The Hard Times / The Rites of Spring

The Hard Times photo, l-r.: Daily Vandergrif drums, Mike Melton bass, Ronnie Melton keyboards, Mike Pair guitar, Ron Parr guitar, and Mike Gunnels vocals
The Hard Times, l-r.: Daily Vandergrif drums, Mike Melton bass, Ronnie Melton keyboards, Mike Pair guitar, Ron Parr guitar, and Mike Gunnels vocals

Hard Times Ultimate 45 You Couldn't Love MeI wrote about the Rites of Spring a few months ago, but now I can bring you the whole story of this Birmingham, Alabama group. As the Hard Times they recorded one 45 on the Ultimate label, “Losing You” backed with the excellent “You Couldn’t Love Me”.

By winning a WVOK battle-of-the-bands, the band attracted the attention of Cameo-Parkway Records, which had just hired Michigan singer Terry Knight as a staff producer after his 45 “I (Who Have Nothing)” on Lucky Eleven (distributed nationally by Cameo-Parkway) had become a sizeable hit. The Hard Times would be his first project for the label, but first they had to change their name to the Rites of Spring to avoid conflict with the San Diego/LA group of the same name who had records out on World Pacific.

The folky “Why (?)” was released in October, 1966, with the much harder edged “Comin’ On Back To Me” on the flip. Both songs were written by Michael Gunnels and Ronald Parr. The band promoted the record on the national TV show, Where the Action Is.

I recently spoke to Mike Pair, guitarist with the Hard Times and the Rites of Spring, and he gave me the full story about the band.

WVOK Talent Search

Q. How did the Hard Times form? Were you friends in school or in other bands?

Mike Pair: I played with Mike Gunnels in another band which lasted about 3 months. He then met the rest of the group who were trying to form a band, and when they needed another guitar, he suggested me. They all went to Woodlawn High School together – except me.

WSGN Birmingham QSL cardThe Hard Times’ “Losing You” was produced and recorded here in Birmingham at Boutwell Studies. Ed Boutwell shot all the civil rights footage from Birmingham with the fire hoses and dogs that you still see on the TV. Steve Norris, a local DJ, produced it. “You Couldn’t Love Me” was a one take song just to fill the other side of the record. “Losing You” got to #1 on the top local charts in Birmingham. We also did a lot of work for the WSGN DJs. WSGN was a great radio station.

We were busy every weekend throughout the south. We booked from Lowery Talent in Atlanta. They also had Tommy Roe, Joe South, Bobby Goldsboro, and the Tams. They picked us up because we won a 300 band “Battle of the Bands” There were so many bands, it lasted 2 days and we won.

The Hard Times at WSGN event, Eastwood Mall, 1967

Rites of Spring Parkway 45 Comin' On Back to MeRites of Spring Parkway Promo 45 Comin' On Back to MeQ. How did the Hard Times come to the attention of Cameo Parkway?

Mike: The Cameo Parkway record and Where the Action Is came through Lowery Talent. We were still the Hard Times, [but the California group] the Hard Times band was a regular on that show, so that was the reason for the name change to the Rites of Spring. If we had turned down the Action deal, we could have kept the name.

Q. Tell me about recording the Rites of Spring record.

Mike: We recorded both sides in Philly. Chubby Checker was there too.

Q. One website says that Terry Knight took your demo and re-recorded the vocals and some tracks, and improved it. Is that how you see it?

Mike: No, that part is not correct. The cut for the record company was the first one and we had not recorded that song before. Terry was a little weird even in those days. After we would do a cut, he would just sit there and stare into space not saying anything for long periods of time. We would just stand in the studio and wait until he came out of his “zone”. When Chubby Checker came in and sat in on some of the session, things were a little better and he acted more normal.

Q. Did you ever see any money from Cameo for the Rites of Spring 45?

Mike: Not a dime!!! They never pushed the record, and the only reason we can figure out was “96 Tears” came out about the same time and it was more of an instant hit that our record was, so it got all the promo money. We had one more record in our contract, but if I remember correctly, Cameo Parkway went south and out of existence not too long after we recorded, and the second record never got made.

We were on ‘Where the Action Is’ about two weeks before the show ended: #444, March 16th, 1967, and the show ended with #455, March 31, 1967. We were the first Alabama band on national TV.

We went to LA to film and went to a disco (can’t remember the name). It was during the riots on Sunset strip that year. The hotel would not give us a room because with our long hair (long for those days, you wouldn’t look twice now): they thought we were there for the riots. Dick Clark Productions had to call the hotel to tell them who we were and that it was ok to give us a room. Filmed with Neil Diamond, and the Royal Guardsman from Florida who did all those Snoopy and the Red Baron songs.

Q. That’s interesting you filmed with the Royal Guardsmen and Neil Diamond, because the episode you’re on features Keith Allison and Paul Revere and the Raiders – did they use footage from different times for the show?

Mike: Yes, they filmed all over the country and then picked which date they would show what. There might be 5 bands on a show filmed in 5 different places. We actually filmed the show several months before it aired. Keith Allison introduced us as a band from one of his favorite towns, Birmingham, Alabama. The Action crew had actually filmed some in Birmingham, and our keyboard player had a date with one of the Action dancers. That was pretty cool at that time.

[If anyone has a copy of the Rites of Spring on Where the Action Is, please get in touch, as Mike would like to see the performance after all these years.]

KRLA Beat, Nov. 5, 1966 Terry Knight producing the Hard Times, mistakenly listed as from Atlanta!
Los Angeles’ KRLA Beat magazine, Nov. 5, 1966 Terry Knight producing the Hard Times, mistakenly listed as from Atlanta!
Mike: The band broke up about 9 months after the Action appearance as Uncle Sam was calling most of us. It was great fun for a few years and we did shows with the Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Tommy James, the Byrds and Tommy Roe. Lots of great memories and good times. Mike Melton found some tapes we made at Fame studios with Rick Hall producing (Muscle Shoals, Alabama). I have listened to the tapes and there is some good stuff on them. Its funny that all the songs on there we wrote and they are all “death songs”, which is far from our stage act. All stuff on stage was up beat!!Mike Melton, the bass player, and Ronnie Melton, the keyboard player are still here in Birmingham and I see them often. Ron Parr who co-wrote most of our songs was killed in ‘Nam. Mike Gunnels, our lead singer made a small hit in Nashville on his own, but then fell out of sight. Daily Vandergriff our drummer is in West Virginia and is in the National Guard.

p.s. The shirts were in the early days. We got pretty grungy at the last!!

The Hard Times photo
The Hard Times

Mike Pair sent me a tape of the demo sessions at Fame. Some of the songs are downers, but they’re not all death songs! Many are very accomplished and some have contemporary country influences. The demos include later versions of “Losing You” and “You Couldn’t Love Me”, plus the following songs: “Don’t Love You Anymore”, “Memories of You”, “Rain Song”, “She’s Gone”, “If You Want Me to Go”, “Time for Me to Go”, “Suzie Q”, “Caretaker”, “Lotta Livin’ to Do”. George Wiggin provides harmony on some tracks.

Thank you to Mike Pair for sharing his photo of the Hard Times and for all his help in getting their story told. The WGSN card is from a great site on Birmingham Mike told me about, Birmingham Rewound.

Thanks also to Jeff Lemlich for the scans of the Frankford Wayne acetate.

Update, September 2011

The demo record pictured here was from Frankford Wayne Recording Labs, the leading mastering studio in Philadelphia, but not the recording studio for these songs. The band is still known as “The Hardtimes” (sic), though this would be released under the Rites of Spring name.

Hardtimes Frankford-Wayne demo, "Why" is the same as the released version.
The Hardtimes Frankford-Wayne demo, “Why” is the same as the released version.
Hardtimes Frankford Wayne Recording demo
“No Name” is actually an instrumental version of “Comin’ On Back to Me” without vocals or keyboard or guitar overdubs. Mike Pair told me “That is Ron [Parr on lead guitar], but my guitar answer is not on the [demo] record”. This bare-bones version sounds great to my ears.

62 thoughts on “The Hard Times / The Rites of Spring”

  1. Reading about the life of this band is like reading about famous people, I’m reading about someone else’s experience with “fame.” Then I have to stop and think, this guy’s not famous, that’s my dad! Yes, I’m Mike Pair’s daughter, and I’m so proud of him, even though he wore that polka dot shirt!

  2. He’s named- in the paragraph about their recordings at Fame Studios.

    Mike Pair filled me in on George ‘Butch’ Wiggin:

    “He was with the band from right after I joined until near the end, but because of his schedule he could not make all the dates that we played. He had a beautiful tenor voice and sang harmony to some of the slow stuff we did. He did not play an instrument. “You Lost That Loving Feeling” was great when they [George and Mike Gunnels] both sang, and always brought the house down.”

  3. Wow what a long time ago! And what fun it was. They were a great group of guys who loved making their music and singing their songs. As their Number One Groupie, and there were lots of us, I saw them whenever I could. Thanks for the memories! And Erin, your daddy was cute even in his polka dots!

  4. Hi Im a musician from this era playing in local bands in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. I just wanted to say you guys had a great career. I went to Vietnam in Dec of 69 so I feel like a brother to Ron Parr (Military Thing) you guys should reunite and do a tribute album to him giving parts of the proceeds to help homeless Vets in your area. Great Band , Great Guys wish you all the best.

    Dennis
    aka Mick Diamond

  5. Ron was a great guy and we still miss him. We did several concerts after his death, along with several other Birmingham bands, and gave the proceeds to a childrens home in Vietnam.

  6. Hi my name is Zach Parr. Ron Parr was my uncle.
    I just recently found this site about his band. If any one has any additional information about my uncle or the band
    I would love to hear it. please email me about it at zachpp@gmail.com -THANKS

  7. Hi:
    Reading the comments from Mike Pair confused me regarding WSGN vs WVOK on their contract with Cameo-Parkway Records and no mention of the WVOK Talent Search, July 17, 1966. On my website wvok-memories . tripod . com I have a newspaper advertisement regarding the Talent Search and the winners will receive $500, contract with Cameo-Parkway Records, and an appearance at the WVOK Herman’s Hermits Show on July 23, 1966 plus an appearance on the Nation Wide Dick Clark’s “Where The Action Is” TV Show. I received an email from an individual that attended the show and she wrote down all the acts that appeared. Apparently, the Hard Times/Rites of Spring was the winner of that contact as they appeared on the show.

  8. I purchased a Kustom bass amp. from Butch. It was Blue sparkle rolled and pleted. Paid him $300.00 I think it was part of the prizes from winng the battle of the bands. Cab and head stood about four ft. tall.

  9. I was with Ron the day he was killed in “Nam, Tuesday, April 30, 1968. We had been in a long firefight and when we were coming out of the jungle the tank Ron was driving was ambushed with a command-detinated mine(now called huge roadside bomb). He was a great guy and he used to talk about his band & the show, “Where The Action Is”….

  10. I remember going to one of their houses (Ron’s?) and listening to them practice when I was a kid and they were still the Hard Times. I was about four years younger that Ron. They were quite inspiring to a hear since they could actually play their instruments and sing and I just wanted to. I eventually scrimped up enough money to buy a gold Kent electric guitar and Fender Vibro Champ amp so I could practice. I remember trying to learn to play and sing “Losing You” since it was #1 locally. My love of music started with hearing those guys.

    The white and red polka dot shirts with the puffy sleeves were so cool at the time. Never doubt it! Some of my friends in the neighborhood were trying to form a band and wanted shirts like those for sure. One said there was some left over material since I think the shirts were made by one of the band’s moms or a friend’s mom. Someone can correct me on that — too long ago for this old brain.

    Thanks for the website and memories!

  11. My Mother, Ruth Bookout, made the shirts. They also had Navy Blue with large yellow polka dots. All the guys looked great in them.

  12. Your post was very helpful to me. I was trying to verify the date PFC Parr was KIA for a web site about the band he was in. Thanks so much.

  13. I was at that show at Eastwood Mall in 1966 and almost every one of the shows that they played. My friend Cindy South sang back up on Losing You and I would love to find her if anyone knows anything about her now. I remember Mike Gunnels as Professor Higgins in our high school musical. He was great in that too!

  14. Hi Greg, my friends and I went to school with Ron and used to go hear the “Hard Times Band” play around Birmingham, they were a great group..Ron was a good guy…Would like to correspond with you, hear about Ron’s time spent in Nam. I went to Nam, but I was in the Marines, was injured but thank God, came home. Look forward to corresponding with you. Nathan.

  15. My Father, Vincent LoPresti, Sr., built Ron Parr’s speakers for him. I’ll never forget the shock everyone was in when we went to Ron’s funeral. The procession seemed like it was a hundred miles long, because he had so many friends. I remember that it was a very sad day.

  16. Thank you. You have eased my mind. Hearing those gunshots as he was buried are one of the hardest memories I have. I’m so glad that someone who was with him that day still remembers, too!

  17. Ron was in some of my classes when I went to Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, AL. and we graduated together in 1967. He was always a really nice guy and I still think of him often. I look through my yearbook and see his picture and where he wrote a note to me. I remember when I heard that he’d been killed in Vietnam and I sure was sad…thinking of what a great future he would have had. You should be very proud of him. I am.

  18. Hi Zach…Your “Uncle Ron” was a great musician and person. Ron and I had a few classes together while at Woodlawn High. Ron always would speak, was very cordial, and always had time just to listen! I can still hear him strumming that Gretsch “Country Gentleman” he used!!

    I miss him a lot…

  19. Ron was a great musician and no doubt would have gone far had his life not been cut tragically short. I still have his obit and picture. I went to Washington a couple of years ago and found his name on the Viet Nam Memorial. He was a great guy as all the guys were! Good friends, good times!

  20. I went to Woodlawn also & liked the Hard Times Band a lot. Cindy South was my upstairs neighbor in the early 70’s for 2 years. Last I heard she was in Memphis & liking it a lot..

  21. Sorry I didn’t see you that day. Sure could have used a hug from a friend. I didn’t look in the casket because I wanted to remember him as I knew him –smiling, smart and kind!

  22. I just found this site a few minutes ago. Mike and Ronnie are my cousins. I was very fond of everyone in the band. I loved to dance. The night they played at the Eastwood Mall I was wearing brown, black and white checked pants and thought it would be cool to where one black boot and Ronnie’s brown boot. It did look cool except Ronnie was stuck with the same look on stage that unfortunately didn’t go whith his outfit, sorry. Do you remember when Mike Gunnels was singing “Wild Thing” and was looking right at Ronnie and sang Wild Thing, I think I love you? Right then Ronnie tore open his shirt and had “Wild Thing” printed on his teeshirt in big letters. It got big laughs.

  23. I remember the band practices were behind the garage at the Melton’s house in what we called the rumpas room. We had so much fun out there. Sometimes some girls would come over just to hang out and listen to the music. What amazed me was how a song would come out the radio that week, and with the unbelievable talent of Ron Parr with the rest of the band they were ready to perform the new songs the next week.

  24. I was wondering what happened to all the songs that Ron kept in his bedroom closet. What I was told was it was half full with songs he wrote. He was so talented. I remember when he first got his Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar. We were in the car going to a gig when Ron made us pull over on the way so that he could get his guitar out of the trunk and bringing into the back seat because it was maybe too cold outside. By the way I liked his ’58 Chevy.

  25. Ron Parr, the most excellent guitarist, my brother Mike and I formed the group in Feb64 until our fantastic final gig Aug67. We worked hard to ensure our weekends were successful. We had each others’ backs through it all. What other band gave their roadies an equal cut after expenses? And the last 1 1/2 years the money was real big. Yes, the band was a perfect way to allow us to stay propped-up in full-party-mode. One could have written “Basic Rocker Lifestyles for Dummies” from any glimpse into our incredibly good times. We loved girls, music, cigarettes, beer, etc., a teenager’s dream for some come true.
    MOM! Gotta gig!!! And please don’t read my fan-mail – You’ll freak!!
    Thanks Guys!!!!

  26. I am so sorry to say that Erik Kontzen lost his young life to cancer yesterday, June 21, 2011. I know that at some point, he played with the Hard Times/Rites of Spring Band. He had many loving friends and family. He will be missed. Please pass this on to as many people as you can.

  27. With the loss of Erik Kontzen, who used to roadie for them, lots of memories have come flooding back. Deanna Gilbert and I started their fan club and I sure wish we could all go back in time to see them at the Oporto Armory one more time!!!

  28. When we were young and foolish, your Dad was what we used to call, “tuff out of his mind.” Ask your Mom. He wasn’t always a “dad.” Otherwise, how could he have scored such a great, beautiful woman like your Mom for a wife?

  29. I went to Barrett and was in your 8th grade class, Ronnie. Our teacher was Mrs. Summerville. Just went to a Woodlawn High Reunion and was told that you died! If you haven’t, please email me.

  30. ERIK WAS A ROAD MANAGER FOR THE BAND AND PLAYED SAX WITH US SOMETIMES. HE PLAYED SEVERAL INSTRUMENTS. BIG GUY THAT TOOK CARE OF US WHEN WE NEEDED HELP.

  31. Does anyone know where I can get my hands on The Hard Times stuff? I’ve searched all over the internet and can’t seem to be able to purchase their early stuff. Mostly looking for “Talking to Her”, “December’s Children”, and “What do you Think”.

    Thank you if you can help!

  32. I remember the band very well. Saw them perform many times.
    I was wondering where Ronnie Melton is nowadays… He still around?

  33. I am a ’65 Woodlawn graduate and a local mobile DJ in Birmingham. I grew up with Cindy and recently saw her at the ’66 Woodlawn reunion that I played for. Her name now is Cindy Murphy and she lives in Maryville Tennessee. I reminisced with her at length. She has a beautiful alto voice and still sings in her church choir. Don’t know her contact info but Maryville is not that big. Hope you can catch up with her.

  34. I am still alive and around. I loved that, Gloria, “Ronnie if you have died disregard this message”. I did take a bullet for our eigth-grade class (Ms. Ross, Ms. Murray, Ms. Linthicum, etc.) Wish I was computer-savvy, maybe I wouldn’t have to use the band site as my personal facebook. As well, Ginger, hope all is well. In my heart you lovely female-ladies. Awkward! Stay healthy, God be near. Love always.

  35. Terry, I definitely remember that Wild Thing performance! Ha! Ronnie was always a hoot. I’m Ron’s brother who was about 8 at the time of that show. I thought it was so cool to get to sit on the steps of the stage. Mike and Ronnie are great guys. I was so happy to get to see Ronnie at my dad’s funeral in Nov. of 2010. I remember your name but I can’t picture your face. 🙁 Mike and I corresponded by email some a couple of years ago but I changed pc’s and lost his email address.

  36. Hi Mike. Not sure if you remember me but I’m Ron’s younger brother. My son Zach showed me this site some time ago but I never put any comments up before now. I think all the info you put out there is great. I sure have great memories of all you guys. I’m still amazed at how much you did when most of you were still in high school. We are taking my Mom to DC in a couple weeks and she will get to see the Wall for the first time. If you want to get in touch you can reach me at v.star.1100@hotmail.com
    I don’t check that real often so be patient if you write. If you do, I’ll give you a more reliable email address. Hope you are well.

  37. I was also a graduate of Woodlawn High, and remember Mike Gunnels best as I ran into him again, where he was playing in a band, at a local night club in the 80’s. I remember I was surprised but pleased that he even remembered me at the time. I was also present at the “Battle of the Bands” shows at the Eastwood Mall – I think most students at Woodlawn did attend, but it was perhaps easier for me as I lived within short walking distance and had a car. All of this brings back many good memories, before most of us began losing our school friends in Vietnam.

    The 610 AM WSGN Good Guys, and Joe Rumore’s 690 AM WVOK, the Rumore family in Eastlake, Cascade Plunge, The Eastwood Bowl, cruising the Mall and fast food drive-ins that still had dirt parking lots, the Starlight Theater, and things like 15 cent Jacks hamburgers. Wow! remember Hudson 114 octane gas for 35 cents a gallon? I was one of the many well-known hot rodders from Crestwood. I still remember how it made me angry when the band had to change their original name to the Rites Of Spring. I also still remember high school friends who played football, the championships, bonfires, and that some of those friends went on to play college and pro football. I even still remember Billy Bancroft – the boys advisor who had played pro baseball. There aren’t that many of us still around from our age group. It was hard losing friends so many years back, when we were so young, but that so many are gone now is just as hard. That’s something we never expected in our young years, and even now that I’m well into my sixties, I wish more of us could still be around and blessed with the happy lives we shared in the 1960s. It pleased me to find this web page.

  38. I met Ronnie and Mike Melton, Ron Parr and Cameron Glenn on night in 1966 at Eastwood Mall in the parking lot…I was with a group of girls and we all ended up riding around in one car for a couple of hours…Then I went to a concert you guys played at the Alabama Theatre…you all played at a dance at Leeds High School that year, wondered what had happened to you over the years…Thanks for some great memories!

  39. Hi, Mike Pair and Ronnie Melton! Just found this site and have had a ball reading all the comments. Don’t know if you remember me but my cousin Nancy, friend Carol, and myself were always at your performances. In fact, the band came to my house in Gardendale one summer night for a cookout and you all had a jam session on the patio. Those were really the most wonderful of times! I remember when Cameron and Riley were your roadies! Wish we could go back to that time!

    1. Yes, I remember you well, and the cookout! Those were great days! Riley passed away and I lost touch with Cameron many years ago so not sure what happened to him. I’m glad to connect again.

  40. Just found a clean 7″ of the Hard Times “Losing you/You couldn’t love me” released on Ultimate Records and was wondering if anyone knows how many copies were pressed up? Really cool music.

    1. I cant remember how many records were pressed. Losing You was done local and sold pretty well. I think we had to have a second pressing done. I had a box of about 25, but gave most of them away to the local record club. Where did you find it?

  41. It’s me, it’s me, it’s Michael G.! Not that anybody really cares, but since some of you apparently have wondered what became of me, I never quit chasing that neon rainbow. After the breakup of the band Hard Times/Rites of Spring, I continued to work with Bill Lowry out of Atlanta as they placed me with numerous other bands, none of whom rose to the standard of quality that I had become accustomed to while playing with the HT/RoS. In other words, I was a spoiled primadonna rock ‘n roll star, a legend in my own mind. Buddy Bouie even placed me with a band of studio musicians from Atlanta, who I sang with for about 6 to 8 months. You may have heard of them, it was the Atlanta Rhythm Section. But even they didn’t meet my strict criteria. In about 1969 or 1970, I found myself back at home
    in Birmingham playing at Diamond Jim’s Inn Club on 3rd Ave. South for a whopping $10 a night. $70 a week, five hours a night, which was top money in Birmingham at the time. Yes, girls and boys, it was a culture shock, going from playing one night shows, sometimes only playing for or six songs and making hundreds of dollars…Welcome to the real world of musicianship! But I had finally found the caliber of musicians that I’d been searching for, as Truman Dale Carr, a legendary guitar player from the area who influenced every guitar player I the Birmingham area, and as well as mentor to Ron Parr and most other guitarists in town. Jasper Guarino, who had taken Daily’ s place as drummer in the Rites, and dragged us all kicking and screaming into the world of rhythm and blues and soul music, with Robert Alexander, formally of The Distortions, who was one of the better bass players to come out of the Birmingham area. With yours truly on vocals, we made up a group called Train. During the next decade or so, I bounced back and forth from Nashville to Birmingham. While in Nashville, under the tutilig of John Hurley, who had produced some of the last and best recordings of the HT/RoS, I attempted to become a songwriter/artist in the Nashville music scene. Unfortunately, due to my inability to concentrate on songwriting and recording, as opposed to a live performance, I bounced back and forth from club gigs in Birmingham and elsewhere, to the solitary craft of songwriting and recording, which resulted in my never really achieving any major success in Nashville…. during my first excursion there. Around 1970 or 1971, I formed a band that we laughingly refer to as the Brookside TurkeyShoot, which began a multi – decade odyssy of honky-tonks, rock ‘n roll houses, and other music venues too numerous to recall and involved more musicians than you would believe, sometimes consisting of as many as 15 pieces (horns, backup singers, multiple guitarists, drummers, keyboards, and anything else you can conceive of). Most every musician in the Birmingham area at one time or another has performed in some configuration of the TurkeyShoot. Through the years, I have continued to carry the name and have had several albums and single releases under said name during the last three or four decades I spent in Nashville. And in spite of rave reviews and critical acclaim, each product ultimately died on the vine, mostly due to poor business ventures, ill timing (ahead of the curve) and the old demon, Death. I found myself falling short of the pot of gold at the end of that neon rainbow. At this point in time, I am still climbing up Rock ‘n Roll Mountain with the added disadvantage of old age coming into play. I have never taken my eye off the prize. As always, I currently have irons in the fire and play constantly, under the same TurkryShoot banner and although I currently reside mostly in Foley, AL (Gulf Shores, AL area), where I was called 4 or 5 years ago to take care of my mother. You can still find me performing in the Gulf Coast area, and can view recent performances on YouTube by searching for Michael Gunnels or Brookside TurkeyShoot and can hear aforementioned original releases from the last 4 decades on http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelgunnels. I still have a residence just south of Nashville and regularly return for shows and to pursue recording. I am ecstatically and happily married to my fourth wife, a beautiful person half my age, but who seems to like the old guy. I guess this brings us up to date with my life and times, and I hope I see you all again down the road. I can be reached at megunnels [at] gmail.com or friend me on Facebook. Nothing but love for everybody.

  42. I’ve long owned a copy of the Rites Of Spring “Comin’ On Back To Me” on Parkway, but didn’t know anything about its history until checking out this thread today when I saw the sidebar indicated that Mr. Gunnels posted. Always dug that song and recording a lot, how it alternates between minor and major keys from verse to chorus and the classic killer fuzz guitar riff, punctuated with shouted chants of ‘Hey!’, very catchy. (Even if it didn’t get anthologized during the garage revival — maybe the pretty middle interlude breaking up the danceable rhythm groove hurt it in that regard, but really it’s plenty tuff. Way better than anything Terry Knight made with the Pack, if you ask me!) Interesting to learn Chubby Checker attended the session, of all people, and that there was also an instrumental demo version of the tune.

  43. Too cool Alex…..I’m supper glad to hear someone else got a measure of pleasure out of the things we did……after so long you start to wonder if you ever did anything worth while…..thank you again for your kind words……hopefully ….you will go to some of the sites posted….and give a listen to some of what I did during the remaining 70 yrs. of my life……
    As well as check out some of the videos on YouTube…..and give me your input on what I do now…..
    Thank you again…..respectfully
    Michael Gunnels

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