BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS
DEDICATED TO THE COLLECTING OF MUSIC, ITS PRESERVATION AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP
THIS MONTH’S MEETING (GOOD NEWS)
After 3 months of not having a monthly meeting due to the virus situation we will be having our monthly this Sunday, July 12th. It will be held at Fultondale First Baptist Church. We will begin at 1:00 (NOT OUR USUAL 2:00 START TIME). The address of the church is 409 Main Street, Fultondale, AL 35068. The main objective is to get together again and say ‘hello’ but we will spend time going over any business that needs to be covered such as the cancellation of our August record show. We’ll play some music and have a good time together but not get too close I guess. Bring your mask since they are required in the Jefferson County area. Hope you can make it.
2020 BRC AUGUST RECORD SHOW
The news about our annual record show is not good. BRC officers held a conference call and met together twice to get as many facts and questions answered before a decision was made about the show. For a while things were looking up but the officers decided with the sudden uptick in virus cases the wisest decision would be to cancel the 2020 BRC August Record Show. Not only would the attendance probably be lower than expected but those there would be in a room with fellow record buyers and dealers who may have the virus and not even know it. Yes, masks, hand sanitizer and social distance would be practiced but even that may not keep someone from contracting the disease.
It is disappointing to make that decision but we feel it is best and know you will understand. Look out, 2021. We will be back and better than ever. Record collectors across the country probably haven’t had a record show to go to since the ARCA show here in March and we were hoping it would be BRC that offered a chance at browsing through vinyl once again. I know you are like me and you love the smell of vinyl in the morning, noon, and night. On the positive side, this gives you a chance to save a little more as you prepare for 2021.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS (AMERICAN STYLE)
A few months ago I did a piece on a show I saw on the AXS TV called ‘The Top 10 Revealed’. That segment highlighted what they called the Top 10 British Invasion Groups (1964-67). Playing off that I thought I’d mention some of the American bands over the years breaking it down into 2 eras, 1955-63 and 1964-69. Only bands that made the pop or R&B charts will be used. I am sure I will leave out some of your favorites but I only have some much (or little) room. So, here we go. I won’t call this the Top 10 or The Best I will just list those that come to mind and just call the top ones, ‘my favorites’.
First off, I asked last month just what was a ‘band’. I will use the definition of a ‘band’ as given to me by BRC member and good friend Larry. He said he considered a ‘band’ a group of musicians who worked together, traveled or toured together and recorded together. So a group that was made up of recording studio session players won’t count. Larry was in a band and I think he would know. I would dare say that most bands during this era were guys who went to school together or knew each other through other friends and just met at someones house and played in the garage or in the house. On my block growing up there were some guys who would meet and play together on a screened in front porch where one of them lived. Now that was some very patient and understanding parents. Also, keep in mind, very few bands kept the same personnel for a period of time. Even the guys that came to be what were known as The Beatles were together only about 5 years with a couple of splits over the years that were soon smoothed out. There are not many bands that stayed together such as the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Doors did. Although the Doors were only together for 4 years, they along with Led Zeppelin seemed to have made a pact that they are the guys and if something happens (each group lost a member due to death) that would be the end as usual. So some of the bands listed below did have personnel changes along the way.
Next, when you think about it, prior to 1964 the number of bands was much lower than after that. Rock was just getting started and most performers were solo artists who recorded with session players backing them. The tour group may have been an entirely different group of musicians. Some of the nationally known bands that fall into the first era (1955-63) would be Bill Haley & The Comets, Johnny & The Hurricanes, The Ventures, The Champs, The Chantays, The Surfaris, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps, Bill Black Combo, The Markettes, The Mar-Keys, The Fireballs, Booker T & The MG’s, The Wailers and The Beach Boys. I will mention one group that didn’t chart, weren’t well known (at the time), but a band that recorded some of the best music (that wasn’t heard) of the era and were together as a band from 1953-57. That will be The Johnny Burnette Trio. These bands aren’t the only nationally known ones during this time of course does cover some of the more known of the time. The list of bands is short for the time period but as stated at the beginning there weren’t as many as what is about to happen at least not getting air play anyway.
1964-69 – Oh Boy!, as Buddy Holly sang. As we get into 1964, the bands that were being formed and were learning their craft just prior to 1964 exploded on the scene. During the first era mentioned many younger guys picked up guitars and began learning to play in the vein of Buddy Holly, Elvis and Rickey Nelson. These are the guys who would form the bands of the next era. My theory, without any research leads me to believe the British bands were formed more from the first era and the American bands that popped up came out of the success of the Brits. I think when I list some of the bands you will see where I am coming from, maybe not. Now I am not forgetting the Black guitarist/artists such as Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, etc. There were many youngsters who picked up a guitar or other instruments because of them during the first era. Probably some of you who are reading this did so. Some even just got behind a mic because of them.
A few of the first bands mentioned crossed over into this era. The Beach Boys, Booker T. & The MG’s and The Ventures continued with much success. Let me spend what room I have left to mention the bands. The Doors, The Byrds, The Young Rascals, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Buckinghams, The Box Tops, The Turtles, Tommy James & The Shondells, Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, Sir Douglas Quintet, Swingin’ Medallions, The McCoys, The Five Americans, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, The Grass Roots, The Monkees, ? & The Mysterians, Jefferson Airplane, Jr Walker & the All Stars, Ronny & The Daytonas, Music Explosion, Music Machine, Blues Magoos, Electric Prunes, Buffalo Springfield, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Classics IV, American Breeed, The Union Gap, and the list goes on and on of bands that had at least one hit during this era. CCR fits in the era also. They first charted in 1968 and continued into the 70’s. And don’t forget The Kingsmen who charted in late 1963 but had their success really from 1964 on and Paul Revere & The Raiders who were formed in 1960 and first charted in 1961 but their next hit came after 1964. I did not mention the Jimi Hendrix Experience since they were formed, recorded and first released in England. But boy what an influence they had on me.
I hope you see where I am going to with what I feel was a big explosion of American bands after 1963 and the explosion continued even into the 70’s, 80’s and on. Groups such the Eagles, Bob Seger System (and beyond), Earth, Wind & Fire, Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac (Brits but moved to L.A. and were then lead by 2 Americans), Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, and all the ‘hair bands’, glam rock bands and so on were all influenced by bands before them, many probably back to the 1964-69 era. My favorites from 1955-1969 would include The Beach Boys, The Doors, CCR, The Box Tops, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Buckinghams and The Union Gap. The list will probably change next week as I go back and play some other groups of the time.
So who did I forget? Many! I just did this thinking off the top of my head and good time music memories. There were so many bands in the juke joints, honky tonks, dives, fraternity parties, and Dairy Queens that provided the music and fun for a younger generation and to them I say ‘THANKS’!