Classic Singles #101: The Escapades – I Tell No Lies / She’s The Kind (1966)

Escapades-labelThe 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.

Discography
  • I Tell No Lies / She’s The Kind (Arbet / XL)
  • Mad Mad Mad / I Try So Hard (Verve)

 

One Side Wonders #17: The Breakers – Don’t Send Me No Flowers (I Ain’t Dead Yet) (1965)

Breakers_labelThe Breakers were high school friends from Memphis, Tennessee who came to the attention of singer Charlie Rich’s manager Sy Rosenburg. He drove the band to Nashville to cut their lone single, which was released in August 1965 on Amy Records.

‘Don’t Send Me No Flowers’ is a snarling, moody garage gem with plenty of effectively used fuzzy lead guitar.  It was written by Donna Weiss, a Nashville songwriter who later composed the Grammy winning ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ with Jackie de Shannon (who incidentally wrote and produced the Raga and The Talas’ monster ‘My Group and Me’ covered in an earlier post).

The song was also recorded by another, more well-known Memphis outfit The Gentrys and appeared on their debut album Keep On Dancing on MGM, released in 1965 as well. And you can find a raw version by Batesville, Arkansas’ The Blue and The Gray from their 1966 single on Zay-Dee on Lost Souls Volume 1 (along with the raucous cover of ‘Wine, Wine, Wine’ that was on the flipside). And finally, The What-Knots shortened the title to ‘I Ain’t Dead Yet’ and added sax and organ for their 1968 single on Dial.

‘Don’t Send Me No Flowers’

Missing side: ‘Love of My Life’ (a mid-tempo folky ballad according to TeenBeat Mayhem).

Reissues: The a-side is on Pebbles Volume 10 (CD) or Volume 12 (vinyl) and A History Of Garage & Frat Bands In Memphis Volume 2.