Impression Records discography

The Sloths Impression PS Makin' Love / You Mean Everything

I planned an entry on the Dirty Shames for their great “It’s A Shame” 45, but when I discovered the flip side, “Makin’ Love”, was a cover of an earlier 45 on the same label by the Sloths, I thought I may as well feature whatever I can find out about Impression. It turns out there were a good number of fine 45s on this Hollywood, California label run by two brothers, Al and Sonny Jones.

There were two sets of Impression releases, a first on a blue label with plain logo, and the second on yellow labels with the new, somewhat psychedelic Impression logo.

The Sloths Impression 45 Makin' LoveOn the blue label is the Sloths’ song “Makin’ Love”, which was covered by the Dirty Shames a year later. The Sloth’s version is far cruder, but both are fine perfomances. The Dirty Shames label gives writing credit to Hank Daniels. I had heard a rumor that the two bands shared some members, but Marty Wons from the Dirty Shames says this isn’t true. The Sloths record happens to be by far the rarest garage 45 on this label.

Update June 2011: I’ve included more on the Sloths on a separate page.

Of the releases on the yellow Impression label, first was a release by the Dillons, produced by Dorsey Burnette. See the Dillons’ entry for more on this release.

Next up is one that I hadn’t heard until recently. The Mark Five of San Bernadino featured brothers Danny and Jimmie Faragher, who released “I’m Through With You” b/w “I’Il Keep On Trying” on Impression 102 in 1965 before they went on to form the Peppermint Trolley Co. The Mark Five also recorded as the Intercoms and the C-Minors for Impression, as well as helping back Jimmy Robins on his great soul song, “I Just Can’t Please You”. See their entry for the full story on all four of these Impression releases.

The Tangents have the distinction of releasing two 45s on Impression, “Good Times” / “Till I Came Along” (Impression 105) in 1965, and “Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?” / “Stand By Me” (Impression 111) a year later. “Good Times” starts off like Heat Wave then gets very pop sounding. Their version of “Hey Joe” is one of the best. Like many 45s on this label it was arranged and engineered by Al Jones. Members were: Jim Janesick (Jim Janesich?) lead guitar, Bob Shelton rhythm guitar & lead vocals, Terry Topolski bass guitar and Warren Brodie drums.

Lonnie & the Legends backing Doye O'Dell
Lonnie & the Legends backing Doye O’Dell

Lonnie & the Legends Impression 45 I CriedLonnie and The Legends recorded one of my very favorite songs on this label. “I Cried”/ “Baby Without You” (Impression 109) was released in Mar. 1966. Lonnie Grah’s niece Becky Lynn Ray sent me some photos of Lonnie and info about Lonnie & the Legends. The band was from Sylmar, California, near San Fernando. It may surprise the listener that they were actually more of a country & western band, performing on bills with many big names like Doye O’Dell, Joe and Rose Maphis and Lefty Frizzell, and were friends with early rock ‘n roll performers like Ritchie Valens and the Rivingtons of “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” fame.

Songwriting credits are George and Lonnie Grah, but Becky tells me “I Cried” was actually written by Lonnie and her mother, Nancy Grah, who was also in the group along with Donna Grah. Other musicians included Kenny Ray on bass and Gene Gunnels on drums, who was in Thee Sixpence just before they became Strawberry Alarm Clock, and then joined Hunger. (See SAC’s website.)

Lonnie & the Legends had other 45s:

Rev 1006: Lonnie & the Legends – “Penguin Walk” / “Crazy Penguin” (George Grah, Laucan Music BMI)
Danette Records: Lonnie & His Legends – “Cause I Love You” (Lonnie Grah, Nancy Grah, produced by George Grah) / ?

The Dirty Shames Impression 45 I Don't CareThe Dirty Shames have one great double-sided 45, the garage classic “I Don’t Care” with the flip “Makin’ Love” (Impression 112) released Sept. 1966. Band members include Marty Wons and Bob Larson. Marty wrote a little to me, but hasn’t answered my responding emails. He wrote:

We recorded until we lost two members to the Vietnam war draft. Al Jones did the majority of the engineering with Sonny occasionally sitting in. By the way, the Sloths and the Dirty Shames were two different groups. No crossover members. We were given a copy of their record to create our version of Makin’ Love.

A discussion of the Grodes would take up a whole entry in itself. From Tucson, Arizona, they tried to break out to national success with some 45s released on California labels. Their most famous is the original version of “Let’s Talk About Girls”, covered by the Chocolate Watchband. Over a year later, they released “What They Say About Love” on Impression 114, but it made no mark at all.

Impression discography (any help on finishing this would be appreciated)

Blue label series:

?? – (Impression 101)
Tommy Lee – If You See Me Cry / One of These Days (both written by Al Jones & Joe Osborn, produced by Al Born) (Impression 102)
Big Dave Washington & the Zensations with the Buddy Harper Orch. – You Stay On My Mind / Don’t Say We’re Through (Impression 103)
The Sloths – Makin’ Love / You Mean Everything (Impression 104)

Yellow label series with new Impression logo:

The Dillons – Simple Way of Living / Night Winds (Impression 101)
The Mark Five – I’m Through with You / I’ll Keep on Trying (Impression 102)
Teddy Durant – The Beast Of Sunset Strip / The Night Stalker (Impression 103)
Bob & Judy – We’ll Try It For Ourselves (Gregory Dempsey) / We’ve Got Something Going (Impression 104)
The Tangents – Good Times / Till I Came Along (Impression 105)
The C-Minors – Just a Little Feelin’ / Don’t Go (Impression 106)
The Intercoms – Unabridged, Unadulterated, Unextraordinary, Ordinary, Mediocre Unoriginality Blues / Please Try and Understand (Impression 107)
Jimmy Robins – I Just Can’t Please You / I Made It Over (Impression 108)
Lonnie & the Legends – I Cried / Baby, Without You (Impression 109)
?? – (Impression 110)
The Tangents – Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go? / Stand By Me (Impression 111)
The Dirty Shames – I Don’t Care / Makin’ Love (Impression 112)
Jan Crutchfield – Front Door, Back Door / It’s Now (Impression 113) (both by Crutchfield and Fred Burch)
The Grodes – What They Say About Love / Have Your Cake and Eat It Too (Impression 114)

Thanks to Rich Strauss, Jason and Max for help with the discography. According to Rich, the Teddy Durant 45 has a couple of good novelty monster songs, and #113 is mediocre country. The Tommy Lee, Big Dave Washington and Jimmy Robins are r&b/soul releases, everything else is rock.

The Outcasts

The Outcasts of Ashland, Kentucky

The Outcasts of Ashland, Kentucky, just over the West Virginia border turn in a fine mid-tempo ballad, “Loving You Somtimes”.

I recently heard from Al Collinsworth, vocalist and co-songwriter for the Outcasts. He filled me in on some questions I had about the band, including interesting background about the Plato label and about how “Loving You Sometimes” has become well known in funk and hip hop DJ circles.

I was in the Outcasts and remember the whole Plato experience. The Outcasts included Nick Wickware on drums (deceased); Dick Hall-Hawkins on bass (deceased); Ronnie Gibson on lead guitar; Ralph Morman and myself on vocals. I sang lead on “Lovin’ You”.

The Outcasts mostly played school parties, bars, the Hullabaloo Club in Huntington and we auditioned for Buddha Records in 1969. The group disbanded in 1969. We did manage to be an opening act for Neil Diamond one night.

Plato was originally intended to be an African-American music (Afrilachian) label. Dick Hall was the person who worked out the deal. Dick spent most of his life proving that Hawkshaw Hawkins was his father. Hawkshaw was a popular country star that died in a plane crash with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.

Plato wasn’t sure they wanted to sign us. We paid for the studio time and Plato pressed the records. We recorded the record in Cincinnati at Queen City Studios, the same day that the Mustangs recorded their song. We were all friends and it was a very good time for both bands.

The record received local airplay and got on the Billboard charts. The amazing thing is that Lovin You has been released 4 different times on 4 different labels. Plato was the original release.

A second release was with a compilation record along with ZZ Tops’ first release and The Allman Joys’ first release (Allman Bros). I don’t have a copy of this record. A third release was in 1984 with BFD records in Australia on a compilation called “Highs in the Mid Sixties Vol. 9 – Ohio”. The liner notes read, “A Zombies-influenced, moody punk sound from Cincinnati, not to be confused with 18 other groups called the Outcasts!”

A 4th release was done in 2002 by Arista Records Hip-Hop Artists, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist on the very popular “Product Placement” CD. Oddly, and I don’t know why, Loving You Sometimes is now a very popular hip-hop hit. Remixes have been done by DJ Shadow and DJ Ayres. LSD Phone Calls (a NYC hip-hop e-magazine wrote, “Maybe the perfect song. Garage psych dorks who hate this also hate the Zombies. Who hates the Zombies!?”

Ralph Morman later worked with the Joe Perry Project (Aerosmith) and Savoy Brown.

In 1972, I worked with Pre (ZNR Records) which was a Prog-Rock Band. I now have a self-titled release on CD Baby. I also play steel guitar and have a promo photo on the MSA steel guitar site in the SuperSlide section.

It seems that it took a long time for the song to become popular, but that’s always the opportunity for any recording. All I can say is why not?

Al Collinsworth

Thank you to Al Collinsworth for relating the history of the band, to Ronnie Gibson for the great photo at top and to jgtiger for the photo at bottom.

King James and the Royal Jesters


Bottom left to right: Art Thevenin and David Anthony.
Standing left to right: Eddie Swann, Dee Thevenin, Mike Carlisle and Jack Simpkins

The old US Route 60 runs through Milton, West Virginia, home of the Plato label, which released at least three garage discs and a great funk 45 from 1966-68. Anything else on the label is completely unknown as far as I can tell. All of these 45s were produced by Ullom-Wiseman.

Since hearing from a couple of the bands on the label, I’ve split the post into this one on King James and the Royal Jesters, and separate ones on the Outcasts, the Satisified Minds, and the Kickin Mustangs. Or check out the complete set of posts on the Plato label.

One of my favorite records on this label is King James and the Royal Jesters “I Get a Feeling”. The swirling organ and lethargic vocals give it a haunted sound unlike any other garage song I can think of. The band came from Point Pleasant, WV, at the junction of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.

Since my original posting, I’ve heard from the Dennis Thevenin, whose father Dee was lead singer of King James and the Royal Jesters. He told me that they recorded their 45 at King/Federal Studos in Cincinnati, Ohio, which thrilled them being the same studio James Brown used. They were only about 17 at the time, so they didn’t play many live shows.

Mike Carlisle, the keyboardist wrote “I Get a Feeling”. Mike Carlisle and D. Thevenin wrote the ballad on the flip, “Girl”, which became popular with homesick soldiers in Vietnam when a Point Pleasant recruit took the record overseas with him. Other members of the band were Willie Louis guitar, Butch Bright and David Anthony on bass, and Eddie Swan drums. Dee remembers a photo was taken of the band but he does not have it.

Thanks to Dale for the photo and caption!

The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason, United Artists promotional photo

The Age of Reason Ascot 45 (Your Love Is Like a) MagnetThe Age of Reason were five teenagers from the northern half of the Bronx: Kenny Dale on guitar, Sid Sheres lead guitar, Andy Adams bass, Alan Turner on vocals and Larry Russell, drums.

Larry Russell recalled:

Our original name was The Loose Ends but, when we recorded “Magnet” on 9/8/66, our manager decided to change our name (that night) because there had been another band with the same name that had a record deal before us. On that day we recorded four songs, the other two besides the single were “(It’s a) Dirty Shame”, which was going to be our follow-up single, and “Pride”, written by our producer and which, in our opinion, sucked.

TV host Clay Cole died on Dec. 18, 2010. He was a pal and great guy who presented my band in 1967.

United Artists released “(Your Love is Like a) Magnet” on its Ascot subsidiary in March of ’67. The song was written by the lead singer Alan Turner, who also penned a fine b-side, “I’m a Free Man” that surprisingly has never been comped or featured before. The 45 made local charts and gave the band the opportunity to appear on afternoon TV shows and open for bigger acts like the Box Tops and the Young Rascals.

The Age of Reason live at Palisades Park, Spring of '67
Live at Palisades Park, Spring of ’67

“Dirty Shame” would have been a great follow-up, but UA wasn’t interested and it remained unreleased for over thirty years after the group broke up in 1968.

The Age of Reason – Dirty Shame

Thanks to Larry Russell for the photos and ad clipping.

The Age of Reason with Zacherley for the Disc-o-Teen Show, April 1967
with Zacherley for the Disc-o-Teen Show, April 1967
Hal Jackson and Clay Cole emcee the Age of Reason and other acts at Palisades Park
Hal Jackson and Clay Cole emcee the Age of Reason and other acts at Palisades Park
The Age of Reason at Rococo
The Age of Reason at Rococo
The Age of Reason at Rococo
The Age of Reason at Rococo

The Mark IV

The Mark IV, from Poughkeepsie, released three 45s on the Giantstar label out of Mahopac, in Putnam County.

I haven’t heard the first, or the other side of their second 45, “Hey Girl (Won’t You Listen)”, a good folk-garage song.

The b-side of their last 45, “Don’t Want Your Lovin'” is the toughest 45 song they cut, a crazed rave-up with plenty of furious strumming. The A-side, “Would You Believe Me” is fine too, though the transfer is from my VG- copy.

Songwriting credits go to John Ackert, Butch Loreto, Emery Ruger and Ed Gilroy, maybe the son of their manager, Bob Gilroy. Besides these four, another member of the bnad was Jimmy Marino, who I believe is listed on the card as Jay.

The Go-Betweens


The Go-Betweens, from left: Bob Brancati, Al Manaseri, a friend named Dave who filled in for Gene Olive that night, Charlie Russo and Al Brancati
Corona, Queens was the home of the Go-Betweens (not the 80’s Australian band), whose “Have You For My Own” was a minor sensation in 1965.

The repetitive chiming lead guitar, distortion on the rhythm, screams and an insistent drumbeat make song is a classic. It was written and arranged by one of the band members, Bob Brancati and produced by the band. “Knock Knock” has some funny lyrics about trying to get some sleep with a party raging above. The lead guitar stands out over a solid rhythm while Bob Brancati’s vocal puts the song over well.

The Go-Betweens came out of a group called the Shades who had a release “Cry Over You” / “The 5th of September” on Rapa in late ’64, and are rumored (incorrectly) to have cut another 45 (“Nowhere Man” / “Malaguena”) later on.

I knew nothing else about the group until Bob Brancati contacted me with the photos here:

The members of the Go-Betweens were: my brother Al Brancati (bass), Al Manaseri (vocals), Gene Olive (lead guitar), Charlie Russo (drums) and Bob Brancati (lead vocals, guitar). Every member of the group was from Corona. We all grew up in the same area, near the Lemon Ice King and what we called Spaghetti Park [William F. Moore Park, between Corona Ave, 51st Ave and 108th St.]

The Shades were the the earlier version of the Go-Betweens. We recorded “Cry Over You”, and “5th Of September”. We didn’t record “Nowhere Man”.

I had a vocal coach named Al Greiner, he had a friend, a nice young lady named Sandy Newman who became our manager. She got funding for our next few recordings. “Have You For My Own” and “Knock Knock” were written and produced by me. Some of the sounds were spontaneous by the band members. Sandy was able to get the record released by Cheer. However, we didn’t even know that it became popular in certain areas. She later brought in a well known music arranger named Lee Holdridge. We did a couple of songs arranged by him that were not released.

As far as gigs, we played in clubs and bars throughout NY, LI and NJ. We also eventually played opening for Johnny Maestro, and did weddings and parties all around the Tri-State area.

I am sending you two pictures. One is of the group at a gig. Another is one I took with Dion around 1964. I am on Dion’s left. The others used to hang with the us but they weren’t in the band, although they sang with us once in a while. They are Mikey Botta on Dion’s right, and Joe LoCicero on my left.

Also, Americana is my album. It can be located at CD Baby. There are also a few videos of songs from that album on YouTube under Bobby Brancati.


With Dion, from left: Mikey Botta, Dion DiMucci, Bob Brancati and Joe LoCicero, 1964

Simla Beat

 

This is about as obscure as garage rock gets. For two years, 1970 and 1971, a cigarette company in India sponsored a battle-of-the-bands competition, with the winners going to Calcutta to record for compilations called Simla Beat.

Each year an album was released with no info about the bands other than their hometown. Also issued was this 45 with two of the better tracks and some silly liner notes on the back of the sleeve (detail here).

Some people think this is a hoax, or that the recordings came from somewhere other than India. It’s true that some bands have a similar sound, though this could be from sharing a studio and perhaps instruments as well. Also, the bands lean heavily on American rock of the time and show very little British influence.

The Confusions from Madras cut this amazing original, “Voice from the Inner Soul”. It has a tough, heavy sound with a rudimentary beat, sharp bluesy guitar fills, and an organ sound right out of 1966.

The Dinosaurs, from Bangalore, contribute a fine cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sinister Purpose”, giving Fogerty writing credit, somewhat surprisingly given the usual global practice of song appropriation. This one has nice fuzz guitar and gravely vocals. I’d say it surpasses the original.

All my research so far turns up no other information about the groups on these releases. Hopefully someone associated with this project will come forward and fill us in on the story behind Simla Beat.

Groundspeed

A fine psych 45 with early touches of prog. I wondered if more of their work is hidden away on tape somewhere as they were obviously a talented band.

I knew almost nothing about Groundspeed until hearing from organ player and songwriter Bob Telson recently. I’ll let him tell their story in his own words:

I grew up in Brooklyn (born 1949) and had my 1st band, The Bristols, in ’65-6. We played about 6 gigs a month, school, church, temple dances, etc. (that being long before DJs), playing lots of Beatles, Stones, etc., and some of my tunes too. Our drummer, Mike Jacobs, was already playing sessions at 14- his father, Dick Jacobs, produced Jackie Wilson, Buddy Holly and many others. He got the Bristols in the Decca studios a few times, but wasn’t able to get us a contract.

I went away to Harvard, and put a band together at the end of freshman year, and Mike (who was still in high school in Brooklyn) and his dad arranged for us to cut a demo of 2 new tunes of mine, which with their psychedelic/Jefferson Airplane influence, were a far cry from the tuneful Beatles/Stones kinda tunes I wrote for the Bristols.

Mike played drums, Jesse Miller, who had the longest hair at Harvard, played guitar, Rick Scheuer, bass, and Ken Kyle sang. I played organ. We cut the sides the summer of ’67, got the record deal to record a 45 of those tunes, but never got it better than the original demos we had done, so that’s what they released. Unfortunately, we never got to play live as a band, as Jesse, my best friend, left school for a year to join VISTA in Appalachia.

The record finally came out in summer ’68, got some nice airplay locally, and that was the end of that. They edited out some more weird spacy sections for the record (I guess that was before Light My Fire made longer singles feasible). My next band at Harvard was the Revolutionary Music Collective, in which my sometimes Cliffie girlfriend Bonnie Raitt sang lead vocals. We played SDS parties, and did guerilla rave-ups.

Anyway, in brief, I moved to Manhattan, played with Phillip Glass from ’72-4, then played and wrote salsa (Tito Puente, Machito), gospel (5 Blind Boys), and R&B until I began working with theater director Lee Breuer, with whom I wrote The Gospel at Colonus for BAM in 1983, my 1st opportunity to get my music out into the world. Which led to other possibilities in theater and film (Bagdad Cafe being the most known). I’ve been living in Buenos Aires with my Argentine wife the last 4 years, and we just finished our 1st CD together (Isabel de Sebastian & Bob Telson; “TRIP”).

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004