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
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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

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 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

Mark Markham and His Jesters

Mark Markham & His Jesters had this one underrated two-sider from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, “I Don’t Need You” / “Marlboro Country”.

Originaly released on a local label, Power, then picked up by RCA.

I usually find major-label releases of garage 45s as white-label promos. I guess when the records failed to get any national attention from djs, the label wouldn’t bother pressing and distributing stock copies for sale. There are so many major-label garage 45s that exist mainly as promo copies, it makes me wonder if the companies really cared about these records or did they prefer to tie them up so no one else couldn’t do anything with them.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Chris and Craig

Updated to include information on the Chris Ducey album and the Penny Arkade

In 1965, Chris Ducey recorded the album Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest for the Surrey label (Mira’s budget subsidiary). Surrey had printed the sleeves when they realized they had a problem. Ducey was either under contract to another label or publisher, or he just refused to sign what was probably a one-sided contract favoring the label.

Supposedly Mira/Surrey label owner Randy Wood had already sold the album’s European rights based solely on the cover, a photo of Brian Jones at the Action Club in West Hollywood.

Randy Wood hired Bobby Jameson (who had not been part of the original album sessions) to write new songs to match the titles on the album! Jameson recorded these songs with Marshall Leib producing. Jameson claims he never signed a contract either, and that releases from then to now have all been illegal. All he was paid was $20 or $25 a song for writing and recording them.

The Leaves recorded Jameson’s version of “Girl from the East” as the b-side to their second release of “Hey Joe” in March of 1966, though when the song started breaking nationally, they dropped it in favor of a band original.

Some of the sleeves changed Ducey’s name on the front to “Chris Lucey”, but some still read Chris Ducey so there must have been a couple printings of the covers.

The album saw release again in 1966 on the Joy label, this time in Bobby Jameson’s own name and the title changed to Too Many Mornings with a photograph of smokestacks. For some reason this release changes the title of”With Pity, But It’s Too Late” to “Just One of Those Days”.

Read the full story on Bobby Jameson’s blog,

In 2012 Chris Ducey’s original version of the album showed up as an mp3 download on Amazon released by something called Essential Media Group, LLC. Though sharing the titles, the songs are completely different from Jameson’s, with different lyrics, tempos, and simpler arrangements. Overall it’s more of a folk session, dominated by acoustic guitar and Ducey’s voice. Neither the compositions nor the production are as adventurous as Jameson’s version.

Jameson wrote on his blog “I purposely didn’t listen to Ducey’s songs in 1965 for fear of being influenced by his work.”

After this debacle, Chris Ducey met Craig Smith while auditioning and landing starring roles along with Suzannah Jordan in a series pilot called The Happeners about a Greenwich Village folk trio. They performed their own original songs, and there was an appearance by the Dave Clark Five. ABC never picked up the series, and the pilot itself seems to have aired only once and is currently lost.

Craig Smith had been in the Good Time Singers for their two albums on Capitol in 1964.

Chris and Craig Capitol 45 Isha
Together Chris and Craig made the pop-psych gem “Isha”, released by Capitol in July of 1966, with “I Need You” on the flip. It’s their only 45 on Capitol that I know of.

Around the same time as this 45 came a single on Downey 140, which credits the artists as Craig & Michael. Both songs, “Drifty” and “That Kind of Girl” were written by Brian Carman and Steve Crawford, and I see it mentioned, accurately or not, that Craig was Brian Carman of the Chantays, so I’m doubtful this is Chris Ducey and Craig Smith.

They spent nearly a year rehearsing their originals with musicians including Don Glut on bass and Mort Marker on lead guitar. They cut a demo, now seemingly lost, “Rhyme or Reason” (written by Chris) and “(She Brought Me) Something Beautiful” (written by Craig) with John London of the Louis and Clark Expedition.

In 1967, they formed the Penny Arkade with Don “Marvel” Glut on bass and Bobby Donaho on drums. Michael Nesmith backed them with equipment and rehearsal space and they started playing live shows. Nesmith brought them into TTJ studios in Hollywood and Wally Heider’s studio. Late in 1967 they went into RCA studios to record songs for what they anticipated would be their first album, including the twelve-minute “Not the Freeze”.

Also at the end of 1967 the Monkees used a Craig Smith composition, “Salesman” as the opening song for their album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.. Smith placed other songs, such as “Country Girl” with Glen Campbell, and “Holly” with Andy Williams. He co-produced with Bob Thiele a single for Heather MacRae, his girlfriend at the time, writing both songs “Hands of the Clock” / “Lazy Summer Day”, and with the Penny Arkade providing the music.

Enriched by his songwriting royalties, Craig Smith decided to leave the Penny Arkade to travel in South America and Asia. He returned around 1970 a changed man. Monkees producer Chip Douglas ran into Craig in 1971. “He was spaced out and had come back from Peru and had an album he was selling hand to hand. He had a spider tattooed in the middle of his forehead. He was just a nice kid, a nice American boy. To see him years later it was pretty bizarre. He said ‘Remember me. I used to be Craig Smith'”.

Without Craig, the Penny Arkade recorded four more songs, “Woodstock Fireplace,” “Sparkle and Shine,” “Face in the Crowd” and “Year of the Monkey”, and then added a new lead guitarist, Dave Turner. Turner left and they added David Price on rhythm, John Andrews on lead guitar and Bob Arthur, and rechristened the band Armadillo for another year or so of live shows.

Craig utilized half a dozen Penny Arkade songs on his early ’70s solo albums, Apache and Inca under his new name, Maitreya Kali. The rest of the Penny Arkade tracks were not released until Sundazed collected what could be found on Not the Freeze, though many other recordings including their masters seem to have been lost.

Craig Smith passed away on March 16, 2012.

Sources include: Don Glut’s detailed history of the Penny Arkade (a good read, I recommend it).

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