Willie Clarke & Deep City Records: The Movie

Willie Clarke with Jeff Lemlich, 8-16-12

Willie Clarke and Jeff Lemlich discuss Miami soul music, while the Oceanliners (featuring Sir John Henry) plays on the turntable. Photo by Don Shetterly

It’s not every day that a living legend walks through your door.

If you don’t care about Florida soul music, then the name Willie Clarke probably means nothing to you. But if you love the sound of southern soul, full of energy, emotion, and of course, “that driving beat”, then you understand what I mean. Willie Clarke & Clarence Reid are our Gamble & Huff. Our Holland, Dozier, & Holland. Our Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham.

Willie Clarke walked through my door, surrounded by a movie crew that’s been following him around. Finally, after years of virtual anonymity, people are starting to notice. People are starting to care.

I first met Clarke in January 1985, while researching my book Savage Lost. Four years removed from the fire at TK Productions, and the bankruptcy of that once dominant record company, Clarke might as well have been a million miles from his glory days. He was once again Mr. Clarke, the junior high school art teacher, who would gladly tell you about his early days with Deep City, Lloyd, and Reid Records, or his gold records with Betty Wright and Gwen McCrae. But few people were asking then.

It took time, a new generation of beat diggers, and Europe’s rabid Northern soul fans to bring the writer-producer back into the public’s eye. First came the Numero Group’s two volumes of Deep City and Lloyd tracks, issued as part of their Eccentric Soul series. Then, at my suggestion (with a little begging and pleading), Clarke made an appearance at the 2011 Soul Trip USA event in Miami. Next came a panel on record-making in South Florida, at the Miami Art Museum, which this writer and Miami’s godfather of soul, Henry Stone, were also a part of. Buoyed on by the renewed interest, the guys at Crown Street Films approached Clarke with the idea of making a documentary about his early days – the labels, the artists, the challenges of being Miami’s first black record company owner (with his then-partner Johnny Pearsall). The movie’s producers have a deadline they have to meet – the end of September – with a commitment from PBS already in hand, and more commitments sure to follow. This is something I never could have imagined when my book (which included Willie Clarke, of course) was met with mostly indifference in Miami back in 1992. People were too obsessed with dressed-to-be-seen divas to notice the treasure that was right in their own backyard.

The highlight, for me, of last week’s movie shoot was my one-on-one time with Clarke, going through stacks of my old 45s as he reacted to labels and artists that he had not thought about in decades. I can’t describe what the man’s face looked like as he eyed the first record he’d ever produced – on the Orange and Green label – a 45 he’d pretty much forgotten about over the years. Soon, he came to remember who the singers were, and I have to say what he remembered blew my mind. You can bet I’ll be writing a lot more about this, once the ultra-confusing loose ends are finally sorted.

Shooting a documentary about Miami record producer/writer Willie Clarke

Getting the lights just right for a movie shoot in my home office

The movie crew spent more than seven hours at my house, shooting way more material than they’ll ever get to use. They have a daunting task ahead, with more interviews to conduct, and very little time to bring it all together. I’m confident they’ll be up to the task, and those of you who are able to watch the regional PBS showing will enjoy what you see.

The documentary is called “Deep City: The Birth of the Miami Sound”, and the first airing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at South By Southwest in Austin… followed by the Miami International Film Festival three nights later, on March 14 (8:30 PM, at the Olympia (Gusman) Theater.)   If you love soul music, you will not want to miss this.

While you’re here, check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST blog.

Dan Hosker of the Holy Terrors, 1965-2012

Dan Hosker on guitar. Thanks to Tony Landa of the bands Humbert and I Don’t Know.

He was the best guitarist I’ve ever seen. Not the flashiest, not the fastest. He didn’t shred, though he could have if he wanted to. There was nothing he couldn’t play, and very few types of music that he didn’t listen to.

Dan Hosker’s death on Saturday, August 11, 2012, was not a surprise. When he was moved into hospice care, everyone knew the end was near. That didn’t – and doesn’t – make it any easier to accept. Dan wasn’t just a great guitarist. He was also a great guy.

I first met him in 1990 while digging his band, the Holy Terrors, at Churchill’s. He was the first member of the band I had the nerve to speak to, and immediately I knew this was someone who appreciated the folks who appreciated him. It was the 7th of what would be 87 Holy Terrors shows for me – not counting several reunions over the years. The band was great, but it was Dan Hosker who was their pilot. Rob Elba was the leader and a hilarious frontman; Sam Fogarino (now with Interpol) was one of the most powerful drummers I’d ever seen. Frank Labrador, and then William Trev, were aces on the bass, but Dan was the maestro – the conductor – the glue. It wasn’t very long before we became fast friends.

Dan could get intense when it came to the music, but it was never totally serious. I remember playing hacky sack outside of Churchill’s one night, with Dan and Addy Burns of the band Quit. I remember thinking that night of how special our scene had become, and how close so many of us were growing. I never had to be asked to attend a Holy Terrors show. I wanted to go. To every one of them — just like with the Goods, Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa, the Stun Guns, and several more South Florida bands that were my soundtrack of the ‘90s. The bands and the music were special, for sure, but it was the guys like Dan that epitomized the support we had for one another. It was only natural that he’d go on to have side bands with many of his friends from the scene. The Holy Terrors had to come first, but Dan could play anything, and wanted to stretch out. At one point he was in four bands at the same time, and by the end of 1996, it would get to be too much.

I was in one of the those bands with Dan. We were called the Hivebuzzers (as in “I’m a king bee, buzzin’ round your hive”) and we played my favorite style of music – ‘60s garage punk. At the time we were the only band in Miami playing that style of music. Our second gig was nearly a disaster. Our drummer, Tim Vaughn of Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa and the Feebles, told us he couldn’t make it – at the last minute. I thought we’d have to cancel our gig, but Dan insisted that the show must go on – with him on the drums. We’d never rehearsed with Dan on the drums. He didn’t need a rehearsal. Dan just stepped in and played every one of those songs, never missing a beat. It was tough having to give up our lead guitar player for the night, but if there was ever any doubt of Dan’s versatility, that was the night that sealed the deal. This dude was a major, major talent.

(Dan Hosker, with the Hivebuzzers)

Dan was probably the only local musician to open for three national acts, in the course of a single week… with three different bands! Harry Pussy opened for the Irving Klaw Trio; our band opened for Man Or Astroman at The Terrace in Fort Lauderdale; the Holy Terrors opened for, I think, the Pretenders, though I’m not completely sure of that after all these years. All three of those bands were so different from one another, and Dan had to constantly switch back and forth between styles and mindsets. Soon afterwards, he told me he didn’t have the time to continue in the Hivebuzzers. We talked about getting a new lead guitar player, but it was clear that Dan was the guy that made the band. We all looked to him to “conduct” us. I had little experience as a lead vocalist, and looked to Dan for cues, and noticed several other members looking to Dan for the same. You just can’t replace a guy like that.

Dan’s life was music. He continued to play in several bands, including Boise Bob & His Backyard Band, who played that fateful night in May when Dan was struck by a car on a busy highway. For 84 days, he fought for life… but even as his body showed signs of healing, his brain function had failed, and the hope we all had was fading. Dan Hosker is gone. Just 46 years old. Rest in peace, old friend.

Set list for my 50th Holy Terrors show, on July 30, 1994… autographed by Dan Hosker and the rest of the band.

Dan Hosker

Dan Hosker will always be a star. From Dan’s Facebook page.

Now that you’re here, check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST blog.

560 Flashbacks #2: Approved Nighttime Oldies

WQAM Approved Night Time Oldies List

Half of the list of oldies that WQAM disc jockeys Rick Shaw, Johnny Knox, and John Paul Roberts were allowed to play.

Here’s another golden flashback from Dan Chandler’s WQAM archives! It may have seemed that the powerhouse station had an infinite supply of oldies, but in reality the selection was being tightly controlled by the time 1969 rolled around. The torn sheet that you see here makes it clear that only certain oldies could be played in the rock-intensive nighttime hours. Gone were the Dionne Warwick and Jan & Dean flashbacks that used to dominate the PM. The underground was happening, and the station wanted to make sure its hipper teen listeners didn’t bolt for the competition.

While the use of a list might seem (on the surface) like excessive control, it actually made sense for the times… and to be fair, this is an awesome list: The Seeds, 13th Floor Elevators, Leaves, Music Machine, Love, Yardbirds, Them, Count Five, Electric Prunes, Animals! While others were distancing themselves from what we’ve come to know as ‘60s garage, WQAM was embracing it! As a 12-year-old listener, I sure didn’t know that restrictions were in place. Since the bottom half seems to have disappeared, we can only guess what was on the rest of the list, but if it’s anything like what we see here, the music’s energy definitely matched that of the jocks and the station in general. (I would bet the K-Otics’ version of “Double Shot” made the cut, since I remember hearing it all the time.)

You might notice the inside joke about “a trip to Omaha and dinner at Bob and Milly’s.” Bob and Milly were Mr. and Mrs. Storz, Sr. ( the station owners), and according to Dan Chandler, the Omaha quip was a running joke around the station. Thanks again to Dan for sharing yet another part of Miami radio history.

** You can read much more about WQAM and Dan Chandler in the book Savage Lost: Florida Garage Bands, The ‘60s & Beyond.

While you’re here, check out the OTHER POSTS on the Savage Lost blog.

Tambi Garret: The South Florida Years

For every superstar, and even every one-hit wonder, there are countless performers standing on the outside, hoping their next performance – their next recording – will be their breakout. They give it their all, hanging on to their dreams year after year, even when it seems those dreams might never come true.

Tambi Garret was one of those who knocked on the door, hoping for something bigger, something better. This young lady who overcame so many obstacles couldn’t overcome the behemoth that makes or breaks so many careers: the music industry.

Tambi Garrett, appearing at a Palm Beach County supper club. From the Palm Beach Post, August 19, 1962

Tambi Garret, appearing at a Palm Beach County supper club. From the Palm Beach Post, August 19, 1962

Our story starts with a teenage girl named Norma Jean Garrison, who headed south for Palm Beach County in the early ‘60s. As Tambi Garret, she was booked into area supper clubs, where she played the role of the “girl singer” who’d come out after the comedian and the band. Tambi excelled, though, and soon caught the attention of Fletcher Smith, a studio owner with a long, colorful history. Smith was a legend in the movie industry, designing miniature sets for many of the major studios. The battle scenes in Mutiny On The Bounty? Those were his. “He would have them built to exact replica, these sloops and frigates and whatever the hell they were,” recalled comedian Woody Woodberry, Smith’s protégé and friend, in an interview with the blog Classic Television Showbiz. “He had these explosive devices that would blow them up, and he had little puffs of smoke coming out of cannons.”

When Smith retired from films, he left New York City and opened a recording studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tambi Garret recorded at least five songs at the studio, on December 5, 1963. Two of the tracks, “Baby Doll” and “Chain of Emotion”, were released as a single on Smith’s StereOddities label. I’m not sure if the other three tracks, “Angel Face”, “Hold My Hand”, and “Thoughtless”, ever saw the light of day. All five songs were either written or co-written by Garret.

Recorded in Fort Lauderdale in December 1963.  FSS stood for Fletcher Smith Studios.

Recorded in Fort Lauderdale in December 1963. F.S.S. stood for Fletcher Smith Studios.

The record didn’t take off, but it appeared Garret’s career just might. A New York talent agent heard her sing at a club in Boca Raton, and decided to bring her to Manhattan. All was going well, until her management booked a date for her in Massachusetts. The folks there didn’t know that Tambi was stricken with polio as a child, in the years before Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine. According to a newspaper report, the folks there got cold feet, and cancelled her appearance. Instead, she was booked into a club called The Living Room, where she played to rave reviews… and soon was signed to a contract with Ascot Records, the United Artists-distributed label best known for its hit records by Manfred Mann.

Tambi makes it on to a nationally-distributed label.

Tambi makes it on to a nationally-distributed label.

Tambi’s first single for the label, “If I Give My Heart To You” b/w “You Were Mine For Awhile” was produced by pop singer/A&R guy Gerry Granahan. Both sides sound a lot like Brenda Lee, and to be honest, the sound was a little dated for 1965. It was on the follow-up single, “Leave A Little Love”, that Tambi really showed what she could do. This is the track that has received some Northern Soul action through the years (as has a version of the song by Patti Austin), and it’s my opinion that this was far and away her best recording. Unfortunately, it failed to dent the charts, and by mid-1966, little was heard of Tambi Garret.

Tambi Garrett's best record.   This song was also recorded by Patti Austin and Lulu.

Tambi Garrett’s best record. This song was also recorded by Patti Austin and Lulu.

I’d love to tell you where she went from there, but information from that point on is very scarce. I’m not aware of any records after 1966, and have not been able to find out where life ultimately led the pretty redhead and polio survivor. It is my hope that somebody who sees this will be able to fill in the rest of the Tambi Garret story. There has to be more.


Spotlight 395      Yes I Do/From The Wrong Side Of Town (as Norma Jean Garrison)
StereOddities, Inc. 2001   Baby Doll/Chain of Emotion (63)
Ascot 2182         If I Give My Heart To You/You Were Mine For Awhile (65)
Ascot 2208         Leave A Little Love/How Could You Let Her? (66)

Now that you’re here, please check out the OTHER POSTS on the Savage Lost blog.

A 1968 Miami Acetate That Sold a Million Copies… via the Bronx!

3rd Rail acetate, recorded at Dukoff Studios in Miami

3rd Rail acetate, recorded at Dukoff Studios in Miami

An unknown acetate by an unknown South Florida band of the ‘60s!

Those twelve words brought indescribable anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see it. To hear it. To document it. To spread the word to other collectors!

The name of the group was “3rd Rail”, a name similar to the Joey Levine-Artie Resnick-Kris Resnick studio group that scored nationally with “Run Run Run” in 1967 – but it wasn’t them. It also wasn’t the Third Rail studio group that had an oddball single on Cameo in ’66. This was a totally unknown, mystery band… or so I was led to believe.

Finally, I had a chance to see the acetate… and to hear it. It starts off with plaintive, Grace Slick style folk-rock vocals, until the rest of the instruments kick in, and off we go with a garage-style interpretation of electric folk blues with, for lack of a better term, acid rock guitar. The lyrics hint that this could be about heroin addiction, and in time the vocalist starts to sound a bit like Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators! Very, very cool, except for one thing.

The label might lead one to believe this was some unknown Miami band, but it wasn’t. Behind the 3rd Rail was a superstar from the days of street corner rock ‘n roll and teen-styled ballads. And this very song – “Daddy Rollin’” – would get a second life as the B-side of a million selling single!

I’m not sure why he originally chose to hide behind a group name, but there’s no mistaking that the vocalist on here is Dion DiMucci – and if you don’t believe me, flip over your copy of his 1968 comeback smash “Abraham Martin & John”. There it is – “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms)”. It’s not only the same song, but it is also the same take as the Dukoff Studio acetate! From total obscurity, to a shelf in every record and department store in America!

One of many surprising B-sides of the '60s

One of many surprising B-sides of the ’60s

Needless to say, I was disappointed to learn that this was not the garage punk unknown (or in this case, acid folk unknown) that I’d hoped it would be. What’s not disappointing, though, is the music. Like “Fire Ball” by Mercy, “Lost My Love Today” by Harpers Bizarre (aka The Tikis), “We’ve Got A Groovy Thing Goin’” by Simon & Garfunkel, “Endless Sleep” by the Poppy Family, and “Reflections From The Looking Glass” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, this was an example of a very cool garage or psych song hiding on the flip side of a major hit. Records such as this are a great place for new collectors to start, since they cost so little and deliver so much punch. The 3rd Rail acetate might be worth some bucks today, but it shouldn’t cost you more than a few dollars to own a copy of the same song/same take on vinyl.

Linking Dion with the 3rd Rail acetate may have been a surprise, but finding a tuff teenbeat sound bearing Dion’s name shouldn’t be. His late Columbia period yielded some great garage band-style rockers, with the best being “Two Ton Feather” (Columbia 43692, issued as Dion and the Wanderers). I’d venture to say that on a 1-to-10 scale, most would rank this as a 5 or so on the garage-o-meter. I know I like this better than more than half of the songs we ranked for Mike Markesich’s Teenbeat Mayhem book. Some other Columbia singles such as “Kickin’ Child” also deliver the goods, though I’d have to say “Feather” was his finest moment (at least from a garage-sound standpoint).

Dion's tuffest-sounding single.   Garage band fans should dig this a lot.

Dion’s tuffest-sounding single. Garage band fans should dig this a lot.

I can’t help but wonder who was backing Dion on “Daddy Rollin’” that day, at Bobby Dukoff’s little studio inside The Place on Northwest 7th Avenue. We know that promoter Steve Palmer and his sons would bring bands into the studio on a moment’s notice (including the Beau Brummels, during their 1965 Miami appearance – at least according to the Place’s Vince Palmer). So the mystery of the 3rd Rail has only been partially solved. I’d love to hear from anyone who was in the studio that day, who could shed more light on this. (For all I know, a personnel list might exist on some Dion reissue CD. Since I’m into vinyl, not CDs, I just don’t know.)

Songs such as “Daddy Rollin’” remind us of that old cliché about not judging a book by its cover – and coincidentally, Dion himself once recorded a version of that similarly-named Willie Dixon/Bo Diddley classic. If you think that Dion was just another teen idol blown away by the British invasion, you might want to dig a little deeper. You might just love the things that he stood for.

Click here to buy a copy of “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms)” by Dion – the song, not the acetate!

While you’re here… check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST blog.

The Bougalieu: Let’s Do Wrong in Miami, Florida

1-2 Bougalieu!   The cleaner version of this classic 45.

1-2 Bougalieu! The cleaner version of this classic 45.

What is an Albany, New York group doing on a blog about Florida bands?

Well, for one thing, I love the Bougalieu’s record – both versions of it. Love it a lot! But more importantly, this is a band that relocated to South Florida for a time, ‘til it was clear that the end of the road was near. It’s a band that mingled and played alongside some of the most legendary Miami bands of the late ‘60s, most of whom probably didn’t know about the awesome record that the guys cut back in their home state.

What can I say about “Let’s Do Wrong” and “When I Was A Children”? I could tell you what the lyrics to “Let’s Do Wrong” mean, but frankly, they don’t make much sense – and that’s good. The rapid fire, tough to understand words make this sound really menacing, and very, dare I say it, punk. There are two versions of the song. One is much shorter, with the words less slurred. On the other the words are nearly indecipherable, and there is a cool psychedelic change at the end of the song that is nothing short of brilliant.

The much cruder version of “Let’s Do Wrong”…  and it’s about 30 seconds longer than the time shown on the label.    Click to view the full size image

The much cruder version of “Let’s Do Wrong”… and it’s about 30 seconds longer than the time shown on the label. Click to view the full size image

60s garage band collectors are in agreement about “Let’s Do Wrong” – particularly the longer version – but there is dissension when it comes to “When I Was A Children”. One blogger called it “a pretty forgettable, middle-of-the-road pop song”, and group member Bill Gallagher agrees with that critique. While “Children” sounds tame when compared to the other side, it is anything but forgettable, or middle of the road. It’s one of those tunes that sounds better with repeated listenings, and in fact, sounds weirder each time, especially the part where vocalist Parker Kennedy shouts “can’t you see I want to be free-eee-ee-ee-kay?” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the award for the best use of the word “freaky” goes to the Bougalieu! WTRY in Albany must have agreed, as did its listeners, who pushed the song into the local top ten. When the record started getting played in Florida, the band decided to head south and check out the action there. After all, it was January, and cold back in Albany!

Marshall Brevitz, the legendary promoter and club owner, was impressed with the band, and booked them alongside Blues Image at Thee Experience in Miami’s Sunny Isles area. With the new locale came a new name – Corners of the Heavens – and lots and lots of problems. Parker Kennedy hurt himself screaming on stage, and needed a hernia operation. The band had commitments, so they replaced him with Eddie (Walter) Saxe, another guy originally from Albany. What happened next is the subject of a lot of controversy and anger among band members, thanks to several mistakes that were made, including the band blowing a chance to open for The Who at Fort Lauderdale’s Code One club. (Their loss was the New York Square Library’s gain.) Sadly, former band members are still angry about this period of time. It’s not my intention to open up, or revisit old wounds, just to acknowledge a period in this band’s history that’s typical, in its way, of what a lot of bands went through – depression, prison time, a drug bust, etc. Corners of the Heavens/The Bougalieu headed back to Albany, playing their final gig at a state fair. Three of the guys formed a new band – Friends of Whitney Sunday – which relocated to Philadelphia, and wound up recording for both Capitol and Decca Records.

The Bougalieu/Corners of the Heavens recorded two demo tracks prior to calling it quits. “Aquarian Age” and “Of Thee I Sing” both feature Hendrix-influenced guitar, and show a much heavier side to the band. You can hear both tracks on Michael (Rothman) Havelin’s site.

While the Bougalieu wasn’t mentioned in Savage Lost, they played alongside many bands that were — and their great record on Roulette is every bit as good as Florida’s all-time greats. The guys that wanted to do wrong, and wanted to be freaky – no, wanted to be “free-eee-ee-ee-kay” – managed to make their mark… and escape the cold. I’m sure glad they did.


Some of the Bougalieu’s music is available on the CD “Psychedelic Microdots Volume 3”.

While you’re here… check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST BLOG.

560 Flashback #1 – WQAM vs. WFUN

If ever there was any doubt as to whether the rivalry between radio stations WQAM and WFUN was for real, the following memo should put those questions to rest. The rivalry wasn’t just real – it was intense – and grew to monumental proportions after WFUN’s Morton “Doc” Downey’s dirty tricks on WQAM program director Charlie Murdock (as covered, in depth, in chapter 35 of Savage Lost).

When Downey and Murdock both left the Miami airwaves in 1965 – during the very same week – it didn’t end the bitterness between the two stations. WQAM had the better signal, by far… but WFUN had the audacity, the moxie, the chutzpah, and would have stopped at little to try to dethrone their cross-town rivals.

A 1966 libel suit against WQAM – filed by Hialeah Mayor Henry Milander – was like a gift from heaven for the WFUN Boss Jocks and their Sunset Drive sales staff. Someone at FUN copied a Miami Herald article about the lawsuit, and sent it to every client and agency that bought time on WQAM. It put the QAM Tigers in a tough spot, since the station had admitted it made a mistake in the Milander report… and couldn’t really deny it. In the memo, the staff is urged to “keep our heads up”, and “not let it bother you”… along with a reminder that “our image is too good to be tarnished by this type of nonsense.”

The Miami Radio Wars, heating up in 1966

The Miami Radio Wars, heating up in 1966

Station manager Stan Torgerson (later the voice of the Ole Miss Rebels) was right. WQAM survived the incident, and their image was just fine. But you can see how the rivalry had grown, more than year after Downey gave out Charlie Murdock’s home phone number on the air. You can see how the bad blood between the stations was going to mean having to outdo one another – time and time again – and how that benefited listeners, through better contests, wilder promotions, and more support for local bands.

This memo is one of many WQAM souvenirs from the collection of former program director Dan Chandler. Dan has graciously shared his collection with me, and with the readers of this blog. Look for many more 560 Souvenirs in the months to come. Thanks, Dan, for all you’ve done, both on the air and off.

The 4 Keys (aka The Band-Its), and Other Bands From Bradenton, FL

Bradenton, FL

Bradenton, FL



By 1966, nearly every town had countless bands that were well-known at their local high schools and dance halls, but were pretty much seen as nobodies everywhere else.   Bradenton, Florida had it share of bands, some of whom sported members that went on to bigger and better things:  The Thunderbeats with Larry Rhinehart (Captain Beyond, Iron Butterfly), Ken Forssi (Love), Mack Doss (Classics IV), and Bobby Shea (The Tropics);  the Swingin’ Saints with Dickie Betts (The Allman Brothers Band) and Gary Myers (author of Wisconsin music history books);  The Gap, who managed to record for Laurie Records out of New York.   But most local bands were more like the Off Sets, Nite Litez, or the all-girl She’s, known to the hip local kids but pretty much anonymous everywhere else.


The Band-Its, 1966

The Band-Its, from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 5, 1966


Falling into that latter category:  The 4 Keys, also known as the Band-Its, a four-piece group made up of Manatee High School students/graduates.   Fortunately the guys stayed together long enough to record an excellent single, “One Way Street” b/w “Morning”, for the Century label.    “One Way Street” was inspired by the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer”, and is the story of a guy who vows never to love, and never to care.  “Morning” is a nice jangly tune that reminds me of the Non-Pareils, from just a tad north in St. Petersburg.   This one’s right up my alley, with the lyrics – “will I find someone to love me, or will I find someone to hurt me?” – giving this a moody vibe.   This is a record I would love to have, but unfortunately it’s eluded me all these years.   If someone out there has a copy they’d be willing to sell, I would definitely make it worth their while.


Wanted:  The 4 Keys' 1966 single on Century Records

Wanted: The 4 Keys' 1966 single on Century Records


The band – Bob McReady and Dan Kohlhaas on guitar, Bill Jones on bass, and Rick Leonard on drums, continued to play well into 1967, but when Leonard and McReady were drafted, that was pretty much the end of the band.   At least three of the guys wound up serving in the Air Force, before going back to school and getting degrees in different fields, including biology and business administration.   While the guys stayed in touch, the 4 Keys would remain just a memory from the past – a fact that became sadly clear when Rick Leonard passed away in January 2007.

It’s been more than 45 years since the 4 Keys recorded their one and only single, but through the internet and blogs such as this one, their history will live on.    Here’s hoping more copies of their record will turn up, and more people will be exposed to four boys from Bradenton who made such a joyful noise.


Band-Its article

The Band-Its, from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 5, 1966

(Click on the images to view them full size)

Be sure to check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST blog.

Linda Hargrove in the ’60s, and a Psych Band Named After All


Anyone who’s read Savage Lost, or who has ever seen my record collection, knows about my fanaticism for ‘60s garage bands. I love the energy and simplicity in a lot of the songs, and prefer the primal sounds to the more sophisticated music that followed. Complex arrangements and instrumental experiments are fine, but I’d take short bursts of musical fury over solos and stretched-out arrangements every day.


Linda Hargrove in the '60s, and the Psych Band After All

After All’s album on the Athena label

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I didn’t really care for the album by After All at first. The guys are great musicians, and the songs are brilliantly arranged, but they veer into jazz-rock and other areas that just don’t resonate with me. I like the psychedelic touches, but on initial listening I was left cold, until one song… one AMAZING song… got into my head and refused to leave.

That song, “Blue Satin”, tells the story of a guy who went too far with a young girl. In his mind, she grew into a woman, but just in his mind. Later, he cries over what he’s done, and how he loved her in his “mean and selfish way”, but it’s too late. The only other song I can think of that can match this deep sense of sexual regret is Procol Harum’s “Conquistador”, but that song’s meaning is buried under layers of metaphors and poetic devices to the point that most people think it’s just another Keith Reid pirate song. “Blue Satin” lays it bare, and it’s gut-wrenching for all involved… until the flute solo… which is just plain silly and almost destroys the song. Almost. It’s just too good to ruin. I would have loved to have met the man who wrote those lyrics.

But wait. Those lyrics were written… by a woman! Linda Hargrove, then twenty, got together with the Tallahassee foursome and offered them several of her poems. In her way, she was like the aforementioned Keith Reid of Procol Harum – not a performing member of the band, but indispensable. That Hargrove – also from Tallahassee – could come up with words to be sung by men that cut deep into the male psyche, was a credit to the young lady’s immense talents. But Hargrove didn’t just come out of nowhere. She had been a member of a group called The Other Side, which cut a record for the Center label late in 1967 (while she was still in high school). She was making a name for herself in the Tallahassee music scene, as were Mark Ellerbee, Billy Moon, Charles Short, and Alan Gold – the guys who would enter Nashville’s Athena Recording Studios in 1969 to produce what would become After All’s first and only album.

Linda Hargrove in the '60s, and a Psych Band Called After All

Linda Hargrove first record, with the Other Side. 1967 Florida folk-rock 45

Shortly after the album’s release, the band members went their separate ways, though they remained friends. After following the band to Nashville, and sensing that perhaps that was where she belonged, Linda Hargrove took a walk down the country-rock path. After a super-obscure, phasing-heavy 45 on the Miami-based GWS label, Hargrove was introduced to former Monkee Mike Nesmith, who signed her to his short-lived country label. Leon Russell then recorded a pair of her tunes for his Hank Wilson Is Back LP. Her songwriting career appeared to be on the upswing, when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Hargrove managed to recover enough to resume her career, but there were complications. She died in October 2010.

Linda Hargrove in the '60s, and a Psych Band Called After All

Linda Hargrove’s most obscure release, on a Miami label

The After All album, featuring Hargrove’s words, enjoyed a bit of renaissance in 2000-2001, when it was re-released on the Gear Fab label. Thanks to that reissue, you can now hear the album for yourself without shelling out $100 for an original copy. If you like progressive jazz-rock, 1969 style, you’ll probably enjoy the album. Even if you don’t, check out the cut “Blue Satin”. It’s worth it to hear Mark Ellerbee expressing the pain of a man… as articulated through the pen of a woman.

While you’re here… check out the other posts on the SAVAGE LOST BLOG.

Euphoria, and the Hyperbolic & Hit Labels

The mysterious Euphoria on Hit Records

Euphoria’s 1971 single on the Hit International label was mentioned on page 395 of Savage Lost, as one of the better local releases of the ‘70s. Time and space didn’t permit more details about the label, or its role in our local music scene, starting in 1969.

This particular Hit label (as it was ironically named) was not related to the Nashville-based soundalike factory that specialized in quickly-recorded knockoff versions of current hit songs. This one was based in Fort Lauderdale, and was a part of Hyperbolic Records, a pay-to-record operation spearheaded by John Archer (a former member of the ‘60s band The Busy Signals), along with Mike Rodgers.

John Archer wrote both sides of the Busy Signals' debut single.
(John Archer wrote both sides of the Busy Signals’ debut single)

Hyperbolic advertised in publications such as Newsical, hoping to lure in artists… and composers… who wanted to see their work immortalized on vinyl. As such, it served as an outlet for local rock bands, soul music acts, and song-poem writers. If you pay, you can play!

One of Hyperbolic's ads in Newsical Magazine

Hyperbolic also featured recordings by Speed Limit, Hill, and other area rock bands… some recording with the help of the late WSRF/WSHE legend Tommy Judge. But it was Bolder Damn, a hard rock band from Fort Lauderdale, that has attracted the most attention, thanks to their highly-collectable album on Hit. I’m sure the guys in the band had no idea they’d created a future collectible, when they paid for the right to release their original tunes. Oh, to have been at the pressing plant that day, to haul off a stash of those elusive LPs!

Bolder Damn's album is now a collector's item.

I’d love to tell you all about Euphoria, but their story remains a mystery. Six people share writer’s credits – A. Shipman, M. Leach, M. Moore, J. Dipaolo, F. Corr, and B. Cain. Presumably they were members of the group, but at the moment I can’t say for sure. This band doesn’t appear to be related to the other Euphoria groups out there, including the one on Mainstream Records. If anyone has any more information about these guys, please feel free to share with us.

Hyperbolic Records business card, courtesy Rick Kornowski
(Hyperbolic Records business card, courtesy Rick Kornowski)