Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Major 60s bands to relive days of Coachman & Four

Footnotes appearing at Coachman & Four Reunion... backed many of the greats

Appearing at Coachman & Four Reunion: Clifford Curry

Hi Greg,

I received my book today in perfect condition. Thank you so very much for that piece of history. My wife went wild looking at all the bands, especially The Imperials Combo! Needless to say you have created a valuable document to view the bands of that era. The mid 1960 was the best time of my life. Thank you again for your great work.

Mickey Brafford

The Imperials Rock 'N Roll Combo"

ps. I had to sign it for my wife right away. She has taken it over!

Thanks Mickey,

I appreciate your contributions. Interestingly, there were a couple on non-Anthony Imperial bands, yours and the Imperial Show Band out of Jackson, Mississippi headed by Tim Whitsett. You can read about the Mississippi based band in chapter 16. Those were the best of times and music, Regards,


P.S. By the way, the "Imperial" is the same as the "Shag" in the Carolinas but has an entirely different meaning in the UK.

Hi Greg,

Oh yes, I'm aware of the Imperial names used by other bands. There are a couple of groups battling it out in court as we speak. As you may know the name "THE IMPERIALS" was used by a Christian gospel group quite successfully. However the original Imperials name was used by Little Anthony and the Imperials, and the name THE IMPERIALS was trademarked by Clarence Collins of that group. Clarence did give the Christian group permission to use the name in around 1964-65. As the older Christian singer started to phase out of music he gave his son permission to use the name, but things got kinda nasty in 2007. You can read the story here --> As for our group "The Imperials Rock 'N Roll Combo" came about in 1962. This name was a spin off of my original band "Mickey And The Tech Raiders" Here is the story: First off the band was started, and created by yours truly. At the time I was attending The Danville Technical Institute in Danville, VA. studying Electronics Engineering Technology. One evening several students were crammed in Van Hunsucker's dorm room, which was located in the old castle building at DTI. We were singing and playing songs of that era (early 60's). After we finished singing and playing a guy came over to me and asked if he could bring his sax to school next weekend, and join in the fun. Of course I said sure. That Guy was Billy Gwaltney, and we hit it off right away. In the guys crammed into Van's dorm room were guitar players drummers and other musicians. The very next week Billy brought his sax to school and we played several pretty cool songs. Along with Billy was George (Tommy) Dunn, (guitar) Chris Colenda (VPI student) drummer. At that point in time VPI, Danville extension and DTI students used the same classrooms, and dorms. Of course the main campus of VPI was and still is in Blacksburg, VA. Anyway, the four of us Billy, Chris, Tommy, and yours truly decided to practice a few songs. Actually we sounded pretty good, and Billy and I wrote a song called "Raider Rock". Because we were students Billy and I decided to attend a "mixer" or two to meet some members of the opposite sex. While attending a Nursing School mixer I met two young ladies named Helen, and Tex. Helen was the head girl who arranged parties and dances for the Danville, VA School of Nursing. She asked me if I knew of any bands who would play cheap, as Thanksgiving break was drawing near, and she was trying to organize a dance and party. Of course I said, well girl you found the right guy, I know a band who will play VERY cheap. Who are they she quizzed.... Uhhhhh I stammered... "Mickey" I blurted out. Mickey Mouse she screamed, and we all laughed hysterically. By then several girls had gathered around, Nooooooo I corrected.... Mickey, and and.... YES she asked Go ON. Suddenly it popped in my head "Mickey and the Tech Raiders" Cooool she said, and who are these guys Tex asked. Is he the same Mickey as you??? Of course I lied. We had a few practice sessions, but had played no! Anyway Billy and I made a deal with Helen to play for the Thanksgiving dance and party. She agreed to pay us with homemade food and drinks. Oh and drinks Billy chided, that'll pay the rent. Well...we gotta start somewhere...don't we? I must say the dance went very well, and everyone loved "Raider Rock". That very year Billy and I went to the DTI Christmas party with our dates, and someone had hired the "Lancers" from Lynchburg, VA. The dance was held at Glen Oak Country Club in Danville. We could feel the ground shaking as we walked toward the building. Billy and I looked at each other in utter disbelief as we entered the building. We were hypnotized by the fantastic music. I asked someone who they were, and the answer was Phil Vassar and the Lancers. They had new Fender gear, a super PA system, and we sounded like rank amateurs compared to them. I had never heard a bass guitar that shook the floor, and the singers were beyond fantastic. I vowed right then the Tech Raiders needed some new gear, and tons more practice! Fast forward a few years, and the band was enjoying a lot of success. We had hired a new drummer, Johnny Johnson who took over the booking duties, and handled many of the decisions. Johnny's Mom and Dad were fairly well off, and had a lot of influence in Danville. His Dad was Fire Chief in Danville, and he had a lot of pull with many people. Anyway, for some reason Johnny had decided the band name Mickey and the Tech Raiders was no longer appealing to many venues, such as college frat parties, and a Saturday afternoon TV show in Eastern NC. One sunny afternoon before practice in Johnny's parents basement, he announced we were going to change the bands name. We had a local hit record which was "Raider Rock" and it was getting regular play on WYPR in Danville, and many of the NC stations had picked it up, but Johnny said we're changing the band name anyway. Johnny put the band name change idea out, and no one objected except me. I said lets drop the "Mickey" and call ourselves "The Tech Raiders". Johnny said no, we need something connected to soul music, and would be accepted by more people. He then suggested we call ourselves The Imperials Rock 'N Roll Combo. Immediately one of the band guys asked what about "Little Anthony"? Johnny responded with "my Dad's lawyer has checked this name and said it wasn't connected to Little Anthony, so it's ok to use." Everyone except me agreed to use the new name, so that's how we became "The Imperials Rock 'N Roll Combo".

Boy Greg there is a LOT more to this story, but you get the idea I'm sure. By the way, my record Raider Rock is long gone, I don't even have one copy. One of my DTI classmates asked me last week if he could get a copy, and of course there are none.

Mickey Brafford

Hey Greg! Terrific news to hear that the book has Sold Out!!! I hope you print some more.

I have a couple of small corrections for your band directory entry on the James Gang. Fred Guarino and I both rejoined Wilbur on the road again from summer 1969 to the James Gang's demise in 1970. The band (it's final version) consisted of Wilbur on vocals, Fred on drums, me (Jimmy Dean) on bass, and Marvin Taylor playing guitar.

Thanks. Much more success with future printings of the book!

Jimmy Dean


Hi Greg,
Thanks for the book. I am already half way through and it is really
entertaining and very well done. I am doing the CD playing that is directed on
the page as I go and I love it. Also, the CD's are great. I haven't heard some
of that music in years and there are some that I have actually never heard.
Great Stuff!
I want to make sure you got my check. It was # 8410 and dated 5-1-09. It did
not come through on my statement today so let me know if there is a problem. I
send it out the day after I made the order and your book arrived in one day!
Anyway, let me know about the check and many thanks for a fabulous book that
brings back so many memories.
David Stanfill


Thank you for you email and most importantly, I am pleased that you are
enjoying the book. Everyone seems to have a frame of reference for that period
of great music, bands and fun. Mine is an abridged version at 13 pounds but I
had a ton of fun and the memories that stay alive through the blog. As for the
check, I did recently deposit the check so it should clear soon. I am a lot
better at mailing the books than I am at depositing the checks I get for them.
Not sure what that says but enjoy the book; and especially the "party to end all




Enjoyed your site very much! My name is Mike Moser, born and raised in Greensboro. I played bass for the Fabulous Five, The Manhattans, and various other groups in N.C.. Hung out at the Pavillion, Sonny's Pavillion Cherry Grove, and The Pad in S.C. in my teen years. In Greensboro, The Castaways, Tom-Tom Supper Club [hot place during the early Shag days], and the old Henry's Danceland [really where it all started in N.C.. Those were, as you know, very exciting days for music, the Shag, and live entertainment in general. Presently living in Tampa Florida and still playing regularly with the Satellites Band. Your site brought back some very good memories, keep up the good work, and my hat is off to you for your dedication and hard work. mm


UNBELIEVABLE!!! Just got my copy yesterday and stayed up half the night reading and listening. The book blew away my expectations. The amount of time and effort that must have gone into it will never be recovered in $’s. It surely was a labor of love. I wish I had a picture of this 62 year old guy last night sitting in his favorite chair with ear phones on reading the book, grinning from ear to ear with an occasional tear. Greg, I can’t tell you how much pleasure your book has given me in just one day. Although I have not lived there since I left for college, I grew up in Va. Beach and knew Bill Deal, Ammon. George Bell and Gene Johnson. We used to book all the bands for the fraternity parties thru Noah Biggs in Norfolk. Gene was not “ General “ then.. Just a Showman. I last saw Bill in August of the year he passed away. They played a benefit at the Cavalier in Va. Beach. We shared a few laughs but little did I know it would be our last ones. More than anyone I have ever known, Bill changed the least over the years. Success and fame did not change him a lick. A gentleman for all times. As they say” Thanks for the memories.”

Mike Malloy
Senior Vice President
ERA Strother Real Estate
(910) 864-2325

Hi Greg,

I had a great time browsing your site.

I worked with The Soulful Seven from Saluda, SC and with Julius Cobb and The Soul Messengers when I was a teenager living in Columbia, SC.
There may be some pix of TSS with Arthur Conley after a show. On a recent visit to my Mom in SC, she said she had JC's 45 "Excuse Me". I didn't play on that session. I believe it was Mark Williams (or Williamson). I joined the band right after the recording. I was amused to see those two bands on your site.

I went to a HS prom in 1971 only to hear The Columbians. Info on your site shows them playing '66-'69. I believe that Harry S. Dent Jr. Was playing organ/LH Bass for them at the time. I'll contact him to see if my memory is working.

I may be able to fill in some blanks regarding the Columbia, SC music scene from '69-'73. I repaired amps at Columbia Music Center and knew many of the working musicians in the area as well as the travelling groups.

Jeff Simpson
(now in Boston)


I welcome any and all input. -I have always considered the Hey Baby Days to be a project, an evolving process where more will be added and corrections will be made. Thank you for your interest. Any photos that you have that can be used would be appreciated.




You are right…Coach is very deserving. There are some things in life that only happen once and I am so glad I made the trip to Dalton to see him honored in such a way.

Although I did not play in a band I do understand one thing….Beach Music is truly a religion for those who love it. And I am here to tell you “I Love Beach Music”. And if God had given me a voice…I’d be on stage in a heartbeat.

Mark your calendar for Memorial Day Sunday 2010….Unless something unforeseen happens we’ll be at Chateau Elan again next year.

I do remember some of the bands you mentioned. As a matter of fact the author of the book has a blog and is looking for more names of old bands from the 60’ and 70’s. I’ll forward your e-mail to Greg as well.

Rick Wagner

It was good seeing you at Maloof’'s induction into the Hall of Fame. It was certainly a long time coming to a very deserving man.

As I had told you, I played in a band (bass guitar) back in high school. There were other St. Pius people involved who held the roles of lead singer (Greg Solomon) and back up singer (Jessie Prothro). When playing football became too demanding I had to give up playing in the band which I loved dearly but football meant more at the time. The band was known as The Newbreed Band and we went head to head back then with bands such as The Soul Jers, The Bushmen, The Soul Survivors, and The Uninhibited Limited. Some of these bands were mentioned in the Hey Hey Baby Days of Beachmusic book but for whatever reason, our band wasn’t. We were as prominent back then as any band playing soul and beach music.

I have missed playing in a band terribly. Two of my former band member’s play now in a band out of Greenville, SC called The Encore Band. These are professional people that play together on the weekends as time permits much like what you indicated the Pieces of Eight do.

I would like to get back into playing and seeing your email has spurred me to pursue this urge. It’s going to take me awhile to get back up to speed playing the bass but it’s not something that is totally out of reach.
My thought would possibly involve some possibility with Asip’s band on a limited basis if the occasion should arise. It’s the same music I played originally in many cases and which I have followed and continue to follow today.

I wonder if you would be kind enough to pass my email to Jimmy Asip. I know it’s a long shot but I must give it a try. You’d have to play in a band that plays this type of music to truly understand my passion and desire. If it were even for one o two songs that would be more than I could ever ask for. It’s certainly not about the money. I don’t need that. It’s all about getting on that stage and playing.

Hope to see you at another one of their concerts if I can find their schedule foe the remainder of the year or in the Fall at one of the Alumni gatherings at a football game.


Phillip Welch
Class of ‘71
Captain of the 1970 Football Team

Hiya, Greg -

Can't believe it's taken me this long to come across the website for the book. Beach music was a big part of my life growing up in the Richmond area and traveling the Southeast (although somehow I never made it to Myrtle Beach).

Will keep my eye on the site and blog in hopes you'll garner enough interest for that second printing, unless you think there's any chance the Plan 9 stores would still have one. (My sister-in-law lives in Brandermill.)

Since the move to digital audio I've been dubbing a bunch of old radio airchecks when time permits. I'm attaching two small clips for your entertainment...the first is a custom jingle done for Steve Leonard's Sunday Night Beach Music Show on WEZS back in the early 80's, the other is Jackie Gore and The Embers' classic "I Love Budweiser" radio spot.

I have about forty hours of Steve's show from the period '83-'90 (different stations and venues) around here somewhere. When I get around to making that retrospective that's been on the back of my mind, I'll send you a copy.

Thanks for all your work on the Heeeey Baby Days project.

Rob Barker
West Linn, Oregon


Thanks for your email; last time I talked with Jim Bland he had four books left in his stores. If he can't help you then try Barnes and Nobles on line. We are taking the last of our books to the Coachman and Four reunion in NMB later this week. If you can't get the book from either of the above two, let me know and I will save one that I plan to take to this week's big reunion in SC.




Barnes & Noble did the shipping, to boot!
I was listening to Ted Bell this morning and he was doing phoners with Clifford Curry, Linda Quinlan and several other performers about the Coachman & Four gig...sounds like it's going to be a great time - enjoy.

Hello Greg,

My name is Joe Wilson and I'm at Archie Jordan's house in GA. I really love your
book and I think you have a big hit. If you ever do an update I have even more
stories about our group (The Classics IV) and "The Allman Joys playing together
at the Neptune A-Go-Go in Daytona Beach. Anyway I want to buy your book. Where
can I buy it when I get home in Indiana? You can reach me after Sunday at my
email address below.

Thanks for the memories,
Joe Wilson

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