From the Land of Band Box Records

The Velvets/Velvits – Jimmy and Jimmy

July 24, 2017

1967 – Jimmy Velvet – Velvet Tone 501 – “Sings a Touch of Velvet”

Jimmy Velvet was born in Jacksonville, Florida Jimmy Tennant. Velvet first worked with another singer James Mullins from Coalgate, Oklahoma who called himself “Jimmy Velvit”.  After splitting up Tennant began using “Jimmy Velvet” for his performing name and Mullins also continued on as “Jimmy Velvit” – a little confusing.  To add to the confusion – both recorded a single titled “We Belong Together”.  Another confusing issue was that Tennant also record is “Velvit”

Jimmy below continues on today and has even composed an “autobiography” “Inside the Dream” which was first published in 2007.  He met singer Elvis Presley at one point in Jacksonville – and they became friends for life – which is reported in the biography.

Velvet managed a couple of charting singles, the above mentioned “We Belong Together” charting in December of 1963 reaching number 75.  His other “hit” was “It’s Almost Tomorrow” which peaked at number 93 in 1965.  He did release many singles from 1958 through 1973 a few of which are shown below – one as part of a duo called “Kitt n Kory”.

The Other Jimmy (Mullins – aka “Jimmy Velvit”

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Inside the Dream

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Another “California Kid” Tale

July 23, 2017

Gary Usher – From to Drag Strip to the Great Beyond

Related imageGary Lee Usher was born in Los Angeles and died in Los Angeles and circulated through the ranks of the Southern California club including Brian Wilson, Roger Christian, The Hondells, Bruce Johnston and many more.

Usher had his moments with “hit records” having co-written “In My Room” with Brian Wilson (Beach Boy father Murray Wilson did not want Usher involved with the band).  Usher also was involved in composing “409”, “Ten Little Indians” and the LP cut “Lonely Sea” all by the Beach Boys.

He composed the movie track “Beach Party” which was sung by Frankie Avalon and penned Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s “Don’t Give In to Him”.

So there weren’t a lot of hot hits from the direct pen of Usher, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  During his considerably short life, Usher performed in, wrote for, produced or arranged (and often all of these) for many, many popular acts as depicted below in the visual 45 discography.   Much of his work focused on the “hot rod genre” often working with studio musicians to form any number of “groups” such as “The Super Stocks”, “The Sunsets”, “The Four Speeds”, “The Tri-Five” and others.

His early involvement in recording included a release on Titan records using his own name in 1961, again in 1962 on “Lancet” records – fronting a “group” in 1963 called “Gary Usher and the Usherettes” working in a girl group component to the surf craze.

And then into the later 1960’s working with “The Castells”, “The Hondells”, Wayne Newton!!!, Annette, Colorado’s “Road Runners”, the “Surfaris”, “Chad and Jeremy” and “The Byrds”.

Usher was involved with a huge amount of recorded output on the Decca record label, nearly all of it fading into instant obscurity.

Seems there should be a book about Gary Usher – He was no doubt a huge chapter in the “California Saga”.  Gary Usher passed away on May 25th of 1990 at the age of 51 losing a battle with cancer.


The group Sagittarius formed in the later 1960’s pretty much a studio group headed up by Gary Usher.  This explains most likely why the group was able to release so many singles first on Columbia where Usher was a mainstay and then on Usher’s “Together” Records shown below.  Many  participated on the Sagittarius recordings including Glen Campbell, Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston and Curt Boettcher.

Boettcher was a familiar figure in Los Angeles working with the “Sunshine Pop” groups such as “The Association”, “The Millennium”, Emitt Rhodes, Tommy Roe, Paul Revere and the Raiders and others.  He started off in a folk group “The Goldbriars”.  Boettcher died on June 14th of 1987 at the age of 43 from a lung infection.

The GoldBriars

The GoldBriars formed in 1963 by Curt Boettcher in Minnesota with sisters Dotti and Sheri Holmberg and Ron Neilsson.   Upon moving to Los Angeles they added Ron Edgar who would later be in “The Music Machine”.

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Curt Boettcher

Gary Usher Discography

The 45’s displayed below all had Gary Usher involvement including those few below where he is not credited.

Gary Usher 1961/1962

Musicians: Gary Usher

Gary Usher 1963

Musicians: The Four Speeds, The Champs, Frankie Avalon, Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, The Beach Boys, The Sunsets, Rochell & The Candles, The Tri-Five, Lloyd Thaxton, Gary User and the Usherettes, The Pendletones, The Dartells, The Competitors, The Timers

Gary Usher 1964

Musicians: Jody Miller, The Hondells, The Wheel Men, The Castells, Wayne Newton, Gary Usher, Don Brandon, Annette, The Super Stocks, The Road Runners, The Neptunes, The Go-Go’s, The Grads, The Knights, The Surfaris, Dave Myers

Gary Usher 1965

Musicians: Hank Snow, The L.A. Teens, The Devons, Keith Green, The Toads, Bobby Sherman, The Surfaris, Chuck and Joe, The Castells

Gary Usher 1966

Musicians: The Surfaris, The Hondells, The Castells, The Sons of Adam, The Devons, Sean and the Brandywines, Beverly Williams, The Buddies, Keith Green, The Forte Four

Gary Usher 1967

Musicians: The Byrds, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Hearts and Flowers, Gene Clark, Sagittarius, Chad and Jeremy, Finders Keepers, Dal Perkins, The Hondells, Sagittarius, Keith Colley

Gary Usher 1968

Musicians: The Spiral Staircase, The Byrds, Chad and Jeremy, Sagittarius, The Hondells, Sagittarius, Ron Wilson

Gary Usher 1969

Musicians: Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Sagittarius, The Byrds

Gary User 1970’s and 1980’s

Musicians: The Wackers, The Guild, Curt Boetcher, California Music, Bruce Johnston, Celestium, Brian Wilson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Dick Dale

Gary Usher’s “Together” Records Label

Gene Cornish – A “Beetle” before a “Rascal”

July 22, 2017

1964 – The Unbeatables – Dawn 5050
“Live at the Palisades Amusement Park N.J.”

Image result for gene cornishFuture “Young Rascal”  Gene Cornish was a member of this group and they did release a single “I Wanna Be a Beetle” in March of 1964 which is included on this long play.  Can’t seem to locate the names of the other “Unbeatables” other than a reference to them being an “interracial” group.   The group spelled their name “Unbeetables” on their Dawn 45.

There are hints in Gene’s Wiki bio that he brought Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere from “The Starliters” into the “Unbeatables”.  But that doesn’t fulfill the “interracial” reference unless a fourth member fit the bill.  Cavaliere’s bio references his participation in two bands, “The Stereos” and then “The Escorts” before landing in “The Starliters” backing Joey Dee.

Below Cornish also released a Dawn single with “The Tomlin Sisters” releasing two tracks which apparently were penned by Gene and a relative (brother?).

His two Vassar Records releases were a bit earlier, in 1962 with the first featuring a band called “The Cornish Nobles”.  The co-composer on a few of the Vassar tracks was Lew Douglas who fronted his own orchestra and also recorded for Vassar.