Friday, February 29, 2008

Some Grooves I Don't Have

For much of the information in this post, I am indebted to several people and organizations, who are listed in the post "Loose Ends and Closing Credits."


Bad Axe - ROAD RUNNER b/w WAY BACK HOME (SSP Records SSP-202; c.1980s). Bad Axe was an Escanaba-area band led by Greg Brukardt and Jeffrey Krebs; both wrote Side A, while Krebs alone wrote Side B. (Krebs would later record solo.)

Dick Allen & the Fairlanes - DREAMIN' b/w NIGHT TWIST (Cuca 63114; 1963). After his time with the Night Owls (see below), Dick Allen (born in L'anse) recorded "Dreamin'" with members of the Originals, a Green Bay, WI band. However, Dick says he doesn't remember using the name "Fairlanes," nor does he recall the B-side, which may have been by a totally different band. Dick later led the Green Beans (see below).

Jimmy B & the Rockatones - EVERYTHING I DO b/w DREAM GIRL (Cuca 6481; 1964). Band was from Houghton / Hancock; leader "Jimmy B" Brogan was once a member of the Vigilantes (see post on that band).

Benders - CAN'T TAME ME b/w GOT ME DOWN (Big Sound 3006). The Benders were students from Michigan and Wisconsin, based in Menominee, MI; the label was based in Wausau, WI.

John Dee & the Shadows - I'M A ROLLING STONE b/w CAN'T YOU LOVE ME TOO (Raynard 10035; 1965). This short-lived band was based in the twin cities of Marinette, WI / Menominee, MI. They recorded their one single in Milwaukee, WI, where leader John D. Grignon eventually made his home.

Dodge Street Band - SOUTH DAKOTA b/w unknown (Key Wee 001). Label is based in Lake Linden, the credited writer of the song is Roger Laub, Jr. - other than that, I know nothing.

Dopes / Zoom - ESCANABA b/w THERE ARE WAYS (no label name, c.1978). In his book "Rock'n'Roll Graffiti," Steve Seymour tells how he bought this single at a Dopes concert in Madison, WI, in the early 1980s - then unknowingly bought another copy of the same single, with a different label and credited to Zoom, on eBay. He knows nothing else about this band or the record, and right now neither do I.

Excels - LITTLE INNOCENT GIRL b/w SOME KIND OF FUN (Carla 1901); I WANNA BE FREE b/w TOO MUCH TOO SOON (Carla 2344); THE ARRIVAL OF MARY b/w CALIFORNIA ON MY MIND (Carla 2536). The Excels were from Marquette, and recorded for the Detroit-based Carla label.

The Executives - CARA MIA b/w MY SPECIAL ANGEL (Princeton P-112). This Marquette lounge act released a single on the Princeton label - see the French Church listing in "The Grooves I Have" post..

Fastells - TAKE YOU AWAY b/w SO MUCH (Night Owl 6781; 1967). From Negaunee; members Mark Pyykonen and Tom Kemp later joined the Rhythm Rockers (see below).

(Danny & the) Galaxies - IF YOU WANT TO BE MY BABY b/w AD LIB (Darbo 1595; 1960); MY TATTLE TALE b/w LOVE HAS ITS WAY (Guaranteed 216; 1961). Ths band was based in the twin cities of Hurley, WI / Ironwood, MI - drummer Bernie Michelli was from Bessemer. All their tracks were produced by Jimmy Bowen of "I'm Sticking With You" fame (and later head of Capitol Nashville).

Joey Gee & the Bluetones - DON'T YOU JUST KNOW IT b/w LITTLE SEARCHER (Sara 6541). This band, led by "Joey Gee" Giannuzio, was from Iron Mountain/Kingsford. Guitarist Bill Morrison later joined Lexington Project (see below).

Joey Gee & the Come-Ons - SHE'S MEAN b/w YOU KNOW - TILL THE END OF TIME (Sara 6599). After the Bluetones, Joey Gee moved to Milwaukee, WI, and became leader of this band.

The Green Beans - FRICTION b/w SUPERSTITION (Mercury 2504; 1965); WHO NEEDS YOU b/w KNOCK ON MY DOOR (Tower 237; 1966). This quartet assembled in Green Bay, WI, and did most of its recording in Los Angeles with Mike Curb producing, but lead guitarist Dick Allen was from L'anse (see above) and drummer John Truckey was from Sault Ste. Marie.

Heikki Lunta - HEIKKI LUNTA'S SNOW DANCE SONG (Heikki 326), This tribute to the (supposed) Finnish god of winter was issued by Hancock radio station WMPL in 1970; they sold the single at the station for years. However, according to legend, whenever WMPL plays the song on the air, it snows heavily right afterward - which is why some listeners don't want WMPL to play the song ever again.

Henchmen VI - ALL OF THE DAY b/w IS LOVE REAL (Cuca 6731). The Henchmen VI, including Joe Dehut and Scott Kienzle (or is it Heinske? My sources differ), were from Ontonagon. (They are not the Scarlet Henchmen who also recorded for Cuca.) The documentary "Lights! Camera! Action!", which WLUC-TV in Marquette made for its 50th anniversary in 2006, shows a brief clip of the Henchmen VI performing on the station's annual March of Dimes Telethon. ALERT! ALERT! "Is Love Real" appears on the CD "Garage Beat '66 Volume 4: I'm In Need!" (Sundazed SC11150); for further details, go to

Lloyd Hugo - STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE b/w SLOWLY (Belt 103; 1969); IT WON'T TAKE LONG b/w RAIN AIN'T GONNA FALL (Belt 106; 1970); MOTHER TRUCKER b/w IF YOU WILL TAKE MY HAND (Globe 106; 1972). Lloyd was from L'anse, and an ex-Vigilante; he went on to build several Indian casinos.

Betsy Hyde - ? b/w EVERY DAY (Muscle label). While I was a student at Northern Michigan University in Marquette in 1979-80, Marquette singer Betsy Hyde released this single; I can't remember the A-side (it was a Hyde original), but the B-side was Buddy Holly's "Every Day."

Lance Hill - IN THE BACK OF MY MIND b/w RIDING IN A DUMP TRUCK (U.P. Records label). The company's logo consisted of the words "U.P. Records" in an outline map of the U.P., and the motto "Nashville of the North." Both sides were written by Elmer Aho, a Gwinn native who's been writing songs - and getting them on records from time to time - since the 1960s. However, I've been informed that the record may have been actually made in the REAL Nashville - the one in Tennessee - by a company that turned customers' "songpoems" into songs and records, for a fee, and that employed Mr. Hill as a singer*; and that "U.P. Records" may have only existed in Mr. Aho's imagination (certainly, this was the label's only release).

*If you're not sure what I'm talking about, click here:

The Infinite Blue - BLACK TRAIN b/w LIES (Tevar 10376; 1971). This band was from Menominee, as was the label, owned by two brothers named Ravet (spell it backwards). Two years earlier, this group played backup on another single, farther down this page.

The Innocence - SUDDENLY JUST LIKE THAT b/w I WALK THE WAVES (Spoke 1000). This was the first of two releases for Spoke Records, which had a Manistique P.O. box. I know nothing about the group, except that they're not the same Innocence who had a Top 40 hit with "There's Got To Be A Word!" Both sides were written by Irene L. Davis, who ran a publishing company called Five State Music.

Ken Kaiser - ME AND THE D.N.R. (The American Heart label, c.1978). This single protested some recent actions by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources.

Paul Kay - COPPER COUNTRY POLKA b/w SHORTY'S POLKA (Bootjack 100; 1971). Paul Kruczynski and his wife Janice still lead a polka band in the western U.P.

Kinetics - I'M BLUE b/w FEELING FROM MY HEART (Studio City). Band was from Houghton; label was in Minneapolis, MN.

Rob Kirk & the Word - GIRLS TALK b/w SUMMER WINDS (Cuca 6761; 1967) Rob Kirk (real name: Gary Alan Kerkes) was from Sault Ste. Marie, and always "dreamed of being a rock and roll star." Unfortunately, he would gain his greatest fame, not as a singer, but as the victim of a murder-for-hire in 1983; Gary E. Myers tells the whole ugly story on pages 44-45 of his new book On That Wisconsin Beat. ALERT! ALERT! Like the Henchmen VI track above, "Girls Talk" appears on the compilation Garage Beat '66 Volume 4: I'm In Need! on the Sundazed label ( Hey, Rob, you got a national release! Maybe you're finally on your way!

Mike Koda - LET'S HEAR A WORD (FROM THE FOLKS IN THE CEMETERY) b/w MORE THAN ME (Princeton). Mike Koda, then an NMU student, would later become Cub Koda, leader of Brownsville Station ("Smokin' In the Boys' Room") and writer of the book "Blues For Dummies," the "Vinyl Junkie" column in the record-collector's magazine GOLDMINE, and numerous reviews for the website Cub died in 2000, but his widow "Lady J" still maintains his website at

Lee Malone & the Nite-Riders - ISABELLA b/w unknown (U.P. Records UP 004). Produced by one J. Barribeau; the label says "Home Grown in Iron Mountain, MI."

Rhea Marquita - MEET ME TONIGHT BENEATH THE MOON b/w WITHOUT YOUR LOVE (Cuca 1087; 1962). Rhea M. Saarinen was from Mass City; only seven weeks after recording her single, she died of cancer at age 37.

The New Breed - SO WAS THE SUMMER b/w HIGHWAY BLUES (unknown label; c. 1975) The New Breed were from Aurora, WI, but member John Richtig, previously of the Ravelles (see below), was from Iron Mountain.

The Ramblers - MICHIGAN WALTZ b/w RAINDROP POLKA (Rambler GB-720; 1957), I SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO KNOW b/w I BETCHA - Polka (Rambler GB-914; 1958). The Ramblers, led by Ray Adamini, was a polka band that played in the Marquette area during the 1950s-60s, and even had a weekly TV show on WDMJ-TV (now WLUC-TV) in Marquette. The "Lights! Camera! Action!" program (see above) had an interview with Ray Adamini and rare footage of the Ramblers performing.

Ravelles - PSYCHEDELIC MOVEMENT b/w SHE'S FOREVER ON MY MIND (Mobie 340; 1968); SMILE AT THE FLOWERS b/w WHY CAN'T I BE THE ONE (Daizy 15A8; 1969). Founded as Sainte Jon's Academy, this Iron Mountain band once beat both the Prophets of Doom and the Riot Squad in a Battle of the Bands around 1967-68. The Mobie label was based in Chicago, IL.

Renaissance Fair - IN WYRD b/w unknown (Princeton). A Marquette-area band that did this one single for Marquette's Princeton label.

Rhythm Rockers - UNCHAINED MELODY b/w COUNTDOWN (Copper 1090 / 1091). This band was from Alston; if you'd like to see the label of this single, go to

Rhythm Rockers - BAD NEWS b/w TWILIGHT (Copper C1006). The label for this single can be seen at ALERT! ALERT! Britain's Ace Records has just released the CD "Rockin' In Wisconsin: The Cuca Records Story, Vol. 3," which includes the Rhythm Rockers' "Bad News"! Go to

Riot Squad - TAKIN' IT EASY b/w BEFORE I LEAVE TONIGHT (Demian M45 d1 [or 208211]). A later single by Escanaba's Riot Squad (see "The Grooves I Have"); as far as I know, both sides are original compositions.

Hoot Roberts - THE KING HAS FALLEN b/w INVITATION TO THE BLUES (Choco label). This single's sides were both taken from his INVITATION TO THE BLUES album (see THE GROOVES I HAVE).

Society - NICOTINE FIT b/w unknown (Spoke label) This was the second release on Manistique's Spoke label, and it's become something of a mystery (at least to me). There was a Wisconsin band called Society, and I thought this record may have been by them; but Gary E. Myers says the band members he's talked to have no memory of this record. Now, it wouldn't surprise me if this disc was actually by The Innocence in disguise (see THE GROOVES I HAVE).

Patty Whipp and the Infinite Blue - WALKIN' b/w IT'S GONE (Tevar 1497; 1969).


[NOTE: For those who've been here before, the high school / college band / choir albums listed here previously are now listed in the post "High School / College Bands & Choirs."]

Charles Hall - FAITHFULLY YOURS (Canzone Productions, number unknown, 1977). This keyboardist and the label were based in Houghton.

Joe Arkansas - YOOPANESE (label unknown; c.1984). Cassette-only release by an embryonic version of Da Yoopers.

Night Ranger - FIND ME A THRILL: THE LOST LIVE ALBUM (unknown Japanese label; c.1988). Yes, Night Ranger, the "Sister Christian" boys! This album, which may be a bootleg and was released only in Japan, includes several tracks recorded during the band's August 1984 appearance in Marquette. ALERT! ALERT! IN JANUARY 2011, THE MARQUETTE CONCERT WILL BE ISSUED LEGITIMATELY ON A CD CALLED "AUTHORIZED BOOTLEG: LIVE MARQUETTE MICHIGAN 8/8/84." IT CAN BE PRE-ORRDERED AT AMAZON.COM.

Kris Erik Stevens [as DJ] - CRUISIN' 1970 (Increase label). This installment of the album series featuring top rock & roll DJs from the rock era "in action" lets us hear Kris Erik recreating a typical WLS program in 1970, when I might have heard him.

Kris Erik Stevens [as performer] - FEELINGS (GRC label, 1972). Kris wrote the lyrics to all the songs on this album (no, as far as I know, it doesn't include the much-maligned Morris Albert tune); Jim Peterik wrote the music to most of them, and Peterik's band The Ides of March did most of the instrumental backing. The album was recorded in both Chicago and Atlanta, GA (GRC's locale), and includes "Training Wheels," the B-side of Kris's Sunlight single (see post "The Grooves I Have") and "Professional Man," which I saw Kris perform on the March of Dimes Telethon, apparently in '72.

Sonny Stitt - TORNADO (Jazz Masters label, 1974). This obscure album by the jazz saxman, released on the Grand Rapids-based Jazz Masters label, includes a track called "Escanaba Beat," composed by Eddie Russ, a Pittsburgh, PA musician who once lived and worked in Escanaba.

The Wayfarers - THE WAYFARERS...LIVE (label unknown, 1974). This trio of NMU students recorded this album, not in concert, but in an NMU bandroom. They continued to perform in the Marquette area well into the 1990s.


Stu Shea said...

If you need to hear the Ravelles' "Psychedelic Movement," let me know.

JvSs said...

Might be late but I have the Jimmy B & the Rockatones 45... + some other UP-related stuff...