Nomads Tornado 45 Thoughts of a Madman

Tornado Records of Greensboro, NC

The Nomads
The Nomads

Nomads Tornado 45 Thoughts of a MadmanNorth Carolina had many record labels in the 1960’s, but few were as prolific as Tornado Records. Based in Greensboro, the label had offices at 1712 Farrell Avenue, but also did business via PO Drawer 6787.

Tornado’s stock in trade was regional Country & Western music, although artists from as far away as Pennsylvania and Maine were released by the label. Tornado was owned by David Lee Perkins, whose name appears frequently with author credits on many releases.

The years of operation for the label seem to have been rather compact, roughly estimated to range from late 1964 to mid-1967, referencing Mike Markesich’s excellent tome, “Teenbeat Mayhem.”

Caravans Tornado 45 Twistin', Rockin', BabyAlthough typically beyond the scope of Garage Hangover, Tornado registers in the minds of garage fans as the home of the second single by The Nomads of Mt. Airy, North Carolina. As far as Tornado was concerned, The Nomads were a “Sensational New Discovery,” and said just that right on the record label. “Thoughts of a Madman” b/w “From Zero Down” was released in April of 1967, and ranks high among garage rock enthusiasts nationwide. It was the Nomads second single, the first being on the Stark label profiled on this site.

Also of note are the Caravans from Greensboro. Their single, “Twistin’ Rockin’ Baby” b/w “Rainbow of Love” from a couple of years earlier rocks pretty well, with an occasionally cool, John Lennon-esque vocal on the A-side.

Profile of Tornado Records artist Gail Day, Feb. 2, 1967
Profile of Tornado Records artist Gail Day, Feb. 2, 1967

Tornado Records Discography (if anyone can help fill in the gaps, more power to them):

Tornado EP-100 – Roy & Jackie Baker & the South Mountain Boys – You’re Not the Girl I Used to Know, I’m Showing You the Way/Little Heart, What Life Could Have Been

Tornado T-101 – Glenn Thompson “My Mary” / “What A Line”
Tornado T-102 – South Mountain Boys featuring Little Debbie Baker – “Twistin’ Rockin’ Baby” / “I’m Falling for You, You, You”
Tornado T-103 – Dewey Ritter & the Panhandle Boys “I Walk A Lonely Road (Because of You)” / “Be My Sunshine Forever”
Tornado T-104 – South Mountain Boys “Gonna Hand You A Ticket” / “Dial My Number”
Tornado T-105 – Roy Baker & the South Mountain Boys “Jocassee Nona” / “Close As The Nearest Phone”
Tornado T-106 – Caravans “Twistin’ Rockin’ Baby” / “Rainbow of Love” (Greensboro)
Tornado T-107EP – Gloria Weston “Missing in Action (In Vietnam),” Kenny Craft “What A Fool Am I,” and Rod Rodgers “Hot Game of Dice” and “A Daughter Never Fools Her Mother”
Tornado T-108 – Joyce Mills “You’re Not the Boy I Used To Know” / ??
Tornado T-109 – Dewey Ritter – “Big Deal”  /  “Georgia Took My Name”

Harold Crosby
Harold Crosby

Tornado T-110 – Harold Crosby “Big Big Truck” / “I Will Mend Your Heartaches Tomorrow” (Maine)
Tornado T-111 – ?
Tornado T-112 – ?
Tornado T-113 – Dick Mosely “Cry No More” / “Wagons-Ho”
Tornado T-114 – Henry E. Noe & the Calvary Gospel Team – Tell Them When You Saw Me, Cry Aloud & Spare Not/Ananias, I’m Moving Up
Tornado T-115 – Joyce Love “Judy Judy” / “Strawberry Sundae”
Tornado T-116 – Gord Worrall – “Wagon’s Ho” / “Freedom Will Take Command”
Tornado T-117 – Joyce Lynn “Touch of Heartache” / “Heaven Help Me (Another Lonely Day)”
Tornado T-118 – Dick Mosely “Getting My Kicks in ’66” / ??
Tornado T-119 – Margie Lee “It’s Too Late” / “Let’s Fall In Love Together”
Tornado T-120 – ?
Tornado T-121 – Carl Pride “You Can’t Catch My Mustang” / “If I Don’t Miss You” (Greensboro)
Tornado T-122 – Lorene Weaver & the Country Boys – I’m Leaving You/ ?
Tornado T-123 – Larry Campbell & the Country Playboys “Break-Through” / “Bluegrass Mountain Home”
Tornado T-124 – Bobby Adkins & Allen Mills “Bluegrass in Kentucky” / “I’m So Sorry That I Threw Your Love Away”
Tornado T-125 – George Dry & the Daydreamers “One Lung Charlie” / “Hard-Rock Sam” (PA)
Tornado T-126 – Jimmy Hart – Symbol of Love/I Think I Know
Tornado T-127 – Joe Stone & Bobby Atkins “Singing Love Songs (Bluegrass Style)” / “Tears and Roses”
Tornado T-128 – ?
Tornado T-129 – Billy Beal “Rainy Day Blues” / “Cold, Dark And Deep”
Tornado T-130 – Tommy Jones & the Hayriders “Ballad of Gamblin’ Lil” / “God – Dollar”
Tornado T-131 – ?
Tornado T-132 – Joni Day “I Wonder If” / “Again He Said to Me” (PA)
Tornado T-133 – Johnny Jones “You’ve Turned Me Down” / “A Million Times”
Tornado T-134 – Harold Crosby “Bright Lights (and Blond Haired Women)” / “Let’s Fall in Love Together” (Maine)
Tornado T-135 – ?
Tornado T-136 – Joe Stone & Bobby Atkins “Stolen Kisses Are The Sweetest” / “Mister Bluegrass (Here’s To You)”
Tornado T-137 – Gail Day “Santa Didn’t Come” / “Please, Mr. Santa” (8 year old daughter of George and Joni Day) (PA)
Tornado T-138 – Bobby Adkins “Bluest Guy In Town” / “You Stopped Loving Me”
Tornado T-139 – Ray Josey “Orchids & Diamonds” / “Silver Tears”
Tornado T-140 – Joyce Lynn – “Stop That Knockin'” / “Though Not as Yet” (Clint Thompson, D.L. Perkins)
Tornado TLP-141 – George & Joni Day EP “Tears In My Heart,” “Sorry,” “The One You Left Me For,” “Make Up Your Mind,” “Too Many – Too Few,” “We’ll Work It Out” (PA)
Tornado T-142 – Tommy Jones – Country D.J./He Started With a Quarter
Tornado T-143 – Glenn Thompson “Bad, Bad Dream” / “Thirteen Stripes in Old Glory”
Tornado T-144 – Glenn Thompson “Walk Softly (You’re Walking On My Heart)” / “You Didn’t Want Me Yesterday (I Don’t Want You Today)”
Tornado T-145 – Hank Brooks & the Midnite Rangers “Big, Big Heart” / “Pretty Picture On My Wall”

Lefty Hales
Lefty Hales

Tornado T-146 – Lefty Hales & the Carolina Partners “Stop Me” / “Anywhere, Anytime” (Goldsboro)
Tornado T-147 – Mettie Lou “A Soldier’s Prayer” / ??
Tornado T-148 – Bobby Adkins “Soldier’s Return” / “There’s Not Enough Words”
Tornado T-149 – Tommy Jones & the Hayriders “The Commies Are Coming” / “Love Is A Mountain Of Gold”
Tornado T-150 – ?
Tornado T-151 – ?
Tornado T-152 – Garland Atkins & the Sunny Mountain Partners “I Miss You Most Of All” / “Singin’ The Blues”
Tornado T-153 – Tommy Harrell & the Country Valients “One Drink Too Many” / You Sure Got The Best Of Me” (Eastern NC)
Tornado T-154 – ?
Tornado T-155 – ?
Tornado T-156 – ?
Tornado T-157 – Cousin Lee & Little Hank EP “Lonely and Blue,” “Don’t Judge Another Person,” “Lifetime To Forget,” “Little Hank’s Shuffle”
Tornado T-158 – Tommy Jones & the Hayriders “You Got Something Gal” / “Let Her Go”
Tornado T-159 – The Nomads “Thoughts Of A Madman” / “From Zero Down” (Mt. Airy)
Tornado T-160 – Glenn Thompson Sunshine Through The Rain” / “You’re Not The Girl I Used To Know”
Tornado T-161 – Dick Mosely “Truck Stop Number Three” / “Under the Double Eagle”
Tornado T-162 – Billy Beal  “A Lifetime to Forget”  /  “Queen Without a Throne”
Tornado T-163 – Bobby Adkins “Ballad of Gamblin’ Lil” / “What About My Blue Heart”
Tornado T-164 – Bobby Adkins “Miss Thirteen, Teenage Queen” / “Day of God’s Wrath”
Glenn Thompson Tornado LP Best OfTornado T-165 – ?
Tornado T-166 – Glenn Thompson “Where The Red River Flows” / “King of the Endless Highways”

One Tornado LP has been identified thus far:

Tornado LP-102 The Best of Glenn Thompson

Thanks to Chris Bishop for additions, Lightnin’ Wells, Bob Clere for jpegs and helpful comments, and to Mike Markesich for key dates.

Glenn Thompson Tornado 45 What a LineGeorge Dry & the Daydreamers Tornado 45 One-Lung Charlie

Tommy Jones & the Hayriders Tornado 45 The Commies Are CommingCarl Pride Tornado 45 You Can't Catch My Mustang

The Nomads
The Nomads
The Nomads
The Nomads

34 thoughts on “Tornado Records of Greensboro, NC”

  1. Billy Beal (T-129) is in my 2nd WI bk (On That Wisconsin Beat), p.84. I show that as 1966, with a 2nd Tornado 45 in ’67, #T=162). LMK if you’d like more details.

    1. Thanks for the addition, Gary. I have both of your books and I see that entry now. This information underscores Tornado’s national reach.

    2. Gary, can you also share the songs’ authorships, and publishing for all four Billy Beal sides? I’ve been assembling those details as well. Thx.

        1. Beal wrote “Rainy Day Blues” & “Queen w/o A Throne”; more info on the bmi site. That site lists 1 “Cold, Dark … ” & 2 “Lifetime 2 Forget”. I guess the only way to know if those are the same song is if you have the 45 showing the writers.

  2. Nice job, Ken. Glenn Thompson was a fixture on the local music scene. He and his band, the Dixie Playboys, performed regularly at the WDVA Barn Dances, which were broadcast live (on WDVA, AM 1250) from the old fairgrounds in Danville, Va. WDVA disc jockey Homer “T” (Thomasson) performed with Glenn and did comedy routines. Homer T also recorded for Raven Records and operated T Bird Country, a popular nightspot on Rt. 58 which featured a variety of country and rock acts. The building still stands on the outskirts of town. I believe Glenn was from Burlington.

      1. I don’t believe so. Billie Byrd’s Raven label is Nashville based. The Raven discussed above I believe to be the Danville VA label. Jack Garrett is the definitive authority on the latter.

  3. Regarding Granite….Some labels say Mt. Airy, other say Herbertsville, NJ, even though the label design is otherwise identical. Perhaps they moved? I can tell you that the Onbeats’ “Catastrophe” is a cool rockin’ instrumental. The Tuttle Sisters sides are country bop, and Tommy Boyles is straight up C&W. Here’s a place to start.

    http://www.45rpmrecords.com/ST/Granite.php

  4. Found another one!

    Tornado T-117 Joyce Lynn
    “Touch of Heartache” / “Heaven Help Me (Another Lonely Day)”

  5. My Father was Roy Baker from T-105. There were two others that he and the South Mountain Boys had done on Tornado. One was a version of “Twistin Rockin Baby” Sung by my older sister before I was even born! I will try and send you any information I can on these. I never would have believed anyone outside of the family would still have any information on these recordings.

    1. Tony, I had no idea that Roy Baker was behind the Caravans’ “Twistin’ Rockin’ Baby.” I look forward to hearing whatever else you have to share about him and Tornado Records.

      1. He wasn’t really. They recorded it because they were ask to, so that it could be played for other groups in hopes they would like it and record it. It was doubtful my fathers band was ever going to sell a lot of records but they were some of the most talented musicians you could find.

  6. The Nomads later released a record nationally on Double Shot/Whiz Records in 1970. The title of the A side was “Fields Of Peppermint” and the record company changed the name of the group to “Willowgreen”. The song got favorable write-ups in both Cashbox and Billboard magazines. The song climbed to about 120 on the Billboard charts and was one of the top ten most requested airplays on a number of radio stations across the country.

    1. Thanks for posting, Larry. Several things to share.
      1) My band covers “Thoughts of a Madman.”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wONKlg9EKeM
      2) I have a radio show, All Heart But No Chart, that plays lesser-known songs from the 60’s, with a periodic bias for North Carolina. Thursdays 4-6 PM Eastern US at whupfm.org. Recent shows are banked for two weeks.
      3) For the purposes of this thread, can you parse out the relationship between the Whiz 45 and the Blu-erebus 45 on King James? Personnel, timing of release, whatever you think is pertinent.
      4) I’d be interested in hearing how the Nomads ended up on Tornado, which was almost exclusively a C&W label.
      5) If you aren’t already aware, you should check out this terrific FB page dedicated to (mostly) 60’s music from North Carolina. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ncrockhistory/

      1. To the best of my memory “Thoughts—” was recorded in Gibsonville, N.C. and I guess the studio was affiliated with the Tornado label. “Willowgreen bw Plastic Year” was recorded in 1969. King James was the name we chose for the label because our manager was James H. Johnson. I guess he got in touch with Whiz records and they paid for us to go back in the studio and up-tempo the song which we did with the same personnel and they released the song nationally. Bruce Evans, Larry Deatherage, Mike Badgett, Gerry Martin and Mike Beason were the band members. Whiz changed the song name to “Fields Of Peppermint” and the band name to “Willowgreen”

  7. Thanks for your comments, Larry. Really, please join the Carolina Rock ‘n Roll Remembered Facebook page (bullet #5 above) if you haven’ already. Make a post about the Nomads / Willowgreen / Blu-erebus and be prepared for amiable questions.

  8. One more has come to light, although all I’ve seen is a low-res label pic. Tornado T-122 is “I’m Leavin’ You” by Lorene Weaver.

  9. Found Tornado T-100! It’s an EP.
    Roy & Jackie Baker & the South Mountain Boys
    You’re Not the Girl I Used to Know/I’m Showing You the Way
    b/w
    Little Heart/What Life Could Have Been

  10. Somewhat related I guess. The April 1968 issue of Bluegrass Unlimted includes a letter from a David Lee Perkins of Gibsonville NC Writing of an idea trying to start a 1,000 watt bluegrass only radio station.

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