Friday, March 25, 2011

The Chateaus (Boss)

The Chateaus were originally called the Shadows . Soon after, they would change the name of the band to The Chateaus. In 1965 they recorded this killer 2 sider on the Boss record label out of Louisville Kentucky . 

The Bleaters (Guyden)

Here's a nice rocker by The Bleaters. It was released on Guyden Records in early 1964. I'm gonna be a wheel some day has a cool guitar and a good beat to it. The flip side is not bad either. A good record overall.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Minets (Rock It)

Peter Glossop       Harry Kotchie                 Bobby Allen       George Warne       Ashton DeMello 

 The Minets were originally from Surrey UK. The popularity of the Beatles and other English groups dominated the Billboard charts. The band traveled to Boston and were instantly popular. They recorded two 45's. Their first record, which I feature for you today was released on the Rock It label in 1964..The group  released their final 45 in 1965 as the Minets of England.
                                                                        The Minets - Secret Of Love

                                                                             The Minets - Together

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Memories (K.O. Recording Studios Inc.)

Wisconsin was home to several great rock and roll groups in the 1960’s. Many local bands were inspired by these groups. The Memories were from Appleton Wisconsin. From 1964-1966 the group performed at various events in Wisconsin. including opening for several national acts including the Turtles. The band was dubbed "Appleton;s own Rolling Stones" in Lost and Found magazine. The Memories released one 45 on the K.O Recording Studios Inc. label in 1966  
 Chuck Reitzner                     Bob Fusfeld                                          Chuck Posniak             George Baer                          
                                                           The Memories - Thats how strong my Love is

                                                                        The Memories - Mercy Mercy

 I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by Memories band members Bob Fusfeld and Chuck Posniak. Both shared interesting stories and thoughts about their time with the Memories, of which I feature for you today.

Chuck Posniak
  My older brother was leader of a band (The Catalinas; aka The Golden Catalinas). He was the showman of the family, but I had the voice. I was somewhat shy, but he got me on stage a few times to sing with his group. My friends, Chuck Reitzner and George Baer suggested we start a band; even though none of us had ever had any music training. Reitzner picked up a drum set. Baer picked up an electric guitar. I had a piano at home. I have only one useable hand from birth, so I started learning rhythm piano (just playing chords, no leads). Meanwhile Fuzzy (Bob Fusfeld) had been playing guitar for a few years and followed the Catalinas. The 3 friends met Fuzzy thru my brother. There was also another friend (Dennis Becker) who wanted to play in a band. So we started out as a 5 piece band. Bob didn't have a great voice, but he could carry a tune and was a good front man. George couldn't carry a tune, but we eventually got him to sing a song or two. Dennis had a decent backup voice. Reitzner sang one song (Surfin' Bird). He did a great job on it. I was officially the lead singer. But I was the only one who could sing harmony; and I didn't relish being the center of attention.
  So here we are, a group of untrained musicians, with no experience, limited vocal talent, no uniforms, no choreography; and almost overnight we became a local sensation. This infuriated the real musicians in the area. One day we got a call from a local booking agent. We didn't usually work with him, but he needed someone for that night in northern Wisconsin. We took the job and headed north. We got into town early and so we each took off in a different direction to check out the 3 block long downtown area. In a short time each of us was suddenly being followed by packs of screaming teenagers. They had never seen us. They had never heard of us. But to them we were celebrities. The place we were playing at was an 18 year old beer bar. That night there were more people outside, glaring in than there were people in the tiny bar. Good times.
   After I left the Memories. Doug Yankus asked me to join his group "The Strangers". Instead I suggested to Doug that we start a new band with better music and vocal talent. I knew I had no music talent. Doug was still in High School and I was a few years older; but he was as talented a musician as they come. Not a great singer. He was a big fan of the Memories. We ended out with Private Property of Digel. Not quite the talent either of us was looking for. I was with the group for about 1.5 years. I was 23 and looked like I was seventeen. But I knew I needed to use my brain, not my voice if I was going to do anything with my life. I left the music business and found a computer trainee job in Chicago. I worked full time and went to college at night, finishing in three years.. I am now retired; have 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren.  By the way, I sing karaoke and get standing ovations. My voice has actually improved and I do a great job on the Righeous Brothers and Roy Orbison

Bob Fusfeld
  Appleton was a pretty interesting music spot back then, it produced some great bands and musicians. Doug Yankus probably became the most well known , performing in Tracy Nelson's and John Hiatt's groups. He was the leader, guitarist, and writer for Soup which performed at the Fillmore. Al Posniak’s band the Catalinas were my idols, they were absolutely fabulous. I sang “I fought the law” with the Catalinas one night. I met Al Posniak's brother, Chuck. and started hanging out. The Catalinas had this old bus, Dennis Becker who was the original Memories bassist, George Baer and Chuck Reitzner who were Chuck's neighbors would also sit in the bus and sing songs. One night I brought my guitar at Chuck Reitzner insistence. I was the only one who could play even a modest guitar.  We started singing folk songs but the Beatles were supreme and the Stones performed in Hollywood. George Baer decided to learn guitar and he truly became a very accomplished player with the help of Harry Wheelock the Catalinas guitar player. Harry was truly unknown and quite underrated, besides his guitar ability, he was one fine voice and human being. Eventually we formed the group. George did not want to play initially, so Vic Wendt's music store Concerto Music. brought us Tom Noffke. The group started with Dennis Becker (Bass), Chuck Posniak (Piano), Chuck Reitzner (Drums), Tom Noffke (Lead), and myself (rhythm). 
  We began building a repertoire consisting of 50's rock tunes and current 60's stuff. We started playing in the late spring at parties The group  really hit their stride in front of my dad's store during a sidewalk sale, that lead to another sidewalk sale performance in Menasha and some more parties. Then the biggy, our first engagement at Xavier High School. W rocked it and we got a return, like this was great. The Appleton School District really helped us out by showing us the door because of our hair. Chuck Reitzner had the longest and his photo sitting in a barber's chair being shorn made us a "talent”, this type of publicity really did us well. Tom Noffke had to leave the group and George Baer was now ready to play and he joined the band. It was the fall of 64 and we started getting gigs all over playing at high schools and beer bars.
  The group wore uniforms until the riot at the Wbay Auditorium..We did some silly shows within the show. One of them for fun I put on a dress and we did a song called Go Gorilla, well they shut the show down, the girls went ballistic. I recall someone flattened our tires. We  really had a strong Green Bay following. At another venue, the beach dances, a group of jealous men threatened us and the police were called to escort off the property,we did have a look. The group really flourished . 
  We had many musical disagreements, George was into the Searchers and Beatles, the Chucks and I were the Stones. Chuck Posniak and myself did most of the booking and song selection. Like I said George was really into the Searchers and so we did a lot of their material. Chuck Reitzner would do songs like the Kingsmens and Surfin Bird stuff. We had no real harmony so we could not do justice to the Beatles and the surf groups. In other words, once you got beyond our appeal we stunk. We played constantly out of tune but we flourished. When we got to graduation in the summer of 65, sadly George left the Memories for a group called Terry Lee and the Sonics. Though George did not like me, I was devastated, he really was a very good guitar player. Kip Krutz joined the group and The Memories continued to have fan appeal and set records for crowds but it was not the same group. When Dennis Becker left to go to college at UW-Madison, Al Posniak thought we should be a 4 piece band and I switched to bass, I stunk but we continued on. Finally when we hit the road playing nightclubs for the Al Schultz Organization. The writing was on the wall. The Memories had no business ever being a nightclub type of group, we were doomed. We played the entire summer to no one from Waukegan to Duluth, it was a horrible experience. The Memories were not a suit and tie group, we were pretty scruffy. 
  I left the Memories  for a brief period of time to joined a very good band, The Flamin' Coals, they were exceptional. I was a big fan of Gary Laabs and he liked my stage presence . I left the Flamin’ Coals and went back to the Memories which was a big mistake musically, you can never look back, The Memories were not the same, The members of the group at the time of recording session were Kip Krutz , Chuck Reitzner , Chuck Posniak and myself. The recording for the 45 was made on a cheap reel to reel tape machine. There was no booth or board, It was recorded in a bar room backroom in Kaukauna,Wisconsin. This was not even low tech, There were no individual mikes and no editing, it is what it is. The 45 receive some air play but The Memories died in in September 1966. The Gary Meyer books has some good background on the group. All the Post Crescent News accounts of the bands battle with the Appleton School Board is pretty well documented.  Al Posniak who was K.O. records which later turned into Target records. We created a nice stir in the eastern and central part of Wisconsin, it was our hair and attitude, and it was fun while it lasted.
  Where ever you may be Chuck Reitzner may you still have that incredible wit and smile, I think of you and your brother often and miss you both.  It was good to hear Chuck Posniak's voice. George Baer, I trust you are well and happy. I have no clue where Dennis Becker may be, though a very good bass player and voice, he never seemed to fit the look. He was bright and received an Evans scholarship. I would imagine he is quite successful.  I have no clue where Tom Noffke or Kip may be. As far as myself,once the Memories were done, I played with other Appleton groups and finally found a niche in honky tonk country. I love that music. Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Dwight Yokum, Emmy Lou and Gram Parson, Lefty Frizzel. As Johnny Paycheck lamented.”precious memories”, take me back to the good ole days.

Tony and the Bandits (FLO-ROE)

Tony and the Bandits had it all on this record, great vocals, outstanding guitar, all around both sides were very nicely done. The group was formed in Cincinnati Ohio. The band consisted of Tony Brazis, Bill Bartlett (guitar), Bob Dudak (bass) and Bill Albaugh (drums). They recorded two original songs written by Tony Brazis, which was released on the Flo-Roe record label in 1965. It was a instant smash, "Oh no I can't lose" reached the top 10 in Cincinnati. The single was pick up by Coral records to release nationally. Tony and the Bandits recorded one more 45 , but do to disagreements, in 1966 they parted ways. Tony Brazis joined a group called the Chosen Lot which recorded a 45 in late 1966. The remaining band members went on to have successful careers with the Lemon Pipers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Oceans (Pla Me)

The Oceans were from Athens,Ohio. Band members consisted of Mike Cunningham (Vocals, Guitar, Sax,Tamborine), Jim Dean (Drums), Richard Brown (Bass, Trumpet) and Ed Lonas (Guitar). Three of the four band members attended Ohio University. From 1964 to 1967 the group performed mostly around the Athens/Belpre area in south east Ohio. The Oceans released their only record on the Pla Me label in late1966. Below is a photo of the group performing in a Battle of the Bands event and newspaper clipping showing them as the winner of that contest.

Photograph, Newspaper clipping and info about the Oceans was courtesy of Eric Brown. Thanks Eric!

The Kids (Chroma)

The Kids were a group of talented youngsters from New York ,all under the age of 16. The Kids penned and recorded two original songs on the Chroma label in 1965. The record's picture sleeve has some interesting history and background of band.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The M.D.'s (Lemco)

In 1971, The M.D.'s released this cool record. "Little Girl" has a nice1960's garage/psych sound. The Lemco label was located in Lexington Kentucky.

Eugene and the Travells (Solid Gold)

Today I would like to feature a swingin' rockabilly 45 by Eugene and the Travells. It was released on the Indianapolis Indiana Solid Gold label in 1964. As far as I know this was the band's one and only record, but oh, how good it was.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Stratfords (O'Dell)

 The Stratfords Formed in early 1963 by friends from Dulaney, Archbishop Curley, and Patterson Park High Schools. The group consisted of vocalists Jim Kelly, Richard Croucher and Sandy Mead, along with Chet Dembeck (lead guitar), Wade Randall (bass), Joe Blizzard (drums), David Hatcher (trombone), Bill Jeise (trumpet, arranger) and Gene Lubrecki (sax). Earl Mummert and Ernie Berger were also members. The new group performed in a Buddy Dean-sponsored Battle of the Bands which featured the Lafayettes, Flintsones, Pastels, and many others.
    Their first song "Never Leave Me" was written by Kelly and Croucher, although Crousher had left the band before its release. The group persuaded Jim's father Eugene Kelly to foot the bill for their demo recording, appointing him as the Stratfords' agent. After shopping the tape around to area DJs they traveled to New York and had a disc cut. With the demo it was still not enough to persuade local radio stations to play it. They still required that the record have a label and be commercially distributed. This led to the birth of O'Dell records. Within the first two months of the release the record had sold 19,000 copies in the Baltimore area, climbing to number 4 on the local Top 40 popularity charts. The record was rated a "breakthrough" by Billboard, and charted in individual markets around the country. The Stratfords traveled in support of the single, appearing in many cities including Hartford, CT where they opened for Freddie Cannon, and Pittsburgh opening for Skeeter Davis. The group opened shows for many top acts, including the Four Seasons, Chiffons, Angels and many others.
    By early 1964 the Stratfords were producing their second single and had secured underwriting and distribution for O'Dell by Herald-Ember Records. Unfortunately by this time Herald-Ember was on the decline, and never afforded the Stratfords the backing they needed for a hit record. Randall was eventually replaced with Larry Cox on bass, who was later replaced with Bill Whitney.  A 1965 lineup featured Kelly (vocals), Dembeck (lead guitar), Eddie Wockenfus (rhythm guitar ex-Statics), Whitney (bass), and Blizzard (drums). With guidance from Alan Field and Paul Rodgers the group made trips to Virtue Studios in Philadelphia, where they recorded songs including the Field composition "Throw Stones." The Stratfords played teen centers, school dances and local clubs including Bob Leonard's Satyr House on Perring Parkway. They traveled to Wildwood, NJ with DJ Steve Wade where they opened for the Shangra-Las.
  In 1968 they were the house band at the Keystone Inn. Kelly went on to join A New Day. Whitney later joined the Scottsman and Better Half. Dembeck played briefly with the Epics. Randall joined the Esquires, while Wockenfuss went on to play keyboards for Inner Cyrkle.
.                                                            Joe Vaccarino's book Baltimore Sounds

                                             Records released by The Stratfords:

1963 O'Dell 100 Never Leave Me / Enaj 

1964 O'Dell 101 Two Lovers / Crosstown 

1964 O'Dell 104 Really Need Your Love / Night Train

1965 O'Dell 112 A Fool and His Girl / Tossin' and Turnin'

1965 O'Dell 114 Throw Stones / Where is She Now

The Disciples (Foundation)

The Disciples were from Oklahoma City. In 1967 Foundation Records released this R/B sounding 45 by the group. "Darlin" has a nice guitar and organ solo while the flip side is more sax dominated .