man named John Mullins who knew Joe Feliciani’s father.

Sands Of Time at Scanlon RecreationCenter, Philadelphia, May or June, 1967
Sands Of Time at Scanlon Recreation Center, Philadelphia, May or June, 1967

This was a picture [above] of our first playing job. It was at Scanlon Recreation Center in Philadelphia. I think this was taken May or June of 1967.

Art Bernie joined the band a few weeks after this picture was taken and he was from that neighborhood (Kensington) in Philadelphia.

The Sands of Time, circa 1968
The Sands of Time, circa 1967-8

We were ages fourteen to sixteen at the time of the recording. It was done at a studio in Camden New Jersey that was in a motel on Admiral Wilson Blvd. It was the Oasis Motel and the studio may have been named Palmer Studios.The name Stearly Recordings was chosen because it was the street where our crowd of friends lived and hung out. I don’t remember [producer] Bill Hamilton. It is possible that he knew and dealt with John Mullins who acted as our manager at the time.

That is a Vox bass. Later I bought a White Gibson EB3 (very rare color). I also had a fretless Dan Armstrong (clear body). The band evolved with other members as time went on but no other recordings were ever made.

The Sands of Time, circa 1967-8
The Sands of Time, circa 1967-8

These pictures [at right] show Art Bernie the organist but Joe Feliciani was no longer in the band and was replaced by Rick Sutcliff, and Bill Ellis remained for another year.This would have been Fall of 1967 and Winter of 1968. There was more evolution but this was the band at the time of the record recording and soon after.

Mike Marr

Sands of Time Stearly 45 When She Crys For MeThis band has no connection to the Sands of Time who recorded Red Light on Sterling Award records out of New York.

The Coachmen Five and the Kiski label of Pennsylvania

The Coachmen Five Kiski 45 I Will Cry TodayThe Coachmen Five have this one obscure release from May of 1966 on the Kiski label. The band was from Oakdale, Pennsylvania, a small town about 20 minutes west of Pittsburgh. The Kiski label was located in North Apollo, PA, an even smaller town about 45 minutes drive northeast of Pittsburgh.

The singing is somewhat eccentric, but the band ably rocks out on both songs, originals written by Horpenska. A comment below lists members of the band as including Joe Horpenska on vocals, Jeff Thomas on bass and Denny Singer on drums.

I can find almost no info about the band, but this seems to be one of the later releases on the Kiski label, at least of the 20xx series. Kiski had over a dozen 45 releases in the early ’60s ranging from country to religious to soul to garage. Kiski started with Vandergrift, PA listed on the labels, then Freeport, PA, then New Apollo, PA.

Any help with this discography would be appreciated.

Kiski 2050 – Jacklads (arr. Dick & Jack Tody, sax Dick Tody) – “Alouette” / “Hot Toddy”
Kiski 2051 – Men From Mars – “I’ve Been With Jesus”, “Lord Build Me a Cabin” / “Previous Memories”, “The Fourth Man”
Kiski 2052 – Faulkner Bros., Gary & Dick – “In The Chapel In The Moonlight” / Gary & Dick Faulkner – “Guitar Boogie” 1961
Kiski 2053 – Jack Cartwright & the String Kings – “I’ve Lost You Forever” / “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”
Kiski 2054 – ?
Kiski 2055 – Barnes Brothers – “All Mixed Up Inside” / “Don’t Blame Me”
Kiski 2056 – The Alma-Keys (vocals) with the Citations – “Please Come Back To Me” (Roland Hayden) / “Jumpin’ Twist”
Kiski 2057 – Tawni Simms – “Will You Please Be Mine” / “Goodbye My Love”

Kiski 2063 – Ed “Tex” Belin & the Bel-Marts – “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” / “I Overlooked An Orchid” 1963
Kiski 2064 – The Renditions – “That’s When I Cried” (David M. Wells) / “Time Goes By” (Thomas B. Kennie & David M. Wells) 1964
Kiski 2065 – The Chevrons – “Who Does He Cry To” / “Jones Girl”
Kiski 2066 – The Thundermen – “Thunderbeat” / “Conjagua”
Kiski 2067 – The Marauders – “Slidin’ In” (Ronald Misejka) / “Kosta Rica”
Kiski 2067 – The Royal Rebels – “Drive In” / “Mojo Workout”
Kiski 2068 – The Kruisers – “C’mon Sweet Baby” (James Robeson) / “Karen”
Kiski 2069 – The Four Dimensions – “Moe’s Cast” / “I’m In Heaven”

Kiski 2072 – The Coachmen Five – “I Will Cry Today” / “I’m Comin’ Home”

Possibly DJ Bob Livorio of WKPA in New Kensington had something to do with the label.

The Royal Rebels came all the way from Cortland, Ohio, and had another recording as the Rhythm Rebels on Sunburst, “The Things You Do” / “Littlest Hobo”.

The Kruisers came from the towns of Sarver and Butler, PA, about 40 miles to the northwest of North Apollo. The Kruiser had another single on the Process label “It’s the Way She …” / “Panther Walk” in December of 1965, and another as the Lost Ones “I Can’t Believe You” / “I Wanna Know” on Mersey 002 in 1966.

In addition there are at least two LPs on Kiski, the Kiski Area High School Second Annual Choral Spring Concert and the Men From Mars Music From Out Of This World. Kiski also released at least one LP and single of polka and Slovakian music by Eddie Mack & His Orchestra, but with a different numbering system than the singles above.

The Coachmen Five Kiski 45 I'm Comin' Home