Recently I bought the Yardleys first 45 and found the band was listed as unknown in the liners to Lost Souls vol. 1, from Pine Bluff in Teen Beat Mayhem, and from Alabama in Gear Fab’s Psychedelic States CD series!
Billy Bob Thornton had his own garage band, the McCoveys, in his hometown of Malvern, Arkansas, about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock. He wrote about the Yardleys in his autobiography, The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts:
The big band in my town was called the Yardleys … Steve Walker, Larry Byrd, Bo Jones, Bucky Griggs and Butch Allen. They had a Farfisa organ, bass, guitar, drums and Bo Jones played the trumpet. They played original songs and actually made a couple of 45s that were played regionally, but they may as well have been the fucking Rolling Stones or the Beatles as far as I was concerned.
The Yardleys used to have these street dances and they would rope off the main Dollar Store and Safeway parking lots. It cost fifty cents or a dollar to come inside the rope and dance in front of the band … Most of my days in junior high and high school were spent trying to figure out how you get chicks that looked good, and just standing there watching these bands like the Cadets, LSD and the Illusions, the Senates, the Yardleys and the Beethovens.
The Yardleys were playing a cover of “Cold Sweat” by James Brown. Steve Walker, the guitar player, landed on a nail on the wooden stage during his guitar solo. When he got back up, his pants were ripped and he had this bloody knew but he just kept playing …
In 1966 the Yardleys released their first 45 on the Foundation label, the top side featuring the subdued original by Bucky Griggs and Larry Byrd “Come What May”, backed with Butch Allen’s excellent and upbeat “The Light Won’t Shine”. Both songs published by High Fidelity Oleta, BMI, which also published the Lost Souls on Leopard.
Butch Allen wrote both songs on their second 45 from January, 1967 on their own Yardley label, the very Stones-inspired “Your Love” backed with the gentle “Just Remember”, both songs published by Quinvy, BMI.
Joan H. sent in this poster of the group that was posted to a website about Malvern.
Standing on left is Bucky Griggs, on right Larry Byrd, seated on left is Butch Allen and right Steve Walker. Although Billy Bob is correct, Bo Jones did play in the band, it was not for the full time and he was added at some point. Don Hicks was the photographer but he has not been in business in the Malvern area for a very long time. The bench Steve Walker rests against was used in many of the photographs for local brides.
If anyone has a better photo of the poster or other photos of the Yardleys or other groups in that area, please contact me.
Thank you to Joan for forwarding the photo.