Monday, May 24, 2010

Some Of Your "Local Hits" Comments

Here are some of the comments we received after our "Spotlight on Wisconsin" / Local Hits Series ran last week:

Just hearing the two samples you featured on your website was enough to make me order the new Tygers CD.

"Night Walker" sounds like a leftover Atlanta Rhythm Section track - and I just LOVE that "Society's Child" / "Indian Reservation' ending! - you've certainly covered THAT topic a time or two in Forgotten Hits. Now I can't wait to hear the rest of the CD. Hopefully it won't take The Tygers 40 years to record their next one.
Thank you for introducing me to this band - I've never heard them before but if they sound THIS good, I've got a hunch we WILL be hearing from them again!
Beth Susman
Like I said, you'll pick out all kinds of musical influences and references throughout the CD but the songs are still strong enough to stand on their own. (I wonder how many other of our regular Forgotten Hits Readers picked up on that "Society's Child" / "Indian Reservation" ending ... you're right, we HAVE covered this topic a time or two here in FH!!!)

Thanks, Beth ... I'm VERY confident that you'll enjoy the whole CD! (kk)

I was excited to hear the Tygers cuts this morning. I would love to get the group to join me on the air to talk about the new release. Since I still play "Little By Little" from time to time, I think our listeners would get a kick out of this.
Phil Nee
I would think that they would LOVE to do your show ... a GREAT chance to play some of the old music right alongside the new ... and drum up a little more local interest. I've passed your note on to The Tygers and hope that you'll be hearing from them real soon. When you do, please let us know so that we can help to spread the word so that others on the list can listen, too! Thanks, Phil! (kk)

Great piece on The Tygers, a band I'd never even heard of before! It's amazing to me that you can take an unknown artist, do a 3-day piece on this artist, and still leave us wanting more. Kudos to Forgotten Hits for introducing us to music we might have otherwise missed - and always keeping it interesting.
Put me on the list of folks who just ordered the new Tygers CD!

Thanks, Bill, that means a lot. I'm proud of the piece we did on The Tygers and thank the guys again for doing the FH interview ... I hope that they're all proud of it, too! (kk)

Regarding Tony's Tygers, that show we did with them up in Milwaukee must have been the show at County Stadium and, given their popularity to the north of we flatlanders, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they immediately preceded us to the rotating stage. I always kinda considered Tony's Tygers and the Robbs as Wisconsin's Cryan Shames and that is meant to be the penultimate compliment. Melodic tunes; great harmonies; catchy hooks; just enough raw power pop to stay in the garage. Reminded me of our earlier pre-Mercury ballads and mid-tempo tunes and that, of course, is THE ultimate in kudos.

Hope all is great in your world -
Ray Graffia, Jr.
The New Colony Six

Thanks for the plug, Kent. To clarify, that band member list I sent you for The Tygers includes both original and later members, and the two female singers were actually part of a later group (Passion) that Tony Dancy tried.
I've heard the new Tygers CD and I have to agree with you, it is very good. These guys obviously know something about music. Even their first record was really surprisingly sophisticated for such a young band.

Gary Myers

Hey Kent,
Thanks so much for The Tygers article - great!!!
Billy James

C'mon ... wouldn't you expect a piece on Tony's Tygers be grrrrrrrrrrrrreat?!?!?!
Thanks, Billy! (kk)

Thanks a million for your help. That was quite an extensive piece. We'll keep you appraised of our progress and always remember your dedication to the old music.

Thanks again, Kent, the series looks great.
Lanny / The Tygers

>>>Quite honestly, he was not a big help in my research and it's my understanding that he was very difficult to work with. In fact, one former band member, upon learning that Craig was working as a single in the 90's, said, "That's good - that way he can get along with himself." (Gary Myers)
The quote in Gary Myers' book actually came from a live interview on my show with a Madison area artist who asked me whatever happened to Vilas. I sent the tape to Gary when he was working on "Do You Hear That Beat".
When Vilas read the book, he was not happy. He did not know that my show was the source. I have never told him. Several of the ViCounts have told me that they agree with the statement that is in the book.
Vilas' son Timothy Craig lives in Nashville and has gotten some plays on Country radio in the last 2 years. The cd is called 'You Got It' and the title cut has been his biggest so far.
Phil - Wrco
Being completely honest, I had to heavily edit some of the comments I received regarding Vilas Craig (including a couple that I could run at all!) ... apparently he was not very well liked by many of his musical contemporaries ... and it sounds like he spent most of his time alienating himself from his bandmates and musical cohorts rather than enjoying the music they helped him to provide. Too bad ... after all this time, and all that music, it sounds like there aren't a lot of happy memories to show for it ... not at ALL what music is supposed to be about. (kk)

>>>Since I wasn't familiar with these guys, I asked our Milwaukee FH Investigative Team of Ken Freck and Gary Myers what they could tell me about Vilas Craig and his various bands ... I didn't get a whole lot back but here's a little more insight: (kk)

Well, I guess I could have copied the whole entry from my book, as I did with the Tygers, but (as I think I mentioned) I had just met Tony for the first time about a week before you asked and everything was very positive. With Vilas Craig, not so positive. I hadn't heard anything from him in many years and then, out of the blue a couple of years ago, I got an email from him saying something like "It would be nice if my coverage of him was honest" (!). I responded and asked if he was saying I was dishonest about something, and I stated that all my info and comments came from him and others. He never replied. (I do have several direct quotes from him in my "Do You Hear That Beat" coverage, but most are from a WRCO radio interview he did with Phil Nee in Richland Center). And Ken should have glanced in the book (or looked at a map?) before he wrote that, because Richland Center is actually in SW Wisconsin, pretty much due west of Madison.
I also should have mentioned that one of the players to pass through Craig's band was Keith Knudsen (of the Doobie Brothers).
Gary Myers

Happy to pass this info along ... didn't know Knudsen was once a member of Vilas Craig's band! Thanks, Gary! As for the Phil Nee quotes, you'll find that confirmed above from none other than Phil Nee himself! Bottom line seems to be that Craig isn't going to win any "Mr. Personality" Contest any time soon. (kk)

Wow! I've never heard that "Brown Eyes" song before. Boy, if any record ever should have been a hit, it's this one! How on earth did this song slip through the cracks?
Jenny Cullen
Honestly, I'd never heard it before either ... and it IS quite good. Phil Nee told me that he's been featuring it on his program for years ... and even voted for it in Rich Appel's recent I.R.S. Countdown of songs that "really shoulda been a Top Ten Hit". Over the years of doing these Local Hits / Show Me Your Hits features, we've discovered a few real gems ... and this is certainly one of them. (kk)

Another group that deserved better than they got - great stuff by The Robbs!

>>>In the liner notes for the recently re-released album "The Robbs", drummer Craig Krampf jokes that "We were the kings of 'bubbling under'" ... and, to a degree, he's right! The Robbs "bubbled-under" on Billboard's Top 100 Chart with the tunes "Race With The Wind" (#103); "Rapid Transit" (#123); "Movin'" (#131); "Last Of The Wine" (#114) and "I'll Never Get Enough" (#108) and fell to the same fate when, as Cherokee, they released "Girl, I've Got News For You" (#116 in 1971). (kk)

The Robbs also failed to crack the Top 100 in Cash Box, but Record World was a different story: "Race Like the Wind" spent two weeks at #93 on its Top 100 chart in 1966, and "The Last of the Wine" spent three weeks on that chart in 1970, peaking at #95. Not much of a showing, but at least some national recognition for the group's singles.

-- Randy Price

Hey Kent:
One addendum to the Robbs from a Milwaukee chart stand point:
They had many chart hits here and some went Top 10. Their biggest hit in Milwaukee was the nationally “missed” classic – Bittersweet. A great PF Sloan & Barri tune which mystifyingly was not a national hit. It was their only #1 Record in Milwaukee.
Ken Freck

Hi Kent,

I really enjoyed the spotlight on the Robbs! I've had several of their 45s that I've picked up at various sales over the years and have always liked the music (especially Rapid Transit), but because I never hear them on the radio and don't remember them being played with any regularity when their songs were released, I thought I was the only one who liked their music. I'm glad they're finally getting a modicum of credit for producing some very good music.



Have you done a piece on this band from Minnesota? If so, I missed it. I notice they're doing local gigs.
David Lewis
After receiving your email, I contacted Jim Donna, one of the original founding members of The Castaways, about participating with us here in Forgotten Hits. "Liar, Liar", of course, is a '60's classic ... a One Hit Wonder that EVERYBODY knows and loves. Got an email back that he would check things out and then never heard another word. Maybe somewhere down the line we'll hear more from these guys. Meanwhile, the band seems to be very busy with local gigs in and around the area so Minnesota readers can definitely check them out this summer. (kk)

We'd love to do more Local Hits / Regional Hits features ... they always seem to be very popular with our readers. If you've got some songs and artists that were big in YOUR neck of the woods, drop us a line and we'll help to let the rest of the country know about them! (kk)