The Rubber Maze released one excellent double-sided single on Tower 351 in July 1967, featuring two different styles. The A-side is “Mrs. Griffith”, typical of the soft psychedelia of the era, written by Marty Cooper, who co-produced the single with Ray Ruff.
Ray Ruff and Marty Cooper ran the Ruff and Sully labels, based out of Amarillo, Texas. Their publishing companies Little Darlin’ Music Co. and Checkmate Music BMI published both songs. I’ve read this single came out on the Ruff label but haven’t yet seen a copy.
I really dig the flip, a straight-up garage song “Won’t See Me Down”, written by Rubber Maze member Dennis Swinden.
Bassist Ronnie Verge commented on a video of “Mrs. Griffith”:
The Rubber Maze formed in 1965 in San Francisco and moved to Orange County, CA. They started up as The Young Men From Boston, shortly there after change to The Maze, and in 1967 changed to The Rubber Maze. They disbanded in late 1968.
Lead vocals and drums: Reggie Boyd Vocals, lead guitar and keyboard: Dennis Swinden Vocals, rhythm guitar: Brian Blanchard Vocals, bass and cello: Ronnie Verge Alternate Member on vocals and lead guitar: Chad Blanchard
The clipping at the top comes from Mike Dugo of 60sgaragebands.com, part of a two-page write up on a Dick Clark tour with The Split Ends and Yellow Payges in 1968 in Teen Screen.
The Rubber Maze had no connection to the Maze who had the LP Armageddon on the MTA label.
A single on Philips as the Eastside Kids likely had no connection to the East Side Kids I will be discussing in this article. Philips 40295 from June of 1965 has a great bluesy instrumental “Sunday Stranger” written by Billy Strange and almost certainly he’s playing the lead guitar too.
The other side was also an instrumental, “Subway Train” written by Billy Carl, Ron Gentile, and Richard Moehrle. Hear both at Left and to the Back blog, from which I took the label scan seen here.
Billy Carl (aka Billy Carlucci) co-wrote “(We’ll Meet in the) Yellow Forest” for Jay and the Americans, “Goody Goody Gumdrops” for the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and many other songs.
Ron Gentile and Richard Moehrle (aka Rick Morley) were in the Secrets. They wrote a classic instrumental called “Twin Exhaust”, released on Swan in 1962. As Crystal Mansion they had a 1968 single and LP on Capitol.
In May of 1966 there’s a single by the East Side Kids “Chocolate Matzos”/”Night Mist Blue” on Warner Bros. 5821. Like the Philips single, this sounds like a studio production, but is more exotica than rock ‘n roll, and I doubt the East Side Kids I’ll be discussing below were a part of this. Both sides written by C.B. Jerry for Phenomenal Music BMI, and produced by Dick Glasser.
So now let’s get on with the actual Sunset Strip group the East Side Kids and their initial incarnation as the Sound of the Seventh Son.
In September of 1965, the Sound of the Seventh Son released their single on Tower 169. “I Told a Lie” is a good, crude garage rock. It was written by James Greenspoone (aka Jimmy Greenspoon) and Ed Fontaine. On the flip was the Byrds-like “I’ll Be On My Way”, written by Dollarhide, Greenspoone, Fontaine. Both songs published by Chemistry Music BMI, produced by Al Hazan for S.O.S. Productions.
The Sound of the Seventh Son also recorded a one-sided demo “She Lost Me” which I haven’t heard – anyone have a copy of that?
One of the first venues we performed at was called Stratford on Sunset. The owner was Jerry Lambert and his nephew’s group, The East Side Kids, was the house band. At that time, they had another name, something like The Sound of the Seventh Son, I think. They were older, very professional and served as mentors to us … Stratford was great while it lasted … and it was Jerry Lambert again who got me the audition for The Yellow Payges a year later.
Members of the Sound of the Seventh Son were:
Joe Madrid – vocals David Doud – lead guitar Michael Doud – bass guitar Jimmy Greenspoon – piano Danny Belsky – drums
Greenspoon and Danny Belsky had been playing together since the very early ’60s with the New Dimensions with Michael Lloyd, Craig Nuttycombe and Art Guy. David Doud had joined when the band became the Alley Kats.
The band received press when they went to court on September 2, 1965 to get their contracts with Tower Records and SOS Productions approved and Judge A.A. Scott exclaimed “They look like freaks! … I don’t know whether they are girls or boys … God help them if they get to some real men”. The band were all between the ages of 18 and 21. Coverage was so thorough, and photographs so timely, that I have to wonder if this was a publicity stunt to coincide with their Tower single release.
The band also appears in the background of a fashion photo shoot for the LA Times magazine taken at the Crescendo Club, though only Madrid, Belsky and Greenspoon are visible in the photos.
Around the time Stratford on Sunset closed in December 1965, the Sound of the Seventh Son became the East Side Kids. Although the Warner Bros. single came in May of 1966, there may be no connection between that production and this group. Dominic Priore, in Riot on the Sunset Strip says that the East Side Kids “took up a residency at a club called Wild Thing near Hollywood and Vine before moving on to the Hullabaloo, leaving their original house band spot to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.”
There’s a great photo (at top of page) of the band at the Sea Witch on Sunset Blvd with guitarist Denis Lambert, who would sit in with the group and later form Lambert and Nuttycombe with Craig Nuttycombe of the New Dimensions.
In January of 1967 the East Side Kids release their single “Take A Look In The Mirror” /”Close Your Mind” on Orange Empire Records OE-500. “Take A Look In The Mirror” has a good guitar break while “Close Your Mind” has more drama in the performance. Someone, probably Danny Belsky, is playing the flute on both sides.
The songs were written by Bernie Schwartz and M. Cavett, but the A-side was published by World Showplace Music, Inc, BMI while the flip by Egap BMI.
Bernie Schwartz has an interesting history, releasing two 45s on the Tide label as Don Atello, including “Questions I Can’t Answer” which you may remember from Boulders vol. 7. He then released “Her Name Is Melody” / “I Go to Sleep” as Adrian Pride on Warner Bros 5867. After writing for the East Side Kids, the Yellow Payges and Power, he formed the Comfortable Chair who had the excellent single “Be Me” plus and LP on Ode, and his own LP The Wheel on CoBurt.
Jimmy Greenspoon seems to have left the group at some point in 1967. In June, he released a 45 as Boystown “Hello Mr. Sun” / “End of the Line” with Michael Lloyd who had just left the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Around this time he moved to Denver for close to a year before returning and forming Three Dog Night.
I’m not sure if Jimmy Greenspoon was still with the group in October, 1967 when they put out their next single on Valhalla 672, which features Jimmy’s original “Listen to the Wise Man” plus a song by Doud and Madrid “Little Bird”. Both sides feature strings and pop production by Larry Tamblyn of the Standells. Publishing by Kim Fowley Music and Padua Music, BMI.
Valhalla also released 45s by the Sunday Funnies (“A Pindaric Ode” / “Whatcha Gonna Do”) and the Vikings (“Boo-Hoo-Hoo” / “Lonely Prisoner”).
By January, 1968, according to one article I found, the members were:
Joe Madrid – lead vocals David Doud – guitar Mike Doud – bass David Potter – drums
This group recorded their LP The Tiger And The Lamb on Uni 73032 in 1968. Buzz Clifford and Dan Moore, both formerly of Hamilton Streetcar, produced the album. Clifford and Moore also contributed songs, along with John Fleck of the Standells and Wesley Watt of Euphoria. Dave Potter and David Doud each contributed one original composition. One single was taken from the album, David Doud’s “Taking The Time” backed with Fleck’s “Is My Love Strong” for UNI 55105 in early 1969.
Around October of 1968 a 45 turns up under the name Gladstone, “Pitter Patter” / “Gone By Day” on Kirk Record Co KR-5002. Under the artist name is “Tracks by EAST SIDE KIDS” and D.F. Potter (David Potter) is one of the producers along with Gregory and Gladstone. Both sides were written by Gladstone but published by different companies, Song & Dance Music BMI and Rockliffe Music BMI.
I cannot determine if Gladstone was a particular person or only an alias for the East Side Kids, but “Gone By Day” ranks among the best performances the East Side Kids were ever involved in.
In May of 1969 a Gladstone single appears on A&M Records 1061, the beautiful “What a Day” backed with the hard-rockin’ “Upsome”, both originals by Al Graham.
Alex Palao wrote to me: “The Gladstone on Kirk was an LA-based singer named Gary Gladstone, [who] cut an earlier(?), way better version of Gone By Day at Original Sound, along with other stuff. Not the same as the A&M / San Jose group of Otherside/Bogus Thunder lineage.”
I wouldn’t necessarily link this single to the East Side Kids except for the producer, Lee Michaels, whose album Carnival of Life included Wesley Watt and David Potter. However, one source lists this Gladstone band as from San Jose, CA, with members Alan Graham (vocals, bass), Ned Torney (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Ken Matthew (drums, vocals) and Jim Sawyers (guitar). Torney, Matthew and Sawyers had been in the Other Side, who had one fine single on Brent in Nov. 1965, “Streetcar” / “Walking Down the Road”. By 1969 they had been playing with Al Graham as Bogus Thunder (possibly with Wayne Paulsen on guitar instead of Jim Sawyers – sources differ).
No connection to the early ’70s band called Gladstone from Tyler, Texas that recorded on ABC and Probe.
I don’t know how the band ended, or what most of the group did afterwards. David Potter joined Endle St. Cloud, with whom he formed Potter St. Cloud. He was also a session drummer. He passed away in 2011. I believe the Doud brothers are both gone too.
I’ve had this 45 for years but am only now getting around to covering it. I don’t recall ever reading about the band in any detail.
“I’m Grounded” is a well-known psychedelic classic written by Timmy Phelan (Jitters Music, BMI), but originally it was the b-side to “If You Can Put That In a Bottle” written by Billy Meshel for Meager Music, BMI.
The record was released on Tower 372 in October of 1967. The band came from Wantaugh, Long Island but other than that I don’t know anything about the group, nor have I seen a photo of them.
I don’t believe there’s a connection to a release by the Minimum Daily Requirement (singular) on Mercury, “Free the People” / “I Do Believe the Sun Will Shine”.
Larry Tamblyn (keyboards, vocals) Tony Valentino (lead guitar) Gary Lane (bass) Gary Leeds (drums)
The group is formed in Los Angeles by Larry Tamblyn (b. February 5, 1943, Inglewood, California, US), (brother of actor Russ Tamblyn), and guitarist Tony Valentino (b. Emilio Tony Belilissimo, May 24, 1941, Longi, Italy), who arrived in the US in 1958. Tamblyn has previously recorded three singles for local label, Faro.
Tamblyn and Valentino form the original Standells with Jody Rich (bass) and Benny King (drums) and work in Hawaii at the Oasis club in Honolulu for several months. The group takes its name from the long hours spent hanging around record company offices awaiting an audition.
January The Standells work at the Club Esquire in Eureka, Washington. Soon afterwards, former New York Aerospace Technology school student, Gary Leeds (b. September 3, 1944, Glendale, California, US) and bass player Gary Lane (b. Gary McMillan, September 18, 1940, St Paul, Minnesota, US) take over from King and Rich. The group’s first recording is the single, “The Shake”, which receives airplay on KFWB radio station. May The group plays at the Royal Room in West Los Angeles. August The Standells appear at Tykes in Pasadena, California. September The band performs at the Trophy Room in Sacramento, California and then becomes the house band at the Peppermint West in Hollywood. December The Standells’ debut single, “You’ll Be Mine Some Day” is released as Larry Tamblyn and The Standells on Faro’s subsidiary label, Linda Records.
Early 1963, clockwise from left: Tony Valentino, Gary Lane, Larry Tamblyn and Gary Leeds
Standells, early 1964: Gary Lane, Larry Tamblyn, Gary Leeds and Tony Valentino
February (6) Tamblyn, Valentino, Lane and Leeds sign a record contract with Liberty Records. March The group plays at the Thunderbird Lounge in Las Vegas billed as America’s answer to The Beatles. May Gary Leeds leaves to join first Johnny Rivers and then P.J. Proby, before co-founding The Walker Brothers, and is replaced by Dick Dodd (b. October 27, 1943, Hermosa Beach, California, US) from surf band, Eddie & The Showmen. (Dodd has also been an original mouseketeer on the popular TV show, The Mickey Mouse Club). June The Standells land a residency at Hollywood’s illustrious nightclub, PJ’s (where they record an album) and also play at the Haunted House on Hollywood Boulevard. Liberty releases the single, “Peppermint Beatle”, in an attempt to cash-in on The Beatles’ recent US success, but the single flops. July A cover of James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy” is lifted from the forthcoming album and issued as a single but fails to chart. In The UK, b-side, “Help Yourself” is released as the single.
French EP taken from the Liberty album In Person at PJ’s
September Liberty releases debut album, The Standells In Person At PJ’s, a blatant cash-in on The Kingsmen’s recent live album, Louie Louie: The Kingsmen In Person. The record is released in the UK the following year; the only Standells album to be issued there. The Standells travel to Nicaragua for 12 days. October (17) A final Liberty single, a version of Johnny Otis’ “So Fine” is taken from the album but does not chart. The band signs a new deal with VJ Records. December (5) The Standells perform at Sammy Lee’s Westlake in Chatworth, California. (22) The band makes its third return to P J’s in Hollywood.
Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino, Dick Dodd and Gary Lane
(26) Having signed a new recording deal with Vee-Jay Records, the band’s debut single for the label, “The Boy Next Door”, produced by Sonny Bono and featuring Cher on backing vocals, is released and eventually peaks at US #102. The single’s release comes on the heels of MGM film, “Get Yourself A College Girl”, where the band performs covers of “Bony Moronie” and “The Swim”. (31) The Standells appear on That Regis Philbin Show and perform a cover of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and one other song.
Standells, late 1964: Tony Valentino, Gary Leeds, Larry Tamblyn and Gary Lane
January (7) The Standells open New Tiger A-Go-Go Room in the Hilton Hotel, San Francisco. (18) “Zebra In The Kitchen” is released as a single by MGM but is not a success.
March (18) The Standells appear in episode “Far Out Munsters” for the popular TV programme, The Munsters. After the initial success of “Help Yourself” as a single in Los Angeles, Dodd become the group’s principal lead singer. (20) The band appears on American Bandstand with Brenda Holloway. (25) The group appears on Shindig with Dick and Dee Dee, Shirley Ellis, Bobby Goldsboro, The Trade Winds and Glen Campbell.
On the Munsters, from left: Larry, Tony, Dick and Gary
April The Standells return to the Tiger-A-Go-Go at San Francisco Hilton Hotel where they are advertised as the “return of the Wild Standells”. May(28) The band plays at the Gardon Grove’s Alamitos Intermediate School assembly. July(12) The Standells appear on Hollywood Discotechque TV show. August Final Vee-Jay single, “Don’t Say Goodbye”, backed by “Big Boss Man” is released but fails to chart. October The band is introduced to Ed Cobb, a former member of fifties vocal group, The Four Preps, who is currently working as a freelance producer and songwriter. Cobb is looking for a group to record one of his recent compositions, “Dirty Water”; a song written about a recent experience he had fighting off muggers, while walking with his girlfriend along the River Charles in Boston. He is suitably impressed with The Standells to use them on the track and offers his services to the group as a manager/producer. Shortly after, Cobb is approached by Tower Records (a subsidiary of Capitol), who are eager to obtain a record he has produced for Ketty Lester. Cobb proposes a deal, whereby Tower agree to sign The Standells in return for the Lester single. November “Dirty Water” is released as a single but is slow to sell. Dodd, who apparently hates the song, leaves the group and is replaced by former Sir Raleigh & The Cupons, drummer/vocalist, Dewey Martin (b. Dewayne Midkiff, September 30, 1940, Chesterville, Ontario, Canada; d. 31 January 2009). The group records a version of “Why Did You Hurt Me” with Martin on lead vocal but it is re-recorded when Dodd rejoins the band a few months later. December (5) The Standells perform at the Tiger-A-Go-Go in San Mateo, California.
Later Japanese release of “Dirty Water”
Rare Tower promotional photo from 1966, featuring second bassist Dave Burke
February Dodd rejoins the band while they are working San Jose (and after Cobb arranges a summer tour supporting The Rolling Stones). Martin, meanwhile, leaves to join The Dillards, before gaining greater acclaim with The Buffalo Springfield. May Bass player Gary Lane leaves the band during its first concert tour and is replaced in Florida by former member of the Tropics, Choir and Rush, Dave Burke. (20) The Standells appear at Birmingham High School, Van Nuys with The Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Sunshine Company and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (20) The Standells perform “Dirty Water”, “There’s a Storm Comin'” and “Hey Joe” on the Mike Douglas Show. June (11) After a long climb “Dirty Water” breaks into the US charts at #31, the group’s biggest hit to date. Liberty Records, exploiting the success of “Dirty Water”, reissues The Standells’ debut album as Live And Out Of Sight, adding the “Peppermint Beatles” single to the track listing. A single, “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” is also issued, to tie in with the album’s release. Second Tower single, Cobb’s “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White”, reaches US #43, while debut Tower album, Dirty Water hits #52. (24) The Standells supports The Rolling Stones at the Manning Bowl, Lynn, Massachusetts on the opening date of The Stones’ US tour. Also on the bill is The McCoys and The Tradewinds. The crowd is subdued with tear gas, and the concert (even though it goes ahead) will be the last to be held at the venue until 1985. July “Dirty Water” is The Standells’ second and final single to be released in the UK, but doesn’t chart. (9) “Dirty Water” peaks at US #11, the band’s biggest hit. (22) The Standells open with The McCoys and other acts for The Rolling Stones at the Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, California. (25) The group supports The Rolling Stones at The Hollywood Bowl alongside The Buffalo Springfield, The McCoys and The Trade Winds. August “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” is lifted from the earlier live album and released on Sunset but is not a chart success. September Second album, Why Pick On Me – Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White is released but doesn’t chart. November Third album in six months, Hot Ones which is entirely comprised of covers of recent hits like The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer In The City” and The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” is released but is not a success. Burke leaves, later to join San Francisco band Indian Puddin’ and Pipe [note: it may have been a different Dave Burke who joined Indian Puddin’ & Pipe and West Coast Natural Gas] and is replaced by John Fleck (b. Johnny Fleckenstein, US), who had been an original member of Love, co-writing “Can’t Explain” on that band’s debut album.
(26) Cobb’s “Why Pick On Me?” stalls at US #54.
The Standells in 1967, from left: Larry Tamblyn, Dick Dodd, Tony Valentino and John Fleck
February The first single to feature Fleck on bass is “Try It”, arguably The Standells’ finest record. However, despite becoming an immediate hit in L.A., the record is soon banned by radio stations at the direction of rightwing moral majority radio mogul Gordon McLendon who argues that “Try It” is a blatant request for teenage girls to lose their virginity. (7-12) The band plays at the Ice House in Glendale, California. March The group releases the novelty tune, “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” under the name The Sllednats (The Standells backwards), but the single flops. (25) Valentino and Fleck’s “Riot On Sunset Strip” hits US #133. April Cobb is commissioned by Tower to come up with a soundtrack for a teenage protest film revolving around the disturbances on Sunset Strip 1966/67. The band is featured in the film, alongside label mates, The Chocolate Watchband.
From left: Gordon McLendon, Art Linkletter, Larry Tamblyn, John Fleck, Dick Dodd and Tony Valentino
May (27) The Standellls appear on Art Linkletter’s TV show, Let’s Talk, debating radio mogul Gordon McLendon, who has been leading the campaign to ban music with “objectionable” lyrics. The Standells handily defeat him. However, after creative editing, it appears the debate was more evenly matched. July (5) The Standells support The Doors and The Coasters at Lowell High School Auditorium, La Habra, California. (23) The group appears on the Shebang TV show with Brenton Wood. August (26) – September (4) The band performs at the ‘Fort Worth Teen Fair & Mardi Gras Festival’, the Will Rogers Exhibit Building, Fort Worth, Texas. (5-12) The Standells play at the Ice House in Glendale. October The Standells’ next release, the R&B/soul single, “Can’t Help But Love You” is a minor hit, peaking at US #78. Tower releases The Standells’ fourth and final album Try It, which doesn’t sell. November (7) The group appears on the TV show Groovy with The Sunshine Company. (9) The Standells make a TV appearance on Pat Boone in Hollywood. December The group appears on the Joey Bishop Show. (8-9) The Standells perform at the Cheetah, Venice, California with The Hour Glass.
Larry Tamblyn, American Recording Studios, 1967
Live, 1967: Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino, Dick Dodd and John Fleck
Late 1967, just before Dick Dodd left the band for a solo career
January (9-14) The Standells are billed to appear at the Ice House in Glendale, California but the shows are postponed until after playing at the Guitar Center in February. February (10) The group plays at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, California. April The band is eager to write and perform its own material and decides to split from Cobb, who continues to work with The Chocolate Watchband. Cobb is offered another film commission and decides to record Dodd as a solo artist without the rest of the group. Dodd records “Guilty” for the film, Square Root but problems arise over its distribution and the single flops. (9-14) The Standells return to the Ice House in Glendale for further shows. (19) The group plays at Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, California with The Illinois Speed Press. May Dodd joins Green Grass Productions as a solo artist. His place is taken by drummer Bill Daffern. June A final single, “Animal Girl” is released but is poorly received, despite being one of the group’s finest records. Featuring Tower producer Richie Podolor on sitar, and recorded before Dodd’s departure, the record is a radical departure in sound for the band and is lost in the media rush which follows. July A Larry Tamblyn’s solo single, the instrumental “Summer Clothes (Parts 1 &2)”, is released on the small Sunburst label. The one-year old track was recorded around the same time as “Can’t Help But Love You”. Dodd’s first solo single “Little Sister’ is released but fails to chart. August Fleck also drops out and moves into film work. He later becomes a top cinematographer with Jaws among his credits. The Standells recruit ex-Factory lead vocalist and guitarist Lowell George (b. April 13, 1945, Hollywood, California, US), but no recordings are made. September (3-15) The new line-up begins a series of dates at the Ice House, Glendale, California with Pipe Dream but they are never completed due to differences between Tamblyn and George. October Tower releases Dodd’s solo album, The First Evolution Of Dick Dodd but it doesn’t chart. (27) The Standells appear at the Artists and Models Ball at the Century Plaza with Taj Mahal and others. November George leaves to join Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention (and later Little Feat). December Dodd’s final single “Fanny” is another chart failure and he quits the music business for the next few years. (7) A new version of The Standells supports Johnny Rivers at the College of Sante Fe with Blue Marble Faun in Sante Fe. Daffern and Tamblyn contribute material to The Electric Prunes’ final album, Just Good Old Rock and Roll.
Standells 1969, from left: Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino (in front), Bill Daffern (Willie Dee), Tim Smyser, Paul Downing
Tamblyn and Daffern form Chakras with former Knack members Michael Kaplan and Larry Gould with Valentino acting as manager. Reprise releases the Charkras single, “City Buy” c/w “Agnes Vandalism”, both sides of which are written by Michael Kaplan. Daffern leaves and subsequently records with Hunger! and later records with Truk. Tamblyn and Valentino then reform The Standells with English guitarist Paul Downing. November (14-16) Billed as The Standells, the group appears at Pier 7 in Van Nuys, California. A photo circa this time includes new members Bill Daffern (Willie Dee) and Tim Smyser.
July (7-12) The Standells play at the Beach House, California. September Dodd releases the single “Requim: 820 Latham”.
Dodd emerges with Los Angeles group, Joshua, who release an album Willy And The Hand Jive (produced by Ed Cobb) for the independent AVI label.
American indie label Rhino Records releases compilation album The Best Of The Standells. Around the same time Valentino cuts a number of solo demos (but is unable to attract a record deal), before joining Tamblyn and Dodd in a full-scale Standells reunion.
August The Standells perform at the Club Lingerie in Hollywood, the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, a weeklong engagement at Harrah’s in Reno, Nevada, supported by The Fleshtones.
Rhino Records issues second album, Rarities, a collection of rare Standells tracks, including Dodd’s solo releases and the band’s pre-Tower Vee-Jay singles.
Third Rhino release The Best Of The Standells is issued. July (19-20) The Standells appear at the Summerfest/Return to the Sixties at Glen Helen Regional Park, San Bernandino, California. Tamblyn, Valentino and Dodd reunite in 1999 for the Cavestomp Festival in New York. The group records a live CD, Ban THIS, a slam at Gordon McLendon.
Gary Lane rejoins The Standells as they perform at the Las Vegas Grind, Las Vegas, Arizona.
The Tamblyn/Valentino/Dodd/Lane line up play before the Game Two of the World Series.
April (11) The Standells appear at Fenway Park. The band will return the following year for a show on September 8.
Rare EP from Thailand that seems to include a version of “La Bamba” not heard anywhere else – anyone ever heard this version?
Many thanks to Larry Tamblyn for his personal contributions.
Bronson, Harold. Sleeve notes to Rhino album, The Best Of The Standells. Burgess, Chuck and Nowlin, Bill. Love That Dirty Water! The Standells and The Improbable Red Sox Victory Anthem, Rounder Books, 2007. Doggett, Peter. ‘The Standells’. Record Collector, May 1991, #141. Grushkin, Paul D. Art Of Rock – Posters From Presley To Punk, Artabras, Cross River Press, Ltd, 1987. Hogg, Brian. ‘Little Feat’. Strange Things Are Happening, Vol 1, #3, July/August 1988. Joynson, Vernon. Fuzz, Acid And Flowers, Borderline Productions, 1993. Maclean, Hugh and Joynson, Vernon. An American Rock History – California The Golden State, Borderline Productions, 1985. Rees, Dafydd and Crampton, Luke. Book Of Rock Stars, 2nd Edition, Guinness Publications, 1994 Robertson, John. Neil Young – The Visual Documentary, Omnibus Press, 1994. Shaw, Greg. The Doors On The Road, Omnibus Press, 1997, pages 46 and 57. Whitburn, Joel. Billboard – USA Top 40 Hits, 3rd Edition, Guinness Publications, 1987. Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn’s Pop Annual 1955-1994, Billboard Record Research Inc, 1995. Billboard, May 11, 1968, page 50. Billboard, September 7, 1968, page 3. Variety, September 2, 1970, page 60.
Another great resource is: www.newspaperarchive.com/
Some of the scans and photos seen here are on the Standells Facebook page. from the collections of Larry Tamblyn, Thomas Haaland and others.
First UK EP showing lineup after November, 1964 From left: Alan Henderson, Pat McAuley, Van Morrison, Billy Harrison and Jackie McAuley
Van Morrison (harmonica, saxophone, vocals) Alan Henderson (bass) Billy Harrison (lead guitar) Eric Wrixon (keyboards) Ronnie Millings (drums)
The group is formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland by Henderson (b. 26 November 1944, Belfast, N. Ireland), Harrison (b. 14 October 1942, Belfast, N. Ireland) and Millings (or Mellings), who have previously played in a local three-piece outfit, The Gamblers. The trio adds keyboard player Eric Wrixon (b. 29 June 1947, Belfast, N. Ireland) and a short while later completes the original line up with singer Morrison (b. George Ivan, 31 August 1945, Belfast, N. Ireland) from local band The Monarchs. Wrixon names the band after a 1950s B horror film.
April(17) One of the first R&B/beat group’s in the province, Them quickly build a reputation as a strong live act holding down a residency at Belfast’s Maritime Hotel in College Square North. The group’s repertoire includes a blistering 15-minute version of Bobby Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light”, and a 20-minute improvisation of Morrison’s celebration of teenage lust, “Gloria”. (Although Morrison is credited for the song’s lyrics, Harrison and Henderson have contributed significantly on the musical side.) (24) Them returns for a show at the Maritime Hotel in Belfast. May The band attracts the attention of manager Phil Solomon (currently working with Irish pop trio The Bachelors), who is greatly impressed by the band’s live performances (and Morrison in particular). Solomon encourages Decca’s Dick Rowe to see the band perform at the Maritime, and Rowe in turn arranges a session in London. (The group have already recorded a four-track demo for local producer Peter Lloyd.) (1) Them plays at the Martime Hotel, Belfast. (8) The group appears at the Maritime Hotel, Belfast. (15) Another show takes place at the Maritime Hotel, Belfast. (22) The group returns for a show at the Maritime Hotel, Belfast. (29) Them appear at the Martime Hotel, Belfast. June Them relocate to London and a hotel in Portobello Road, where they hang out with their label mates The Poets. July (5) The group enters Decca’s West Hampstead, London studios to begin recording, but the three-hour session is ridden with internal angst and Rowe decides to employ session musicians Arthur Greenslade (organ) and Bobby Graham (drums) to “fill out” the sound. Them records Slim Harpo’s “Don’t Come Crying Now” and Van Morrison’s “Gloria”, “One Two Brown Eyes” and “Philosophy”, which are all released over the next year. The band also records covers of “Groovin’”, “Turn On your Love Light” and “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover” which are shelved. After the recordings, Wrixon is forced to leave (in part because his father objects to a disproportionate royalty split between the management and the group and in part because he is still at school and has ‘A’ levels to complete). Pat McAuley (b. 17 March 1944, Coleraine, N.Ireland) takes over the keyboard position. September(4) The group’s debut single, “Don’t Start Crying Now” backed by “One Two Brown Eyes” is released but fails to chart. October The group returns to the studio to record an electrifying version of Big Joe Williams’s blues classic “Baby Please Don’t Go”. Session guitarist Jimmy Page adds rhythm guitar to the recording (and does not play lead as some sources suggest). (15) Them perform at the Zeeta House, Putney, London. November (6) “Baby Please Don’t Go” backed by Morrison’s “Gloria” is released. Millings leaves and Pat McAuley moves onto drums. December The short-lived (yet well photographed) new line-up appears on the popular TV show Ready Steady Go!
January Pat’s brother Jackie (aka John) (b. 14 December 1946, Coleraine, N. Ireland) is added on keyboards as the group begins work on its next single, a recording of their new producer, Bert Berns’s “Here Comes The Night”. Some sources maintain that organ player Phil Coulter and drummer Alan White are brought in to play the McAuley brothers’ parts, but this is disputed by the band members. (Berns, an American producer working in the UK is impressed with Morrison as a vocalist and will continue to work with the group over the next few months.) February Aided by TV appearances, “Baby Please Don’t Go” hits UK #10, while “Gloria” quickly becomes an anthem for the emerging US garage band generation. Decca releases an EP featuring both sides of Them’s debut single, the recent hit and Morrison’s “Philosophy” recorded during the July sessions. (20) Them appear at the Club Noreik, Tottenham, north London. (25) Them appear at Swindon’s Locarno Ballroom with The Knives and Forks. March “Here Comes The Night” hits UK #2 and is the group’s most successful release. The band begins work on its debut album, but sessions are once again plagued with problems. Some sources suggest that the group’s three producers Bert Berns, Dick Rowe and Tommy Scott supplement the band with session players, although this is disputed by band members. April(11) Them perform at the New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London. (17) Unhappy with the band’s direction and his personal treatment, Jackie McAuley leaves after a show at St Columbana’s Parish Church in Ballyhome, Northern Ireland and is replaced by ex-Cheynes member Peter Bardens (b. 19 June 1944, Westminster, London, England; d. 22 January 2002). Jackie McAuley moves to Dublin and learns to play guitar. He will rejoin his brother in a rival Them in December 1965. May “Gloria” charts for a week at US #93, selling mostly in California where it hits Top 10 in some major cities. At this point Pat McAuley is briefly replaced by former drummer Ronnie Millings before he rejoins the group. June(1) Them begin a UK tour at Tunbridge Wells Public Hall. (The tour will end on 21 June at the Beachcombers, Leigh and Bolton). Harrison has been replaced by Scottish guitarist Joe Baldi (b. Joseph Baldi, 16 March 1943, La Spezia Italy), who has played with Bardens in Hamilton King’s Blues Messengers. Pat McAuley is also replaced by Englishman Terry Noon, who has previously worked with Gene Vincent. (11) The Morrison-penned “One More Time” fails to chart. Them’s debut album (The Angry Young) Them is released in the UK to coincide with the single but is another chart failure. (26) “Here Comes The Night” hits US #24. July Original Them member, Eric Wrixon completes his studies and joins The Kings Showband. (15) Them perform at Salisbury City Hall, Salisbury, Wiltshire. (26) Them appear at the Savoy in Southsea, Hants August A second Berns song, “(It Won’t Hurt) Half As Much” is released but doesn’t chart. In the US the single’s b-side “I’m Gonna Dress In Black”, written by producer Tommy Scott under the pseudonym ‘Gillon’, is released instead but is not a success. (4) The new line-up supports The Byrds on their debut UK tour starting at the Imperial Ballroom, Nelson, Lancashire. (23) The tour ends despite many of shows being cancelled due to illness in The Byrds’ camp. Shortly afterwards, Baldi returns to Scotland and is replaced by Jim Armstrong (b. 24 July 1944, Belfast, N. Ireland) from The Melotones. Bardens also departs and forms The Shotgun Express. Bardens later moves into session work, records two solo albums for Transatlantic Records and then forms 1970s progressive/rock outfit, Camel. Original member Eric Wrixon fills in briefly but soon leaves to join Portadown band, The People. Former The Broadways keyboard/sax, flute player and vibes player Ray Elliott (b. 23 January 1944, Belfast, N. Ireland; d. June 1993, Toronto) takes over on a permanent basis. Terry Noon also leaves but will return briefly in November. September Back in Belfast, Morrison and Henderson form a new version of Them with Armstrong, Elliott and new drummer John Wilson (b. 6 November 1947, Belfast, N. Ireland) from The Misfits. The band rehearses at the Martime for two weeks before making its live debut. (1) While Morrison and Henderson have been reshuffling Them’s line up, former members Billy Harrison and Pat McAuley (now on keyboards) announce their own version of Them in London, which contains singer Nick Wymer (ex-Pink Faires), drummer Skip Alan (ex-Donovan) and bass player Mark Scott (ex-Adam Faith) in Belfast newspaper UlsterWeek. (24) Morrison’s Them makes its debut at the Top Hat club, Lisburn, Northern Ireland where it does a 40-minute set. Shortly after a show at the Flamingo in Ballymena, the band returns to London and resumes work on its second album. The group’s debut album is released in the US as Them and hits #54. October Skip Alan leaves the Harrison/McAuley Them to replace Viv Prince in The Pretty Things, who soon takes up Alan’s place in the rival Them for a few weeks. (11) Them play at the Thorngate, Gosport, Hants (15) Van Morrison’s Them plays at Zeeta House, Putney, London. (19) Them appears at the Olympia in Paris, France. The group uses a stand-in drummer for John Wilson who is considered to be too young to travel. November Morrison’s “Mystic Eyes” is belatedly released as a UK single but fails to chart. Billy Harrison leaves the rival Them to briefly replace Jim Armstrong in Van Morrison’s Them when the guitarist’s appendix burst. Terry Noon also returns briefly to sub for John Wilson before leaving again to join The Yum Yum Band and then moving into rock management, working initially with Honeybus. After French and Scandinavian dates, Harrison departs when Armstrong resumes his position. During the first few months of 1966, Harrison does session work for producer Joe Meek and then substitutes for Dick Taylor during The Pretty Things’ Norwegian tour. Harrison quits the music business in mid-1966 after playing with The Pretty Things in the Isle of Wight and joins the GPO. (4) Pat McAuley’s rival Them registers the Them name. By now the group contains a new guitarist, known as Don. December(2) When Prince leaves Pat McAuley’s rival Them, his place is taken by Ken McLeod. (4) “Mystic Eyes” fares better in the States where it reaches #33. (19) Wymer leaves the rival Them after a gig in Stoke-on-Trent. Soon afterwards, he is replaced by Pat’s brother Jackie McAuley on keyboards/vocals, who has been living in Dublin. Pat moves on to drums and Ken McLeod takes over guitar from Don who leaves in mid-January. On the same day, Van Morrison’s Them play at nearby Majestic Ballroom in Shropshire.
French EP showing original drummer Ronnie Millings (with shades)
Gloria reaches #1 on KRLA, April 14, 1965
early mention for band in KRLA’s Beat, May 19, 1965
Rare French EP showing short-lived line up from November 1965, from left: Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Ray Elliott and Terry Noon
Them’s first UK LP, The Angry Young Them, Peter Bardens in pink shirt next to Van
First U.S. issue, featuring “Here Comes the Night”
Second U.S. cover to capitalize on “Gloria”
From KRLA’s Beat, April 30, 1966 (click for larger image) from left to right: Ray Elliott, John Wilson, Jim Armstrong, Van Morrison and Alan Henderson
January Them’s second album Them Again fails to chart in the UK. It contains two of Morrison’s best songs: “Hey Girl” and “My Lonely Sad Eyes”, as well as an edited version of Bobby Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light”. Original Them member Eric Wrixon leaves The People, who have relocated to Blackpool, and joins another expatriate Belfast band, The Wheels, who record two singles for Columbia. In 1967, he moves to Germany with The Never Never Band and plays regularly at Hamburg’s Star club, supporting soul acts like Sam & Dave. (1) Jackie McAuley makes his debut with the rival Them in Peckham, southeast London. (3) Van Morrison’s group appear at the Shoreline club in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. (4) Morrison’s Them play at the Assembly Hall, Aylesbury, Bucks. (10) Them appear at the Labour Hall, Bletchley, Bucks. (11) Morrison’s latest line up play at the Hut, Westcott, Surrey. (27) Them appear at Whitehallcott, East Grinstead, Sussex. February (4) The McAuley brothers’ Them record three tracks at a demo session: a cover of Graham Bond’s “I Want You”, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and Jackie McAuley’s “Movin’ Free”. (18) The rival Them perform at the KB Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark with The Pretty Things. March Morrison’s version of Them’s cover of producer Tommy Scott’s “Call My Name” fails to chart. Wilson leaves and is replaced by David Harvey (b. David Tufrey 29 July 1943, Bude, Cornwall, England). Wilson works with Belfast groups, Derek & The Sounds and then Cheese. In the late 1960s, he joins guitarist Rory Gallagher in Taste before forming Stud in the early 1970s. (7) The McAuley brothers’ Them appear at the Club Continental, Eastbourne. (9) The rival Them lose their court case and change name to “Some of Them”. April Morrison’s Them’s final session produces a cover of Paul Simon’s “Richard Cory” and Morrison’s “Mighty Like A Rose”. “Gloria” is re-issued and climbs to US #71. (16) The Shadows Of Knight’s version of “Gloria” hits US #10. May Paul Simon’s “Richard Cory” is the group’s last official single but is not a success. Morrison is particularly annoyed by its release, preferring his own song “Mighty Like A Rose” as a prospective single. In the US, Tommy Scott’s “I Can Only Give You Everything” is released as a final single and is quickly adopted by US garage bands like The MC5 as a punk anthem. Them Again reaches US #138. (14) Dave Harvey joins Them for a show at Decca Entertainment Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne, England. Soon afterwards, the band flies out to New York to begin its debut US tour, with the first show in Arizona. (27) Some of Them record two tracks with Kim Fowley – “Gloria’s Dream” and “Secret Police”. On the same day, Van Morrison’s Them appear at the Rollarena, San Leandro, California. (30) Some of Them perform in Blackpool. On the same day, Van Morrison’s Them begins a residency at the Whisky-A-Go Go, West Hollywood, California. May(31) – June (17) Morrison’s Them performs at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, West Hollywood, California, where they are sometimes supported by The Doors. (13/15) Some of Them record further tracks in London. (18) On the last night at the Whisky, The Doors’ vocalist Jim Morrison joins Van Morrison’s group on stage for a 20-minute improvisation of “Gloria”. (19) The band discovers that the club has been willing to pay the group $10,000 per week. However, due to their management deal with Phil Solomon (whereby they have agreed to play for $2,000 a week minus a 35% management fee and a guarantee), Them have received considerably less than they think they should. This causes a lot of bitterness between the group and Solomon, and as a result Them inform promoter Bill Graham that they will only play at their forthcoming Fillmore concert if they are paid in advance. (21) Some of Them appear at Balliol College, Oxford. (23) Morrison’s Them appear at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium with The New Tweedy Brothers. After their performance, Morrison meets his future wife Janet Planet who accompanies the band on the rest of the tour. (She will be the inspiration for Morrison’s Astral Weeks.) (26) Morrison’s group is supported by The Association at the Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, California. (27-29) Some of Them move to Denmark where they perform as Them. The group performs three shows in Copenhagen and finish their final recordings. Over the next five months, the band gigs in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. In the last week of July, the band is briefly joined by former Them member Peter Bardens on keyboards, allowing Jackie McAuley to come up front as lead singer. July (1-2) Morrison’s Them perform at the “Beat On The Beach”, Santa Monica, California with The New Generation. (8-9) Them appear at the Waikiki Shell, Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Hawaii. (23) The band performs at the Strand Theater, Modesto, California. (28) Morrison’s group is supported by The Doors and The Count Five at the Starlight Ballroom, Oxnard and (in the evening) the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara, California. (29-30) Morrison’s Them is supported by The Sons Of Champlin at the Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco. August (9) The McAuley brothers’ Them play at the Complain-LA-Tour jazz festival in Belgium. (19-21) Morrison’s group performs at the Losers North, San Jose, California. (23-28) A further set of dates take place at the Losers North.
KRLA’s Beat, April 23, 1966 Click above for larger image and
here for jump
KRLA’s Beat, June 25, 1966 Click for larger image
KRLA’s Beat, September 24, 1966
September (2-3) Them performs at the Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco. (9) They appear in Fresno, California. Shortly afterwards, Morrison and Henderson return to London to sort out business matters with Solomon while the others return to Los Angeles. However, when their visas expire a few weeks later, Armstrong, Elliott and Harvey also return to Belfast. A new Them line up featuring Morrison, Henderson and Armstrong plays Derry Embassy Ballroom with Morrison’s cousin Sammy Stitt on drums but the show is so bad that Morrison leaves. He continues to work some new songs that will later comprise his masterpiece Astral Weeks. Morrison also returns to occasional live work in a new outfit dubbed, Van Morrison and “Them Again”, which features former Atlantics and Delltones’ guitarist Eric Bell alongside Joe Hanratty (drums) and Mike Brown (bass) from local group The Alleykatzs. “Them Again” debut at the Square One in Belfast and also play at Queens’ University’s rag ball before playing further gigs throughout Ireland. The band soon implodes and Morrison concentrates on a solo career. Eric Bell meanwhile moves to Glasgow and plays with The Bluebeats for two years. (17) The McAuley brothers’ group, now dubbed The Belfast Gypsies score a minor US hit when “Gloria’s Dream” hits #124. November (5) The McAuley brothers’ Them play their final date in Stockholm. December Armstrong, Elliott, Harvey and Henderson decide to carry on with Them’s name, now that Morrison has abandoned the name and is pursuing a solo career. The group recruits a new vocalist Ken McDowell (b. 21 December 1944, Belfast, N. Ireland), previously a member of Belfast group The Mad Lads, who have recorded a number of singles for Decca Records, as well as a lone release “I Went Out With My Baby” as Moses K. & The Prophets. The new version of Them writes to Carol Deck, Californian editor of Flipmagazine (who had given the band some encouraging reviews during its US tour) asking for help, and she in turn introduces them to Texan producer Ray Ruff, who has his own indie label, Ruff Records.
January Major Minor Records releases “Gloria”, backed by another Morrison song, the acoustic “Friday’s Child” as a UK single. The McAuley brothers’ Them implodes and Jackie McAuley returns to Dublin and forms Cult with singer/songwriter and guitarist Paul Brady. March A second Major Minor single “The Story Of Them” is released. Morrison signs a solo contract with Bert Berns and travels to New York to record for his Bang label. This will result in an immediate US hit “Brown Eyed Girl”, which makes #10. After Berns’ death in December 1967, Morrison will sign with Warner Brothers and record the classic Astral Weeks, which proves to be the beginning of an illustrious career.
The Belfast Gypsies, released as Them
Rare French EP with Belfast Gypsies listed
Them in Checkmate Studios, Amarillo, 1967, from left: Ray Elliott, Alan Henderson, Dave Harvey, Ken McDowell and Jim Armstrong Photo from the collection of Tom McCarty
August Nearly year after the band’s final performance, the McAuley brothers’ group The Belfast Gypsies have a belated album release on the Swedish label Sonet as Them Belfast Gypsies. Relocating to Amarillo, Texas, Henderson’s Them release their debut single without Morrison, a cover of Tom Lane’s “Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen)” / “Square Room” on Sully Records before a nation-wide distribution deal is struck with Tower Records.
Above and below, first record by the Amarillo, Texas based Them
September Starting off in Amarillo, Henderson’s group kicks off a tour and gigs for 65 days straight. The gruelling tour, which sees the band take a day off before working another 38 days straight, takes the musicians up to Canada across to the west coast and then down to Los Angeles, where Them begin work on its first album without Morrison. November Henderson’s Them release a second 45, the band composition “Walking In The Queens Garden” b/w “I Happen to Love You” on Ruff Records. December Tower issues two singles, one includes newly recorded versions of “Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen)” and “Square Room” and the second reissues the Ruff 45. (8-10) The band appears at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, West Hollywood, California with Love and Blue Cheer.
KRLA’s Beat, May 6, 1967
The McAuley brother’s group
Poster from Amarillo, 1967, from left: Jim Armstrong, Dave Harvey, Ken McDowell, Ray Elliott and Alan Henderson. Poster from the collection of Tom McCarty
January A new album, Now And Them is released featuring Them’s reply to the Doors’ “The End”, the extended raga piece “Square Room”. February Tower reissues the Ruff 45 of “Walking In The Queens Gardens” but its success is limited to the West Coast. April “But It’s Alright”, an out-take from the album is released as a single but doesn’t sell. The group’s incessant touring prompts Elliott to quit the band while Them are in New York. He returns to Belfast briefly before working with an Irish showband in Leeds alongside guitarist Eric Bell from “Them Again”. Bell soon returns to Belfast to replace guitarist Gary Moore in The Shades of Blue before working with the Dublin-based The Dream showband. May (24-25) Henderson’s Them appear alongside The Incredible String Band at the Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, California. July The title track from their forthcoming album Time Out For Time In is released but is not a success. August (14-15) The band plays with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention at the Electric Theatre, Chicago. Them also performs at the Baton Rouge Festival on a bill that features Freddie King. November Them’s second album Time Out Time In For Them is released. It has been recorded at Los Angeles’ Gold Star studios in the wake of Elliott’s departure and features session drummer John Guerin on a number of tracks. A single “Waltz Of The Flies” is extracted but fails to chart.
March Them’s final single, a cover of the traditional Corinna is released but fails to chart. Unhappy with Ruff’s management and production, Armstrong and McDowell leave and return to Belfast where they put together Sk’Boo with Ricky McCutcheon and Colm Connolly. Henderson, meanwhile, remains with Ruff in L.A. and continues with the Them name; using guitarist Jim Parker and drummer John Stark from Amarillo band, The Kitchen Cinq, he produces two further albums: Them (1969) and In Reality (1970) for the Chicago label Happy Tiger. David Harvey also stays behind in California but will leave the music business. June After working briskly throughout Ireland and the British mainland, Armstrong and McDowell shelve Sk’Boo (after a farewell gig in Wolverhampton) and return to the US. Based in Chicago, the duo recruit an American rhythm section comprising bassist Curt Bachman (ex-The Buckinghams) and drummer Reno Smith formerly of Baby Huey and The Babysitters in a new group called Truth, which becomes house band at Beavers. The band tours extensively around the Chicago area for the next 18 months, and also contributes several songs to the soundtrack for Pat Mulcahy’s film Cum Laude Fraud (later released as College For Fun And Profit), before being offered a recording deal with Epic Records. Ex-Them member Ray Elliott rejoins the band during its lifespan but subsequently leaves after contributing to some recordings and returns to England. July (26) Them and Truth* both appear at the Eugene Pop Festival, Hayward Field, University of Oregon, Eugene alongside Alice Cooper, The Doors and others.
* Neal Skok and I have been trying to find out for some time now what “Them” this was — there is a slim chance it was the Tower Records ensemble. But the “Truth” that is listed for this gig is most definately not the Chicago-based Truth comprised of the ex-Them gents (whose CD Neal and I put out on his “Epilogue” label in ’94). This “Truth” was a NW teen rock band – and of course there were several Christian bands that used that name in the ’60s and later. – John Berg
October Having returned from Germany and joined The Trixons showband, original Them member Eric Wrixon joins guitarist Eric Bell from the short-lived “Them Again” in the original Thin Lizzy. He leaves in early 1970 and returns to Germany to play with Junior Walker, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy among others.
January (21) Truth play at the New Cellar, Chicago alongside The Mauds. March Having moved to Beirut in Lebanon with The League of Gentlemen the previous year, former Them member Jackie McAuley returns to England and forms Trader Horne with Judy Dyble, who has previously worked with the original Fairport Convention. The duo release the album, Morning Way, which features contributions from former Them member Ray Elliott. When Trader Horne split later in the year, McAuley forms the short-lived One with Rosko Gee and Adam Marsh before starting on a solo album..
Japanese sleeve with Alan Henderson’s Them
February Truth return to Belfast for a working holiday before sessions in London begin later that month. Unfortunately, Epic Records undergoes a change in management and following a communication problem, Truth’s band members fall apart before they have a chance to enter the studio. Elliott subsequently moves to Canada (where he dies in June 1993 in Toronto), while Bachman and Smith return to the US. Armstrong and McDowell move back to Belfast where Armstrong joins the Civil Service and McDowell becomes a member of The College Boys. (Truth’s private recordings and studio sessions from Chicago are later released by Epilogue Records as The Truth Of Them And Other Tales in 1995.) March Jackie McAuley releases his eponymous debut solo album on the small Dawn label, before later working with bands Wand and Mackeral Sky. He also spends four years working with Lonnie Donegan. Jackie’s brother Pat (who turns down an offer to play with Marc Bolan), sadly dies in a drowning accident in Donegal on 11 August 1984.
August Compilation album Them Featuring Van Morrison hits US #154.
After working with cabaret singer Roly Stewart, Jim Armstrong has rejoined Ken McDowell in The College Boys in the early 1970s. The pair then join Reunion before working with another former Them member John Wilson in Bronco. The pair also form the band Spike, which works at the Pound club in Belfast. Wilson subsequently becomes Northern Ireland’s top session drummer.
Repackages their first two U.S. LPs minus two tracks each.
1974Backtrackin’ released only in the U.S., featured obscure b-sides and songs not previously available in the U.S.: “Richard Cory”, “I Put a Spell on You”, “Just a Little Bit”, “I Gave My Love a Diamond”, “Half as Much”, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Hey Girl”, “Don’t Start Crying Now”, “All for Myself” and “Mighty Like a Rose”. All the tracks except the last, however, were in simulated stereo.
Armstrong leaves Spike and forms his own band Light, who record an eponymous album on the small Mint label in Ireland only.
Billy Harrison reforms Them with original keyboard player Eric Wrixon. Initially, Harrison intended to complete the group with John Wilson, who’d played drums on Them Again album, together with bass player Jackie Flavelle and singer Mel Austin but Wilson and Flavelle drop out prompting him to bring in drummer Billy Bell. He also brings back Henderson, who has spent several years working on his Connecticut farm. Them move to Germany where they hold down a residency in Hamburg. While there the group records the album Shut Your Mouth for Teldec/Decca before Jim Armstrong and Brian Scott from Light replace Harrison and Wrixon. However, after a brief tour of Germany the group splinters. Armstrong reunites with Ken McDowell in a new version of Sk’Boo, who release one single “It’s A Hard Road” for the small Cuecomber label.
From left: Joe Baldi, Terry Noon, Peter Bardens, Van Morrison and Alan Henderson from summer of 1965
1980Harrison emerges with the solo album Billy Who? on the German Vagabond label. He then abandons a music career and become a marine electrician. Jackie McAuley spends most of the 1980s and 1990s working with Poor Mouth, who release a number of albums, including Gael Force. In 1982, he co-writes “Dear John”, which is a hit for Status Quo.
Original member Eric Wrixon forms The Belfast Blues Band with another former Them member, John Wilson.
Jackie McAuley emerges with a new solo album, Headspin. Guitarist Jim Armstrong meanwhile has formed The Belfast Blues Band with original Them member Eric Wrixon. His former band mate, Ken McDowell has continued to work with Sk’Boo and then plays with Hens Teeth before forming The Kenny McDowell/Ronnie Greer Band in the early 2000s.
Jackie McAuley releases another solo release, Shadowboxing.
Jackie McAuley puts out another solo release, Bad Day At Black Rock. McAuley subsequently joins The Harbour Band, who release the album Live In The Spirit Tour in 2003.
The Ken McDowell/Ronnie Greer Band release the album, Live At The Island. Jim Armstrong leaves The Belfast Blues Band and reforms The Jim Armstrong Band.
Clayson, Alan. Call Up The Groups – The Golden Age Of British Beat, Blandford Press, 1985, pages 168-170. Doggett, Peter. “Them”, Record Collector # 149, January 1992, pages 112-116 Du Noyer, Paul. “Heart & Soul Of Van Morrison”, Mojo Magazine, November 1993, page 84. Gray, Michael. Mother – The Frank Zappa Story, Plexus, 1993. Grushkin, Paul D. Art Of Rock – Posters From Presley To Punk, Artabras, Cross River Press Ltd, 1987. Harper, Colin. Sleeve notes to CD Belfast Beat, 1998. Harper, Colin and Hodgett, Trevor. Irish Folk, Trad & Blues – A Secret History, Cherry Red Books, 2004. Hodgett, Trevor. “Them After Van Morrison”, Record Collector #89, pages 52-57. Hogg, Brian. “Van Morrison & Them”, Strange Things Are Happening, Vol 1, #4, Sep/Oct 1988, Bam-Caruso Books, pages 6-14 and 20. Housden, David Peter. The Castle, Love #9, December 1995, page 28 and 57. Housden, David Peter. The Castle, Love #10, 1996, pages 6-7. Rees, Dafydd and Crampton, Luke. Guinness Book Of Rock Stars, 2nd Edition, Guinness Publishing, 1991, page 528. Rogan, Johnny. CSN&Y – The Visual Documentary, Omnibus Press, 1996, page 10. Shaw, Greg. The Doors On The Road, Omnibus Press, 1997, pages 14 and 172. Turner, Steve. Van Morrison – Too Late To Stop Now, Bloomsbury, 1993, pages 49 and 60. Unterberger, Richie. “Belfast Gypsies” article in Ugly Things issue 23. Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Hot 100 1959-1985, Billboard Researchers Inc, 1985. Sleeve notes to the Deram Anthology The Story Of Them – Featuring Van Morrison, 1997. Sleeve notes to Epilogue CD, The Truth Of Them And Other Tales, 1995. Melody Maker, March 5, 1966, page 13. News clippings from KRLA Beat.
Thank you to John Warburg, Nigel Norman. Tom McCarty and Mike Markesich.
The Group – l-r: Noel Odom, Sonny Williams, Bob Fell and Fred Engelke “circa 1965 – rear of Walker & Rodie Music in downtown Shreveport”
I don’t own any of Noel Odom and the Group’s three 45s – not for lack of trying, but they’re in high demand since “Come on Down to Earth” became a staple of 60’s music nights around the world.
You might assume an artist on Tower and its subsidiary Uptown would be based in California, but the Group was actually from Louisiana. Their songs were licensed by Tower, but without any push from the label or band presence on the L.A. scene, the 45s undeservedly dropped out of sight. Noel recently took the time to answer some of my questions of his time in music:
I played in “The Group” 1964-1969 – later “Noel Odom and the Group.” Bob Fell and I started the band, and as a unit also Fred Engelke- drums and Sonny Williams- bass. Later added Ron DiIulio on keys- great player – still is!!
We played live in Shreveport and Bossier at high school dances at Airline High and Bossier High. Several teen clubs like Southland Park and the Teenclub at Barksdale AFB. Also at that time “the Strip” in Bossier city was famous with numerous clubs along Highway 80 East. The most famous being “Saks Whisky-a-Go-Go” with the “Boom Boom Room.” Also “The Shindig” where we played all through a full quarter of college. All four of us went to Louisiana Tech together. We usually played somewhere every weekend.
We backed Dickie Lee at a show in Shreveport and he took us to Memphis to record in 1968. We recorded five songs in Memphis at Sam Phillips Recording studio with Stan Kessler as engineer: 1: “Pardon My Complete Objection,” 2: “I Can’t See Nobody,” 3: “Midnight Hour,” 4: instrumental that Ron DiIulio wrote, “Love Too” I think, and finally as an afterthought “Come on Down to Earth.” Picked up and signed by Tower Records, division of Capitol. Naturally the company came back and liked Come on Down, so horns were added and it was released – never went anywhere.
The record was on American Bandstand’s “Rate a Record” and we beat the other song “Leavin on a Jet Plane” and I believe it was John Denver’s version before Peter, Paul & Mary recorded it and made #1. Dickie Lee was our producer and Allen Reynolds was our A&R man.
Our other sessions were done in Sun Recording studios, which was just redone. The J. Reid was John Reid and he wrote a concept album about “Flower Children” and it included a lot of narrative. “Hey Yesterday Where’s My Mind” and “Come on Rain” came from that work. It was a cool idea and we had some forward thinking effects like feedback guitar on one track. It was never released in full, but there was some good work on that album.
Thanks for asking the questions- it really taxes my memory, but those were good days in my memory.
I am still playing in the Shreveport area in “The Convertibles” together for 21 years, playing old r&r.
Drummer Fred Engelke filled in some details on the band:
During high school Ron DiIulio and I formed a band called “The Class Cutters” and we competed with Noel and Bob’s group “The Group”. Ron went to college at North Texas State University and I went a year at Texas A & M. After my freshman year, I came back to Louisiana to go to school and joined up with Noel and Bob. We then recruited Sonny Williams for bass and formed the new version of “The Group”. Later, after Ron came back from NTSU, we got him in the band and created the final version of “The Group”.
The producers said there was already a band called “The Group” so we renamed ourselves “Noel Odom and the Group” because of Noel’s unusual first name. When we released the last record they decided that the name “Noel” would distinctive and we used it.
As Noel said, “Come on Down to Earth” was really a throwaway song to be used as a “B” side to one for the other recordings. It turned out well and we recorded “Love Too” as sort of a “C” side. It was made up on the spot by Ron DiIulio. Ron (not pictured in the photo you have) was a member if the group during all sessions.
By the way, when you hear Noel say ‘Come in Ron!’ he was referring to the solo that Ron did on organ. However, they decided later to use a guitar solo by Bob instead. Also, there were no drumsticks in the studio and I forgot to bring any and there were no music stores nearby that were open, so I played the entire session using the stick part of timpani mallets.
The last record, “Hey Yesterday Where’s My Mind,” under the group name “Noel” was released shortly before Noel enlisted in the Navy. He did this because he didn’t want to stay in college and, because it was during the height of the Vietnam War, he knew he would get drafted. He figured if he enlisted he could choose what he would do and he figured the Navy would be less likely to send him to Nam.
Was Ron the same person who played with the Chessmen in Dallas?
Yep, that’s the same person. He was not originally from Dallas but he formed the Chessmen while attending North Texas State University. We stole him from the Chessmen to be in the group. He’s back in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, playing with his current group “Crawfish”. He would love to bring Noel with his voice into the group he now has. Noel’s voice has matured and Ron has assembled a super group of musicians. The last time I saw Noel sing with Ron’s band, I was totally blown away! I haven’t seen either for two or three years now.
On a side note, Susan Christie recorded a nine-minute version titled “Yesterday, Where’s My Mind” after meeting Blackwood Music songwriter John Reid in Memphis. Hear it on B-Music’s CD – Susan Christie – Paint a Lady.
The Group continued after Noel’s departure, eventually becoming the second of two versions of the Bad Habits who recorded for the Paula label.
Thank you to Noel Odom for his comments and the photo of the Group, and to Fred Engelke for his comments and 45 scans.
Noel Odom & the Group 45 releases:
Noel Odom & the Group – Come on Down to Earth / Love Too (Tower 441, 1968) The Noel Odom Group – I Can’t See Nobody / Pardon My Complete Objection (Uptown 763, 1969) Noel – Hey Yesterday Where’s My Mind / Come on Rain (Tower 505, 1969)