Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Dan’s Garage…#53

Upstate N.Y. Vol. 4

Happy Sunday everyone! We had a nice little thaw here in Rochester this last week, which shaved down these gigantic hills of snow that were covering the landscape, but unfortunately we went back to snow wind and cold yesterday. Well….It was a nice break while it lasted. I was working on the “artwork” for this post, and I couldn’t for the life of me find a suitable band pic, you know, an act that's featured in this volume. So with baseball’s spring training commencing, I decided to put this picture of the front gate of the old Red Wing Stadium on Norton St. where our AAA team The Red Wings (natch) used to swing the bats. This pic is from a 1962 game where they were playing the Atlanta Crackers!!!! Note how many old folks are going through the gate. I guess it must’ve been an AARP day! This was a real old timey type place that had an open outfield with no seats as you can in this pic from 1958 where they’re playing the Miami Marlins…
They closed the old stadium in ‘96 and moved the team downtown to Frontier Field, a real nice place to go see a ballgame. Here’s another cool pic, this time it’s one of the ‘81 team…
Great! OK, let’s get back to some Rock & Roll shall we? I have about 50 tunes left to post so these next two volumes wont have quite as many songs on them, but you’ll enjoy it just the same. If I run into the same problem with the next post’s cover, I may just do a tribute to Genesee beer! Cheers!
Frank Sandy with The Mel Thomas Trio – Tarrantela Rock (1958)frank sandy
Hilarious attempt at taking the Italian equivalent of Hava Nagila, and trying to make a Rock ‘n Roll tune out of it. I guess ol’ Frank did pretty well, because this was picked up for national distribution by MGM.
Gene Cornish – Let’s Do The Capri / Lonely I Will Stay (1963)gene cornish1
As we all know, Gene was the guitarist in The Young Rascals, but before he hit the big time he was a local hero and scored several local hits including this teen number from around 1963.
Invictas – Stuff / I’m Alright (1964)invictasstuff
Here’s the 1st 45 from these hometown legends, and it’s a great example of how wild their shows were.
Madisons – Stagger / Only A Fool (196?)madisons2
Here’s another 45 from Syracuse’s Madisons, again, done in do-wop greaser style with backing vocal group. I can’t pinpoint a date on it, but the wah-wah guitar on the intro suggests it’s post 1966. Very interesting to see do-woppers still going at it at that point, however, The 4 Seasons were still churning out hits at the same time, so what do I know????
Blades Of Grass – It Isn’t Easy / My Someone (1970)blades of grass
Here’s a stumper. Let’s fast forward to 1970 shall we? This is where we find a group that I would assume is from Rochester, releasing a 45 on Fine Records, and it’s pretty decent too, kind of like “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds, but wasn’t there already a group called The Blades Of Grass who released an album of lightweight sunshine pop on Jubilee Records???? Someone once told me these were the same guys, but I can’t find any references anywhere that would indicate such a thing. Does anyone out there know for sure who these Blades Of Grass were??????
Coachmen – Drambuie / Land Of Olden (1966)coachmen
A real crude, moody two sider from Rochester. The Coachmen were led by a guy named Dick Leschorn who was the guitarist on these tracks and wrote the classic “Drambuie”. Dick also played with Rochester legends The Quirks who unfortunately had no official releases (BUT there are 3 or 4 songs from the Fine Records archives floating around!), and later formed a local group called Old Salt who were an extremely popular and successful act in the 70’s. Dick is now a solo artist.
Declaration Of Independence – House / Next Stop Dead End Street (1967)declaration of independence
A group from Morrisville, NY which is somewhere between Syracuse and Utica, although they are considered a Syracuse area act. They relocated to NYC where they recorded two fine 45s, this one being the second. Both records show two different sides of the group. On the one hand they had a great pop sensibility, and on the other they did some great garagey folk-rock.
Rogues – Train Kept A Rollin’ / You Better Look Now (1966)rogues2
Another heavy hitter from Audition Records. This time we get The Rogues who were one of Buffalo’s top bands in the ‘60s. This one’s about as solid as a two sider gets with an ace rendition of “Train Kept A Rollin” backed with one of the finest folk rock janglers ever “You Better Look Now”. I can see why The Chesterfield Kings chose to include a fantastic cover of the latter on their debut LP.
Sure Cure – Anything You Want / I Wanna Do It (1966)sure cure
Ed Wool and The Nomads were one of the most popular acts in Watertown, NY which is in a relatively remote area of the state called “Tug Hill’ at the east end of Lake Ontario near 1000 Islands where it becomes the St. Lawrence river. I swear they must get about 100 feet of snow a year in that area. Anyway, Ed Wool had a great 45 on RCA Victor called “I Need Somebody” and then followed it up with this single as “The Sure Cure” on Parkway. He later did one as The Pineapple Heard and an LP and several 45 as “Wool” who we’ll get to later in this post.
The Charles – Motorcycle / Down By The Riverside (19??)charles
This one here is one of my favorites. I don’t know much about The Charles except that this was released on a Buffalo, NY label, and that the infamous “Dr. Dirty”, John Valby was the keyboard player on these cuts. I can’t say for sure if this is a late 60s or early 70s cut, all I know is tat both sides are great, especially “Motorcycle”, a classic biker anthem if I’ve ever heard one.
Tweeds – We Got Time / I Want Her To Know (1967)tweeds2
The second 45 by this great Buffalo group. Check out their first in IDG #52.
Utica Club Natural Carbonation Band – The Utica Club Natural Carbonation Song (1968)utica club2
utica club3
utica club1
There aren’t too many breweries in New York State, in fact aside from Genesee (or High Falls Brewing Corp.) , Saranac, and Brooklyn Lager, I can’t off hand think of any others. Oh, there's plenty of micro brewers, but not too many that do it on a large scale like Genesee. I do recommend Southern Tier IPA. It’s freakin’ awesome. An explosion of flavor in every sip. Utica, NY. Now there's New York’s Mecca for brewing! Utica Club was a very popular brand back in the 40s through the 70s, and then they fell off the face of the earth. They recently have made a comeback and are one of my top 10 cheap beer choices! Utica is also the home of Saranac Brewing, a mass producer of high quality brews that are a tremendous value. Every year they do a “12 Beers Of Winter” and a “12 Beers Of Summer” package, and they are both great! Oh, I forgot to mention this 45 which was part of a “hip” ad campaign by Utica Club Beer in 1968. It’s not all that bad and has a “Green Tambourine” style echo break in the middle!
Livin’ End – La La / Round, Round (I’m Your Clown) (1969)livin' end
Don’t know much about this late 60’s effort, except that it was recorded here in Rochester at “Up Tight Sounds” in my old zip code (which means this was recorded right in my old neighborhood!), but was released on a Syracuse label. Great fuzz guitar workout on the A side. (Actually I did find some valuable info on these guys. This band evolved from Sam & The Twisters one of Syracuse's most popular groups in the 60s. The Twisters backed Baron Demon on "Transylvania Twist" and released a 45 as The Original Soundtracks on Lawn records.)
Wool – Combination Of The Two / The Boy With The Green Eyes (1969)wool
Here we see Ed Wool again, doing a Big Brother & The Holding Co. thing. They got to release this one fairly decent LP and then had a few 45s that were kind of progressive on Columbia records. Ed Wool is still at it entertaining folks with a band that features a horn section. Thanks Ed.


  1. Only 50 tunes left?!!?? Say it ain't so, Dan!

    Thanks again for all your efforts in making this series.

  2. Just 50 left for the Upstate NY Volumes! I'll be back with more cool stuff soon!

  3. hi dan;
    love your comps. i've been a syracuse-area musician since '64, still gigging, & have a bunch of info/stories re: your recent upstate n.y. comps. any way to get in touch? an email address? thought i saw one listed but i guess not...... b.t.w.----i've been trading with ron s. for about 20 years....take care,

  4. You know I haven't seen it yet, so I'm hoping you're saving Vic Plati & His Combo "The Chiller b/w Chiller Limbo" as part of a big finish. It wouldn't be right to ignore THAT one! I seem to remember having a blue or purple colored Coachmen 45, too or was that the one you already mentioned that might have been on FINE? I hope you've searched through everythinTom Kohn has at the Bop Shop by now. Any Jerry Englereth coming up? Or am I spoiling all your surprises? if not, we should get together because I have TWO 1950s acetates of Jerry that HE doesn't even have. Bat & Don on RCA? Bat & Don Epic non-lp?

  5. Duncan, All great suggestions, but I have to admit I don't have any of those you mentioned! I have what I consider a very modest collection, but I'm still looking around for cool stuff all the time. As for The Bop Shop, I really need to get out more often, I haven't been there since last November's record show. There's about 24 more titles in the works and I'm trying to gather up some more recent stuff from the late 70's to early 80's. Stay Tuned....

  6. Got to say I am most impressed by what you have assembled. Wish I still had a few of what I used to own. I'd love to upgrade that Show Stoppers' 45 of 'Once More With Love' ... THAT really was their last gasp before Bat & Don left,,, then they morphed into the Brass Buttons, who as great as they were, never did it as much for me as the Show Stoppers. BTW, did you know one of the members of the Brass Buttons was one young man named Eric Thorngren, who like Irondequoit prodigy Mick Guzowski found his success on the other side of the glass, as they say. 'ET" found fame and fortune mixing and remixing acts like The Talking Heads and many others from that period. While I am not positive, my guess is He and Mick helped each other out with referrals... I remember him most with the Brass Buttons (although now that i think about it , he might have done a short stint at the end of the Show Stoppers) playing guitar & singing lead on an amazing version of Gene Pitney's "Last Exit to Brooklyn". I haven't htough about that in years. Th Show Stoppers other lead singer, Jay Capozzi also had an amzing voice and I remeber sseing him into the 70s, though I think he kind of faded after a while...perhaps into lounge gigs? Suddenly he was gone.

  7. If 53 volumes of great music is a "modest collection", what would happen if you got serious? ha ha ha I've enjoyed every one of your comps. Thanks for doing this.

  8. I don't think the Coachmen were ever on Fine, I think the released is actually a Century Custom 45. I have Jerry Engler & Chiller. Love to hear Jerry's 50's acetates. He was still very good playing with the Hi-Risers a year or 2 ago. Just thinking, it is possible an acetate of the Coachmen is on Fine. I have the Continentals 45 on a Fine acetate, I have a bunch of unreleased Fine stuff on Acetate. Chuck (Dan's buddy)

  9. Thanks for all the info guys! (Duncan & Chuck). When I said there was only one more volume left, I meant only one more IN THE UPSTATE NY SERIES! That is if I could get the aforementioned Chuck to either pitch in with some extremely cool sides OR be a guest blogger! Now that would be a treat!!!!

  10. Wouldn't you know it - I found that Utica liquor record at a record store here in Cincinnati. It had a big chunk out of it and a silverfish messing around next to it, so I left it alone!

  11. Regarding the Blades Of Grass, this is not the same group as on Jubilee Records. This group was from Syracuse, New York. The studio they recorded at was in Rochester. The members were: Bill Lawler (Vocals), Al Guardino (lead guitar), Jim Donnelly (rhythm guitar), Larry Donnelly (drums), and Stuart Van Orden (bass).

    1. Thank you Tom! The info is very much appreciated!