The Four of Us

The Four of Us were from Birmingham, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.

They had two 45s on the Hideout label. The first from 1965 features “You’re Gonna be Mine”, which smoulders under a sharp fuzz riff. The flip was originally called “Batman”, then titled “Freefall” on a later pressing.

The 4 of Us’s second single, from May of ’66 was a good version of “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” / “I Can’t Live Without Your Love”.

Minor footnote in rock history is the fact that a teenage Glenn Frey joined the band after these records.

The Ugly Ducklings

Ugly Ducklings, RPM, July 11, 1966
RPM, July 11, 1966
Ugly Ducklings, RPM, October 19, 1966
RPM, October 19, 1966

Ugly Ducklings Yorktown 45 NothinHere’s a quick post before I try to make my way across town during the subway strike – the Ugly Ducklings from the Yorkville section of Toronto, Canada.

Members were Dave Byngham vocals (spelled Bingham on the songwriting credits); Glynn Bell guitar; Roger Mayne guitar, John Read bass; Robin Boers drums. Their first three singles are incredible, later ones are more mainstream but still solid.

Thank you to Ivan Amirault for the scans from RPM.

The Jokers Wild

The Jokers Wild later trio lineup, from left: Denny Johnson, Pete Huber and Lonnie Knight
Photos from www.lonnieknight.com[/caption]

Jokers Wild Metrobeat 45 I Just Can't Explain ItThe Minneapolis area was home to a great music scene in the 60’s. The Jokers Wild were one of the most progressive groups of the era.

Original lineup:

Dave Wagner – vocals
Gene Balabon – lead guitar
Dave Middlemist – keyboards
Denny Johnson – bass
Pete Huber – drums

Original lead vocalist Dave Wagner (Dave Waggoner) and guitarist Gene Balabon formed the Jokers Wild after leaving the Aardvarks (“Josephine” / “Reminiscing” on the Bell Concert Recordings label). Neither would be in the group by the time they recorded. Gene was the first to leave, replaced by Bill Jordan.

In 1967, their booking agent/manager David Anthony organized an interesting switch of personnel. He took Dave Wagner and Dave Middlemist from the Jokers Wild and joined them with Dick Wiegand, Larry Wiegand and Harry Nehls of the Rave-Ons to form South 40. Lonnie Knight of the Rave-Ons joined the Jokers Wild on vocals and guitar.

Lonnie Knight – vocals and lead guitar
Bill Jordan – guitar (replaced by Dale Strength, then Danny Kane)
Greg Springer – keyboards
Denny Johnson – bass
Pete Huber – drums

The Jokers Wild as a trio, clockwise from top left: Denny Johnson, Pete Huber and Lonnie Knight
The Jokers Wild as a trio, clockwise from top left: Denny Johnson, Pete Huber and Lonnie Knight
Lonnie Knight had been in the Castaways before they hit big with “Liar, Liar” then joined the Knights with the Wiegand brothers and Harry Nehls, the band name eventually changing to the Rave-Ons. They had three great 45s on Twin Town and Re-Car plus some unreleased songs cut at Dove Studio. Lonnie left the Rave-Ons partly because he wanted to pursue a more folk-oriented sound. He would get to that in the early ’70s, but not before spending a couple years with the Jokers Wild, a heavy, progressive rock group! (Read the Rave-Ons full story in Lost and Found #3).

The Jokers Wild first 45 was released on the Metrobeat label. “All I See Is You” is a good original by Knight, given as Lowell Knight on the label. “I Just Can’t Explain It” reminds me somewhat of the Who, and was written by guitarist Bill Jordan.

To me their best moment comes from their second 45, “Because I’m Free” / “Sunshine” on the Peak label – anyone have good scans of this 45, or a copy to sell?

They had one more 45 on Peak, “Peace Man” (also written by Knight) and “Tomorrow”, produced by Tony Glover. There’s also a light pop-psychedelic number “All the World’s a Copper Penny”, unreleased until the Best of Metrobeat LP in the 1990.

The band was down to a trio of Lon Knight, Denny Johnson and Pete Huber when the time the group broke up in the fall of 1969.

45 releases:
All I See Is You / I Just Can’t Explain It (Metrobeat 4451)
Sunshine / Because I’m Free (Peak 4456)
Tomorrow / Peace Man (Peak 4459)

Sources include: Lost and Found #3 (Rave-Ons article by by Jim Oldsberg and Mark Prellberg), Lonnie Knight’s website and an interview with Lonnie Knight by Ray Stiles from mnblues.com.

Gerry Humphreys & the Loved Ones

 

I just heard of the passing of Gerry Humphreys, lead singer of the Loved Ones, one of the most distinctive bands of the ’60s. They formed in Melbourne and had just one lp.

Other members were Ian Clyne piano, Rob Lovett (ex-Wild Cherries) guitar, Kim Lynch bass, and Terry Knott drums. Before recording, Terry was replaced on drums by Gavin Anderson. After their second 45, “Everlovin’ Man”, Ian Clyne left to be replaced by guitarist Treya Richards.

Several singles are excellent, including “Everlovin’ Man” and “Sad Dark Eyes”, but I think there’s nothing quite like “The Loved One” in all of 60’s garage and pop. It was a big hit in Australia, reaching #2 on the charts. The live tracks from Melbourne, 1966 that appeared on Raven’s reissue of Magic Box are just fantastic.

Rare video of “Sad Dark Eyes”, see it while you can!

Ged Fitzsimmons, a fan of the band, wrote in with some more information about the Loved Ones:

The Loved Ones did not form all of a sudden in 1966. Three members, Ian Clyne, Gerry Humphreys and Kim Lynch, had previously been The Red Onions Jazz Band for quite a few years, and had issued no less than three LP albums under that name.

Their musical skills enabled them to create blues recordings with unusual chord structures, rather than the normal 12-bar three-chord arrangement.

Ian Clyne, apart from singer Gerry Humphreys, was the group’s most important member, as it was he who composed the group’s first two big hits. Because of a democratic agreement, the other band members were listed as co-composers on “The Loved One” and “Everlovin’ Man”.

When Ian Clyne left the group, the band’s original material suffered dramatically.

I saw The Loved Ones in 1966 at Zondrae’s Disco in Keira Street, Wollongong, and they were every bit as good live as they were on record.

The band added a new lead guitarist, Danny De Lacey, who came from Los Angeles, USA.

Unfortunately, they seemed to go downhill rapidly after that. They put out an absolutely abominable and abysmal single called “The Loverly Car”, and it sold about two copies, as it deserved. In mid-1967, the boys went their separate ways. Gerry Humphreys formed a group called Gerry & The Joy Band, but they did not get enough publicity to become successful.

Gerry returned to England, where he spent his latter working days as a nurse in a London psychiatric hospital.

In the 1980s, The Loved Ones had a very brief comeback in Melbourne, but Gerry could not reach those high notes. The producers of a televised “live” appearance actually dubbed in Gerry’s wild verses from the original recording of “Everlovin’ Man” because he sounded woeful in person!

May I add that The Loved Ones, despite their very few recordings, have always meant a lot to me, and I have never been without a copy of their output in the last forty years.

Two LP albums were issued, The Loved Ones’ Magic Box and The Loved Ones Live and they have both been available as budget CDs for many years, still selling well in Australia.

Apart from the hit records, the highlights on their studio album include “Blueberry Hill”, “Shake Rattle & Roll”, and “The Woman I Love”.

The Children of Darkness

True garage fans braved the cold snap to hear an insane night of music in Williamsburg last Friday.

Dinos of WHRB Boston (listen to his show every Tuesday evening 10-midnight [EST] at www.whrb.org) played a box full of 45s including many U.S. obscuros and Greek groups like the Charms and Zoo. Marty Violence treated us to Virginia 45s and LP cuts you just never hear – a track from Skip and the Creations album on Justice among them.

The Children of Darkness were an obscure band until recently, when I learned the band was from from Newark, Ohio. “She’s Mine” was written by John Hull. The flip is “Sugar Shack”. The Royce label is from the little town of Oblong in southeastern Illinois, near the Indiana border. This seems to be the only release on it.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Link Wray

Link Wray Cadence 45 RumbleLink Wray Epic 45 Raw-HideLink Wray Okeh 45 Rumble MamboBunker Hill Mala 45 Hide & Go Seek, Part ILink Wray Swan 45 Run Chicken RunLink Wray and His Ray Men Swan 45 The Black Widow
Link Wray Epic PS Slinky
Link Wray photoLink Wray passed away earlier this month and word is only now getting out. As I look at it, garage has two main sources: Bo Diddley and Link Wray. Without them it probably wouldn’t exist.

I feel lucky to have seen Link in April in New Orleans. He didn’t shortchange us on the distortion or feedback that night – it was fantastically loud and chaotic.Here are a few great but lesser-known songs not already featured on other blogs, plus Link and his band backing Bunker Hill on Hide and Go Seek.

Link Wray and the Raymen Swan 45 Hidden CharmsRay Men Diamond 45 Walkin' Down the Street Called Love
Link Wray Heavy 45 Blow Your MindLink Wray and the Ray-Men Mr. G 45 Mind Blower

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004