From the Land of Band Box Records

Now….That Was Rock and Roll!

January 12, 2016

There are a hand full of early rockers which just stay with me as defining moments in rock and roll.  When I play these today or hear them occasionally on the radio – the thrill is just the same (well maybe not exactly the same as the first time – but still a thrill!)

The Dell-Vikings – “Come Go With Me”

When I used to DJ dances this is one that always brought people out of their seats – A perfect rock and roll composition.  There are times when I listen to this that I think it is the perfect unadulterated rocker!  Bios always like to lead with the angle that this was an early integrated group which is true – Hooray for that!  They formed in the mid 1950’s on an Air Force base in Pittsburgh sometimes listed as “The Del-Vikings” and also “The Dell-Vikings”.  At that time the single white member was David Lerchey.  There would be personnel changes here and there.  One member was along the way Chuck Jackson.  There was a period of time when the group split into two factions both touring and recording simultaneously.

“Come Go With Me” charted in March of 1957 reaching number 2 on the R&B charts and number 4 on the Hot 100 – residing there for 31 weeks.  They hit the Top 10 again in 1957 with “Whispering Bells” (#5 R&B and #9 Hot 100), and “Cool Shake” (#9 R&B and #12 Hot 100).

The Rebels – “Wild Weekend”

The Rebels were from Buffalo, NY and their producer – DJ Tom Shannon had them cover a Canadian group’s recording – they being The Hot Toddys.  When the record became a hit, the Hot Toddy’s version was released on Swan and the group was called “The Rockin’ Rebels”.  A bit confusing but I loved both versions.  The Hot Toddys also had a hit with “Rockin’ Crickets” #57 in 1959.  “Wild Weekend” hit number 8 on the Hot 100 in December of 1962.  Shannon had some subtle ties to Colorado, working in the state for a time.

The Silhouettes – “Get A Job”

What a great rock and roll record!  If you don’t get up and dance to this one – let’s face it – you will NEVER DANCE!  The Philadelphia base Silhouettes would take this one all the way to the top of charts in January of 1958 – #1 for 2 weeks (#1 R&B for six weeks).  Oddly, the group would never experience another charting single let alone a monster hit.

Here they are on American Bandstand:

The Showmen – “It Will Stand”

I never, never get tired of this song which hit the charts in September of 1961 and was composed by Norman “General” Johnson – the lead singer for the Showmen and later the front man for The Chairmen of the Board on Invictus Records which was formed by Motown smash hit composers Holland-Dozier-Holland.  Now growing up in Denver I never knew what “beach music” was – I thought it was the Beach Boys in California.  I only later learned about the Southeast coast genre.  And I learned about a great dance, called “The Shag” which I could never engage in without looking like my pants had fallen down and caught around my ankles sending me stumbling across the dance floor.  I love “It Will Stand” – Always will.  The song was a minor hit – first charting at number 61 in 1961 and then again in 1964 reaching number 80.

The song was featured in the 1989 movie “Shag” with a cast that included Bridget Fonda.  It was filmed appropriately enough in South Carolina.

Here is a video from that movie showing the “contest scene” music by The Showmen and a finale rousing couple dancing to Lloyd Price’s “Staggerlee”.

The Astronauts – “Baja”

Colorado’s own Astronauts (formerly the Storm Troupers) were mostly from the college town of Boulder with a couple of exceptions.  Several members attended The University of Colorado in Boulder.  The group had a great sound and “Baja” remains for me the best surf era instrumental.  Got to dance to the Astronauts on a couple of occasions out at the old Elitch Gardens’ Trocedero Ballroom.  The song was penned by Lee Hazelwood.  The Astronauts recorded three of his compositions.  “Baja” barely dented the Hot 100 at number 94 for a single week – their only entry into the charts.  It did go to the top in Denver, Colorado however on The Denver Tiger – KIMN radio.

Here is a great article by Colorado Blogger George Krieger: “The Astronauts – Surfin’ The Rockies”

Bo Diddley – “Road Runner”

“Road Runner” entered the charts in early 1960 and reached number 75 – What a great rumbling bass guitar and a great boss sound!  I love this first video with the integrated and co-ed guitar threesome in a shortened version – The full version is posted second.


  1. I’m sure you know that the Del-Vikings “Come Go With Me” was 1957 and NOT 1967. Some surprises on this list, but then you ARE from Colorado (Astronauts — “Baja”?)

  2. Craig,
    BTW… not one of the links to videos would download for me. “An Error Occurred, Please Try Again” is the message on all of the links.

    • Well it was with the sizing code – Doesn’t seem to work anymore anywhere on the site – Must be YouTube thing – Means I will have to remove all sizing code someday throughout – Oh well – but I did get that removed from this post – should be working now

    • PS – Hey Fred – Had you ever come across that Butch LaRita “The Deputy” picture sleeve that I posted (or perhaps you own it) That was a new one on me. No one around here seems to have ever seen it.

      • Hi Craig,
        Yeah… I do own the record / sleeve for Butch La Rita. I noticed another picture sleeve from a Colorado label (CLW) that I have never seen — Gene Harrell on CLW 45-6593. You state that Mr. Harrell allowed you to scan his copy for inclusion in your 45cat entry. The Harrell sleeve is now on my “want-list.”

      • I have been meeting with Gene (87 years old) in Centennial, Colorado – We are busy nominating him to the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame!

  3. Glad you posted The Astronauts. The local band scene today is pretty well decimated; there used to be places that talent could grow and develop before breaking out nationally, especially in the ’60s and ’70s when bands were self-contained. The astronauts being “kinds of Denver rock” are a great example. The Wildweeds in Connecticut are another – a couple of #1s in Hartford and New Haven when the rest of the world didn’t have a clue. (And the clue they got was weird; when “No Good to Cry” started to break out, it was as an R&B hit. Chess, Cadet Concept’s parent label, bought full pagre ads in the trades featured the band’s photo. Problem was, they were white guys – and they were one of the least good-looking bands ever! The single died with a thud. Sad, too, because they were one of the best bands I ever heard live (Al Anderson’s next band, NRBQ, another regional phenomenon as well as a national cult classic) being another).

    I’m with you on your other choices, by the way, and of course there are so many more – big hits at the time or not-so-big that survived to become backbones of rock & roll. Incidentally, did you know that the original Come Go With Me was acapella? It was re-recorded when the group signed to Fee Bee, which was then picked up and reissued by Dot. When it hit nationally, the acapella version was brought out with a badly-overdubbed band on Luniverse, the same label that had Buchanan & Goodman’s “Flying Saucer” – once a radical technological breakthrough, now sounding rather primitive. (In fact, Luniverse had an 8-song albums of their demos, all badly overdubbed. Although it was really bad, I’m told it commands a lot of money on the collectors’ market, thus reaffirming my theory that there is a sub-set of collectors ho “play the label, not the record”! But I digress.)

    Keep up the good work, Craig – you’re blog is always interesting and I appreciate the work that goes into it.

    Best regards,
    Country Paul

    PS – A special nod to The Asronauts’ “In My Car, another shoulda-been-bigger record!

    • Paul – as always your contributions shine beyond the limited experiences I had other than via that old portable stereo record player I owned. Which reminds me of a time when I took it to a party where I scarcely knew anyone. This would have been about 1967 or so – Some drunk girl stood on top of one of the portable speakers and started gyrating (I wouldn’t call it dancing) and the speaker collapsed. I gathered up what remained of my stereo and went home.

      • I hope you sent the girl a bill!!!!

        Regarding my experiences and knowledge, while I was there for some of it, it was a while back. I also check out “scholarly resources” – some of the better writers on the internet, some of the first-person or family members who post, and a variety of good books that seem to be coming out now while many of the source people are still alive or memories are fresh.

        That said, “Much has been written about the Del Vikings over the years. Some of it has probably even been accurate.” That quote comes from Marv Goldberg, one of the best historians of the ’50s available. While I didn’t re-read this before your post, it is a fascinating history of a group that seems to have had more lives than a cat: http://www.uncamarvy.com/DelVikings/delvikings.html. Were they the Del Vikings? Del-Vikings? Dell Vikings? All of the above? The answer is #4, and it gets weirder from there! Happy reading!

      • I have trolled Marv Goldberg’s site from time-to-time – Where he obtained the time to cover so much ground so thoroughly is a mystery to me – I will check out the DV entry!

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