Larry & The Blue Notes
Rocky Shores, drums; Tommy Skaggs, rhythm guitar; Buddy Bates, guitar (replaced Skaggs); Dan Fletcher, bass; Mike Griffin, drums (replaced Shores); Larry Roquemore, vocals; Larry Slater, guitar; Randy Cates, bass (replaced Fletcher); Jack Hammonds, keyboards.
(Larry Slater) - Rocky Shores (his real name), a drummer, recruited me and Larry Roquemore to play a Halloween party in Hurst, Texas, (a Fort Worth suburb) for some of his adult friends. This was in October 1962, and we all were about 13 or 14-years-old. Roquemore and I knew each other (we both went to Elder Junior High in Fort Worth at one time) but had never met or worked together. I brought along a rhythm guitar player, Tommy Skaggs, who knew my stuff, mostly Freddie King instrumentals. Roquemore and I developed a mutual admiration at once.
(Larry Roquemore) - I was a Slater fan since the 8th grade when I saw him play "Sleep Walk" in one of the junior high talent shows on a Fender Stratocaster. I even took guitar lessons from Slater's same teacher in Fort Worth, but soon realized I'd better stick to sax. In junior high, I'd performed with a vocal group called the Casual Teens and had joined a band at another junior high called the Countdown Five, doing mostly surf music.
(Larry Slater) - After the Halloween gig, I told Roquemore I was rehearsing with another drummer, Mike Griffin, in his garage, of course, and Mike knew a bass player named Dan Fletcher, and would Roquemore like to join us doing vocals and sax? By this time, the English invasion was just getting started so we got Buddy Bates, a rhythm guitar and vocalist, so we could do Beatles-type harmony. In 1964, Randy Cates, the best bass player we had ever heard, replaced Fletcher. We also added Jack Hammonds on vocals and Vox organ. He also did vocals.
RELATIONSHIP WITH MAJOR BILL SMITH:
(Larry Roquemore) - We had heard of the Major through the hits he had produced in Fort Worth, Texas, in the early '60s. The Major was a piece of work. He was loud, abrasive, and the joke was he didn't have to hit the control room intercom button to be heard by nervous musicians in the studio. The glass rattled every time he barked a command. He bragged considerably about all the hits he had produced on the first take, such as "Hey Paula." It would have to be a Major screw-up (pardon the pun) for him to let you go back and do it right. But love him or hate him, the Major was the Major, for better or for worse. He did have a reputation for producing hits, and he knew the business perhaps better than anyone in the area. He knew nothing about music ("I don't know a C chord from a cord you use to tie up a package," he'd proclaim. "But I do know hits - and that's a cotton picking smash!") but he did know how to promote. Plus, he had all the connections.
*Unreleased - Night Of The Sadist
There are two different versions of this song, entitled "Night Of The Sadist": One with a sax lead and one with a guitar lead. Neither version was released because we went back in and dubbed the word "Phantom" every time "Sadist" occurred. Major Bill Smith was concerned because he believed the FCC would not allow the word "Sadist" on a record in early 1965. I came up with the word "Phantom." At first, the Major wanted to call it "Night Of The Burglar" (Ugh). Ray Hildebrand of Paul and Paula helped us do the vocals on the overdub. Larry Roquemore-Larry Slater were the writers. A number of things inspired the tune: urban legends about the escaped mental patient with a hook on his right hand who used to terrorize parkers in Lover's Lane; a guy dressed in a gorilla suit who used to tap on car windows of couples parking late at night at my old school, Northside High; and tales of a Goat Man who was scaring the crap out of parkers at Lake Worth.
**(Tiris 101) - Night Of The Phantom / All My Own
Recorded in early 1965. "All My Own", written by L. Roquemore, was released as Tiris 101-A. "Night Of The Phantom" was listed as Tiris 101-B, interestingly enough.
**(20th Century Fox 573) - Night Of The Phantom / All My Own
*Unreleased - What Made Me Lose My Head
This song, written by Larry Roquemore, was recorded by the Blue Notes in mid-1965, but never released. It was intended as a follow-up to "Night Of The Phantom," but the Major figured AM radio wasn't yet ready for a guy that gets dumped by his girlfriend (and then) stabs her to death.
**(Charay 20) - Talk About Love / She'll Love Me
There are two versions of "Talk About Love", both were on Charay C-20, 1817 from writers D. Lee-A. Reynolds-M. Addington. The harmonica version was the first one released at the end of 1965 as follow-up to "Night of the Phantom," and featured Delbert McClinton playing harp. Back then Delbert was fronting a great blues/R&B group called the Ron-Dels. The first version didn't do so well on the charts so we punked it up and re-released it. The flipside of both was "She'll Love Me", written by Larry Roquemore, Charay C-20, 1649. Dan Fletcher completely quits playing bass on "She'll Love Me," thinking we were just practicing.
***(Charay 20) - The Phantom / She'll Love Me
As The Mark Five
This song was released to clear up the mystery of who the Phantom was in the original earlier release ("Night Of The Phantom"). It was the idea of deejay Mark Stevens at KFJZ Radio in Fort Worth, who came up with the idea to identify the phantom as "my brother Joe." It was a stupid idea and a badly cut record that was a total embarrassment. Fortunately, few people heard it. It was released on Charay 20 1770 with the writers listed as Roquemore-Slater-Hildebrand. The flip, "She'll Love Me," was C-20, 1649, written by Slater-Roquemore. We took the name Mark 5 in honor of Mark Stevens.
**(Charay 20) - Everybody Needs Somebody / She'll Love Me
"Everybody Needs Somebody", written by Burns-Burke-Wexler, was a Rolling Stones cover tune, on Charay, C-20, LH2050. The flipside, "She'll Love Me," was listed as C-20, 1649, and written by Slater-Roquemore.
**** (Epic 9871) - Everybody Needs Somebody / She'll Love Me
As The Bad
To avoid the legalities of using a name already under contract (Larry and the Blue Notes), the Major came up with the name The Bad.
**(Charay 44) - There's No Other (Like My Baby) / In And Out
This was recorded in early '66, and released on Charay C-44, LH2479. It was written by Phil Spector-L. Bates. The flip was "In And Out," Charay, C-44, LH2480. (60sgaragebands.com Note" "There's No Other" was also recorded and released by the Crystals).
**(Charay 44) - I'll Be True To You / In And Out
"I'll Be True To You", written by Goffin-Titleman, was released on Charay 44 as C-44, LH2887. "In And Out", written by Roquemore-Slater was released as Charay, C-44, LH2480.
*Unreleased - You Cheated, You Lied / In And Out
As The Bad
This was not released, but was recorded on a Sound City Recording Studio acetate in 1966 as The Bad. The flip side was "In And Out," also by The Bad. An interesting note on "You Cheated, You Lied": Ray Hildebrand helps out on the high vocal parts. (60sgaragebands.com Notes: "You Cheated, You Lied" was recorded and released by the Shangri-Las; Ray Hildebrand would find fame as "Paul" in Paul & Paula, the duo behind "Hey Paula").
**(Charay 44) - No Milk Today / In And Out
This was released, I believe, in 1966 as Charay C-44. "No Milk Today" was a cover of a Herman's Hermits tune. It was arranged by Gary Allyn, whoever that is. The flip was "In And Out," Charay, C-44, LH2479, L. Roquemore-L. Slater.
**(Charay 44) - Love Is A Beautiful Thing / In And Out
"Love Is A Beautiful Thing" was a cover of a Young Rascals tune, written by Cavaliere-Cornish. It was released on Charay, C-44, LH-2764. The flip was "In And Out," C-44, LH2480.
*Unreleased - Summertime / Train Kept A-Rolling
This WAS recorded in 1966 as Larry and the Blue Notes on a Sound City acetate. It's an instrumental featuring sax. The flip of this was "Train Kept A-Rolling."
*Unreleased - It's You Alone
This was a cover from a group called the Wailers. It was never released. I believe we cut this one in 1966 or 1967 as Larry and the Blue Notes.
*****(Guyden 2124) - Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter / Just Stay
As Larry Roquemore
This was a Herman's Hermits cover. From what I understand at the time - I believe in late '66 - our version forced the Hermits to release this as a single in the U.S. The Major told me the only version available then was on an LP, (and suggested we) cut a single. The Blue Notes did the music, but we didn't use the name because we were still under contract with another record company. This was released nationally on Jamie/Guyden, G-LRO-1, and written by T. Peacock - Brakenbury Music, Hill & Range BMI. We had a big ad in BILLBOARD MAGAZINE when this record was released. The flip was "Just Stay", written by L. Roquemore, G-LRO-2 2124.
********(Smash/Mercury S-2215) Something's Happening / Ticket For Tomorrow
As By Soul Purpose
We revamped the group to take advantage of the popularity of soul music, especially horn arrangements."Something's Happening", written by John McDowell-Larry Roquemore, Smash/Mercury, S-2215 1-44608, was recorded in I believe, 1968 - Robert Mellin Music Publishing Corp. McDowell was our guitar player in Soul Purpose, along with Slater, and McDowell went on to play with a group that achieved some notoriety, called the Wright Brothers. They appeared in a movie with Goldie Hawn called OVERBOARD. The flip was "Ticket For Tomorrow," written by D. Langston-L.Roquemore, S-2215 1-44607. This record, both sides, did very little because we couldn't get any promotion or distribution from Smash/Mercury. This was one of the few records we did without Major Bill. It was produced by a guy in Fort Worth named David Langston.
* - UNRELEASED
** - Released
*** - Released as by the Mark Five
**** - Released as by The Bad
***** - Released as by Larry Roquemore
****** - Released as by Soul Purpose
For clarification, or to provide additional information, several quotes from an interview with Larry Slater and Larry Roquemore that appeared in the September 2000 issue of THE LANCE MONTHLY have been inserted where needed.
"Copyrighted and originally printed on www.60sgaragebands.com