The Galaxies IV

The Galaxies IV
The Galaxies IV, photo courtesy of Alan Fowler

The Galaxies IV formed at Catholic school in Trenton in 1962. Members were T.J. Tindall on guitar, Chris Holmes on guitar and vocals, Charles Brodowicz keyboards, Len Demski bass, and Alan Fowler on drums. T.J. Tindall left the band early on when his family moved to Pennington; he eventually joined the Edison Electric Band.

The first Galaxies IV 45 was “Let Me Hear You Say Yeah” / “Till Then You’ll Cry” recorded at Regent Sound studios in New York City and released on the Veep label in June of 1965.

That summer of 1965 the Galaxies IV played forty shows during at the second session of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, including eight shows at the New Jersey Pavilion.

The band received a notice in Billboard for winning the First Annual Rock ‘n Roll Olympics on Labor Day 1965 at St. John Terrell’s Music Circus in Lambertville, NJ. It was a huge battle-of-the-bands, judged by Phil Spector and Cousin Brucie Morrow. The notice lists Charles Brody instead of Brodowicz, and says Billboard had mistakenly reported the Rubytones were the winners in a previous issue.


The Galaxies IV at the 1965 Rock ‘n Roll Olympics
l to r: Chris Holmes, Alan Fowler, Charles Brodowicz and Len Demski

The Billboard notice also mentions a 45 already released on the Mohawk label, “Don’t Let Love Look Back” but I haven’t been able to confirm this exists.

The win led to features in the NY Times and Reader’s Digest (anyone have scans of those notices?).

In August of ’66 they did release a 45 on the Mohawk label, “Piccadilly Circus” / “I’m Goin’ For Myself” in August of 1966.

“Piccadilly Circus” is a version of the Rolling Stones’ “2120 South Michigan Blvd”, often covered by 60’s bands and usually retitled (other versions include Sly Stone’s “Buttermilk” and Thee Midniters “Whittier Blvd”).

“Piccadilly Circus” was picked up by RCA for national release with the Chris Holmes’ wild original “Don’t Lose Your Mind” on the flip in June of 1967.

Adding a lead vocalist, Steve Shier they changed their name to Galaxie V and then Alexander Rabbit, releasing an lp on Mercury. Afterwards, Chris Holmes took the stage name Duke Williams and led his own band throughout the ’70s.

Alan Fowler of the Galaxies IV
Alan Fowler of the Galaxies IV

Photo from the Cathedral High School 1969 YearbookInformation and photo sources included Trenton Makes Music (site now defunct) and Randy Now’s Sept. 5, 2007 show which features Duke Williams and T.J. Tindall. Thank you to Alan Fowler and Esther for additional photos for this article.


The Galaxies IV in 1969, from left: Charlie Brodowicz, Steve Shier, Alan Fowler and Chris Holmes (Len Demski out of frame)

The Galaxies IV
The Galaxies IV, from left: Charles Brody, Len Demski, Alan Fowler, & Chris Holmes aka Duke Williams
The Galaxies IV photo
L-R Alan Fowler, Len Demski, Charles Brody & Chris Holmes
GalaxieIs IV at the Allentown Fairgrounds with Gene Kaye of WAEB
GalaxieIs IV at the Allentown Fairgrounds with Gene Kaye of WAEB
L-R Chris Holmes, Len Demski, Gene Kaye, Alan Fowler & Charles Brody

The Myddle Class

The Myddle Class photo: Danny Mansolino, Dave Palmer, Rick Philp, Charlie Larkey, Myke Rosa
(from left) Danny Mansolino, Dave Palmer, Rick Philp, Charlie Larkey, Myke Rosa

Rewritten July, 2011

Dave Palmer (vocals)
Rick Philp (guitar)
Danny Mansolino (organ)
Charles Larkey (bass)
Michael “Myke” Rosa (drums)

The Myddle Class had three poorly-distributed 45s and little chart action, but there’s a lot more to their story than the releases suggest. Below is a short overview of their career.

They started as the King Bees in suburban New Jersey, in the Passaic Valley towns that border I-78 southwest of Summit. Dave Palmer and Rick Philp came from Warren Township, Myke Rosa from Berkeley Heights, Charles Larkey from Mountainside and Danny Mansolino from North Plainfield.

One account I’ve read says some of the group first got together as the Four Classics, with Danny Mansolino on vocals, Rick Philp on guitar, Myke Rosa on drums and Kurt Gabrook on bass. The band had one job at Hobby Hall, a formal dance school in Summit, where they played for classes until being fired for playing too many Rolling Stones songs. Danny Mansolino started out playing accordion and joined the group specifically because Rick wanted someone to play organ; Al Aronowitz wrote that Danny learned how to sing later but Danny says that’s not correct.

In any case, the King Bees had started by 1964: Dave Palmer was a student at Watchung Hills Regional High School along with Rick Philp, and he became their singer. Danny Mansolino attended North Plainfield High School but had joined the group on organ. At first Chris Irby played bass, but when he decided to quit, drummer Myke Rosa brought in Charles Larkey, a friend of his from Governor Livingston Regional High School. Charles was only just learning the bass when he joined, but he had good stage presence and sharp clothes from his father’s store Larkey’s in Newark, which kept up on London fashions.

The King Bees live shows became legendary – one concert at Governor Livingston High in Berkeley Heights included versions of “Shout”, “She’s Not There” and an original, “It’s the Season”.

Myddle Class early band photo, taken in Carole King & Gerry Goffin's backyard: Myke Rosa, Rick Philp, Danny Mansolino, Dave Palmer and Charles Larkey
An early photo of the band, taken in Carole & Gerry’s backyard, photographer unknown
Front to back: Myke Rosa, Rick Philp, Danny Mansolino, Dave Palmer and Charles Larkey

Myddle Class Tomorrow 45 Free As the WindAfter a concert at the Berkeley Heights CYO in December of 1964 the band met New York Post columnist Al Aronowitz, who had heard about the band through his babysitter. Al became their manager, even though he hadn’t done any artist management work before. His home in Berkeley Heights became the group’s base. Aronowitz introduced them to Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the husband-and-wife song writing team who were then living in West Orange, New Jersey. Goffin and King agreed to write songs and produce the group.

There’s a rumor of the King Bees recording an album Soul in White Suburbia, which seems unlikely, but Al Aronowitz wrote about shooting a short film featuring the band, though it may not have been completed. Supposedly the director was avant-garde artist Barbara Rubin (a friend of Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsburg and Jonas Mekas) and had the title The Suburbs of Heaven. However, I can’t find any confirmation of this in accounts of Rubin’s career, though many of her works haven’t been cataloged or made public yet.

Myddle Class Tomorrow 45 Gates of EdenIn the fall of ’65 the King Bees changed their name to the Myddle Class to distinguish themselves from Danny Kortchmar’s King Bees who just had a release on RCA Victor. In October, Goffin and King signed a production deal for their new label, Tomorrow, with Atlantic-Atco, expressly to release their first single with the Myddle Class.

Billboard reviewed “Free as the Wind” in December 1965: “New label, new group and new Goffin-King material has smash hit possibilities. Folk rocker is a powerhouse!” Rick Philp and Dave Palmer share writing credit with Goffin and King. Despite the promising review, I can only find evidence of the single hitting the radio charts in Albany, New York in early ’66.

The flip is a moody garage version of Dylan’s “Gates of Eden” that I think is among the best covers of Dylan ever done.

Myddle Class Summit High flyer, with pitchfork photo by John Lynch: Dave Palmer, Charles Larkey, Myke Rosa, Danny Mansolino and Rick Philp
Flyer for the Summit High show, with pitchfork photo by John Lynch
from left: Dave Palmer, Charles Larkey, Myke Rosa, Danny Mansolino and Rick Philp

On December 11, 1965, the Myddle Class headlined a legendary concert at the Summit High School Auditorium with opening acts the Forty Fingers and the Velvet Underground. Al Aronowitz produced the show and booked the Velvets. In fact, it was the first time Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison billed themselves as the Velvet Underground and was also their first live show with Maureen Tucker on drums!

I’ve seen it written that Aronowitz was helping the Velvets out after they had been fired from the Cafe Wha?, but they had played at that venue much earlier in ’65. Just after this concert, Aronowitz did acquire a residency for them at Cafe Bizarre. He would get the Myddle Class into both clubs in 1966, along with the Night Owl Cafe and the Cafe Au Go Go. Aronowitz claimed he was taping the Summit show, but someone from the Velvet Underground stole his new Wollensack tape recorder. The live tape has never surfaced, which is a shame, though all accounts say the Velvets received a very mixed reaction from the audience.

Review of the Summit High concert by Rob Norris<br /> Excerpt from "I Was a Velvetten", reproduced from Kicks #1 with permission
Review of the Summit High concert by Rob Norris
Excerpt from “I Was a Velvetten”, reproduced from Kicks #1 with permission

Myddle Class Tomorrow 45 Don't Let Me Sleep Too LongThe Myddle Class’s second single, “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” was a #2 hit on WPTR in Albany during the summer of ’66. The ballad flip is a driving slice of cool teenage angst, “I Happen to Love You”, and, in my opinion, their best recording. It may have been one of the songs Goffin and King intended for the Monkees, but they never recorded it. Their loss, but a revamped version of Them without Van Morrison did an effective cover of it.

Myddle Class Tomorrow 45 I Happen To Love YouDespite the band receiving song writing credit on the label, “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” was likely taken from the Blues Project’s “Wake Me, Shake Me”, a staple of that group’s live sets throughout 1966. The Blues Project had adapted the song from traditional spirituals going back to the early 20th Century or earlier. The Blues Project recorded a demo in January ’66 and then a finished version in August that was used for their album Projections, released in November 1966. The Myddle Class beat them to first release by rushing their 45 out in June, ’66!

Myddle Class West coast pressing of their second 45, probably rush pressed when the song hit on KFXM in San Bernadino in October '66
West coast pressing of their second 45, probably rush-pressed when the song hit on KFXM in San Bernadino in October ’66
Al Kooper stated to Lyn Nuttal, “The Blues Project let The Myddle Class open for them as a favor and in return, they stole their closing song! Nobody really even heard The Myddle Class theft in the US outside of New York City. The Blues Project’s version of “Wake Me, Shake Me” was the big version in the US and influenced a lot of young bands.” True, but for many teenagers who heard the record that summer, the Myddle Class recording will always remain THE version of the song. When this Myddle Class 45 was reissued on the Buddah label, “Al Kooper and the Blues Project” were credited for the arrangement.

The deal Goffin and King had struck with Atco to distribute Tomorrow fell apart after only three releases (two by the Myddle Class and one by Carole King, “A Road to Nowhere” / “Some of Your Lovin'”).

Bachs Lunch Tomorrow 45 You Go OnGoffin and King moved their distribution deal for Tomorrow to Cameo-Parkway, and their first release on a redesigned Tomorrow label was by the Bach’s Lunch, a girl group (with singer Darlene McCrea of the Cookies and the Raelettes – I don’t know the other members), with the Myddle Class providing the instrumental backing. The A-side was a remake of Goffin and King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, but the real gem is an excellent Rick Philp and Dave Palmer song “You Go On”. Scott at Crud Crud wrote up a fine appreciation of the Bach’s Lunch record which I recommend reading.

The band had some regional successes, including good receptions in Montreal and Boston, a short residency at Ungano’s on the upper West Side of Manhattan, and a show in Smithtown, Long Island promoted by DJ Scott Ross that attracted over 3,000 people. However, a number of discouraging developments hurt the band around this time. They had a good audition with Tom Wilson for MGM Records, but supposedly Al Aronowitz didn’t allow the deal to go through. In February of ’67 they opened a show for the Animals, but their set was interrupted by problems with the microphones, and it seems the band worried this performance hurt their reputation with the press.

Myddle Class Tomorrow 45 Don't Look BackMyddle Class Tomorrow 45 Wind Chime Laughter

In April of 1967 the Myddle Class signed to Cameo-Parkway and released one last 45. The A-side “Don’t Look Back” was a cover of Temptations and, uniquely, produced solely by the group themselves. On the flip was the superb “Wind Chime Laughter”, with song writing listed by P. Palmer (actually Philp and Palmer) for Merlin Music, BMI, and production credited jointly to the Myddle Class and Goffin. Unfortunately Allan Klein took over Cameo-Parkway in August and ousted the band’s reps at the label, including Neil Bogart, leaving their new single without any promotion.

Esquire September 1967 Charles Larkey cover

Some of the Myddle Class appeared anonymously as models in ads photographed by Richard Avedon. One of Avedon’s photos of Charles Larkey was used for the cover of Esquire in September ’67. Larkey joined the Fugs in late ’67 with rival King Bee Dan “Kootch” Kortchmar for a series of shows at the Players Theater.

With some members away at college and pursuing other musical opportunities, the band was rarely performing live by this time. Their main activity came from recording demos for Goffin and King songs which would be placed with other artists. Supposedly they helped recorded and helped arrange demos of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Porpoise Song” for the Monkees, but I have never heard their versions of these, nor a version of “Snow Queen” that they may have cut.

Myddle Class demos of Goffin-King songs that do exist include “Goin’ Back” (a single for the Byrds in October ’67), “I Can’t Make It Alone” (which would turn up on Dusty in Memphis) and a couple I’m not sure were used by other artists: “An Angel Walks Beside Me” and “Who Does He Love”. A Regent Sound Studio acetate of “Fun and Games” turned up and is excellent.

Dave Palmer and Rick Philp signed a publishing with Screen Gems-Columbia, the same publishers representing Goffin and King songs from this period. They received some income from this deal, but a promise from Don Kirshner to sign the group to Colgems never materialized, nor did he place any of their songs with artists. The band recorded demos of some of these Palmer & Philp songs, like “Man on the Bridge”.

Palmer and Philp’s original “I’ve Come Too Far” turned up on the b-side of a single by the Coven on SGC 15074 in 1968. This was produced by Gerry Goffin and engineered by Chris Hinshaw, indicating a west coast recording. Interestingly, the A-side, a cover of “I Shall Be Released” features a different female vocalist (and no David Palmer vocal) over the exact music track (pedal steel guitar and all) as it appears on the tape Al Aronowitz sold. It makes me wonder if “I’ve Come Too Far” also features members of the Myddle Class. I have my doubts that it’s the same Coven from Indiana who recorded for Mercury, MGM, WB and Buddah.

I’ve seen two other titles but I don’t have confirmation that either was recorded or published: “There’s No Easy Way Down” and “Paper Walls of Innocence”.

The Myddle Class circa late 1967: Dave Palmer, Myke Rosa, Rick Philp, Charles Larkey and Danny Mansolino, Bruce DeForeest and his girlfriend Ronnie
The Myddle Class circa late 1967: front and center is Dave Palmer
behind him, from left to right: Myke Rosa, Rick Philp (wearing hat), Charles Larkey and Danny Mansolino
In the background on the left side: Bruce DeForeest and his girlfriend Ronnie
Photographer unknown (possibly John or Thom Lynch)

Goffin and King divorced and relocated (separately) to California in early 1968, by which time the Myddle Class were effectively on hiatus. Rick Philp and Charles Larkey spent the summer of ’68 in Los Angeles working up arrangements with Carole King for songs that would appear on Now That Everything’s Been Said, the album by King’s group the City. Danny Kortchmar replicated Rick’s guitar parts for the final album, released in 1969. Charles Larkey and Carole had been seeing each other since before she left the east coast, and they eventually married in September 1970.

Myddle Class Buddah 45 Don't Let Me Sleep Too LongIn the fall of ’68 Danny Mansolino, Dave Palmer and Rick Philp were living in Boston, collaborating on songs with pianist and vocalist Lloyd Baskin. In March of 1969 they recorded a number of songs in the studio, including a new Goffin and King composition “Mr. Charlie”, and a couple by Palmer and Philp: “Redbeard” (their nickname for Al Aronowitz) and “Keys to the Kingdom”. I haven’t heard any of these yet. Rick, Dave and Danny planned to have Myke Rosa and Charles Larkey planned to join them and Lloyd for an album in the summer of 1969. Tragically, any future chances were dashed when guitarist Rick Philp was murdered by his former roommate in Boston in May of ’69.

Myddle Class Buddah 45 I Happen to Love YouAll the remaining members of the Myddle Class have had some involvement with music since. Danny Mansolino and Myke Rosa joined Jake and the Family Jewels for two albums on Polydor in 1969 and ’70. They added Dave Palmer as vocalist for a 1971 album on Elektra as the Quinames Band, including Ken Pine (who had played with Charlie Larkey in the Fugs) and Jerry Burnham. Dave Palmer may have had the biggest success as an early vocalist with Steely Dan and with his own group, Wha-Koo.

Buddah Records sampler LP Rock & Roll With Buddah for N.E.C. Convention Memphis February 1970Neil Bogart , after leaving Cameo-Parkway and joining Buddah Records, reissued “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” / “I Happen to Love You” on 45 in mid-1969, with little impact. “Lovin’ Season”, an unreleased song originally titled “It’s the Season” and dating back to 1965, showed up on a sampler LP “Rock And Roll With Buddah” given away only at the N.E.C. (National Entertainment Conference) in Memphis in February, 1970. These releases were possibly a tribute to Rick Philp. “Lovin’ Season” is a great rocker with a repetitive organ riff and harmonica solo, and definitely sounds like it was cut at the beginning of the Myddle Class’s career.

Buddah Records sampler LP Rock & Roll With Buddah
Rare sampler LP with “Lovin’ Season”

Before Al Aronowitz passed away on August 1, 2005, he was offering a cassette copy of a collection or recordings by the Myddle Class called One Time Only through his website. The track list is below in the comments, below. It was not the Myddle Class’s rumored unreleased “album” as it includes recordings spanning their entire career, including their singles, the Bach’s Lunch songs and some of the demos mentioned here. The version of “I Can’t Make It Alone” is excellent but marred by a glitch in the tape. The only other track on it that I haven’t mentioned so far is one titled “Unknown Instrumental” that is really a home recording of a minute of Rick playing guitar in a jazz style.

Supposedly a legitimate release of their material is languishing because of legal troubles. It’s a shame, as I can’t think of another band that deserves a retrospective more than these guys.

I hear that Michael Rosa passed away on January 13, 2012.

Update: Be sure to check out the scans I’ve added to this site of business cards, two fan newsletters and other ephemera sent to me by Dan Mansolino .

Sources:

Kathy West’s A Song For You is a an excellent source of first hand information on the band and Kathy’s relationship with Rick Philp. See my review for more information.

Al Aronowitz wrote an extremely funny and interesting account of trying to break the band into the charts. I recommend it highly, but currently only an excerpt is available online.

Lyn Nuttal provides an exhaustive history of “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” / “Wake Me Shake Me” on his fascinating Pop Archives site.

“I Was a Velveteen” by Rob Norris in Kicks #1 (1979)

“Tales of the Myddle Class” by Todd Abramson in Breakthrough #1 (1984) was one of the first appreciations of the Myddle Class and remains a good, if not always reliable, source of information.

Info on the Velvet Underground’s early gigs here. A review of the concert used to be online but has since vanished.

Thank you to Susan Palmer De Leon, who sent in two photos of the Myddle Class that I had never seen before. Thanks also to Brian Kirschenbaum and Jeff Lemlich for excellent 45s scans, to Steve for the tip about the Coven single, and to Mike Dugo for alerting me to “Fun & Games” on youtube.

 Bach's Lunch Tomorrow 45 You Go On white label DJ copy
Bach’s Lunch – white label DJ copy
 Bach's Lunch Tomorrow 45 You Go On blue label promotional copy
Bach’s Lunch – blue label promotional copy

Cole and the Embers

Here are two fine garage tracks from a Kirkwood, Missouri group.

The cool label shows it couldn’t be any earlier than late-’66 (named after the TV show of course), but I was surprised to see it listed in a database as a May, 1968 release. If so, it’s behind the times but sounding great, however, a band member disputes the late release date (see below).

“Hey Girl” rushes through verses and the catchy chorus, with a break for the organ solo, which really has a fine sound, followed by a quick guitar break.

“Love Won’t Hurt You” is much slower but has a brooding sound with the repeated high-pitched note on the organ, clipped rhythm on the guitar and harmony vocals. There’s a neat section halfway through as the band moves through chord changes, and this is repeated at the end of the song after the fuzztone solo and last chorus. Lepore-Martines wrote both songs. The label for “Love Won’t Hurt You” lacks the artist listing.

Lead guitarist Robert Lepore wrote to me with the history of the group, hopefully we’ll have some photos at a later date:

The band started up in 1965. It consisted of Perry Cole (singer), Reggie Shaw (rhythm), Jack Pebbler (keyboard), Scott Lay (bass), Charlie Cablish (drums) and myself (lead). Scott, Charlie, and I were the core of the group. As time passed we brought in Colin Johnson (rhythm), Steve Starr (keyboard), and Doug Paone (keyboard). At the time of the recording Cole was gone and so was the rhythm position.

We all went to and graduated from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Mo. A town about 30 miles from St Louis in St. Louis County. We played many school functions (dances, pep rallies etc.) as well as parties and some of the teen clubs that were so popular then such as Kirkwood Teen Town and the Rainy Daze teen club. We and another local group called the Extremes [who cut “Facts of Life” on Star Trek 1221 as the X-Treems] drew over 1,300 hundred kids one Saturday night. We also played frat parties as far as SE Mo. State in Rolla, Mo. and as far east as DePauw Univ. in Indiana.

At the time we recorded the songs the band consisted of Steve Starr, Scott Lay, Charlie Cablish and myself. Scott and I did the singing. I did the main part on “Love Won’t Hurt You”. We recorded the songs in the basement studio of a local late night DJ named Nick Charles from a top 40 station called KXOK. We recorded at 9 am on a saturday morning. I can remember our voices almost cracking because of the early morning after a late night of playing.

We put parts of the songs together in studio and had a good time doing it. I remember the DJ barking out some instructions to us from the other side of the glass and Steve saying “OK big daddy.” to which he replied “Bullshit.”

As far as the label we had nothing to do with that. My dad took care of that end of it. Cole and The Embers appeared on one [only] side because of a labeling error and we didn’t really pick an A or B side because we thought both sides were good. Martinez was never in the group. He just collaborated with me on the songs.

Q. So the band kept the name Cole and the Embers after Perry Cole was gone?

We kept the name because most people called us the Embers or just the “‘Bers”

I believe the the release date you have is not accurate. I was still playing an old Hagstrom 3 pick up guitar at the time. I replaced it with a Fender Telecaster which I bought long before your release date. We sold about 500 copies localy and both sides of the record were played on a local undergound station that was just starting up. KSHE 95.5 FM.

The band officially broke up in the summer of 1968. Charlie graduated in 1967 but went to a local university. Perry, Reggie, Doug and I graduated in 1968. We all went to college. Perry, Reggie and I all went into the Air Force. Steve, Scott and Collin graduated in 1969. I haven’t kept in touch with any of them.

I did stay in music. The ten years I was in the service I didn’t play much but I did write a bunch of songs that I put on tape just for myself. Then in 1985 I put a classic rock band together called Backtrack. It was very successful in St. Louis and the surrounding area. The band stayed together for nine years when in 1994 my bass player moved to Dallas and I to Florida. In Florida I put another classic rock band together called Goldrush. Everyone in this band could sing lead. We had such great harmonies. I moved to Texas about a year and a half ago. And you know once you’ve got the bug the music’s in your blood so here I am, putting a praise and worship band together at church and I’m also putting another classic rock band together as well.

Robert Lepore
October 2009

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Tony Hendrik Five

“I’ve Said My Say” is a ringer for the Small Faces, but it’s great!

The Tony Hendrik Five were from Germany and mostly recorded typical pop of the day. The A-side, “Tavern in the Town”, is really awful. “I’ve Said My Say” shows they had some talent and should have pursued this tougher sound more often.

The Zero End

The Zero End band

The band came from east of Astoria, Oregon, the small communities of Knappa and Svensen to be exact (the area had a large number of people of Swedish descent).Zero End Garland 45

The members were:

Carl Salo
Bill Tynkila
Tom Kayser (Keyser?) – guitar
Bill Maley
Toivo Lahti – drums

The Zero End’s first 45 on Garland, “Blow your Mind” / “Fly Today” from late ’67 has a dark sound. Their next and last shows the influence of psychedelia, as “Lid to Go” has the lines “don’t you know he’s a flower child/ what a crime, being high.” The version of “Hey Joe” has a good fuzz solo. Dig the cool drum head in the photo above.

Both sides of the first 45 are by Tynkila/Salo. Songwriting on “Lid to Go” is by Bill Maley and Carl Salo. Dale Hansen produced both 45s. The Garland label was from Salem, OR, owned by Gary Neiland of Prince Charles & the Crusaders.

I didn’t much about the band until JP Coumans sent me the article from Hipfish, below. As the article states, the band started out as the Vanchees until Bill Tynkila suggested Zero End. They had a manager, Dale Hansen who booked them throughout the Northwest. At the club below the Portland youth center The Headless Horseman, they saw a band called Seattle Gazebo that was playing the new psychedelic free-form music. It was a revelation to the band, who returned to Knappa and remade their sound completely.

They played venues such as the Riviera Theater in Astoria and the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. The Hipfish article mentions a live recording from the Riviera, which I’d love to hear.


Hipfish – Arts & Culture Monthly, vol. 2, issue 19: Astoria & the North Coast, March 1999
– does anyone have the continuation or know the author?

Thanks to J.P. Coumans for the article scan.

Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters

I’d like to focus on the early career of Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters – four songs released across five singles during 1964-1966, before Huey signed to Curtom and recorded the songs issued on his great posthumous LP.

These four are the influential “Monkey Man” and a great cover of Junior Wells’ “Messin with the Kid”, along with a fantastic soul number, “Just Being Careful”. His version of “Beg Me” isn’t bad, but it’s probably the weakest number on these early 45s.

Baby Huey was born James Ramey in Richmond, Indiana and formed the Babysitters in Chicago in 1963 with guitarist Johnny Ross and organ player/trumpeter Melvin “Deacon” Jones. Melvin Jones is brother of jazz drummer Harold Jones. Reno Smith was the drummer at some point (though I’m not sure if he’s on these singles). “Monkey Man” and “Just Being Careful” were both written by John R. Ross.

Other members of the Babysitters included Plato Jones on percussion, Danny O’Neil on guitar, Rick Marcotte on trumpet, and Byron Watkins on tenor sax.

Baby Huey died in a South Side motel room on October 28, 1970, after a show in Madison, Wisconsin.

Early 45 releases

The history of Baby Huey’s early singles is somewhat confusing because of the repetition of songs. Below seems to be a complete list from this time period:

Shann 73924 – Just Being Careful / Messin’ With the Kid (1965)
USA 801 – Just Being Careful / Messin’ With the Kid (April ’65)
St. Lawrence 1002 – Monkey Man / Beg Me (1965, issued on both blue and white labels)
St. Lawrence 1002 – Monkey Man / Messin’ With the Kid (1965, white label only)
Satellite 2013 – Monkey Man / Messin’ With the Kid (1967)

Some or all of the Shann 45s have the label name marked over with “USA”. I don’t believe “Monkey Man”/”Beg Me” exists on Satellite.

The St. Lawrence white label of Monkey Man was bootlegged in 2011.

In 2005 an acetate came up on auction that was supposed to be an unreleased instrumental by Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters. I had a sound clip up here for over a year before Mark Namath identified it as “Zoobie” by the Noisemakers. The acetate was probably a DJ or collector’s cut misidentified as Baby Huey – there’s no connection whatever between the groups.

Thanks to Dean Milano for scan of the photo of Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters at the top of the page. Check out Dean’s new book The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s.

Transfer of “Beg Me” thanks to a fan of the group.

Gigs and announcements in the press

According to Billboard, promoter Barry Fey’s first production was a Baby Huey show in Rockford, IL. Eventually Huey and the Babysitters were managed by Marv Stuart’s State and Madison Management (listed as Marv Heiman on wikipedia).

Billboard and Jet magazines kept tabs on some of Baby Huey’s doings during the late ’60s. I’m sure Chicago newspapers from the time have more listings.

1966
various months – Thumbs Up, Chicago
February 25 – Harmony Hall, Chicago
October – at Trude Hellers, also an announcement that Capitol Booking has signed the group

1967
January- at Ungano’s club in New York
November 10-21 – at the Cheetah in Chicago
December 31 – at the Cheetah in Chicago with the Exception

1968
March 16 – at the Jaguar with the Shadows of Knight
April 5 – The Deep End, Park Ridge, Illinois
May 31 – The Deep End
June 28 – The Deep End
July 9 – Hullabaloo Club, Genoa Road, Belvidere, Illinois
July 10 – The Deep End
July 12 – The New Place with Christopher Robin & Friends
July 19 – The Green Gorilla
July 20 – The Cellar, with the Byzantine Empire
July 26 – The Deep End
August 7 – The New Place with Fire and Ice
August 9 – The Cellar with the One Eyed Jacks
August 17 – The Deep End
November 23 – at Mother Duck with the Box Tops
November 27 – The Deep End

1969
March 1 – The Wild Goose, Rt 120 & Lewis Ave, Waukegan, Illinois
March 22 – The Wild Goose
April – at Barnaby’s Balcony in Chicago and at the Cheetah in Chicago beginning April 21
May – Billboard reports the group scheduled to record their first LP for Curtom in New York.
May 6 – Appearance on the Soul! TV show, with Dee Dee Warwick, Lord Superior, Shirley Chisholm and Jacob Lawrence – anyone have a clip of this?
May 22 – The Chances ‘R’, Champaign, Illinois
May 21 – appearance on the Merv Griffin Show, in New York
June (2nd week) – Merv Griffin Show broadcast on various dates depending on city
August 14 – Jet announces that Baby Huey was “ailing a bit” in Chicago.

1970
April 24 – Sound Storm Festival, Poynette, Wisconsin (There are a number of excellent photos at (Wisconsin Historical Society – search for Baby Huey or Sound Storm under photos and images.)
August 1 – Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, WI
October 31 – Drake University Homecoming Dance, Val-Air Ballroom (scheduled but cancelled due to Jim Ramey’s passing on the 28th, replaced by Just Us and the Batch)

Billboard also mentions that after Huey’s death, the Babysitters changed their name to Boink for at least one live show. However Robert Baker, in a comment below states “The Babysitters never changed their name to Boink. This was another concurrent group that had at least two ex-Babysitters in the group.” Live dates from publications including The Daily Herald (Chicago), the Des Moines Register, the Belvidere Daily Republican.


at the Jaguar with the Shadows of Knight!
March 16, 1968
 


Jet, November 12, 1970
 


Billboard, December 5, 1970
 


Jet, October 7, 1971

Billboard, October 29, 1966


Billboard, November 26, 1966


Jet, January 19, 1967

Baby Huey & the Baby Sitters, Traverse_City Record Eagle Aug. 8, 1967
This news item was picked up nationally in August, 1967. I can’t find further details.


Billboard, September 30, 1967


Billboard, November 18, 1967


Billboard, December 23, 1967


at Mother Duck with the Box Tops
November 23, 1968

Jet, March 6, 1969

Baby Huey & the Babysitters on Soul!, Bridgeport Post March 6, 1969
Baby Huey & the Babysitters appear on the Soul! TV show, with Dee Dee Warwick, Lord Superior, Shirley Chisholm and Jacob Lawrence, March 6, 1969 – anyone have a clip of this?


Billboard, April 1, 1969


Billboard, April 12, 1969


Billboard, April 26, 1969


Billboard, May 17, 1969 – does the tape of this broadcast still exist?!

Baby Huey & the Babysitters on Merv Griffin, Independent Press-Telegram, June 8, 1969
Broadcast of the Merv Griffin Show on June 11, 1969

Baby Huey & the Babysitters at Lou's Quarry, Appleton Post-Crescent July 31 1970
Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, Wisconsin, August 1, 1970


Jet, August 14, 1969

At Lou’s Quarry, Appleton, Wisconsin, August 1, 1970
Baby Huey & the Babysitters, Daily Journal March 20, 1969
Baby Huey profiled in the The Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minnesota), March 20, 1969

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