The Van Recording label was owned by Bobby Van Meter, his brother Charles Van Meter and Lonny Roberts, who sang on at least two 45s of his own on the label. They ran the label and studio out of a music shop in Lake Jackson or Clute, Texas, though the label shows different addresses, first Angleton and later Brazosport and Freeport.
Any help with this discography would be appreciated.
The numbering is systematic – the first three digits are the release # and last two are the year, so the Raiders “Stick Shift” (Van 00262) is the label’s second release (002) and dates to 1962 (62).
00162 – Lawrence Flippo & the Futuras – Let’s Do It / Cry, Cry, Cry
00262 ¹– Raiders – (It’s a) Stick Shift (J. Caster, T. Simpson) / Skipping Around (also released on Vee Jay 504)
00362 – Lonny Roberts and the Futuras – Don’t You Know / One More Try
004 – ?
00563 – The Futuras – The Hum / The Walk
00663 – Raiders – It’s Motivation (J. Castor, T. Simpson, B. Pitcock) / On a Straight Away
00763 – Raiders – Supercharged / Cruising Low
00864 – Walter Crane with the Raiders – Everyday I Have the Blues / My Chances
00964 – Bobby Clanton – Angel / I Needed Love
01064 – Raiders – Raisin’ Cane / Repetition
01164 – Larry Dallas – The Two Step / I Forgot To Remember To Forget (also on Dallas DS 1)
01264 – Bobby Reed – Twistin’ Petition / Girl Of My Dreams
01364 – Lonny Roberts and the Raiders – Rugged But Right / Room Full of Roses
01464 – Originals – Scatter-Shot / Lucille
01564 – Melody-Aires – Surely I Will (A.E. Brumley) / River Of Jordan (H. Houser)
01664 – Bobby Clanton – The Way That You Are (M. Angel) / Was It Wrong Loving You
01764 – Herb Torres – Dalia / Tribute to J.F.K.
01864 – Ronnie Ellis and the Originals – Honey Blonde / One Little Raindrop (prod. by Wallace Schlemmer)
01964 – (The) Drag Rags – Judy / An Empty Cup (and a Broken Date)
020 – ?
02165 – Originals – Stick Shift ’65 / Blast-Off!
022 – ?
02365 – Larry Dallas – Cheatin’ Woman (Louis Hobbs) / Have I Waited Too Long (also on Majestic 1001)
024 – ?
025 – ?
02665 – Bobby Clanton and the Plateaus – You Can Have Her / An Adventure To You
02765 – The Gudell Brothers featuring the Melody Makers – Heart Full of Country Music / E-String Boogie Rock “recorded live on stage”
02865 – Ronnie Ellis – Goodnight Little Sweetheart / The Right Way of Doing Things Wrong
02965 – Marvin Paul – None of Your Business (Marvin Laqua) / Help Me, Mister Blues
03065 – Originals – Night Flight / Comanche!
03165 – The Hi-Rollers – Slave Chain / Runaway
03265 – The Dinos – Baby, Come On In (Bobby Lira) / This is My Story
033 – ?
034 – ?
03565 – Originals – Searching for Love / How Much of Your Heart (dir. by Lonny Roberts, rec. by Billy Snow)
03665* – Rex Eaton – Lying Lips, Cheating Arms / Shackles and Chains (Taylorville, IL)
03765 – White Twins (Ronnie and Tommy) – I Can Dream / Just Another Face
03865* – Dave & the Detomics – Detomic Orbit (Dave Bethard) / Shatter (issued Jan. 1966)
039 – ?
04066 – Originals – Hop, Skip and Jump / No Love For Me
04166 – Originals – I Can’t Forget / Old Enough to Break a Heart (D. McBride)
04266* – Dave & the Detomics feat. Jeanne Eickhoff – Soft White Gloves (Lillie Bethard) / Why Can’t I
04266 ²– Lonny Roberts & the Originals – Each Night At Nine / Only Want a Buddy (Not a Sweetheart)
04366* – Oglethorp & Othelow – I’ll Still Love You / Please Don’t Go Away (both by Donnie Bearup)
04466* – Embalmers – You’re a Better Man / Somewhere Land
04567* – Stingrays – In the Midnight Hour / Girl You Said It Again
04669 – Bobby Sanders & the Psychlones – Come Over to My World / I Can’t Take It
70-46 – Red Mann And The Country Continentals – Heartaches And Honky Tonks / The One Who Changed Is Me
70-47 ³– Lynn Hendrix and the Country Blue Boys – I Don’t Need Anything / I Let You Go (Freeport TX, prod. by Lonny Roberts)
70-48- Lonny Roberts with music by the Raiders – My Sweet Love Ain’t Around / Guys Like Me
70-49 – Walter Crane & Exposition – Someone Special (P. Pennington) / A Place! (prod.: B.J. VanMeter, dir.: James Henry, eng.: Ray Doggett)
V-70-50 – Larry Weathers and the Raiders – The Crying Man / Driving Wheel, produced by L. Roberts, eng. by Ray Doggett, with pressing numbers LH-7384 and LH-7385
70-51 – ?
70-52 – ?
70-53 – Moonlighters – I Destroyed Myself / My Possessive Love (described as a country ballad, Pee Wee Kubon vocals on both sides)
70-54 – Larry Weathers – Believe In Me / Please Tell Me
V-7201 – The Western Four – Butter Beans / Blueberry Hill
V-73-02 – Mike Pepper, music by: “Pepper & Spice” – Let Me Be The Judge (C. Twitty) / A thing Called Sadness (C. Howard) (Mgr. Bob Geer, Producer: Lonnie Roberts, Director: Mike Pepper, Engineer: Ray Doggell)
V-73-03 – Russell Davis and the Country Alibis – The Devil Made Me Lie / Down On Skid-Row
V-73-06 – Mike Pepper – Seasons of the Past (C. Phillips – C. Kirk) / Take A Look Into Your Mind (M. Pepper) (Producer: L. Roberts, Director B. Sanders, Engineer C. Kirk)
1-69 – Lonny Roberts – Presenting … the Sage of the West
(The Bottle Is My Jailer; Loving You; The Devil & Me; Road To Your Heart; I Don’t Love You Anymore; Old Heartaches; Old Mountain Dew; Lonely, Lonely Man; False Impressions; Too Much Wine From The Bottle; You’re Just A Memory; What About Your Mistakes)
* denotes a Van record produced by Oscar Wells in Taylorville, Illinois.
In the mid-’60s Van released at least six 45s produced by Oscar J. Wells: two by Dave & the Detomics, one each by Rex Eaton, the Embalmers and Oglethorp & Othelow, and one or two by the Sting Rays. I’d like to hear those and learn the story behind them. Dave and the Detomics came from Morrisonville, Illinois. Mike Markesich tells me the Embalmers came from Mason City, IL, and the Sting Rays from Springfield, IL. If anyone has good scans or transfers of these 45s, please contact me.
¹ Very rare three-song EPs of Van V-00262 were pressed prior to the two-song issue, probably as demonstration copies to decide which of the three songs to release. The A-side had “Skipping Around” and the B-side “Stick Shift” and “Gone”. Confusingly, “Gone” was actually the Raiders’ version of the Duals song “Stick Shift” but mislabeled. On the EP scans, publishing and song writing info is written in pen (Jessie Caster and Terry Simpson, Glad Music BMI), along with the prefix “(It’s A)” before “Stick Shift”. “Gone” also has “-Gone” written next to it, which I think means to not include this song in the finished two-track 45. I still haven’t heard “Gone”.
² Two 45s issued given the 04266 catalog #, the Lonny Roberts & the Originals was a Texas recording, Dave & the Detomics were from Illinois.
³ In 1970, the numbering changes, so the first two digits are the year recorded, and the second two seem to indicate release # (a Walter Crane disc has LH-7281 which indicates a May, 1970 pressing).
Thank you to Mike, Brian Kirschenbaum, DrunkenHobo, Jim, Laurent Bigot, Barry Wickham, Billy Gibbons, porcupine, eleelandc, Chris Harpe, Eric Lelet, Jeff Brant, Jason Chronis, Dennis Wilson and Bob of Dead Wax for their help with this discography.
For more on Ronnie Ellis and the Originals see the article I’ve posted here.