The Bystanders

Vanco was a label from Vancouver, Washington, near Portland, Oregon, so bands on the label could be from either side of the Columbia River.

The Bystanders had at least two 45s on Vanco, but I haven’t been able to find out much else about the band. The label credits Rick Keefer as engineer – he later went on to produce the New Tweedy Brothers among others. “Just Exactly Off” is pretty fine garage. The b-side is a ballad, “Flower Song”. Songwriting credits for both songs are Robinson – Tobius.

Another band on the Vanco label was the Twilighters.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

The Bubble Puppy

Two non-lp sides by the Bubble Puppy, a Texas group based alternately in Austin and Houston, and recording on International Artists. To me this is probably their best work.

“Thinkin’ About Thinkin'” is intense guitar driven hard-rock, not garage. “Days of Our Time” is maybe too busy but still has a good momentum to it.

Members were:

Rod Prince – lead guitar and vocals
Roy Cox – bass and vocals
Todd Potter – lead guitar and vocals
David “Fuzzy” Fore – drums

Rod Prince wrote a good history of the band on their official site, which is otherwise kinda clunky.

I should expand this entry on the band if anyone is interested in helping or writing it…

Hurricane Katrina benefit at the Tainted Lady Lounge

Heaps of thanks to everyone who came out to the benefit last week at the Tainted Lady in Brooklyn.The turnout was fantastic, and we raised nearly $1,000 to benefit two charities: America’s Second Harvest and the American Friends Service Committee.The guest djs Bossy Boots, small¢hange, Ms. K, Kittybeat, Marty Violence, Michael Lynch and Josh Styles came through with excellent sets of soul, psych, garage and funk that didn’t let up til the doors closed at 4 a.m.

The Epics

The Epics, Bakersfield Californian, Nov 20, 1965
Poor quality photo of Howard Dumble of the Epics, Jeff Gustafson of the Addams Family, Karl Haas of the Glanz, and Ron Sackmann of the Amoebas, in the Bakersfield Californian, Nov 20, 1965

The Epics have one of the best Louie Louie takeoffs titled “Louie Come Home”.

It’s a very danceable number as I found out when I played this to a packed house at Pop Gear some months ago.

The band was from California, perhaps Bakersfield. It’s leader was Howard Dumble, according to a clipping I found in the Bakersfield Californian.

The flip was “Give Me a Chance”, written by Dumble, Ward, Concelez and Iger for Shindig Music BMI. I assume Ward, Concelez and Iger were the other members of the group.

Produced by Lou Bowden, the single was released on the Zen label in April of 1965.

Anyone have a photo of the group or more info on this band?

The Pazant Brothers

The Pazant Brothers’ “Juicy Lucy” / “The Work Song” have a free, New Orleans brass band spirit, though the Pazant Brothers were originally from South Carolina, and as professional musicians were based in New York.

Working with producer Ed Bland, Al and Ed Pazant and their band created a lot of great music for RCA, GWP, Vanguard and other labels. They even played the Museum of Modern Art.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Ponderosa Stomp, 2005

When I returned to New Orleans in April for Ponderosa Stomp, I remarked at the time how little it had changed since 1995, or even 1986 when I first lived there. It’ll never again be the city I knew. All the closely-knit neighborhoods destroyed, people killed or scattered around the country, it’s crushing to think about.

It’s good to hear Irma Thomas, Eddie Bo, Allen Toussaint and many others are safe and accounted for.

Betty Harris, Ponderosa Stomp at the Rock 'n Bowl, 2005
Betty Harris, Ponderosa Stomp at the Rock ‘n Bowl, 2005

Betty Harris may not be originally from New Orleans, but she made her best records there with Allen Toussaint. She was also one of the highlights of the Ponderosa Stomp this year, coming out of retirement after 35 years to just floor the audience with her voice and charisma. It was a really stunning performance by a true star who hasn’t lost the least bit of her abilities.

Ernie K-Doe's van
Ernie K-Doe’s gone but his van drives on
Irma Thomas at the Lion's Den
Irma Thomas at the Lion’s Den
Little Buck at Ponderosa Stomp, tearing through Cat Scream and Monkey in a Sack
Little Buck at Ponderosa Stomp, tearing through Cat Scream and Monkey in a Sack
Little Buck's horn section at Ponderosa Stomp
Little Buck’s horn section at Ponderosa Stomp
Dr. Specs Optical Illusion downstairs at Ponderosa Stomp
Dr. Specs Optical Illusion downstairs at Ponderosa Stomp – they reformed for the Stomp, the highlights of their set being both sides of their awesomely rare and great 45.
Barbara Lynn with Buckwheat Zydeco at the organ
Barbara Lynn with Buckwheat Zydeco at the organ
Plas Johnson warms up
Plas Johnson warms up
Eddie's records
Eddie’s records
Julie digging
Julie digging
Eddie back in April – he and his family are alive and well in Alexandria now, but they’ve lost so much

Dennis and the Times

Denis and the Times 1967
Dennis and the Times 1967

Dennis and the Times of Norfolk, Virginia were three brothers on guitars and vocals, along with a couple friends playing bass and drums. The Burlage brothers’ father helped them record and release two 45s on the Trend label.

Denis Burlage – vocals
Guy Burlage – lead guitar
Dean Burlage – rhythm guitar
Skip Watts – bass
Paris Aiken – drums

The first from November of 1967 included their psychedelic masterpiece “Flight Patterns”. The song was certainly inspired by “Eight Miles High”, though I also hear some of “Have You Seen Her Face” in it as well.

The flip, “Just If She’s There” also owes a debt to the Byrds.

They found a harder sound for their second single, “Denis Dupree From Danville”, from 1969, released as Denis & the Times with only one ‘n’ in Denis. The b-side is a good ballad, “Whenever You Want Me”.

Denis and the Times
Denis and the Times

James Mrdutt sent in the photos of drummer Paris Aiken seen here, and other photos of Paris with an earlier group, the Mustangs, that I’ve posted to a separate page here. James reported that Paris passed away on December 24, 2009. He also informed me that Paris Aiken played drums on the recording of Billy Joe Royal’s “Down in the Boondocks”.

Jim McGuinn with Paris Aiken
Jim McGuinn with Paris Aiken backstage

The Emperors

The Emperors Wickwire PS Laughin' Linda
from left: Stan Foat, Steve Watts, Bill Hughes, Randy Siegers, Brian Cameron and Mike Elam

The Emperors were a southern California group based in Long Beach and not from San Bernadino as I’ve read elsewhere. Their sound had origins in a pre-Beatles rock and r&b style. They toured throughout southern California, including the Balboa Ball in San Diego.

As Steve and the Emperors they released their first 45, “Great Balls of Fire”/“The Breeze and I” on the Best label.

Then came two records on the related Wickwire label. The first was “A Fool For You I’ve Been” / “Searchin’ Around the World”, both written by Bill Hughes (Wickwire 13003). (See this page for more info on Wickwire and Best.)

Emperors Business CardThe next was a cover of Australian pop singer Tony Barber’s “Blue Day” backed with a good rocker, “Laughin’ Linda”, which was written by Cameron-Watts. This 45 was produced by John Hodge and Larry Wilson, and arranged by William F. Williams. Despite the bleached moptops on the sleeve, at this point their forte was strictly 1963 era pop, as the ‘Wipe Out‘ intro on “Laughin’ Linda” attests.

Stan Foat has noted the band’s lineup at this time:

Stan Foat, bass
Steve Watts, drums
Bill Hughes, guitar
Randall Seiger, guitar
Brian Cameron, saxophone
Mike Elam, saxophone and vocal on “Blue Day”

In the spring of 1965 they released their next 45 on the Sabra label. The A-side is a fine jangly ballad, “And Then“, but for the flip they fashioned an entirely different sound. A pounding bass and drum beat punctuated with staccato guitar notes sets up the leering vocal “Let me tell you a story …” and then the refrain: “He-e-e-y woman … I want my woman”! This is the kind of intense, demented record garage fans live for!

Both sides were written by Bill Hughes who also sang on “I Want My Woman”, arranged by Glen Spreen, and produced by Lelan Rogers before he returned to Texas. For a long time there was confusion over whether this was a Texas group because Rogers included “I Want My Woman” on Epitaph for a Legend, which compiled rare tracks of bands on the International Artists label.

The Emperors have one last 45 on the Two+Two label that I really want to hear, “You Make Me Feel So Good”/“Love Pill”. I wonder if there was a change of band members before recording “I Want My Woman”. If not, I’d have to say the Emperors did an incredible job of adapting to the trends in the music scene at the time. One change that definitely happened was Bobby Cochran replacing Randy Seiger on lead guitar, but I don’t know if this happened before or after the Sabra 45 was recorded.

John “Chris” Christensen of Opus 1 recalled the Emperors:

Steve Watts, (the leader of that group) and I met early in 1963 when he offered to help me set up my drums at a gig at the Poly Hutch, which was The Poly High School Youth Center.

I used to have a copy of “Love Pill,” but it seems to have gone away. It was a novelty song, in a sort-of Coasters style. The lead guitarist, by then, was Bobby Cochran, whom, I believe was Eddie Cochran’s nephew.

Bill Hughes was a member of the band indeed, and is the lead singer on “I Want My Woman.”

They changed their membership many times over the years, with the constant always being drummer/singer Steve Watts.

They also released an album in the late 70’s, when they were know as “Emperor.” The keyboardist from that version of the group who was also a member of early 60’s Long Beach band “The Illusions” was Mike Lobbett. Mike and I had a really hot duo in ’78- ’79 for about 8 months.

Spider Taylor (Emperor, Delaney Bramlett, Hey Taxi, and Red Wedding) was also the guitarist for my group, Midnight Flyer, in ’75.

Fan club president Renee Bagley wrote to me about the group:

I am not sure who the members were of Emperor. I knew them more intimately when they first started and had the white hair (The Emperors). I saw them later but I was there at their beginnings.

Steve sang then but was not the lead singer, Mike was the lead singer (the one on the far right of the picture). He left because he didn’t like having his hair bleached white. People made nasty remarks. Most of them at the time were going to Long Beach City College. He was engaged at the time so he just wasn’t into their image.

Then Steve started singing more lead parts. Bill did a lot of the singing too but he left and I think he got drafted … don’t remember now. Then Randy, the guy who is Javanese went I believe it was into the Navy (Vietnam War). I wrote to him a couple of times but don’t know what happened to him. He was a very nice guy.

Then there was Stan on the far left who was my favorite at the time who had a g/f who was always there when they played. He was the bass player.

I think Randy was the lead guitarist. Then they got Bobby who was youngest of them all at that time. They weren’t wearing their hair white when he came into the group.


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