Monday, March 30, 2020

We have a band, we have a gig, but how do we get there? Some recruited mom and dad's wagon , or some had their own wheels, but some had a "band van"! Imagine the pride when one tooled around town in the band van. The chicks swooned, the guys grudgingly gave a thumbs up. Let me know what you had, and I'd love to add to this collection of Indiana Band vans!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Reflections - Indianapolis - 1963

Sometimes you hear that a band was from Indianapolis, but you just can't find that elusive spark that confirms the fact. The Reflections are one such band that is finally nailed down.  Not only are the youngsters from Indy, the Reflections give invaluable info on a long lost recording studio just off the circle, and links to other recordings done in the Circle City.

 L-R: Chuck Tunnah - Dave Dunn - Perry (Pat) Baldwin - Larry Dunlap.

The Reflections (ne the Aristocats) were kids that wanted to do vocal harmonies and doo-wop, but didn't know how. Joining some school choirs helped and some progress was made. The Reflections joined a new local studio - Jan Hutchens Studio - to do background vocals for the other talent. In late '63 the boys were afforded a chance at a recording with some lingering studio musicians, and stunningly the record caught some traction in Chicago on the mighty WLS. January 1964 shows a high of #16 on the charts, but tragedy struck. The master tape was lost and the record couldn't be pressed again. No sales, no charting, so they fell off quickly.
Hear the tunes:

In the Still of the night

Tic Toc

Now we need another record to follow up. Quick record a song, but not quick enough as another Reflections hit the charts with "Just like Romeo and Juliet", and hit it big, so that band name is toast. A second record is credited to "the Illusions" and it's a dud. And to top it off, the fledgling studio puts a B-side that although credited to the Illusions, is a Rick Fortune tune.

The boys go on tour as the Checkmates, and that doesn't end well as they were booked in Ft. Wayne where a rather famous Checkmates already hailed from.

If you'd like to find out more, just order Larry Dunlap's book "Night People - things we lost in the night". Larry chronicles the journey of the Aristocats to the incarnation of "Stark Naked & the Car Thieves". And a darn good read it is.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mona Thomas - Lawrence Township School - 1963 - Reflections

 Had an interesting comment about "Mona Thomas" and her single on USA. Wasn't even on the radar, of course I was interested in the juicy details, let's roll!

Mona Thomas cut this 45 (USA 776 - There He Goes / Just in Between) in 1963. Mona was a student at either Lawrence Central or North High School, and this was her only offering.

Mona cut the 45 at a long defunct studio of Jan Hutchens in Indianapolis. Cut in the fashion of a Leslie Gore style "boys" tune, it went nowhere. But of course, there is more to the tale than meets
the eye.

Enter the Reflections, also of Indianapolis. The Reflections are the tasty background vocals on Mona's 45. The Reflections up-tempo version of  "In the Still of the Night" garnered some airplay on WLS and was on their charts in early 1964. Also recorded in Jan Hutchens studio. I've had this 45 for some time and it's always been rumored to be Indianapolis, but now it's confirmed. My next blog entry will feature the Reflections, it's a great story.

And wait, there's more! Mona's writer credits feature "B. Roth". Bernie / Bernard / David Roth (not David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame) has been spotted on three Indiana 45's so far. The Jads (not Jades) on the Ashley label, The Jokers (from Valparaiso) on Destination, and now Mona Thomas on USA. What's the connection?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spoon - Midnight Hour

 Where does Gaston end and Muncie begin?  Go back in time to Wes-Del Junior-Senior High School and you might witness the forming of the "Midnight Hour" band. You could be lucky enough to see the band compete in a "Battle of the Bands" at Indiana Beach. Keep watching and you would be privy to some of those lads morph into "Spoon".

Spoon - for quite some time I didn't know if this band was from Indiana or Ohio. But along came a couple of e*mails from daughters inquiring about "Dad's band". Luckily I had the 45 and could help them hear Spoon.

Spoon was a one 45 wonder, seems like late '68.  Members included:
Larry McCullough
Bill Harris
Marc Mitchell
Mark Coe
Larry Harness
Jerry McCullough

Airtown wasn't known for rock releases, as there are only a scant few on the label. The three I know of are pretty strong though.

So listen and judge for yourselves. "Can't Lose Them All" is the up-tempo party song, then catch "Don't Know What It Is" on the down side as it's the angst song.

Thanks for reading and listening - and stay tuned for the book news!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Excells - Muncie 1966

From the fertile musical grounds of Muncie, we present the "Excells". The photo is from the finest microfiche and hopefully we'll get a better representation.
Clocking in from March 1966, preparing for a fundraiser for graduating high school students at the Whiteley Community Center (one of 15 acts that day!).

Known members included:
John Miller
Carl Kizer
Calyer Fagin
Charles Dollison - Keyboards
Everett Richardson
Rodney Jones

My sources say Charles Dollison is still kickin' it on the keyboards, and the rest of the band is unknown at this time.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hoosier Hotshots - a look back at the legend

A score and three years before the opening shots of "60''s indiana band szene" there was "Hoosier Hotshots". Quite frankly one of the most important, and least known, documents of the Indiana 60's musical landscape. Ron Simpson, I salute you!

In a stroke of genius, the album includes 8 pages of band bio (mostly correct too!), and chock full of newspaper ads of when local bands were playing. Teen dance at the "Southlake Roof" and "Dance at the Tippy" are just some of the 8 pages of artifacts.

But the money is always the music. Sadly no bands from south of I70 are represented, but that's ok, as it leaves me some fertile ground to cover.

What about the bands you ask? Here is the line-up:

XL"s - Terre Haute - two great 45's
Cirkit - Michigan City - one 45, and it's a doozy
Shooting Stars - Winchester -  two 45's - love them both!
Ferris Wheel - Winchester - one 45
Sir Winston & the Commons - Indianapolis -  no strangers to our    readers - two 45's -  two acetates and more......
Teen Tones - Muncie - three 45's
Blues Inc - Ft. Wayne - one 45
The Endd - La Porte - four 45's and one of my favorites!
Tikis - Syracuse - one 45
Wild Things - New Castle - one 45 and lots of tapes!
Backdoor Men - Goshen area college guys - line-up changed often - one 45
Dukes - Elkhart - at least two 45's and an acetate
Idle Few - Indianapolis - three 45's
Mere Image - Goshen - one acetate

Pretty stellar stuff, and a couple of 45's that I still don't have. Of course with time and the internet we are able to sleuth a bit more easily than Ron could in the early 80's. I cannot thank him enough for showing what can be done. I still see the LP for sale once in a while, but I don't know if it's in print or someone is booting it.  Maybe I'll share it someday.

And that brings us to the aborted Hoosier hotshots Two..........

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reel Blues - where are you?

 Where o' where are the Reel Blues? The band has been on the radar for years, but I still haven't nailed down where the Reel Blues called home.

The Fabulous Flame Club is in Ft. Wayne, but the two pics come via Knox County, Indiana. Most probably Vincennes since that is where most of the band action centered. The most popular was "The World", as many of the best regional bands, and some bigger bands such as "Strawberry Alarm Clock" would play there.

Here's hoping that someone can identify the place the two pics were taken. Many people contributed pics and info over the years, but most of my handwritten notes prior to 2009 were lost in the flood that washed out the 60's indiana band szene central command. Thankfully, I'm pretty fanatic about digital copies and backups!

As the usual plea goes, any info about the Reel Blues, feel free to chime in!

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!