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From the Land of Band Box Records

Pre-British Invasion 1956-1961: The Mysterious Appalachians

May 18, 2011
craigr244

The UK folk group Appalachians

The Mysterious Appalachians

Who Are They?

Exactly who are the Appalachians?  For several years I have been going on the assumption that they were indeed from the U.K.  Until today I had forgotten where I got this information.  So I waded through all of my British Invasion resources, and finally found two references.

The first is from a book entitled “The Goldmine British Invasion Record Price Guide”.  The book lists three singles by the Appalachians on ABC Paramount.  Only one of these charted in the US – “Bony Moronie” which peaked at number 62 in 1963.  The reference notes only state “They charted in the US with their folk styled remake of Bony Moronie”.  That’s it.

Then I came across another entry from chart expert Joel Whitburn’s book “Music Stars” which states ” Folk group which included Priscilla Mitchell Hubbard (married to Jerry Reed) and Stan Robinson – father of Chris and Rich Robinson of (US group) The Black Crowes.”  No mention of the UK.

Listening to their records doesn’t help.  They sound like the Springfield of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” also of the UK with no discernable British accent.

One note of interest – the Goldmine Price Guide does list two UK issue releases by the same group – again “Bony Moronie” on a British label HMV and another on a British Mercury release – both also in 1963.  I looked up Stan Robinson – and yes there is a well-traveled Brit with that name having (according to Wikipedia) worked with The Don Pendal Quartet in 1965, The Animals Band (a one time thing) also in 1965, The Sandy Brown-Al Fairweather Band in 1968 and later with Maynard Ferguson when he was in the UK.

Same guy?  Don’t know.  Would love to know – so join in if you know something.  Oh, and note that even though this group was very obscure in the US – look at the record sleeves in the photo above.  The group is listed right on the company sleeve from ABC Paramount right along with Domino, Ray Charles, the Impressions, Tommy Roe, Tommy Sands, etc., pretty select company.  But I can’t find any bio information from any ABC Paramount discography.  Oh well, rock on!

18 Comments

  1. Stan Robinson (of the Appalachians) released “Boom a Dip Dip” in 1959 on Monument Records which I’m sure you know is a U.S. label. He performed it on American Bandstand and you can find a video (I didn’t watch it) on YouTube.
    I don’t think he’s British.

  2. I e-mailed a crazy record guy (it may have been The Mass Murderer) to see if he knows where The Appalachians are from. Waiting to hear.

  3. This is a wonder website on the British Invasion…Love your page…Joe

  4. A few years back I was asked to write the sleeve notes for some ‘not for profit’ private CD compilations, Paul Martin’s “Pop Cycles” series if you’ve heard of these, and one had a mid sixties track by the Appalachians. It took me a while and quite a bit of tracking down before I finally got to the bottom of the Appalachians story. I’m writing this in my break at work so I apologise I can’t remember all the names but here goes. First there are at least two bands called the Appalachians, one was an American Folk group formed in the early 60s by Stan Robinson and Tony ????. Stan had been a rockabilly artist with a minor hit in the late 50s who saw which way the wind was blowing and teamed up with Tony, a folk singer, to try and grab some success in the folk boom. They had a minor hit with their first single Bony Maronie but the singles that followed , I seem to remember at least two others, didn’t do as well. Then the dreaded letter arrived from Uncle Sam and Tony was called up. He plumped for the Navy and got posted to San Diego. Stan returned to the south and set up home in the Atlanta area. They’d agreed to to not use the name again, but Stan formed a new group calling them The Appalachians, with an additional female vocalist who I believe he later married. Eventually he gave up music and settled for a successful carreer running a company that made clothes for babies and young children. And yes it was his sons who formed The Black Crowes. Meanwhile Tony, settled in the naval base at San Diego, heard about Stan resurrecting the name and thought if he can do it so can I. So he formed a small bar group to play at weekends also called The Appalachians. The really fascinating tit bit about this group is that he found a 15/16 year old kid who father was stationed at the Naval base to play guitar with him. Who was that kid ? The one and only Bernie Leadon, yep The Eagle , still many years away from selling millions of records. Note neither of these bands recorded (as far as I know).
    This now brings us back to the UK and the track that is on the Pop Cycles compilation. Sorry again can’t remember the name but it came out around ’65 or ’66. You were so close in your comments about a ‘Springfields’ sound, even if you were referring to the US early 60s group 🙂 The English group was a studio project put together by Mike Hurst, yes the ex-Springfield man, who by this time was making a name for himself as a record producer.

    Sources. I contacted Miker Hurst who told me about his record. I contacted that guy Tony ??? who gave me the story of the US Appalachians and I also tried contacting Jerry Reed to check that story about his wife. I strongly suspect that she was in another group called the Appalachians and had nothing to do with the Bony Maronie band. Tony told me they were a duo. Hope this has been of interest.

    • Thank you so much for the deep research and intriguing response. I was looking back over my original Post and noticed that I made reference to a couple of UK single releases by ann “Appalachians” group – one on HMV and another on British Mercury. I will have to go back to see if either one of those releases replicated the ABC Paramount releases. I also see I made reference to the female member of the group being a Priscilla Hubbard Mitchell who I said was married to Jerry Reed – so I guess that might be off track – What is your line of work in the music business? As you’ve probably guessed I am linked at the hip with all-things U.K. probably to the point of near insanity. I marvel at the number of U.K.acts that secured U.S. label distribution during the Invasion (beyond the main stream Invaders) – But more than anything I am fascinated with the way the U.K. was true to rock and roll (and blues, and r&b) through it all.
      Let me know if you have a web site or Blog etc. I originally was sent chasing this Appalachian story when I came across “The Appalachians” listing in the “British Book of Hit Singles” (in the U.K.) and it was “Bony Moronie” – So that author was probably off base due to Mike Hurst’s project in the studio.

      Thanks again! Be happy to hear more on any topic any time!

      • Missing info for my last post. The other member of the Appalachians was Tony Seibert. The UK single by Mike Hurst’s Appalachians came out in 1966 and was on the Mercury label MF 930 with the A side being ‘Look Away’.

        I haven’t any job in the music industry 😦 I’m just an amateur sleuther who loves music, especially stuff from the 60s (both sides of the pond). Had a better chance tonight to look at your web site, which I liked, but it takes a loooong time to load. Perhaps you should break it down intio smaller sections ?

      • Thanks again for the information – Especially confirming the Mercury release by the “Other Appalachians” Now I’m going to look for that single and add it to my obsessive collection! PS: I located the reference to Priscilla being “Jerry Reed’s Wife” – It comes from Joel Whitburn’s book “Music Stars” where he attempts to include a brief bio (sometimes very brief) relating to every single artist/act that has charted in the U.S. during “the last half century.”

      • Here is something from Wikipedia about Mike Hurst – Interesting: The group (Springfields) disbanded in October 1963. In 1964, Hurst formed a band called the Methods, featuring Jimmy Page and then Albert Lee on guitar as well as Tony Ashton on keyboards.

    • Hi Anthony,
      I am trying to track down the Pop Cycle comps for possible inclusion on the Psychedelicized Radio playlist, would you have them or would you be able to point me in the right direction to locate them?
      Thanks
      Chris

      • Not sure who Anthony might be – but I enjoyed your web site!

      • Haha, thanks! Yes, to all those that haven’t heard of us yet, please stop by and tune in and turn on as TL said. http://www.psychedelicized.com 24/7/365 psyche radio!
        Anthony H, was the dude that stated above he did the sleeve notes for the very comps I seek! Hoping he can help. If anyone else has them…

      • Chris I was reading the latest UKinvasion update tonight trying to work out how I can leave a comment about the Riot Squad when I followed a link back here and saw your comment. Yes I have most of the Pop Cycles series, well the first 9 volumes, on CD AND the artwork in word documents. I tried clicking on the link for your name and that took me to the Psychedelicized radio site but I can’t see a “contact” email, I followed a link to your “Christyfry” web site but again can’t see how to contact you. You shy or what 🙂 If you want to email me I’m at anthonyDOT harland ATtesco.net. Oh and Craig if you read this how do I post a comment about The Riot Squad ?

        Anthony

      • Looks like you figured it out!

      • Hi Anthony, it’s on there: info@psychedelicized.com
        Would be great if I can get those that you have so I can see what we are already playing and what gems we might lack.
        Best Christy

    • Dear Mr Harland
      I try to find Pop Cycles 6-7-8-9-10.
      Please help me find them or direct me where I can find them.
      Many thanks
      bzh55@hotmail.com

  5. The third member of the San Diego Appalachians was a classically trained bass player, a pretty young lady who had recently graduated from San Diego State College named Dexter Fisher. The group was formed at the popular folk club in La Mesa called the Land of Oden.

  6. The Appalachians had two singles released in Australia on Ampar Records. “Bony Moronie” was the first and the follow up was “Hillybilly Ding-Dong Choo-Choo” b/w “Big Betty”. I recently did vinyl restoration on my (mono) single of “Bony Moronie”. It’s an interesting arrangement of the Larry Williams song.

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