The New York Band on Denver’s Band Box Label
I have never been successful in efforts to identify the members of the Band Box recording group “The Crazy Crickets” who released one single on the Denver label in 1962. But thanks to a reader that has changed. On March 17th of this year Marc Coulavin wrote:
“I’ve tried to get in touch with one of the members of the Crazy Crickets.
From what I’ve found out so far, the band seems to have been from Rochester, NY. Judging by the songwriting credits, the members appear to have been Carl Foti (guitar), Wesley “Wes” Huff, Terrance “Terro” O’Donnell, and Richard “Dick” Kasper. The credits are not on the record, but I found them in an old book I have from Canadian BMI called “Yes, There is Canadian Music,” which lists both songs from the 45, with writer’s credits.
Foti went on to form a group called The Gallant Men, with one of his brothers, then later on Gunther’s Bus. Dick Kasper went on to cut a 45 in a country vein for Fine Records, confirming the Rochester connection. So not Canadian, as I had thought at one point (in spite of being listed in the BMI book), and not from Colorado, I would venture to say. How they got released on Band Box is a mystery for now.”
The Gallant Men recording is shown below. Interestingly a second version was released with “Lost Romance” being credited to “The Untimates” which must be the same group I assume.
Marc’s reference to the Canadian resource matches up with the fact that “The Crazy Crickets” released their two Band Box tracks initially on the Canadian Barry record label “B-3040X” in 1961.
I suspect that Band Box owner Vicky Morosan most likely acquired the two tracks via her East Coast dealings with co-composer of “Rock Around the Clock” Jimmy DeKnight (James Myers). DeKnight not only contributed to tracks for Band Box in the Fall of 1961 “Whistlin’ Willie” and “Rock-A-Billy” (not the Guy Mitchell hit), but provided access for Band Box as well to a several other artists who he personally represented through publishing rights including rock-a-billy artist Little Gracie, Artie Picozzi, Nicky Love, Buddy Kain, Gar Bacon who was a New Jersey native, Sue Leban, Dean Hayden, Steve Gibson and the Red Caps, Terry Sawyer, Bobby Latin and Joe Valino.
Undoubtedly none of these artists ever stepped into the Band Box studio and probably never visited Denver back in 1960-1961. It would be very interesting to know what studio Myers used in his publishing endeavors back in New York.
All of these releases on Band Box came about in the early 1960’s. Later Vicky seems to have secured local Colorado talent for most of the releases going forward.
Back to the Crickets. Marc reports:
“The Dick Kasper record I found information about is this:
DICK KASPER – so you’re tossin’ me out babe! / i’m closing this door
In FI-11M67103 – male country singer with organ garage band style backing
500 copies ordered November 10th, 1967″
Broderick and Eddie Fontaine
The composer on the Gallant Men recording, Dick Broderick, is the most likely same fellow who wrote a track for recording artist and one-hit wonder Eddie Fontaine (another New Jersey native), “The Years Before” on Decca 9-30108 in 1956.
Ironically, Fontaine played a minor role in the TV series titled “The Gallant Men”, (1962) then later landing a part on Television’s hugely successful “Happy Days” playing the part of the Fonz’s father! The group which evolved from the Crazy Crickets, “The Gallant Men” also came about the same year as the TV Series, 1962. Hummm??