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.