Sunday, February 13, 2011

In Dan's Garage…#52

Upstate New York Vol. 3

Welcome back to another volume of our “exploration” of Upstate NY bands. In the last volume we heard a bunch of Rochester, NY groups. On this one I’m back to mixing it up in and around the state, so buckle up and take another spin around “The Empire State”.

Humans – Warning / Take A Taxi (1966)
Probably the second best garage 45 ever (IMHO), this one is equally as vicious as The Heard 45 only these guys had an organist!!!! Seriously though, if you don’t agree with my assessment, you gotta admit it’s ranked pretty high on the coolness level. The Humans were from Albion, NY a canal town about 30 min. west of Rochester. As you can see, this was another 45 released on Audition which also had The Heard, The Vaqueros, and The Rogues (they'll be featured in an upcoming volume) a literal grand slam of great records if you ask me.
Angry Men – Come With Me / Love Is Gone (1966)
angry men
These guys shouldn’t be confused with another local group called The Angry Young Men who were from Henrietta.  I can't find any solid info on this moody garage ballad except that 986 Joseph Ave. is now a church.
Tweeds – What’s Your Name / A Thing Of The Past (1967)
The Tweeds were from Buffalo and apperently were quite popular from 67 to 69. The band acquired bassist Billy Sheehan in 1969 and then changed their name to Talas in 1970 and became one of western NY’s most popular hard rock acts in the 70s. I remember them playing at the Penny Arcade, Rochester's #1 rock club of that era many times. Billy Sheehan went on to become one of Rock's premier bassists and played in David Lee Roth’s band and Mr. Big. Guitarist Dave Consatntino and drummer Paul Vargo reformed The Tweeds and continue playing to this day.
Invictas – The Hook / Do It (1966)
As you’ve probably already noticed, The Invictas were one of the more prolific local groups in terms of vinyl produced. They even had a full length LP at the time which as we all know was a really big deal back in those days. For some reason the guys re-did The Hump and called it “The Hook”. This isn’t just a voice over, but a completely different take, and a much faster and ballsier one than the original Hump. The flip “Do It” is also great and I remember The Projectiles covering both of these back in the 80s.
Edge Of Darkness – Mean Town / So Many Years (1967)
edge of darkness
One of the coolest upstate 45s ever. Cool ambiance, and wicked organ and fuzz guitars. These guys were from Oswego, NY, a college town situated on Lake Ontario about 45 min. east of Rochester They were led by bassist Sam Domicolo who now does a solo gig down in Florida.
Wee Four – Weird / Give Me A Try (1966)

wee four
Another popular local group from Brighton, a suburb southeast of Roch., who left us with this garage/punk masterpiece. Guitarist Terry Pilittere would leave the band in ‘67 and release a solo 45 on the same label. Aside from recording these two songs, there is a test pressing floating around with an extra track!
Endless Knights – Don’t Shoot Me Down / I Love You (1966)endless knights
These guys were from Syracuse and do a great cover of The Zombie’s “I Love You” (actually the A side) on the flip. They once opened a show for the Rolling Stones, McCoys, Standells, and Syndicate Of Sound. Screw Woodstock, there's a concert! This was co-produced by Warren Schatz and was released on a label out of Levittown which is on Long Island. Go figure….
Monterays – I’ll Be Around (1965)monterays1\
The Monterays were another bunch out of Syracuse and are still together today claiming to be the longest running musical act in western NY. They released this, their second 45 with The Madisons on the flip. Dig their backline and matching guitars. Way cool!
Madisons – Valerie (1965)madisons
As you can see, this is the flip of the aforementioned Monterays 45. Apparently 500 of these were pressed which would make this one pretty scarce. Although they were featured on the ”History Of Syracuse Music”, I've seen references to them being from Utica. In any case, this tune has a real teen do-wop thing going, but they're backed by a garage combo. About midway through the singer kind of freaks out and breaks down cause he can't live without this chick and at the end he totally loses it. Awesome.
Saints & Sinners – Ooh Pooh Pah Doo / Mercy Mercy (1966)saints and sinners
I’ve included this this one because Long Island & “city” residents consider New Rochelle “upstate”. This was recorded “live” at The Glen Island Casino, a real ritzy joint which was once Glenn Miller’s stomping grounds.  Both sides of this 45 are raunchy sounding frat rockers.
Show Stoppers – If You Want To, Why Don’t You / Once More With Love (1966)showstoppers2
Going back to Rochester, we have the second 45 by the fantastic Show Stoppers. I was just a young lad of 6 or 7 when these guys were doing their thing, but nearly EVERYONE I talk to that was around during ‘66 and ‘67 remembers these guys and how great they were. This one here is my favorite and a local classic.
Other Half – I Won’t Be Back / It’s Been A Good Bay (1966)other half
The Other Half were formed at Hartwick College which is in Oneonta, smack dab in the middle of New York State. This one’s a great two sider, both moody folk rockers.
Ron Wray Light Show – Speed (196?)ron wray
Ron Wray was a Syracuse DJ and the driving force behind the “History Of Syracuse Music” compilations. I also suspect Eciep was his label too. This one here is a crazed, fuzzed out “instrumental” with what I gather is Ron belting out “speeeeeeed baby……ohhh…..I need some speeeeeeeeed”.
Don Bombard & Headstone II – Satisfaction Is Guaranteed (196?)donbombard
The flip of “Speed” and look…It’s autographed by Don himself!!!! He was another big Syracuse DJ who moved to Pittsburgh in the 70s and the hit NYC and became an important radio guy there working for WCBS. Headstone II backs him on this track also, doing a decent job of Van Trevor’s “Satisfaction Is Guaranteed”, but I’m not exactly sure who that group was as this is the only 45 they appear on, or that I know of anyway…..
Unsettled Society – 17 Diamond Studded Cadillacs / Passion Seeds (196?)unsettled society
Wow, this 45 has such a creepy feel to it. It’s definitely a late 60s release with the wah wah guitars, but it’s so lo-fi, it sounds like it was recorded in a rubber room with one microphone in the corner. This group might be from Baldwinsville, which is north of Syracuse, but I can't say for sure. This one's real obscure.
Al Peluso – You Ain’t Going Nowhere / Blue Teardrops (19??)al peluso
Al Peluso was originally from Utica and moved down to North Carolina where he was in the Counts IV which released a few 45s, most notably “Spoonful” on Date records. He eventually moved back to New York where he did a solo thing and released this great folksy cover of Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”. Certainly not garage, but I like it!


  1. I hardly know most of this stuff but am sure enjoying hearing it.I like the regional approach. Thanks again Dan and stay warm.

  2. So Dan I got confused with your prior Angry Men release...THIS is the one with my buddy Tom Bittle (name checked as a writer on the label) who is still around but not playing now. He was doing a classic rock band up until a few years ago.
    The Showstoppers had a Rochester AND Glen Falls connection. Jqay Capozzi was the main lead singer who had this vaguely Frankie Valli look and voice, small and very Italian, Other members included Bat McGrath on bass & vocals and Don harvey Potter on Guitar and vocals, who might be known to you as the fold rock duo who a couple of years later would record one 45 for RCA (Charlier & Fred a/k/a Charlie The Ragman, a Hollies Cover) an LP "Introducing..." on Epic Records plus a few non-LP 45s (including one of the first cover versions of Me & Boby McGee, I believe).
    The Show Stoppers would eventually morph into The Brass Buttons on Cotillion & Bell (45s only) and later into local band Chemistry. "Once More With Love" is my favorite of all the Stoppers tracks.
    Side story... Don Potter has gone on to fame with the Judds of course as their musical director and lead guitarists on tour and in the studio. He cut some fine 45s for Columbia, the best "Leave Me Alone" effortlessly paying tribute to the Ray Charles country hits of the early 60s. He used to do Georgia On M y Mind in concert beautifully. Also did a couple of LPs for Armand S. 's label in the 80s. Bat still recording, getting songs covered by Wynona, Lila McCann in Nashville.
    My Dad transported them all home after a dance at RIT one night when their car broke down.

  3. Bat will be performing at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua on May 7th, 2011!

  4. Still kicking corporate ass then, smashing stuff.

  5. anyway you can upload the a side to the endless knights 45?

  6. Sorry, I left "I Love You" out of the listing, but it is in the .RAR file with the rest of the songs.

  7. Was trying to figure out how I wound up with "It's Been a Good Day" on two different comps. Speaks volumes how much you like it, to include it in both #22 and #52.

  8. Including "It's Been A Good Day" on two comps was a bit of an oversight on my part. In the process of gathering 45s from Upstate New York I had forgotten that I already had posted it. It is good 45 though and I like it a lot.

  9. Brad Wheat-Dave Wing...ahhhh memories of The Barn-Henrietta,NY. Time flew by didn't it RICH MEYERING!?