King’s Answer to “Monster Mash”

“After making the label an important artistic nest for major jazz artists like Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Chris Connor and Mel Tormé,” notes Discogs in a summary overview of Bethlehem Records, its founder Gustav Wildi, in 1958, “gave the major label King Records half ownership as payment for distribution, and in 1962 Wildi sold King Records the second half of Bethlehem Records.”

With “Monster Mash” topping Billboard’s singles chart in late October 1962, Mann Drake‘s “Vampire’s Ball” — released on Bethlehem and rated as a “new single” in Billboard‘s November 17, 1962 edition — appears to be King’s attempt to cash in on the smash hit by BobbyBorisPickett and the Crypt Kickers:

“Vampire’s Ball”     Mann Drake     1962


Billboard designated the single three stars (“moderate sales potential”) in their November 17, 1962 edition, while that same week, Cash Box had no compunction about stating the obvious in their “graded” singles review:

Mann Drake (Bethlehem 3049)
(B) “Vampire’s Ball”  (2:34)
[Lois-Beck BMI — Zanino, Canton]
Side undoubtedly was inspired by the “Monster Mash” hit and, like the original, features [Bela] Lugosi & Boris Karloff imitations against a “mash” sound from the combo-chorus.

(B) “Horror Movie” (2:32)
[Lois-Beck BMI — Zanino, Golding]
Voice here is that of a hip-talking fella.  Back-up sound resembles that of the top portion.

The King recording session notes compiled by Michel Ruppli indicate the 45 to have been released October, 1962, both sides having been recorded elsewhere and “leased” to King. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Mann-Drake-45.jpg

“Vampire’s Ball” would be remembered in decades hence as having been deemed worthy of inclusion in the following various artists compilations:

Both 45Cat and Discogs indicate this sole 45 to be Mann Drake’s entire recorded output — is this stage name (i.e., “Mandrake“), therefore, simply sleight-of-hand?  Al Zanino, who co-wrote both sides of this 45, seems to be the key that unlocks the mystery behind the artist’s identity, so says Discogs:

A songwriter, band promoter and manager, Al Zanino co-owned his own record label in Reading, PA, Al-Stan.  He released a popular horror record in the 1950s, “The Vampire Speaks” and also released “The Vampire’s Lair.”  Additionally, he sang on his own under the stage name “Tony Albert”.

Vintage copies of the original “Vampire’s Ball”/”Horror Movie” 45 have fetched decent money at auction in the past ten years.  

Five years earlier, Zanino had recorded a horror 45 for the local market in Reading, PA — one that would be reissued on the single’s 50th anniversary in a limited edition of 500:

“The original was recorded back in 1957 by Al Zanino and Cliff Juranis of Reading, PA. Only a few copies of the original pressing survive. This pressing features a new picture sleeve designed by John Fundyga along with artist Rick Ulrich. The back features a copy of a rejection letter written by Roland/Zacherle on his original 1957 letterhead. Al Zanino sent a copy of the 45 to Roland when he hosted his Chiller Theater show back in 1957 in Philly. His letter was recreated from the original copy on the back of the sleeve. The letter has some funny comments written by Roland himself! The record label was painstakingly made to look like the original [on Al-Stan, presumably].”

Michele (Valeri) & Bob (Devlin)’s Color-Your Own Album Cover

Zero to 180 has been a direct benefactor of Tom Avazian’s unending quest for musical inspiration, a journey that has informed this website in countless ways. When Tom recently handed over a selected set of second-hand musical acquisitions, he knew darn well that I’d be powerless to resist this color-your-own cover for a 1977 album by Michele Valeri and Bob Devlin whose title track derives inspiration from P.D. Eastman’s classic children’s tale, Are You My Mother?

original LP cover 

There seems to be an obvious story, however, behind the flaming red copyright sticker that interferes with the album cover’s imperative to “color me please.” Thanks to a phone conversation with Bob Devlin’s collaborator, Michele Valeri — graciously facilitated by Grammy Award-winning folk musician Cathy Fink — I now understand the situation with the discontented copyright-holder-in-question to be even more convoluted than I had initially imagined.

However, I am still experiencing cognitive dissonance over the fact that Devlin performed at some of the DC area’s most prestigious venues in the 1970s and 80s, including Wolf Trap, The National Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and even the White House, and yet this album – originally issued on West Springfield, VA-based indie label, Pot Luck Records – remains uncataloged on Discogs. Where do I file a grievance?

Odder still, around the time of this album’s “release,” Are You My Mother? was voted by the American Library Association as one of the top “children’s records” — even though the primary “distribution point” for obtaining the LP was Devlin, a master street performer, and Bread & Roses, a cooperative (i.e., “worker-run”) record shop located in Dupont Circle.

Helping to unpack this story is Jeff Krulik, DC-based documentary filmmaker (best known for Heavy Metal Parking Lot), who righteously endowed Zero to 180 with choice ads, articles, and artifacts from his vast archives of Unicorn Times back issues, thus almost single-handedly serving up the images used in this piece. Thanks to Krulik’s copy of Richard Harrington‘s Unicorn Times review, for instance, we now know that Are You My Mother? had been released just before year’s end in 1977.

Unicorn Times — December 1977 — “Aerial” view

This sophomore release on the fledgling Pot Luck label had been preceded in September of the previous year by the debut album Live at 18th & M from “The Bob Devlin Street Band” — in actuality, a one-person operation, who had been recorded documentary-style with nary a post-production enhancement.

Unicorn Times — December 1977

Alternate ad for Devlin’s live debut LP

Devlin, by this point, had also begun placing ads in the Unicorn Times that announced his weekly performance schedule at two downtown DC locations — 21st & L and 18th & M:

Connie McKenna‘s feature article “Sunshine Street Singer” in the March 1977 edition of Unicorn Times revealed that Devlin, who once managed DC’s esteemed Iguana Coffeehouse, “sang with Pete Seeger and others at the recent opening of the Woody Guthrie movie, Bound For Glory.”

Devlin’s musical career, we learn from McKenna, began after a two-year stint as an Army draftee, having spent two years in Germany. Observing all the greenbacks earned in just a couple hours by a DC street musician playing the hammered dulcimer, noted McKenna, Devlin saw a potentially viable escape hatch from the soul-crushing drudgery of office work. Initially shy, Devlin hid behind his harmonica at first. Once he plucked up the courage to sing, however, there was no denying that “singing and eye contact were the ultimate street skills.”

Devlin, meanwhile, continued to employ a folksy charm in his marketing outreach efforts:

Within six months of pressing his first album, Devlin announced in the June 1977 issue of Unicorn Times that all 500 copies of the first pressing had been purchased, primarily on the strength of street sales:

In October, Unicorn Times readers were informed that a new album by Michele Valeri, in collaboration with “The Bob Devlin Street Band,” was now in the works:

Michele Valeri relayed the details behind the making and marketing of this album by phone to Zero to 180. Valeri says that she and Bob initially got together to trade songs, with Michele sharing songs written as a children’s entertainer. “You have some kids’ songs, I have some kids’ songs,” enthused Devlin, “Let’s make a record!”

Meanwhile, Joan Cushing – “Mrs. Foggy Bottom” – who played piano in cocktail lounges and dished about DC politics (not unlike Mark Russell, whose place at the Shoreham she would one day take) and Michele developed a budding friendship. While Valeri was doing an engagement at DC’s Mayflower Hotel and Cushing had a string of dates in Alexandria, Virginia, the two would see each other’s show on days off.

Cushing would be recruited for the new record, along with Steve Gray (bass, banjo & guitar), Marc Spiegel (vocals), Connie McKenna (autoharp & vocals), Barbara McKenna (vocals), Linda Devlin (siren whistle & vocals), Rob Bayne (drums), Michael Cotter (flute & vocals) & Hank Tenenbaum (bones). The album was recorded in Marc Spiegel’s apartment at Calvert and Connecticut in the Woodley Park neighborhood above a bakery (hence the song title, “Strawberry Pastry”).

Mobile Master’s Ed Kelly, who engineered Devlin’s Live at 18th & M album, was on hand (somewhere between the hallway and bathroom, where the vocals were primarily recorded) to capture the performances, including a “disgruntled” neighbor, whose sounds were incorporated into “The Dinosaur Song.” The album was recorded in two afternoons, according to Valeri, with Joan Cushing providing her services at no charge.

With regard to the featured song “When the Rain Comes Down,” Valeri reveals that Devlin one day was waiting for the bus, along with a cross-section of America [i.e., a well-appointed gentlemen with lawyer’s satchel, wildly-attired “hippie” types, day workers], when an unsuspected rain event caught the entire assemblage by surprise — and sparked a classic folk song in the process:

“When the Rain Comes Down” Bob Devlin & Michele Valeri 1977

Bob Devlin: Guitar, Cymbal & Vocals
Joan Cushing: Piano
Michael Cotter: Flute
Steve Gray: Bass
Michele Valeri: Vocals
Connie McKenna: Vocals
Barbara McKenna: Vocals

Album mixed at Paragon Studio* — Silver Spring, MD
CD remastering at Tonal Park — Takoma Park, MD

Michele & Bob’s bios — from the LP’s inner sleeve

Richard Harrington’s album review from the December 1977 issue of Unicorn Times:

Woody Guthrie had a rare talent for creating children’s records that made children out of all listeners, regardless of age. It came from various qualities in the music, not the least of which was his refusal to pander to pre- or mis-conceptions of what children’s music should be about.

Bob Devlin and Michele Valeri have rekindled those attitudes in this delightful album. The most obvious qualities are a gentle insistence and honesty towards the music itself, supported by unpretentious and amenable lyrics. This is a friendly record, folks, and when you’re not considering the innocence of many of its themes, you’ll be laughing at most of its characters.

The title song is a variation on the Old McDonald theme, here taking a Roots-like approach, but all in fun. It’s the story of a little chick who gets hatched alone and has to try and locate the warmth that once surrounded it. Animals figure a lot on this album, from the “Dinosaur Song”‘s classic 50’s rock and roll parade of species to Devlin’s sly “Little Black Bug” ballad.

There are people too: the little girl who really does want chocolate, the shared learning partners in “The Letter Song.” There are even vegetables on parade in “Fruit Salad Scenario.” It’ll be a challenge after hearing that one to blot out the theme centering around the line, “Oh you can’t elope with a cantaloupe…”

In other words, this is fun. Valeri has a classic cabaret voice by way of the Grand Guignol and Devlin, of course, has been entertaining all sorts of children on street corners for years. They are joined by good friends like Steve Gray and Connie McKenna and Joan Cushing and poet Marc Speigel. The songs come mostly from Devlin and Valeri, but there are literally as many flavors as there are tunes. Somehow it flows together beautifully, anchored by a spiritual undertow from Devlin. This record will last because, like Guthrie’s best “children’s records,” its values are timeless and equally fun for young and old.

November 1977 — Unicorn Times

P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother?,” as the title track’s reference point and backdrop for the color-your-own cover (drawn by Michael Cotter, founder of Blue Sky Puppet Theatre), was discussed at one point by the two artists after the album’s recording had concluded. Valeri suggested that perhaps they should seek permission from the powers-that-be; however, Devlin indicated that was not necessary, saying in essence, “I researched the matter and have found that you can’t copyright a title.”

Meanwhile, the album that (like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue) had been recorded in two days had somehow, as previously noted, made the American Library Association’s list of top children’s albums. Richard Harrington’s thumbs-up review added to the positive momentum.

Unicorn Times — December 1977

At this early point in their careers, there was so much uncertainty around the two musicians’ occupational trajectory, that Valeri’s parents’ West Springfield, VA address was listed as the base of operations for the wee Pot Luck label...This is an important detail, since by this time, Valeri had proactively and forthrightly mailed a copy of the new album to P.D. Eastman himself — in hindsight, almost certainly accelerating the chain of events that would inevitably follow...For, one day soon after, Valeri received a call from her mother, who told her, “I just signed a registered letter from Random House...I’m not sure, but I think you’re being sued!”

Many of her friends were delighted by the news, but Valeri, who was understandably horrified, immediately contacted an infuriated Eastman, who threatened to litigate. Valeri, whose teaching gig at David Perry’s Guitar and Lute Shop in DC’s Dupont Circle was her primary source of income, happened to have, by curious coincidence, Worth Rowley as a student.

Rowley — the guitar pupil who specifically sought out Valeri, as a result of his children’s enthusiasm for Are You My Mother? — was a prominent lawyer from a well-connected “Old Boston” family who had served the Justice Department for many years as an antitrust specialist. Rowley had turned up for his lesson one day to find Valeri especially down in the dumps and promptly agreed to intercede on her behalf. Before you know it, Rowley was in a three-piece suit and on an Amtrak train bound for New York City. Rowley clarified the optics of the lawsuit for Eastman and his legal reprentatives: “You’re suing a street musician and a special needs educator who serves severely handicapped children through music,” Rowley informed them. “Are you sure you want the bad publicity?”

Alexandria Gazette – June 28, 1979

Devlin’s “Folksongs Americana” children’s program at Fort Ward Park

[courtesy Jessie Devlin]


Both sides, thankfully, worked out an agreement, whereby the first 2,000 copies of the original Are You My Mother? album would be allowed to remain as is, provided that copyright stickers be affixed to the front cover of each copy, as well as inner sleeve adjacent to the title track. Additionally, all future releases of this album must be done under a new title and without the inclusion of “Are You My Mother?” [The CD reissue would be retitled When the Rain Comes Down and include ten songs from the original album, plus “The Tomato Song”; “You Best Take a Bath” & “Tiny Little Gear”].

Fortunately, this legal episode in no way deterred Devlin from becoming the cover story (penned by Matt Holsen) for Unicorn Times‘ October 1980 issue:

Holsen gleans a bit of wisdom from Devlin, who observes — counterintuitively perhaps — that “the street audience is more attentive, more involved in the music than the club audience.” Devlin explains: “You look up and there’s a hundred people standing there. They’re not there to drink or socialize. They’re just listening It can really scare you.”

Devlin acknowledges the challenge of creating a body of work that is consistent with his strong Christian faith while being able to stand solely on its musical merits. Devlin points out that “the Gallop Poll indicates that there are 80 million Americans who say they are born-again Christians. To the record companies, that’s 80 million customers.”

As Holsen observes —

Commercial music may be dominated by simple-minded hedonism, equally simple-minded cynicism or, at best, the dark melancholy of a Jackson Browne, and Christian music may be just another marketing strategy, but Devlin knows that he has an audience. He sees it every day on the street. He also knows that the very qualities that hinder his commercial success — his optimistic outlook and his unassuming, folksy style — are what endear him to that audience.

An unabashed proponent of folk music, Devlin believed its verse/chorus, verse/chorus structure to be a fundamental device for engaging others, providing opportunities for the audience to “join in.” Since people in other parts of the globe abide by the verse/chorus format, Devlin reasoned earlier to Unicorn Times in 1977, “it must be a part of the human psyche, it’s what works for people.” Furthermore, “the secret is to watch people walking by, to sing to each person as he comes by. Give ’em a wink. Be there for people.”

Matt Holsen noted in his October 1980 Unicorn Times cover story that the US Dept. of Labor once devoted four pages of a Bureau of Labor Statistics bulletin to Devlin, who was presented as a “model for youngsters considering careers in the performing arts.” This surprisingly informative bulletin from 1979 (#2001-14) speaks in practical terms to those considering Performing Arts, Design, and Communications Occupations:

Bob looks the crowd over with a practiced eye as he strides up to the busy corner in the heart of the business district. “Mostly office workers out for lunch, as usual, but there seem to be some tourists today too...Quite a mixture, in fact...They have the makings of a good audience,” he thinks to himself as he begins to set up his gear.

He removes the backpack that holds his guitar and a folding stool, then sets up his speaker system and hooks the microphone into it.  After removing his guitar and leaning it upright against the stool, he unpacks a large cymbal and places it on the ground.  He takes several record albums out of the pack and props them up against the speaker. Next he pulls his harmonica out of a side pocket of the pack and attaches it to a brace around his neck.  Finally he places a very small cardboard box a few feet in front of the stool.  “Hello, folks. How are you today?” he says into the mike as he sits down and begins tuning his guitar.  A few people stop to watch, but most just continue on their way.  Bob blows into the harmonica a few times, strums a chord, and then, assured that his guitar is in tune, begins to play.

“Bob Devlin’s my name, and I’m going to start off today with an old ballad that you may know.”  With that, Bob starts to sing.  More people stop to watch.  As he begins the second verse, he can feel himself warming up to the song.  About a dozen people have gathered around him, although most of the sidewalk traffic is still moving.  As he finishes his song, a distinguished-looking man in a pin-striped suit walks over and drops some coins into the box.  Bob acknowledges the contribution with a nod and a smile, then moves right into another tune.  A faster one, this time.  His right foot moves in time to the music, tapping the brass cymbal.

He’s feeling fine. .It is a beautiful summer day, sunny and warm, and Bob knows from experience what a difference the weather makes to a street musician.  A balmy day like this is perfect.  Bob moves quickly from one song into another, pausing between songs only now and then to talk to the people gathered around him.  A number of people know him, or at least recognize him, and call to him by name.  Bob has played on this corner before, and many of the people who work in nearby office buildings are familiar with his music.  They make a point of coming when they find out that he’s giving a lunchtime concert here.  

Bob is pleased with the audience he’s developing in this part of the city. And that audience, after all, is one of the main reasons he plays on the street.  The money’s good—for only a few hours’ work he can make $40 on a good day.  But the main advantage of playing on the street is the exposure he gets.  More people hear him play on this corner sidewalk than would hear him play at a coffeehouse or club.  In fact, most of the club dates he’s gotten lately have come about because someone from a nightclub heard him on the sidewalk, liked his music, and offered him the job.  Playing on the street has actually saved him the trouble of having to go and audition.

Career World — 1980



Right now, Bob’s musical goal is to make a name for himself in Washington, D.C.  He wants as many people as possible to recognize his name, his face, his musical style. He hopes that as he becomes better known, more and more people will make an effort to catch his performances—on street corners, in the parks, at craft fairs, wherever he happens to be playing.  Then, as his reputation grows, there will be more demand for him to perform.  Later on, Bob hopes to go on tour with an established singer or group...And he expects to make more records.

Bob already has made one album [Live at 18th & M]...He cut the album last fall, knowing how hard it would be to make a living by playing on the street once winter came and the weather turned cold.  Bob hoped that his record sales would bring in enough income to tide him over the winter.  He sold them throughout the year wherever he played, in nightclubs, coffeehouses, and private parties

Like all musicians who are just starting out, Bob had to cover the cost of cutting the record himself.  He used his savings, around $700, and borrowed the rest from friends. He made the recording, or master tape, during a session when he was playing on the street.  That saved him the expense, which can be quite substantial, of having to rent a recording studio. .Later he took the master tape to a record pressing plant that transferred the taped recording onto a master disc.  The master disc was then used to create the molds, called stampers, that were used in pressing the records.  Having the album covers made was expensive, but Bob was able to afford both the album and the covers at the same time.  In the end Bob found that the $ 1,100 he had was enough money to cut about 500 records.

Selling his records at $5 each, Bob was able to regain his initial investment after selling less than half of the first printing.  From then on, everything he sold was pure profit.  He sold all 500 records within 7 months, and, when people continued to ask to buy copies, he decided to print 1,000 more!  With the master disc already made, the second printing was much less expensive.  He paid for those records with money he had saved from earlier record sales.


A few college and underground FM radio stations have given his music air time, but he’s found it difficult to get his music played on most of the commercial AM stations.  “I’m lucky to have opportunities like this to advertise my record,” he thinks as a teenager in faded jeans picks up one of the albums and then pulls a wallet from her pocket.  Most of Bob’s income still comes from performing, however.

As Bob finishes another song, a few people begin to clap.  Soon the entire crowd is applauding.  He pauses for a moment, then starts into a well-known folk tune.  “You probably all know this one,” he says, “so sing along if you like.”  The music Bob plays is easy to listen to and appeals to a large audience.  That’s part of the reason for his success.  It would be harder to be a successful street musician with a classical repertoire.  

His rapport with his audience is another reason for Bob’s popularity. He talks and jokes with the people gathered around him in a relaxed, easygoing way.  At the same time, Bob attributes some of his success to downright practical considera­tions—picking the right time of day and the right places to play.  The crowd around Bob grows larger, and people start walking up and dropping money into his box.  He continues playing, responding to the encouragement and appreciation of his audience.


Bob has been a professional musician for only a few years.  He never thought seriously about being a musician when he was growing up, even though he’s played the guitar since 8th grade.  He never even took guitar les­sons—just learned to play by ear, picking up what he could from friends.  He played occasionally in coffee­houses while he was in high school and college, but at that time he thought of music as a hobby rather than as a possible career.  Shortly after college, however, he decided that he was bored with his job as a shipping clerk in a warehouse.  Playing on the street might be an interesting way to earn some money, he decided. So he gave it a try.

Once he started playing on the street he realized how important music was to him.  All of a sudden he knew that, if he could manage it, he wanted to devote himself to music for the rest of his life.  Bob feels lucky to be able to support himself by making music.  For only the $15 annual cost of a vendor’s license, he’s able to play on the street whenever he wants, and make enough to live.  Bob knows that performing is a very competitive field, and he doesn’t expect to become famous overnight.  Until he does, he’s content with days like today, when he’s able to share his music with people on a street corner.  For Bob, a life that revolves around music is reward enough.

Montgomery County MD’s Journal — Sept. 23, 1988

The Montgomery County native “does not simply start a song, he launches it”



Original track listing for the 1977 Are You My Mother? LP


Cover for the 1984 CD reissue

[artwork by Rae Owings]

CD track listing

By the 1990s, Devlin would halt his street performing work in order to make recordings that “reflected his strong Christian commitment,” as Richard Harrington noted in his tribute for The Washington Post in 1995. Nevertheless, Devlin possessed a special ability — as many have borne witness – to connect with people of all ages. “What Bob did was to transcend all the divisions that are there for entertainers, when it comes to what age you can appeal to,” Cathy Fink told Harrington, who joined WOWD host DJ Mackie in 2019 for a celebration of legendary DC street performers Bob Devlin and Flora Molton, among others. “Little kids, old folks and everybody in between liked him. Bob could get a 60-year-old to sing along as fast as he could get a 4-year-old to sing along,” recalled Fink, “He had a keen sense of the fact he was able to entertain every audience he got in front of.”

Harrington tells Zero to 180 that Bob was “a public showman” who “reveled in that role, leading people into song and choruses.” Devlin was “in a field of one” in his capacity to evoke an uninhibited response from young people, whether inside a school building or out on the streets, says Harrington. Christine McKenna, in her 1977 Unicorn Times profile, stated that “one of Bob’s best nights was when he had 150 people jammed into Canal Square, ‘singing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one song after another, it was like magic, like something from another time.'”

Michele Valeri minces no words today —

[Bob] was definitely one of my mentors.  He pushed me into recording that LP.  I don’t know where I would be in the world of music without him.

Special Bonus: Color-Your-Own Bob Devlin!

[performing at Silver Spring, MD’s Armory (demolished in 1998)]

According to Jessie Devlin —

Silver Spring put out a mini 8-page coloring book about their wonderful city. It was published by the SS Urban District.  There is no date on it….some time in the 90s??  Some of the topics are penguins [unofficial mascot] waiting for the metro, the bronze statue of a juggling unicyclist, and the SS 10K Challenge Run, and there on pg 6 is a nicely done drawing of the One-Man-Band [whom Devlin hoped “would never break up,” remembers Ken Giles of Bright Morning Star].

Jessie Devlin Responds to An Early Draft of This Zero to 180 Piece

  • As soon as I began reading this, a name came to mind – Chris Core – he was an announcer for WMAL radio.  He often played Bob’s music on the “talk” radio which I thought was really dear of him.  He loved Bob and his music and paid Bob a wonderful tribute on radio when he died.  Last time I was in contact with him, I think he lived in Bethesda/Chevy Chase area, but he’s easy to find thru radio if you want to include him. 
  • As to the P.D. Eastman story, our first notice that we were in big trouble was the fact that Michele, Bob, and Potluck Records each received a registered/sign-for letter from Random House.  This letter alone was enough to freak us out and luckily, as you write, Worth Rowley who just happened to be going to NY City for some kind of meeting told Michele he would check out the situation.  Michele told me later that Worth’s biggest convincing argument – besides his legal stature – was that he asked the Random House rep somewhat along the lines: Do you really want your very big corporation to be seen as going after a young lady who makes her living off of teaching guitar lessons, and, a young married street musician with a newborn child who lives in a one-bedroom rental?  That did it.  And Worth returned with a decent agreement that allowed us to sell the remaining albums with the promise not to print more.  As to Bob, he was very concerned; he realized the seriousness of it all.  But he always had this attitude of: Well, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll fix it; and that’s it. 
  • In his early gigs, when he was the Bob Devlin Street Band, his performances were mostly outside so there was never a problem having all the instruments played.  However, as the number of indoor gigs picked up, he realized that the under-foot cymbal – bent to give it a pop-back-up motion for the next beat – was not going to work.  It was deafened on rugs and scratched wood floors.  So “Rock” was added to the group.  Rock was a piece of slate Bob found on one of his endless shopping trips – he was amazing at always finding exactly what he needed.  Rock was chipped to the appropriate size and at the next gig, Cymbal and Rock had their own duo going.  But rugs came in handy outside also.  Bob was wearing so much electrical wiring in addition to having a ton of equipment around him that anyone who was partying a little too hard and got too close, well, it could be dangerous.  So, to have a more “official” placement, he would put a rug under his setup and let people know that it was his “staging area, (as well as adding a little bit of hominess!). 
  • I believe it was the Washington Post writer Eve Zibart, who added the suffix to what became “Bob Devlin One-Man-Band Extraordinaire.”   Bob often introduced himself:  “I’d like to introduce the members of my band!  Fingers! on guitar” – with a ripping guitar solo; “Feet! on drum and cymbal” – solo added to by Fingers;  “Mouth! on the harmonica” – blasting a full-speed every note solo; and finally ~ “my name is Bob Devlin and I am the lead singer! of the group” at which moment he would launch into a most glorious ripping rendition of “The Wabash Cannonball.”  People went wild with delight, only to laugh even more when Bob added after the musical intro:  I’d be in big trouble if the band ever decided to break up!”
  • In 1979, Bob launched into a business deal with real estate businessman, Harvey Fernebok, whom he had met through Marc Spiegel (think Strawberry Pastry!).  Harvey would make it financially possible for Bob to record his next album, String Rambler.  It was a street singer made classy!  Bob’s writing skills were finally in the forefront of what they were thinking as a next big national hit.  But although the album received acclaim, by others it was judged harshly because of the multi songwriter genres that were presented.  Some said it was fantastic and original; others who couldn’t understand his talent said he needed one concentration of type. 
  • In 1980 Bob was featured in Career World as a successful Offbeat Job in which one could make a reasonable living.
  • In Richard [Harrington]’s tribute to Bob, he mentioned: By the 1990s, Devlin would halt his street performing work in order to make a recording that “reflected his strong Christian commitment.”  This is a little off on timing and reasoning.  And it’s not something he went after.  It came after him!  His Christian songwriting had already begun taking form but it was something very personal for him – more like worship – and he postponed doing much publicly until he strongly felt the time was right.  Once in a while he would share a song at church, mostly for the children.  Then one time, LillAnne Pitts, head of the Children’s Dept of the church, approached Bob and asked if he could possibly write “two or three” songs to use with the Bible School curriculum that year, 1983. After looking over the curriculum and meeting with LillAnne, he came home and in less than three days composed nine of the twelve songs that would become the tape: For the Shepherd’s Children.  I think it took him by surprise as much as any of us.  
  • Also, by 1983, Bob was experiencing a huge influx of indoor gigs.  Having started out singing year-round including in cold weather, these were a welcome treat.  Not only for the warmth but also the guaranteed income.  Wanting his wife to be an at-home mom for their two girls, these gigs multiplied income into a dependable support.  Indoor gigs also included an upgrade in costume.  Although the street bandanna and red carnation remained, the jeans were replaced by black suit pants, and the once brown leather cap was replaced with the same style of Greek fisherman’s cap but in black.  And the brown shoes were traded in for black.  This was difficult because his shoes/boots weren’t just any kind.  The heel of the boot had to be made of a hard substance, more like wood that when striking the bass would create a sharp, clear, cracking sound rather than a muddled sponge-rubber of comfort heels.  More indoor gigs included numerous museum and zoological performances, local craft and music festivals, and countless school performances that had first begun in 1977.   He was considered entertainment and when pressured to be just as entertaining but to somehow make it educational, he designed his infamous and educational “Folksongs Americana” presentation. 
  • In 1985, Bob was once again asked to write songs for the Bible School curriculum.  However, now having both a 7 and 4 year old at home, he knew he wouldn’t get the silence he needed so the church offered to allow him to use one of the empty Sunday School rooms during the week and he was able to leave most of his equipment there overnight.  Another unexplainable happening – much like any great writer, designer, performer, artist – achieves in those special once-in-a-lifetime moments, Bob – in a span of less than two weeks – composed twelve songs that combined to become Circle of Love.  Another Devlin classic but short-lived, as we didn’t have the advertising help of big backers.  Ultimately, after Bob’s death in 1995, the non-profit designed to field these two tapes was dissolved by meeting IRS requirements of paying past taxes due on all monies received.  In the meantime, it was one more amazing creation to be boxed away and set aside to make room for further dreams. 
  • Also, the reason we don’t have a whole lot in pics of the private gigs is because most would have had to be taken before or after the guests appeared.  Not that they were nervous about anything, Bob understood as when you are in the upper echelons and you are invited to a home for the evening, you want to enjoy the food and people and the music without having a camera in your face.  But one fantastic thing that these gigs did was to let people see Bob out of his street gear and into his very classy presentation dress wear.  So more people felt relaxed and wanted to hire him.  And the residence part of his career took off.

10 Questions with Jessie Devlin

Q01:  What memories stand out from the recording sessions for Are You My Mother? 

A01: Memories…..Anytime I think of those recording sessions, the most memorable thing was the light – we were in Marc’s empty rental apt and there was so much light coming thru the windows.  And everyone was happy!  There was a lot of laughter and also a lot of ideas created in the moment as to how a line should be played or where an instrumental flourish could be added.   I was there to watch.  I took a ton of pictures and I enjoyed every part. 

Q02At the time, did “When the Rain Comes Down” hold any special place in Bob’s repertoire?  I know Bob was not commercially driven or oriented, but was there any thought given to making “Rain” the A-side of a single release? [Cathy Fink estimates that 30 other artists include the song in their repertoire as a result of her championing the song].

A02: “Rain” always held a special place in his repertoire.  It was the song that people sang along to.  And it would meld audiences together into one.  As to an A-side single, no, we were doing everything we could money-wise for his music on our own and we never discussed …, I can’t say that – we did discuss it.  But it just wasn’t possible.

Q03Was Bob particularly concerned during the legal tussle over the copyright issue, or was he able to hold the matter at bay and trust that everything would work out in the end?   Or neither?

A03: Random House – that’s elaborated [in the preceding paragraphs] above

Q04Did Bob originally contact Bread & Roses about distributing Pot Luck releases?  Was this a “special” arrangement, or did Bread & Roses support other local musicians in this regard?  

A04: Bread & Roses – this is one aspect I knew nothing about because I didn’t handle any of this.  But knowing Bob, it was probably something he presented to them.  As to other artists, you’d have to ask someone who knew B&R.  I was mainly the mom, cook, cleaner, bookkeeper, drop and pick up Bob at gigs or on the corners.  It wasn’t until the girls got a little older and lot of indoor gigs began to happen that I began to be the gig scheduler.

Q05How would you describe the energy that Bob conveyed as a street performer, and what were some of his favorite techniques or characteristic ways of engaging rapport with an audience?

A05: Engaging the audience:  Not much of a need there.  He was a HUGE happening and people wanted to be part of it, so they would come pouring out of their offices for lunch and join in with clapping and singing – Bob was a respite for their brains and a stress reliever for their bodies!  Once in a while he would add little stories to introduce a song and if the story worked he would keep it with the song but he never overused a story – just once in a while; a rarity.  Because his music was so welcoming and friendly, he didn’t have to draw people in – they couldn’t wait to jump in. 

Q06Given that DC is the Federal City, I’m just curious to know if there any other notables – besides Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Pete Seeger, and Sen. Howard Metzenbaum – who have been entertained by Bob?

A06: Oh sure, tons, but I can’t even begin to get into that right now.  It would take a ton of time and research.  I will say, he played for George and Barbara Bush ….I can’t remember if it was the Easter Egg Roll or one of the Congressional Picnics. 

Q07Did Bob and Flora Molton ever play any sets together while street performing?

A07: Flora Molton.  I slightly remember Bob taking his guitar and harmonica down to Flora’s corner [7th & G] one time but it was a very limited thing.  I think it was just something he wanted to do, to be with her.  And it wouldn’t be on the books because it wasn’t a paying gig. 

Q08Who were Bob’s favorite musical artists (or “heroes,” if any)?  Was Bob a music collector or “consumer” in any serious regard?

A08: Fav music artists ….oh my ….this is one of those questions that could be answered with a much shorter list by saying who he didn’t like.  In fact, I can’t remember him ever dissing another artist – famous or local.  That wasn’t the type of person he was.  Some of his favs included Bob Dylan – of course, and any song sung by someone with soul or party attitude or whatever.  He knew hundreds of songs besides the ones he had written and it’s what made it possible for him to play absolutely any type of gig that came along. 

Q09I suspect Bob had little to no tolerance for any commercial radio stations (even WHFS) – were there any DC stations that Bob actually enjoyed?

A09: Actually there were several stations he enjoyed.  I’d have to get a list and tell you because I can’t remember the call letters off the top of my head.  Why are you dissing WHFS?  Bob loved rock music …..haha…..that’s what he’d say to people when he put Rock on a rug in a home and he’d say:  Okay, we’re going to be hearing a little rock music tonite.  People would good-naturedly boo and then laugh.  He loved ALL music in the sixties ….well, except maybe the acid rock.  That was a bit much.  But all the songs written with good lyrics, whether supporting a march or walk-out or just a good time with a girlfriend, he appreciated the writer’s creativity.  But on top of it all – he rarely listened to radio – he was SO busy writing music and recording it over and over to see if he should change or add something.  Radio was not a high demand in his week or even a month. 

Q10What were the circumstances that led to Bob’s decision to retire from street performing?

A10: Like I said – there was no retirement.  It was more of a thing where, although he was making a ton of bucks at the time, the indoor gigs were even more financially beneficial and as people got to know him as an indoor performer, the gigs multiplied.

Northern VA’s Gazette — Oct. 25, 1984

David Arnold

[“whose one-man band is one of few besides Devlin’s on the East Coast“]

Quote: “Bob Devlin is certainly the best no-hands harmonica player I’ve ever seen”


Bread & Roses: A Community Record Store

The cooperative record store that once stood in Washington, DC at 1724 20th St. (between R & S) — and served as a distribution point for Pot Luck Records — no doubt took its name (Bread & Roses) from a slogan (“Bread for all, and roses, too”) coined by Helen Todd that captured the essential spirit driving the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century:

Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.— Helen Todd, 1910

Ralph Nader reported on Bread & Roses and other cooperative enterprises for In the Public Interest‘s March 4, 1974 edition in a piece entitled “Coping With Consumer Shortage:

One development in various parts of the country that bears watching is the spread of “community stores,” particularly in Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis, Madison, Wisconsin, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington, D.C. ..In the nation’s capital, drab with bureaucracy and impersonal architecture, a colorful, almost oldfashioned group of these community store coops are busily serving people who want to change their habits and find less expensive alternatives. “Stone Soup” and “Glut” sell food and another store, “Rainbow Bridge,” is about to open...There is a community warehouse and trucking coop to serve this network that hopes soon to connect up directly with farmers...“Bread and Roses” is a community record shop not far from a community bookshop. .“Romah” is a home repair service while the Quaker House Print Shop helps the communications process...A community pharmacy and food store called “Fields of Plenty” is now underway to practice the preachments of consumer protection.

Thank you, once again, to Jeff Krulik for all the images in the Bread & Roses gallery below (save the last one):

.*Note: Silver Spring‘s (forgotten) Paragon Studios notable in one regard, per Discogs:

THE MUFFINS – CHRONOMETERS (Cuneiform 55007) CD 73m
The Muffins were one of the most innovative fusion bands to emerge from the USA during the late-70’s, and whilst resembling Henry Cow in many ways, and also with notable Zappa/Mothers Of Invention influence, their complex style also drew them close to the Canterbury sound.

The recordings on this disc date from the very early days of The Muffins, circa 1975-76 and offer insight into the origins of a most talented and inventive band. The 23 minute suite, Chronometers itself, was only previously available in a very edited form on the Recommended Records Sampler, and it’s now really quite a revelation to hear it complete, notably the bizarre “Wizard Of Oz” collage and a music that nimbly cuts and jumps around, sounding like a mixture of Soft Machine (circa Volume 2 and Third), Matching Mole and Hatfield & The North. The other twenty, considerably shorter, tracks date from 1975, and would seem to be early demo recordings exploring a wide range of structures and styles. Mostly, these tracks present some of The Muffins’ most accessible music, rarely breaking out into the more crazed experimental realms of later works. Many of these tracks are arranged to flow in such a way as to seem like much longer suites, and thus (even though there are some very short pauses) tracks two to eight actually flow as if one 20 minute complex and cleverly conceived suite. Some of the tracks do stand on their own, like Peacocks, Leopards & Glass, a track previously heard many years ago on the Random Radar Records Sampler.

As an LP release, this would have been a double album, and thus Chronometers is an all round winner in terms of value for money, excellent music and as a curious insight into the origins of a most inventive band. A Recommended album indeed!
review by Alan Freeman in Audion magazine #25 (June 1993)



“What Is a [blank]” 45s

Today’s piece is inspired by (i.e., lifted from) a special Top 40 list of 7-inch vinyl compiled by 45Cat contributor, stereotom.  These (literally) defining songs — whose titles all begin with the phrase “What Is a [blank]” — have been organized chronologically and married with streaming audio where possible (click on song titles).  Was just about ready to post this piece when I stumbled on the fact that a key Johnny Cash tune was missing from this list.  Any others?  

What Is a Boy?” b/w “What Is a Girl?” by Arthur Godfrey

  • Music by Alec Wilder; words by Alan Beck; orchestra directed by Mitch Miller.
  • Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition:
    “[‘What Is a Boy?’] This is the original, done here to cover on Jan Peerce’s hit version.  Godfrey’s family following should be good for a few sales.  [‘What Is a Girl?’ The sequel and companion piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ is similar in construction and ideas.  Godfrey recites it Edgar Guest style with a pretty background set up for him by Alec Wilder.”
  • Released 1951 on Columbia.


What Is a Boy” and “What Is a Girl” by Jan Peerce


  • Peerce — American operatic tenor and father of film director, Larry Peerce.
  • Released 1951 on  RCA Victor.


What Is a Boy” b/w “What Is a Girl” by Jackie Gleason

  • Written by Alan Beck and Sammy Spear; orchestra directed by Sammy Spear.
  • Released 1954 on Decca.
  • Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition:
    “[‘Girl’ side] Companion recitation piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ follows the same successful format of the earlier work.  Writer Spear handles the background ork on this but comic Jackie Gleason fails to inject enough schmaltz into his reading.  [‘Boy‘ side] Coverage waxing doesn’t figure to catch the Jan Peerce disk.  Again Gleason doesn’t sell the recitation very strongly.”


What Is a Baby?” by Peggy Lee [from Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp]

  • Written by Peggy Lee & Sonny Burke.
  • Recorded with the Walt Disney Studio Orchestra.
  • Released 1955 on Decca.


What Is a Skunk?” [flip side of “Seventeen Tons“] by Sammy Shore

  • Presumably the same Sammy Shore who cofounded The Comedy Store in 1972.
  • Written by Mark Andrews.and released December 1955 on RCA subsidiary, “X.”
  • Billboard‘s review from the December 31, 1955 edition: 
    “Lots of jockeys will have a ball with this one.  It’s a humorous narration that examines all the different types of the aromatic animals.”


What Is a Disk Jockey?” [b/w “Dance of the Hours“] by Spike Jones


What Is a Wife?” by Steve Allen b/w “What Is a Husband?” by Jayne Meadows

  • Written by Ruth Roberts, Bill Katz, and Gene Piller.
  • Narration with chorus and/or orchestra directed by Steve Allen.
  • Released December 1955 on Coral.


What Is a Freem?” [b/w “I Never Harmed an Onion“] by Steve Allen

  • Spoken rap by Steve Allen, while the 45 label appears to indicate that the orchestral backing is an arrangement of “Mississippi Mud” by Harry Barris & James Cavanaugh (though I don’t hear the same chord changes — compare with Paul Whiteman’s original version from 1928)..
  • Released January 1956 on Coral.
  • Billboard‘s review in the January 14, 1956 edition:
    “Following up the successful ‘What Is a Wife’ bit, Allen comes thru with an apt successor which carries a load of crazy mixed-up double talk.  This is extremely well-written material, good for lots of chuckles and with Allen riding high on TV, albums and the ‘Wife’ disk, this could just carry on the happy trend.  It’s a particularly good programming bet.”


This Is a Wife?” [send-up of “What Is a Wife?“] by Homer and Jethro


What Is a Waitress?” [b/w “Honest John Grabmore“] by Sir Cedric Fat-Wallett II

  • Written by Lewis & Reynolds.
  • Released 1956 on Cameron, Texas indie label, Tone Records [notable for issuing rockabilly classic “Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt” by Wink Lewis with Buz Busby & Band].


What Is a Teenager?” b/w “What Is a Disc Jockey?” by Jim Ameche

Jim Ameche in 1940 — photo via Wikimedia Commons


  • Released in 1956 on Jubilee.
  • Songwriting credits and streaming audio are not yet within reach.
  • Jim — younger brother of actor, Don Ameche.


What Is a Teenage Boy?” b/w “What Is a Teenage Girl?” by Tom Edwards

  • Written by Buddy Kaye & Tom Edwards.
  • Released December 1956 on Coral.
  • Both sides made Billboard‘s Top 100 chart in January 1957


What Is a Skiffler?” [b/w “The Tommy Rot Story“] by Morris and Mitch 

New Zealand EP — May 1959

  • Written by Varley & Whyton — accompaniment directed by Harry Robinson.
  • 45 label:  “Introducing, ‘Don’t You Rock Me, Daddy-O'”
  • Released August 1957 in the UK on Decca.


What Is a Baby?” — Narrated by Rosemary Clooney

  • Prepared especially for Gerber Foods.
  • Composed by John Gart & Dorry O’Halloran.
  • Orchestrated by John Gart — conducted by Frank DeVol.
  • Released February 1958 by Columbia (among her final recordings for the label, committed to tape at Hollywood’s Radio Recorders on February 8, 1958).


What Is a Boyfriend?” [b/w “All About Girls and Women“] by Tom Edwards

  • Written by Anne DeLugg, Milton DeLugg & Tom Edwards.
  • Orchestrated by Milton DeLugg.
  • Released 1959 by Dot in the US — London in Australia. 


What Is a Mother?” by James Condon

  • “With Wilbur Kentwell at the Console of The Hammond Organ.”
  • Written by Enid Irving.
  • Issued as a “split single” b/w “The Teen Commandments” by Bob Rogers.
  • Released December 1958 in Australia on Columbia.


What Is a Boy?” b/w “What Is a Girl?” by Ira Cook

  • Arranged by G. Reynolds — vocal by The Mellomen.
  • Released October 1959 on Imperial.


What Is an Indian?” [b/w “Telephone Operator“] by Dal Williams


What Is a Wife?” by The Voice of Mahon (John Mahon)

  • Written by John Brindle.
  • Released 1960 in Australia on Teen Records as a “split single” paired with Graham Webb’s version of T. Texas Tyler’s “Deck of Cards.”


What Is a Rugby Supporter?” by John Pike [b/w “The Rugged Rugby-Playing Trail
by The Rugbymen With The Half-Timers]

  • Written by Alwyn Owen — narrated by John Pike.
  • Released 1960 in New Zealand on Kiwi.
  • According to Audio Culture (“the noisy library of New Zealand music”):

“In the early to mid-1960s, Westport radio station 3YZ was a home of broadcasting talent.  Reon Murtha, Lloyd Scott, Peter Sinclair, Bill Toft, Ian Watkin, Bob Sutton, Warwick Burke and John Pike were just some of the announcers who either started or built their careers there.  A good broadcasting team is only as good as its technical support and writers.  3YZ was lucky to have the witty producer/writer Alwyn (Hop) Owen on staff (he later founded the long-running RNZ Spectrum series).  In 1960 Owen and station announcer Pike recorded ‘What is a Rugby Supporter?’ – a spoken monologue reminiscent of the newsreel shorts shown in cinemas before the main feature.  Calling themselves The Rugbymen (with the Halftimers), it was released on Kiwi, backed with ‘The Rugged Rugby Playing Trail’.”


What Is a Grandmother?” by Paul Randal

  • Written (in all likelihood) by (Ruth) Roberts, (Bill) Katz, (Gene) Pillar, (Stanley) Clayton & (Teresa) Brewer
  • This 45 — released March 1961 on Roulette. — appears to be Randal’s sole release.


What Is a Daddy?” by Jeff Price


Qu’est-ce Qu’un Gars?” (“What Is A Boy?“) by Lucien “Frenchie” Jarraud 
[flip side of “Pardon… Mon Fils” (Apology At Bedtime)]

  • Songwriting credits listed as “Lucien Brien & Alan Beck.”
  • 45 label identifies artist’s full name as Lucien Hétu à l’orgue Rialto de Gulbransen.
  • Released August 1962 in Canada by RCA Victor.
  • RCA Victor Canada soon after (judging by the catalog number) issued another single – “Qu’est-ce Qu’une Fille?” (“What Is a Girl?”) b/w “Qu’est-ce Qu’une épouse?” (“What Is a Wife?”).


What Is a Disc Jockey?” [B-side of “A Disc Jockey’s Christmas Eve“] 
by Herb Dodson

  • Written by Van Steen and Dolan — produced by Jim Gaylord.
  • Compare with the Spike Jones recording from 1955.
  • Released December 1962 on Stacy.
  • Cash Box’s 45 review in their December 8, 1962 edition:
    “[A-side] In this adaptation of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ a disk jockey learns from Santa himself that he’s doing something worthwhile by working Xmas eve spinning Holiday songs.  [B-side] A sympathetic view of the deejay.”


What Is a Santa Claus?” [b/w “O Tannenbaum“] by Stan Kenton
[with the Ralph Carmichael Choir]

  • Written by Win Goulden & Jim Thurman — produced by Lee Gillette.
  • Released November 18, 1963 on Capitol.
  • Included as a bonus track on the Capitol compilation, Christmas Cocktails II.


What Is a Dad?” [b/w “Casey at the Bat“] by Johnny Dark

  • Composed by Johnny Dark.
  • Released 1964 on Dragon.


What Is a Fisherman?” b/w “What Is a Quail Hunter?” by Robert Fuller

  • Both sides written by Charley Dickey.
  • Released May 1964 on Challenge.
  • 45Cat notes:  “Actor seen in TV shows ‘Wagon Train,’ ‘Laramie,’ and ‘Emergency!‘ among others.”
  • Another 45Cat contributor recalls with a chuckle:
    “He was one of the best bluffers on TVs ‘Hollywood Squares’ game show, such that contestants would try to avoid choosing his square unless they needed to.  The pinnacle best bluff on the show was when he was queried, ‘Who wrote The Diary of Anne Frank?’  He rolled his eyes, seemed to be thinking deeply, and had Peter Marshall begin to inform the contestant, ‘It appears Robert doesn’t have…” – he blurted out, “That new Hollywood guy, Spielberg.”  The contestant agreed with him!  If you search clips from Hollywood Squares, you will glimpse him in a number of saved games.” 


What Is an American?” by ArthurGuitar BoogieSmith

  • From an EP of “favorite recitations by Arthur Smith.”
  • Recorded at Arthur Smith Studios – Charlotte, North Carolina (ca. Nov. 1963).
  • Released 1965 on Sardis (song also released 1969 on Starday). 


What Is a Truck Driver?” [b/w “Rainbow Road“] by Ralph Emery

  • Written by George Merritt — produced by Fred Carter, Jr.
  • Released 1966 on ABC-Paramount.
  • Record World reviewed “What Is a Truck Driver” for their July 16, 1966 edition:
    “Geared to the truck driver, this narrative has built-in appeal.  Chock full of identifiable images.”


What Is a Square” [b/w “Mama Sang a Song“] by
Brian Henderson with Bob Young and His Orchestra

  • Based on a speech by James R. Brower.
  • Musical Adaptation by Robert Young.
  • Released April 1966 in Australia on ATA Records.


What Is a Square” [b/w “That’s How Love Goes“] by Mike Douglas

promotional Ad Cash Box — February 1967  

  • Lyrics based on a speech by “Charles H. Brower” — music by Robert Young
  • Arranged & conducted by Frank Hunter — produced by Manny Kellem.
  • Released February 1967 in the US on Epic.


What Is a Jew” by Alex Dreier

  • Dreier — American news reporter and commentator who worked with NBC Radio during the 1940s, and later with the ABC Information Radio network in the 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Variety notes in their bio of Dreier:  “While in Los Angeles, an on-air commentary he delivered, ‘What Is a Jew,’ became a rallying cry for fund-raising to help Israel during and after the Six-Day War and was sold as a record in local shops.”
  • Both sides “composed” by Don Bresnahan & Alex Dreier.
  • Released September 1967 on Modern.


What Is a Marine” [b/w “The Night My Papa Died“] by Ernie Maresca

  • Written by Ernie Maresca — arranged by Dave Mullaney.
  • Released May 1968 on Laurie.


What Is An American” [b/w “Psychoanalysis“]


What Is Truth” by Johnny Cash

45 picture sleeve — SPAIN


What Is Youth” [b/w “Tennessee Bird Talk“] by Ben Colder

  • Ben Colder is an alter ego of Sheb Wooley.
  • Written by Johnny Cash & Sheb Wooley.
  • Released 1970 on (post-purge) MGM.
  • Streaming audio on YouTube still but a pipe dream — sing along in your head
    [To the tune of “What Is Truth“]:

A whole bunch of kids with real long hair
Standin’ throwin’ rocks at the town square
Might be fun but I don’t think it’s fair
Cause they call me the town square

Sure was different back when I was a kid
Some of the mean things that I did
The old man took down the razor strap
And he’d say Ben bend over my lap

Then the lonely voice of youth cried awow that is truth
You can’t even whistle at a girl anymore
It could be a boy and he might get sore
Then again he might not you can’t ever tell

Some of them fellers are really swell
They travel a lot and they’re really hip
Seems they’re always takin’ a trip
Bet there’s a lot of pretty country to see
Ridin’ around in an LSD
And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth

I saw a young man sittin’ on the witness stand
And the man with the book said raise your right hand
Not that right hand you’re other right hand
The young man on the stand didn’t understand

The judge said son do you solemnly swear
Said I swear I can’t hear you on account of my hair
Really it was long as a horses tail
But I guess that’s the US male
And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth

Heck I went to college for quite awhile
They say I made straight A’s in wild
Guess I was a little bit slow
I flunked protestin’ two years in a row

Couldn’t learn to speak the language of the kids in town
I’d say burn it up instead of burn it down
Even used pot to wipe out my head
But I used the one that was under the bed
And the lonely voice of truth cried
What are youth doin’

Youth are my friends youth and youth but not himth


What Is a Youth” [b/w “Honey, Forever“] by Toy Factory

  • “Original lyric from the motion picture, Romeo and Juliet.”
  • Written by Nina Rota & Eugene Walter.
  • Produced by Bernie Lawrence — arranged & conducted by Jimmy Wisner.
  • Designated by Billboard as a “Special Merit Spotlight” (new single deserving special attention of programmers and dealers) for the week ending Sept. 5, 1970:
    “Good new group sound with the original film lyric from Romeo and Juliet make this outstanding arrangement a hot contender for the Hot 100 chart.  Could prove a big one.”
  • Released August 1970 on Avco Embassy.


What Is a Jamaican” [b/w “Human Rights Song“] by Methodist Youth Choir

  • Both sides penned by Clyde Hoyt.
  • Narration by Radcliffe Butler — vocals by Methodist Youth Choir.
  • Released in Jamaica on WIRL.


What Is a Cajun?” [b/w “Tee-Boy Made The Opry (The Cajun Country Star)”
by Happy Fats (The Cajun Storyteller)

  • Written by Bob Hamm.
  • Released 1973 on Tribute.
  • Note:  This record is dedicated to the memory of the late Hon. Roy Theriot, former state comptroller of the State of Louisiana.


What Is a Boy” [b/w “Phantom 309“] by Murray Kash

  • Written by Beck & Winterhalter — arranged by Harry Robinson.
  • Released 1974 in the UK on Columbia.


What Is a One?” [b/w “Louie’s Market“] by The Zanies

  • Written by B.J. Hunter.
  • Released 1980 on Doré.

The Dapps at King Records

Music writer/historian, Randy McNutt, in King Records of Cincinnati, points out the irony of “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)” – a Hank Ballard single “obviously aimed at the R&B market” – being voiced by mostly white musicians:

[James] Brown discovered [The Dapps] in Cincinnati’s Inner Circle nightclub and used the band on his and other performers’ recordings.  At various times the band included guitarist Troy Seals, who became a major Nashville songwriter; Tim Hedding, organ; Eddie Setser, guitar; Tim Drummond, bass; Les Asch, saxophone, and [William] Beau Dollar [Bowman], drums.

McNutt also notes the band’s shared history with Jo Ann Campbell prior to the formation of The Dapps, in The Cincinnati Sound:

Petite vocalist Jo Ann Campbell made her mark as a 1950s recording artist who appeared on disc jockey Alan Freed’s live rock-and-roll shows.  She recorded an answer song called “I’m the Girl on Wolverton Mountain.”  By 1964, however, she had married Troy Seals, a Fairfield, Ohio, bass player [born in Bighill, KY] who had toured with Lonnie Mack and other Cincinnati acts.  Campbell and Seals moved to Cincinnati, formed their own white soul band called The Cincinnati Kids, and started performing at the Inner Circle near the University of Cincinnati.  The band was one of the hottest acts in town.  When Campbell became pregnant, she dropped out, and the band evolved into the Dapps.

Image courtesy of Dave Parkinson —

[L to R] Dave Parkinson; Eddie Setser; Jo Ann Campbell; Troy Seals;
Tina, the “designated” go-go dancer; Tim HedDing; Doug Huffman


Don TigerMartin, one of The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk & Soul and an early member of The J.B.’s, shared his memories of The Dapps in 1996 with drummer, educator and historian, Jim Payne:

Sometimes we come and watch the Dapps, an all-white band.  You remember the white guy who used to be like James [Brown] — Wayne Cochran?  Well, he used to come to town all the time and everybody would go and see him.  His band was real tough [Jaco Pastorius played bass for Cochran – Jim Payne notes].  Well, the Dapps had a better white band than him.  They were so cold they were ridiculous!  ‘Beau Dollar’ played drums and sang lead, and they had another drummer named Ron Grayson, who was bad.  Ron could play right-handed or left-handed.  Tim Drummond, the bass player, was also in the Dapps.

Prior to becoming The Dapps, the group had already released two 45s under the name, Beau Dollar and the Coins.  The band’s second single features a classic arrangement of “Soul Serenade” that is, in fact, a track produced by Lonnie Mack for Fraternity Records, with Chuck Sullivan on lead guitar, Wayne Bullock on Hammond B-3, and Bill Jones on bass   According to Stuart Colman‘s liner notes from the Ace UK anthology, Lonnie Mack — From Nashville to Memphis:

“Sax supremo King Curtis could hardly have imagined the kind of track record that his immortal ‘Soul Serenade’ would one day generate.  Not long after its public debut, this mellifluous instrumental became part of the Lonnie Mack repertoire where it sat alongside such well-loved favourites as Don and Juan’s ‘What’s Your Name‘ and Bobby Parker’s ‘Watch Your Step‘.  The personnel of Lonnie’s road band at this point included guitarists Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, who’d previously worked together backing Johnny Tillotson and Tommy Roe, along with a remarkably solid drummer named Bill Hargis ‘Beau’ Bowman Jnr.  However, with a line-up that was in a constant state of flux the trio departed for pastures new, leaving the Lonnie Mack legend to take a significant turn during 1965 towards a musical enterprise known as Soul Incorporated.”

As Randy McNutt recalls in a piece from 2011 entitled “Who Knows Beau Dollar:

“Beau was the really funky one.  I remember hearing Beau Dollar and the Coins at a forgotten club in Middletown, about twelve miles north of Hamilton [Beau’s hometown].  Back then he had curly brown hair–sort of a white man’s afro–and sang some terrific blue-eyed soul.  He came up with his name as a play on Bo for Bowman; he paired it with dollar because of the natural connection:  a beau dollar, an old Southern term for silver dollar.  By the mid-1960s, Beau Dollar and the Coins had become one of the area’s more popular white soul bands, with a devoted following that enjoyed dancing.  Beau sometimes wore a fancy vest befitting his name–a beau, or a dandy. He seemed poised for the local radio charts

In those days, you could find white soul bands, many of them with good horn sections, in clubs throughout southwest Ohio–places called the Half-Way Inn (halfway between Hamilton and Middletown [and owned by the parents of guitarist, Sonny Moorman]), the Tiki Club in Hamilton County, and the Hawaiian Gardens in Cincinnati.”

Brian Powers‘ first-rate interview [42-minute mark] with saxophonist Dave Parkinson  (of Canton, Illinois) for Cincinnati’s WVXU answers so many questions about how Beau Dollar and The Dapps first converged:

“We were a popular band in the Cincinnati area called The Cincinnati Kids, and we were the house band at The Inner Circle, which is now Bogart’s.


“Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campell headed up the band, and I played saxophone, and Les Asch was the other saxophone player, and Eddie Setser — we called him “Fat Eddie” — was the guitarist.  Tim Hedding [sometimes spelled with one D] played keyboards, and Tim Drummond played bass with us for a time, although Troy Seals doubled on bass and sang a good amount of that time.  We had Ronnie Grayson play drums with us, and we had two or three different drummers.  Doug Huffman, who lives in Indianapolis now, played drums with us when I first joined the band.  I don’t recall any other drummers.  A good friend of ours was Beau Dollar, but Beau was more of an entity to himself, and he never actually played with the band.  He didn’t necessarily record with us at King that I remember, but I know he did some recording with James [Brown].  Beau was a big part of the music scene around the Cincinnati area.  He was a really good funky drummer and a great singer.

“I think James just started coming around The Inner Circle.  Of course, that was a big thrill for all of us, and he started to sit in occasionally with the band.  That was about the time “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time” — it was about that era, ’67-’68, I guess — and James became interested in the group.  That was a kind of delicate time racially, and I think James thought it might behoove him to become involved with white groups similar to ours.  We did a lot of soul and we did pop covers, too, but the rhythm and blues and soul was pretty much our forte.

[On how The Cincinnati Kids became The Dapps] “That would have been after we became disassociated with Troy and Jo Ann, and actually, James tagged the name The Believers on us, that was our first name with James.  We eventually turned into The Dapps.”

For this same 2018 WVXU broadcast, Brian Powers also interviewed Eddie Setser,  who wryly remarked, “It was hard to believe we got $45 for, like, a three-hour session.”  Setser informed Powers that their first studio collaboration, “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me),” was originally inspired by a riff from a jazz artist, possibly Kenny Burrell, but altered substantially enough by James Brown as to be unrecognizable. When asked to describe James Brown’s creative process, Setser told Powers:

“When he starts doing things, these arrangements are put together, he always does the drums first, then the bass.  He gets the groove going, then he’ll do the guitars and then, you know, the horns will do their thing. The keyboard works in there somewhere.  You get the groove going and you just keep playing it, you know what I’m sayin’?

One local music venue where the group enjoyed playing, located in the basement of Cincinnati’s Hotel Metropole, was called The Trip when The Dapps played there, says Setser, who added that later it became a club – Tommy Helms’ Dugout – named for the Reds’ second baseman (and later one of the first area discos, with “girls in cages” and all the frippery).

In this hotel’s basement once dwelled a club called The Trip

Zero to 180 spoke with both Les Asch and Dave Parkinson in May/June/July of 2020.  During our first phone conversation,  Dave Parkinson expressed his own confusion over the irony that “The Dapps” ended up being known as James Brown’s white backing band when, in fact, the original concept was to have a show band that featured black members of JB’s renowned live orchestra.

Parkinson auditioned for the group in late 1965 (possibly early 1966) at the Holly Oak in Indianapolis — a storied venue that once hosted Fats Domino, Little Richard, Wayne Cochran, Wayne Newton, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton, according to the fine folks at East Side Tire & Wheel.

This building – confirms East Side Tire & Wheel – was once the Holly Oak

Thanks to companion for the helpful tip!

At the time of Parkinson’s audition, the group was named for its two lead artists, Jo Ann Campbell and Troy Seals who – as “Jo Ann and Troy” – recorded a pair of singles for Atlantic in 1964-65.  With regard to the band’s membership at the time of his audition, Parkinson, who played tenor sax and “a little alto,” recalls Seals and Roger Troy  sharing bass duties, with Eddie Setser on guitar, Tim Hedding on keyboards, and Doug Huffman on drums.

Soon after the audition, the group played a 10-week engagement at The Beachcomber in Seaside Heights, New Jersey “having more fun than anyone has a right,” according to Parkinson, who indicated that Ronnie Grayson also went along for the ride.

The Beachcomber — saved by sprinklers in massive 2013 boardwalk blaze

The band subsequently anchored itself in the Cincinnati area, playing the three big music clubs at the time:  The Inner Circle, Guys and Dolls, and The Roundup Club, the latter two venues located in nearby Northern Kentucky.  Les Asch joined the band during this period and recalled that the group — billed as Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids — had a regular Wednesday-through-Sunday engagement at The Inner Circle, with Jo Ann Campbell joining the group on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Guys and Dolls (formerly Grayson’s Inn) + Erlanger’s Roundup Club

Asch remembers Troy Seals bringing in another drummer, Tommy Matthews, when Ronnie Grayson (who would later play on Delaney Bramlett’s 1972 debut album with Tim Hedding) was recovering from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  During this recovery period, Seals would insist that Grayson remain a contributing band member.  Grayson, it turns out, had some trumpet experience, and thus was recruited for the horn section, where he played under the stage name, Ronnie Geisman.

After Grayson had healed, Tommy Matthews was then let go by Seals, prompting some of the band members — Eddie Setser, Tim Hedding, Les Asch and Dave Parkinson — to defect from the group temporarily to link up with Lonnie Mack, who was present at the Inner Circle when Matthews got his pink slip, according to Asch.

The Cincinnati Kids, with Lonnie Mack now at the helm (and Eddie Setser on bass), continued at the Inner Circle for another five to six weeks, says Asch, before Mack informed the group of an engagement in Florida at a place called Johnny’s Hideaway.  The gig proved a bust after only a couple weeks, however, when a liquor violation shut the club down.  Tim Hedding, fortunately, would field a phone call from Troy Seals, who informed the musicians of a work opportunity at a Hamilton, Ohio music venue named The Halfway House.  After locating a U-Haul trailer for Les Asch’s 1966 Plymouth Fury, the group then reformed in Cincinnati.

Tim Drummond (of Canton, Illinois) – Dave Parkinson’s original connection to the band – had almost certainly joined by this point.  According to Parkinson, “Tim joined us for a few months prior to when he left to go with the James Brown band” — sometime in 1967, by his estimation.  James Brown’s guest appearances with the band at The Inner Circle led to invitations to record at King Studios for other artists produced by Brown, such as Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, and James Crawford.

The Dapps backing James Brown @ The Trip
[L to R] Les Asch, Dave Parkinson; Panny Sarakatsannis; James Brown; Eddie Setser

Dave Thompson – in his Funk listening companion – states in the entry for “Beau Dollar & The Dapps” that James Brown “took the group into the studio that same year [1965] to cut the two-part ‘It’s a Gas‘ single, intended for release on King under the name the James Brown Dancers.”  However, “Brown’s then ongoing dispute with the label saw the single go unissued, but Brown kept tabs on the Dapps.”  By the way, you can now hear both sides of this unreleased 45 (originally slotted for February 1967), though the odd thing is, when you scrutinize Alan Leeds‘ musician credits for “It’s a Gas” on James Brown: The Singles, Volume 4 (1966-1967), none of the players are from The Dapps.

Q:  When do Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids (i.e., The Dapps) make their first appearance in Ruppli’s King Records sessionography?

A:  The session for James Brown’s “Why Did You Take Your Love Away From Me,” the lone track recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 27, 1967:

Special Note:  Les Asch (who plays baritone, tenor and/or alto saxophone) and Dave Parkinson (who plays primarily tenor) both agree that some of the horn credits below might have been unwittingly switched in the Ruppli session notes – a red asterisk (*), therefore, is used to indicate such instances.

> AUDIO LINK for “Why Did You Take Your Love Away
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown & Bud Hobgood


James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
David Parkinson:  Tenor & Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

“Why Did You Take Your Love Away” would end up on 1968’s, I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me album, whose rear cover reveals Brown’s endorsement deal with the Vox musical instrument company (whose guitars Eddie Setser did not enjoy as much as his Fender Telecaster and Gibson ES-335).

Rear cover — I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me


These twelve tracks were sold in Europe under a different title, This Is James Brown, (albeit with “Fat Eddie” as the final track rather than “Funky Soul #1), while in France and Israel, this same set was issued as Mr. Soul. (and in Argentina as El Rey Del Soul – “The King of Soul”).

US album cover       vs.        UK album cover

Germany — 1968                                       France — 1968

The Dapps returned to King Studios on August 8, 1967 to serve as Bobby Byrd‘s  backing band on “Funky Soul #1,” a song that calls out praises to key musical destinations — NYC, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, The Bay Area, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Detroit:

> AUDIO LINK for “Funky Soul #1 (Pts. 1 & 2)” by Bobby Byrd

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford


Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboard
David Parkinson:  Saxes*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

US 45 — 1968                                      Iran EP (c. 1968)

Ruppli’s session notes (below) indicate that this King master recording [K12439 “Funky Soul (Vol. 1)” = red star] was used as the backing track for James Brown‘s own recording of “Funky Soul #1” onto which Brown overdubbed organ at a King recording session [marked with a red circle] that took place exactly two weeks later on August 22, 1967.  Billboard‘s September 23, 1967 edition predicted Bobby Byrd’s version would “reach the R&B singles chart,” while the November 25, 1967 edition predicted Brown’s organ version would “reach the Hot 100 chart.”

Red star = “Funky Soul #1” master recording

This organ instrumental serves, fittingly, as the final track on 1968 LP I Can’t Stand When You Touch Me, as well as the B-side for “The Soul of JB” — although note that the 45 label credits “James Brown and the Famous Flames.”

Also notice in the King session notes posted above that James Crawford, one of the song’s authors, recorded “I’ll Work It Out” at King Studios on August 8, 1967 — the same date as the Bobby Byrd “Funky Soul #1 session — with “possibly same [personnel] as on K12439” [green circle].   Seems pretty reasonable to assume that The Dapps backed both vocalists that night.

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
James Crawford backed by The Dapps?

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

Billboard predicted in its October 23, 1967 issue that “I’ll Work It Out” would “reach the R&B Singles chart.”  Cash Box‘s review in their November 4, 1967 edition:  “James Crawford could grab a nice piece of airplay with this feelingful, slow-paced, James Brown-produced moaner.  Give it a spin.  Flip: ‘Fat Eddie‘”  Record World gave it a “four-star single” with this review in the November 11, 1967 issue:  “Nitty gritty wild one here [‘Fat Eddie’].  James sings the slow ballad with all the soul he can muster [I’ll Work It Out].”

US — 1967                                    France — 1968

Marva Whitney would also have a go at “I’ll Work It Out” which found release in 1968 as a King 45 — is it possible that The Dapps provided musical backing on this recording?

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out” by Marva Whitney

The Dapps backed James Brown on the next (undated) session listed in Ruppli’s notes (wrongly attributed to “prob. band without James Brown“) that yielded “The Soul of J.B.” plus one ‘unknown title’ left in the can.

> AUDIO LINK for “The Soul of J.B.
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Gladys Knochelman

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organist, Arranger & Producer
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

US — Nov. 1967

James Brown – The Singles, Volume 5 (1967-1969) affirms that the same Dapps lineup above were the musical unit that laid down the sounds for “Just Plain Funk,” recorded August 30, 1967 and used as the B-side for “I Guess I’ll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry” — a single that saw release in both Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] and South Africa.

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Plain Funk
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals


Bobby Byrd [?]:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

Italy — 1968                                             South Africa — 1968

One week after the “Just Plain Funk” session, Hank Ballard laid down a pair of tracks with unnamed musicians at the King Studios on September 7-8, 1967 that would be released as a King 45 — “Which Way Should I Turn” b/w “Funky Soul Train.”  Given that the A-side was written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Beau Dollar & Troy Seals, could it be possible that The Dapps backed Hank Ballard on these two tracks?

You might think that The Dapps served as the backing band on the James Crawford recording session at King Studios on September 14, 1967 that produced a song entitled “Fat Eddie” — undoubtedly named for guitarist “Fat” Eddie Setser.  However, you would be mistaken.

Ruppli’s session notes say that The Brownettes recorded a pair of songs on October 17, 1967 at King Studios — and nothing more.  Thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 3, however, we can rejoice** in knowing the names of both the singers and players of instruments (as noted below):

> AUDIO LINK for “Never Find a Love Like Mine” by The Brownettes

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know” by The Brownettes

Both sides written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals


Grace Ruffin, Martha Harvin & Sandra Bears:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

** Beware of the musician credits from the Nothing But Funk (bootleg) series, cautions Soul on Top (in the comment attached to this piece), as there are integrity issues.  Additionally, with regard to the Brownettes consisting of Grace Ruffin, Martha Harvin & Sandra Bears, notes Soul on Top, “this is doubtful, as the exact same track was released the following year by The De Vons, a trio of young singers from NYC also with the JB production logo.”

Is it a coincidence that the vinyl seller who has received the highest bid yet on Ebay ($82) for the Brownettes King 45 is also the one who added “Dapps” to the title of the auction?  Interesting to note that the 45 seller is from Japan.

Ruppli’s session notes state that Vicki Anderson recorded two songs at King Studios on October 23, 1967 with unnamed musical support.  1998’s double-disc celebration, James Brown’s Original Funky Divas, fortunately, named names, so we now know that The Dapps were Anderson’s backing band on these two tracks (as detailed below).  The A-side, interestingly, had already been recorded six days prior by The Brownettes, while the Lowman Pauling-penned B-side was originally recorded by The5Royales:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

> AUDIO LINK for “The Feeling Is Real
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]


Vicki Anderson:  Vocals
William ‘Beau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone

One week later on October 30, 1967, a lean contingent of The Dapps returned to King Studios to back James Brown on “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) Pts. 1 & 2
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown


James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ

Spain — Feb. 1968

Dave Parkinson points out that Tim Drummond enjoys the distinction of being the one band member called out by name (at the 2:50 mark) on this recording.

Troy Seals and the horn section then joined Brown on “Baby Baby Baby Baby,” recorded at that same session and included on 1968’s I Can’t Stand Myself LP:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Baby Baby Baby
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford


James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

By year’s end, The Dapps would finally get a recording session under their own name at King Studios on December 12, 1967.  But wait a minute, it’s not what you think — “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis,” in this case, means Clyde Stubblefield (drums), Bernard Odum (bass), Jimmy Nolen & Alfonzo Kellum (guitars), Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis (tenor sax & arranger), and Maceo Parker (tenor sax), according to Alan Leeds’ liner notes for James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969).  These musicians recorded two instrumental tracks at that session, “Bringing Up the Guitar” and “Gittin’ a Little Hipper.”

The Dapps first 7-inch release

A-Side by James Brown
B-Side by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

Cash Box‘s review from their February 3, 1968 issue:

Dapps (King 6147)

“Bringing Up the Guitar” (3:00)
[Dynatone, BMI-Brown] James Brown
penned instrumental that carries a zest
which could score with r&b audiences.
Very fine staccato track with plenty of
dance appeal.  Flip: “Gittin’ A Little Hipper”
(2:59) [Golo, BMI-Brown, Hobgood]

March 5, 1968 was an especially productive day at King Studios, according to Ruppli:

Incl. Alfred Ellis                                               Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12588   The Rabbit Got the Gun                   King 6169
K12589   I’ll Give You Odds                             unissued

Vicki Anderson (vo) with prob. same band      Same date

K12590   I’ll Work It Out                                   King 6221, 6251; Brownstone 4204

Bobby Byrd (vo) with prob. same band            Same date

K12591   My Concerto                                      King 6165, LP1118

James Brown (vo, org) Bobby Byrd or Timothy Hedding (p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).          Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12592   Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)          King 6164, LP1031
K12593   Here I Go                                                          —            —

James Brown (vo, p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).  Same date.

K12594   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 1)              King LP1031, LP1047
K12595   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 2)                        —               —

Notice the musician credits listed for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)” and “Here I Go” (released as a King 45 that “bubbled under” the Hot 100, you might recollect) — both songs also included on 1968 LP I Got the Feelin’:

> AUDIO LINK for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano

Brazil — 1968

But then check out the musician credits for “Here I Go” as supplied by Alan Leeds in James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969), and notice the inclusion of two horn players:

> AUDIO LINK for “Here I Go
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Ron Lenhoff

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

Ruppli’s session notes above indicate that three members of The Dapps backed James Brown on “Maybe I’ll Understand (Pts. 1 & 2)” at this same March 5, 1968 session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Maybe I’ll Understand
by James Brown

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
[Tim Hedding:  Piano]*

These Discogs credits* credit Tim Hedding for piano on “Maybe I’ll Understand” (though not on Ruppli’s notes above).

But take one last critical look at the Ruppli session notes for March 5, 1968 and notice that the Bobby Byrd track (“My Concerto”), as well as the Vicki Anderson recording (“I’ll Work It Out”) both indicate “with probably same band” as the one listed at the very beginning of the list — The Dappswithout actually naming any of the musicians who played on “Rabbit Got the Gun” and “I’ll Give You Odds,” vexingly enough, other than Alfred Ellis.

> AUDIO LINK for “My Concerto
by Bobby Byrd [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Fred Wesley & Bobby Byrd

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

> AUDIO LINK for “Rabbit Got the Gun
by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Reggie Lavong

The Dapps second 45

“There Was a Time” — you might recall — came close to cracking Billboard‘s Hot 100.  Cash Box‘s review in their June 15, 1968 edition [musician credits further down]:

“James Brown produced this has-to-be-heard instrumental reworking of his while back hit.  Albert [sic] Ellis’ hard driving sax stirs this side to a frenzy sure to make it a disko favorite.  Should produce good sales.  Flip: ‘The Rabbit Got The Gun‘.”

As was also recently noted, future Neil Young and Bob Dylan bassist, Tim Drummond, played the famous funk lines on  “Licking Stick Licking Stick” — one of five James Brown sides recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 16, 1968, along with two others by different vocalists:

Ruppli’s King session notes [pg. 397]

K12597  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 1)
K12598  Little Fellow [instrumental]
K12599  Go On Now [instrumental]
K12600  Fat Soul [instrumental]
K12601  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 2) = James Brown [April 16, 1968]

K12602  You’re Still Out of Sight [unissued] = Bobby Byrd [April 16, 1968?]
K12603/123604  no information (rejected titles)
K12605  You’re Still Out of Sight = Leon Austin “with probably same band”  [April 16, 1968]

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals & Organ
John Sparks:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
Alfred Ellis:  Alto Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax

April 29, 1968 also ended up being a particularly productive day of recording at King Studios, as indicated by Ruppli‘s session notes:

(actually The Dapps)

K12606    I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow
.               (Than I Was Yesterday)                              King 6201
K 12607   A Woman, A Lover, A Friend                             —

Marva Whitney (vo) with prob. James Brown band   Cincinnati, April 29, 1968

K12608   Things Got to Get Better                             King 6168

Prob. same band                                                        Same date

K12609   Soul With Different Notes                            King LP1034

Incl. Alfred Ellis                                                            Same date

K12610   In the Middle                                                 King 6205
K12611   There Was a Time  (instr.)                             King 6169

I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Yesterday)” b/w “A Woman, A Lover, A Friend” is the third King 45 to be credited to “The Dapps” — Ruppli’s notes above from an undated session do not name any musicians, however.  Guesses anyone?

A-Side by Stanley Poindexter, Jackie Members & Robert Poindexter
B-Side by Sidney Wyche

Tim Drummond is the sole Dapps member to perform on Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better,” in addition to funk instrumental, “In the Middle” and a horn-heavy take on “There Was a Time.”  :

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Alfonzo Kellum:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

Ruppli’s session notes above say that the musicians used for Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better” is “probably the same band” who backed James Brown on “Soul With Different Notes” — used as the eight-minute opening track for 1968’s James Brown Plays Nothing But Soul.  Zero to 180 just noticed that the B-side “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Troy Seals) is not listed in the Ruppli sessionography, though the presumption is that its recording took place at the same April 29, 1968 session.

Worthy of mention:  Two of The Dapps — Les Asch & Dave Parkinson — participated in a June 27, 1968 New York City recording session that produced six songs that were included on Thinking About Little Willie John And a Few Nice Things, plus one that ended up (“Let Them Talk”) on Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud [click on song titles below for streaming audio].


James Brown:  Vocals
Bernard Purdie:  Drums
Al Lucas:  Bass
Wallace Richardson:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Organ & Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
John Grimes:  Trumpet
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Sammy Lowe:  Music Director

» “A Cottage for Sale” «
» “Suffering With the Blues” «
» “Home at Last” «
» “Talk to Me, Talk to Me” «
» “Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me)” «
» “Bill Bailey” «
» “Let Them Talk” «

Back in Cincinnati at King Studios the following night, June 28, 1968, Hank Ballard laid down two songs that were released as a King 45.  Ruppli’s session notes do not list any musicians, but thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4, we now know** who provided musical support on “I’m Back to Stay” — a track you won’t find on Ballard’s 1968 album, You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down:

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Back To Stay
by Hank Ballard [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard, Reggie Lavong & Lucky Cordell

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Pee Wee Ellis:  Alto Saxophone

** Beware of the musician credits from the Nothing But Funk (bootleg) series, cautions Soul on Top (in the comment attached to this piece), as there are integrity issues.

Likewise, thanks to **Nothing But Funk Volume 2, we can see who’s behind the big horn sound on the flip side, “Come on Wit’ It” — although, I am a bit surprised to see such a vastly different lineup, with only one member of The Dapps overlapping between the two bands recorded the same night at King Studios:

> AUDIO LINK for “Come On Wit’ It
by Hank Ballard

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Alphonso Kellum:  Guitar
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trombone
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

“Come on Wit’ It” was predicted by Billboard “to reach the R&B Singles chart” in their July 20, 1968 editionCash Box‘s singles review from their July 27, 1968 edition:  “Hank Ballard, absent from the hit scene for quite some time, makes his comeback bid with this pulsating, highly danceable outing which is vaguely autobiographical.  Good juke box & disko item.  Flip: ‘Come On Wit’ It’.”

Sometime in July of 1968 (best guess), The Dapps recorded two songs (likely at King Studios) that remain unissued, according to Ruppli’s session notes — “Who Knows” and “I Can’t Stand Myself.”

Record World — Aug. 17, 1968

Photo included in “James Brown,Joey Bishop Show – ‘Man to Man'”

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On September 6, 1968, James Brown recorded an organ instrumental with The Dapps at King Studios entitled “Shades of Brown” (a.k.a., “A Note or Two”):

> AUDIO LINK for “Shades of Brown
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
[unknown]:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*

B-side in Japan (left) and Germany (right)

On September 11, 1968, according to Ruppli, Hank Ballard was joined by The Dapps at King Studios to record two songs that got released as a King 45 plus an early attempt at “Thrill on the Hill” (that remains unissued) — thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4 for providing **musician credits:

> AUDIO LINK for “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)”
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

** Beware of the musician credits from the Nothing But Funk (bootleg) series, cautions Soul on Top (in the comment attached to this piece), as there are integrity issues.

“How You Gonna Get Respect” peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart on December 14, 1968.

> AUDIO LINK for “Teardrops on Your Letter
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by Henry Glover

Same Hank Ballard recording session = Per Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

1968 single — France

Inferring from Ruppli’s session notes, October 1968 is approximately when The Dapps (thanks to these musician credits supplied by Alan Leeds) backed James Brown on three recordings for the Thinking About Little Willie John LP — “I’ll Lose My Mind” plus “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Eddie Setser and Troy Seals) and “You Gave My Heart a Song to Sing.”

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Lose My Mind
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “What Kind of Man
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Eddie Setser & Troy Seals

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “You Gave My Heart A Song To Sing
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

The Dapps returned to King Studios on October 23, 1968 to back The Soul Believers on a pair of tracks that comprised a King 45 — “I’m With You” and “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles
by The Soul Believers With The Dapps

Written by Orlonzo Bennett

According to Discogs

The Soul Believers: Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet

Expect to shell out three figures for a vintage copy of this 45 (someone just recently forked over $540).

B-side written by Lowman Pauling — one of ‘5’ Royales’ final King A-sides

Ruppli’s notes indicate that The Dapps recorded a version of “White Christmas” (presumably at King Studios) c. mid-November 1968 that remains ‘unissued.’

Les Asch and Dave Parkinson both recall The Dapps supporting James Brown at Madison Square Garden, a concert we know to have taken place November 22, 1968, thanks to Asch’s mother, who purchased this program on the night of the performance:

Image courtesy of Les Asch —

Menu for May 8, 1968 White House State Dinner attended by James Brown
(included in Madison Square Garden concert program)

[Thank you, Maralah Rose-Asch]


James Brown Scores Knockout With Soul Music at the Garden” was the title of Robert Shelton’s review in the November 23, 1968 edition of the New York Times.  Dave Parkinson remembers Count Basie and Slappy White (et al.) being on the bill that night.

It was during this same New York City visit that Hank Ballard & the Dapps appeared on the November 27, 1968 episode of The Merv Griffin Show, along with James Brown  (plus Lily Tomlin early in her career).

The Dapps on The Merv Griffin Show [clockwise from rear]:

Ken Tibbetts (valve trombone); [unnamed] “English” trumpeter; Bob Thorn (trumpet)
Jerry Love (drums); Eddie Setser (guitar); Les Asch (tenor sax)
Dave Parkinson (tenor sax); Howie McGurty (baritone sax)

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[Dapps Photos courtesy of Dave Parkinson]

Indianapolis News TV listing for December 4, 1968

Parkinson also recalls The Dapps accompanying James Brown as guests at The Apollo Theater, where they were acknowledged from the stage by Joe Tex and Little Johnny Taylor.

The Dapps – along with The Sisters of Righteous (sisters Geneva “Gigi” Kinard and Denise Kinard together with cousin Roberta DuBois) – would next back James Brown at a King recording session that took place December 2, 1968 and yielded two songs, “Sometime” and “I’m Shook,” plus one track – “Bobby Kaie” – that was ultimately ‘rejected.’

> AUDIO LINK for “Sometime
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

B-side of this German 45 — released Nov. 1969

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Shook
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

My eyebrows go up as I read these notes on Discogs related to the “I’m Shook” 45:

“[45] Never got a full distribution.  Most copies were probably pulled back for unknown reasons and a few quantities of this exist.  Both tracks [“I’m Shook” b/w “Little Groove Maker Me“] feature on It’s A Mother.  ‘I’m Shook’ is a different recording than featured on the album.”

Ruppli’s sparse notes also indicate an undated session (early December 1968?) in which Hank Ballard was supported by unnamed members of The Dapps on two recordings, “You’re So Sexy” and “Thrill on the Hill.”  Just before the guitar break on “You’re So Sexy” (around the 1:20 mark), Hank calls out “Fat Eddie, play your thing” — so at least we know that Eddie Setser was part of the backing ensemble.

> AUDIO LINK for “You’re So Sexy
by Hank Ballard Along With The Dapps

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

Ruppli then follows with two entries for December 10, 1968 at King Studios — (a) the first session has Hank Ballard recording “How You Gonna Get Respect” with unnamed musicians plus two ‘unknown titles’ — all three tracks unissued; (b) the second entry is for The Dapps, with one attempt at a track named “Later for the Saver” that remains in the vaults.

Feb 1969 concert poster — image courtesy of

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Who Knows” — recorded by The Dapps c. July 1968 though kept in the can — finally got a release by King, although attributed solely to Beau Dollar, as the B-side of his second and final King single, “(I Wanna Go) Where the Soul Trees Grow”:

> AUDIO LINK for “Who Knows
by Beau Dollar [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & William ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bobby Byrd:  Tamborine
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tm Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Kenny Tibbetts:  Trumpet

How curious to discover that in 1992 Pure Records, a French boutique label, decided to pair Beau Dollar’s “Who Knows” with a funk track by Lee Majors (“The Bull Is Coming“) for a twelve-inch “maxi-single.”

According to Ruppli’s session notes, Beau Dollar, along with unnamed musicians, recorded 21 songs over the course of three days [January 20-22, 1970] most likely at King Studios — 12 selected for King LP 1099 (to be titled Beau Dollar), plus 9 other tracks that remain ‘unissued’ to this day.  The funny thing, however, is how utterly impossible it is to retrieve an image of the album cover on the Internet.  Ruppli refers to King LP 1099 as an actual release, yet Discogs has no entry (yet) for this King LP.  The King LP discography at Both Sides Now Publications references it by catalog number and album title but no cover image, curiously, nor song titles (the latter which you will find listed at

There are a few other ‘unissued’ Beau Dollar recordings from 1969 (“My Concerto”; “Looking For Someone to Love”; “But It’s Alright”; “I Gotta Get Away From You”) in addition to the outtakes from Beau Dollar’s alleged LP (“Funky Street”; “Everybody’s Talkin'”; “Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye”; “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”) that remain in the vault.

Fast forward to 1971 — 45Cat’s RogerFoster points out that “Just Won’t Do Right” by Lyn Collins “is actually a duet with James Brown and according to the booklet notes by Alan Leeds in the 2009 CD compilation James Brown – The Singles Volume Seven: 1970-1972 this was to be released with Mr. Brown being the headline act on King 6373 but only promos were made.”  Ruppli gives no indication as to when Collins made this recording at King Studios with The Dapps:

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Won’t Do Right
by Lyn Collins [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Julius Reliford:  Congas
Dave Harrison:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Howard McGurty: Trumpet
Ken Tibbetts: Trumpet

“Just Won’t Do Right” was picked by Record World as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the January 8, 1972 issue and praised thusly:  “James Brown both wrote and produced this impressive debut disc.  Powerful r&b ballad of the kind that crosses-over pop so often these days.”

“Just Won’t Do Right” was the B-side to “Wheels of Life” when released in France with a charming sleeve designed by noted graphic designer, Jean-Claude Trambouze, who also did complementary designs for a dozen other James Brown productions out of the King studios.


Dapps Chart Trivia

Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s has an entry for “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis” that identifies two 45s:

(1) “There Was a Time” (King 6169), which bubbled under Billboard’s Hot 100 at #103, and (2) “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet),” (King 6196) which peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.

By 1970, The Dapps had disaffiliated itself with the James Brown organization.  According to Les Asch, the first fissure occurred early on when Brown’s studio manager, Bud Hobgood, attempted to get the group under contract, only to find out that Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell were already signed to Atlantic Records.  Ultimately, The Dapps ended up working for James Brown without any contractual arrangement.  As Dave Parkinson confessed to Bob Miller in 1991:

“If I’d stuck with Troy [Seals] I would be quite well off today.  But Troy was a lot more patient than the band, we had stars in our eyes and when we got an offer to join James Brown’s production company, it was a mass defection.”

During the James Brown years, recalls Les Asch, Beau Dollar was first accorded bandleader duties within The Dapps, followed by Dave Parkinson and then Asch.  At one Dapps rehearsal held at The Inner Circle, Asch made the “mistake” of admitting (perhaps in the egalitarian spirit of the times) that, as bandleader, he was being paid double.  When band members balked, Asch met with Mr. Brown to inform him that this differentiated pay scale was “killing morale.”  Brown, however, was not only unsympathetic but profoundly disappointed that Asch would make such a tactical error as the band’s musical director.  At that point, relations between The Dapps and the James Brown organization would cease.

When asked by Brian Powers why The Dapps broke up, Eddie Setser had this to say:

“[Bud Hobgood] kept saying we were gonna be making all this money, big money.  Thought we were doing pretty good, but he put us on a retainer, and the guys didn’t like it.  Hank Ballard came and told us, he said, “You ain’t gonna be making any money. He says, “You’re all gonna be paid the same thing” … the thing just kind of blew up.”

The Dapps, however, carried on with that name for somewhere between six months to a year, reckons Asch, with The Golden Lion, a short jaunt up Interstate 75 in Dayton, essentially serving as base of operations.  Dave Parkinson informed Brian Powers in that same interview for WVXU how The Dapps first joined forces with Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (née McGaha):

“After The Dapps had become disassociated with James [Brown], we were the house band at a place called [The Golden Lion in Dayton, Ohio], and we were there about a year under the leadership of a guy named ‘Jellyroll,’ Roger Troy.”

2014 issue of Oct. 27, 1969 live performance by the Stan Kenton Orchestra

Trumpeter BobMaynardVandivort (who spoke to me over the phone recently) auditioned for The Dapps during this period at The Golden Lion.   Leader (along with Jerry Gehl) of The Hi-Fi Band and later, Maynard & the Countdowns, who opened for Lonnie Mack at The Hawaiian Gardens and played many of the area’s sock hops, roller rinks, and teen clubs in the early 1960s, Vandivort’s experience would be marked by the Vietnam War.  Three of the Countdowns, including drummer Dave Listerman, received their draft notices soon after winning a “Battle of the Bands” contest, while Vandivort (who did Air Force ROTC at the University of Cincinnati) himself would get called up on March 23, 1966.  Vandivort — who studied under Frank Brown (later lead trumpet for James Brown) and Bill Berry (who played with Duke Ellington) — served at Fort Knox in the 158th Army Band, a unit whose function was to recruit volunteers, and a job that kept the musicians on the road six months out of the year.  Owning an automobile during his three years of active duty made Vandivort a valuable commodity, as he often shuttled fellow musicians to James Brown gigs in Indianapolis and Louisville (while “lookalikes” would be used as stand-ins for the AWOL soldiers).  Bud Hobgood and Vandivort, coincidentally, were once neighbors at Charlestown Square in Cincinnati’s western area (one-time home for Les Asch, too).

James Brown was initially furious at the continued use of the Dapps name and sent Charles Bobbitt to order the band to desist.  Asch recalls that, thanks to the largesse of the Dayton club owners, an attorney was hired to defend the band.  The court would make a determination that the musicians — having been seen in a public capacity as The Dapps (i.e., Merv Griffin Show appearance, Madison Square Garden concert, and the visit to the Apollo) — therefore, had “inherent properties” with respect to the band name, according to Asch.

Despite the legal victory, the band continued only briefly as The Dapps, as the Dayton scene began to sour for the band, and the musicians were heading in various directions.  Asch remembers a late-night stealth mission to liberate Roger Troy from his current engagement with The Fendermen (a stint at the Holly Oak, no less) that involved the unforgettable image of a jettisoned laundry bag landing within inches of the car, followed by Troy’s exhortation to the band, “C’mon boys, let’s skirtsy!”

Once liberated, the group of musicians then headed to Boston for a three-week stint playing five hours a night, seven days a week at a place called (I’m not making this up) K-K-K-Katy’s.

K-K-K-Katy” was a popular WWI-era “stammering” song

During this period (c. late 1969), the group — which numbered ten musicians — made some demo recordings at a Boston-area sound studio, with one of the stand-out tracks being the band’s arrangement of Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Following the Boston engagement, the band would return to Dayton and find itself ensconced at The Golden Lion’s main competitor — The Diamond Club, owned by Jennie Krynzel.

Images courtesy of Diamond Club Facebook group

Meanwhile, drummer/manager Stu Perry told his friend Richard Podolor (engineer behind albums by Three Dog Night and Iron Butterfly (et al.), along with Bill Cooper) that he knew “this group from the midwest” and gave him a copy of the Boston demos.  Particularly impressed by the band’s arrangement of “Phoenix,” Podolor in turn sent these recordings to Jay Lasker, president of Kapp Records, who then set about arranging a showcase for the band at one of the music venues on Sunset Strip.

The band would subsequently relocate to the West Coast to take advantage of this new major-label opportunity — although the ten-member ensemble would not survive the cross-country trek.  For one thing, Stu Perry’s involvement meant that Jerry Thompson was no longer the drummer.  Also bowing out of the venture were saxophonist Howie McGurty and bassist Ken Tibbetts, who also played trombone.  [Tibbetts’ response would be to gather Thompson and McGurty and organize a funky new horn-heavy outfit called Melting Pot, whose 1970 debut album on Ampex was produced and engineered by Johnny Sandlin].

Band residence during the Jellyroll sessions — according to Les Asch

The Jellyroll-led outfit that played for Jay Lasker at a private after-hours showcase, sadly, only numbered seven musicians.  Asch recalls Lasker being distinctly underwhelmed by the band’s overall sound, which was noticeably thinner than the larger ensemble recorded in Boston.  Nevertheless, Kapp would commit to a full-length album that featured an elaborate design in a gatefold cover.  A $50,000 advance, according to Asch, went to the group’s attorney, who “doled out money in dribs and drabs.”

Jellyroll‘s debut album was released in 1971 on MCA-owned Kapp (and reissued in 2015 in South Korea).  Discogs notes that a test pressing of the album was actually done in 1970, with the group’s debut 45 “Strange” b/w “Help Me Over” issued September 1970 in the US, according to 45Cat (although curious to note that two completely different tracks were selected for the 45 release in Turkey).  Tim Hedding wrote one of the album’s tracks (“Quick Trip“), Eddie Setser got co-writing credit on another (“Standing on the Inside“), and the band itself is listed as the author on half the songs.

Gatefold LP cover art

Roger Troy:  Bass & Lead Vocals
Stu Perry:  Drums & Percussion
Cosme Joseph Deaguero:  Congas
Ed Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Les Asch:  Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Dave Parkinson:  Tenor Saxophone
Bob Thorn:  Trumpet

45 – Mexico                                             45 – Turkey

There was no accompanying tour, sadly, to promote Jellyroll’s debut album.  Roger Troy and five of his bandmates — Tim Hedding, Eddie Setser, Les Asch, Dave Parkinson, and Stu Perry — soon found themselves back in Cincinnati, this time based at a club named Reflections, located at Calhoun and Vine in the University of Cincinnati area.  But alas, after just a couple weeks, Stu Perry (following an argument with Roger Troy)  snuck into Reflections one night and removed all of his percussion gear without informing the band.  The owner of the club, according to Les Asch, was livid when notified by the band that they could not fulfill their engagement.  This would prove to be the group’s last gasp.

History, however, demands that I make mention of Roger Troy’s participation in a local recording session for Wayne Perry — at the behest of his producer, Randy McNutt — that ended up generating a buzz in English clubs when reissued in 2020 nearly fifty years later as a limited edition 45 that sold out in three months!  McNutt recounts the tangled tale on his music history blog, Home of the Hits:

We cut “Pain” in the summer of 1972 at Rusty York’s Jewel Recording in suburban Cincinnati, where we did much of our local work.  Now this part is important–vital–to understanding this story:  We cut two versions of the song.  Both shared the same rhythm track, so they sound nearly identical.  Wayne sang the first version; Wayne and a guy from Alaska sang the second as a duet.  Their voices sounded a lot alike, and they sang the choruses together and exchanged on the verses.  Shortly after recording the duet version of “Pain,” the narrative began to get muddied.  We had two vocal versions that used the same rhythm track.

The track cooked from the start.  This was due to the musicians.  They included Roger “Jellyroll” Troy, a singer-bassist who led the group Jellyroll on Kapp Records. Roll, as we called him, had come home on vacation, and Wayne asked him to play on the session.  On drums was Jerry Love, a popular blues-rock drummer in Cincinnati.  He did a lot of sessions over at King Records.  He was a favorite of guitarist Lonnie Mack, the father of Cincinnati’s blue-eyed soul movement.  The B-3 organist was a kid (only 17) named Terry Hoskins, who lived in our home city, Hamilton, Ohio, about 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati.  We just let him wail on that song.  We had to get his father’s permission to take him to the studio with us.  On guitar we hired Gary Boston, a freelance session man at King and a local band veteran.  Like so many of these guys, Gary also did some work at King’s studio and at times worked on sessions with James Brown.  (Today, I use Gary on new recordings.)  The horn guys were Les Asch, Craig Shenafeld, and Terry Burnside.  They also played on some James Brown sessions over at King.  On the day we cut the rhythm track, we were all standing in the little studio, talking about the song, and suddenly a guy we didn’t know walked in and asked, “Hey, who owns the cool Firebird sitting out front?”  Jellyroll said proudly, “Why, I do!”  The guy said, “Well, it just got repossessed.”

The original 45 was issued on McNutt’s own Beast imprint, which was distributed by Shad O’Shea‘s Counterpart label.  Though the single did not see much action beyond the tri-state area initially, both mixes of “Pain” were included on 2012 compilation,  Souled Out: Queen City Soul-Rockers Of The 1970s.  At one point, a songwriter friend informed McNutt about the growing buzz on YouTube, where the 7-inch was first uploaded in 2010.  Nik Weston of London’s Mukatsuku Records then contacted McNutt in 2018 about reissuing the two “Pain” mixes as a 45 (that remains “out of stock“).

> AUDIO LINK for “Pain” by Wayne Perry

Post-Jellyroll:  In a Nutshell

Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (who played on Shades of Joy’s Music of El Topo LP from 1970 with Jerry Love) would join The Electric Flag for their final album, The Band Kept Playing, before going on to collaborate with Mike Bloomfield, Howard Wales, Jerry Garcia, Mick Taylor, and the Goshorn Brothers, among others.  Troy Seals, under the mentorship of Conway Twitty, went on to enjoy a successful songwriting career in Nashville, where he was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.  Seals, in turn, provided similar strategic guidance for Eddie Setser, who also became one of the Nashville’s top songwriters (before leaving us this past January).  Tim Hedding (who played organ on Delaney Bramlett’s 1973 album, Mobius Strip) became part of Gregg Allman’s band for 1987’s “comeback” album, I’m No Angel and its follow-up album, When the Bullets Fly.  Howard McGurty, holder of numerous industry patents and inventor of the first Phantom Sound speaker system, is founder of a Mason, Ohio-based company that has provided sound systems for such clients as Bruce Springsteen and the Cincinnati Symphony.  Dave Parkinson, who returned to Central Illinois in 1971 to tend to his mother’s health, has been a leading light in Peoria’s jazz scene, as well as founding member of funk-fusion group, Kriss Kross, a local favorite.  Les Asch continued to play locally after The Dapps disbanded at places such as The Roundup Club before deciding to pursue work opportunities outside the music industry.

In 2013, Egon of Now-Again Records penned a paean to Beau Dollar for Red Bull Academy that spelled out his contributions to the field of funk drumming using precise music terminology:

“‘I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me,’ recorded in October 1967, is a different beast altogether. Its groove surely owes a debt to Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ rhythm, but gone are his swinging eighth note hi-hats, replaced by William Hargis ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman’s lockstep quarter notes, bashed onto a slightly askew hi-hat.  Bowman avoids the ‘one’ – the first beat of a measure, all important to James Brown’s establishment of funk – in the second half of each two bar phrase and builds up to the one’s return with 16th note bass drum interplay, and what rhythm researcher Alan Slutsky called ‘two accented snare drum attacks.’  Brown ‘gave’ Stubblefield four uninterrupted bars in ‘Cold Sweat’ and the drummer was able to showboat.  In contrast, Bowman’s metronomic groove doesn’t change when Brown explains to his band that he wants ‘everyone to lay out but the drummer.’  Brown, notifying Bowman of his task the same way that he would soon instruct Stubblefield on ‘Funky Drummer,’ seemed to know when he needed to keep a drummer under a tense bridle.

Had Bowman only recorded ‘Can’t Stand Myself,’ his place amongst Brown’s elite cadre of funk drummers would have been earned, and his enduring presence assured.  While no one can say definitively who invented the style, Jim Payne, author of Give The Drummers Some, calls Bowman’s groove ‘the Quarter Note High Hat style – quarters on the high hat and everything else beneath it: a difficult thing to do, by the way.’  Its influence grew.  To follow the timeline from 1967 onwards is complicated, but to my ears it goes something like this:  Bowman hears Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ and ponies up a response when Brown crashes his band’s – the all-white The Dapps – recording session for an improvised vocal performance.”

Dave Parkinson Remembers
My Association with James Brown, Bud Hobgood
And All the People at King Studios

It all started at a place called The Inner Circle in Clifton up by the University of Cincinnati.  I was playing tenor sax with a band called the Cincinnati Kids led by Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell.  Tim Drummond from Canton, IL near where I grew up was playing bass.  Tim later joined James’ traveling group.  He recorded on many of James’ hits, including “I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me” and many more.  James started frequenting the Inner Circle and sitting in with us.  Most memorable was “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time.”  James gradually wooed Tim, Les Asch, Tim Hedding, and “Fat Eddie” away from Troy and Jo Ann and we signed to James Brown Productions.  We recorded behind Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, Hank Ballard and many others.

“Good God!  A Thousand Dollars” was coined by James’ brilliant manager, Bud Hobgood.

This is the time we met and befriended Bud Hobgood.  He always had a $1,000 bill in his wallet, which he would show us once in awhile.  Bud was a long, tall shrewd country boy who advised James and kept him in line.  I think to this day, that if Bud was still alive, James would be too.  When we recorded with James or watched him set up tunes with his band, he would go to each member; horns, percussion, bass, guitar, conga and tell or sing to them their parts.  It invariably came out perfect and amazingly funky.

I was in the studio when he did “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” with those children and it brought tears to my eyes.

I recorded “Honky Tonk” and the band recorded “The Rabbit Got the Gun” and we covered instrumentally a lot of James’ hits.

At first James called the band the “Believers.”  I remember one night he got us all together and kind of sized us up as to what role we played in the band.  When he came to me, he gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever had.  He said, “Dave, you the musician”  I can’t describe how good that made me feel.  For a time, he made me the band leader and we went to New York to the main offices of Cash Box magazine and he introduced me to the CEO.  It wasn’t long after that Billboard picked James up and the rest is history.  During that stay in New York we played Madison Square Garden with Count Basie, Slappy White, and many others.  The next evening we all went by limo with James to the Apollo Theater and saw Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and a host of other great talent.  We then went to Lloyd Price’s club and someone tear gassed the place.  James then took us to Long Island where his father stayed and fed us some incredibly hot chili.  The next day, we did the Merv Griffin Show, along with Lily Tomlin.  The following day, James took me to A & R Studios, where I played with his band.  I remember walking in and Bernard Purdie had an easel set up that said “Purdie, Purdie.”  He was on the session.

After returning home, James put us on the road to Atlanta with Hank Ballard.  Had too much fun with Hank!  He looked at me one night in my apartment in Cincinnati and said, “You’re a Scorpio, right?”  He was dead on.

Then James took us to Cleveland to see Marvin Gaye in an intimate nightclub setting.  It was indescribable!

Then we were off to L.A. to do the Donald O’Connor pilot show [1968], which flopped.  Remember, Bud Hobgood was in the wings, keeping a lid on everybody.

After that, things began to taper off.  I could have gone to the Ivory Coast and Vietnam, but marital problems were getting in the way.

Getting back to Troy Seals, I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting in Troy and Jo Ann’s apartment in Hamilton, Ohio between Troy and Conway Twitty.  After that meeting, Troy and Jo Ann moved to Nashville where Troy’s career went to the stratosphere.  Troy became one of the biggest writers and producers, writing songs like “I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart” [Eric Clapton], “Honky Tonk Angel” [Conway Twitty] and many more.  He took “Fat Eddie” Setser with him and they collaborated on “Seven Spanish Angels” [Ray Charles & Willie Nelson] and numerous others.  “Fat Eddie” was the guitar player for the Cincinnati Kids.  He was a very gifted writer in his own right.  I collaborated with Troy on a song called “But I Do,” which was picked up by The Oak Ridge Boys who put it on their Room Service album.

Back in 1970 I had a meeting with Mac Heywood.  Not being too well versed in business and the Hollywood scene, nothing came of it; but shortly thereafter, I started seeing the Heywoods all over television.  Quiz shows and the like.  The meeting with Mac took place at The Roundup Club in Erlanger, Ky., just across the river from Cincinnati.

When I first came to the Cincinnati area, I became fast friends with guys like Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar, Roger “JellyRoll” Troy, Ronnie Grayson, Jerry Love and later on Glen Hughes of The Casinos.  Just about every time I went to L.A., I’d run into Gene walking around Hollywood.

The members of The Believers were:  Panny Saracason on bass, Les Asch on tenor with me, Tim Hedding on B-3, and “Fat Eddie” on guitar.

I cannot stress enough the role Bud Hobgood played in James Brown Productions.  He was the bedrock that kept James grounded.  As I stated earlier, if Bud was still alive, so would James be.

We went to Nashville where John R. and Hoss Man Allen of WLAC produced us on several tunes.

I’m about out of things to say, but my friend Bob “Maynard” Vandivort can add a lot and maybe fill in some blanks.

4 Out of 5 Physicians Agree:
Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Earliest Melodica Recording ’64

A Postcard From Canton [Massachusetts] celebrates the accomplishments of one of the town’s most “esteemed citizens” — and industrious tinkerers:

[James Amireaux] Bazin came to examine a simple free-reed instrument when he was 23 years old.  A group of men brought him a broken pitch pipe and asked him to repair it.  Bazin made the repair but also created a new invention, which became a sliding brass pitch pipe that could be adjusted along a series of pitches from c” to d’”.  From this small invention he began making several variations on the theme and eventually moved to reed trumpets, which he invented in 1824.  For many years his trumpet accompanied the choir at the Unitarian Church in Canton Corner and reputedly it could be heard “a mile away.”  In 1831 Bazin invented a harmonica.  In fact, Bazin had only read about the harmonica invented in Germany, so it is likely that indeed this was the first reed harmonica in America.

Melodica Shack‘s “History of the Melodica” page notes that the lap organ developed by James H. Bazin, as well as the melodeon designed by Abraham Prescott of Prescott Organ Company, were “stepping stones” to the modern-day melodica, an instrument said to have been invented by Hohner, according to the company’s own website, in the “1950s.”  Why such vagueness about the date, I wonder.

Hohner Soprano melodica

MelodicaWorld‘s Alan Brinton informs us that the Hohner Soprano, a button-style melodica, “appears to have been first announced in early December, 1958,” while earlier that same year, André Borel, introduced the Clavietta, a keyboard-style melodica.  Is it possible that Borel is the unacknowledged pioneer of the keys-based melodica?  MelodicaWorld‘s Daren Banarsë took the time to search the British LIbrary for UK publications that contain “Clavietta adverts” and found this one published in the 11 February 1960 edition of Stage and Television:

Zero to 180’s dubious quest to identify the earliest recording of a melodica has thus far led to two popular recordings [“Tint of Blue” by The Bee Gees and “Ice Cream and Suckers” by South Africa’s Soweto Stokvel Septette], as well as a serious composition by Steve Reich [“Melodica“] — all from the year 1966.

Fortunately, “Quirky 45s That Bubbled Under” from this past March broke the logjam with the discovery of Stu Phillips and the Hollyridge Strings (celebrated in 2013) as unwitting innovators who, in 1964, might possibly have been the first to commit melodica to tape in an attempt to emulate John Lennon’s harmonica lines on The Fabs’ very first single for EMI’s subsidiary label, Parlophone:

“Love Me Do”     The Hollyridge Strings     1964

A promotional/demonstration copy of the original “Love Me Do” Beatles release on Parlophone (with Paul’s last name misspelled as “McArtney) was sold in 2017 via Discogs for $14,757 — making it “the most expensive 7-inch single ever sold,” as reported on the Gibson Guitars website in 2017.

Note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits:

But wait!   This television clip of Ray Conniff from three years earlier playing an Italian-manufactured Clavietta now means 1961 is the year to beat (although it should be noted that the studio version of “Midnight Lace” uses a harmonica for the melody line):

“Midnight Lace”     Ray Conniff Orchestra     1961

According to the person who posted this video clip
The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Chorus TV show “Concert In Stereo” in 1961.

Honorable Mention

1965’s “Bossa Melodica” by Dutch bandleader Gaby Dirne & His Orchestra

The Clavietta, it has been said, is a “keyboard version of the accordina.”

Pat Missin states that US patent no. 2461806 (above rendering) “was granted in 1949 to André Borel of Paris, France” for his “chromatic harmonicon” that was manufactured under the name, accordina.  Borel would later be granted a patent for a “mouth[-]blown free reed instrument with a piano-style keyboard and both blow and draw reeds,” notes Missin.

The legacy of James Amireaux Bazin, meanwhile, includes “lap organs, table organs, a seraphine, and several larger instruments,” according to A Postcard From Canton. “What is amazing is that his earliest instruments were patented, sold reasonably well (although at a loss), and today are in private collections as well as the Museum of Fine Art, the National Museum of American History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Darcy Kuronen, a noted expert on early musical instruments, writes of Bazin:  ‘Each of his surviving examples of his instruments shows a restless desire to improve their operation and versatility, with no one model bearing much resemblance to another.’”

For those who wish to delve further into the history —

James A. Bazin and the Development of Free-Reed Instruments in America,” by Darcy Kuronen, published in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol 31, 2005, pp 133-182.

The Upsetters at King Records

I am only just now discovering that Little Richard‘s musical influence had a direct impact on King Records, first when his live backing band, The Upsetters, became Little Willie John’s support group after Richard renounced rock ‘n’ roll in 1957, and then again soon after when the Upsetters backed James Brown for a time.

On December 2, 1958, Little Willie John did a session for King in New Orleans — at Cosimo Recording Studios, no doubt — in which The Upsetters served as his backing band.  Four songs were recorded that day:

> AUDIO LINK for “Do You Love Me

> AUDIO LINK for “The New Thing

> AUDIO LINK for “It Only Hurts a Little While

> AUDIO LINK for “Write Me a Letter

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

Little Willie John:  Vocals
Emile Russell:  Drums
Olsie Robinson:  Bass
Milton Hopkins:  Guitar
Wilbert Lee Smith:  Piano & Guitar
Jimmy Booker:  Piano
Grady Gaines:  Tenor Sax
Clifford Burks:  Tenor Sax
Melvin Lastic:  Trumpet

2016 Spanish EP —

Fun to point out that exactly one year later, on December 2, 1959, Emile Russell served as the drummer on a Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recording session at King Studios that netted four songs, including “The Coffee Grind” and “I Love You, I Love You So-o-o.”  Would you be surprised to know that Emile Russell was also the drummer at Little Willie John‘s June 3, 1959 session in New York City that produced “Leave Me Kitten Alone,” along with “Let Them Talk,” “Right There” & “Let Nobody Love You“?

Grady Gaines, by the way, is also connected to King through his brother, Roy Gaines, who released two 45s for King subsidiary label, DeLuxe in 1957 – “Annabelle” b/w “Night Beat” plus “Isabella” b/w “Gainesville” – the latter tune being one of his signature guitar statements.

Important to note that Little Richard battled mightily with Specialty Records owner Art Rupe to be allowed to record with The Upsetters, who Richard favored over the studio session players.  As Robert Palmer wrote for the New York Times in 1990:

“The early Upsetters sessions present a band that lacked studio polish, but made up for it with a remarkable ensemble cohesion and rhythmic creativity.  The Upsetters’ drummer, Charles Connor, has been credited by no less an authority than James Brown with sparking the rhythmic transition from fifties rock & roll to sixties funk.”

New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp — who pronounced The Upsetters to be “quite possibly the greatest touring rock and roll band on the planet during the mid-1950s” — wrote a lengthy tribute in 2017 to drummer Chuck Connor, who elaborated on the origins of the band:

“A guy by the name of Wilbert Smith—his professional name was Lee Diamond—we looked alike and everything.  I was a little taller than him.  We were struggling musicians around Nashville,” says Charles.  ‘I was starving, man.  I was kicked out of the hotel room, and I was behind in my rent.  Little Richard heard us and brought us back to Macon, Georgia because he wanted New Orleans musicians.  Richard had to get my drums out of the pawn shop.  He paid for all of that, and he brought us to Macon, Georgia, and that’s when we formed Little Richard and the Upsetters.”

Just a couple weeks after Little Willie John’s session with The Upsetters, James Brown and the Famous Flames recorded a session in Los Angeles on December 16, 1958 with “Lee Diamond” on tenor sax and Chuck Connor on drums that yielded four songs:

> AUDIO LINK for “Got to Cry

> AUDIO LINK for “It Was You

> AUDIO LINK for “I Want You So Bad

> AUDIO LINK for “It Hurts to Tell You

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor or Nat Kendrick:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax

All four songs included on 1959 King LP,  Try Me

Most of these same musicians reconvened on January 20, 1959 at a recording facility in New York City to record two more songs with James and the Famous Flames:

> AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let It Happen to Me

> AUDIO LINK for “Bewildered

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax
[Unidentified]:  Trumpet

Saxophonist J.C. Davis (“with prob. same band”) recorded two numbers as bandleader at that same NYC recording session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Doodle Bug

> AUDIO LINK for “Bucket Head

1959 single attributed to James Davis

Lee Diamond, as it turns out, had already crossed paths with King Records before — as Wilbert Smith, part of the horn section for James Brown and the Famous Flames’ 1956 breakout hit, “Please Please Please“!  Smith has two co-songwriting credits on “Hold My Baby’s Hand” and “Chonnie-On-Chon” — notice the vocal resemblance to Little Richard on the latter track — both from 1956.

Chuck Connor explains the impact of his New Orleans musical upbringing on the development of James Brown’s music:

“We would work the clubs around Macon, Georgia, like the VFW clubs, the Elks clubs, and places like that.  And I’m playing behind James Brown.  The drummer always sits in the back.  We didn’t have no riser in these little small clubs in those days.  We only had drum risers in the big theaters.  So I’d be playing behind James and I’d do a little second-line thing, a syncopation on my bass drum.  But I was doing that to attract the girls’ attention.

“James Brown would say, ‘Hey, that’s funky! That’s funky!’

‘I’d say, ‘I’m doing the second-line!’

‘I like that! I like that!’

“And he discovered that I put the funk to the rhythm.  Because a lot of drummers weren’t using the bass drum that much.  But a lot of New Orleans drummers used their bass drum a lot.  I got that from the second line.  So that’s why he said, ‘Charles was the first to put the funk into the rhythm.’

Susan Whitall writes in her biography of Little Willie John — Fever:  A Fast Life, Mysterious Death, and the Birth of Soul:

“When Willie and the Upsetters became a team and hit the road, Richard insists there were no hard feelings.  He was proud that the Upsetters, at one time or another, backed up the heaviest hitters in rhythm and blues.  ‘Sam Cooke also had them for awhile and Sam Cooke’s brother L.C. as well,’ Richard recalled.  ‘Little Willie John and James Brown traveled with my band as me, once I was famous.’  The Godfather of Soul screaming ‘Wop bop a doo wop’ – it’s not such a stretch.  ‘We had some dates booked and my manager wanted to fulfill the dates, so they had James go out and be me,’ Richard explained.”

Chuck Connor confirms that James Brown really did do shows billed as Little Richard:

“Lee Diamond started playing with James Brown, but when Richard came out (to L.A.) to do the screen test for the movie [The Girl Can’t Help It], he left 15 dates behind.  So Clint Brantley, the booking agent, he didn’t want to lose the deposits on those dates.  So guess who played those dates for him?  James Brown!  And it was Little Richard’s picture on the placards.  But James Brown played Little Richard’s dates.  People would complain and say, ‘He don’t look like him!’  James is short.  ‘He don’t look like Little Richard to me, but he sounds good!’  But he fulfilled all those dates, and then when Richard came back from the West Coast, James wanted me to go on the road with him too.  I said, ‘Well, James, I’m going to tell you—I don’t mind, but I can’t disappoint Richard because Richard was the one that helped me when I didn’t have nothing, paying my hotel rent, and he bought me shoes, and he fed me and everything.’  So that would have been a guilt trip, so that’s why I didn’t go with James Brown.  He wanted to take me on the road too.  But I remained with Richard.”

James Brown himself recounted the experience of being billed as Little Richard in his autobiography, James Brown:  The Godfather of Soul:

“Not too long after I got to Macon, some people started hitting on Richard about recording for them instead of Peacock.  Eventually Bumps Blackwell got him for Art Rupe’s Specialty label out of Los Angeles.  After ‘Tutti Frutti’ broke, Richard left Macon for California, left everybody without saying a word—[Little Richard manager, Cliff] Brantley, the Dominions, the Upsetters, and a lot of bookings.  Mr. Brantley asked me to fulfill Richard’s dates.  He put me together with the Upsetters and the Dominions and sent me out as Little Richard.  Meantime, Byrd and the fellas were doing the Famous Flames bookings.  I was getting paid as Richard while Bobby was getting paid as me.  I guess I did about fifteen of Richard’s dates.  I’d come out and do ‘Tutti Frutti’ and all those things, and then I’d do some Midnighters’ stuff, some Roy Brown, and even ‘Please Please Please.’  I guess the audience thought I was really Richard.  then, near the end of the show, I’d say, ‘I’m not Little Richard.  My name is James.’  After a few shows like that, Fats [Gonder, organist/emcee], who also went on the tour, started announcing me as Little James.  I didn’t that stay too long, either.”

Historian (and James Brown manager), Alan Leeds, offers another perspective in There Was a Time:  James Brown, The Chitlin Circuit, and Me:

“In 1955, when Little Richard went to Hollywood to sign with Specialty Records, he left behind a band and some unfulfilled bookings.  A young James Brown, who shared managers with the Georgia peach, reluctantly agreed to pose as Richard for a couple weeks.  According to Johnny Terry, one of Brown’s original Famous Flames, it came to an end one night in Nashville when somebody—a fan, or maybe the local promoter—recognized that James was not Little Richard.  After a hasty retreat in which gunshots were reportedly fired, Brown decided it might be better for his well-being to concentrate on his own career.”

Life Imitates Art: 
The 1000-Mile Trek As “The Upsetters

Later in his autobiography when The Famous Flames got word that King Records was ready to record its new act, James Brown recalled a comic aspect to the grueling drive from Tampa to Cincinnati:

“We were working down in Tampa when Clint [Brantley] called to tell us that King wanted us in Cincinnati to record right away.  We hadn’t heard from anyone there since Ralph Bass signed us the morning after he’d seen us at Sawyer’s Lake.  Since then we’d been working clubs around Tampa and Jacksonville, and we were beginning to wonder if he’d really liked us

We drove the four hundred miles from Tampa to Macon, stopped and picked up some money there, and continued for another six hundred miles to Cincinnati in a station wagon that had The Upsetters painted on the side.  Clint had let Little Richard use the car before, and now we were jammed into it with all our clothes and instruments.  We rode all night, stopping only for gas.  It was the first time out of the South for any of us, and when we got to the outskirts of Cincinnati somebody came out from King and let us to the hotel, a place caled the Manse.  It was a fleabag, but it was better than anything we’d stayed in before.”


First Four-Bar Rock ‘n’ Roll Drum Intro?
Rock’s Roots Bear Fruit 

Until Little Richard’s passing, I was similarly clueless about the well-known “secret” that Chuck Connor‘s drum intro on “Keep a Knockin'” (recorded at a small radio station in Washington, DC close to the Howard Theater) served as the source of inspiration for John Bonham‘s famous intro on Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll” — listen for yourself:

Keep a Knockin’” by Little Richard

Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin

Chuck Connor claims in that same Ponderosa Stomp piece that “Keep a Knockin'” was the first four-bar drum intro on a rock and roll record:

“Richard was saying, ‘I want the guitar to play the four-bar intro.’  So the guitar player, he tried it.  Then Richard tried it.  He said, ‘I don’t like that.’  Then he let the saxophone play the four-bar intro.  I said, ‘Wait a minute, Richard.  Let me do something.  Let me do a four-bar intro because this has never been played on a rock and roll record!’  It had never been played on a rock and roll record.  So I came up with a ‘tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat…’  Richard gave me a thousand dollars for that idea, and that was a lot of money in those days.”

King 45s That “Bubbled Under”

My ambitiousness got the best of me with the posting of the two-part history piece, “Quirky 45s That Bubbled Under (1959-1976).”  If you go to Zero to 180’s home page now (as of April 2020), you might be frustrated that it takes so goshdarn long to finish loading all the content (i.e., 200+ audio clips spread out amongst the two parts).   This latest piece — a tribute to all the 45s released by King and its subsidiary labels that “bubbled under” the Billboard Hot 100 chart — features “only” 50 (ish) audio clips.  However, coming on the heels of the previous two-parter, all that additional “weight” only compounds the problem, unfortunately.

Thanks once again to, who generously provides chart information about these uncharted songs that peaked just beyond the reach of Billboard‘s Hot 100.  As with the previous post, this piece is chronologically arranged and begins in 1959, the year Billboard began keeping records of these near-hits.  Given the amount of historical detail below, I have highlighted some of the big takeaway points and discoveries that came out of this research:

Summary Highlights

  • Lowman Pauling, whose work with The ‘5’ Royales as both a songwriter and guitarist was under-recognized for its influence on the emerging soul music (not to mention Jamaican ska), would later be championed by King (James Brown, Vicki Anderson, Hal Hardy) and non-King artists (Shirelles, Mamas & the Papas, Detroit Wheels).
  • Whodunit around the authorship of “Cute Little Ways” — was the song written by Hank Ballard or Henry Glover?
  • Speaking of whodunit, why exactly did “Please Please Please” by James Brown and the Famous Flames come close to entering Billboard’s Hot 100 four years after its original release?  Two theories offered.
  • Syd Nathan was not afraid to dust off an older King recording, “modernize” the sound and/or spiff up the artist name, if that’s what it took to sell records, as in the case of “Every Beat of My Heart” by Henry Booth (or is it?) and the Midnighters (the song by Johnny Otis that would launch the career of Gladys Knight and the Pips).
  • Hard to believe that “Please Come Home For Christmas” never officially entered the Hot 100 given how often Billboard deemed it a “Christmas Best Bet” throughout the 1960s, as well as the song’s enduring popularity, as evidenced by all the many cover versions.  Fun to find out that Charles Brown’s original recording is held in especially high regard “along the route from Houston to New Orleans.”
  • How ‘Mad Men’-esque to learn that King’s promotional efforts for “Seagrams” (a “Tequila”-inspired instrumental ) by the Vice-roys included “half pint of Seagram’s VO whiskey and a package of Viceroy cigarettes” to select personnel at radio stations around the country.
  • Lonesome 7-7203” by Hawkshaw Hawkins was written for Jean Shepard by Justin Tubb, who points out that the song was originally conceived from a female perspective.
  • More evidence of the Cincinnati OHKingston, JA connection via Hank Marr’s organ instrumentals.
  • A shift in cultural consciousness can be seen manifesting itself with Billboard renaming its “R&B” chart as “Soul” Singles beginning in the August 23, 1969 edition (as pointed out in the Marva Whitney section below).
  • Even if King’s entire roster consisted solely of James Brown, hard to overstate the global impact of this one artist alone — be sure to look for the “Hey America” World Tour of 45 picture sleeves plus a news item about King’s “largest promotional/merchandizing budget”  used for the “ James Brown Month Of Soul” campaign in March 1969.
  • In a bonus section of Fraternity 45s that “bubbled under” the Hot 100, we learn from Harry Carlson himself — one of the most beloved figures in the music industry — what a struggle it was to go ten years between hits (i.e., from 1957’s “So Rare” by Jimmy Dorsey to 1967’s “Then You Can Tell Him Goodbye” by The Casinos).
  • King Trivia!

Q:  Name of subsidiary label that was financed by Mickey Stevenson and distributed by Starday-King, announced via a full-page ad in Record World‘s  December 11, 1971 issue?
A:  Mpingo — three Mpingo 45 releases in all before Starday-King ceased operations.

NoteClick on song title links below to hear streaming audio of songs.

AUDIO LINK for “I Know It’s Hard But It’s Fair” by The ‘5’ Royales

peaked at #103 on June 8, 1959 [King]

  • The Lowman Pauling-penned “I Know It’s Hard But Fair” also serves as the kickoff track of 1959 King LP, The Five Royales — an album that some are willing to pay several hundred dollars to acquire.
  • Sundazed saw fit to reissue the original mono LP on vinyl in 2015 and had this to say:

Suddenly in the news thanks to their recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, the ‘5’ Royales also recorded for King.  Sundazed’s 180-gram reissue of their self-named 1959 King LP (which butchered the spelling of their ‘5’ moniker on its cover) is a romping overview of some of the R&B vocal quintet’s then-recent singles.  The gospel-drenched lead vocals of Johnny Tanner (or sometimes, his brother Eugene) presaged the rise of soul music, but it’s the blistering guitar of chief songwriter Lowman Pauling, a primary influence on Steve Cropper, that grabs most of the glory now.” 

King LP 678 = It’s gonna cost you

AUDIO LINK for “Let Nobody Love You” [B-side] by Little Willie John

peaked at #108 on July 13, 1959 [King]

  • This B-side of “Leave My Kitten Alone” [covered by The Beatles but unissued until 1995’s Anthology I] was co-written by Rudy Toombs and Henry Glover.
  • Both sides were reviewed in Billboard’s June 22, 1959 edition:  “The artist has two potent entries that could get him back on the charts.  He gives ‘Kitten’ a feelingful belt over strong New Orleans type ork backing.  ‘Let Nobody’ is a ballad with beat, and he’s given a fem chorus assist.  Either can score.”
  • “Let Nobody Love You” also reached the #29 position on Cash Box‘s Rhythm & Blues Top 50 chart for the week ending September 26, 1959.
  • Johnny’s Record House in New Orleans reported in the October 31, 1959 issue of Cash Box that “Let Nobody Love You” was a top ten seller.
  • One British music enthusiast shelled out £68 in 2004 for the UK single release.

UK 45 — 1959

AUDIO LINK for “Cute Little Ways” by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters

peaked at #106 on September 7, 1959 [King]

  • Billboard‘s review in the August 24, 1959 edition:  “Hank Ballard sells an uptempo blues with a lot of spirit, over a strong backing.  Could get coins.”
  • “Cute Little Ways” also reached the #24 position on the “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart, Cash Box‘s equivalent of Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” releases.
  • Detroit’s Horn Records reported in the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box that “Cute Little Ways” was a hot 45, as did Wilkes-Barre’s Joe Tomato of WBAX.
  • Important to note that when issued in Denmark, the 45 label indicates the song to have been written by Henry Glover (who wrote the flip side, “House With No Windows“) — not Hank Ballard, as it says on all other King releases.  The truth?*

[*As noted in the comment below, nothing amiss with the songwriting credits on the Danish single release — please disregard]

See?  it says “Henry Glover” on the Danish 45 release

AUDIO LINK for “I’m With You” by The ‘5’ Royales

peaked at #107 on June 27, 1960 [King]

  • Billboard‘s March 14, 1960 edition includes this review:  “A slow and strongly gospel flavored chant by the group.  Lead offers a good shouting sound.  Spinnable.”
  • Cash Box listed “I’m With You” as #6 on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending June 25, 1960 while still holding strong at the #10 position on the same chart for the week ending August 6, 1960.
  • 45Cat stalwart mickey rat offers up this praise:  “Great gospel tinged proto-soul from hugely influential group.  This one has a riffing ‘ska’ beat, another example of the kind of R&B that influenced Jamaican artists.  Flip [“Don’t Give More Than You Can Take“] is a fast rocker featuring Lowman Pauling’s distinctive guitar.”
  • Noted roots rock author, Peter Guralnick points out on his blog:  “The ‘5’ Royales were always at the heart of the discography of my book, Sweet Soul Music.  As one of their album titles proclaimed, their music represented “the roots of soul.”  Further down the page, Guralnick adds, “By 1960, even with such transformative songs as ‘I’m With You’ and ‘Wonder When You’re Coming Home,’ the ‘5’ Royales were slipping off the charts, and it was the Shirelles and James Brown who were recasting Lowman’s music.”
  • Robert Christgau – “Dean of American Rock Critics” – takes Collectables [*Ed Ward, actually – see comment below] to task for not including “I’m With You” on their Very Best of the ‘5’ Royales anthology, even though, oddly, the song is listed on this 2004 CD release!

1968 Sam & Dave French B-side

AUDIO LINK for “If You’re Lonely” by Annie Laurie

peaked at #104 on July 25, 1960 [DeLuxe]

  • Written by jazz trumpeter/bandleader, Harry James, along with Zanesville-born trumpeter and King music director, Andy Gibson, “If You’re Lonely” also peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on July 18, 1960.
  • “If You’re Lonely” was pegged as an R&B “Best Buy” in the July 18, 1960 edition of Billboard.
  • Thanks to 45Cat’s jukebox george, who informs us that the July 30, 1960 edition of Cash Box lists “If You’re Lonely” #23 (out of 25) on their “Looking Ahead” singles chart for the “possibility to break into the Top 100.”
  • Jon Hartley Fox writes in King of the Queen City:  The Story of King Records — “‘If You’re Lonely’ made the [R&B] Top Twenty in 1960, but that was the only other hit from her second stint on DeLuxe.  Laurie reportedly retired from secular music not long after that and devoted her magnificent voice solely to church work.”

AUDIO LINK for “Shim Sham Shuffle” by Ricky Lyons

peaked at #104 on October 17, 1960 [Federal]

  • Co-written by Ricky Lyons and Rudy Toombs, 45Cat’s jukebox george points to evidence (i.e., lower matrix number — *although this is a misnomer [see comment below]) that “Shim Sham Shuffle” might be one of those B-side breakout hits that “attracted attention” to a much greater degree than the intended A-side.
  • However, Billboard‘s selection of “Shim Sham Shuffle” as one of the “Spotlight Winners of the Week” in their October 3, 1960 edition leads me to question accusations of the song’s B-side status — this review puts the matter to bed:  “The younger chanter comes thru with an exciting vocal here of a rocking item based on ‘The Eagle Rock.’  Flip is ‘Have No Fear.’
  • Cash Box picked “Shim Sham Shuffle” as one of its “Best Bets” for the week ending October 15, 1960:  “The ‘latest’ dance is conveyed with solid rock-blues vigor by the singer and combo.  Deck’s got sound and humor.”
  • Spectropop playfully observes that Ricky Lyons’ vocal “adds a Bob Wills-style whoop to the R&B lexicon.”
  • “Shim Sham Shuffle” was also released as a King single by Johnny Brandon in 1956 — although, a quick listen to the earlier release reveals the existence of two completely different tunes that merely share a song title.
  • 45 reissued on King in 1965 — Discogs contributor, bob.dalrymple.7 notes the two releases by the same parent company and makes the distinction between “one with bells [i.e., vibraphone] at the end and one without,” adding that the “King release doesn’t have the bell ending [likely played by Gene Redd].”

AUDIO LINK for “Please Please Please” by James Brown

peaked at #105 on October 21, 1960 [Federal]

  • Having a devil of a time trying to determine why this #6 R&B hit from 1956 almost hit the Billboard Hot 100 four years later, as I can only find two single releases by King – 1956 and 1964 – with neither of them 1960 (or its environs) — theories, anyone?
  • Possible theory #1:  Might The5Royales’s version released in 1960 (on the Home of the Blues label) explain the resurgence of the original version by Brown and the Famous Flames?
  • Possible theory #2:  Is King’s 1959 “Please Please Please” EP release the more likely explanation for the song’s appearance on the Billboard “Bubbling Under” chart?

1959 “Extended Play” King 45

  • Billboard reviewed “Please Please Please” in their October 31, 1960 edition:  “Brown intones a pounding chant with the Flames lending a good gospel flavor to the backing.  A lot of spirit here.”
  • Billboard‘s January 3,1957 edition pegged “Please” as one of 1956’s Top Rhythm & Blues Records with regard to “best seller in stores” (#17), “most played in jukeboxes (#48), and “most played by disc jockeys (#20).
  • What delicious irony that Syd Nathan (who initially and loudly dismissed “Please” as a “piece of [dung]”) made the decision to add live crowd sounds to the original studio recording for release in 1964 (during a contract dispute with Brown), no doubt to capitalize on the runaway success of 1963’s Live at the Apollo (another Brown recording of some renown that Nathan famously fought at first).
  • 45Cat’s teabiscuit, however, boldly asserts — counter to received wisdom — that  “by 1960, not 1964, the overdubbed ‘live’ version of the A side was issued.”

B-side of 1960 Japanese single release

AUDIO LINK for “Hold It‘ by James Brown Band

peaked at #112 on February 13, 1961 [King]

  • Alan Leeds’ “James Brown Drummers Discography” (included in Jim Payne’s The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk & Soul) notes that Brown himself served as the drummer on this track.
  • Billboard‘s review in their December 31, 1960 edition:  “A wild instrumental version of the Bill Doggett oldie, complete with screams, that could get some action if exposed.  The screamer also comes through with a slight vocal now and then.”
  • Billboard‘s February 13, 1961 edition notes another James Brown single — “Bewildered” (a ‘Regional Breakout’ hit in Philadelphia) — in an ever higher position (#103) than “Hold It” on the same “Bubbling Under the Hot 100” chart.
  • “Hold It” is the lead-off track for the 1961 King instrumental LP, Night Train.

AUDIO LINK for “Sweethearts on Parade” by Etta Jones

peaked at #115 on April 3, 1961 {King]

  • Written by Carmen Lombardo and Charles Newman, “Sweethearts on Parade” appeared on the “Bubbling Under” chart, along with another Etta Jones 45 (although recorded for Prestige), “Canadian Sunset,” for two consecutive weeks — March 27 and April 3, 1961.
  • Not to be confused with Matt Ward’s “Sweethearts on Parade.”

AUDIO LINK for “Every Beat of My Heart” by Henry Booth & The Midnighters

peaked at #113 on May 15, 1961 [DeLuxe]

“Note that the lead singer with the beautiful smooth sound isn’t Henry Booth, but Charles Sutton.  Because of the success of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ remake of ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ in 1961, King’s DeLuxe subsidiary reissued it, with the label crediting ‘Henry Booth and the Midnighters.’  Possibly they just got it mixed up or possibly Henry was still with the Midnighters at that point.  Whatever the reason, R&B fans have believed over the years that Henry was doing lead; he isn’t.”

  • The two versions of “Every Beat” by The Midnighters and The Pips made Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for the week ending May 27, 1961 and, if I’m not mistaken, tied for the same position (#70)!  The same phenomenon would take place the following week (#48).
  • Billboard‘s review of this 45 side in the May 8,.1961 edition was (unwittingly) their second one:  “Henry Booth and the Midnighters turn in a very pretty and restrained reading of an attractive tune penned by Johnny Otis.  It has a chance.”
  • Billboard‘s original review of The Midnighters’ debut 45 in the April 12, 1952 edition (page 36) has this to say about the flip side, “Every Beat of My Heart”:  “This is a little disappointing after the fine performance [“All Night Long“] on the other side.  Judged from these two efforts, the Royals are more effective with a tempo that has a strong beat.”
  • Jon Hartley Fox in King of the Queen City notes that “Every Beat” is “the hit that launched Gladys Knight and the Pips.”
  • Also worth reading the comments about the original 1952 release from various 45Cat contributors, such as mickey rat, who opines, “Right from the start the Royals/Midnighters used an electric bass in the rhythm section and I have to say that’s what I liked about a lot of later ‘50s King R&B product.”

The Matador” by George Scott and the Bud Mote Orchestra

peaked at #104 on June 12, 1961 [Fairlane]

[streaming audio not yet available]

  • 45Cat contributor jukebox george informs us — “Cash Box May 6 1961 (pg. 38): New York – D.L. ‘Boots’ Woodall, formerly veep of the National Recording Corp. (NRC), has announced the first release on his new Fairlane label, a master purchase from the Margo label tagged “Matador.”  King Records is handling Fairlane’s distribution.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their May 8, 1961 edition:  “Here’s a different kind of instrumental, featuring a mariachi-styled brigade of trumpets against strong guitar work.  Has a solid rhythm in the Mexican groove and it can move.”
  • Billboard Music Week would also review this 45 in their April 10, 1961 issue:  “Here’s a bit of slower-paced fare again much in the polka tradition.  There’s also a touch of flamenco about the horns here.”
  • Cash Box‘s review from their April 8, 1961 edition:  “Interesting color to this fast-beat stand, featuring guitarist Scott & trumpets, on a catchy Spanish-flavored tune. Original sound that could mean something for the Atlanta label.”

AUDIO LINK for “Hully Gully Callin’ Time” by Jive Five with Eugene Pitt

peaked at #105 on March 1, 1962 [Beltone]

  • Released on King-distributed Beltone, “Hully Gully Callin’ Time” was a “Regional Breakout” in the NYC area, as reported in Billboard‘s April 21, 1962 edition.
  • Two weeks later, Billboard filed this report from Chicago:   “[New independent distributor] Kent is also working on what it hopes will be its first big hit, ‘Hully Gully Callin’ Time’ by the Jive Five on Beltone.  The tune has hit position 28 on the influential WLS Silver Dollar Survey and is getting good supporting air play around the city.”
  •  Billboard‘s review in the March 3, 1962 edition:  “Attractive hunk of teen wax with the lead selling the hully gully effort solidly over listenable support by the group.”
  • Cash Box listed “Hully Gully” at the #37 position on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending March 24, 1962.

AUDIO LINK for “I Wish I Could Cry” [B-side] by Little Willie John

peaked at #116 on June 30, 1962

  • Billboard had high hopes for this 45’s A-side — “Every Beat of My Heart” (!) — while saying nothing about the flip side in its review published in the May 28, 1962 edition.
  • Cash Box was a little more optimistic about the prospects for this B-side (near) breakout hit in its review for their May 26, 1961 issue:   “Here the songster and the ork-chorus up the tempo slightly to a shuffle-beat-ballad pace.  Take your pick.  Both ends have the goods.”
  • The following year, Cash Box reported in their July 28, 1962 edition this brief news item:  “Sue Sandler, co-cleffer of Little Willie John’s ‘Until Again My Love‘ and ‘I Wish I Could Cry,’ excited with all the action on the artist’s 2 King releases.”

AUDIO LINK for “Wonderful One” by The Shondells

peaked at #116 on October 13, 1962 [King]

  • According to our old friend, mickey rat — “Almost certainly produced in Los Angeles by Johnny Otis … Songwriters on a couple of their other songs registered with [Library of Congress] were Shirlee Brooks, Jacqueline Scruggs, Rosemary Reeves, Beverly Simmons & Novella Simmons, so I’m guessing they were all members of the group.”
  • Coincidentally or not, “Wonderful One” was cited by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Los Angeles.
  • Billboard would review this single’s A-side in the July 21, 1962 edition — and it wasn’t “Wonderful One” (B-side breakout hit?) about which the reviewer had nothing to say.
  • Cash Box listed “Wonderful One” at the #42 spot on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending September 15, 1962.
  • Forgotten Hits music blog says The Shondells (not to be confused with Tommy James’ backing group of the same name) are from Cincinnati — is this true?  [*No – from Pomona, California (see comment below)]

AUDIO LINK for “Please Come Home for Christmas” by Charles Brown

peaked at #108? on December 22, 1962 [King]

  • Did misfire with the inclusion of this stellar yuletide track — written by Charles Brown and Gene Redd — that has been covered by Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Johnny Adams, (“Little“) Johnny Taylor, Johnny & Edgar Winter,  Freddy Fender, William Bell, The Eagles, Martina McBride, and Bon Jovi, among others?  Billboard tells us this 45 peaked at #76 on January 6, 1962.  However, is it somehow possible this track came close to entering the Hot 100 later that same year close to Christmas?  As it turns out, yes!  Billboard‘s December 22, 1962 issue confirms that, indeed, “Come Home For Christmas” bubbled under at the #108 position.
  • That same Billboard edition also reported “Christmas” to be a “Regional Breakout” single in New Orleans, while one year prior. Billboard noted the song’s strong performance in the Philadelphia market.  The 1963 Christmas season would also find this track no less diminished in popularity, says Billboard, who would also peg this single in 1967 as one of its “Best Bets for Christmas” and then again in 1969.
  • The original 1960 release — which peaked at #21 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on December 31st that year — features another Christmas classic, Amos Milburn’s “Christmas (Comes But Once a Year),” on the flip side.  This 45 squeaked into Cash Box’s Top 100 chart (#96) for the week ending December 31, 1960. “Christmas” also made Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart (#30) for the week ending December 24, 1960, and then again, even higher (#21), for the week ending January 6, 1962.
  • Chris Varias contributed a special piece to The Cincinnati Enquirer in 2017 about the enduring appeal of a classic Christmas song that was “born in Cincinnati” at King Studios — article features reminiscences from Don Henley and Cincinnati native, Nick Lachey, as well as music history from Cincinnati Public Library’s own, Brian Powers.
  • The Houston Chronicle‘s Rick Campbell wrote a humorous item in 2015 entitled, “‘Please Come Home For Christmas’:  A Holiday Song I Don’t Hate.”
  • Lake Charles, LA’s 92.9 (“The Lake”) offers up “The Story Behind ‘Please Come Home For Christmas” in which we learn the regional popularity of the song in a particular part of the Deep South:  “In 1960, King Records released ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’ and the song, for some reason, went nowhere nationally, but along our part of I-10, it became an instant classic.  Since 1960, radio stations all along the route from Houston to New Orleans have played the record every single Christmas.”

Lead-off track on this Indespensible Christmas LP

AUDIO LINK for “The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” by Freddy King

peaked at #103 on Feb. 2, 1963 [Federal]

  • “Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in two large metro markets, Memphis-Nashville and Dallas-Fort Worth — was given a “Four-Star” rating in Billboard‘s January 12, 1963 edition.
  • Although there no musician credits in Ruppli’s King Labels sessionography, this song — recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on November 27, 1962 — no doubt includes the drumming work of legendary session musician, Philip Paul, who also played on the previous featured track by Charles Brown.
  • Small news item in the January 26, 1963 issue of Cash Box:  “With promo man Ralph Cox, the biggies to watch are “Seagrams” by The Vice-Roys (Bethlehem), “The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” by Freddy King, Hank Ballard’s “The Rising Tide” and “Every Beat Of My Heart” by James Brown.”

AUDIO LINK for “Seagrams” by The Viceroys

peaked at #127 on March 30, 1963 [Bethlehem]

  • The fluke hit of 1958’s “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including that same year’s more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers), as well as the brand-specific 1961’s “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” from the previous year.
  • As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King.  Seagrams Corporation, however, did not take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time.  A sheepish notice in Billboard’s  March 23, 1960 edition said, “We Goofed!” — more specifically:

“When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’  We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commercial product name in its title.”] and indicated that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”

  • Worth noting that on page 22 of that same March 23, 1960 edition of Billboard  was this wink-wink news item:

    Just Call This a Real Loaded Idea

    SAN FRANCISCO— A novel record promotion originated by Bob Earl, San Francisco branch manager for King Records, has been picked up by the national record distributor and will be repeated in Cincinnati, Chicago and New York.

    Bethlehem’s new recording of “Seagram,” sung by the Vice-roys, prompted Earl to include a half pint of Seagram’s VO whiskey and a package of Viceroy cigarettes when delivery the disk, all wrapped up in gay “Mardi Gras” gift paper.  Uniformed messenger delivery personnel called upon local deejays in the four top r & b and rock and roll stations in San Francisco and Oakland — KSAN, KEWB, KDIA and KYA.

innocent mistake

AUDIO LINK for “Lonesome 7-7203” by Hawkshaw Hawkins

peaked at #108 on April 6, 1963 [King]

  • Just three days after this song’s release, notes West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Hawkins perished in a plane crash that also took the lives of fellow King recording artist, Cowboy Copas, as well as country superstar, Patsy Cline.
  • Justin Tubb, who wrote the song, recounts in this 1997 episode ofCountry Family Reunion” how he gave the song originally to Jean Shepard – Hawkshaw’s widow – who recorded it for Capitol (in whose vaults the song remains unissued).  Tubb points out that “Lonesome” strikes him as a “girl’s song” because “when a husband and wife break up, it’s usually the guy who has to leave, and the wife stays home and keeps the house and furniture.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their February 2, 1963 edition:  “A fine new weeper ballad.  Hawkshaw’s girl has walked out and he pleads with her to call him on his new phone.”
  • The biggest hit of Hawkins’ career, “Lonesome 7-7203” stayed on top of the Country chart for four weeks after his death.
  • The single’s flip side — titled (ironically, in hindsight) “Everything Has Changed” — was written by King A&R executive and producer, Ray “Starr” Pennington, who produced Hawkins’ final album, “one of the first country albums to feature both black and white session musicians,” as noted by Rocky 52.
  • Still trying to make sense of this 45Cat catalog record which indicates “Lonesome” to have been released (a) not only as a “split” single in January 1963 with “Seagram’s” by the Vice-Roys on the flip side [!] but also (b) issued with a different label on each side (i.e., King on the A-side, Bethlehem on the B-side).  For real?

AUDIO LINK for “The Greasy Spoon” by Hank Marr

peaked at #101 on January 18, 1964 [Federal]

  • Written by Hank Marr and Gene Redd, “Greasy Spoon” — which came within a hair of hitting Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart — was a “Regional Breakout” single in the Memphis-Nashville area, as reported in Billboard.
  • “Greasy Spoon” also hit the #68 spot on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week ending January 11, 1964.
  • Billboard‘s August 26, 1972 edition noted that the “Greasy Spoon” single was one among many reissued by Starday-King in a news item entitled, “32 King Oldies Released; Many Are Classics.”
  • Randy McNutt in King Records of Cincinnati writes that “King groomed Marr as Bill Doggett’s successor,” also noting that later in life, “Marr became a music professor in Columbus.”

45 picture sleeve from 1964 — Netherlands

AUDIO LINK for “Again” by James Brown and the Famous Flames

peaked at #107 on April 25, 1964 [King]

  • Billboard‘s review in the April 11, 1964 edition makes direct reference to the fact that James Brown had (temporarily) left King for Mercury/Smash:  “Brown has a string of ’em on his former label and he’s got another romantic side here.  Tender reading of the standard that’s not in conflict with his other release.”
  • “Again” just squeaked onto Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (#50) for the week ending April 25, 1964 — this same chart also includes one of Brown’s singles (his cover of Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia“) recorded for Smash.

“Again” included on rare South Korean edition of Prisoner of Love LP

AUDIO LINK for “Wee Wee Hours (of the Nite)” [B-side]
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #125 on April 25, 1964 [King]

  • Billboard awarded this single four stars (i.e., “new singles with sufficient commercial potential in their respective categories to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers”) in its February 8, 1964 edition.
  • This full-page King ad of James Brown releases published in the previous week’s edition of Billboard (a) touts the new “live” version of “Please Please Please” [discussed above] and also (b) reveals that “Wee Wee Hours” ended up being yet another B-side breakout hit. (a James Brown original, by the way, not to be confused with Frank Sinatra’s 1955 classic, “In the Wee Small Hours“).

AUDIO LINK for “How Long Darling” [B-side]
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #134 on June 6, 1964 [King]

  • Speaking of B-side breakout hits, “How Long Darling” is the B-side of “Again” — the single that was discussed mere moments ago.
  • Cash Box‘s April 18, 1964 edition provides this review — and once again speaks of Brown’s contractual relationship with King in the past tense:  “James Brown has been running extremely hot recently and this top-notch item, ‘Again,’ cut during his days with King should quickly develop into a best-seller.   The tune is a slow-moving, shuffle-beat pop-blues lament with a nostalgic while-back sound sold with authority by the songster.  On the flip, ‘How Long Darling,’ Brown dishes-up a funky, traditional, low-down r&b weeper with a contagious repeating riff.”

“How Long Darling” — included on this 1966 EP from the UK

AUDIO LINK for “So Long” by James Brown and the Famous Flames

peaked at #132 on June 27, 1964 [King]

  • “So Long” was pegged by Billboard as “Hot Pop” in the “Programming Specials” section of its June 6, 1964 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their June 6, 1964 issue:  “The chanter might well do Top 100 business with this hard-driving full ork-backed pop-r&b teen-angled danceable weeper cut during his days with King.  Loads of potential here.”
  • “So Long” also spent two consecutive weeks on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (#48 and #50) before dropping off altogether at the end of June.

“So Long” — included on this 1965 EP from the UK

Silver Spoon” [B-side?] by Hank Marr

peaked at #134 on March 27, 1965 [Federal]

[streaming audio not yet available]

“Silver Spoon” included on this 1965 King LP

Tears of Joy” by Vicki Anderson

peaked at #131 on September 23, 1967 [King]

[streaming audio not yet available]

  • Cash Box‘s review of Anderson’s version of “Tears of Joy” — written by Lowman Pauling for The ‘5’ Royales — was included in their July 15, 1967 issue:  “Anderson vocalizes nicely on this shuffling, soul-filled romance ode.  Bears watching.”
  • “Tears of Joy” hit the #46 spot on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as reported in the September 30, 1967 issue.  That same issue also listed “Tears of Joy” at the #40 position on their “Singles Coming Up” chart, Record World‘s equivalent of Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart.  Record World also reported the previous month that the single was “selling well in Atlanta.”
  • Here is a link to King’s half-page ad for “Tears of Joy” that was published in Billboard‘s September 2, 1967 edition.

“Tears of Joy” included on this 1968 King Compilation LP

AUDIO LINK for “You’ve Got to Change Your Mind
by Bobby Byrd & James Brown

peaked at #102 on March 16, 1968 [King]

  • “You’ve Got Change Your Mind” – which came this close to making the Hot 100 – was predicted by Billboard to reach the Top 20 of the Top Selling R&B Singles chart, as noted in their February 10, 1968 issue:  “Byrd and Brown join forces in this groovy rock ballad that’s given a wailing, soulful vocal workout.  Loaded with top sales potential for both pop and r&b markets.  FLIP:  ‘I’ll Lose My Mind‘.”
  • Cash Box posted this review in the issue for the week ending February 10, 1968:  “Outstanding pairing of James Brown and Bobby Byrd makes for some grand spinning material for r&b deejays.  The team grooves slowly on a [indecipherable adjective] ballad that shows strength without speed through powerful vocals and throbbing orchestral backing.  Cute lyrical snatches should stir up plenty of excitement for the side.”
  • “Change Your Mind” — a “Regional Breakout” single in the Washington DC market — also peaked at the #47 position (for two consecutive weeks), as reported in Billboard.
  • “Change Your Mind” also hit the #93 spot on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for the week ending February 24, 1968.
  • Written by Brown and Byrd along with Gene Redd and Ron Lenhoff (with an arrangement by Sammy Lowe), “Change Your Mind” features Bernard Purdie on drums, Al Lucas on bass, Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson on guitars, and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis & St. Clair Pinckney on tenor saxophones.

“Change Your Mind” b/w “Lose My Mind — 45 from Netherlands

AUDIO LINK for “Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)”
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #102 on June 15, 1968 [King]

  • “Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)” was part of Billboard‘s “Special Merit Spotlight” (i.e., new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers) in its May 4, 1968 edition:  “Raunchy instrumental is given a powerhouse workout by the Brown band.”
  • Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood, “Shhhhhhhh” was released around the time Brown and his band toured Vietnam and the Far East, as reported by Ed Ochs in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard shortly after their return:  “Brown opens the National Soul Festival at Yankee Stadium, Friday as his three singles, ‘Licking Stick,’ ‘America Is My Home‘ and ‘Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)’ work their way up the charts.”
  • The previous month, Ed Ochs filed this report in the same Billboard column:  “James Brown, everybody’s ‘Soul Brother No. 1,’ will trail his ‘I Got the Feelin’‘ giant with ‘America Is My Home,’ a song that echoes one man’s patriotism, which James already proved with his words to thousands on TV in Washington and in Boston last month.  Another single, ‘Lickin’ Stick,’ will also be released and will join ‘Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While),’ an instrumental with James on the organ, and ‘You’ve Got the Power‘ with [Vicki] Anderson — all on King Records.”
  • “Shhhhhhhh” hit the lucky #13 spot on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending June 15, 1968.
  • King’s ad in the June 1, 1968 issue of Record World predicted this 45 (along with “Lickin’ Stick”) to be a US #1 record.

B-side in Argentina (left) and Brazil (right)

AUDIO LINK for “There Was a Time” by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis

peaked at #103 on July 27, 1968 [King]

  • “There Was a Time” reached the #27 position on Billboard‘s Best Selling Rhythm and Blues Singles chart, the week prior to November 2, 1968.
  • This 45 also appears to have peaked at #45 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B singles for the week ending July 27, 1968.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their June 15, 1968 edition:  “James Brown produced this has-to-be-heard instrumental reworking of his while back hit.  Albert [sic] Ellis’ hard driving sax stirs this side to a frenzy sure to make it a disko favorite.  Should produce good sales.  Flip: ‘The Rabbit Got The Gun‘.”

AUDIO LINK for “Soul Pride (Pt1)” by James Brown

peaked at #117 on April 5, 1969 [King]

  • Co-written and arranged by Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, “Soul Pride (Pts. 1 & 2)” features the musicianship of Clyde Stubblefield (drums), Alfonzo Kellum (bass), Jimmy Nolen (guitar), Alfred Ellis (alto sax), Maceo Parker (tenor sax), Fred Wesley (trombone), and Richard “Kush” Griffith & Waymon Reed (trumpets).
  • Cash Box‘s review in their March 8, 1969 issue:  “Booming instrumental side with the brash James Brown brass and a terrific bass showing make the songster’s new side a solid programming choice with blues and pop deejays.  Splendid dance side here that should see the same good response his instrumental of last year met.”
  • “Soul Pride” reached the #38 position on Billboard‘s Best Selling Rhythm and Blues Singles in their April 12, 1969 edition.
  • “Soul Pride” just made it into the bottom reaches of Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart in late March and early April 1969.
  • Cash Box‘s March 8, 1969 issue would also feature this exciting news flash:

King’s ‘March Is James Brown Month’ Label’s Strongest Drive Ever

NEW YORK — King Records has allocated the largest promotional and merchandising budget in its history for a special “March Is James Brown Month Of Soul” campaign.

Col. Jim Wilson, Starday-King Vice President of Marketing, said that the national program will extend through the month of March and is designed to further “accentuate the all-market appeal and widespread saleability” of James Brown recorded product at the consumer level.

Special deejay kits which include an exclusive “not-for-sale-radio programming only” EP album along with James Brown spot intros and bio material have gone forward to radio stations.

A deluxe packaged Brown album, Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud, featuring the title song along with other James Brown chartsellers hits such as “Lickin’ Stick” and “Good-Bye My Love” has been prepared for immediate release to coincide with the “Month of Soul” campaign.

In addition to the current top-writing chart hit single, “Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose,” a new instrumental single “Soul Pride” featuring James Brown playing and conducting his band has just been shipped to radio stations and all King distributors.

Additionally, attractive James Brown calendar posters, cut-out floor displays, complete album and singles catalogs and other point-of-sale dealer aids are available at all King distributors.

Network TV appearances during March, including the Hollywood Palace Show and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, plus an intensified ad campaign will add further impetus to recognition of the month-long drive.

1969 picture sleeve — France

AUDIO LINK for “Things Got to Get Better” by Marva Whitney

peaked at #110 on August 23, 1969 [King]

  • Written by Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis and James Brown, “Things Got to Get Better (Get Together)” also reached the #22 position on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart on September 6, 1969.
  • Transition Alert!  You can see for yourself the change in terminology from “R&B” to “Soul” by examining the same chart from just a few weeks before, where the Marva Whitney 45 can be found at the #49 spot on Billboard‘s “Rhythm and Blues Singles” chart, as of August 16, 1969.  By the following week (when the 45 has inched up to #48), that same chart has been renamed the “Soul Singles” chart for the week ending August 23, 1969.
  • “Things Got to Get Better” reached #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending July 26, 1969.  That same week, Record World listed this 45 at the #49 position on its “Singles Coming Up” chart.

“Things Got to Get Better” = Kickoff track on 1969 live album

AUDIO LINK for “From Atlanta to Goodbye” by The Manhattans

peaked at #113 on October 7, 1970 [DeLuxe]

  • Ed Ochs reported the following King/DeLuxe news in his “Soul Sauce” column published in the September 19, 1970 edition:

“New James Brown album titled Sex Machine and featuring hits like ‘Mother Popcorn,’ ‘I Got the Feeling‘ and ‘Lickin’ Stick.’  And due this week is James’ new single, ‘Super Bad.’  On DeLuxe, The Manhattans’ ‘From Atlanta to Goodbye’ and Bobby Wade’s ‘Blind Over You.'”

  • Related news item entitled “Gil Music Into Soul” from Billboard‘s October 17, 1970 edition:

“Gil Music, headed by veteran publisher George Pincus noted for easy listening hits such as ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘Calcutta,’ is invading the soul music field.  The firm is scoring with disks by Carolyn Franklin on RCA Records, ‘All I Want to Be Is Your Woman’; Little Richard on Reprise Records, ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ and the Manhattans on DeLuxe Records, ‘From Atlanta to Goodbye.'”

  • “From Atlanta to Goodbye” entered Billboard‘s Top 50 Soul Singles chart at the #48 position on October 31, 1970.
  • “From Atlanta to Goodbye” also reached the #7 position on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart on October 10, 1970, while Record World listed the song at the #12 spot on its Singles Coming Up chart.

AUDIO LINK for “Hey America” by James Brown

peaked at #105 on December 12, 1970 [King]

  • Co-written by Nat Jones and Addie Williams (Jones), “Hey America” was predicted by Billboard to reach the Pop Top 60 in their December 12, 1970Spotlightsingle review:  “Brown swings back to his message lyrics and this one is set to a driving rock beat loaded with Hot 100 and Soul chart potency.  Much of the potential of his recent ‘Super Bad’.”
  • “Hey America” reached #27 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending December 26, 1970.
  • “Hey America” also reached the #43 position of Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for the week ending December 26, 1970.
  • Billboard reviewed the Hey America Christmas album (cover by Dan Quest) exactly one week later:  “Here is a delightful blend of Christmas and Soul, packaged the way only Soul Brother No. [1] could do it.  Into his inimitable soul format, Brown has woven messages of peace, love and happiness that are applicable, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.  The material here is all original, written by Nat Jones.”
  • Billboard also reviewed in that same issue Bobby Byrd’s King album, I Need Help,  (two spaces to the left of Hey America):  “From the James Brown Show and the original Famous Flames comes singer-organist Bobby Byrd, who broke the soul market wide open with his ‘I Need Help‘ hit.  Byrd sounds like he’s in for a big run as a top soul attraction with a distinct, but popular brand of funk to make his ‘You Got to Change Your Mind,’ ‘You Got to Have a Job‘ and ‘Hangups We Don’t Need‘ successive hits.”

When’s the Last time you’ve seen a King 45 picture sleeve?

Everyone Sing along  — C’mon, it’s good for you

“Hey America” world tour

Belgium — 1971                                             France — 1971

Germany — 1971                                             Italy — 1972

Lebanon — 1972                                               Portugal — 1971

Jamaica — 1970                                              Turkey — 1972

AUDIO LINK for “I Know You Got Soul” by Bobby Byrd

peaked at #117 on June 26, 1971 [King]

  • Co-written with Charles Bobbitt and James Brown, “I Know You Got Soul” — predicted by Billboard on May 15. 1971 “to reach the Soul Singles chart” — in fact, made it all the way to #30 on Billboard‘s Soul chart on July 10, 1971.
  • “I Know You Got Soul” also reached the #24 position on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart on July 24, 1971 (not to mention the #23 spot on their “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart in that same issue).
  • Thanks to 45Cat’s RogerFoster for providing this review of “I Know You Got Soul” b/w “If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat” from the June 23, 1971 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul:  “More of that infectious James Brown beat, with the music being supplied by the man’s own band, the J.B.’s.  In fact, both sides have been hits for Bobby in the States and they are both ultra-funky dance items in the ‘I Need Help’ vein.  If anything, the top [i.e., A] side is stronger than ‘I Need Help’.  The rhythm, as always, is the dominant factor and this is something that James specializes in.  A big R&B record that won’t go ‘pop’.”

A-side of 4-song UK 12-inch release — 1988

AUDIO LINK for “A Million to One” by The Manhattans

peaked at #114 on May 27, 1972 [DeLuxe]

  • “A Million to One” is also the title track of their second album for Starday-King released on the newly-revived DeLuxe subsidiary label.
  • Ed Ochs would report on March 11, 1972 in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard that “Starday King has landed Ben E. King and the Vibrations.”  Also, this just in: “The Manhattans’ ‘A Million to One’ is still strong in the song”

Part of full-page King ad (pg. 43) — 12/11/71 issue of Record World

Click on image above to view in high resolution

AUDIO LINK for “One Life to Love” by The Manhattans

peaked at #102 on October 21, 1972 [DeLuxe]

  • “One Life to Love” reached the #68 position on Record World‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week ending November 18, 1972.
  • Cash Box‘s November 22, 1980 issue includes a lengthy biographical profile most likely underwritten by Columbia in celebration of their first gold single for “Big Red” after leaving Starday-King:

“Early in 1972, The Manhattans recorded ‘A Million To One,’ written by Teddy Randazzo, whose publishing was handled by Hermi Hanlin.  The group was looking for new management at the time, and after ‘Million To One’ charted, Hanlin took over.  The group soon found itself in King’s studio in Macon, Ga. [i.e., Bobby Smith Studios] cutting its second Deluxe LP, A Million To One, with Bob Riley producing.  It resulted in another big hit with the single ‘One Life To Live,’ written by Lovett.  Although its records were charting regularly in the R&B field, pop success remained too elusive.  ‘One Life To Live’ caught the attention of Columbia’s Mickey Eichner, and as King Records was in its death throes, he brought the group to Columbia late in 1972.”

  • Elsewhere in that same profile, longtime friend, Rob Riley, looks back on a long career:

“The Manhattans were very much into what I commonly refer to as “my kind of music,” the ballad — filled with that old street corner churchy harmony.  I had listened to them for years on Jo Evans’ Carnival Records.  But in 1972, there we were, face-to-face in the Starday-King‘s Records office in Nashville, Tenn.

My normal function with King had been strictly national R&B promotion.  That particular morning, Hal Neely, the president, had requested that I make certain I was in the city for I was to meet with The Manhattans and their manager, Hermi Hanlin.

I walked in expecting to meet another cocky group with a manager full of ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes.’  My notes were ready to cover the last single release, ‘A Million to One,’ the ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes.’  Instead, here sat five guys smiling and an oval-faced jovial female who immediately said, ‘Okay, Bob Riley, when do we start cutting our first record?’  It was a challenge – more in jest.  Although I had produced some Joe Henderson, Joe Tex, and a couple of Midnighter sides along the way, I thought what kind of joke is this?  Me, Bob Riley producing The Manhattans!

But this is what Hal and Hermi had agreed upon prior to my arrival.  Immediately, it was a warm and open thing which seemed to flow among the seven of us — the five Manhattans, Hermi and myself.  We actually forgot Hal was there for a few minutes as we talking about many things, mostly outside the realm of music.

It was agreed that I was to take the group down to Macon, Ga. to King’s other studio which was handled by Bobby Smith, the actual discoverer of Otis Redding.  The session became a team effort with the greater position of the input flowing around through Blue, Hermi and myself.  The session produced a good album, out of which came one hit song, ‘One Life to Live.’

AUDIO LINK for “Back Up” by The Manhattans

peaked at #107 on February 24, 1973 [DeLuxe]

  • Julian Coleman, in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard, picked “Back Up” as one of the “Picks and Plays” for the week of January 6, 1973.
  • “Back Up” entered Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart at #46 on January 13, 1973, climbed up to #41 the following week, made it to #24 by February 10, 1973, and then inched up to #20 the week after (there the chart trail goes cold).
  • “Back Up” peaked at #18 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 65 chart on March 3, 1973.
  • After The Manhattans signed with Columbia in 1973, Starday-King released two more singles on DeLuxe, with the final one — “Do You Ever” — reviewed in the August 11, 1973 edition of Record World, who deemed it a “Hit of the Week”:  “Group established themselves as crossover giants with their last outing [Columbia’s] ‘There’s No Me Without You.’  Their old label releases this ballad and the outcome could spell h-i-t.  We’ll take Manhattans!”

Other 1/2 of Dec 71 Record Mirror ad — new Starday-King subsidiary, Mpingo

Click on image above to view in ultra-high resolution

  • Review of Mpingo’s debut 45 — “Nobody” by Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford — in the January 1, 1972 issue of Record World:  “Mickey Stevenson’s new label has a super strong soul side as its first release.  Powerful vocal work by new girl group gives it real hit potential.  Watch out!”

H  O  N  O  R  A  B  L  E      M  E  N  T  I  O  N

AUDIO LINK for “60 Minute Man” by The Untouchables

peaked at #104 on October 7, 1960 [Madison]

“Here’s a new version of ‘Sixty Minute Man’ that swings even more than the original Dominoes record did.  It could be a hit again.”

AUDIO LINK for “Twistin’ Fever” [B-side?] by The Marcels

peaked at #103 on March 1, 1962 [Colpix]

  • “Twistin’ Fever” was a “Regional Breakout” single in the Hartford area, as reported in Billboard‘s March 31, 1962 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s 45 review in their April 7, 1962 edition assumes “Twistin’ Fever” to be the B-side:

THE MARCELS (Colpix 629)

(2:19) [Wemar BMI —
Elias, Reid, Richards] Guys who put
“Blue Moon” and some other standards
on the teen map with their
whacky chant style offer an exciting
teen sound here. Lead and fellow
songsters do a very slick job on the
first-rate item, and they’re supported
by a strong Latinish instrumental
sound. Can be another chart go for the

(B-f) “TWISTIN’ FEVER” (2:05)
[St. Louis BMI — Blackwell,
Scott] Old ditty gets a sly, grow-on-you
twist reading. Should also be eyed.

AUDIO LINK for “Fever” by Alvin Robinson

peaked at #108 on September 19, 1964 [Red Bird]

  • Alvin Robinson’s version of the King classic was a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte & Houston, as reported in Billboard‘s September 19, 1964 edition.

AUDIO LINK for “Sixty Minute Man” by Trammps

peaked at #108 on October 7, 1972 [Buddah]

  • Trammps’ proto-soul-flavored version of “Sixty Minute Man” was a Pop singles pick in Billboard‘s September 23, 1972 edition.
  • In February of 1975, the single would reach the Top 40 in the UK.

AUDIO LINK for “Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go” by The Chambers Brothers

peaked at #106 on March 16, 1974 [Avco]

B  O  N  U  S      B  U  B  B  L  I  N  G      U  N  D  E  R :

F R A T E R N I T Y   &   L O N N I E   M A C K

Here are the 45s that “bubbled under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart from Fraternity, Cincinnati’s other notable “indie” label from the original roots rock era.  Founded by Harry Carlson in 1954, Fraternity was a “one-man operation” that did business out of Carlson’s office/residence in Cincinnati’s old Sheraton Gibson Hotel.  Carlson sold Fraternity in 1975 to Counterpart RecordsShad O’Shea, who later sold Fraternity to Victor Piagneri in 2008 “with the promise that he would keep the labels active,” according to Big Boppa‘s Fraternity labels and company sleeves website.

AUDIO LINK for “Book Of Love” by Bobby Bare (Fraternity 878)

peaked at #106 on May 29, 1961

  • Billboard‘s review in their April 10, 1961 edition:  “A big, big ballad gets a mighty convincing vocal from Bare over a soaring string and choral group accompaniment   Flip is ‘Lorena‘.”
  • “Book of Love” – a 45 that enjoyed release in Australia, also somehow ended up (licensed?) that same year on a Swedish EP, whose wild cover image makes promises that the music in no way can come close to delivering.

1961 EP — Sweden

AUDIO LINK for “What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)” by The Charmaines

peaked at #117 on September 18, 1961 (Fraternity 880)

“The Charmaines were a soul girl trio.  Sisters Marian (who used the name Gigi on some of the records) and Jerri Jackson had sung together, but at the start of the girl group sound in 1959/60,  Marian started a trio with Irene Vinegar and Dee Watkins.  The group was signed to Fraternity records and started recording at King studios.  They released two 45s on Fraternity, with the second one, “What Kind Of Girl” being their highest charting record, although only making it to #117 in the Billboard [Bubbling Under] charts.  They had a one shot 45 on Dot before returning to Fraternity.

While recording their own 45s, the sessions included other local musicians like Kenny Smith and most notably, Lonnie Mack, who got his big break thanks to a Charnaines session that finished early, allowing him time to record ‘Memphis.’.[which peaked at #12 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart]”

(Fraternity 880)

(Do You Think I Am)”
(2:22) [B. F. Wood ASCAP — Seneca, Steward]
Gals display lots of rhythmic-rock polish,
and are backed by an infectious combo arrangement.
Upbeat sound that might make the chart grade.

(B-h) “ALL YOU GOTTA DO” (2:14) [Dorsey ASCAP — Starr, Kahn]
The larks move quickly again, and come-up with
more catchy teen doings.

Fraternity Recordings — Ace UK anthology (2019)

AUDIO LINK for “Where There’s A Will” [B-side] by Lonnie Mack

peaked at #113 on October 30, 1963 (Fraternity 918)

  • The Charmaines provide backing vocals on “Where There’s a Will” as well as the flip side, “Baby What’s Wrong.”  According to PragueFrank, these two sides were recorded at the same 1963 King Studios session as “Wham!” and “Suzie-Q,” where Lonnie Mack was assisted by Wayne Bullock [bass], Ron Grayson [drums], Irv Rusetto [sax], and Marv Lieberman [sax], with Carl Edmondson serving as producer.
  • 45Cat’s Juke Jules points to the 1959 recording by The Five Blind Boys (Vee Jay) as the inspiration for Mack’s version.
  • “Where There’s a Will” also reached #27 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart for the week ending December 28, 1963.
  • Billboard’s November 9, 1963 “Pop Spotlight” review tags “Where There’s a Will,” however, as the B-side:  “The ‘Memphis’ man, Lonnie Mack, enters the singer’s ring on this side culled from this current LP,  [‘Baby What’s Wrong‘] is a Jimmy Reed blues that has strong sell and swing.  The flip is ‘Where There’s a Will’.”
  • Gibson Guitars relays this amusing related anecdote in a tribute piece entitled “Unsung Guitar Hero — Lonnie Mack:  “Mack’s staggering soulfulness is clearly on display on ballads like ‘I’ll Keep You Happy,’ ‘Why,’ and ‘Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’—Lonnie’s third Fraternity single and a tune that received airplay on black radio stations, including one in Birmingham, Alabama, until Lonnie arrived one day for an interview and revealed he was white.”
  • “Baby What’s Wrong” (the A-side) peaked at #93 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

1964 — Australia (“A Fraternity Recording from U.S.A.”)

AUDIO LINK for “Lonnie on the Move” by Lonnie Mack

peaked at March 7, 1964 (Fraternity 920)

  • Cash Box‘s singles review in their February 15, 1964 issue:  “The versatile vocalist-instrumentalist can get back in the chart swing-of-things with his newest for Fraternity.  It’s a frantic, hard-driving all-instrumental affair, tabbed ‘Lonnie On The Move,’ that can go the ‘Memphis’-‘Wham!’ smash route.  The easy-on-the-ears beat-ballad romantic shuffler,[Ray Pennington’s] ‘Say Something Nice To Me‘ displays Lonnie’s winning vocal way.”
  • Cash Box‘s March 7, 1964 edition reported that “Lonnie on the Move” was in a group of 45s that were “going strongly” with “juke box ops [operators]” even though “not on Cash Box‘s Top 100″ — also listed at #41 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart.that same week.
  • According to Led Zeppelin biographer, Mick Wall, prior to Zep’s first ever rehearsal, Jimmy Page played for John Bonham “a single called ‘Lonnie on the Move’.  It’s like ‘Turn On Your Lovelight‘ [by Bobby Bland] as an instrumental, and it’s got this drumming that’s really super hooligan [and] I said, ‘This is the kind of angle I’m coming in at’.”
  • “Lonnie on the Move” has been part of Jeff Beck’s live repertoire in recent years, as these YouTube performance clips indicate.
  • The YouTube contributor who uploaded the above audio clip indicates the vocal contributions of The Charmaines.

1970 B-side on the short-lived (and mysterious) Buccaneer label

AUDIO LINK for “I’ve Had It” by Lonnie Mack

peaked at #128 on May 2, 1964 (Fraternity 925)

  • Billboard cited “I’ve Had It” to be a Regional Breakout single in Cincinnati, as reported in their May 9, 1964 edition.
  • Originally recorded by The Bell Notes in 1959 [#6 Pop & #19 R&B], “I’ve Had It” has also been paid tribute by Fanny, and Alex Chilton.
  • According to PragueFrank, the early 1964 recording session that produced “Lonnie on the Move,” “I’ve Had It,” “From Me to You” and four other songs was the first time Mack had recorded anywhere other than King Studios — in this case, RCA Victor Studio in Nashville.
  • “I’ve Had It’ reached #34 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart for the week ending May 16, 1964.
  • Cash Box‘s June 6, 1964 edition reported that “I’ve Had It” was “going strongly” with “juke box ops [operators]” even though “not on Cash Box‘s Top 100″ chart.

1964 single – Canada

AUDIO LINK for “A Public Execution” by Mouse

peaked at #121 on February 26, 1966 (Fraternity 956)

  • Record World‘s review in their February 19, 1966 issue as a “four-star” singles pick:  “Well done protest type song.  Mouse will get the cheese with.  Lyrics capture imagination.”
  • “A Public Execution” entered Cash Box‘s Top 50 Singles – Looking Ahead” chart at the #50 position on March 12, 1966 and reached the #27 spot two weeks later.
  • “Execution” also reached #5 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for the week ending March 5, 1966.
  • Mouse is short for Mouse & the Traps, garage rockers from Tyler, Texas.
  • “Public Execution” enjoyed a second life thanks to Lenny Kaye’s decision to include the recording on the original 2-LP Nuggets garage rock retrospective released in 1972 (reissued in 1976 on Sire before getting the 4-CD box set treatment in 1998).

AUDIO LINK for “Heart” by 2 of Clubs

peaked at #125 on October 8, 1966 (Fraternity 972)

“Linda is from Cincinnati and I’m from Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River,” says Patti.  “There was at the time a very popular nightspot called Guys & Dolls.  Linda and I each worked there, but not together at first. Singing at Guys & Dolls was my first paying job.  Before that I performed anywhere a band was willing to let me get up and sing.  Some were sort of bad news places, and at first I wasn’t even old enough to be in them.  Ben Kraft, who owned Guys & Dolls, heard about me from people who’d seen me perform. He came to listen to me, liked what he heard and hired me. At some point, it was discovered that Linda’s voice and mine blended together really well, and we decided to become a duo.  Linda was married to Carl Edmondson, who headed up the house band.”

  • One 45Cat contributor reports that this debut 45 was a “sizeable hit in the Albany, NY market (#2), held out of the top by The Royal Guardsmen” and then asks “where else did this do better locally than nationally?”  Answer:  Cincinnati, where “Heart” was a Regional Breakout single, as reported in the October 15, 1966 issue of Billboard.
  • Spectropop also reports that “Heart” was recorded at King Studios and “reached the Top 10 in places like Chicago.”
  • Billboard‘s November 19, 1966 edition found “Heart” included on its “Spotlight” list of 45s “predicted to reach the Hot 100.”
  • “Heart” also reached #21 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart, as well as #22 on Record World‘s Singles Look Up chart in October of 1966.

Debut 45 — Germany

AUDIO LINK for “How Long Has It Been” by The Casinos

peaked at #121 on June 17, 1967 (Fraternity 987)

  • The Casinos started out as The Legends, a teenage doo wop group whose members had attended Woodward High School, according to White Doo-Wop Collector music history blog.
  • Billboard‘s review in their June 17, 1967 edition:  “The well-blended vocal group should ride high on the charts with this top rhythm ballad.  Has the feel and sales appeal of their big one ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.’  Powerful entry.  Flip: ‘Forever And a Day’.”
  • Excerpt from Record World article entitled, “Fraternity’s Big Comeback Story,” published in their February 4, 1967 issue:

“The show business fraternity has always loved a comeback story, and none is being more warmly received today than that of Harry Carlson and his Cincinnati-based Fraternity Records.

Currently racking up hefty sales on two singles, ‘Walk Tall,’ by the 2 of Clubs, and ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,’ by The Casinos, Carlson told Record World last week that it has been about 10 years since his label had a real hit:  Jimmy Dorsey’s ‘So Rare.’  Now, however, things are really swinging for Fraternity and Carlson has just singed four new artists:  Danny Scholl, Cal Starr, Kitty West and Chris St. John.

‘All our artists are signed to long-term contracts,’ noted Carlson.
Furthermore, the company is about to bring out four new albums featuring the Casinos, who have signed with Premier Talent, the 2 of Clubs, Lonnie Mack and Cal Starr.  ‘This is the first time we’ve had in release more than one LP at a time,’ Carlson further revealed.

Carlson attributes much of the success they are having with ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ to the Acuff-Rose publishers of the John D. Loudermilk tune.  ‘They’ve given me greater support than anyone else in this business ever got.  For example, on one Friday, there were three areas in which I needed help; on Monday, Acuff-Rose sent promo men into the area.’

The song had been discovered by producer Glen Hughes (following a few recordings of it that failed to click) who then started using it in clubs.”

  • Carlson, noted Shad O’Shea in Greg Evans’ history of “The Cincinnati Sound” for Cincinnati Magazine, “really was loved by the entire record industry worldwide.”  Glen Hughes of The Casinos (and later Glen Hughes Promotion out of Nashville) enthuses unabashedly that Carlson “was one of the sweetest, kindest men in the world, like a father to everyone who recorded for him.  You hear about musicians in those days didn’t receive all their royalties?  I honestly think Harry overpaid us — he was worried about us not getting our fair share.”
  • Glen Hughes reveals in that same 1986 Cincinnati Magazine piece how their Top Ten hit was a spontaneous decision in the studio (like “Tequilaby The Champs)  when confronted with time to fill at the group’s King recording session:

“I had originally heard ‘They You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ on a Nashville station.  It was sung by Johnny Nash, and we had no idea of recording it — we just thought it would be a good song to play in clubs.  We kept getting a tremendous response from it, and requests for it.

One day we were recording a jingle for WSAI at King, and we had some time left on the session, so we cut ‘Goodbye.’  We took it to Harry Carlson and he said ‘I believe that’s a hit.’  The song, released in December of 1966, was a hit, reaching number four on the Billboard charts and selling 1.3 million copies.  The group which contained as many as nine members, mostly old neighborhood friends from Over-the-Rhine, began touring the country, spurred on by the success of the single.”

“How Long Has It Been” — not included on The Casinos’ 1967 LP

AUDIO LINK for “Sometimes You Just Can’t Win” by Mouse and the Traps

peaked at #125 on June 8, 1968 (Fraternity 1005)

  • Tragedy befell the band around the time they were promoting this single, as Billboard reported in their April 27, 1968 edition in an ironic news item entitled, “Ya Jes’ Can’t Always Win:

“CINCINNATI—The Mouse and the Traps, who recently scored handily with their ‘L.O.V.E.‘ single on Harry Carlson’s Fraternity label, suffered the loss of some $9,000 in equipment recently when their car and trailer went off the road and overturned near Jackson, Tenn., while on the hop from Texarkana, Ark. to Louisville.  With borrowed instruments, the group appeared on the ‘Upbeat’ TV-er in Cleveland the next day.  The boys feel the loss incurred in the accident ties in neatly with their latest Fraternity release, ‘Sometimes You Just Can’t Win,’ which last week received its first big play in the Midwest area.”

  • Cash Box‘s review in their April 27, 1968 issue:  “Coming off a noise-maker with ‘L.O.V.E.’ the group carries on in a heavy pop ballad with arrangements that highlight a fine lead vocal.  Flip:  ‘Cryin’ Inside‘.”
  • Billboard‘s June 1, 1968 edition reports “the platter showing exceptionally well in Louisville; Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas” — those same three areas cited in a  Record World May 18, 1968 news item.

US picture sleeve — 1967

Singing aloud is therapeutic, you know — rear sleeve

Primary source for Billboard “Bubbling Under” chart info:

US Hot 100 Bubbling Under

Friendly Reminder:  Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976

It’s almost impossible to fathom now, but at one time in the United States, tiny “indie” labels could actually get their records played on the radio.  This period was a narrow window of time, as predictably (and inevitably), the major labels would consolidate their hold on the marketplace by effectively shutting out indies from commercial radio playlists by the early-to-mid 1970s (and sometimes, as shown below, by purchasing the masters of songs that were proving “hot”).

Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart, which began in 1959 during rock ‘n’ roll’s initial wave, I have discovered to be a fairly fertile vein of offbeat and undersung recordings that once tickled the ears of a relative few for but a brief period of time.  A huge tip of the hat to, who labored mightily to make this information readily available.

Zero to 180, as a public service, has scrutinized these less-remembered tracks to identify some of the more curious 45s worthy of rediscovery.   This extended playlist includes a few major labels, as well as a handful of “name” artists, but otherwise is a “pop underground” of 45 tracks for whom classic oldies radio, alas, has no use.  These specially-selected tracks from 1959-1976 serve as a tribute to the scrappy independent labels who had hoped to hit it big during a time in the early rock ‘n’ roll era when the radio airwaves were more of a meritocracy.  This piece is also a(n) historical reminder of how regional radio once was before programming decisions essentially became the province of some guy in the “central office.”

“Bubbling Under” — sounds like a fun concept for a radio program(me), right?

Note:  This piece is a little “heavy” with content — please allow time to load.

AUDIO LINK for “Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob 

peaked at #114 on July 13, 1959 [Sandy]

  • “Little Bitty Johnny” is the follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy (and a single that made it as far as New Zealand).
  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of July 4, 1959.

Written by Travis Pritchett

Roulette” by Russ Conway

peaked at #106 on August 3, 1959 [Cub]

  • The person who uploaded this jukebox audio clip on YouTube has this to say: “Composed by Russ, the single has more POKE than the album version.  For my money, it’s Russ’ BEST up-tempo piece.  But how DID he get a piano to SOUND like this?  Many others tried, but none succeeded.”
  • “Roulette” hit the top of the UK pop chart two weeks in a row, as reported in Billboard‘s June 29, 1959 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s “London Lowdown and England’s Top 30 Records” chart notes that “Roulette” was still holding strong at the #4 position in the July 25, 1959 issue.
  • Reporting from NYC, the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box informs us that “Mills Music has just acquired the publishing rights to Russ Conway’s third successive English hit, ‘China Tea.’  Mills also has the same rights to the previous Conway clicks, ‘Side Saddle‘ and ‘Roulette.’  Writer of all three is Trevor Stanford.”

EP Sweden — 1959

AUDIO LINK for “Baghdad Rock (Pt. 1)” by The Sheiks

peaked at #111 on December 14, 1959 [MGM/Trine]

  • The Sheiks from Norfolk, VA — song also covered by Ray Ellis & His Orchestra.
  • 45 originally issued on Trine — with “Baghdad Rock” as the label’s sole release.
  • Billboard‘s picked “Baghdad Rock” as one of their “Spotlight Winners” for the week of October 26, 1959:  “The group has two interesting sides that can easily catch on.  The attractive, Oriental theme is given a colorful instrumental treatment with oboe spotlighted over rhythm accompaniment.  Both sides move all the way.  There’s already action in some Eastern marts.”  [e.g., Philadelphia]
  • “Baghdad Rock” — on the heels of Jerry Reed’s “Rockin’ in Baghdad” from two years earlier.

Written by Zane-Ramal-Tharon


AUDIO LINK for “Clap Your Hands (Pt. 1)” by The Wheels with
The Teddy Vann Chorus & Orchestra

peaked at #102 on January 4, 1960 [Folly]

Written by Teddy Vann

AUDIO LINK for “The Scandanavian Shuffle” by The Swe-Danes

peaked at #101 on February 22, 1960 [Warner Bros.]

  • According to Discogs — “The Swe-Danes were a vocalese trio that were active from 1958 until 1961, consisting of Swedish singer Alice Babs and two Danes, violinist Svend Asmussen and guitarist Ulrik Neumann.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 25, 1960 edition:  “Infectious ditty is intoned with spirit here by the duo, and it has the rollicking 1920’s sound.  Good jock side.”
  • #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (i.e., “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into the Cash Box Top 100″) — for the week ending March 12, 1960.
  • Written by Svend Asmussen.

Denmark 45                                               Germany 45

AUDIO LINK for “The Wind” by The Diablos Featuring Nolan Strong

peaked at #114 on June 27, 1960 [Fortune]

  • #21 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of July 9, 1960.
  • This 1954 recording (almost) back on the charts as a result of a cover version by The Jesters released that same year.
  • Bob Leszczak’s Who Did It First? recounts the song’s history:  “There were two very similar renditions of this song entitled ‘The Wind,’ and they were released six years apart.  First came the version on Detroit’s Fortune Records label from 1954 by The Diablos, featuring Nolan Strong on lead.  Strong was a cousin of future hit maker Barrett Strong of “Money” fame.  ‘The Wind’ sold well, especially in the big urban areas of the United States, but did not make the charts.  Strong’s voice was similar to that of Clyde McPhatter, and the group had a big impact on a young Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson.”
  • According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.

Written by Strong, Eubanks, Hunter, Gutierrez & Edwards

AUDIO LINK for “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow (I’m Comin’ After You)”
by Doug Warren and the Rays

peaked at #107 on July 11, 1960 [Image]

  • SecondHandSongs notes that “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow” is based on “Comin’ After You” by The Fairlanes, released four months earlier in Feb. 1960.
  • Billboard‘s review in their July 4, 1960 edition:  “Feelingful reading by Warren and group on effective r&r ditty with country flavor.”
  • #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (week of August 6, 1960).

Written by Billy Sherrill

AUDIO LINK for “Itchin’” [B-side] by Jimmy Jones

peaked at #106 on October 3, 1960 [Cub]

  • Jimmy Jones’ million-selling debut 45 “Handy Man” was also a #1 hit for James Taylor in 1977 (as well as #22 hit for Del Shannon in 1964).
  • The whistling part by Jones was a last-minute substitution, as a result of the flautist failing to show for the recording session.
  • “Itchin'” ended up being a B-side breakout hit.
  • “Itchin'” was deemed a Music Vendor R&B “Sure Bet” for September 26, 1960.
  • Billboard‘s September 12, 1960 edition reports that “Jimmy Jones is a newcomer on the singing scene who had the good fortune of scoring with two hits in a row.  Twenty-three-year-old Jimmy made his disk debut with Handy Man, his own composition, a million-seller, and went on to hit with Good Timin’.  He has two sock sides on his latest Cub single, Ee-Ii-Oh! b/w Itchin’ For Love.  The tremendous success of his songs in England (something that does not happen quickly to American artists) has led to the scheduling of a British tour that begins Oct. 5.”

Written by Stipe-Wyant-Reddy

AUDIO LINK for “The Jazz in You” by Gloria Lynne

peaked at #109 on January 30, 1961 [Everest]

  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 24, 1960.
  • “The Jazz in You” was a “Top Market Breakout” hit in the Los Angeles market, according to Billboard‘s February 6, 1961 edition.

Written by Dixon-Towns

AUDIO LINK for “Banned in Boston” by Merv Griffin

peaked at #101 on February 27, 1961 [Carlton]

  • Some suspect this song to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” from July 1960.
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 30, 1961 edition:  “Cute swinging novelty madly punches out the story of the chick who had so much on the ball she was banned in Boston—among other places.  Assisting instrumental and vocal groups all add to this strong side.”
  • #83 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of March 18, 1961.

Written by Clint Ballard, Jr & Fred Tobias

AUDIO LINK for “Bounty Hunter” by The Nomads

peaked at #116 on March 23, 1961 [Rust]

  • Billboard‘s review in their February 20, 1961 edition:  “A marching rocker rhythm here.  Rolling drums set the beat with the melody voiced by whistling and a guitar.  Chorus and an organ move in later.  Interesting arrangement.”
  • Cash Box‘s February 25, 1961 review is even more enthusiastic:  “We’ll bet our bottom dollar that the Laurie affiliate, Rust Records, has a smash in the Nomads’ instrumental, “Bounty Hunter.”  It’s a galloping, western-flavored opus with an infectious whistling and sans-lyric chants backdrop.  Perfect stuff for a TV theme.”
  • #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead’ chart for April 1, 1961.
  • #3 on Music Vendor‘s “Beat of the Week – Heading for the Top 100” chart for the week of March 20, 1961.
  • This 45 – which saw release in Canada & Australia – also covered by Al Caiola.

Written by J. Krondes

Sucu Sucu” by Ping Ping with Al Verlane’s Orchestra

peaked at #103 on May 1, 1961 [Kapp]

Netherlands 45 — 1961

AUDIO LINK for “Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind of Nut?” by Andy Cory

peaked at #121 on May 1, 1961 [Silver Bid]

  • Andy Cory’s recorded output — two singles — would include a 45 for King Records the following year, about which Discogs provides this bit of background info:  “Oddball hootenanny-style telling of historical vignettes, not in a comic vein.  Andy Cory is best known for his earlier novelty, ‘Hey, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut?’  Totally left-field release for King.”

Written by Roger Wilco

AUDIO LINK for “Abdul’s Party” by Larry Verne

peaked at #113 on May 8, 1961 [Era]

  • A “Spotlight Winner of the Week” in the March 27, 1961 edition of Billboard who described the track as “an amusing novelty number with musical background by the lad who had a hit with ‘Mister Custer‘ a while back.”
  • #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of May 20, 1961.

Written by J. Van Winkle, F. Darian & A. DeLory

AUDIO LINK for “Bacardi” by Ralph Marterie

peaked at #115 on May 22, 1961 [United Artists]

  • The fluke hit of “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including the more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers) as well as the brand-specific “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” (from the previous year).
  • As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King.  Unfortunately, the Seagrams Corporation didn’t take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time.  A sheepish notice in Billboard on March 23, 1960, said, “We Goofed!” [to be more specific, “When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’ We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commericial product name in its title.”] and indicated that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”
  • Oddly, not only did Ralph Marterie experience no blowback for trademark infringement, Billboard‘s May 8, 1961 edition awarded “Bacardi” three stars (i.e., moderate sales potential) and had only good things to say [“Latin-style instrumental, blues-derived.  Very danceable and good listening, too.  Worth strong exposure.”] in its review.
  • “Bacardi” was written by one-time King recording artist, Johnny Pate.

Also released in Hong Kong

The Presidential Peace Conference (Pts. 1&2)” by The Sickniks

peaked at #105 on June 26, 1961 [Amy]

streaming audio not yet available

  • Cash Box gave this a B+ in their June 24, 1961 review:  “Novelty already making some noise, has a voice imitating President Kennedy answering various queries (by famed personalities) at a press conference.  Catchy combo beat between the questions.  Could be programming difficulties due to the use of real names and matter of taste employed in some of the answers.”
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 17, 1961.
  • Written by Baron, Stallman, Jacobson & Eugene.

Click on 45 sleeve below to view in high resolution

AUDIO LINK for “Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers

peaked at #114 on September 25, 1961 [Music Makers]

  • A “breakout hit” in the New York market, as reported in Billboard‘s July 31, 1961 edition.
  • Cash Box reporting in the July 22, 1961 issue — “Bob Schwaid of Music Makers, all aglow with the response to his Fortune Tellers’ waxing of “Song Of The Nairobi Trio” noting sales coming in from the eastern seaboard.”
  • 45Cat points out:  “A-side used on Ernie Kovacs‘ television show, during the ‘Nairobi Trio’ skits” — song written by Robert Maxwell.

B-side when released in Japan

AUDIO LINK for “Berlin Top Ten” by Dickie Goodman

peaked at #116 on October 23, 1961 [Rori]

  • Break-in record from Dickie Goodman, whose groundbreaking work with Bill Buchanan in this genre had begun in 1956 with “Flying Saucer (Pts. 1 & 2).”
  • Avid Listener‘s celebration of Dickie Goodman’s Cold War-era political satire includes this 45 summary recap:  “In 1961, Goodman made his next Cold War song, ‘Berlin Top Ten,’ again a commentary on government-policed radio.  The song begins with disc jockey Happy Hans Kaput playing a snippet of the supposed number one song in East Berlin, ‘Don’t Fence Me In.’  This is undoubtedly a commentary on the Berlin Wall, which had just begun to “fence in” East Berlin when the song was released.  (The Berlin Wall actually surrounded West Berlin.)  Happy Hans is then machine-gunned by the “secret police” and replaced by Boris the Spinner, “the people’s disc jockey.”  After a few more news announcements and song snippets, the sound of marching soldiers and machine guns are heard once again.  This time it is Boris’s turn to face the secret police and he signs off with a snippet of ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ by the Platters.”
  • Written by Dickie Goodman and Robert Arkin.

released in the US — and also Denmark, curiously

AUDIO LINK for “The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts

peaked at #117 on October 30, 1961 [Ray Star]

  • #33 on Music Vendor‘s Top 40 Rhythm & Blues chart for December 4, 1961.
  • #14 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of January 6, 1962.
  • #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 9, 1961.
  • Written by Alonzo Willis and Steve Venet (brother of Nick Venet).

Dance steps below — be sure to “kill that roach”

AUDIO LINK for “She Put the Hurt on Me” by Prince La La

peaked at #119 on October 20, 1961 [AFO]

  • Prince La La backed by the A.F.O. Studio Combo.
  • #28 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of October 16, 1961.
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for the week of October 14, 1961.
  • December 18, 1961 edition of Billboard reports that “a number of disks have never as yet made the ‘Hot 100’ but have come close to it and have been selling quietly for a long period — good example is Prince La La’s ‘She Put the Hurt On Me’ on AFO.”
  • Also released under the slight title variant “You Put the Hurt On Me.”
  • In the mid 1960s, Foster MacKenzie III (a.k.a. Root Boy Slim) formed a band while attending Yale University that went by the name Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers.

Written by Lawrence Nelson

AUDIO LINK for “Colinda” by Rod Bernard

peaked at #102 on March 24, 1962 [Hall-way]

  • Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — as noted in an early Zero to 180 piece –would record his rumination about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway on Interstate 10) eight years later for Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label.
  • “Colinda” was identified by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, as reported in the May 19, 1962 edition.
  • #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 24, 1962.
  • #45 on Music Reporter‘s “Headed for the Big 50” chart (May 19, 1962).

Written by Rod Bernard

AUDIO LINK for “Na Ne No” by Troy Shondell

peaked at #107 on June 2, 1962 [Liberty]

  • Produced, arranged, and conducted by Phil Spector — one 45Cat contributor asks, “Do we know officially who the background girl singers are?  Darlene Love has to be in there somewhere.”
  • Billboard‘s June 9, 1962 edition reports “Na Ne No” as a regional breakout hit in Chicago and Detroit.
  • Billboard‘s review from the April 21, 1962 edition — “Catchy nonsense-type novelty-rocker is sung with good humor and infectious tempo by Shondell and fem chorus.  Teen appeal side.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of June 2, 1962.

Written by Paul Dino

AUDIO LINK for “How’s My Ex Treating You” [B-side?] by Jerry Lee Lewis

peaked at #114 on September 22, 1962 [Sun]

  • Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
  • Released here and abroad as a B-side (according to 45Cat), and yet Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition clearly considers it the A-side — “This moving treatment by Jerry Lee Lewis of a country weeper, which features his exciting piano work, could turn into his best record in over a year.  It spots a mighty good vocal performance by the singer on a strong lyric and the wild pianoing is there too.  Flip is ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.”
  • #26 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 20, 1962.
  • Written by Vic McAlpin.

B-side in Sweden — and everywhere else

AUDIO LINK for “Big Noise From Winnetka (Pt. 1)” by Cozy Cole

peaked at #121 on January 26, 1963 [Coral]

  • Billboard‘s review from the November 10, 1962 edition — “The first side here is a great reading of the oldie in up-to-date terms.  The side is reminiscent of a big one for Cole some time back, ‘Topsy [Pt. 2].’  There’s much drum beating and torrid whistling.”
  • #5 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 29, 1962.
  • The team of songwriters behind “Big Noise from Winnetka (Pts. 1 & 2)”:
    Gil Rodin, Bob Crosby, Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc.

1963 EP — France

AUDIO LINK for “Half Time” [B-side] by The Routers

peaked at #115 on February 16, 1963

  • The Routers (of course) best known for “Let’s Go.”
  • Written by Lanny & Robert Duncan — arranged by Rene Hall.
  • Issued as B-side of “Make It Snappy.”
  • One 45Cat contributor remembers, “I thought that “Half Time” was the A side of this record.  That is the side that I remember was plugged on Radio Luxembourg in 1963.”

1963 EP – France

AUDIO LINK for “Tore Up (Over You)” by Harmonica Fats

peaked at #103 on March 23, 1963 [Skylark]

  • Fact check:  Harmonica Fats’ version of “Tore Up Over You” by The Midnighters (1956) attributes Hank Ballard as the composer when, in fact, Henry Glover wrote the song.
  • Regional breakout hit in Buffalo, as reported in Billboard‘s March 30, 1963 edition.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 2, 1963.
  • Tagged by Music Reporter as Hottest Under the Big 100” (March 2, 1963).
  • Curious to find that the same two songs “Tore Up” b/w “I Get So Tired” were released by two tiny labels in 1962 (Skylark and Star-a-Fire) and then again the following year (Darcey) — 45Cat notes that “Lester Sill’s Darcey label picked it up for national distribution in very early 1963.”
  • Cash Box‘s review of the 1963 Darcey release:  “The new Hollywood based label can get off the ground in solid sales style with this dual-mart, pop-r&b deck that bows the enticing, gravely-voice style of Harmonica Fats.  Pulsating, steady driving shuffle rhythm affair with a ‘one more time’ closer.  Can bust thru.”
  • In December 2018, an original copy of a UK demo 45 sold for £75.
  • Biographical profile of Harmonica Fats, courtesy of UK’s Blues and Rhythm.

“Lois Music Publ.”

From Me to You” by The Beatles

peaked at #116 on August 3, 1963 [Vee Jay]

  • Vee Jay, prior to Motown, was the most successful black-owned record company – and the first American company to sign The Beatles.
  • According to this NRP profile of Vee Jay Records, in one month alone in early 1964, the label sold 2.6 million Beatles singles.
  • Link to Seymour Stein King Records history piece that contains (1) bonus Beatles trivia about earliest US 45s being issued on indie labels when Capitol (EMI’s American subsidiary label) passed on The Beatles’ first four singles, and (2) the strange-but-true story behind Stein’s seed money for launching Sire Records (pssst, it has something to do with The Beatles).

AUDIO LINK for “The Sound of Surf” by Percy Faith Orchestra

peaked at #111 on September 21, 1963  [Columbia]

  • “The Sound of Surf” is a 45-only non-LP track that eventually appeared on CD.
  • Song picked by Billboard as a “Pop Spotlight” winner in the August 17, 1963 edition accompanied by these words of praise:  “Here’s a mighty catchy Percy Faith instrumental, with surf and wind-swept chorus, big fiddle effects and insistent surf beat.  Melodic side could catch much across-the-board play and sale.”
  • #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 7, 1963.

Written by Charles Albertine & produced by Ed Kleban

AUDIO LINK for “Hootenanny Granny” by Jim Lowe

peaked at #103 on September 21, 1963 [20th Century Fox]

  • Link to full-page promotional ad in the September 7, 1963 edition of Billboard in which Jim Lowe gives a shout out to “Music Operators:  My mother thanks you … My father thanks you … And Granny thanks you.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 28, 1963.

Written by Fred Hertz & Charles Grean

Eefananny” by The Ardells

peaked at #109 on September 28, 1963 [Epic]

  • A “Pick of the Week” by Cash Box in its September 7, 1963 edition — “The eefin sound – a wacky vocal rhythm accompaniment style, some 100 years old – has entered the teen-market.  It’s a natural for novelty dates, as “Eefananny,” a joyful folkish cut, so engagingly demonstrates.  If the merry sound catches on,  and from where we sit it should, figure The Ardells to make the chart rounds with their version.”
  • Likewise a Billboard “Pop Spotlight” winner in the September 7, 1963 edition — “Here’s a novelty item that might go with the kiddies.  It’s a nutty side that might go with air play.  There’s another version of the side, but this one, at a bit slower tempo, can get play.”
  • “Eefananny” written by none other than Jerry Reed.

eefin’ = a tutorial

Rear sleeve liner notes:

Between 75 and 100 years ago, an old Negro lived in a little shack on the backs of the Cumberland River near Nashville, Tennessee.  He lived alone and to amuse himself and other folks he would sit around all day eefin’.  He said he got a lot of pleasure out of doing this, and people would come and listen for hours and hours to hear him make this funny sound.  Once he was asked how he made this sound and he said, “You pucker up your mouth, wiggle your tongue, snap your teeth, and out it comes!”

After he died, people in the hill country picked up this eefin’ and used it as a rhythm for their musical get-togethers.  This record, EEFANANNY, was recorded with this revived sound known as eefin’.

AUDIO LINK for “Guitars, Guitars, Guitars” by Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes

peaked at #116 on October 12, 1963 [Stacy]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s September 21, 1963 edition — “Strong blues with the surf sound from the Chicago guitarist.  It has a solid chance with gal chorus and strong gut work.”
  • Produced and written by Lee Hazlewood for Stacy Records.

US 7-inch release + German 45 picture sleeve

AUDIO LINK for “Gorilla” [B-side] by The Ideals

peaked at #127 on October 12, 1963 [Cortland]

  • Billboard‘s September 28, 1963 edition shows a guy in a gorilla suit cradling Chicago disk jockey Dick Kemp — 45 alleged to have “hot sales reaction” in the Midwestern markets of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
  • As noted on 45Cat, this B-side ended up being the (near) hit.  But look at the number of times it’s been released on 7-inch vinyl, including twice in 1963 — clearly something more going on here.  According to 45Cat’s rhythmdog, here’s the story:  “Howard Pitman was a former member of The Five Crowns.  Concord was his label.  Both sides were sold to Cortland, along with the Ideals’ contract when ‘The Gorilla’ became a huge Chicago hit at least in part due to heavy promotion by DJ Herb Kent.  This Concord release is the first release for both sides, which were later put out on Cortland paired with a variety of other sides, some of them not by the Ideals.”
  • Cash Box‘s March 21, 1964 issue reports that “Cortland’s veepee Earl Glicken advised that The Ideals, who did so well with ‘The Gorilla,’ cut a follow-up item last week tagged ‘More Gorilla,’ which is being rushed out to dealers.”
  • Written by Eddie Williams, Howard Pitman & Jerry Murray — instrumental backing by The Outlaws.

Original 45 release + 2011 reissue on Norton Records

AUDIO LINK for “The Monkey Walk” by The Flares

peaked at #133 on November 9, 1963 [Press]

  • Prepare to spend at least $20 when attempting to buy an original 45 — otherwise, you can pick up a copy of the Ace UK Flares anthology on compact disc.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the September 28, 1963 issue:  “The teen dance crowd will surely dig this hard-drivin’ hip-swinger geared strictly for dancing.  A vigorous vocal and constant handclapping sets a spirited mood.  The jocks should get on this one in short order.”

Written by A. Collins — Produced by Buck Ram

AUDIO LINK for “Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats

peaked at #104 on December 28, 1963 [Kapp]

  • #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 1, 1964.
  • Awarded four stars in the November 23, 1963 edition of Billboard, designating “new single with sufficient commercial potential in [its] respective category to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers handling that category.”
  • “A Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer Production” (i.e., The Strangeloves) — written by Robert Spencer.

US 7-inch release + 1964 French EP

AUDIO LINK for “The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails

peaked at #103 on January 18, 1964 [American]

  • Cash Box‘s review in their December 7, 1963 issue:  “There’s a new teen dance called the Cow, and it’s related to teen audiences with lots of bright blues-rock appeal by the songster and his support, tabbed the Quails.  Atlantic Records is handling this hectic addition to the teen-step catalog.”
  • #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 8, 1964.
  • Not everyone is a fan of this 45 — as one 45Cat contributor punned, “Can’t take this seriously.  The udder side is not a lot better.”

Written by Robinson, Wilson & Bowens

AUDIO LINK for “The La-Dee-Da Song” by The Village Stompers

peaked at #104 on February 1, 1964 [Epic]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” winner in Billboard‘s January 25, 1964 edition — “The Stompers have everything going but the kitchen sink on this hit follow-up.  There are bossa touches, banjos, plinkin’, Dixie brass and the listener can practically hear the ole Riverboat’s paddle and hoot.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 22, 1964.
  • Written by G. Weiss & J. Sherman.

Japan — 1964

AUDIO LINK for “Competition Coupe” by The Astronauts

peaked at #124 on February 15, 1964 [RCA]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s February 8, 1964 edition:  “The group here has been very successful with an album, and this single is already getting some strong play.  Watch it.”
  • The Astronauts’ Competition Coupe LP reached #105 on Music Vendor‘s album chart for the week of April 11, 1964.
  • Written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian — and subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2015.

  45 — Japan                                                    45 — Germany

AUDIO LINK for “I Am the Greatest” by Cassius Clay

peaked at #113 on March 21, 1964 [Columbia]

US promo with “Will the Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down” as B-side

Beatle Mania Blues” by The Roaches

peaked at #117 on April 11, 1964 [Crossway]

  • Cash Box, which assigns letter grades in their 45s reviews (though no lower than a C), awarded “Beatle Mania Blues” a B (“good”) in their April 25, 1964 edition.  Notes the trade journal at the top of its reviews section — “Only those records best suited for commercial use are reviewed by Cash Box.”
  • Note:  April 11, 1964 Music Vendor announces a complete overhaul of the weekly publication, including a new name, Record World.
  • Link to other Zero to 180 stories related to Beatles Novelty Songs.

AUDIO LINK for “Yo Me Pregunto (I Ask Myself)” by The Valrays

peaked at #121 on May 9, 1964 [Parkway]

  • “Latin doo wop” is how some might describe this tuneful “throw back” 45 — the second and final recording for The Valrays.
  • Despite the Spanish language lyrics, The Valrays were actually a “white” group from New York City, as noted in the White Doo-Wop Collector music blog —  WMCA’s Top Twenty-Five for the week of April 15, 1964 (NYC metro area) shows “Yo Me Pregunto” holding down the #25 spot.
  • #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 9, 1964.

Written by Dennis Linde & Peter Antell

AUDIO LINK for “New York Town” by The Dixiebelles

peaked at #119 on May 16, 1964 [Sound Stage 7]

  • A “female soul group” from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Discogs, “who changed their name [from The Tonettes] when Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 wanted a black female group to record and go out for live performances to promote a studio masterminded hit ‘(Down At) Papa Joe’s‘ that had been originally released by the white vocal group Anita Kerr Singers.”
  • A “Smith-Justis Production” — i.e., produced by “Cornbread” (Bill Justis) and “Jerry” (Jerry Smith).

AUDIO LINK for “Bad News” by The Trashmen

peaked at #124 on May 16, 1964 [Garrett]

45 label — note the small print

  • 45Cat contributorNaturalE” suspects something is not quite on the up and up:  “Anyone know why this song was co-identified as ‘Church Key‘ (by The Revels) when it actually sounds closer to a version of Eddie Bertrand’s “Volcanic Action” (by The Belairs), a tune which was also covered as “Tidal Wave” (by The Challengers)?”
  • Although “Bad News” was not included on The Trashmen’s 1964 debut album, 45Cat contributorporcupine” points out that the group “did a song on their Surfin’ Bird LP called ‘Bird Bath‘ that is essentially ‘Church Key/Bad News.'”

“Arty” 45 picture sleeve — Sweden

AUDIO LINK for “Beachcomber” by The Johnny Gibson Trio

peaked at #116 on June 13, 1964 [Laurie/Twirl]

  • 45 originally issued on Detroit label, Twirl, then released on Laurie for broader distribution.
  • “Beachcomber” made CKLW‘s Top 30 for two consecutive weeks in May 1964.
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 13, 1964 (seven slots behind “Jamaica Ska” by The Ska Kings).
  • Funky 16 Corners music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit.

Composed by Bobby Darin

AUDIO LINK for “Love Me Do” [B-side?] by The Hollyridge Strings

peaked at #134 on July 18, 1964 [Capitol]

  • Holy moly — is that a melodica on a vinyl disc from 1964?  If so, then we have a new winner for earliest melodica recording.  Hats off to Stu Phillips!
  • Amusing to note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits, especially given that the names are reversed for “All My Loving” (what is purported by 45Cat to be the A-side).
  • Record World‘s July 4, 1964 issue includes an item on page 35 entitled “Harmonica Happening” that begins thusly:  “It looks as if 1964 will be the year of the harmonica.  Pop, blues, country and folk musicians are all taking up the little instrument.  In England its popularity with the phenomenal rock groups has the suppliers working overtime.  The Beatles hit, ‘Love Me Do,’ opens with a powerful harmonica solo, and it has made spectacular headway on the charts.  Mannfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1‘ relies on rhythmic harmonica work.  Other English groups, such as the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Mersey Beats and The Batchelors use the harmonica as well.  Sonny Terry plays his blues harmonica on his new release, ‘First Meetin’,’ on World Pacific.”

Note the “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits on “Love Me Do”

AUDIO LINK for “Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)” by Jerry Jackson

peaked at #134 on July 25, 1964 [Columbia]

  • Newest addition to 2014 Zero to 180’s piece — “Ska in the 1960s US Market
  • “Ska beat with vocal” noted Cash Box in its May 30, 1964 issue.
  • #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 1, 1964.
  • Written by Paul Mason Howard & Paul Weston.

Columbia — leading up the ska charge

AUDIO LINK for “New Girl” by Accents

peaked at #128 on August 15, 1964 [m-pac!]

  • Identified by Billboard as a “Breakout Single” in AtlantaChicago, and Detroit.
  • “New Girl” was pegged by Cash Box as a “best bet” (i.e., “A”) in their record reviews from the June 20, 1964 edition — “The Accents could well jump into the national spotlight with this top-notch rhythmic multi-dance teen-angled bluesy affair about a new gal in town.  Eye it closely.”

Written by Bernice Williams & Robert Hill

AUDIO LINK for “Ringo for President” by The Young World Singers

peaked at #132 on August 22, 1964  [Decca]

  • Co-written by noted synthesist, Mort Garson, who was celebrated by Zero to 180 in 2018 for his mesmerizing opening/closing themes for TV’s “Untamed World.”
  • Cash Box‘ informs us in their August 8, 1964 review of this “Newcomer Pick:  “‘Ringo for President,’ which started as a promo gimmick in Cleveland by a gang of Beatles fans, could stir up a national interest with exuberant and live-wire reading by The Young World Singers.  A choice programming item for the coming campaign period.”
  • Billboard pegged this 45 as a “Hot Pop Spotlight” in its August 8, 1964 edition with a dash of humor — “Said non-citizen Starr in reply to [the military] draft, ‘I don’t believe I will have the time.’ (And it doesn’t pay enough).  Teenage version of ‘Wintergreen For President.'”

AUDIO LINK for “I Could Conquer the World” by The Shevelles

peaked at #104 on September 5, 1964 [World Artists]

  • As Billboard enthused in its review of July 25, 1964:  “Conquering sound from this British group.  Great beat coupled with groovy lyrics.”
  • This group from Wales once backed Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson, reports Record World in their September 26, 1964 issue.
  • “If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of October 10, 1964.

Written by Paul Evans

AUDIO LINK for “I’m Too Poor to Die” by Louisiana Red

peaked at #117 on September 12, 1964 [Glover]

  • 45 produced by Henry Glover on a label named for same.
  • Kal Rudman, in his ‘Rhythm & Blues’ column for Billboard, identified “Too Poor to Die” approvingly as a “live down-home blues record” in the August 1, 1964 edition.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.
  • 45Cat’s mickey rat offers this 7-inch review:  “Great blues with tremolo guitar, plenty of harmonica, and Red’s wry vocal.  Flip is a really good R&B instro with squeaky Jimmy Reed style harp and spoken interjections.  Underrated artist.”

Written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover

AUDIO LINK for (Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum by The Four-Evers

peaked at #119 on September 12, 1964 [Smash]

  • The Four-Evers’ best-known hit, according to Discogs, 1964’s “Be My Girl,” fooled some into believing the group was actually The Four Seasons recording under an alias.
  • #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 26, 1964.

Written by Joe Di Benedetto & Steve Tudanger

AUDIO LINK for “The Dog” by Junior and the Classics

peaked at #134 on September 26, 1964 [Groove]

  • This faithful cover of the Rufus Thomas hit found its way – thanks to RCA’s distribution heft – into Germany and Greece.
  • “The Dog” was tagged by Billboard on October 10, 1964 as a “Breakout Single” in Milwaukee.


AUDIO LINK for “The Invasion” by Buchanan and Greenfield

peaked at #120 on October 3, 1964 [Novel]

  • This break-in record by Buchanan (and new partner) Greenfield proved to be a “Breakout Hit” in Chicago, according to Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • “The Invasion” allegedly was reissued in 1972.

AUDIO LINK for “Maybe the Last Time” [B-side] by James Brown & His Orchestra

peaked at #107 on October 10, 1964 [Smash]

American picture sleeve  Vs. Germany‘s ill-fitting beat group image

AUDIO LINK for “Gale Winds” by Egyptian Combo

peaked at #103 on October 17, 1964 [Norman]

  • Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue reports in the ‘News of the World – Cincinnati’ column that “Ray Hill, veteran record promoter now working out of Cincy, has just concluded a 1,200-mile jaunt that took him to Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis and environs.  He reports success with ‘Gale Winds’ by Egyptian Combo [et al].”
  • Billboard‘s October 31, 1964 edition announces “Gale Winds” as a “Breakout Single” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

= Chart courtesy of Forgotten Hits 60s =

AUDIO LINK for “The Sloop Dance” [B-side] by The Vibrations

peaked at #109 on October 31, 1964 [Okeh]

  • Says 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton — “‘Sloop Dance’ may have been the intended B-side, but it whizzed to #4 on KQV, Pittsburgh.”
  • Written by David Penn, Del Sharh & L. Goodweather.

Check out the purple promo

AUDIO LINK for “Find Another Love” by The Tams

peaked at #129 on November 7, 1964 [Arlen]

  • As reported in Billboard, “Find Another Love” was a “Record to Watch,” according to WJLB’s Ernie Durham (Detroit); WMOZ’s Ruben Hughes (Mobile); WSID’s Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson (Baltimore) & WUST’s Al Bell (Washington, DC).
  • “Find Another Love” was first issued on Philadelphia-based Arlen (1963) and then reissued by General American (1964) and King (1965).
  • In 1980, Gusto – who owns the King catalog – reissued “Find Another Love” (albeit as a B-side) with the specious claim that the recording was “originally produced by King Records” while misspelling “Cincinnatti” to boot!

Can you spot the two errors on this 45 label?

AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone

peaked at #131 on December 5, 1964 [Philips]


AUDIO LINK for “Popping Popcorn” by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez

peaked at #132 on January 2, 1965 [Okeh]

  • Says Billboard in their December 5, 1964 review — “Exciting driving beat combining rock and gospel.  Should be able to pop real big commercially.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in their December 5, 1964 review — “The ‘Happy Organ’ man Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez joins the Okeh roster with this new outing and chances are he’ll make an impressive initial showing.  Side to watch is the exciting hand-clapping thumper, ‘Popping Popcorn,’ that sports some vocal comments along the way.  Great teen hop item.”
  • “Popcorn Popcorn” written by David Clowney and Teddy Vann.

What a Shame” by The Rolling Stones

peaked at #124 on January 30, 1965 [London]

  • 45Cat contributor On the Flip Side asks, “So what’s the story with the very rare [picture sleeve]?  Obviously few of them printed.  Only a segment of promos, or how the hell did they determine the number of sleeves run?”
  • Sure enough, if you search Popsike, you will find that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an original picture sleeve, with one person forking over $810 in 2018 after a 52-bid volley.
  • Also, what’s up with the Jagger-Richard songwriting credits on the 45 label?

AUDIO LINK for “Terry” by Twinkle

peaked at #110 on January 23, 1965 [Tollie]

  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
  • Tollie (the VeeJay subsidiary label that issued The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” 45 in the US and credited the A & B sides as being written by “McCartney-Lennon“) apologizes for this release on the cover of the picture sleeve.

Written by Twinkle

AUDIO LINK for “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus

peaked at #132 on January 30, 1965 [Clock]

  • This song appears to be Bert Keyes’ fifth and final single release.
  • “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in the Baltimore & Washington DC markets, as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1965 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the January 16,1965 issue:  “Both the Clock label and Bert Keyes can be back in the Top 100 spotlight as a result of this sensational instrumental that’s already grabbing action on the territorial level — especially in the Balt.-D.C. area.  Tabbed ‘Do-Do Do Bah-Ah,’ it’s an organ-led, steady driving beat swinger that features a chorus brightly chanting the tag along the way.”
  •  #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 30, 1965.

Written by Maurice Shapiro

AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1 & 2)” by
The Jimmy Johnson Band with Hank Alexander

peaked at #128 on February 13,1965 [Magnum]

  • “Don’t Answer the Door” – covered by B.B. King (1966) & Lonnie Brooks (1979) – was a #16 R&B hit for Jimmy Johnson, as well as a #2 R&B hit for B.B. King the following year.
  • #42 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 6, 1965.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.

Written by Jimmy Johnson

AUDIO LINK for “Banana Juice” by The Mar-Keys

peaked at #121 on April 3, 1965 [Stax]

  • In Billboard‘s April 3, 1965 edition, the word out of Memphis was that “The Mark-Kays [sic], whose new single ‘Banana Juice’ is climbing, has a European tour a-working, says Ray Brown of National Artists Attractions.”  Cash Box reported the same news in their “Record Ramblings” section of the April 24, 1964 edition.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 27, 1965.
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 27, 1965.

Written by “Ed Lee” — a.k.a. Isaac Hayes

AUDIO LINK for “Tiger-A-Go-Go” by Buzz and Bucky

peaked at #107 on May 1, 1965 [Amy]

  • Jan & Dean-style surf track with the unexpected lyric, “We met a California hippy who said come along with me now.”
  • 45Cat contributors note other pre-1967 uses of the word “hippy” in popular song meaning simply a “hip” person (e.g., 1963’s “South Street” by The Orlons or even Benny Golson in his spoken-word intro to 1959’s “Killer Joe” by The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet).
  • “Bill Justis Productions” — 45 label.

Written by Cason & Wilkin

AUDIO LINK for “The Girl From Greenwich Village” by The Trade Winds

peaked at #129 on May 1, 1965 [Red Bird]

  • Billboard had high hopes for this 45 in their Singles Reviews Spotlights, “Hot follow up to their ‘New York’s a Lonely Town‘ success is a fast-paced rocker with hit written all over it.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 29, 1965.
  • Written by Pete Andreoli and Vini Poncia.

45 picture sleeve – Netherlands

AUDIO LINK for “Last Exit to Brooklyn by The Scott Bedford Four

peaked at #129 on May 8, 1965 [Joy]

  • Cash Box likewise had high hopes for this 45 in their “Newcomer Picks” review — “The Scott Bedford Four can rapidly make national names for themselves with this ultra-commercial Joy item called ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn.’  The tune is a rollicking hand-clapper all about a subway-riding Lothario with an infectious repeating rhythmic riff.”
  • Record World allotted “Last Exit” three stars thusly in its March 27, 1965 issue:  “Song takes title from best seller, but has nothing to do with same.  Rhythmic session whacked across by talented lad group.”
  • B-side raises the heavy question — “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”

Written by M. Deborah & G. Goehring

It Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James

peaked at #106 on May 22, 1965 [Enjoy]

  • Wiki:  “When released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart, where it reached No. 25.  The song also appeared in the Billboard Pop chart at No. 106, which was James’ only single to do so.”
  • Notes 45Cat’s mickey rat:  “This is Elmore’s second version of ‘It Hurts Me Too’ — recorded in Feb 1963 (three months before his death) for Bobby Robinson in New York.”

Written by Elmore James

AUDIO LINK for “Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters

peaked at #133 on June 26, 1965 [Rampart]

  • Billboard‘s June 12, 1965 review:  “‘The Land of 1000 Dances‘ group is back with a stronger piece of catchy dance material.  Well produced and performed novelty.”
  • Record World‘s June 12 1965 review:  “Nonsense title will mean no nonsense at the counters when teens hear this Cannibal and friends follow up.  Thick dancing fun.”
  • #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 26, 1965.

Written by Max Uballez, Garcia & Davis

AUDIO LINK for “Happy Feet Time” by The Monclairs

peaked at #108 on July 10, 1965 [Sunburst]

  • First released April 1965 on Cleveland label, Sunburst, (where it was a “Regional Breakout Hit“) then issued on Atlantic subsidiary, Atco, for national/international distribution.
  • Pegged by Billboard on July 10, 1965 as a “New Action R&B Single,” i.e., “registering solid sales in certain markets and appearing to be a week away from meriting a listing on the national Top 40 R&B Singles chart.”
  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for July 17, 1965.
  • #30 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for the week of July 24, 1965.
  • Written by Don Gregory Jones.

1966 single – France

AUDIO LINK for “Un-Wind the Twine” by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers

peaked at #134 on July 24, 1965 [Mar-V-Lus]

  • Alvin Cash (of “Twine Time” fame) and the Crawlers breathe new life into the Twine thing.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the June 26, 1965 issue:  “Alvin Cash and the Crawlers are a cinch to continue their best-selling ways (they had “Barracuda” last time out) with this first-rate new entry labeled “Un-Wind The Twine.” The tune’s a medium-paced pop-r&b funky slow-rocker with a terpsichorean-oriented infectious beat.
  • KGFJ’s Al Scott in Los Angeles (one of the “Top R&B Jockeys”) pegged this song as a Pick-of-the-Week in Billboard‘s July 24, 1965 edition.

Written by Harold Burrage, James L. Jones & Otha Hayes

AUDIO LINK for “Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters

peaked at #127 on September 4, 1965 [Chattahoochee]

Written by Thee Midnighters

Sea Cruise” by The Hondells

peaked at #131 on October 16, 1965 [Mercury]

Written by HueyPianoSmith & John Vincent

AUDIO LINK for “The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables

peaked at #117 on November 27, 1965 [Autumn]

  • Written by Tom Paxton and produced by Marty Cooper (of “Hamburger Patti” fame).
  • Says Cash Box in their review published in the November 13, 1965 edition — “The folk-rock field has been greatly enhanced by this fine group, which had a recent noise-maker, ‘I Still Love You.’  Top end here, ‘The Last Thing On My Mind,’ should put the team into deeper chart territory.  It’s infectious with a catch-on-quickly manner.”
  • “Last Thing on My Mind” was a “Breakout Single” in San Francisco, according to Billboard in their November 27, 1965 edition.
  • #28 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 18, 1965.

1965 French EP sold for £184 ($207) in 2016

AUDIO LINK for “Party People” by Ray Stevens

peaked at #130 on December 18, 1965 [Monument]

  • “Party People” is a 45-only track (that would later be issued on compact disc) on Stevens’ first single for Monument after leaving Mercury.
  • Says Billboard , who predicted the A-side to reach the Top 60, “Well-written lyric material from the pen of Joe South serves as a pop, driving production number that should spiral Stevens rapidly up the chart.”
  • Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, noted in the December 18, 1965 issue — “‘Party People,’ Ray Stevens, Monument, is a fine record that is getting lost.”
  • #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.

AUDIO for “(You GotThe Gamma Goochee” by The Kingsmen

peaked at #122 on December 25, 1965 [Wand]

  • Billboard‘s review believes “Gamma Goochie” to be the the flip side — and yet (near) universal consensus this song was intended as the A-side.
  • #96 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for December 18, 1965.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.

German 45                                         French EP

AUDIO LINK for “A Beginning From An End” by Jan and Dean

peaked at #109 on January 1, 1966 [Liberty]

  • Includes a spoken-word middle section “rap” that sounds straight out of the (loopy and unreleased) Filet of Soul sessions.
  • #94 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for January 29, 1966.

Written by Jan Berry, Roger Christian, Cleve Hermann & George Tipton

AUDIO LINK for “Where Did She Go” by Steff

peaked at #124 on January 22, 1966 [Epic]

  • According to Discogs, Steff is a “German singer, born on December 27, 1943 in China.  Later he worked and lived in France, Germany and since the 60’s in Switzerland.  He also runs his own studio and worked as an engineer and producer in between his singing career” — link to his website.
  • 45Cat’s Ort. Carlton says this track was a “HUGE hit in Atlanta” where “WQXI played it for weeks.”
  • Written by Stephen “Steff” Sulke — produced by Buddy Killen.

AUDIO LINK for “You Bring Me Down” by The Royalettes

peaked at #116 on February 5, 1966 [MGM]

  • Written by Bobby Weinstein with Teddy Randazzo, who also arranged, conducted, and produced.
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 29, 1966 edition — “This big production rhythm ballad soulfully performed has more potential than their initial single, ‘It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.’  Well produced and performed.”
  • #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for February 12, 1966 (“‘You Bring Me Down,’ Royalettes, MGM, has been picked up by almost everyone and is the pick at KATZ, is Top Pick at CKLW, Detroit, plus other big stations.”)
  • #29 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for February 12, 1966.

picture sleeve for the US market

AUDIO LINK for “Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles
Bounce About Above the Water” by Shirley Ellis

peaked at #135 on February 5, 1966 [Congress]

Written by Lincoln Chase & Shirley Elliston

AUDIO LINK for “That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers

peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate/American Music Makers]

  • Cash Box‘s review in their February 12, 1966 edition is optimistic — “The A-side is a hard-driving rhythmic teen-angled ode which advises a Live-and-Let-Live attitude in romantic situations.”
  • Originally released on scrappy Pittsburgh indie label, American Music Makers, before being picked up by NYC-based Karate for broader distribution.
  • #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for March 5, 1966 — plus, this review from the same edition:  “Contemporary rock number with all the right touches to make a hit.  Good beat, good bet.”

Written by Eddie Rossi

AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Push Me” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous

peaked at #110 on March 19, 1966 [Parrot]

  • UK beat group who, according to Discogs, “formed in November 1963 as The Trendsetters, and became The Hedgehoppers the following year.  Jonathan King took over their record production in 1965, and added “Anonymous” to their name when they said they were popular in Peterborough, and did not want to change their name completely.”
  • According to 45Cat’s kimbozw, “chart peaks for this included #15 in South Africa, #17 in Sweden, and #110 in the USA.”
  • #9 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 2, 1966.
  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 26, 1966.
  • Written and produced by Jonathan King.

Rhodesia — 1966

AUDIO LINK for “Daddy’s Baby” by Ted Taylor

peaked at #129 on March 26, 1966 [Okeh]

  • “Daddy’s Baby” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported in Billboard‘s October 22, 1966 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their February 26, 1966 edition — “R&B histmaker Ted Taylor has a strong hard rocking shouter here.  Groovy working backing the wild chant makes this a strong entry.”
  • #46 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for March 5, 1966.

Written by Ted Taylor — Produced by Billy Sherrill

AUDIO LINK for “I’m a Good Guy” by The C.O.D.’s

peaked at #128 on April 2, 1966 [Kellmac]

  • The C.O.D.’s with Paul Bascomb and Orchestra.
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 30, 1966.
  • Distributed by One-Derful Records.

Written by Larry Brownlee & The COD’s

AUDIO LINK for “I Lie Awake” by The New Colony Six

peaked at #111 on April 16, 1966 [Centaur]

  • #9 position on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (May 14, 1966).
  • #9 position on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart (May 28, 1966).
  • “I Lie Awake” was a regional hit in Chicago in April/May 1966, as reported in Billboard.
  • Video clip of New Colony Six on Chicago “kiddie” TV show singing “I Lie Awake” in 1966.
  • According to 45Cat’s NC6freak:  “‘I Lie Awake’ was originally the intended ‘B’ side of ‘At The River’s Edge,’ but a Chicago-area radio station held a listener contest to determine which side of this New Colony Six 45 should be the ‘A’ side, and strangely enough, ‘I Lie Awake’ won out.  So radio jocks started playing this side as the hit side.  Also, the 45 of ‘I Lie Awake’/’At The River’s Edge’ was originally issued on the ‘Centaur’ spelling label, but the spelling of the label name was soon changed to ‘Sentaur,’ due to a dispute concerning ownership of the label name with another record label in New York that was also claiming to own the Centaur name.”

Written by Jerry Kollenburg & Ray Graffia

AUDIO LINK for “It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore

peaked at #132 on April 23, 1966 [St. Lawrence]

  • #30 position on “Singles Coming Up” in Record World‘s May 7, 1966 edition.
  • According to Robert Pruter in Chicago Soul:  “The singer was born Mamie Davis in Erwin, Mississippi, on September 24, 1940.  She began singing in church and school, graduating from O’Bannon High in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1958.  She joined a local band, Herman Scott and the Swinging Kings, and worked with them until 1961.  Then for a year Davis worked with Ike and Tina Turner Review.  From 1962 until 1965 she toured with the Little Milton Band and ended up in Chicago where Little Milton was making his home and recording.”

Written by Jerry Butler, Council Gay & Sylvester Potts

AUDIO LINK for “I’ve Got a Secret” by The Sharpees

peaked at #133 on May 7, 1966 [One-derful!]

  • Record World‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition:  “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play.  Very sharp.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition:  “The Sharpees let loose with a generous portion of R&B wailing on this lid.  Spicing the side with a contagious jerk-tempo rhythm, the group could do well among teen buyers.”

Written by Eddie Silvers

AUDIO LINK for “Wigglin’ and Gigglin’” by Roy Head

peaked at #110 on May 21, 1966 [Back Beat]

  • “Wigglin’ and Gigglin'” made the Top 40 on Houston’s KYOK AM during the week of May 12, 1966.
  • This Billboard ad for Don Robey’s Duke and Backbeat Records playfully emphasizes the “freshness” of this latest Roy Head recording:  “First fresh cut record since ‘Treat Her Right.’  All later releases on Roy Head were old ‘off the shelf.’  This is fresh from the studio.  Acclaimed by many to become a ‘Top 10’ picked before it was released …”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue:  “Roy Head looks like he’s back in the big money with this bouncy rock number, ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’.  Has top beat and message to teen girls and boys.”
  • #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 28, 1966.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 2, 1966.
  • Cash Box‘s June 11, 1966 issue reports that “Roy Head whose latest for Backbeat is ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’’ is off on a personal appearance and TV promo tour of the Southwest and will then head East.”


A Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” by Norma Tanega

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [New Voice]

  • Norma Tanega perhaps better known for “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog” also from 1966.
  • “Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” — arranged, produced & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe Productions — was released in the US, Canada, and South Africa.
  • Predicted to reach the Top 60, Billboard writes in its review — “Off-beat lyric ballad penned by Miss Tanega that swings in the same vein as ‘Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.'”
  • #20 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
  • #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 18, 1966.
  • Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).

Written by the two Normas:  Tanega & Kutzer

AUDIO LINK for “What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This?
by Scatman Crothers

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [HBR]

  • Released on Hanna Barbera’s own record label, primary reason being that the recording comes from the Hanna-Barbera TV special “(The New) Alice in Wonderland, or, What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”
  • 45Cat notes that “the special originally aired Wednesday, March 30, 1966 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on ABC-TV and was sponsored by Rexall Pharmacies and the Coca-Cola Company.”
  • #31 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 14, 1966.

Written by Lee Adams & Charles Strouse

AUDIO LINK for “I Feel Good” by The Sheep

peaked at #130 on May 28, 1966 [Boom]

  • The Sheep are a songwriting and production team — Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer (i.e, soon to be Seymour Stein’s Sire partner) — who had previously musically incarnated as The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian brothers), best known for “I Want Candy.”
  • Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60, offered this critique — “Pulsating dance beat rocker aimed at the teen market should equal their initial disk click [i.e., debut 45 ‘Hide and Seek‘].”
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.

Written by L. Lee

It’s You Alone” by The Wailers

peaked at #118 on June 11, 1966 [United Artists/Etiquette]

  • YouTube clip above includes historic images of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • The “It’s You Alone” 45 appears to have initially released on Etiquette and then picked up by United Artists for national distribution.
  • A-side hits Top 5 in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its May 7, 1966 edition — also a “Regional Breakout” hit in the San Francisco area.
  • Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue:  “United Artists picked ‘It’s You Alone’ up in Seattle where it was making a lot of noise.  Has a haunting folk quality geared to hypnotize teenagers.”

Written by Ron Davies

AUDIO for “Sock It To ’em J.B. (Pt. 1)” by Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers

peaked at #110 on June 25, 1966 [Like]

  • Song title and concept works on two levels, in that “J.B.” = James Brown and James Bond.
  • Billboard was initially optimistic about this 45’s prospects in its review — “Unique, blues-tinged rocker with excellent sax backing could prove a big one.  Disk [label] is distributed by Atlantic.”
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, according to Billboard.
  • #30 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 9, 1966.
  • #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 13, 1966.
  • Written by Rex Garvin, Clayton Dunn & Pete Holman

Distributed internationally by Atlantic — including  Nigeria

Note:  Rex Garvin is misspelled as “Rex Carvin

AUDIO LINK for “Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg

peaked at #108 on July 16, 1966 [Columbia/Pharaoh]

  • Single appears to have been released on McAllen, Texas-based label, Pharaoh, then picked up by Columbia for wider distribution.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Houston, so says Billboard, whose review in the July 2, 1966 edition enthuses — “Exciting debut for the American group with the British sound.  High-pitched, well-blended vocal and teen dance combined for a chart-busting number.”
  • #67 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 6, 1966.
  • #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 6, 1966.

Written by James Lewis Williams

El Pito” by Joe Cuba Sextet

peaked at #115 on August 6, 1966 [Tico]

  • ‘El Pito’ Makes the Chart — Thanks to R&B Stations,” reports Billboard in its August 13, 1966 edition:  “The Latin American-flavored r&b record by Joe Cuba has received heavy airplay in New York on r&b and jazz radio stations.  ‘We’ve sold 70,000 in New York alone, said Red Schwartz, national promotion chief of Roulette Records and its Tico subsidiary.  George Wilson, program director of WHAT, in Philadelphia, heard it being played on a visit here.  He telephoned me from Philadephia saying he’d make it a pick of the week if I’d send him some copies to play.  I sent him a couple of copies and band, the record spread like wildfire.”
  • Tomas Fundora in his “El Mundo Del Disco” column for the May 14, 1966 issue of Record World writes — “‘El Pito’ por Joe Cuba y su Septeto está ‘acabando’ en el mercado.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 20, 1966.
  • #33 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 30, 1966.
  • “El Pito” — written by Jaime Sabater — is taken from the LP Estamos Haciendo Algo Bien! (We Must Be Doing Something Right)

Cash Box ad from July 1966 – courtesy 45Cat

AUDIO LINK for “She Ain’t Lovin’ You” by The Distant Cousins

peaked at #102 on August 27, 1966 [Date]

  • Arranged & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe, the song’s co-composer, with The Distant Cousins — Larry Brown (from Milledgeville, Georgia) and Raymond Bloodworth (from Newark, NJ) — who met while serving with the US Army Signal Corps at training school where, Billboard informs us, they were assigned alphabetically.
  • Cash Box mini-bio courtesy of 45Cat:

“The Distant Cousins are Raymond LaFayette Bloodworth and Lawrence Russell Brown.  They met while both were stationed with the US Army in Paris, won a talent contest, and went on a tour of Army installations throughout Europe.  After the Army hitch, they came to New York to launch a career of singing and song writing.  The Distant Cousins’ current Date release of ‘She Ain’t Loving You’ is number 92 on this week’s Top 100.

Lawrence was born on June 29, 1945 in Newark, NJ and Ray was born May 18, 1944 in Milledgeville, GA.  Both boys list Hank Williams among their favorite composers and Chet Atkins among their favorite instrumentalists.  Lawrence and Ray are both staff writers for the Saturday Music company.  The Distant Cousins consider Bob Crewe to have been the greatest influence on their career.”

  • Billboard reported on August 27, 1966 that The Distant Cousins are “on promotional tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where the disc is way out front!”
  • #90 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 17, 1966.
  • #37 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 10, 1966.

Written by Bob Crewe, Lawrence R. Brown & Raymond L. Bloodworth

AUDIO LINK for “Love’s Gone Bad” by Chris Clark

peaked at #105 on October 1, 1966 [V.I.P.]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in St. Louis, according to Billboard, from Chris Clark, one of Motown’s lesser-known “blue-eyed” recording artists (November 12, 1966).
  • “Love’s Gone Bad,” notes Cash Box, is “making inroads in several important Canadian centres and is shaping up through exposure on CKLG, Vancouver.”
  • According to Discogs, “Clark became famous in England as the ‘white Negress’ (a nickname meant as a compliment), since she toured with fellow Motown artists.”
  • Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. (who would later receive the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame).
  • #33 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 8, 1966.
  • #49 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for October 8, 1966.

Someone paid €571 in 2014 for this 1967 French EP

AUDIO LINK for “The Willy” by The Willies

peaked at #113 on October 8, 1966 [Co & Ce]

  • This 45 appears to have been released by Hollywood indie Blue River (where it was the B-side) before getting a 2nd release in September on Pittsburgh-based Co & Ce (where it was the A-side) for East Coast distribution.
  • “Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh, as reported in Billboard‘s October 8, 1966 edition.
  • Reached the #95 position on Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for November 19, 1966.
  • Record World‘s review in the September 24, 1966 issue:  “Teens will be getting the willies in the best way possible when they hear this gay rock cut.”
  • Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”
  • Written by Sid Robin.

Definitely not one of the British Invasion groups

AUDIO LINK for “Love Is a Bird” by The Knickerbockers

peaked at #133 on October 22, 1966 [Challenge]

  • Beautiful effect on the guitar during the bridge that gives a sitar-like sound.
  • “You’re gonna get hurt if you try to cage it, you’ll just enrage it” (love is a bird, you know).
  • Billboard notes in its October 8, 1966 review — “Back in the groove of ‘Lies,’ the group should have no trouble shooting up the chart with this swinger.”
  • Cash Box‘s November 12, 1966 issue reported from Toronto that “Al Mair is in high glee over CKFH action on his Challenge single, “Love Is A Bird” by the Knickerbockers.”
  • Engineered by Bruce Botnick (famed for his work with The Doors) — flip side “Gossip, Rumors, Words Untrue” penned by the producer, Jerry Fuller.

Written by Jimmy Seals (of Seals & Croft fame)

She Digs My Love” by The Sir Douglas Quintet

peaked at #132 on October 29, 1966 [Tribe]

Written by Doug Sahm

Hymn #5” by The Mighty Hannibal

peaked at #115 on November 19, 1966 [Josie]

  • Originally released on Atlanta’s Shurfine (soul label founded by Wendell Parker) — single then got picked up by Josie (subsidiary of Jubilee) for national distribution.
  • Cash Box‘s October 15, 1966 review declared that “Mighty Hannibal should get a warm reception with this snail-paced, blues-oriented, shuffling, gospelesque, chant-like, wailer about a soldier in Vietnam.”
  • Light in the Attic points out that “this commentary on the effects of the Vietnam War on servicemen” was The Mighty Hannibal’s biggest hit, despite the fact that it was “banned on radio.”
  • #84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for November 5, 1966.
  • #26 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #87 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #24 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #21 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 3, 1966.
  • Written by James T. Shaw — produced by Wendell Parker.

Italy — 1966

AUDIO LINK for “Bears” by The Fastest Group Alive

peaked at #133 on November 26, 1966

  • According to, “There isn’t very much known about the Fastest Group Alive.  The band had a regional hit in the Northwest USA with ‘Bears’ in 1966.  The Fastest Group Alive consisted of Jeff Thomas, Daniel Moore, Matthew Moore, and James Flemming Rasmussen.  The band recorded two singles for the Valiant label.”
  • Original 45 released on Seattle-based Teem label, before the masters were purchased by Valiant, as reported in Billboard.  Curious to note that the “Bears” 45 appears to be Teem’s entire recorded output.
  • Record World deemed this 45 four stars in its November 5, 1966 issue thusly:  “Side is kind of nutty, but that’s just what’s taking teen fancies these days.”
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 10, 1966.

AUDIO LINK for “I’m Your Bread Maker, Baby” by Slim Harpo

peaked at #116 on December 1, 1966 [Excello]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Milwaukee, as reported by Billboard., who predicted the song to go Top 10 R&B in their review — “This wild, wailing number is a topper for ‘Baby, Scratch My Back‘ and should meet with a fast sales impact.  Much pop potential as well.”
  • #43 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for December 10, 1966.
  • #34 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 24, 1966.
  • Part of a three-way tie for last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 17, 1966.

AUDIO LINK for “Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children

peaked at #102 on December 1, 1966 [While Whale]

  • Written by John Hewlett and Simon Napier-Bell.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.
  • Record World‘s review in the November 26, 1966 issue:  “About a fellow going crazy and instruments do the same.  Wild thing will wow.  Strange changes.”
  • News item in the November 12, 1966 issue of Cash Box:

“LOS ANGELES — The Yardbirds’ producer and personal manager, Simon Napier-Bell, has signed his major discovery recording group, John’s Children, with White Whale Records, Inc.  John’s Children’s first release in the U.S. will be ‘Smashed! Blocked! (The Love I Thought I’d Found).’  The startling single, just released in England and France, is meeting with tremendous acclaim, according to Ted Feigen and Lee Lassoff, heads of White Whale Records, Inc.

John’s Children have recently completed a SRO tour of England and France.  Because of the response to the new group, Premier Talent Associates in New York has booked a major tour for them in the States with the Yardbirds in Dec.

‘John’s Children express best the new generation in England. ‘Their startling sound and their social significance should have the same impact on the States as in England and the continent,’ comments Simon Napier-Bell.”

Chart courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time

AUDIO LINK for “Plain Jane” by B.J. Thomas

peaked at #129 on December 17, 1966 [Scepter]

  • Subject of Zero to 180’s piece from 2014 — “Plain Jane”:  Mean People Suck.
  • Worth noting that Pacemaker, B.J. Thomas’s label prior to Scepter, also released “Plain Jane” that same year — different recordings, I wonder?  Same producer listed on both 45 releases, so I doubt it.
  • #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 7, 1967.

Written by Marc Charron

AUDIO LINK for “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” by The Soul Runners

peaked at #103 on January 14, 1967 [MoSoul]

  • “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” — featured in Zero to 180’s musical salute to grits.
  • The Soul Runners changed their name to The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band in 1967.
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for February 18, 1967.
  • #22 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 28, 1967.
  • #100 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for February 4, 1967.
  • Written by Fred Smith and Nathaniel Nathan.

sole non-US release?   Netherlands


AUDIO LINK for “Life Is Groovy” by The United States Double Quartet =
The Tokens + Kirby Stone Four

peaked at #110 on January 28, 1967 [B.T. Puppy]

  • Two quartets — The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four — for the price of one.
  • This song ranked 23rd in Billboard‘s Top 40 of the “best selling middle-of-the-road singles” for the week of February 11, 1967.
  • #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 18, 1967.
  • Album review in the July 26, 1969 issue of Record World:  “This is a successful pairing of The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four, who together make up the United States Double Quartet.  Beautiful vocal treatments are their forte, and they make the most of ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Up Up and Away,’ ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Those Were the Days,’ and more tasties.”
  • Written by S. Finz and R. Affoumado — produced by The Tokens.

French EP — 1967

AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Walter Wart” by The Thorndike Pickledish Choir

peaked at #131 on February 4, 1967 [MTA]

  • “Thorndike Pickledish” is the alter ego of Seattle disk jockey, Robert O. Smith, who says “the record was responsible for me coming to the attention of the KJR (Seattle) management and was, in part, responsible for my moving from KMBY in Monterey.”
  • “Ballad of Walter Wart” was a “Breakout Regional Single” in Seattle, as well as the Twin Cities area.
  • News item in the December 24, 1966 issue of Record World:  “MTA Records has released ‘The Ballad of Walter Wart’ by the Thorndike Pickledish Choir with an exclusive leasing arrangement with Golden State Recorders in San Francisco.  Plans are in the works for merchandising of Walter Wart sweat shirts and tee shirts and also for a feature cartoon serial of the ‘Adventures of Walter Wart.'”
  • Written and produced by Robert O. Smith.

Can you spot the typo?

AUDIO LINK for “Rain Rain Go Away” by Lee Dorsey

peaked at #105 on February 4, 1967 [Amy]

  • 45-only track penned by Allan Toussaint that would be included later on Sundazed’s CD reissue of 1966’s Working in the Coalmine — Holy Cow album.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported by Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60 in its review — “Right in the groove of his “Holy Cow” and “Coal Mine” hits is this pulsating rhythm rocker, which should bring Dorsey back onto the Hot 100 in a hurry.”
  • #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 11, 1967.

1967 EP – France

AUDIO LINK for “What’s That Got to Do With Me” by Jim and Jean

peaked at #123 on March 18, 1967 [Verve Folkways]

According to Vancouver Signature Sounds” —

  • Jim & Jean were a folk duo composed of Jim Glover, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born in 1942, and New Yorker, Jean Ray, who was born in 1941.
  • Glover, while attending Ohio State University, met Phil Ochs, who would write the liner notes for the duo’s debut album.
  • After their second album, Jim & Jean released what, at the time, was a non-album single titled “What’s That Got To Do With Me.”
  • “What’s That Got To Do With Me” peaked in the Top 30 in San Jose, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Seattle, while making the Top 20 in Santa Rosa (#16), San Diego (#15) and Vancouver (#11).  Its best chart run was in Madison, Wisconsin, where the song reached #7.

Update:  Sly & the Family Stone recorded a version in July 1967 during sessions for their debut album that finally saw release in 2013.

Written by Jim Glover

AUDIO for “Go Go Radio Moscow” by Nikita the K & the Friends of Ed Labunski

peaked at #105 on March 25, 1967 [Warner Bros.]

  • This break-in record purports to be a broadcast of Radio Moscow, featuring Soviet Premier (and zany disk jockey) Nikita the K.
  • 45 features parodies of “Tell It To The Rain” by The Four Seasons, “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers, and “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet” by The Blues Magoos.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their March 11, 1967 issue — “Top 40 radio gets the ‘comrade-ly’ treatment in this winning spoof.  A highly commercial item, the lid should definitely be in for heavy airplay and top-notch sales.”

Written by Ed Labunski & Hal Deeben

AUDIO LINK for “California On My Mind” by The Coastliners

peaked at #115 on April 8, 1967 [D.E.A.R.]

  • Note the far-out phasing used for effect in the chorus.
  • Says Cash Box in its February 18, 1967 review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners.  Chart material.”
  • Notes Record World in its February 18, 1967 review — “California has been a meaningful chart name and this new cut could rock onto charts with the trend.”

Written, arranged & produced by Fred Carroll

AUDIO LINK for “Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine

peaked at #111 on May 13, 1967 [Original Sound]

  • Writes Billboard in its April 22, 1967 review:  “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”
  • Record World‘s April 22, 1967 review:  “Nitty gritty side from the coast groove groovers.  Will stir action.”
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 6, 1967.
  • Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 20, 1967.

Written by Sean Bonniwell — produced by Brian Ross

AUDIO for “Four Walls (Three Windows & Two Doors)” by J.J. Jackson

peaked at #123 on July 15, 1967 [Calla]

  • “Four Walls” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.
  • #82 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
  • #14 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
  • Released two years later by Warner Brothers as the B-side to “That Ain’t Right.”
  • “Four Walls” produced by Lew Futterman & Windsor King — arranged and conducted by J.J. Jackson.

Written by King & Jackson

AUDIO LINK for “Sally Sayin’ Somethin’” by Billy Harner

peaked at #118 on August 19, 1967 [Kama Sutra]

  • Delaware Liberal awarded this track “Song of the Day” last September and provided some historical background:  “If you didn’t live in the Philadelphia area, you might not know this Northern Soul classic, but it was all over WIBG in the summer of ’67.  It also charted in New York and LA, but failed to break out nationally.  It probably didn’t help that Harner was such a big draw at the Jersey Shore that he didn’t have to tour outside the region (he was the last headliner at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier).”
  • Needless to say, a “Regional Breakout Single” in Philadelphia, as reported in Billboard‘s July 22, 1967 edition.
  • #5 on Record World‘s “Singles Comes Up” chart for August 19, 1967.
  • Written by Poltergeist and Sunshine.

AUDIO LINK for “Heavy Music (Pt. 1)” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard 

peaked at #103 on September 9, 1967 [Cameo]

  • #73 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending October 7, 1967.
  • Written by Bob Seger.

German 45 — 1967

As Long As You’re Here” by Zalman Yanovsky

peaked at #101 on October 7, 1967 [Buddah]

  • Concluding images of this bizarro video for “As Long As You’re Here” (by the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful) include historic footage of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • Bet you won’t flinch when I inform you that the B-side is merely the A-side played backwards (a 7-inch phenomenon that has been addressed in prior posts).
  • News item – “Buddah Signs Zal” – in Record World‘s September 23, 1967 issue:

NEW YORK — Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin, exclusive producers for Zal Yanovsky, former lead guitarist for the Lovin’ Spoonful, revealed that they have signed a long term, exclusive recording contract for Yanovsky with Kama Sutra Productions through Koppelman-Rubin Associates.  Joint announcement was made with Kama Sutra toppers Artie Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg, together with Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin.

Neil Bogart, Kama Sutra and Buddah General Manager, announced that the first single under the new agreement, ‘As Long As You’re Here,’ is due for immediate release.  Bogart said an initial pressing of 100,000 copies is ready for shipment.

Artie Ripp said that Yanovsky will receive an all-out publicity and promotion campaign to kick off the first release.  ‘Zally is a great talent,’ he said, ‘and we’re with him all the way.  He’s going to be established as a major record artist.”

Both sides of the single were written by the hot team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, who wrote three huge hits for The Turtles, and the current chart singles by Petula Clark (‘Cat in the Window‘) and Gary Lewis & the Playboys (‘Jill‘).

In charge of production of all Yanovsky releases will be Koppelman-Rubin executive producer Jack Nitzsche.  Nitzsche revealed that a Yanovsky album is now in the process of being recorded and will feature several songs written by the guitarist-singer.

  • “As Long As You’re Here,” produced and arranged by Jack Nitzsche, is a 45-only release not found on Yanovsky’s lone solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina — except on the Japanese and UK reissues.

45 — France

AUDIO LINK for “Hunk of Funk” by Gene Dozier and the Brotherhood

peaked at #121 on October 7, 1967 [Minit]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in the Washington, DC area, as reported by Billboard (October 14, 1967).
  • #46 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for October 28, 1967.
  • #44 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 16, 1967.
  • #32 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 30, 1967.
  • #41 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 11, 1967.
  • Written by Billy Jackson.

A-side when released in Germany — and yet no mention on the cover!

AUDIO LINK for “Sand” [B-side] by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

peaked at #107 on October 28, 1967 [Reprise]

  • Written & produced by Lee Hazlewood and arranged by Billy Strange,
  • “Sand” — the B-side for “Lady Bird” — includes a backwards guitar break.
  • News item – “Criterion Rep in Hazlewood Catalog Push” – published in Billboard‘s October 21, 1967 edition:

PARIS — Back from a seven-week trip to Hollywood, Jack Robinson, Criterion’s representative in France, is making plans to achieve comprehensive exploitation of the Lee Hazlewood catalog in the French-speaking territories.

While in Hollywood, Robinson signed with Hazlewood’s new ASCAP publishing firm to represent the catalog in France.  Hazlewood’s company is working on adaptations of French songs, which Robinson took with him to Hollywood.

Robinson also signed a contract with Michael H. Goldsen to act as managing agent in Europe for Criterion.

Meanwhile, Polydor has released a Lee Hazlewood single “Sand” b/w “My Baby Cried All Night Long,” and Robinson reports that he has lined up eight or nine French recordings of Hazlewood songs.  Marcel Amont has recorded ‘The Girls in Paris‘ for Polydor and Joe Dassin has recorded ‘Comma La Lune‘ (Four Kinds of Lonely) for CBS.

Robinson also reported that Nancy Sinatra would be recording her Hazlewood hits in French.

Art nouveau picture sleeve – Netherlands

AUDIO LINK for “I Want Some More” by Jon and Robin and the In Crowd

peaked at #108 on November 4, 1967 [Abnak]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Nashville and Houston, as reported in Billboard.
  • #61 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 25, 1967.
  • Both Sides Now Publications has the back story — “Dallas, Texas-based Abnak Records was part of Abnak Music Enterprises, Inc., founded by successful Fort Worth insurance man John H. Abdnor, Sr.  His son, John Howard Abdnor, Jr., otherwise known as Jon Abnor, was a part of the duo Jon & Robin.  The elder Abdnor apparently started the label as a vehicle for his son’s musical interests, but quickly also became involved on the business end when he signed the Five Americans and he became their personal manager.”
  • Written by Wayne Thompson.

“I Want Some More” — final track of 2nd album

AUDIO LINK for “This Thing Called Love” by The Webs

peaked at #102 on December 2, 1967 [Pop-Side]

  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending December 23, 1967.
  • #94 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
  • Zero to 180 looks at the chart scores above (i.e., 102 vs. 96 vs. 94) and wonders if we can meet in the middle at 99 to allow for honorary Hot 100 membership?
  • Written by Marshall Boxley and Willie Cooper.

French 45 — 1968

AUDIO LINK for “Kites Are Fun” by The Free Design

peaked at #114 on December 23, 1967 [Project 3]

  • “Kites Are Fun” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in Buffalo — reached the #34 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the December 30, 1967 edition.
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 2, 1967,
  • #19 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 16, 1967.
  • Written by Chris Dedrick — also, uncredited as producer on “Kites Are Fun” is Enoch Light, founder and president of Project 3 Records.
  • This past February, 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton posted this related anecdote — “One night as I was waist deep in my radio show, a stock copy of this going around on the turntable, the phone rang.  A woman was crying. “You MUST tell me who this is!  This record has enchanted me since I first heard it when I was 9 years old on WPTR in Albany, New York!”  So I told her, and informed her of the group’s website.  She messaged them, and heard back; they were deeply touched.  And so was she.  And so am I.  This record will always be very special to me because I got two widget cans of Guinness as a finder’s fee from the fine lady in question.”
  • Zero to 180 piece from 2016 — “The Free Design Have Found Love

EP Portugal — 1968

AUDIO LINK for “It’s a Gas” by The Hombres

peaked at #113 on January 13, 1968 [Verve Forecast]

  • Text of news item [“Singleton Issues Hombres Videotapes“] published in Billboard‘s December 30, 1967 edition:  “Shelby Singleton Productions last week made available for bandstand TV shows two color videotapes of The Hombres performing ‘It’s a Gas’ and ‘Am I High’ — the two tunes on their latest Verve Forecast single.  Both records were produced by Huey Meaux for Shelby Singleton Productions.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in the December 30, 1967 issue:  “Keeping in the off-beat vein that gave them their top ten ‘Let It All Hang Out,’ the Hombres step up the action again with this touch of sarcastic sensibility punctuated by a cute break with “It’s A Gas.”  Chalk up another biting side from the team, one that should top their first effort on the pop scene.”

Written by BB Cunningham, Gary McEwen, Jerry Masters & John Hunter

AUDIO LINK for “Captain of Your Ship” by Reparata and the Delrons

peaked at #127 on February 3, 1968 [Mala]

  • “Captain of Your Ship” was a much bigger success in Europe (#13 in the UK Singles chart), where the group toured and performed on German TV’s “Beat Club.”
  • International distribution of this single included Rhodesia and India.
  • Record World‘s review in the January 27, 1968 issue:  “‘Captain of Your Ship’ is a cute novelty that Raparata and the Delrons should parlay into a big hit.”
  • News item in the August 9, 1969 issue of Record World points out that Steve and Bill Jerome, newly-appointed A&R executives for Avco Embassy, “are credited with having launched Bell Records in England with Raparata and the Delrons’ record of ‘Captain of Your Ship’.”

45 – Sweden

AUDIO LINK for “I Cannot Stop You” by The Cherry Slush

peaked at #119 on February 24, 1968 [U.S.A.]

  • Written, produced, and arranged by Dick Wagner, who later gained fame for his collaborations with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed & Kiss.
  • Billboard‘s January 6, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” (“new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers”) with this concise assessment — “The label that started the Buckinghams on the road to fame has another group with a hot rock item that could easily establish them in the same way.”
  • Program director/disk jockey Bobby Holland of Hazlehurst GA’s WVOH singled out “I Cannot Stop You” as the “Biggest Leftfield Happening” — as reported to Billboard in its March 30, 1968 edition.
  • #43 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart in their Feb. 17, 1968 issue.
  • Gary Johnson’s biographical profile of this Michigan Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band notes that “Saginaw’s Cherry Slush was one of mid-Michigan’s most popular bands during the 60’s” who were “also one of the few garage bands from that era to place a single on the charts of the three major trade papers in the 60’s, Billboard, Record World, and Cash Box.”

AUDIO LINK for “Bear Mash” by Ramsey Lewis

peaked at #123 on February 24, 1968

  • Ramsey Lewis Trio:  Ramsey Lewis (piano), Cleveland Eaton (bass) and future Earth, Wind & Fire bandleader, Maurice White (drums).
  • Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight”  with these words of praise — “Discotheque and jukebox must in this infectious number played for all it’s worth by the piano wizard.”

Future Shocktypeface on 1967 LP

AUDIO LINK for “Do Drop Inn” by The Fifth Estate

peaked at #122 on March 16, 1968 [Jubilee]

  • Cash Box‘s review in the March 2, 1968 issue:  “[BMI-Gordon & Bonner] Intriguing hard-beat bounce behind a smoothly polished vocal showing from the Fifth Estate could project the team back up the best seller path.”
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 30, 1968.

45 – Germany

AUDIO LINK for “African Boo-Ga-Loo” by Jackie Lee

peaked at #121 on March 23, 1968 [Keymen]

  • When’s the last time you heard harmonica on a driving soul tune?
  • Record World‘s February 24, 1968 review:  “Here’s a variation on the popular dance.  The rug-cutters will cut it.”
  • #35 on Record World‘s R&B Top 50 chart for April 6, 1968.
  • #49 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 50 chart for March 16, 1968.
  • “African Boo-Ga-Loo” would be issued in the UK four years later in 1972 — though it turns out that Britain had been enjoying the ‘import’ version “for years” (see UK single review below).
  • Review in the 19 Jan 1973 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul:  “Everybody calls this the natural follow-up to ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and that is a fair comment on the record.  Though I hate to have to say it, it will sell in vast quantities in the north and almost nothing in the south.  The beat never lets up and it will make ideal meat for discos — many have been playing the import version for years, of course.”

Written by Earl Nelson

AUDIO LINK for “If You Didn’t Hear Me the First Time (I’ll Say It Again)”
by The Sandpebbles

peaked at #122 on April 6, 1968 [Calla]

  • The descending chords of the main riff – combined with the chiming church bell – sounds suspiciously close to what Elton John used six years later for his arrangement ofLucy in the Sky” that hit the radio airwaves in 1974.
  • #46 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on April 20, 1968.
  • #42 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 27, 1968.

Written & produced by Teddy Vann

AUDIO LINK for “Look at What I Almost Missed” by The Parliaments

peaked at #104 on April 13, 1968 [Revilot]

  • “Look At What I Almost Missed” reached no. 5 on CKLW, Windsor, according to 45Cat .
  • Cash Box‘s review in the March 6, 1968 edition — “Terrific pace of the newest outing from the Parliaments should set the team back on the winning road to pop action while maintaining solid blues area action.  Lively mid-speed outing that is tailored for dancing from the ‘Testify‘ group.  Should be well received.”
  • Record World‘s review in the March 9, 1969 issue:  “A rocking and rolling beat here.  The fans will like what they hear.”

Written by George Clinton & Tamala Lewis

AUDIO LINK for “What a Day” by The Contrasts Featuring Bob Morrison

peaked at #120 on April 13, 1968 [Monument]

  • According to Plankton, “What a Day” reached no. 20 on CHUM, Toronto.
  • Record World‘s March 9, 1968 review:  “Irresistible ditty featuring Bob Morrison.  Deserves to get big.”
  • Johnnie Charles, program director/disk jockey at Bluefield WV’s WKOY, declared “What a Day” to be “Best Pick,” of the week (April 13, 1968), while Dean Tyler at Philadelphia’s WIBG chose the same song as the week’s “Best Leftfield Pick” (April 5, 1968).
  • Global distribution network for the “What a Day” single included Turkey.

Written by Bob Morrison — Produced & arranged by Bill Justis

AUDIO LINK for “Billy Sunshine” by Evie Sands

peaked at #133 on April 27, 1968 [Cameo]

  • Billboard‘s March 2, 1968 review reveals that even the best-laid plans do not necessarily guarantee commercial success — “The writing team of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni has a hot sales item in this pulsating rocker with strong vocal workout that should bring Miss Sands back to the Hot 100 rapidly.”
  • Record World‘s February 10, 1968 review:  “Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni have produced this moving, grooving song that Evie does right by.”
  • Program director/disk jockey Rick Scarry of Ventura, CA’s KUDU pegged “Billy Sunshine” as the week’s “Biggest Leftfield Happening,” as reported in Billboard‘s April 13, 1968 edition.

B-side in France — Art nouveau picture sleeve

AUDIO LINK for “Alone Again Or” by Love

peaked at #123 on May 4, 1968 [Elektra]

  • In a news item entitled, “Elektra to Pitch Product to UK’s College Cities,” Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition reports that “The new LP [Forever Changes] is getting the biggest ever Elektra UK promotion.  Publicity includes advertisements on buses in key cities, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham.  A single featuring two tracks from the LP “Alone Again Or” and “Bummer in the Summer” has just been issued.  If the record enters the charts, the group has agreed to visit England for personal appearances, says [Elektra’s Clive] Selwood.”
  • Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of March 9, 1968 — “This pulsating folk-rocker should fast break the strong LP sellers onto the Hot 100 chart once again.  Good material, strong performance with driving dance beat in support featuring a mariachi flavored arrangement.”
  • Best Leftfield Pick” for the week of March 30, 1968 according to an unnamed program director/disk jockey at Flint, MI’s WTAC, as reported in Billboard.
  • This 45 helped usher in improved sound, as reported in Cash Box — “Almost all of Elektra Records’ singles will be released in compatible stereo, beginning with the new Love single, ‘Alone Again Or, it was announced last week by Jac Holzman, president of Elektra.  Singles will be released in the compatible stereo format.  Holzman said that this move was in keeping with the change-over in the U.S. to an all-stereo record industry.  He maintains that the continued release of mono singles was inconsistent with the superior sound of today’s stereo LP’s and might be one reason for the rapid drop in singles sales in the past year.”
  • In the 23 August 1969 edition of Record Mirror, pioneering BBC Radio One & Capital Radio disk jockey, Dave Symonds, was asked to select a dozen tracks that represent the best of the old and new for the trade’s “DJ 12” weekly feature.  Symonds leads off with this Love track:  “I’ve picked [‘Alone Again Or’] because I think it’s a very pretty number,” he said.  “Possibly it was a bit ahead of its time and I think there is going to be a return to pretty melodic records — I forecast this.  I think the very hairy, freaky, feedback, fuzz-box sort of thing is going to go and acoustic guitars and woodwinds will come back.”
  • “Alone Again Or” is also the lone Love track (!) on this 4-song Doors EP issued in Iran — does Jac Holzman know about this?
  • Written by Brian MacLean.

45 picture sleeves from France (left) & Netherlands (Right)

AUDIO LINK for “Backwards and Forwards” by December’s Children

peaked at #123 on May 18, 1968 [World Pacific]

  • Time for everyone to sing along, even if you think you don’t want to —

  • Note:  In teeny-tiny print at the end of the lyric sheet above, it reads “I wrote this song.  I can’t figure it out, maybe you can … Ray Whitley” (i.e., the other person, besides Jimi Hendrix, who wrote a song in 1968 entitled “1983!)
  • #12 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 11, 1968 — same issue says the song is getting good radio action in Miami, according to Kal Rudman’s “Money Music” column.
  • #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 22, 1968.

45 — Germany

Days of Pearly Spencer” by David McWilliams

peaked at #134 on June 1, 1968

AUDIO LINK for “When Do We Go” by Billy Vera & Judy Clay

peaked at #107 on June 8, 1968 [Atlantic]

  • “When Do We Go” was selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 25, 1968:  “The strong duo hit it big with ‘Storybook Children‘ and [“Country Girl-City Man‘]  and this blues ballad, well performed, will put them even higher on the charts with stronger sales.  Soulful and meaningful material.”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 25, 1968 edition:  “Billy Vera and Judy Clay have another love duet here tagged ‘When Do We Go’ that will go to chart top.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in the May 25, 1969 issue:  “The ‘Storybook Children’ team softens its style, retaining the emotional power and dropping the tempo of “City Boy-Country Girl” [sic] for an exciting effort here that should bring home some solid sales showings on the pop and blues fronts. Look for a building excitement to follow this side as a result of its re-play appeal. Could become a monster.
  • Billy Vera’s recording career includes a #1 pop hit — “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera and the Beaters) that initially charted at #79 when released in 1981 before going all the way to the top when reissued in 1987 — as well as two other songs that “bubbled under” the Hot 100:  “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (which peaked at #121 on September 28, 1968 and “The Bible Salesman” (which peaked at #112 on May 17, 1969).  Judy Clay would also enjoy a Hot 100 hit in 1968 with William Bell on “Private Number” [which hit #75 Pop, #17 R&B, and #8 on the UK Singles chart], as well as two other recordings that “bubbled under”:  “My Baby Specializes” (with William Bell – #104 on Dec. 28, 1968) and “Greatest Love” (#122 on April 18, 1970).
  • Written by Ted Daryll and Chip Taylor.

45 — Italy

AUDIO LINK for “Soul Clappin’” by The Buena Vistas

peaked at #126 on September 7, 1968

  • 45Cat contributor Mr. Lobbers notes — “Although the labels state that the two sides are from the LP Here Comes Da Judge, the album does not appear to have been released.”
  • Picked by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of August 10, 1968 — “Their version of ‘Here Come Da Judge‘ took them into the Hot 100 and now this funky beat blues rocker has all the sales potential to take them high on both pop and r&b charts.  Powerful dance item.”
  • #49 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 24, 1968 — same issue reports good radio response in Detroit.
  • #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 31, 1968.
  • Somehow the single made its way over to France.
  • Written by Tom Shannon, Carl Cisco & Nickolas Ameno.

45 — France

AUDIO for “Mission Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood” by Alan Copeland

peaked at #120 on September 21, 1968 [ABC]

  • Assuming Alan Copeland is also behind the previous year’s “A Bubble Called You” — attributed to The Alan Copeland Conspiracy.
  • I agree with the person who uploaded this audio clip that this recording must be one of the firstmash-ups” in popular music history.
  • Cash Box‘s August 3, 1968 review:  “Knockout coupling of the television theme and Beatles Rubber Soul cut comes on with the immediate punch of a belting instrumental and a more subtle impact with the expert adaptation of the lyric over Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Grammy’ rhythmic.  Sensational track that has all the makings of a pop blockbuster and much middle-of-the-road potential.”
  • Alan Copeland would repeat the formula for his next single — an amalgamation of “Classical Gas” and “Scarborough Fair” released December 1968.
  • Similar concept tried with 1970’s “Strawberry Fields/Something” by Pozo Seco, a 45 that likewise “bubbled under” (peaked at #115 on October 28, 1970).

Japan — 1970

AUDIO LINK for “I Couldn’t Spell !!*@!” by Sam the Sham

peaked at #120 on October 5, 1968 [MGM]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Dallas-Fort Worth, as reported in Billboard.
  • #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart in their Nov. 2, 1968 edition.
  • #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart in the Sept. 28, 1968 issue.

Written by Wayne Thompson

AUDIO LINK for “Paul’s Midnight Ride” [B-side] by The Delights Orchestra

peaked at #128 on October 26, 1968 [Atco]

  • Title and groove appear to be a reference to 1968’s “Horse” by Cliff Nobles & Co.
  • 45Cat’s davie gordon has the story behind the 45 — “An independent production from Philadelphia bought up by Atlantic.  The instrumental B-side started picking up airplay in St. Louis in September making the local top 20 on station KATZ.  This was enough for Billboard to register it on their bubbling under chart in late October peaking after two weeks at no. 128.  The Sweet Delights never recorded again but the Delights Orchestra did have a follow-up single.
  • 45Cat’s Felonious also chimes in — “I’m sure some of The Delights Orchestra became members of MFSB.  According to Funky 16 Corners and Classic Urban Harmony, The Sweet Delights were Geri Edgehill, Betty Allen, Valerie Brown, Grace Montgomery Allison, and Albert Byrd.

Written by Albert Byrd & Eddie Edgehill

AUDIO LINK for “Fifty Two Per Cent” by Max Frost and the Troopers

peaked at #123 on December 14, 1968 [Tower]

  • Max Frost & the Troopers, as it turns out, is a fictional band created for the (Mike Curb-produced) exploitation flick Wild in the Streets.
  • 52% of the population in 1968 was under 25, you know.
  • Predicted (November 30, 1968) to reach the top 60 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart:  “His ‘Shape of Things to Come‘ proved a big chart item and this raucous rock follow-up with lyric line along similar lines has much of that sales potency as well.”
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 28, 1968.
  • Written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

45 — France

AUDIO for “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” by Buck Owens & the Buckaroos

peaked at #106 on February 8, 1969 [Capitol]

  • “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” was also a #1 hit on the Billboard Country chart.
  • 45 would also top Record World‘s C&W Singles chart on Mar. 29, 1969 [pg. 38] (click link for October 18, 1969 issue and scroll to page 83 for a full-page ad of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos).
  • #5 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 60 chart for April 5, 1969.
  • Written by Buck Owens and covered by Sue Thompson that same year.

45 — Norway

AUDIO LINK for “Lovey Dovey” by Johnny Nash

peaked at #130 on February 15, 1969 [JAD]

  • From the same artist whose previous year’s “Hold Me Tight” got major radio play [#1 Canada and #5 in US & UK Singles chart], another rare moment of Jamaican rocksteady on US radio — backing band almost certainly Lyn Taitt & the Jets.
  • Cash Box‘s November 9, 1968 album review of Nash’s Hold Me Tight LP:  “Currently riding the biggest hit of his career, vet songster Johnny Nash follows with a well-thought-out album which should easily solidify and enlarge his following.  Leaning heavily on the West Indian sound which is strongly responsible for his current resurgence, Nash turns in a tasty collection of oldies and newies.  Known songs include ‘Don’t Look Back,’ ‘Groovin’,’ Cupid,’ and ‘Lovey Dovey.’  Good new sides are ‘Love’ and ‘You Got to Change Your Ways.’  Should do very well.”
  • Billboard‘s November 9, 1968 album review, meanwhile, amusingly misidentifies the “new” Jamaican sound to which the Texas singer has now attached himself:  “Johnny Nash’s Hold Me Tight, a calypso-tinged soul gem, caught fire and burned up both the r&b and pop charts, and the LP, a potent package of sweet, swingin’ soul sounds, should stir up the album charts.  ‘You Got Soul,’ the Rascals’ ‘Groovin’,’ Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’ and ‘Lovey Dovey’ make this LP a sleeper with smash potential.”
  • Written by Ahmet Ertegun and Eddie Curtis.
  • Johnny Nash on Zero to 180 — including his 41-second Christmas song.

45 — Belgium

AUDIO LINK for “Is There Anything Better Than Making Love
by The Fantastic Johnny C

peaked at #130 on March 22, 1969 [Phil-L.A. of Soul]

  • Record World designated this a “Sleeper Hit of the Week” in their Feb. 22, 1969 edition with this ringing endorsement:  “The Fantastic Johnny C wonders ‘Is There Anything Better Than Making Love?’ and the answer is listening to this cut.”
  • #29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 8, 1969.

Written by Jesse James

AUDIO LINK for “Me and Mr. Hohner” by Bobby Darin

peaked at #123 on May 10, 1969 [Direction]

  • Spoiler alert:  Reference to “Hohner” in the song title is exactly what you think it is.
  • Billboard‘s review in the April 19, 1969 edition— “Following up ‘Long Line Rider,’ Darin comes up with another stronger message lyric set to an infectious beat.  Top arrangement and vocal workout offers much for play and sales.”
  • #22 on Record Worlds “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 7, 1969.
  • #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 24, 1969.

AUDIO LINK for “If I Had a Reason” by Bubble Puppy

peaked at #128 on May 31, 1969 [International Artists]

  • Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 24, 1969
  • — “A different sound from the ‘Hot Smoke and Sassafrass‘ group, this pulsating rocker should bring them back to the charts with impact, and prove an important follow-up to their initial hit.”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 24, 1969 issue — “The Bubble Puppy have a brilliant change-up from their ‘Hot Smoke’ click, and it’s a country-flavored ‘If I Had a Reason’ ballad.”
  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.

Written by Gene Corbin & Roy Cox

AUDIO LINK for “Stomp” by NRBQ

peaked at #122 on June 28, 1969 [Columbia]

  • “Stomp” is one of the earlier recordings that contain a Hohner Clavinet — previously celebrated on Zero to 180.
  • Album review in the June 7, 1969 issue of Cash Box — ” NRBQ, the subject of a massive publicity campaign, has the sound to capitalize on the exposure they’re getting and should do quite well with their debut album.  The group mixes styles, playing straight rock (midwest originated). blues (midwest also) and hillbilly rock.  ‘C’Mon Everybody‘ and ‘Hey Baby‘ fall into the first category, ‘C’Mon If You’re Comin’‘ into the second and ‘Kentucky Slop Song‘ into third. ‘Rocket Number 9,’ a Sun Ra tune, is unclassifiable.  Their current single ‘Stomp’ is also included.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
  • Both sides of the 45 written by Steve Ferguson.

Netherlands — 1969

AUDIO LINK for “South Carolina” by The Flirtations

peaked at #111 on July 26, 1969 [Deram]

  • “South Carolina” — follow-up 45 to the classic “Nothing But a Heartache
  • Check out this full-page ad in the August 2, 1969 issue of Billboard.
  • Record World‘s August 2, 1969 edition reports “good reaction to new Flirtations ‘South Carolina’ in the Carolinas.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
  • Written by Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.

Japan — 1969

AUDIO LINK for “Harlan County” by Jim Ford

peaked at #106 on September 13, 1969 [Sundown]

  • Vancouver Signature Sounds‘ Ray McGinnis wrote a short essay about Jim Ford in which “Harlan County” served as the focus — “While the song got enough traction in Vancouver to climb to #10 on the charts, it missed the Billboard Hot 100.  DJ’s in Vancouver may have decided to play list the song, as it was rising to #15 on KHJ in Los Angeles, the week before it became Hitbound on CKLG.  However, LA was one of just a couple of radio markets that gave the song a try.  “Harlan County” also happened to climb into the Top 20 across the Georgia Strait in Victoria.”
  • McGinnis also notes — “His friends included Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone who referred to Jim Ford on a 1971 Dick Cavett Show as his ‘honky-tonk man.’”
  • Deemed an “Album Pick of the Week” by Record World in their August 16, 1969 issue:  “Jim Ford is known as the writer of ‘Niki Hoeky‘ and Harlan County is his most worthy debut LP.”
  • #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 6, 1969 — same edition reports strong radio reaction in Louisville.
  • #86 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 20, 1969 — the previous week, “Harlan County” was #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart.

Written by James Ford

AUDIO LINK for “Mommy and Daddy” [B-side] by The Monkees

peaked at #109 on September 20, 1969 [Colgems]

  • Cleaned-up” version of Micky Dolenz’s “social protest” song — original version with the heavyweight lyrics for comparison.
  • According to 45Cat contributors, “Mommy and Daddy” was a Top Ten hit in Albany, NY as well as Kansas City.
  • Adds 45Cat’s porcupine — “[lyrical reference] ‘the “Kings of EMI’ was a two-fer for Mickey who also used [this phrase] in ‘Randy Scouse Git,’ a document of the Monkees’ visit to England.  The ‘four Kings of EMI (are) sitting stately on the floor’ referred to The Beatles, whom they met at a party.”
  • Selected by Record World as a “Single Pick of the Week” for September 6, 1969:  “The Monkees best record is now on the market.  It’s called ‘Mommy and Daddy’ and Monkee Dolenz wrote it.”
  • Billboard predicted this single would reach the top 60 of the Hot 100 chart:  “Monkees turn in one of their bounciest performances in some time with this item, penned and produced by Micky Dolenz.  Should bring them back to a high spot on the charts in short order.” [September 6, 1969]
  • #9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 25, 1969.

1969 EP — Mexico (includes “Mamita Y Papito”)

AUDIO LINK for “Never in Public” by Candi Staton

peaked at #124 on September 20, 1969 [Fame]

  • Record World designated this a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in their Aug. 30, 1969 edition — “Candi Staton souls out ‘Never in Public’ and it’s another winner from funky Muscle Shoals.”   Following issue’s “R&B Beat” column:  “Strong new Candi Staton is ‘Never in Public.’  Rick Hall is wild.”
  • Billboard reported in its September 13, 1969 edition that WDIA’s Bill Thomas (Memphis) singled out “Never in Public” as that week’s “Biggest Happening” in Rhythm & Blues.
  • Written by Aaron McKinny and George Jackson.

45 Netherlands — 1969

AUDIO LINK for “Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)” [B-side]
by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

peaked at #109 on October 11, 1969 [Warner Bros.]

  • #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for Oct. 11, 1969.
  • Written by Charles Wright and Yusuf Rahman.
  • B-side when released in the US, but an A-side when issued in France.

AUDIO LINK for “We Got Latin Soul” by Mongo Santamaria

peaked at #132 on October 18, 1969 [Columbia]

  • “We Got Latin Soul” was written by bassist/songwriter, R. Lester [Arlester] Christian who, as “Dyke,” was a member of The O’Jays backing band until he formed Dyke & the Blazers in 1965, according to Discogs.  Nod of gratitude to WayBackAttack for pointing out that “Latin Soul” is “a guaracha variation on the Dyke & the Blazers hit “We Got More Soul.”
  • “Latin Soul” – which also peaked at #40 on Billboard‘s Soul chart – was Mongo’s final 45 for Columbia.  Billboard‘s November 22, 1969 edition reported that “Atlantic’s signing of Mongo Santamaria is one of the most important of the year.”
  • “Latin Soul” also reached #33 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as well as #31 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B “tear-out guide.”

AUDIO for “Baby You Come Rollin’ Cross My Mind” by John Beland

peaked at #110 on November 8, 1969 [Ranwood]

  • This song by Jesse Lee Kincaid — also covered by The Peppermint Trolley — was the subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2014.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the August 16, 1969 issue:  “A medium-sized hit for the Peppermint Trolley about a year back, ‘Baby You Come Rollin’ comes on once more as a slightly slower, somewhat more lyrical/less rock side in this new performance.  Side adds further MOR impact to the teen flavor of the track giving it a broadened hit momentum.”
  • Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, deemed this 45 a “Super Pick” for the week of September 27, 1969.

AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Paul” by The Mystery Tour

peaked at #104 on November 29, 1969

NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is not dead, yet very much alive is label interest in the aftermath of the rumors that the Beatles member was gone.

MGM Records has purchased a master, “The Ballad of Paul” by the Mystery Tour, for which Lenny Sheer, director of sales and distribution, is directing an “all-out” campaign to include the packaging of the disk in a special sleeve, full page ads in the trades, saturation distribution of 5000 disks to radio stations and a direct mailing campaign of sample disks and title strips to one-stops and juke box operators.  Also, reviewers on national mags, newspapers and wire services are being covered.

In another release. Silver Fox Records, thru Shelby Singleton’s organization, is offering “Brother Paul” by Billy Shears & All Americans.  The name “Billy Shears” appears in the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s “Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  Furthermore, Capitol Records has marketed a re-release, “St. Paul” an eight-month old tribute to McCartney written, produced and performed by Terry Knight.  The lyrics take on added meaning in light of recent talk, but Knight has refused to comment on the disk.

Capitol has officially re-released the deck, following activity in Philadelphia, but Knight has refused to participate in promotional plans.

  • “Ballad of Paul” was also pegged by Cash Box in its November 8, 1969 edition as one of the “newcomer picks:   “With the Paul McCartney rumors at their peak, and sales of Beatle product resurgent to track detectives, the singles product joins the furor.  Two new mysterious rumor sides are the “Brother Paul” lid by Billy Shears (named for the look-alike figure who supposedly had replaced McCartney) and the All Americans (Silver Fox).  Side is gaining radio exposure through the south and could score ahead of ‘The Ballad of Paul’ from the Mystery Tour (MGM).  Also in the competition is Capitol’s reissue of the several month old noise-maker ‘Saint Paul’ by Terry Knight.  All are long-shot sides, based as much on fad lyrics as musical value.”  Elsewhere in that November 8, 1969 Cash Box issue is a promotional ad from MGM about The Mystery Tour’s “provocative” new single.
  • Record World‘s November 15, 1969 review:  “This one lives up to the name of the group as it evokes mystery and uncertainty about guess who.”
  • “Ballad of Paul” is also included on I Buried Paul: The Paul McCartney Death Rumour Singles.

Written by Evans & Brady

AUDIO LINK for “Cow Pie” by The Masked Marauders

peaked at #123 on November 29, 1969

  • The Masked Marauders were not an actual band but an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Rolling Stone to fool folks into thinking a “super session” with leading rock artists (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon) had taken place in great secrecy but then “leaked” to the public.
  • “Cow Pie” — fabricated to sound like a “Bob Dylan” song — was the A-side of a single that also saw release in Germany and France.
  • Cash Box selected “Cow Pie” as one of the week’s “newcomer picks” for its November 8, 1969 issue:  “Surrounded by rumors of personnel including virtually all the heavyweight teen stars of the day, a group called the Masked Marauders has become wishfully legendary in underground circles.  Following the publicity lead, this single has already become a request item.  The instrumental side has thus been picked up for national distribution through Reprise.  Flip:  ‘I Can’t Get No Nookie’.”
  • Stan Cornyn, the legendary promo man for Warner Brothers Records, later documented his role in bringing the Masked Marauders to life in Exploding, Cornyn’s indispensable history of the label, which The Christian Science Monitor reviewed for their March 28, 2002 edition:  “Cornyn forged the image of Warner Brothers Records as the hip place to work and the hip label to buy.  As head of WBR Creative Services, he crafted indelible copy, even conspiring in an elaborate hoax:  The Masked Marauders, a 1969 album released on the one-off label, Deity.  Its creation followed a bogus review in Rolling Stone by then-staffer Greil Marcus under the name T.M. Christian.  The album allegedly featured several Beatles, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and ‘a drummer as yet unnamed.’  It sold 40,000 copies and is now available from Rhino Handmade, a limited-edition, Internet-only arm of Rhino Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group.  Which proves that rock ‘n’ roll – even fake rock ‘n’ roll – never dies.”

Harmonica work possibly by Bob Dylan

AUDIO LINK for “Hello Sunshine” by Rev. Maceo Woods &
The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir

peaked at #121 on December 20, 1969 [Volt]

  • Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers was a #4 Pop hit that same year.
  • 45Cat’s davie gordon notes — “The song [co-written by King Curtis & Ron Miller] had been recorded the previous year by Aretha Franklin on her Aretha Now album and a few months later by Wilson Pickett for his I’m In Love album.”
  • Irene W. Johnson, in her “Gospel Time” column for Record World, began her report for the March 7, 1970 issue thusly:  “Bro. Esmond Patterson of WAOK in Atlanta, Georgia celebrated his 14th Radio Anniversary at the Municipal Auditorium there Sunday, February 8.  It was a highly spiritual program in its entirety.  Rev. Maceo Woods and five members of the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir of Chicago, The Pilgrim Jubilees of Chicago and Bill Moss and the Celestials of Detroit, Michigan were headlining the program.”  Elsewhere in her column, Johnson reports that (as expected) is a “top tune” in Chicago.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 20, 1969.

Netherlands 45 — 1970