Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Swingin' Conners ... and The Youngtones

We've been very fortunate lately to have some of the artists we write about here in Forgotten Hits find some of our musings on The Forgotten Hits Web Page.

Here's one such occurrence from a few short weeks ago ... and the conversations that transpired:

I read that wlsclark no longer had an original of “Walkin the Chalk" by the Swingin’ Conners on "More of Your First 45’s". If you can get them in touch with me, I can try to get them another original!
My Best,
Allan Conner

I, personally wasn't familiar with this record ... but, sure enough, Clark Besch HAD mentioned something about having ... and then LOSING ... this single in one of the comments that he posted about his First 45's.
Click here: Forgotten Hits - More of Your FIRST 45's

And if you visit Allan's website, you can read all about The Swingin' Conners ... and even see a video clip of their appearance on The Ted Mack Amateur Hour!!! (kk)

>>> One of my first non-parent 45's was Walkin the Chalk by The Swingin' Conners. (For this one the actual group showed up at out new shopping strip in Dodge City and played out of a Bond Bread truck and signed 45s for us kids! My first "concert"!!) I still have all of these original 45s except Swingin Conners.

HOW cool that Allan saw this blurb on our website ... and then CONTACTED US about sending Clark a replacement copy for his long-lost 45!!! Here's more:

Hi Allan,
WOW, what a site you have, and career!
Although I am a bit mad with anyone from Texas today (after the Texas / Nebraska game - Ha-ha), it is cool to see all the stuff you have done. I remember watching the Ted Mack Amateur Hour back when I was growing up in Dodge City, Kansas. It's possible I saw your family before my dad stole the Sunday TV for Harold Ensley's Fishin' Show. Did you by chance sing his theme, "Gone fishin' instead of just a wishin'"?? I searched for a video of him online years ago and found he was still alive, but he died recently. Maybe you saw his show back then locally? I think it was a local Oklahoma / Arkansas / Kansas produced program.
Anyway, I have no idea what I wrote when you saw my bit about the Swingin' Conners on Kent's Forgotten Hits site. I do know the Swingin' Conners were the first "concert" event I ever saw, as probably a 7 year old in 1963 / 64?? In 1963, I heard WKY and KOMA Oklahoma City playing your 45, "Walkin' the Chalk" for a while. In the last week of October, 1963, we visited my dad who had school every summer in Oklahoma City for the FAA. On that visit, we four boys talked dad into going to see the KOMA studios! We did so. Chuck Dann gave us a tour and gave each of us boys a 45 from the Tunedex. He autographed "That Sunday, That Summer" for me! Attached to this email is the KOMA and WKY charts from that week. I have an extra original of the WKY one if you want it. Note the Tackle cartoon on back. HOW did those guys go broke? They advertised constantly!! I guess the guys with tackle did not get the girls they were promised?
Although I cannot see "Walkin" on the KOMA chart (maybe it fell off already?), I did hear it on KOMA back then. We were in OKC when the song was a hit, as WKY shows it dropping from 24 to 26 (it fell off the next week). You'll also see the 45 Chuck Dann signed for me at #11!
As a side note, you might remember KOMA DJ Deane Johnson? Deane now lives in Omaha. He has a website that not only has airchecks of the stations he worked at, but GREAT photo memories of KOMA on his website. It is at: He now lives in Omaha!
One day, when my Mom took me with her to go shopping at our brand new first ever Dodge City shopping mall in 63 or 64 (?), there was this big Bond Bread truck that opened up (as I recall) on the side and there was "Swingin Conners" written on the truck (trailer?) in fancy lettering with a Bond bread emblem and picture. I asked Mom what was going on. She had no clue. Soon, the Swingin' Conners started performing some songs and chatting up the crowd (probably 20-30, maybe more, I have no idea). Since I do not remember it being really cold, it may have been spring 64 or maybe October 63?? Maybe, the band performed in front of the truck? It sure seemed like the truck had doors that opened up like a canopy on the side, so I am not sure if the band was maybe in front of in the truck. I have thoughts both ways, but am cloudy on that one.
Already being a top 40 music and radio fanatic at age 7, I was thrilled to hear a band "live" that I had heard on KOMA and WKY!!! WOW! Many had no idea who you all were, but listened contentedly. A band in Dodge City in the afternoon on the parking lot of a mall was an "event"!! After they performed a few songs (I have no idea how many), my Mom wanted to go home. I asked her to wait because I saw RECORDS by the truck! Sure enough, after they decided to take a break, they gave out picture sleeve 45s of "Walkin the Chalk," which was never available in Dodge City stores. I gleefully accepted an autographed copy of the Bond bread (that and Wonder Bread were the two kinds our stores carried, as I recall) sponsored 45 and went right home to play it. I actually had a 45 BY a group I had actually seen play live!! That would not happen again until 1965 when we visited KOMA again (we first visited the station in October, 1963) and in summer 65, saw the KOMA All-Americans put on concerts by Roger Miller and Gary Lewis where we got autographs of both stars! Those were the days when you could ACTUALLY see a current star AND get his autograph up close at a concert!!
Anyway, I have lost only a few of my 45s over the decades and one was "Walkin the Chalk". I made my own music top 40 charts starting in 1963 when I listed all of my 45s on a Big Chief tablet page as a 2nd or 3rd grader. I'd copy that for you, but cannot locate currently. It is funny to look at the precise writing I had as a kid. The Conners 45 is on the list. Soon, I was an expert at making my own charts and listed a top 80 in late 1965!
Anyway, I am thinking the 45 might have gotten broken -- a few did back then. I still would have kept the picture sleeve, but have no idea what really happened to the 45 or sleeve. My memory makes me think it had a lot of writing and Bond Bread endorsement along with a smaller picture of the band, correct?? I would search the 45 out on ebay and once bid $11 on it and got OUTBID, I believe. Back in the 90's, KOMA had a guy named Larry Neal who really put on a good weekly countdown show Saturday mornings based loosely on KOMA weekly charts from that week of one year in the past. His chart positions never matched my original charts and I finally found out that he did not have the KOMA charts, so he was using WKY charts for his KOMA countdown!! How cool to hear "Walkin the Chalk" again on one of those shows. I think I even have it on tape somewhere! At some point, someone sent me a cassette copy of the 45, but I do not know where that went, for some reason.
SO, long story, but I have wanted that 45 for some time -- 45 years, probably! In that time, I had my own radio oldies show from 80-89 locally and since 1990, have worked on CD reissues of 60's artists (Nancy Sinatra, Raiders, Hollies, American Breed, Mitch Ryder, and my faves, the Cryan Shames, to name a few) and kept on collecting (including jingles!). It would be great to get a copy of "Walkin the Chalk" again! I don't know if I would call it a favorite, but it is "chalk" full of memories of my youth! Please let me know if you can help me out.
Take care, glad to meet you and ... KENT, you have done it again!!
WLSClark (Clark Besch, now in Lincoln, Nebraska, where I was born but moved to Dodge City at age 1 and lived until 16 and moved back to Lincoln. Dodge City was great for hearing radio from the north, south, east and west and that is why I became such a collector and fan of old 60's top 40 radio and music. You could tune the dial constantly and get a great station! Just from 890 to 1000 was a dream! 890 WLS my fave of all, 900 KEYN Wichita, 910 KLSI Salina, Ks., 930 WKY in OKC, 940 KIXZ Amarillo, 950 KIMN Denver, 990 KNIN Wichita Falls, Tx., 1000 WCFL Chicago. With a Hallicrafter Receiver, it was DX heaven!
Nice to meet you. Now, I need to get "Walk, walk, walk, walk, walkin' down that chalk ..."

Proof again that you just NEVER know who may be reading Forgotten Hits today!!! Thanks for sharing your memories, Clark ... this truly is what we're all about ... and, if Allan sends you a copy of the record, be sure to share it with the rest of the class!!! (kk)

FYI: To the best of my knowledge, neither Clark or I ever heard back from Allan ... which is kinda weird since HE'S the guy who initiated the dialog ... but thanks to Tom Diehl, we were able to come up with a copy of "Walkin' The Chalk" to share with our readers today. Not a song I've ever heard before, this one made a big impression on a very young Clark Besch, after seeing his first live band perform. Here you go!


And then ANOTHER email out of the blue from Jocco of The Youngtones:

Life is great!
This is Jocco, formally of the Youngtones.
We were on the Atco, Brunswick and Time Square Record lables with recordings like "Patrica" and "Can I Come Over Tonite, etc.
If we can, we would like to link your website to our reunion site.
By the way, in the photo I am second from the left.

Unfortunately, not a very good photo ... and yet another one I'm not familiar with ... and Jocco never got back to us with a copy that we could share with our readers either ... nor did he ever send the link to their website (although I did receive a couple of follow-up emails from him.) Fortunately, once again Tom Diehl came through with BOTH tracks mentioned above ... so if anybody ELSE out there remembers these tunes, please give us a shout!