Monday, August 25, 2014

Forgotten Hits Remembers Jimy Rogers And The Mauds

Could you do something on the "Mauds"? 
They did a history on them on my local oldies station and it was a great piece! 

Wow!  Where do you live that a radio station would devote time to The Mauds?!?!  We don't even get that here in Chicago, where the band was based!!!  (lol)  

The station is from Kalamazoo, MI, and yes, they have live streaming.  The other day they did a feature on Shorty Long ... have enjoyed listening to him over the years also.  
Cool 101 : The Oldies Station - WQXC 100.9 Allegan Kalamazoo   
Live stream is left side of the screen.   


Although we've covered The Mauds countless times in Forgotten Hits, I don't think we've ever really done a spotlight, in-depth feature on the band ... so I immediately went to Guy Arnston.  He's been putting together the definitive History Of Chicago Rock based on articles written by Jeff Lind that originally ran in The Illinois Entertainer back in the day, along with his own research and recent interviews with many of the key players that were involved with these Chicagoland Musical Institutions.  And Guy came through in a big, big way ... so we're happy to share these memories and factoids with our Forgotten Hits Readers. 

I am proud to have been able to call lead singer Jimy Rogers a friend.  (Honestly, it was probably more of a mutual admiration society ... Jimy was always a big supporter of FH, as we were of his musical efforts.)  Although they first started hitting the charts here in Chicago in 1967, it was the revamped band of the late '90's / early 2000's that I came to know ... and I can say without a moment's hesitation that Jimy's voice sounded better in 2007 than it did in 1967.  He just constantly drove himself to improve as an artist and showman on stage and was an absolute joy to watch.  He literally just pulled you in to every performance ... and would come out and mingle and dance with the crowd while still singing and putting on a show, blowing away the crowd every step of the way!  A Mauds concert circa 2007 was a sight to be seen.    

(The band continued to record new material right up until Jimy's untimely and completely unexpected death in 2010 ... and the show they played with The Steve Miller Band at Ravinia, a complete sell-out, was legendary.  To this day, I miss him ... nothing would please me more on a hot summer night than to go out and see The Mauds perform their very soulful, bluesy brand of rock and roll ... he was one of a kind.)

From Guy's archives:  

February, 1981:  Chapter LXX:  The Mauds: State-of-the-art Rhythm & Blues kings  

Rhythm & Blues seems to be enjoying something of a revival in the Eighties, with local bands like George Faber & Stronghold and Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows raising it to the level of prominence that it once enjoyed. With such a diversity of musical expressions available for people to listen to, however, it seems unlikely that R&B will be the all-powerful force that it was in the mid-Sixties. Back then, there were literally thousands of bands playing it, and many of them were white, but most of them were terrible-to-fair and not a credit to the idiom. Among the handful of good R&B groups, the Mauds were state-of-the-art. 

Guitarist / singer Jimy Rogers put together the Mauds back in 1965, where they spent nearly two years playing gigs at private parties and clubs around the North Shore area. They also made two abortive attempts at a recording career, but both failed. Even from the beginning, there was never any question about the group’s talent. They had a secure existence playing the club scene, but in Jimy’s own words, “Something was missing.” 

By the middle of 1966, the Mauds had reached the proverbial fork in the road — Rogers and bass player Billy Winter wanted to take another stab at recording. They felt that the Mauds’ music was good enough to reach a wider audience, and so did Cellar owner Paul Sampson, who had by then begun a close association with the group. Sampson became their manager and, with his encouragement, Rogers & Co. were able to pursue their musical dream. 

A shakeup followed which left only Rogers and Winter to carry on. The search was on for players who had an authentic feel for R&B, the music that fascinated Rogers. His first step was to chuck his guitar, an instrument that he felt was strapping him in. Then, he found “Fuzzy” Fuscaldo wasting away in Wauconda and offered him the guitarist’s job. “Fuzzy” was an incredible adept and versatile guitarist, whose urban jazz licks belied his redneck upbringing. Fuscaldo was also something of a free-spirit, uninhibited with a fine sense of humor. Tim Coniglio was brought in to handle rhythm guitar and trumpet. He came from a musically-inclined family and was a valuable addition. Finally, Phil Weinberg, the #1 drummer in the Palatine High School band, brought his machine-like metering in to round out the new group. 

After several months of rehearsing, the Mauds opened at the Cellar and astounded the audience with their energetic sound. After that night, their following there was assured. They also gained numerous devotees at the Dark Spot in Roselle, and Chicago’s Amphitheatre. Their synthesis of black R&B with white rock & roll struck a responsive chord in the ear of Bill Traut, owner of Dunwich Records, and an associate of Sampson’s. The elusive recording contract became a reality before the year was out. 

For their first single, the Mauds chose the most popular song that they did live — ”Hold On” — an Isaac Hayes opus. It was done in one take and rushed to record stores all over the Chicagoland area. After just a few of the Dunwich pressings came into circulation, Traut arranged a distribution deal with a national label, Mercury. The advantages were clear; association with a major logo meant better distribution, yet Traut and the group were able to exercise the artistic control that they needed through Dunwich. 

In May of 1967, “Hold On” began climbing the local charts. Highlighted by Fuzzy’s frantic picking, Eddie Higgins’ driving brass arrangements, and Rogers’ gospel-flavored vocals, the tune was a natural chart-maker. It climbed as high as #11 on the WLS charts, and might have gotten even higher, but a management directive from WLS got the Mauds all involved in a censorship controversy. I ran into Jimy at the Countryside Restaurant (his usual hangout) and asked him about what happened with the song. 

“It was really stupid!” he told me. “They said that we had to re-record the song just for their station because they had gotten some complaints from listeners about the lyrics. There were two lines: ‘Reach out to me for satisfaction; On my knees for quick reaction,’ that we had to clean up. It misrepresented us. Everyone was hearing a different song on the radio compared to the one that was in the stores. I hope everyone goes out and buys five copies just to protest what they did!” In any event, the song’s momentum was stopped, and it never received national airplay. 

Their followup was a disaster. Even though Sampson and the guys were extremely pleased with the way “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby” turned out, it was a downer of a ballad and an uncommercial type of song. It was quite a turnabout from the up-tempo “Hold On,” and nobody paid any attention to it. 

Fortunately for the Mauds, their image was saved when the LP The Mauds  hit the stores in the fall of ‘67. It was everything that the band had promised and more. The songs ran the gamut of soul classics like “You Don’t Know Like I Know,” “Look at Granny Run Run,” “Knock on Wood,” and “Ha Ha Ha.” The band’s rendition of “Harlem Shuffle” reached a near-fever pitch, and Fuzzy laid down some satisfying jazz guitar solos on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” a version that made the Buckinghams’ hit look like fluff by comparison.  

The Mauds even contributed two tunes of their own, though songwriting was not one of their stronger areas. Mauds originals tended to be too repetitive, but as long as they kept it short and tasty, things worked out okay. Jimy and Fuzzy wrote “C’mon and Move,” which was also the B-side of “Hold On.” Drummer Denny Horan and Fuscaldo co-authored “You Made Me Feel So Bad,” a strong R&B riff. And, Curtis Mayfeld was so happy with the way they did his “You Must Believe Me,” complete with Impressions-styled harmonies, that he promised to write several songs just for them.  

During the sessions, Weinberg quit and Horan moved in to take his place. Shortly after that, Billy Winter was also gone; his replacement was William “Gert” Sunter, who not only brought a funkier style of bass into the band, but also added the element of top-quality songwriting ability. In addition, the Mauds recruited tenor sax man Danny Hoagland to beef up the horn section. 

The band’s last single for the year was “He Will Break Your Heart,” composed by Mayfield and Jerry Butler. It represented a middle ground between the first two singles, but it did not get off the ground at all. It was still the band’s feeling that soul music was the way to go, so they began to search for new material to record. (It is interesting to note that when Tony Orlando & Dawn recorded “He Don’t Love You” in 1975 and had a hit with it, that the song was really just a more contemporary arrangement of “He Will Break Your Heart.”)  

While they worked on polishing their studio licks, the Mauds contented themselves with playing in front of their ever-adoring fandom at the Cellar. They also did some local TV shows with Marty Faye and the “Swingin’ Majority.” 

Tim Coniglio recalls that during one show, “We were trying to lip-sync with our record, when it skipped several times. We were unable to coordinate our gestures to the music. It was embarrassing, but funny too. We enjoyed our work and had the ability to laugh at ourselves; otherwise, we’d never have made it as far as we did.” 

The Mauds underwent a bit of an image change for the TV shots; they all cropped their hair to a conservatively mod length. Wherever the Mauds played, Jimy Rogers knew how to please ’em; he was a dynamo of energy onstage, and his own reactions to the band’s music must have made him seem like he was caught up in himself at times. 

The Mauds finally made it back into the studio to record some new tracks during April of 1968. A young veteran songwriter, Dick Monda (aka Daddy Dewdrop of later “Chick-A-Boom” fame) gave the band a couple of his newer tunes, and the combination clicked admirably. Producer Skeet Bushor brought in the horn section from C.T.A. to embellish the recording of the songs, titled “Drown in My Broken Dreams” and “Soul Drippin’.” (By the way, the C.T.A. players involved were Bob Lamm, Walt Parazaider, James Pankow, and Lee Loughnane. Anybody remember them?) The Mauds’ own Gert Sunter wrote “Forever Gone,” which was also laid down during the same sessions. Everyone came out happy, and it was decided to release “Soul Drippin’ ” as the single. It proved to be a wise choice.

“Soul Drippin’ “ was just about the best record that the Mauds ever made; it was crisp and catchy. It cracked the Top 10 in Chicago (#9) and even broke onto the national charts at #85. It was the high point in the band’s existence, and one that they were soon to topple from, albeit through little fault of their own. 

It was rumored that the band was somewhat unhappy with Mercury’s promotion, but the real factor in their downfall was tied to the changes that were happening in AM radio shortly after “Soul Drippin’ “ began to fall off the charts. More and more major AM outlets were switching to the Drake Top 40 format of scheduling in order to compete with the emerging FM underground stations. Among the first casualties in these format changes were the Mauds. 

Even though they had  a hit record, they could not hope to break their next record nationally without heavy help from the Midwest. This was particularly exasperating in view of the fact that “Only Love Can Save You Now” was simply a great song. The flip, again written by Sunter, immortalized the exploits of “Sargeant Sunshine,” the San Francisco narc-turned-flowerchild who became something of a folk hero. The Mauds were something less than heroes at this point; they could not get their records played.  

Their last Mercury single appeared in 1969, but even a full-page ad in Billboard , with a reference to a “forthcoming album” could not propel the Mauds back into hitland again. Once more, “Satisfy My Hunger” was an appropriate vehicle for Rogers’ gospel-tinged vocals, but few stations wanted to take a chance on it. The backing side, “Brother Chickee,” was an instrumental that gave definite signs of where the group was going. They changed their live version of “Hold On” to the point where it sounded like the Sam & Dave hit, but it lost a lot of bite in the translation. Without airplay though, the Mauds were just another struggling band, mere shadows of their former selves.  

Even a label change could not save their faltering career. They signed with RCA in 1970 and waxed one of their most memorable efforts, Carole King’s “Man without a Dream.” Unfortunately, it flopped at the record counters, and it suddenly was Jimy Rogers who had become the man without a dream. He kept the group going into early 1971, but they broke up there into several different directions.  

Fuzzy had left earlier to play with Baby Huey & the Babysitters, but was with them only briefly. He later hooked up with Dada-rocker Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band for their Mirror Man  album. Tim Coniglio joined the Greenwood County Farm, and Rogers ended up as lead singer in the show-rock band Flash. Flash soon fizzled, and Jimy Rogers has not been heard from since. Finally, Denny Horan salvaged a couple of good years with Aura before calling it quits. 

One has to wonder about the fate of a band as talented as this. Did they stick too close to R&B instead of trying to appeal to a wider market? If so, perhaps they can take comfort in the words of Daddy Dewdrop, who said, “Soul Drippin’ gonna pick you up, soul drippin’ ’til it fills your cup.” The Mauds’ cup of soul was filled to overflowing many times over; they may be out of sight, but they’re not forgotten. 

Jimy Rogers is currently residing in the western suburbs. It has been more than ten years since he was a Maud. If and when he ever decides to make a comeback, the fire in his voice will no doubt still be there.  And the world had better be ready.  

September,  1981:  Update . . . The Mauds   

Denny Horan, the Mauds’ drummer for most of their years as a band, called us the other day to inform me of his current activities. 

He tells us: “Since leaving the Mauds, I’ve played drums with Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Zappa, the L.A. Express, and Harvey Mandel. I’m currently working on my own recording project.  

“I met the Mauds back in 1967 while I was gigging with the Bondsmen. We opened for them, and Jimy Rogers liked me so much that he asked me if I wanted to join. His drummer, Phil Weinberg, was leaving for college, so this created the opening. I later got C.T.A.  to play horns on the Mauds’ sessions because their guitarist, Terry Kath, was a good friend of mine. 

“Towards the end of their career, the Mauds’ lineup was Jimy, myself, Sam Alessi on keyboards, Marv Jonesi on guitar, and Mike Schwab on bass. Some of these guys helped Jimy get Flash started after the Mauds broke up. 

“About two years ago, some of us in the original Mauds had a big reunion in Wheeling, Illinois. It was a great time for all, but we had no intention of reforming the band. 

“These days, Jimy and Fuzzy Fuscaldo are both living on the West Coast and have their own hair-styling salons. They both still play music, too, but not professionally.”  

All of the Above from The Illinois Entertainer, History of Chicago Rock, by Jeff Lind   

Final Update (2011)  

When Jimy eventually returned to the Chicago area around 2000, he put together an all-star version of the Mauds, including bassist Jerry Smith from the Flock and guitarist Al Ciner from the American Breed, before settling in with guitarist Mike Flynn, bassist David Forte, saxman Quent Lang from the Soul Machine, organist Bill LeClair (now with Kevin Purcell and the Night Burners), Chris Drehobl on drums, Paul Redman on ’bone, and Steve O’Brien on trumpet, plus background vocalists Jocelyn Mallard, Veronica Davenport and Stephanie Spacone. This version of the Mauds was tightly wound, with impressive horn charts, playing all the old favorites like “Hold On I’m Coming,” “Soul Drippin’,” “Harlem Shuffle” and “Mustang Sally,” plus more contemporary material like James Brown’s “Living in America” and Joe Cocker’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” 

They lasted for about seven years, playing concerts, festivals and clubs. After they broke up, Jimy joined forces with the Gands, Joan and Gary, as Blue Road, and continued playing until his death in December, 2010.  

The original Mauds recorded a handful of 45s for Mercury and RCA Records, and a sought-after album on Mercury. The reconstituted band leaves us with two CDs, “Soul Attitude,” recorded live in 2005, and “Souldier On,” a studio disc featuring their rearrangement of  the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.” Included on both discs is their concert showpiece, “Broke and Hungry.”     

2011 Update By Guy Arnston in Algonquin

For more information, visit the Mauds website at   

Tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... 
More Memories of Music from The Mauds and Jimy Rogers ...  
From his Friends and Fans ... stay tuned!