In 1966, this Wilmington, DE, group released one of the best garage rock singles, "She Already Has Somebody," a moody, melodic original on par with the best efforts by the Zombies. Led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Ted Munda, they were popular in their region and totally unknown elsewhere, releasing a few singles on a tiny local label. It may seem like a slim legacy, but the group's output stands considerably above the norm of the hundreds of other comparable American regional garage bands of the time, due primarily to Munda's fine melodic songwriting, heavily influenced not only by the Zombies but by the Beatles and Beau Brummels. In 1967, Munda formed Friends of the Family, who explored jazzier and more progressive directions, resulting in some interesting material. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Webmaster Note: If you would like to respond to any of these posts or reply with your own thoughts please feel free to do so at; http://b4.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?user=Kevin67 Thanks.

George Curtin (& Others) Remember the 60's Wilmington Garage Band era:

Tipping was in the Malibu’s. Their Bass player was Ray Andrews who quit and was replaced by none other than George Thorogood of the Delaware Destroyers fame. 

 “The Stairways” or “Nino and the Stairways” was composed of yours truly, Bob Bowersox, Nino Puglisi, his little brother Rick, Victor Livingston, Martel Day and Chuck Aarons, who was a Capitol Record recording artist.  We were the cover band of ’65, ’66, and ’67.  We had two records (like the Royal Enfield's, which was their original name) that I heard on “WAMS Radio 1380 on the AM Dial” with Lee Davis the Rockin’ DJ.

We were in a “Battle of the Bands” contest at the Claymont Fire Hall once against Tipping’s group and the Watson Brothers Band, (Wayne and Gary both became professional, recording musicians and were super-good in an band).  Amazingly we won somehow, but we were each paid over $100. The prize was $1,000. In fact our typical evening take was $50 to $150 per person.  That was in 1965 through 1967 dollars.  I had more money on me than my parents did, since I usually played Friday and Saturday nights.  In 1966 we opened for “Freddie and the Dreamers” an English Rock with one hit song “Do the Freddie” which was pure bubble gum rock.

I played in a number of bands at Brandywine, Mount Pleasant, and some at Wilmington HS.  One especially good WHS Group was Joey and the Challengers.  We had a black lead singer named Teddy Henry that lived in the projects over on the east side of Governor Printz Boulevard. He was a super soul singer with whom we won many “Battle of the Band” contests.  He was real high strung and barfed before every gig because of nerves.  There was also a band among the “Peppies” in the ‘fraternity” ΑΩ.  Remember them?  That included Tom Kretchik, (who just e-mailed me after reading our website), and Chris Kulp, whose father was the greens keeper at the DuPont Country Club.  I was also in the Blazers as a Bass Player that could read bass Jazz Charts.  Hal Schiff created a small group from the Blazers to play the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, called the “Marijuana Brass”.  Can you imaging the parents and faculty of today permitting their wonderful, precious, spoiled, over-protected children playing in a band with that name?  It was actually great music and much in demand.  Other members of the Blazers and I picked up on the idea and formed a band that played a number of gigs at BHS. That one didn’t last too long.

I’m going to consult Bob Bowersox about the Wilmington Rock scene of old and see who else he remembers.  He had a radio program on WDEL FM that had something to do with “Fine Times”.

I hope this is what you were looking for.  If not let me know.  I’ll let you know what I hear form Bob.

Peace, 

George Curtin

(302) 654-4736

(gmcurtin@comcast.net)

11.8.08: "Kevin, in 1964, ’65 and ’66 I played Bass Guitar for Teddy and the Continentals. We did make a record for fat Vince Rago. The other band members I remember were Teddy Henry, (our vocalist that had a fantastic voice and used to barf before each performance), Jerome Jefferson (guitar) Charlie Ledman (was our drummer. and Charies was the proper misspelling of his name) Joe Shetzler (trumpet), and a trombone player, whose name I unfortunately forgot and a cooler than cool dude named Jose Prado (I think he played Saxophone). As I remember more, I’ll write it all down."

Peace!

George Curtin Jr.

(302) 654-4736

From Vic Livingston (who still has the '67 Jaguar with the buzzy strings....)

"George, Eddie, Martel, Kevin...

These emails are interesting. George, I never knew you played with Teddy. When I was a kid I really liked "Tick Tick Tock" and "Everybody Pony" ("I took my little girl to the dance last nite, everything was goin' all right, until they started doin' that pony dance, now my love don't stand a chance...")

I never heard from Eddie or Martel. George, have you been able to get in touch with Rick P. and Bob B. re: getting together in Wilm. soon?

And Eddie and Martel, give me a holler. Did you guys read that stuff I wrote for garagehangover.com's Delaware page?

Eddie, I did a show called Sports Business Report for six years on Madison Square Garden and probably met some of your regional guys...

Google "Leland Hardy" and "Sports Business" and you'll come up with a Google video segment from my show...

Do you guys know that "Don't You Care" is on a European bootleg of greatest garage band hits of the USA.... I guess you do.

Hey all, what happened to Chuck Aarons? Is he still recording? Eddie, I sold Chuck's cherry red Gibson that I had bought from him to Norm Lewis who lived in your neighborhood up there off Concord Pike, was it Sharply? What happened to him? Never should have sold that axe....

Let me hear from you guys. Maybe the emails will get through because times are a'changin' (I hope)."

From Out & About Magazine:
Author: Steven Leech

Part II — In the ’60s, Bob Dylan married a Wilmington woman and future Playboy bunny. Oh, and Snakegrinder and the Shredded Field Mice were formed.

By the 1960s, local rock ’n’ roll enthusiasts were building a little momentum, thanks largely to Vinnie Rago’s Richie label and its companion, Universal. Richie mainly accommodated the doo-wop side of the rock ’n’ roll sub-genre, while Universal recorded flat-out rock ’n’ roll, or rockabilly, like the Recorders’ “Rock Around the Rosie,” which was written by Rago. Another Universal recording was “Office Girl” by Ronnie Worth, who was an accountant in Wilmington. Andy & the Gigolos recorded a song for a new dance called “The Bug” on Richie.

Rago’s greatest success was with a doo-wop group called Teddy & the Continentals, who had a national hit—on the Bubbling Under chart—with “Ev’rybody Pony,” which hit #101 in September 1961. Teddy Henry, the lead singer of the Continentals and a student at Conrad High School, recorded two more records with the Continentals, but by 1964 the group had broken up. He recorded a final solo record on Richie in 1965 as Teddy Continental. Like a number of other local recording artists to follow, his records are still valued by collectors and have gained cult status in unlikely places.

Another near-national success was a band called the Adapters, with lead singer and songwriter Ed Sterling. In 1965, they recorded a tune on the Richie label, “Believe Me,” which charted high on the local WAMS’ list of hits. The Adapters achieved some national fame. According to local rock ’n’ roll historian Hangnail Phillips in the recent book, Histories of Newark, 1758-2008, the Adapters did the East Coast concert circuit with such well-known acts as Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Freddie & the Dreamers and the Soul Survivors. Also, according to the same Phillips article, another local band, the Fabulous Pharaohs, flirted with national fame. They were even good enough to make an appearance on The Pat Boone Show.

But the most fascinating story to come out of the ’60s may have been how two musical giants nearly crossed paths in Wilmington. In 1965, reggae great Bob Marley lived in Wilmington because his mother was working and living near 23rd and Tatnall streets. Marley worked at Newark’s Chrysler Assembly Plant, which inspired his song “Night Shift.” That same year, Bob Dylan got married—to a Wilmington woman named Shirley Noznisky. At least that was her name when she lived here and later attended the University of Delaware.

After her short stint at UD, Shirley ventured to New York City where she was a Playboy bunny, then a photographers’ model. Her first husband was Hans Lowndes, who asked her to change her first name to Sara. After the Lowndes’ had a daughter, Sara met Dylan, became the inspiration for his song “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” and after getting a divorce from Lowndes, married Dylan. The tantalizing part of the story is the possibility that in 1965, while in Wilmington meeting his new in-laws, Dylan may have visited with Marley, especially considering that Marley’s mother and Dylan’s new in-laws lived in the same general section of Wilmington.

Although one source claims the meeting between the two music icons actually took place, this couldn’t be confirmed. Attempts to reach Dylan were unsuccessful and, of course, Bob Marley is dead, so he can tell us nothing.

Rock artists from Delaware were boosted by the reinvigorating musical strides made within the genre in the late ’60s. This was largely reflected in the founding of the local band Snakegrinder and the Shredded Field Mice. Formed in an almost ad hoc fashion in 1969 from a couple of smaller bands—notably Primordial Slime and the Joint Chiefs—the band didn’t get around to recording its first and only album until 1977.

According to Steve Roberts, one of Snakegrinder’s founding members, even bootlegged copies of the album can fetch more than $200 from almost any corner of the world. A recent reviewer on Lysergia.com said the band’s sound “…is rich and dimensional with an impressive group-mind synchronization going, creating a vintage Bay area vibe pretty much any time they zoom off into jams.”

The band was the first to perform at Newark’s famed Stone Balloon. Their implicit message to area musicians to follow was that local artists were quite capable of producing music that could rival the best around.

This is the second in a three-part series.

Out & About Magazine
Author: Steven Leech

Part III – The ’70s brought more near-misses and Delaware’s lasting contribution to the world of rock: lonesome George Thorogood

A number of local recording artists who made a national name for themselves in the 1970s and beyond actually learned their chops in the ’60s. One whose beginnings go back to the late 1950s was “Papa” Dee Allen. Papa Dee was originally a member of local jazz great Lem Winchester’s Modernist. After Winchester died prematurely in 1961, the Modernist tried to continue, but without their stellar frontman, they soon fell apart. Papa Dee continued for a while, performing at Wilmington’s early ’60s folk-music clubs and playing bongos and other percussion instruments. When that proved fruitless, he gravitated to the West Coast and joined the rock fusion band War. He remained with them and was the percussionist on all their recordings, including those with ex-Animals singer Eric Burdon.

Another local artist to find national success was Johnny Neel, who cut his first records in Wilmington on Vinnie Rago’s Richie label in 1966 with his band, Internal Calm. Two of his earliest recordings, “The Truth” and “Where Will We Go from Here?,” were co-written with Rago. After his initial local success, Neel became a bit of a journeyman artist, which took him to recording sessions with a number of stars like John Mayall, Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles, Marie Osmond, and the Oak Ridge Boys. From 1989 to 1990 he cut an album and toured with the Allman Brothers Band, co-writing their 1990 hit “Good Clean Fun.” He also wrote the hit “Rock Bottom” for Allman Brothers band member Dickie Betts.

A major contribution to national rock history in the mid-to-late 1970s came from a number of youngsters who attended local high schools in the late ’60s. One was Richard Meyers, who went to Sanford Academy, another was Tom Miller, who attended McKean High School, and a third was Billy Ficca, who went to A.I. duPont. Richard Meyers, who renamed himself Richard Hell; Tom Miller, who renamed himself Tom Verlaine; and Billy Ficca took off to New York City and became pioneers in the New York punk-rock scene. Performing at CBGBs in lower Manhattan with the Ramones, Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Patti Smith, their band Television helped forge a new genre of American rock ’n’ roll music. Other punk bands with which the three would perform were the Neon Boys and the Voidoids. Richard Hell also appeared in motion pictures, most notably Desperately Seeking Susan, which starred Madonna.

Of course, the biggest Delaware rock ’n’ roll success story is George Thorogood, who attended Brandywine High School and began his career with gigs at local night spots. For a while in the mid ’70s, he performed at a regular New Year’s Eve bash at Newark’s Deer Park Tavern. In 1978 he signed with Rounder Records, which immediately produced his first hit album, Move It on Over. In late 1979, MCA Records released an album of songs Thorogood recorded in 1974, entitled Better Than the Rest. In ’82, he recorded Bad to the Bone on EMI America. Superstardom soon followed.

By the mid ’70s, Snakegrinder spawned a couple of spin-offs. One was Amazing Space. Aiming to explore the reggae sound, the band included George Wolkind, Snakegrinder’s lead singer, along with John DiGiovanni, the band’s drummer, and new mates John Southard on piano and Dan Toomey on bass. At the time of Amazing Space’s formation, Bob and Rita Marley were avoiding a dangerous political situation in Jamaica and living in Wilmington. George Wolkind, who knew the Marleys, asked Rita to join Amazing Space. Rita agreed to join the band, but Bob vetoed the idea, which created an awkward position for him with Wolkind. “I was selling him all his pot,” Wolkind says.

Another Snakegrinder spin-off was Dick Uranus, which went into a more arty and punkish direction. The band was made up of Snakegrinder bassist Steve Roberts, keyboard player Dave Bennett, and newcomers Dana Smith, George Christie, Joe Pinzarone, and drummer Jim Ficca, whose brother Billy played drums for Television.

Dick Uranus’ most successful tune was “Vice Squad Dick,” which in 1994 was covered by J.G. Thirlwell, a post-punk music producer whose hardcore 1984 album Hole is considered a masterpiece. Recording under the name Foetus, Thirlwell not only recorded “Vice Squad Dick” for his 1994 album of the same name, but also the tune “Little Johnny Jewel,” penned by Tom Verlaine and previously recorded by Television.

Recently, Verlaine took on a good chunk of the music production for the latest Bob Dylan bio-pic, I’m Not There.

Delaware rockers continue to probe the soft underbelly of our national rock ’n’ roll paradigm. And in spite of the close calls, near-misses, and a few genuine success stories, the beat goes on.


The Following Exchange of posts occurred on the http://oldwilmington.net/nostalgia.html Nostalgia Forum:

Kevin,

This guy Chris Bishop sent me the mp3s of Stairways "Don't You Care?" AND the Star Blazers "You Better Change." I am attaching them. Go ahead and post them for listening but not for downloading please since I don't know where Eddie is on all of this. (Seems that since the songs are already bootlegged, I don't think he'd object to a just listening post.

Got to find someone with a 1968 Mt. Pleasant yearbook to scan that picture of the Stairways. I have the book and a scanner but I don't have the scanner or software hooked up to this computer... (Fall 1967 Stairways; Left to right: Nino Puglisi, vocals and sax; Rick Nardo, bass; Paul Stratton, drums; Vic Livingston, lead guitar, vocals; Rick Puglisi, sax, vocals).

Is there a way you could ID your garage band board separately on your boards list and post that on Google, etc. as a link? Something that IDs it as Wilmington '60s rock bands rather than just a generic sub-URL.

And please feel free to edit/digest the posts on the oldwilmington.net and put them on your site, before the guy takes them down, which he seems to have threatened to do! Thanks. I hope to hear from George and Eddie soon. I will try to call George if I don't hear from him today.

Vic Livingston


The Original Stairways were; Eddie Stair, George Curtin, Martel Day & Chuck Aarons.

Eddie Stair

Thought I would check in with you and let you know that I  am now in Portland Oregon.  I moved here from San Francisco in June of 2002.  I came here to work for Nike.  I am running our Nike Factory Stores.  well with you.  My new E-mail address is e.stair@comcast.net

The Story of Ed Stair and his stolen hit song "Liar-Liar"- (in his own words): 

Yes it was an interesting mystery.  I was in a band at the time called the Stairways.  George Curtin and Martel Day were also in this band.  We wrote a song that we recorded locally called the "Castaway".  We sent a copy to a record label in Philadelphia.  They never recognized receiving it.  Several months later we began hearing a song called Liar, Liar which was recorded by a group called the Castaways.  The background was a little too similar.  Our version had been an instrumental.  We had a friend of the family who was an attorney do some checking and we discovered that the label that they recorded on was a subsidiary of the company that we sent the copy to.  The band was a studio group who was put together for this record.  About this same time our copy came back from Philadelphia in a plain brown envelope with no return address.  The rest is up to speculation and history.  We had, unfortunately, never registered our material.  Shortly after the Stairways broke up and I started a new band called the Poor Richard Five.  We had members from four different schools.  We played a number of times at Brandywine HS but spent most of our weekends playing at the University of Delaware and other local universities.  Hope this helps.  Take care,

Ed Stair  
General Manager
US Retail Factory Stores

T: 503-532-62
F: 503-532-7328

Martel Day

Kevin - Thanks for remembering my early days as a musician.  My rock career peaked in 1967 although I  played with several bands on a part time basis over the years. After leaving Brandywine, I attended and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Engineering Science.  During that time I married Sandie Slayton (BHS '67).  We were married for seven years and have remained close friends.  We have two great sons.  Our oldest one, Sean, is a Senior Designer with Turner Sports Television in Atlanta.  Our youngest one, Ryan, is a Software Design Engineer with a dot.com company in the Silicon Valley. I worked in the railway and rapid transit industry for many years. During that time I met my wonderful wife of 23 years, Cindy, who has been, and  continues to be, my best friend. Together we developed and taught life changing workshops designed to support the fulfillment of individual potential, and it was there that we developed our own sense of purpose in life.  For the past 15 years I have been working with a large real estate investment company where I am Executive Vice President and National Sales Director.  Cindy and I live in Atlanta and travel extensively. I really treasure the experiences we shared at Brandywine and thank all of you for being a special part of my life.  Martel  MartelDay@aol.com 1055 Hudson Drive, NE     Atlanta, GA 30306

From  Home http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=Stairways

The Stairways

The Stairways were begun by Eddie Stair in 1965 with George Curtin on bass, Martel Day on drums, Bob Bowersox & Chuck Aarons on lead guitar. They were joined by Anthony "Nino" Puglisi on lead vocals and saxophone, and his younger brother, Rick on vocals and sax. The original lineup changed as members went off to college, or fell victim to band politics. Their 45 "Don't You Care" is a garage classic, while the instrumental flipside is making waves on the UK northern soul scene. They also recorded another song, "All Souled Out," that may or may not have survived on acetate.

I was lead guitarist of "Nino (Puglisi) and the Stairways" from around 1966-68. I was Chuck Aaron's replacement in the band. I bought his cherry-red Gibson Les Paul SG and then sold it to a guy named Norm Lewis and I've been trying to find him for years and buy it back! I then bought a Fender Jaguar, the hot "axe" back then, which is featured in the 1968 Mt. Pleasant H.S. yearbook in a picture of the Stairways. (Never did care for how it played -- very buzzy and the strings would pop out of those bridge "grubs." Now in my middle age I learn that all I had to do was replace it with a Mustang bridge. Who knew.)

The Stairways cut "Don't You Care" early in '66, before I was with the band. The song was written by Eddie Stair. The Stairways record was sold in stores and did get radio play on Wilmington's WAMS-AM.



The flip side of "Don't You Care" was an instrumental version, tenor and alto saxes. A pretty screamin' side, too. It was Chuck who taught me the lead lick he used on the record. George Curtin was our bass player, and I haven't seen him for years. Martel Day was on drums, and Bob Bowersox, now a star presenter on the QVC shopping network, was second rhythm guitar after Eddie. A bit of over-staffing on the guitars, but that would soon end and the original six-man lineup would become five. More on that in a moment.

Eddie Stair's original band also had an instrumental called "Castaway." Eddie, a trusting soul, sent it to a record company, unsolicited and uncopyrighted. The tape was returned some time later. Then after that, a group called "The Castaways" came out with the song, "Liar, Liar," a garage band classic. Eddie always claims it was his song, with words added. Martel and George vouched for him, and I believe the story is true. So there you are, another alleged '60s rock band ripoff story.

Then one day I got a call from Nino, telling me that Eddie was out of the group. I remember saying something like, "But the band's named after him." And Nino says, "Not anymore. It's Nino and the Stairways now." Very heavy.

After Eddie was fired, Vince Rago of Richie Records took us back into the studio to cut two more sides. It was at Frank Virtue's studio on North Broad St. in Philly. Virtue had a big hit in the late '50s with "Guitar Boogie Shuffle." We went into his studios and cut a new song called "All Souled Out," which was a pretty good record. But it never came out. Vince Rago wanted upfront money, I forget how much, for "promotion" of the record. I remember Nino saying that such expenses should be borne by the record company, and he refused to pay.

Rago held firm: No promo money and the record sits in the vault. Nino called his bluff on behalf of the band; no dinero. Guess what? The record never did hit the stores, or the radio. Rago meant business. As I remember it, the original tape did sit in Frank Virtue's vault. Some years later, I called Virtue studios to inquire about the tape's fate. I remember being told, perhaps by Frank Virtue himself, "Oh, we just got rid of a lot of old stuff that was sitting around." So here's the upshot: If Nino had agreed to pay the "promo" money, maybe our second record would be a cult classic, too... and if I had called Virtue sooner, perhaps I could have salvaged the tape and brought the record out as a "from the crypt" special! Ah, what could have been!

Rago's son, Vinnie Jr., just recently told me that the masters from his father's company were either lost or tossed by family members who didn't recognize their potential value. As for the fate of "All Souled Out (backed with an instrumental version, as was our custom), I never saw any vinyl on it, or even an acetate. But Chris of garagehangover.com told me that some collector in the UK thought he saw an acetate of "Souled" for sale over there. I'm trying to run that down; if it's found, it's another garage band fairy tale come true!

I'm pretty sure the Stairways played on the same bill as the Enfields and, of course, George Thorogood and Wayne Watson; they were "The Turfs" back then. The Stairways beat them at a Battle of the Bands, I think it was at the Elsmere Fire Hall. What a night that was! I remember that we all went back to the Charcoal Pit, a popular local eatery, and announced that there would be an "after-party" at my house in Green Acres (since my parents were away visiting my sister at college). About a hundred kids jammed our house, broke a window or two, and then the folks came home early and the party was over.

I think there's a chance we once played on the same bill as the Castiles, Bruce Springsteen's band, maybe at that same Battle of the Bands. But it could be that popular mythology is merging with my teenage band memories! If anyone reading this is close to the Boss, ask him if he remembers the Stairways when he was playing the Wilmington circuit (which history shows that he most definitely did).

Nino, our lead singer and alto sax player, was tragically murdered in 1998, almost exactly ten years ago this spring. When Nino died, I was so upset that I couldn't bring myself to go too the funeral. The Wilmington News-Journal ran huge news stories about his murder, and accompanying one piece was a photo of the Stairways with Nino, Ricky, and me in the middle (listed by the paper as "unidentified").

In a real sense, Rago was/is an unsung hero of Wilmington's cultural history. He was a tough, no-nonsense guy who sometimes demanded that his groups cede control to him (he owned the publishing company as well as the record label). And we didn't like that side of him. But he also professed a real love for the music; many of his biggest acts, such as Teddy and the Continentals back in the late '50s, were blacks, and Rago was a tireless promoter of black music as well as garage band rock ranging from soul and avant garde / psychedelic to proto-punk. His legacy deserves to be memorialized.

Vic Livingston

Special thanks to MopTop Mike for the scan of the Stairways 45. If anyone has a copy, scan or transfer of the Richie version of All Souled Out, please get in touch!


Posted on Class of '67 Message Board, June 5, 2008 at 11:42:51 PM by Bob Kirkpatrick

I liked reading about the bands, Thorogood and myself had some fun playing, I moved to Philly in 67 and was in a band called Thunder and Roses, which was suppose to play Woodstock, T Morgan was our manager, but some other band beat us out. That would of made my life, I could of been on a stage 5 miles in the woods but to have played Woodstock would of been it. Mark Kenneally was one of Brandywines greats. Dr. Harmonica The best! playing the first Earth Day in Fairmount Park, it was cool. I liked the Rittenhouse square thing, Trauma and first Electric Factory, 2nd Autumn and 2nd Fret. It was fun playing there. A few years ago I was walking into a music place called Swallow Hill and who is walking toward me but Pete Simon, we both live in Colorado. It is fun reading about the garage bands.

From Pete Simon:

Guessed the name of the band, yet?
 
During their summer '67 tour, they wore electric florescent suits on stage which blinked off and on... in the right light it looked like the stage had been overtaken by mutant lightening bugs.
 
ELECTRIC COMIC BOOK
 
PSYCADELLIC LOLLYPOP
 
the blues magoos, they were
 
I'm writing this while listening to my Tuesday night colleague on www.kuvo.org -- who plays something from his "vinyl vault" each Tuesday evening...... tonight it's a real blast from my 70's college days past - 
 
 "WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE", by Chick Corea and Return to Forever.   
 
In some ways, it was an answer to the Blues Magoos seven years earlier (the unbridled electric energy of the day) with the added dimension of acoustic guitar, bass, and piano that was equally electrifying.   
 
"Where Have I Known You Before?", and the follow-up "No Mystery" (which those guys performed at Mitchell Hall on the UD campus, JUST BEFORE their concert fees skyrocketed) were part of my heavy mix on campus radio then, along with Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" and "Talking Book".    For me, those records brought endless energy, drive, and determination, as a few of us were trying to get an FM radio station on the air in Newark.
 
A lot was possible then.
 
pfs
----- Original Message -----
From: Kevin Donohue
To: 'Pete Simon'
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 3:48 PM
Subject: RE: Check it out! - and Jimmy McGriff

Pete, I’m assuming it’s not “Baa, Baa-Bad to the Bone”-Geo Thorogood?


From: Pete Simon [mailto:quiljazz@nilenet.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 5:41 PM
To: donohue11@comcast.net
Subject: Re: Check it out! - and Jimmy McGriff

Kevin:

Thanks for the blast.  

The thing I remember about the Enfields...... They were good.   REALLY GOOD..... and they got the girls to prove it.  That's why some of us on the "other side of the tracks" at Brandywine didn't like them.   We embraced the seedier side of life in the form of Claymont's pride and joy, "THE TURFS".... with Wanye Watson, Jimmy Crawford, and company, fronting Dave Dixon, a singer with the right talent AND temperament to become "Jim Morrison".   

We all know where the Lizard King came from, and right after our graduation Ted Munda, Wayne Watson, and Jimmy Crawford (along with Ray Andrews and Lindsay Lee from Brandywine) started FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY.  

Was that sacrilegious, the blending of Chateau Country types with guys from Claymont"?

The times were "Forever Changing".

Anyway, in September '67 FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY had one of their first concerts in that radical haven known as THE PHOENIX COFFEE HOUSE, buried in the basement of a house on the west side of the UD campus (which has since given way to "progress").    It was a magical evening, which also included an after-hours affair at one of those farm houses outside Newark, where an early version of a Jam Band was holding court.  

For the next several months, I saw FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY several times as the opening act at "The Trauma" in Philly.   When "The Trauma" closed in February '68, I lost track of FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY.   The tiny club gave way to the much larger "ELECTRIC FACTORY", just down the street.    

AS I SAID, TIMES WERE FOREVER CHANGING.

 on another note:

The brilliant, soulful organist Jimmy McGriff passed away a few days ago.

 In the early 60's, Jimmy McGriff's 45-single "I've Got A Woman", parts one and two, was the first jazz record I bought.  It was a version with Jimmy on the Hammond B-3, a drummer, and a rhythm guitarist.   It really kicked!  It was a real tribute to Ray Charles, who got the Part One/ Part Two thing moving on 45's with "What I'd Say"

JAZZ AND BLUES JAMMIN ON A 45-single.

  Another great example of smoking instrumentals from the day was Phil Upchurch's  anthem "You Can't Sit Down" Parts I & II, which I was fortunate enough to find a copy of about a dozen years ago while several stores were still big on selling old 45s.  It will forever put "The Dovels'" version of this song to shame.

TRIVIA:

Name the first rock star to attend Brandywine.  (Rock star as in a band that recorded and gained national prominence. 

Hint: he's not a guitar player.

Please distribute to the faithful.......

Spread the joy and memories, please.

and thanks again for the blast.

Pete

"One never knows, do one?"

Fats Waller


To Kevin Donohue (Brandywine HS '67): This is unbelievable. I did a Google search of "The Stairways' first record, "Don't You Care," and it turns out the record is being talked about and collected by European collectors at this site: http://www.soul-source.co.uk.  They even have a PICTURE of the original yellow Richie label, "Richie 66" was the stock number. Then -- and this is even more incredible -- I did a search of the record I made when I was 15 with my first Wilmington group, "The Star Blazers." The song was called "You Better Change." Turns out some record company, or bootlegger, I should say, somehow got the record -- I have NO IDEA how -- and put it out on a vinyl album in 2005 called "One Hand in the Darkness" and then in 2006 on CD, called "Trip in Tyme #4." There is a web site devoted to BAD '60s garage music, and my song makes their catalog: http://www.ugly-things.com/ Go on the site and search "Star Blazers" and you'll come up with it. I'm going to call the people who run the site to try to find out how this obscure record got there, how they came to expropriate my bad record for posterity! This is astounding. The record was NEVER played on the radio. In fact, DJ Roger Holmes of WAMS-AM personally rejected it, to my face! I couldn't blame him, because vocally, it sounded like bad opera set to a rock 'n' roll beat. In my defense, I didn't do the singing (more on that later). The "record label," Galaxie, was my invention. It was just a name on a custom label. The company never existed. How they got this record is beyond me. It was sold as a class project at Mt. Pleasant Junior High School, so only a couple hundred copies were made. Somehow it made its way to Europe. I MUST find out how, and by whom -- not because someone is getting rich off my song -- hardly -- but because it's an amazing tale. Every kid dreams of having a hit record. I was in a few bands, and I joined the Stairways after their only record to get radio play had come out. NOW I find that the record I made at age 15 is an oddity that's being collected around the world... more as an example of really extraordinary (to put it mildly) vocalizing. My classmate Dickie Roseman, the guy who sang my song, sounded like, well, a foghorn. I recruited him to sing because he was the big man on campus and I thought that would help sell records! I wonder what would have happened if I had sung it myself. Maybe if it was just blandly mediocre and not really, really strange, maybe no one would have taken a second listen... so maybe this is the way God planned it. Please relate this story to Muffy Crowley at the News-Journal. Eddie Stair had his instrumental "Castaway" stolen and turned into "Liar, Liar." Then I discover that the Stairways record, no big hit in the states, is being collected worldwide. And now I learn that my "bosso profundo" sounding first record is a curiosity piece on "ugly-things.com" -- such an honor! the song was copyrighted by me, by the way... I have to find out how many years those copyrights last (it's now 43 years and counting...) OH... AND A BIG "OLD WILMINGTON NET" SHOUT-OUT TO JERRY T! Lots of wisdom emanates from Dagsboro...
Vic Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, PA USA - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 04:01:24 (EDT)


To Cousin Ruth: Anne Peoples Munda was my Mother, not my wife. She and my Father, Don Munda, HAVE both passed away. I am her son. Also: a Note on the Post about doing a Screen play like "That Thing You Do, by Tom Hanks. When I was in LA doing the songs for Smokey Robinson I worked as a songwriter for Producer George Tobin who found Tiffany, Produced Smokey, Natalie Cole, Robert John (Sad Eyes). The other song writers included Gary Goetzman. Gary Goetzman become a Movie Producer and did Silence of the Lambs, and "Philadelphia" with Tom Hanks and Produced, That Thing You Do. He told me, as we were friends, that he used the Enfield's history and pictures to show Tom Hanks the idea for "That Thing You Do", that Hanks supposedly wrote. I was told he did not actually write it. "The Wonders" came from "The Enfield's" Basic Garage Band History and "That Thing You Do" came directly as a rip off of my song with the Enfield's "I'm For Things You Do". They even had me go in a recording studio and re-record," I'm For Things You Do". I received NO credit for any of this, so welcome to Hollywood! Just thought you'd like the REAL story behind the Story. Ted Monad
Ted Munda <capstonevortex@hotmail.com>
Elkton, MD USA - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 12:22:31 (EDT)


Hey, I'm TED MUNDA and I'm not dead! ;>) . Richie Records let all the Publishing protection lapse on all my songs, so I Published them with BMI Big Munda Music. Dave Brown approached me about an LP of the Enfield's and Friends of the Family Songs, most of which were written by me. Ritchie Records did not care about these songs until the LP and then CD became a cool thing. I was just protecting my songs, that I wrote. I also did an LP on Columbia Records with a group called HOTSPUR that was signed by Clive Davis in 1973. Went to LA with the Blues Magoos in 1969. Wrote 2 songs for Smokey Robinson in 1984. Title tune to album: Blame It On Love. Published 2 books for Charles Tuttle co in 1991 and 1994. Zen Munchkins( Little Wisdoms) and The FIZITS, an illustrated children's book. I am presently working on a very advanced Healing Resort based on my March 22, 1994 architectural design copyright with the Library of Congress for the Capstone Vortex building. Gordon Berl, the Drummer for the Enfield's is my Financial and Real Estate Advisor for it. Now THAT is a real TRIP! Ted
TED MUNDA <capstonevortex@hotmail.com>

Elkton, MD USA - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 00:40:19 (EDT)

Donald Theodore Munda, President,
Capstone Vortex Healing Structures

Contact Ted Munda via
Email - capstonevortex@hotmail.com


VINNIE RAGO JR. SPEAKS! Had a long talk Monday afternoon with Vinnie Rago Jr. of Franklin Street in Wilmington, who worked under his dad with Richie Records in the '60s. Richie Records was run out of the Rago house at 10th and Jackson (now I-95). Turns out their masters got either lost or dumped after his dad got divorced from his mother, who apparently was the brains of the business operation. After the divorce, the company fell apart and the masters got handed off to Rago Sr.'s step-daughter Kathy Rago. Vinnie Rago JR. says he thinks his sister either lost or inadvertently dumped the masters, not realizing their historical and commercial value. He said he'd check with her to see if any of the masters remain. Rago Jr. has few remnants of Richie Records. He says that to his knowledge, his father was never written up in the local paper or any music magazine. Vinnie Jr. says there's a guy named Harry Crowley from Wilmington who sells 45 rpm original Richie Records over the internet. He's not sure if Crowley is digitizing the songs before he sells the last copy of each record, but he's interested in trying to create a digital catalog of the label's releases. Rago also says that someone has issued a "Best of Richie Records" CD, put under the "Richie" label (even though the family has nothing to do with the re-issue). Apparently, members of the Enfield's, who were Richie Records artists, did their own deal with Canonsburg, PA based Get Hip Records, which is selling an Enfield's/Friends of the Family CD. I talked to one of the principals of Get Hip, and I'm trying to gather up records put out by '60s era Wilmington bands, since the label is interested in doing a compilation CD featuring examples of the Wilmington '60s music scene. Rago Jr. says he and his brothers want to see if they legally retain rights to these records. (I've been told that if the copyrights were not duly renewed, copyright law generally gives the writers/performers of the songs precedence over publishers in the event of copyright disputes (but I'm no lawyer.) In a real sense, Rago is an unsung hero of Wilmington's cultural history. He was a tough, no-nonsense guy who demanded that his groups cede control of their work to him. But he also professed a real love for the music; many of his biggest acts, such as Teddy and the Continentals, were blacks, and Rago was a tireless promoter of black music as well as garage band rock ranging from soul and avant garde/psychedelic to proto-punk. His legacy deserves to be memorialized. I'm in the early stages of putting together elements that could be used in a TV documentary about the Wilmington '50s/'60s local music scene, using the Vince Rago story as a central theme. When I was writing for the News-Journal, I did music reviews and features, but I never considered doing a story about Vince Rago. But now, years later, I recognize that the Vinnie Rago story deserves to be told, and that, at least posthumously, we should give him his proper's.
Victor Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, PA USA - Monday, May 12, 2008 at 18:05:28 (EDT)


KEN-DEL RECORDS, ANYONE? THE "STARBLAZERS"? "ALEX AND OLA BELLE"? In my quest to discover what happened to Wilmington's Richie Records label and its master recordings of garage bands from Wilmington in the '60s, I recalled recording with my group "The Starblazers" the 1965 obscurity, "You Better Change," backed with "Starchant." "You Better Change" was a rock song I authored at the tender age of 15 while a student at Mt. Pleasant Jr. High. The lyrics went like this: "I thought you loved me / But you put me down / Because you thought I was the kind to be led around / But I told you / that wouldn't do / You better change / your mind / about me." The flip side, "Starchant," was a weird instrumental that was half voodoo-rock and half Klezmer. It was recorded it at the old Ken-Del Studios in Wilmington. (Anyone know what happened to their masters?) I convinced our eighth grade class to make the record a class project, and we sold copies in school to raise money for the class. Instead of singing the vocal myself, I recruited Dickie Roseman, who was the BMOC in those days, to sing the lead, which he did in a "bosso profundo" voice that sounded, well, operatic and out-of-this-worldly at the same time. I figured Roseman had the "star power" to move more records. (I think Roseman is a cop these days and he had a sister, named Carol, I think, who was in our school, too.) The band featured a guy named Norm Isaacs on sax; Charlie Topkis on drums; myself on guitar; a keyboardist named Rusty (forget his last name, but he had red hair, of course) and an upright bass player whose father was a bone doctor in town (Klein, I think, was the last name). I'm wondering if anyone out there has the record. I am talking to a record label in Pittsburgh about putting out a compilation CD of garage band tracks from Wilmington bands of the 1960s. Does anyone have any suggestions for contributing bands? Do you have any locally-produced records that would fit the format? Post your ideas here, or email me. And let me know if you have "You Better Change" on 45 (Ken-Del Records). Another more famous group to record for Ken-Del was "Alex, Ola Belle and the New River Boys and Girls," an old-timey group that used to hold court in Campbell's Corner, Kennett Square, PA and at Sunset Park near Kennett Square. It was a favorite weekend jaunt for Wilmington lovers of old-timey music. My old friend Carl Goldstein, whom I think is still a judge in Wilmington, used to go there to hear bluegrass bands like Jim & Jesse and of course Alex & Ola Belle et al.
Victor Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, PA USA - Monday, May 12, 2008 at 14:09:58 (EDT)


All this talk about Vinnie Rago made me go look through my old 45's. I have a 45 on the Universal label which I believe was owned by Vince Rago. The song is 'Che Nome' by the Jay-Notes. The song was written by Jay Pierce (group leader) and published by Vince Rago Music Publishing. It was released in 1959.
Swifty <williamwswift@aol.com>
Middletown, DE USA - Monday, May 12, 2008 at 13:58:35 (EDT)


Bruce, Thanks for the 411. I wonder if Ted Munda is still around. If anyone knows, tell him to check in here. Also, I have learned that the son of Vinnie Rago, the late head of Richie Records, is still in Wilmington and working as a DJ. I believe his other son, Richard, is an attorney. I am trying to find out what happened to his dad's masters. If anyone here knows Vinnie Rago, please get him the message that there's interest in Richie Records and what happened to the label's master tapes. Thanks.
Victor Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, PA USA - Monday, May 12, 2008 at 12:46:17 (EDT)


Victor, I think I saw the Stairways as an opening act at the Amory. I'm not sure who the headliner was, maybe Mitch Ryder? Maybe Gary Lewis? I remember The Enfield's. I think Ted Mundy was in the group. He either lived or visited someone that lived in Woodbrook. He drove a Shelby Cobra Mustang. Pretty impressive for a local rock star. I think Lindsay Lee played keyboards for the group. Do you remember Sin City? I knew their keyboard player, Chip Eanes. I think Chip died some years ago of a drug overdose. He was very talented, but his demons won. Too bad.
Bruce <private>
Sugar Land, TX USA - Monday, May 12, 2008 at 07:58:08 (EDT)


Kevin D, George was indeed our bass player, and I haven't seen him for years. That WAS a good read! I'll have to email George, I see he's still in Wilmington. I was Chuck Aaron's replacement in the band... I bought his cherry-red Gibson Les Paul SG and then sold it to a guy named Norm Lewis and I've been trying to find him for years and buy it back! (I had bought a Fender Jaguar, the hot "axe" back then, which is featured in the 1968 Mt. Pleasant H.S. yearbook in a picture of the Stairways). Reading George's post reminds me that I WAS in the band when Eddie Stair was fired from his own group. I now remember Nino calling and saying Eddie's out, and me saying something like, "but the band's named after him." And Nino says, "Not anymore. It's Nino and the Stairways now." Very heavy. Anyhow, I'm sure we did play on the same bill as the Enfield's and, of course, George Thorogood and Wayne Watson (they were "The Turfs" and the Stairways BEAT them at the Battle of the Bands! What a night that was. I remember that we all went back to the Charcoal Pit and announced that there would be an "after-party" at my house in Green Acres (since my parents were away visiting my sister at college). About a hundred kids jammed our house, broke a window or two, and then the folks came home early and the party was over. I think there's a chance we once played on the same bill as the Castile's, too, Bruce Springsteen's band... but he was a nobody back then. Maybe George remembers for sure. To complete the story, The Stairways cut "Don't You Care" before I was with the band. I guess it was Chuck who taught me the lead lick he used on the record. That record was did receive airplay on WAMS, and maybe one of the readers of this site still has a copy. I think I still have mine, I'll have to check. Well, after Eddie was fired, Vince Rago of Richie Records took us back into the studio to cut two more sides. It was at Frank Virtue's studio on North Broad St. in Philly. Virtue had a big hit in the late '50s with "Guitar Boogie Shuffle." Again, I digress. We went into his studios and cut a new song called "All Souled Out," which was a pretty good record. But it never came out. Vince Rago wanted several hundreds of dollars for "promotion" of the record. I remember Nino saying that a legitimate record company executive would invest in the promotion on behalf of the company. Rago held firm: No promo money and the record sits in the vault. Nino called his bluff on behalf of the band and refused to pay. Guess what? The record never did hit the stores, or the radio. Rago meant business. As I remember it, the original tape did sit in Frank Virtue's vault. Some years later, I called Virtue studios to inquire about the tape's fate. I remember being told, perhaps by Frank Virtue himself, "Oh, we just got rid of a lot of old stuff that was sitting around." So here's the upshot: If Nino had agreed to pay the "promo" money, maybe our record would be a cult classic, too... and if I had called Virtue sooner, perhaps I could have salvaged the tape and brought the record out as a "from the crypt" special! Ah, what could have been! But now, I'm thinking, maybe I should put the first Stairways record up on the 'net. (The song was written by Eddie Stair... would he still own the copyright after 42 years?) Well, I'll have to compare notes with Rick and George Curtin on this. And Bowersox, when he's not "in the kitchen" on QVC. One thing I didn't mention was that I really liked that Enfield tune, "Eyes of the World," and I still remember the lead guitar part for it... it was very Beatle-esque. Oh, here's more... when Nino died, I was so upset that I couldn't bring myself to go too the funeral. The News-Journal ran huge news stories about his murder, and accompanying one piece was a photo of the Stairways with Nino, Ricky and me in the middle (listed by the paper as "unidentified"). I later went to a memorial benefit for his children, hosted by Nino's widow, and I met Nino's son, who looked EXACTLY like Nino did when he was in the band. It really freaked me out, but I was so happy to meet Nino's family and contribute to his kids' college fund. For all I know, some of the other band members may have been there and I didn't recognize them, I don't know. I do know Ricky wasn't there because I asked for him. After reading this post, I'm thinking maybe I should do a screenplay and send it to Tom Hanks, you know, another "That Thing You Do" type '60s flick... Anyhow, thanks for the shout-out. The site has inspired me to renew some old acquaintances and share some fond memories with my fellow Wilmingtonian natives! Feel free to shoot me an email if you've got more. Victor Livingston
Victor Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, p USA - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 00:07:01 (EDT)


Victor, Brandywine High School Class of '67 George Curtin played in several bands of that era, (you may even know him). George remembers the Enfield's and other bands-click on link below. Great Read. Wilmington Garage Bands of the Sixties Remembered (more) http://www.kevin67.com/Wilmington%20Stories%20Page.htm#The%20Enfields

KevinD <donohue11@comcast.net>
Ellicott City, MD USA - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:48:32 (EDT)


IF YOU REMEMBER 'THE ENFIELD'S' THIS ONE'S FOR YOU! Was thinking about the Wilmington rock groups that were around when I was lead guitarist of "Nino (Puglisi) and the Stairways" from around 1966-68. A tune by "The Enfield's" popped into my head a few months ago. It was called "In the Eyes of the World." Just on a fluke, I did a Google search and found that some indie record company actually has a CD out with their "greatest hit" and some other sides they cut, along with songs from "Friends of the Family," a band that succeeded the Enfield's with the same lead singer, I think his name is Munda and he may still live in Wilmington, I don't know. I think they were on Richie Records, owned by Vince Rago. And in fact, the Stairways did a record on the same label, called "Don't You Care," a song written by Eddie Stair, who was bounced from the band by Nino before I joined in 1966 (I think). Nino, many of you remember, was tragically murdered some years back. But I digress. I didn't know the guys in the Enfield's, but I believe we were in a battle of the bands with them at either Elsmere Fire Hall or the Lions Club on DuPont Hwy. Anyhow, here's the link, just type in "The Enfield's" in the "artist" box and it will take you to samples of their compilation album. I'd like to know how this obscure band, that probably was played only on WAMS, got memorialized 40 years later with a CD. I understand that it's something of an underground hit in the world of '60s psychedelic bands. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll Can someone confirm that the Enfield's were, in fact, on Richie Records? Does anyone out there remember seeing them (or seeing The Stairways, for that matter)? I found this site tonight quite by accident (I was looking for an mp3 of the Teddy and the Continentals' song, "I've got to learn to Pony b/w Tick Tick Tock." And somehow I got here. Brought back some memories, especially those photos of the Dry Goods, where I'd buy my albums ($2.77 for mono, $3.77 for stereo, I still remember useless info like that). Oh, anyone remember Sherby's Liquor Store at 4th and Poplar Sts.? That was my grandfather's store. I started my journalism career at the News-Journal on Orange St. as a college student at U of D. and I still visit the old hometown to see mom... I learned guitar from Frank Baldo, whose son of the same name is a guitarist and band leader down there now... Well, let's see if any fellow baby boomers will respond here... Victor Livingston
Victor Livingston <scrivener50@verizon.net>
Yardley, PA USA - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 21:33:55 (EDT)


The Geatormen

 

 (From Jeff Cooper)

"We were all born from the Blazers, so a lot of the music was instrumental. Chicago-like. We also did Herb Albert (hence Brazil 66) really well. Did it for a BHS assembly once. And like I said, we were on Blavat's show and considered his band .... did some nightclub gigs with him. Ahh, those were the days. Check out the photos. What we were doing in a field -- don't ask me."