The Mustard Men

Really don’t know anything about the Mustard Men other than that they were from Wisconsin.

Wish I owned this business card myself, but I saved $50 by just buying the 45.

The band recorded at Dave Kennedy Recording Studios in Milwaukee and released this on the Raynard label, the same label that featured the Bryds great “Your Lies” among others.

“I Lost My Baby” opens with a perfect guitar and organ intro, settles into a nice groove with good vocals that occasionally get excited, and features a fine bluesy guitar solo which kind of falls apart towards the end as some of the notes miss the intended pitch. Still, an A+ in my book for the overall sound they achieve.

The flip is “Another Day”, credited to Donne & the Mustard Men.

Thanks to Gary Myers for the photo.

Robin and the Three Hoods

Robin and the Three Hoods released this spirited and crude cover of the Strangeloves’ Bobby Comstock’s “I Wanna Do It” four separate times. The first was on the yellow Fan Jr. label out of Madison, Wisconsin, backed with a fine surf instrumental with a good drum break, “The Marauder”. Then again on Fan Jr., with the same label number, FJ-1003, but this time the band is listed as Marrell’s Marauders.

Next on the green Fan Jr. label with the b-side changed to “That’s Tuff”, a neat tune by one Mr. Bernhagen. Finally this was picked up for national release by Hollywood Records, with “That’s Tuff” again as the b-side.

Skip Nelson is credited with production on each release. The Hollywood pressing is of relatively poor quality. They have another 45 on the green Fan Jr. label that I haven’t heard yet, “A Day You’ll Never Forget” (an original by Bernhagen and Jim Schwartz) b/w “We The Living”.

Rob Bernhagen played bass, keyboards and sang lead vocals as ‘Robin’. He wrote to me about the band:

The Marauders, with Mike Warner on drums, all graduated from Madison East High in 1963. We had joined the Musicians Union that April and had played school gigs and a few actual paying gigs around Madison.

We borrowed “I Wanna Do It” from Bobby Comstock and recorded it in Dec. of 1963. Our manager, Frederick Arthur Nelson, aka Skip, did own a music store and produce all our records. We started playing around Wisconsin and Northern Illinois and found many “Marauder” bands so we changed our name and the label on the records …. same recording. I found a paperback book about Merrill’s Marauders from WWII and plagiarized the name….and changed the spelling. As the leader of the band, I became “Bobby Marrell”.

I played bass and keyboards and was the lead vocalist. Dave Reed played lead guitar and Jim Schwartz played rhythm guitar. Bruce Benson was our drummer, he lives in Northern California. The only personnel change from the Marauders was at drums, Mike Warner was our first drummer and he played on the first version with “The Marauder” on the flip side.

We were all in college and playing part time within a couple of hundred miles of Madison. Mike Warner decided to drop out of college and try music full time so Bruce Benson joined us and we borrowed the costume idea from Paul Revere and the Raiders and came up with “The Hoods”. Once again, as leader and vocalist, I became Robin Hood. We all wore Robin Hood outfits….and tights…

We played the entire state of Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, and border towns in Northern Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota. Went as far south as Springfield, Il. We broke-up the band 1/31/69 when Jim and I graduated from college.

We got limited airplay because of the suggestive title which is why everyone loved the song to begin with. We got a “pick to click” from Billboard and a review in Cashbox which is why Starday got involved. They were to handle national distribution… which never happened. We stayed on Wisconsin statewide charts for over a year.

Funny story behind “The Marauder”… we went in the studio to record “I Wanna Do It” and when that was finished, we started to pack up. The engineer asked about the flip side to our 45 RPM and we were dumbfounded. In our youthful ignorance, we hadn’t even considered a flip side. Faced with the problem we jammed “The Marauder” from an instrumental “break song” that we were using during shows. One take and it was done. We never played the entire song on any gig … just enough of it to announce a break.

I’m the only member who continued to play professionally….I’m in an oldies band today, the Tom Tayback Band. Jim quit altogether, Bruce plays a little on the side, and Dave is deceased. I’m not in contact with Mike so I’m not sure about him.

We did produce a couple of other records but had nothing to do with the “green bean” thing.

Thanks to Kim D. for sending in the photo card with signatures above. Kim wrote to me “I saved this card for years which Robin and the Three Hoods signed and gave to me in the 60’s at a place they performed at called “The Illusions” in Neenah, Wisconsin. We had alot of bands frequent that place. You had to be 16 years old to enter, but I always looked older, so they let me in. Good times!”

Also thanks to Eric Randle for the scan of “A Day You’ll Never Forget.”

Terry Knight and the Pack

There was a lot more to Terry Knight’s life than one 45, but for garage punks “How Much More (Have I Got to Give)” is the one that counts.

Born on April 9, 1943, Knight became a popular dj on CKLW, beaming British Invasion records into Detroit and other northern cities from Windsor, Ontario, Canada during 1964. He supposedly became good friends with the Rolling Stones, acquiring a ‘Sixth Stone’ moniker as he hung out with them over the next year.

In fact, most of this association seems to be largely mythical. After either being fired from CKLW for ‘controversial views’ (or more likely just quitting) Knight hid out in Buffalo as a second rate folk singer. Returning to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, he assembled a backing band, releasing numerous 45s and two lps as Terry Knight and the Pack with occasional chart success.

His real fame came as the primary force behind Grand Funk Railroad, a band comprised of members of the Pack. Knight hyped the band into a major label contract and prime festival concert appearances that soon put them atop the hard rock heap of the early 70’s. After financial disputes led to a break as manager of Grand Funk, Terry descended into cocaine addiction. Weird stories would crop up from time to time, like his having entered the federal witness protection program. Lawsuits and legal troubles dogged his later years. He was stabbed to death by his daughter’s boyfriend on Nov. 1, 2004 while interceding in a fight between the couple.

Lucky 11 was started in Flint, Michigan in 1959 to release country records, and was not Knight’s own label, as has been written.

“How Much More (Have I Got to Give)” / “I’ve Been Told” is Terry Knight and the Pack’s second 45 (the first was as the Pack: “The Color of Our Love” / “The Tears Come Rollin'” on Wingate 007).

To my ears this single has his best garage song backed by his best ballad, though other people have their own favorites. There’s a complete discussion of Knight’s early years here.

Knight also did production work for the Rites of Spring who I discuss in depth this site.

Anyone have a photo of Terry Knight with the Pack, or by himself from this time period?

The Shy Guys

Not the Shy Guys from Florida responsible for the incredible psych 45 “Black Lightning Light”.

The ones I’m featuring today were from Oak Park, Michigan and their closest brush with fame was opening for a tour of the Dave Clark Five. I found mention of a Buffalo, NY dj Scotty Walker adapting “We Gotta Go” into the “Hamburger Joint Song”, but I have no idea what this is about. Anyone?

The Shy Guys consisted of Ron Nelson (previously known as Ron Lefko) – lead guitar and vocals, Stu “Hirshfield” Howard – rhythm guitar and vocals, Marty Lewis – bass and Mark Finn – drums. Both sides of this 45 are great garage pop with good harmonies. “We Gotta Go” certainly had the potential to break into the charts, but only had local success.

The Panik label was started as JR by Joe Revaz out of Detroit, originally for soul artists. A couple other garage and pop bands like the Rainy Days and the Human Beings also have 45s on Panik.

These two tracks were also released on the local Palmer label, along with a second 45, “A Love So True”/”Where You Belong”. Their last release was a fine Ron Nelson original “Without You” on the Canusa label, with a cover of the Byrd’s “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” on the flip.

The Maneaters

The Maneaters on public access! From left: Tara McMunn, Linda Lutz, Shari Mirojnik, Andrea Kusten, and Ellen O’Neill
Here’s a group I didn’t know personally, but a friend designed a gig flyer for one of my DJ nights using the image above. I asked him about the band and he kindly transferred a demo tape with four songs, and a live tape at the Southern Funk Cafe in October 12, 1986:

The live tape is eleven songs, with all the tuning and between-song chatter.

In addition, former WFMU DJ the Hound hosted an acoustic in-studio session with the band on October 4, 1986, link here.

from left: Tara, Andrea, Linda, Shari and Ellen
NY photographer Jeff Cuyubamba writes:

They got their name from a Hershell Gordon Lewis movie about biker chicks that isn’t really that good but its main claim to fame is that it showed a decapitation (fake) in like ’67 or so. Which was pretty wild for a drive-in flick. The main gang in the movie was called The Maneaters.

The lead singer was Shari from The Outta Place. The bass guitarist was Tara who also played bass in this NYC psych/garage band called The Ultra V. The drummer was Ellen O’Neill who was formerly the drummer for the Tryfles. She was really nice and also ended up in a short lived NYC garage band called The Shambles. Eventually Ellen quit music, married and moved away. Unfortunately I had heard she passed away a few years ago. On lead guitar was Linda Lutz. Except for another spinoff NYC garage band called The Pods, this was the only other band I recall seeing Linda in.

The Maneaters played only for about a year or so. Often on bills that Gary Balaban promoted at The Southern Funk Cafe (now a pharmacy I think in the Port Authority), The Strip on 14th or The New Theater on 4th St. In fact he made a dupe of their demo for me which I still have on cassette. He used to get tons of cassette demos from touring garage bands at the time. After I first heard the Maneaters play I asked Gary to make me a copy as they didn’t have any singles or LPs out. In fact, that cassette turned out to be the only thing that ever came out from them. Unless there’s some tapes somewhere which one of the band members might know about.

I listened to the demo tape recently. You can hear the potential for an awesome live show but in the sterile environs of a studio, it didn’t translate very well. They had this really grinding, sleazy approach to covering blues classics which made them very unique at the time. Shame nothing ever came out of it.

Southern Funk Cafe:

The person who does the intro [to the first song, “I’m Ready”] is Deb Parker who at that time was partnering with Gary as Endsville Enterprises. The impresarios behind the Strip shows. Later on she went to great success and fame opening Beauty Bar, Barmacy, No-Tell Motel and I think Babyland.

Besides the members Jeff lists there was also Andrea Matthews (Andrea Kusten), the group’s rhythm and slide guitarist, formerly of the Outta Place and Blacklight Chameleons and later the Fuzztones.

From the Dreamdate show, from left: Shari, Tara, Linda, Andrea and Ellen

From the Dreamdate show, from left: Andrea, Ellen, Shari, Linda and Tara
Peter Holsapple wrote to me about producing the demo:

We recorded four songs, including “High Temperature” by Little Walter, at Coyote Studios in the Music Building in Manhattan (8th Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets), with Albert Caiati engineering; his brother is Manny Caiati from the Del Lords, whose rehearsal room doubled as the studio’s space. The dB’s space was across the hall from the Del Lords. I was paid my production ‘fee’ in pot!

The girls were inspired amateurs; Shari Mirojnik played harmonica, and tried to do the hand/vibrato thing, but ended up looking more like she was waving at it. She’s also responsible for having noted, on a funny trip to Boston we all made, that she had to sit in front because she was “allergic” to the back of the van. The Boston trip was was the only time in my life I’ve run live sound for a band (they played at TT the Bear’s). Afterward, we went to Fort Apache studio and tried to do some recording with Joe Harvard, but the ingested psychedelic substances took their toll and we just ended up bagging it.

Thanks to Jeff for the transfers of the demo and live tapes and the Dream Date flyer. Check out his site ShakeSomeAction.

Thanks to Donna for the b&w photos from Dreamdate and additional background. Donna writes about Linda Lutz on her blog, Lethal Dose.

Also thanks to Tara McMunn for all the photos except the b&w Dream Date shots. Dream Date and candid photos taken by Tony Gliozzo. Studio shots by Martin.

Updated Nov. 2009 and Jan. 2010.

Flyer for my March 24, 2006 DJ night at the Tainted Lady (another Deb Parker creation)

The Omens

The Omens are famous for one of the hottest garage 45s of all time, “Searching,” which was recorded on the Cody label in July 1966 backed with the fine “Girl Get Away”.

The Omens, Searching on Cody

I’ll never forget the insistent fuzz riff and opening lines “Searching… searching for love. I’ve been searching… searching for love” blasting from the old Highs in the Mid 60’s Chicago comp. After just 40 seconds the band has pounded through the opening and the first verse. Frantic screams and it’s right to a tight bubbling organ solo. Then the second verse, even wilder screams and a searing, un-overdubbed guitar solo. If you were looking for an archetypical garage song, you would have a hard time coming up with a better one than “Searching”.

Though long presumed to be a Chicago band, as I heard from one of the Omens’ organ players, Duane O’Donnell, the band more properly came from Hammond, Indiana. As it turns out, Duane played on a now-lost demo recording of “Searchin'”. In June of ’66 he was replaced by Al Patka who plays on the single released on the Cody label.

The Omens’ story in Duane’s own words follows:

The Omens were based in Hammond, Indiana – which borders the South side of Chicago. Tim, the drummer, was from Merriville and Larry, the bass player, was from Gary.

Don Revercomb – main vocal and guitar – age 16 (at time of recording)
Gene Cooper – lead guitar – age 18
Larry Allen – bass guitar – age 19
Tim Jones – drums – age 19
Duane O’Donnell – organ – age 15

I was with the Omens during 1965 and 1966, and had to leave when I contracted mono. In retrospect, it was a great experience. Don’s father was totally set on making his son a rock star, and gave 101% of his time and probably money to make it happen. He had all of us join the American Federation of Musicians (Local 203) to make it legit. I really don’t know if we ever made any money, as Don paid me $15 a gig, and the rest went to the band fund (times haven’t changed).

We recorded ‘Searching’ in the living room of a second floor apartment in East Chicago where some guy had an Ampex reel to reel. That recording is mono, one track, one take, no overdubs. Don played a Fender Mustang into an Ampeg Rocket amp. Gene had a Fender Jazzmaster with a Gibson Maestro Fuzztone into a Fender amp. Larry used an Ampeg bass amp, the kind that stored the head upside down into the speaker cabinet. At the gigs I played a Wurlitzer electric piano into a Kalamazoo amp with two 10″s.

The guy at the ‘studio’ told me to play his Farfisa because the Wurlie was too noisy. It was like going from a Yugo to a Mercedes, since I had paid $100 for my beat up piano, and a Farfisa in 1965 was about $900. My ‘style’ back then was mainly gleaned from listening to an album by the Ventures that had some organ solos.

We performed in Chicago, Blue Island, Calumet City, Hammond, Gary, Portage, Glen Park and Cedar Lake. Since some of us were still in high school, we mainly played on the weekends, and practiced during the week at the Musicians Hall, because it had a stage. Venues were places like American Legions, VFW, Shindig and Hullabaloo teen clubs, and high school sock hops. After the record came out, all of our money went to local DJ Ron Borden, who played Searching nightly on WLTH radio and Gary, promoted our gigs, and appeared at them. One of my most memorable gigs was at the Purple Poodle Teen Club in Hobart, Indiana. We opened for the Troggs and Don made us wear long hair Beatle wigs (I’m chuckling as I write this), announcing to the audience that we were from England! I didn’t lke the wig at all, as it was too hot and really itchy. But old man Revercomb was a real promoter.

Carol, young Don’s lady friend, was 14 or 15, and usually sang a Marianne Faithfull song at our gigs. ‘As Tears Go By’ is the other B side. I missed getting a copy of that last year by a few days. I gave my only remaining copy of the 45 to Al Parka for his 40th birthday in about 1988. He was the original organist with the Omens and played a Lowrey portable. After I got sick, Al rejoined the group, but it broke up shortly thereafter. Tim worked swing shifts at the steel mill and had to make the choice of not calling off anymore or being fired. Gene’s girlfriend got pregnant and he had to get a fulltime job. Then Carol got pregnant and that was the last I heard (in 1968)!

In any case I was lucky to be part of the Omens for a short time. Larry Allen was an accomplished guitar, keyboard, bass and harmonica player and expanded my musical horizons. Being associated with a rock and roll band with a song on the radio had profound influence on the high school girls, putting me on a par with the sport jocks! And it made it possible to dump the Wurlitzer and buy an Imperial Capri (Korg Panther) organ.

Since hearing from Duane, I have not been able to find any photos of the group or business cards for the band. If anyone has a photo of the group, please get contact me!

A second 45 had a more limited promo release featuring a cover of “As Tears Go By” with an original, “September”. “Searchin'” was written by Larry Allen and Donald Revercomb. “Girl Get Away” is credited to Donald Kenneth Revercomb and Carmen Provenzano, as is “September”.

Gene Cooper wrote to me:

I played in two bands before I started the Omens. I loved playing in the Omens. We had a pretty tight group and all the guys were great. One thing I must say though, the organ player in the group was my best friend by the name of Al Patka, and he is the one who played on the record. We did cut one other 45 at the studio at the same time with the wife of the lead singer singing the songs. One we wrote by the name of “September” and a Mick Jagger tune “As Tears Go By”. Where to find a copy of that one? We had pictures of the band, but I never really had one myself.

Gene added in a comment, below:

Duane O’Donnell was never an official member of this group. I went to Al Patka’s house, my best friend, and asked him if he wanted to be in a band I wanted to get going. He agreed and he was the only organ player in the band until we broke up. He was the organ player on all the 45′s we did in Chicago. Al passed away in August, 2008

Tom Cleary wrote:

We recorded the Omens in Ron Henningsen’s basement, yes, on an reel to reel Ampex. The professional recording was done however at “Onederful Records near 18th Street and Michigan Avenue. Onederful’s claim to fame was they had done “Shake a Tail Feather” by the Five Dutones. My friends, Fred and Ron handled the studio recording. They handed me the tapes of the session, to see what I could do with them.

Later, Duane cleared up this confusion:

I only kept the record as a memento of my time as the organ player for the Omens, from July 1965 to June 1966. While I performed on the demo tape that got the band the contract for the 45, I became ill, had to leave the group, and did not perform on the July 1966 recording.

Organist Al Patka passed on in 2008, and singer Don Revercomb passed in 1994.

Thanks to Tom Cleary for scans and transfers of Carol’s 45.

The 3rd Evolution, and Dawn Records discography

The 3rd Evolution were from the Bronx, NY, beginning as a doo-wop group the Hi-Dells.

Argot Meyer founded the group, singing and managing it. He first found Mike Saglimberi (Mike Henderson) to sing and play rhythm guitar. Mike brought in his good friend from Junior High (PS 98), Manny Colon on drums. Louis Bonilla (bass) and Ron Lupi (lead guitar) joined last.

They began rehearsing in Argot’s basement, then met Phil Rosano, owner of Dawn Records at Music Makers Record shop on Fordham Road, who released two of their records.

The first has both “Gone Gone Gone” with its ripping guitar solo and their most original work, “Don’t Play with Me”. Mike Henderson is given song writing credit on both of these, and R. Miller is credited with A&R. This was one of the first garage 45s I ever bought, for $10.

“Don’t Play With Me” made the local radio charts of WLOF 950.0 AM in Orlando, Florida in 1966. The Third Evolution played at the World’s Fair, and there’s talk of these guys opening for Jay and the Americans.

The second 45 has the weird slow version of “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” which I still find pretty cool, backed with a ballad, “You’re Gonna Lose the Only Love You Ever Had”.

They also have a good demo acetate recorded at Bruno-Dean Recording Studios in New Rochelle, NY, “Help Me” / “Turn Around” that has not yet been released.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Dawn discography (garage-type 45s only):
Any help with this would be appreciated

Dawn 303 – Derbys ” People Say (She’s No Good” b/w The Bondsmen “Wipeout ’66”
Dawn 306 – 3rd Evolution – Don’t Play With Me / Gone Gone Gone (June 1966)
Dawn 309 – Creation’s Disciple “Psychedelic Retraction” / “I’ll Remember”
Dawn 312 – 3rd Evolution – Everybody Needs Somebody (to Love) / You’re Gonna Lose the Only Love You Ever Had (December ’66)

The Creation’s Disciple had their own unreleased Bruno-Dean acetate, “Strings of Rhyme”

Source: Mike Henderson’s notes in Psychedelic States: New York vol. 1

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004