Oh Yeah! - The Best Of Dunwich Records (60's US Garage)

Minggu, 10 Februari 2013

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Traut, Higgins and Badonsky formed their first record label, Amboy, in 1963 and released recordings of themselves and other bands. In 1965 they changed the label's name to Dunwich, and in December released a cover version of Van Morrison's "Gloria" by the Chicago band Shadows of Knight. By the spring of 1966, the song was a hit. After some difficulty with nationwide distribution, Traut, Higgins and Badonsky made a distribution deal with Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. By mid-1967 Traut and Badonsky bought out Higgins. Dunwich soon stopped releasing their own records, concentrating instead on producing a range of artists and leasing the master recordings to other labels. The Dunwich lute player logo appears on these recordings. Above the lute player is a cartoon type word balloon that says "It's DUNWICH, man." This logo may have been on a few other Chicagoland groups records, such as "The Cryan Shames" Columbia albums.

The Del-Vetts - US Single 1966
In the spring of 1968, Traut split with Badonsky, joined with producers Jim Golden and Bob Monaco and reorganized Dunwich Records into Dunwich Productions, Ltd. The three continued to produce Chicago-based groups, notably the bands Mason Proffit and Coven. The latter group released their first album in 1969 on the Mercury label, but with the Dunwich Productions logo. In 1971, Traut briefly revived the Dunwich label for a live recording of Chicago folk artists, Gathering at the Earl of Old Town, which notably includes the first recording of late singer-songwriter Steve Goodman performing "City of New Orleans". The Dunwich label was eventually absorbed by its distributor, Atco, which issued two final Shadows of Knight singles bearing the Dunwich logo, but issued on the Atco label. In 1971, Traut and Golden joined with Jerry Weintraub to form Wooden Nickel Records, whose early acts included the band Styx.

Since the Dunwich label released mostly singles, two collections released by Sundazed Records in the 1990s are considered to be quite important to appreciating the history of Dunwich Records and its contribution to music. Oh Yeah! The Best Of Dunwich Records, Volume 1, was released in 1991. This was followed by If You're Ready! The Best of Dunwich Records, Volume 2, in 1994. Artists appearing on these records include The Shadows of Knight, The Knaves, The Pride & Joy, The Luv'd Ones, Saturday's Children, The Wanderin' Kind, The Rovin' Kind, The American Breed, the H. P. Lovecraft band, Sounds Unlimited, The Del Vetts, The Warner Brothers and Little Boy Blues. The albums were produced by Bill Traut and George Badonsky. An earlier collection of Dunwich singles had been released in 1971 on the Happy Tiger label as Early Chicago, Volume 1.

The Del-Vetts - US Single 1966
The label's name "Dunwich" refers to The Dunwich Horror, a story by H. P. Lovecraft, an author with whom Traut was enamored. The label's publishing arm, Yuggoth Music, was named after a fictional planet in Lovecraft's stories.

The Chicago-based Dunwich Label was owned by Bill Traut, Eddie Higgins, and George Badonsky and, after trying to distribute their first hit, "Gloria" by themselves, they quickly struck a deal to be distributed by Atco. 

Traut started as a jazz musician, playing saxophone and other instruments in sessions around Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He teamed up with Eddie Higgins, a jazz pianist, and eventually (early 1960s) both went to work for Seeburg Corporation. Seeburg was a juke box maker, and Traut and Higgins were busy producing background music. Seeburg rented a small space at Universal Studios, the top recording studios in Chicago, and Traut had a small office there. The two decided to produce jazz records, and approached Nesuhi Ertegun of Atlantic, who let them work on some Atlantic jazz recordings, in addition to having them record a couple of albums by Eddie Higgins himself. 

In 1963, Bernie Clapper, who ran Universal at the time, offered Traut the use of Universal during "down time" to make recordings, and if anything was successful, Universal would be paid back for the studio time. Traut and Higgins decided that they wanted to leave Seeburg and start producing their own records, and met George Badonsky, a sales representative for Atlantic, who was interested in joining them in a new venture. They produced a few songs, and put one out called "Silverthumb" on their own Amboy records (named for Badonsky's home town). Second thoughts about a Chicago company named for a city in New Jersey led them to change the name to Dunwich, after an H.P. Lovecraft novel, "The Dunwich Horror." The three started as Dunwich Productions in 1965. 

The Shadows Of Knight - US Single 1966
They hit the pavement around town looking for acts to sign. They latched onto the Shadows of Knight when they were playing teen nightclubs in their suburban hometown, Arlington Heights. Chicago disc jockey Clark Weber mentioned to Traut in 1966 that if he could find a "clean" version of Van Morrison's "Gloria" (which had been out by Morrison's group, Them, but censored off the airwaves), he could sell a million. Traut took him up on it and had the Shadows of Knight record it in a "teen-clean" vein, and it indeed sold a million, putting both the group and the first single for Dunwich Records on the map. 

The Shadows of Knight had the world in their palm from the time "Gloria" hit in early spring, 1966, until the end of the year. It was their year. The original recording lineup for the Shadows of Knight was Jim Sohns (lead vocal), Warren Rogers (lead guitar), Jerry McGeorge (rhythm guitar), Joe Kelley (bass), and Tom Schiffour (drums). Their followup to "Gloria" was "Oh, Yeah," a Bo Diddley oldie that appeared on the first album as a completely different take from the snappy 45 version released in early summer, 1966. The Shadows continued to put hard-driving records onto the mid-reaches of the national charts, but high on the local Chicago charts. "Bad Little Woman," released in late summer, was followed by a psychedelic version of "Willie Jean," the old folk tune, and then in December by "I'm Gonna Make You Mine," two-plus minutes of fuzz guitar and growling lyrics like "I'm gonna take, girl, and you're gonna give." 

The Shadows Of Knight - US Single 1966
By the fall of 1966, the second album was issued. Kelley and Rogers had switched instrumental roles, Kelley taking over lead guitar. Although their second album, Bad Little Woman, didn't chart nationally, it was a blockbuster of rock-blues, arguably even better than their excellent debut album. Both have since become collectors' items. Soon after the album was cut, Rogers left the band due to personal problems, and for various reasons the band took a nose-dive off the charts, both national and local, and by early 1967 most of the original members (except Sohns) had left the group. 

Jim Sohns found other musicians to back him in a new group, keeping the name Shadows of Knight with Kasenetz-Katz in 1968, and scoring with "Shake" on the Super-K label. In fact, Sohns became one of the generic, nameless lead singers used by Kasenetz and Katz on their formula bubblegum records on the Buddah label. By 1970, he was back at Atco for a one-shot single, but the curtain had come down on the group's chart career. During the 1990s, the Shadows of Knight have made appearances in Chicago, where they are always warmly welcomed. 

By mid-1967, Badonsky and Traut had bought out Higgins' part of the company and stopped putting records out on the Dunwich label per se. Rather, they did production and farmed the masters out to other labels, who put their logo on the records. They did a lot of production for Mercury/Philips, and placed a couple of new groups, the Mauds (a white soul group) and H.P. Lovecraft, on those labels. They also had a deal with Acta Records (distributed by Dot) for their group American Breed, who had originally been a popular South Side band called Gary and the Knight Lites. 

The Shadows Of Knight - US Single 1966
Traut also recorded other Chicago bands, such as the Byzantine Empire, whom he signed to Amy/Mala/Bell. Byzantine Empire bassist/vocalist/writer (now attorney) Bruce Kerr recently wrote to us with the following insights. "Bill Traut was our band's producer for two years, 1968-69. We first were called the Five Bucks, then changed to Byzantine Empire when we went with Bill. We'd played Chicago summers and Ann Arbor, MI, winters where we were in college (U of Mich.), in '68. Bill signed us as his follow on to success with the American Breed ("Bend Me, Shape Me"). He signed us to Amy/Mala/Bell Records, released three 45s (four original songs, two covers). Bill had his downtown Chicago hotel piano playing buddy, Eddie Higgins, and another guy, Bobbie Schiff do the studio production with us. Bill always played it by the book, very fair and open. (His being a lawyer from the University of Wisconsin Law School landed me following in his footsteps there in '69 when the band graduated.) By the way, he also signed REO Speedwagon and Styx. I don't have all the details of that, but by then he had moved to L.A." 

In the spring of 1968, Traut and Badonsky had a falling out, and Badonsky left Dunwich to form George badonsky Productions, taking the Mauds and H.P. Lovecraft with him. Meanwhile, Traut brought in Chicago producers Jim Golden and Bob Monaco (who as MG Productions had been responsible for production of the Cryan' Shames records on their Destination label) and reformed Dunwich as Dunwich Productions, Ltd. 

Traut, Golden, and Monaco continued producing Chicago-based groups into the early 1970s. These included the Troll, Aorta, the Cryan' Shames, the Siegel-Schwall Band, and Mason Proffit. Many of the albums in the early 1970s ended up on the Los Angeles based Happy Tiger label, including a 1970 compilation of Dunwich and Destination material on a various artists compilation. They also resurrected the Dunwich label for one more album in 1970, a collection of live recordings from a Chicago night club.

01. Shadows Of Knight*  Oh Yeah (Altrnate Stereo Mix) (2:42) 
02. Warner Brothers, The  Lonely I (2:10) 
03. Knaves, The  The Girl I Threw Away (Stereo Mix) (2:41) 
04. Del-Vetts, The  Last Time Around (2:35) 
05. Del-Vetts, The  Everytime (1:54) 
06. Rovin' Kind, The  My Generation (2:39) 
07. Sounds Unlimited (3)  Gotta Get Away (Demo) (2:26) 
08. Saturday's Children  Radio Spot: Wisconsin Electric Co. (1:00) 
09. Mauds, The  Searchin' (2:51) 
10. Del-Vetts, The  That's The Way It Is (2:08) 
11. Warner Brothers, The  Won't Be The Same Without Her (2:42) 
12. Saturday's Children  Man With Money (2:03) 
13. Del-Vetts, The  I Call My Baby STP (2:11) 
14. American Breed, The  Radio Spot: Partridge Weiners (0:37) 
15. Banshees, The  Project Blue (2:30) 
16. Shadows Of Knight*  Light Bulb Blues (2:34) 
17. Knaves, The  Tease Me (2:16) 
18. Little Boy Blues, The  The Great Train Robbery (2:37) 
19. Sounds Unlimited (3)  A Girl As Sweet As You (2:24) 
20. Saturday's Children  Leave That Baby Alone (2:27) 
21. Pride & Joy, The*  Girl (1:59) 
22. American Breed, The  Radio Spot: Temperature's Rising (1:25) 
23. Knaves, The  Leave Me Alone (Stereo Mix) (2:33) 
24. Little Boy Blues, The  You Dove Deep In My Soul (3:40) 
25. H.P. Lovecraft*  Radio Spot: Ban Roll On (1:00) 
26. Mauds, The  You Don't Know Like I Know (Alternate Version) (2:47) 
27. Knaves, The  Inside Outside (2:01) 
28. Knaves, The  Your Stuff (2:10) 
29. Rovin' Kind, The  She (2:40) 
30. Shadows Of Knight*  Uncle Wiggly's Airship (Origianl Version) (2:48)

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