The Outcasts (Greenville, Texas)

The Outcasts, 1966, from left: Mike Shelton, John Harvey, Jerry Shurtleff, Kenny Sargent, Gerry Morris (on drums) and Ted Swindell

These Outcasts came from Greenville, Texas, northeast of Dallas, and shouldn’t be confused with the San Antonio group of the same name that cut “I’m in Pittsburgh (and It’s Raining)” and “1523 Blair”. These Outcasts never recorded and did live shows only in their local area. Guitarist Jerry Shurtleff gives their story:

The Outcasts had their beginnings in the summer of 1965 rehearsing at the Greenville, Texas YMCA. The original members were John Harvey and Kenny Sargent – vocals, Ted Swindell and Mike Shelton – guitars and Trey Warren on drums. Mike Shelton broke both wrists in a weight lifting accident and I saw my chance. All I had was a Kay acoustic – with an eighth note painted on like a pick guard. Mike had a brand new Music Master and Deluxe amp, which I permanently borrowed when I joined the group.

Jerry Shurtleff
When Mike’s casts came off his parents went out of town and he charged a Danelectro bass and Fender Bassman on his parents account at Bob Hames music store on Washington street. Maybe the Music Mart, but they were probably the first Fender dealers in town. (Mike’s parents also had an account at Queen Ann’s Drive Inn. There were legendary parties at his house when his parents were out of town catered by Queen Ann’s!) I got a Vox Clubman guitar from The Melody Shop in North Park and an Alamo amp from David Heath.

Mike, Ted and I took group guitar lessons from Mr. Hames and he taught us the difference in bass, rhythm and lead guitar. I think ‘Walk Don’t Run’ was the song he used. His son played with Trini Lopez’ brother, Jesse.

The main gig in Greenville, TX in 1965-66 was the Saturday night YMCA dances and they were hopping! (Remember the red couch?)

Some of the local bands were:

The Exceptions – Matt Tapp, Charleton Ellis, Randy McNatt and Hal Holley.

The Tyme (or Shades Of Tyme) – Tommy Tolleson, Rush Horton, Gary Shannon, Joe Weiss, Mike Skeen and Mark Phillips.

The Other Half – Phil Sudderth, Alex Bouknight, T.A. Tredway, Carroll Grant and David Heath.

Lots of Stones, Beatles, Animals, James Brown, etc… The boys would form a long line on the dance floor with girls in line in front of them and everyone would jump around and change partners, We played a lot of Y parties. They were a huge party every Saturday night. We made about $12 each from the door. One night my parents were chaperoning a high school Y party and called me at home and said they were coming to get me. They wanted me to hear a legendary band from Dallas, The Mystics. All of our parents were always very supportive (they probably thought I would get a job when I grew up.)

We practiced at Swindell’s house and then moved over to our main headquarters, the garage/playroom at the Morris’ house. It was a hangout for a lot of the bands. We got better equipment around then, again thanks to our parents. Ted’s father, buck Swindell, went to Arnold & Morgan and bought two Mosrite Ventures models, a sunburst doubleneck and a single neck in Pacific blue. He also bought us a Bogen PA system with an orange head and two columns. Mike’s dad bought him a new Gibson 335, which again we switched Mike back to bass and again, I permanetly borrowed the 335, Mr. Shelton wasn’t thrilled. Jerry had his Ludwig drums. I got a Standel Artist amp and eventually an old Telecaster. We all bought everything from Mike Delk at Arnold & Morgan Music in Garland, TX. Mike was now playing bass on a Gibson EBO, then a Gibson hollow body sunburst bass. By then we were taking lessons from Trig Ward.

The Kari and Jerry Duo
We played through the late 60’s, but decided the Outcasts name wasn’t edgy enough so we became The Misfits. We were also The Coachmen. We played a great Battle of the Bands at a short lived teen center on West Lee Street in downtown Greenville with The Exceptions, The Novas and The Redcoats. I think we came in third. It was the same night that the Apollo astronauts were killed. Our biggest gig was at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium for a politician with a patch on one eye. He was later indicted in the huge Texas savings and loan scandal of the late 60s.

After The Outcasts, Jerry Morris and I went on to playing for the rest of high school with Terry Dabbs, Art Grahl and Mark Feingold. We were hippies by then. Sadly Ted Swindell passed away in 1997.

I’m the only one who didn’t have enough sense to quit, so I still play for a living, currently in Black Hawk, Colorado. My wife and I have the Kari and Jerry duo for almost 30 years now. We have been all over the world thanks to music and still kickin’!

Jerry Shurtleff, May 2011

4 thoughts on “The Outcasts (Greenville, Texas)”

  1. What memories this brings back. I was good friends with John and Kenny and also classmates. Went to most of those Sat.nite “Y” dances. Remember the “red couch”? Any word on John Harvey now? Saw Kenny at last Greenville High School reunion.

  2. I remember a band from Greenville that played at a talent show in Wolfe City in 1965 or 1966. Have been trying to think of the name of the group and the names of people in the group. I do know there was a guitar player named Johnny Chambliss who had later been an Elvis impersonator (via Herald Banner article), and it seems to me there was another guy who actually lived in Fruitvale or Grand Saline. There were probably five guys in this group. Any thoughts?

  3. Did you know my father Steve Rodriguez Davis? He studied with Bob Hames and played with Trig Ward on many occasions.

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