Monday, June 7, 2021

The Sprints / The New Things

The Sprints / New Things were a talented Santa Fe, New Mexico area rock group in the 1960's. The band released several 45's that charted on regional radio stations but unfortunately was not able to break thru nationally across the country. Recently I was able to talked to Bill Dimas who was one of the founding members of the band and he was very kind to share his memories and a brief history about the group.   Thanks Bill.

L to R:  Eric Knee,  Darrell Phillips,  Bill Dimas,  Lee Cooper,  Bill Waganaar,  Anthony Trujillo

   The Sprints originated in 1963. The group consisted of Darrell Phillips (rhythm guitar), Lee Cooper (drums), Eric Knee (lead guitar), Bill Waganaar (bass), Anthony Trujillo (rhythm guitar) and Bill Dimas (lead vocals). While in high school Darrell, Lee and I hung out together. The three of us graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1963.  Eric and Bill, who were also friends in school, graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1964.  Anthony Trujillo graduated from St. Michaels High School in 1963. Anthony was friends with Darrell Phillips, and Darrell introduced him to us. We all enjoyed getting together to jam and have fun. It was at one of these get togethers in 1963 we decided to start a band. Darrell came up with the group name “The Sprints” after the Ford Falcon Sprint sports car. In 1964 approximately six months after the band was formed my Grandmother paid $300 for us to make our first 45 record at the Zia Recording Studio in Santa Fe. We recorded “Shortenin’ Bread” and an instrumental song written by Eric Knee, our lead guitarist, called “Crash and Burn”. 

The record did really well, with both sides of the 45 being played on several different radio stations in New Mexico. We began touring in the southwestern states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico to very good crowds. We had a great time while on tour and many funny moments. One time when performing at a dance in Farmington, New Mexico we were on a stage that was about four feet high. I was standing on the right end of the stage playing keyboards when the band started doing some dance moves and swaying back and forth.  As I did this, I the fell off the stage! Funny thing is, the audience applauded and was laughing loudly as they thought it was part of our show. The band continued playing on while I climbed back up on the stage. I remember another time for a big dance that we were scheduled to perform at the University of New Mexico, we decided to buy these really nice matching Dave Clark style lime green jackets from a local discount store in Santa Fe. When performing at the show, all was going well when we started to notice around the second set of the night that the threads on three of the jacket’s sleeves started to unravel. By the time we had finished the show the sleeves had almost completely fallen off jackets. Needless to say, we never bought anything from that discount store again. 
  The Sprints enjoyed a lot of success until 1967. That’s when our bass player Bill Waganaar had to leave the group after being drafted to serve in the Viet Nam war. Anthony Trujillo also left the group at this time. There was a local group in town called “The Things” who had recently broken up. James Wheeler who played bass for The Things joined the The Sprints to replace Bill.  After James joined the band, we decided to change the name of the group to “The New Things”. The new line up consisted of Darrell Phillips (rhythm guitar), Lee Cooper (drums), Eric Knee (lead guitar), James Wheeler (bass) and Bill Dimas (lead vocals). In 1968, the group competed in a statewide “Battle of the Bands” contest and we took first place. The winning prize was a record contract with Accent Records located in Hollywood, California. We again went into the Zia Recording Studio and recorded the songs “I Want You Back” and “Dumbo.” 

This took about a day and a half of studio time to complete. After the master was sent to Accent Records we started receiving copies of the 45 in approximately one month. The record was instantly popular and charted on several local radio stations. One of Santa Fe’s most well-known night clubs at the time called “The Bottle and Glass” contracted us to perform for six weeks. The owner of the club didn’t advertise that The New Things would be there, so on the first night we performed for four hours to just one couple who sat in a corner booth and made out for the entire night. At the end of the night, they told us they really liked our music!  When our fans discovered that we were performing there, the place was packed for every performance throughout the remaining days of our contract. On one night the place was so crowded people were waiting outside of the building to come in to see our show. 

Lee Cooper, our drummer, decided to leave the group and was replaced by Jerry Sandoval. In 1969, Hurricane records who had recently signed an agreement with Musicor distribution, liked our music and signed the band to a record deal. We recorded the songs “This Little Lite of Mine,” and “The Only Woman You Can Trust (Mom)”. Hurricane Productions put on a concert just after the record release with The New Things as the opening act for The Grass Roots and The Turtles. The concert was at the Civic Auditorium in Albuquerque and was sold out with about 10,000 people in attendance. The Hurricane 45 did pretty well in the New Mexico area but it never made the national charts. Eric Knee, our lead guitarist, and Jerry Sandoval, our drummer left the group. Jerry went to seminary school and would later become a priest. Charlie Ortiz became our lead guitarist and Damacio Dimas took over on drums. Both would remain with the group until the band broke up. The New Things released two more 45’s. Both were on the Corona record label. 

Corona Records was a record company I started back in the late 1960’s. I had my own music publishing company, R&D Productions, and even built a sound studio on the back of my house. The first Corona record had the Santana song Evil Ways part 1 and 2 that we recorded live at Plato’s Place which was located at the Santa Fe Airport. On our last record, Connie Gonzales sang “Don’t Call On Me” and “Rainbow Ride”. Unfortunately, Corona Records only lasted a couple of years, but it was certainly fun while it lasted! Ironically, playing in the group and recording 45’s lead me into having a career in broadcasting. When the Sprints 45 was released in 1964, I thought of ways to try to promote the record. I asked the Program Director of our top 40 radio station, KVSF, if I could emcee one of our local shows with him and he said yes! After the show, he asked me if I would be interested in possibly going into radio. He said he liked my voice and thought I would do well. I was in my junior year of college and decided to give it a try.  Needless to say, I loved it! Making a long story short, after a time, I became Program Director for KVSF and I worked for different radio stations, both full time and part time for the next 27 years. 

 In about 2012, Sprints reformed with Darrell Phillips , Bill Waganaar  and myself from the original Sprints, along with long time drummer Gene Varela, and the multi-talented recording artist, “Trinkie.  In 2016, the band released a CD entitled “Our Way,” containing 15 songs. The group would continue to performed together until 2018. 

There were so many memorable times for me to name them all, but the first time I heard our record on the radio in 1964 will always be one of the best and most special memories I’ll ever have! Thank you for your interest in the band.  - Bill Dimas

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The DeNones (Jeree)

I've been extremely busy lately and barely anytime free time for posting on the blog but with a break in the action I thought I would share this nice 45 that I found earlier this year by a group called The DeNones on the Jeree record label. It was released in 1965. Mike Markesich's  book "TeenBeat Mayhem" shows that the group was from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania which is northwest of Pittsburgh. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Socialites (Scott)

Awhile back I came across this girls in the garage sounding record. I was reading that The Socialites might have been from the Lansing, Michigan area. Their song "Phooey Phooey On You" is only 1:37 long but it packs a wallop and was included on the Quagmire 5 compilation album. On the flipside the group does a garage version on the Every Brothers "Bye Bye Love".  The FM-324 number on the label is also in the dead wax of the 45. Although not being listed in the Fenton Records discography I'm thinking this may be a Fenton 45. If someone could provide information about this would be appreciated.

          Phooey Phooey On You

Monday, February 1, 2021

Fourth Amendment (Four Sons)

The Fourth Amendment were from Mobile, Alabama. In 1968 the group released their only record. The band recorded a couple nice covers songs of "I Saw The Light" and "Little Black Egg" that were popular back in the day. 

                                                           Little Black Egg

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Deb Hyer One Man Band (Lemco)

Happy new year to everyone. I would like to start the year off with the catchy "Don't Take To Long" by Deb Hyer. It was released on the Lexington, Kentucky Lemco record label in 1970.

                                                                        Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Faces (Regina)

Not to be confused with the British rock group, the Faces featured on the blog was an American band that released two records on the Regina label in 1965. The record highlighted today was group's first release. On the Face's follow up record they had more of  a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sound.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

By Popular Demand (Unis)

By Popular Demand formed in 1966. Band members were Terry St George (Lead Guitar), Joel Gordon (Rhythm Guitar), Dave Bartos (Bass) and Jeff Kerekes (Drums). The group recorded two original songs which were released on the Unis record label in 1968. Later in 1969 the band would change the name of the group to The Velvet Crest and released several other 45's. The Buckeye Beat website has some good information about the Velvet Crest.

The Tradewinds (Brandywine)

The Tradewinds released seven 45's from 1962 thru 1965. The bands members were Carmine Poppiti (Lead Vocals,  Cordovox), Walt Mateja (Sax), John Malatesta (Drums) and Dave Malatesta (Guitar). The record featured on the blog today was the first of two records that the group released in 1965. If you get the chance there is a cool video on Youtube worth checking out that has additional history and photo's of the Tradewinds .

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Edward Brothers (Christy)

If you like the teen sound from early 1960's I think you will enjoy this one by The Edwards Brothers. Their song "My Journey Home" is a nice dreamy lament with good vocal harmonies. The song on the flipside "Moonglow" is more popish. It was released in 1960.

                                                                                    My Journey Home

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Octives (Amway)

Very little is known about the Octives. This is the only record that I know that the group released. It came out on the Amway label in 1965. Both songs on the 45 are good. Unfortunately the recordings are what I consider low fi. I think if the record was better produced it had the possibility to do very well.

                                                                Laughing At Me


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Reactions (Golden R)

Unfortunately other than this 45 that the Reactions release 1968 there is little is known about the band. The group was very talented as you can tell from the recordings from the record. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Michael and Thomas (Peach)

Here's a record I was hoping those who follow the blog might be able to provide some info on. In 1965 Michael and Thomas released this nice 45 on the Peach label. Both songs "Foolish Girl" and "I can't get you off my mind" capture that cool sound from the 1960's. 

                                                                                        Foolish Girl

                                                                        I Can't Get You Off My Mind

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Troy Onteare (Maxwell 56)

Troy Onteare (aka Don Teachout) was the owner of the Wheeling, West Virginia Maxwell 56 label. He played on each of the three 45's that were released on the label. In 1964 Troy released his first solo record. It contained the song "Marry the Money" which was very popular locally. Later in 1964 for his second 45 he recorded  a folky version of "The House Of The Rising Sun". The flipside of the record has the song "Crying Time" by Sara Jo and the Trovadors. In 1965 he played bass for the group called The Scarlets. It was very good record and was featured on the blog back in January, 2011.

                                                     House Of The Rising Sun

Four Of Us (Damon)

The Four Of Us released two 45's on the Damon record label. The record highlighted today was the band's first release. The 45 features the Mersey sounding "All The Way" which is an original song by the group. Sadly the label does not list the writer of the song. On the flipside the band does their version of "Midnight Hour"

                                                                  All The Way

                                                                Midnight Hour

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Cayce (Racoon)

While out and about I came across this 45 by a group called Cayce on Racoon. I've never seen the record before. As you can see on the label it is from 1980 and both songs were written by Tracy Turner. It was pressed at Nashville Record Productions. Thinking it might be that fluffy pop country music which was really popular back in the late 1970's and 1980's,  I was hesitant on buying it. For the price, I said why not. When I got home and put the needle to the vinyl I was blown away. Man I was way off! Expecting fluffy pop country, I got Hair Metal. Both songs on the record are good. "Stop On A Dime" has a nice guitar solo followed by a drum solo and "Down and Deep" also has a really good guitar solo. I could not find any information about the group. I would appreciate if anyone could provide any photo's or other details about the band.

                                                           Stop On A Dime

                                                           Down And Deep

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Gorillamen (Whiz)

As we all know Texas was home to many very good garage bands in the 1960's. Some of these groups like the 13 Floor Elevators and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs  went on to achieve national success. Most others though, faded away into obscurity. Over the years numerous compilation albums have tried to remember these groups and to show how talented they were. Today on the Blog I would like to highlight one of those obscure groups called The Gorillamen out of Houston, Texas. The band released a couple of really nice 45 singles on the Whiz record label in the Mid- 1960's. Let me know what you think. 

                                                                                      Folly Molly

                                                                                     Pretty Picture

                                                Left Wing Cosmic Man Called John

                                                                                 Try Try Me Once

Whiz - MR1002     Gorillamen    November, 1965

Whiz - MR1003    Billy Easley and the Gorillamen    June, 1966

Friday, June 26, 2020

Brandy (Mark)

Little is known about Brandy. I read that the group might be from Buffalo, New York. The label shows that the record was released in 1974.  "Tell Her I Love You" and "Life Is" are outstanding. If someone might have information about the band it would be appreciated.
                                                                               Tell Her I Love You

                                                                                               Life Is

The Gremlins (Dimension)

In June 1966 The Gremlins released this really nice 45. The Group is thought to be from the Springfield, Virginia area. Both songs on the record were written by Mark Buckingham. "California Sounds" has a catchy Jan and Dean or the Beach Boys surf sound. "Tale For The Sea" is a dreamy lament ballad. Nice record!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Friday and the Weekends (Dynamic Sound)

Friday and the Weekends were from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In late 1967 the group released their only 45. Other groups such as The Invasion and The Young Savages also released 45's on the Dynamic Sound label.
                                                                                            I Need Her

                                                                                            You Baby