Brian McFadden’s Bizarre Tales of the British Invasion – Part Four
(Crown Records – The Dave Clark 5 – B. Brock & the Sultans)
This is the 4th installment of bewildering tales from the early British Invasion as researched by author Brian McFadden and presented in his “Rock Rarities for a Song – Budget That Saved The Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Kohner, Madison & Danforth – copyright 2015).
The budget label, Crown Records, was part of the “Modern” label family which included “Flair” and “RPM”, based out of California and owned by a quartet of brothers; Saul, Jules, Lester and Joe Bihari (along with several family sisters). The focus of their primary labels was, of course, rhythm and blues. Brian McFadden reports that it was only natural for the budget line to include R&B artists: “…since early rock ‘n’ roll was so heavily indebted to R&B, it’s hardly surprising that Crown had more than its share of cross-over artists.” Etta James, Jesse Belvin, The Cadets/Jacks, The Del Vikings, Ike Turner were all included in the Crown catalog along with many rock ‘n’ roll artists such as Ritchie Valens, The Fireballs, Neil Sedaka, Ray Smith and many others.
The label dove headlong into surf and hot-rod music with LP releases by groups such as “The Blasters”, “Mike Adams & the Red Jackets”, “Billy Boyd”, “Don Dailey”, “The Stingers” and “The Shutdowns”. McFadden explains that Crown re-titled songs from initial LP releases, mixed group and artists names, and shuffled content to fill out the various packages. There were so many variations that it appeared Crown had access to an endless supply of surf and hot-rod oriented groups and artists when in reality much of the instrumental output was the work of L.A. guitarist Jerry Cole.
So that brings us to the British Invasion side of Crown. Like all good budget labels, Crown got a lot of mileage out of a mere two tracks performed by the DC5, those being “Chaquita” and “In Your Heart”. McFadden: “Both of these songs are quite good, even though “Chaquita” is “Tequila” sideways. Before the boys were famous, they recorded these and other songs for Ember Records (in the U.K. as well as on Jubilee in the U.S. both in 1964) and Clark’s realization that he had little control over who could put this material out is what reportedly led him to keep such tight control on his later recordings.”
The Dave Clark releases were bolstered by a bunch of tracks by a mysterious group called “The Playbacks”. Brian explains that the “Playback” content seems somewhat disjointed and explains that the tracks originated from at least two different sources, with four of the tracks being penned and performed by, once again, Jerry Cole. One of the four “Little Lisa” was included on a counterfeit “Crown” release by a group called “The Phantom Surfers” – Wow! Counterfeiting a budget label!!!
Crown released four Crown covers for the DC 5 and one on their Custom label.
Stereo Copy Crown 400
Mono Copy Crown 5400
Custom 1098 (Canadian Cover Shown)
Beyond the future famed DC5, Crown released an LP titled “Do The Beetle” and all instrumental offering by a group called “B. Brock and the Sultans”. Apparently the group depicted on the cover is really Brock and Company and the songs on the LP are theirs. McFadden: “Anyone who did decide to add this LP to their collection was in for a pleasant surprise”. The surprise came with the tracks “Do the Beetle”, and “30 LB. Beetle” both of which McFadden describes as “hard driving rock” but more appropriate perhaps for a surf album.
McFadden also reports that Brock and company apparently released a single on their own label “La Broc” under the band name of “B. Brock and the Vibratos”.
Next Post Up: Palace Records & Those Crazy Liverpool Kids/Schoolboys/Moptops & More
(Visit Brian McFadden’s Amazon Store here to purchase “Rock Rarities” and more.) and to read a nice bio on McFadden.