The Escapades from Memphis, Tennessee were formed in late 1965 by singer Tommy Minga after he had been forced out of another local band The Jesters (who later released a 45 on Sun Records, ‘Cadillac Man’ credited to Minga though in fact written by their guitarist Teddy Paige).
The debut single from Tommy’s new group appeared on the Arbet label in February 1966 and was reissued a month later on XL. A-side ‘I Tell No Lies’ is a top notch garage swinger with swirling keyboards, confident vocals, and a simple but effective guitar break from Bennie Kisner, all anchored by a neat driving bass-line. The song was composed by keyboard player Ron Gorden and drummer Ronny Williamson.
Flip ‘She’s The Kind’ is a more moody affair, again with keyboards in full effect. This was written by Minga, Gorden and bassist Dale Roark.
The success of the 45 locally led to a deal with national label Verve, a subsidiary of MGM, and a second single was issued in May. ‘Mad Mad Mad’ is an excellent up-tempo raver with fuzzy guitar and a catchy main riff, and ‘I Try So Hard’ is an urgent folk-rocker. The band also took part in a grueling tour of the southern United States supporting The Swinging Medallions and Sam The Sham. The headline acts flew from venue to venue but The Escapades had to drive punishing distances in their converted hearse (yes, another garage band with one of those!).
The band split up in 1967 when three of its members were drafted.
‘I Tell No Lies’
‘She’s The Kind’
Reissues: ‘I Tell No Lies’ is on Pebbles Volume 5 and A History of Garage and Frat Bands in Memphis 1960-1975 Volume 1. The flip is on Sixties Rebellion (or Volume 1 of the vinyl). Both sides of the single plus ‘Mad Mad Mad’ and an unreleased number ‘What You Know About Love’ are also included on Big Beat’s compilation of The Jesters, Cadillac Men: The Sun Masters.
- I Tell No Lies / She’s The Kind (Arbet / XL)
- Mad Mad Mad / I Try So Hard (Verve)