Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just The Way We Liked It, Solid and Raunchy

Near the end of 1959, when I was 10, Mom and Dad bought their stereo record player. It was a cabinet model with one speaker in the cabinet and another in a removable wooden box that could be set up to 6 feet away from the unit. You didn't lift the top to reach the turntable, you slid it back into the area above the fixed speaker. It was big enough to hold it's own as a console without being a big bulky unit that took up a lot of space in the living room. It came with a stationary spindle on which one could stack up to 10 LP's and it also included a removable spindle that would hold the same number of 45's. That removable spindle made it a marvel of modern technology back in the day. Nonstop music without ever removing a 45 from the turntable until all of ones selections were though playing. In those days 45's ruled.

Of course, now that we had the means to play records in this way, we had to have the records. Mom's old 78's didn't survive the plop down to the turntable without acquiring scratches and those scratches meant the needle would skip badly across most of the disk. Most of the new vinyl LP's with their 10 or 12 songs on them only cost 3 or 4 dollars each, so Mom stopped frequently in the record sections of department stores to spend her pin money.
She'd buy 45's when the money was tight, they were cheaper. The stereo must have been expensive, it came home with 2 LP's and 6 of the new 45's with the big holes in the center of the records. I can only remember 4 of the first ones she bought. They were "Wake Up Little Suzie" by the Everly Bros. "Little Boy Sad" by Johnny Burnette. "The Bristol Stomp" by the Dovells and "Tall Cool One" by The Fabulous Wailers. The Dovells and The Fabulous Wailers were a distinct departure from what I was accustomed to hearing in our home. They were...dare I say it? Rock and Roll. Purchased by MY Mom and Dad?

Who were the Fabulous Wailers? They were teenagers from Tacoma, Washington. Kent Morrill - keyboards, vocals, John Greek - Guitar, Trumpet, Richard Dangel - Guitar, Mike Burk - Drums, Mark Marush - tenor sax, Rockin' Robin Roberts – vocals. That's who they were. They could be considered to be one of the most influential original garage band groups. They were the inspiration behind groups like Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Kingsmen.

The got their start in the clubs popular in the Pacific Northwest in 1958. They performed a blend of sax driven R&B and Rock and Roll in the style of Chuck Berry. They worked with anyone and everyone, promoting and producing their own style of music and in 1959 exploded on the national scene with an LP "The Fabulous Wailers" and four 45's. Among the released 45's, "Tall Cool One" found it's way into our home in 1960, along with the new stereo.

Kent Morrill wrote "Tall Cool One" while still in high school. He wanted to name the song "Scotch On The Rocks" but his Mother didn't think a group of high school boys should be playing something with a name like that so, it became "Tall Cool One". That was my introduction to the Wailers back in 1960, but there was a lot more to come.

Currently, and the quality of their music should have suggested that there would be a currently, they are involved with the Ventures on a 50th Anniversary Album called "Two Car Garage". Although the line up of the group has changed over the years, original member Kent Morrill is still with the group and still rocks on!

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