Soulful Detroit Archives - July 2004 The Showmen.........Swan Days.............(facts-or-fiction)..... Previous Next

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mel(andthensome) (mel)
6-Zenith
Username: mel

Post Number: 444
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 81.153.210.177
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 3:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Being a huge fan of these
can anyone please
confirm/deny
any of these following items that have bugged me for years......
I cant recall all info from these few
items from years gone by
if true or not..........

When Swan records folded
why didnt general Johnson
ever record again with The Showmen?


If so
then why?

as I heard that there last 3 years
together as the showmen
were supposedly there best ever times
while being with Swan records?

Was it true that
they were being accused as nothing more
than Temptation imitators?

At the time of the above
article was the time when apparantly
most record producers were aiming for the same success as the Motown Sound
and that at this time
that
the problems were not vocally
but.........
in the production?

and to finish with

did
The first ever time that the Chairman of the board met each other.....
was
in 1969
Whilst all attending
Invictus Dance classes
on
Detroits
Hamilton Street?



Any info appreciated as ever.

For me personally
Swan Records
and whoever recorded on this great Label were the Real Deal(andthensome)

cheers
Mel-o-Delphia
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Heikki (heikki)
4-Laureate
Username: heikki

Post Number: 114
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 81.17.199.27
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 3:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Mel!

Sorry but I don't have direct answers to your questions, but the last time I talked to General Johnson - and that was ten years ago - he had some comments on those days:

(first talking about his childhood, his early days with the Israelites, the Humdingers, the Showmen, demos with Atlantic, Minit & Imperial Records, before moving on to Swan in '65 and You're Everything, In Paradise and The Honey House...)

General: "I just went up there with a song, In Paradise, and they liked the song. Again we recorded for a label that was ready to go out of business... the story of my life."
"I was staying in Norfolk but I was commuting back and forth. I was living also in Philadelphia, because I was writing and producing things for the Three Degrees and other acts they had there. We did a couple of things with Leon Huff, while we were there, but they were never big records."
After a couple of years in the college circuit a call came in '67, which led to the birth of the Chairmen Of The Board - General Johnson, Danny Woods, Harrison Kennedy and Eddie Custis.
"That was a guy by the name of Jeffrey Bowen. He recruited talent for Invictus Records. The Chairmen Of The Board, at the time, it was four artists, four lead voices, who could handle all types of music...I'm glad they re-released It Will Stand in '64. If it hadn't been re-released, I would never have been with Holland-Dozier-Holland. When it was re-released, it was number one in Detroit for about four or five weeks, and that's how they became familiar with my work and my voice. When they decided to leave Motown, I was one of the first artists they got in touch with."

Sorry, Mel, but that was all I could come up with.

Best regards
Heikki
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1wicked (1wicked)
5-Doyen
Username: 1wicked

Post Number: 244
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 24.126.64.72
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 3:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Check out www.generalnormanjohnson.com There's also an e-mail address for him, so maybe you can get your answers straight from the man.
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mel(andthensome) (mel)
6-Zenith
Username: mel

Post Number: 446
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 81.154.242.45
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heikki
great stuff
appreciate it mate

cheers 1 Wicked

mel.....
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Heikki (heikki)
4-Laureate
Username: heikki

Post Number: 115
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 62.248.145.88
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 5:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi!
Still one more address:
http://www.surfsiderecords.com

Heikki
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Stu-62 (stu62)
1-Arriviste
Username: stu62

Post Number: 2
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.80.183.254
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 4:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Mel, Back in 63 and 64, I had a little
frat party band booking business at the
Univ of Pennsylvania in Philly. The best (and
most expensive) band on our roster was the
Showmen from Norfolk. They probably came
up to Philly at least once a month. One time,
they showed up with their manager, Mr. Noah
Biggs, who owned Nimrod's Record Shop in
Norfolk. Mr. Biggs informed me that he was
in Philly because the group was going to
cut a record in Philly before returning to
Virginia. I believe the record was In Paradise.
I think Ritchie Rome (Ritchie Family) was
involved as arranger. Another great band on
our roster was Herb Johnson & the Impacts,
with Bobby Eli on guitar. Those were some
great times. Best wishes, Stu Green
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1412
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.11.253
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 4:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow,

Hey Stu..its ben a long time .
Glad to see you here on the forum and keep posting.

Do you still have that 8 by 10 with a very young and clean shaven B.E.??

BTW..Herb passed away just this past January.
he had just turned 68 on december 26th.
Kenny Gamble and I spoke at the service, and were it not for Herb, I may not of met Kenny, and.....
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1413
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.11.253
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 4:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BTW.. Regarding Swan, It always amazed me that a label so "white" could have so many well respected soul and Northern type records on its roster.
Their discography reads like a whos who of schmaltzy pop fluff, kinda like Chancellor.
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Stu-62 (stu62)
1-Arriviste
Username: stu62

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.80.183.254
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 5:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Bobby, It's only been 40 years. I remember
seeing you for the first time. It was at a Sunday matinee at a "private" club on the
corner of 40thand Market Sts, the Washington
Sporting Club. I'm so sorry to hear that Herb
has died. He was a hard-working front man.
I'll never forget the song you played as your
"takin' a break" song to close a set. It was a
wailing version of James Brown's "I'll Go
Crazy." Herb would scream over the driving
intro, and then you'd stop abruptly and announce you'd be back in 20 minutes for
another set. It was a real tease. Do you
remember my partner, Howard Rachofsky from Dallas? Today he is enormously wealthy
and a leading philantrophist in Dallas. He is
also famous for his collection of contemporary
art. And I mean world-famous in that circle.
Amazing. Best wishes, Stu
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1416
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.11.253
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 5:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Stu,

You have one heluva memory!!

The WS Club, wow!!
I have a few pics from that place and as soon as I can locate them I will post them.
I sure do remember Howard and Im happy that he is doing WELL.Hey, does he want to invest in the busines of making records?(smile)
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mel(andthensome) (mel)
6-Zenith
Username: mel

Post Number: 451
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 81.154.242.224
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 9:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cheers Stu
great stuff

mel
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Stu-62 (stu62)
1-Arriviste
Username: stu62

Post Number: 4
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.80.183.254
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 1:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Bobby, I'd love to see the pics from the
Washington Sporting Club. For me, it was the
place to be on a Sunday afternoon in West
Philly when all the regular bars were closed
due to the blue laws (no booze on Sundays).
I'm wondering if you might remember what
a typical set list for Herb Johnson & the
Impacts would have been like during that
1963-64 era. I can never forget the excitement
when you kicked into James' "If you leave me,
I'll go crazy." Can you possibly remember
some of your other material? There was a lot
of talent in those little music bars in West
Philly in the early 60s--King James, Carl
Holmes, Ted Weems, Hank Goodwin. And a
bottle of beer cost about a quarter. The owner
of the WS club once introduced me to T-Bone
Walker, but I was so young (and dumb), I had
no idea who he was. Best wishes, Stu
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1429
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.55.239
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 1:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Stu,
You are getting me misty eyed over here(smile0
I dont remember the actual order of the songs but some of the songs we did were:
Guilty
Have you heard
Two steps ahead of a woman
Tell me so
I'll go crazy
I feel good
Daddys home
I lost someone
Hitchhike
Can I get a witness


Did you ever go to the Vegas Bar(Scotty's)on the northeast corner of 52nd and Walnut?
We were somewhat of a "staple" there.

That's where I met a very young Kenny Gamble who was a lab tech and he used to get up on stage and sing a couple of songs with us.

He loved He will break your heart and Ill be doggone and just about anything by Butler or Gaye!

Kenny used to sing with Herb in his old doo wop group, the Ordells with Jack Hart, a future Volcano and Trammp.

Herb was at the real rot of the Philly sound as we have come to know it.

It all started with Herb Johnson.
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Stu-62 (stu62)
1-Arriviste
Username: stu62

Post Number: 5
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.80.183.254
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 1:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow Bobby, You're knocking me out with
your memories. Thanks for the set list, and
the fond memories of Herb Johnson. I used to see you play at many bars, but specifically
remember the WS club (which was just
off-campus) and a little joint that was operated
by black Army veterans on Market Street. I
probably shouldn't mention this, but you knew
every woman in that club. And, of course, I
saw every show a the Penn frat houses. Howard and I had to collect our 10% after the
show. It was like 10% of $250-300, pretty good money in '64. It was your leader, Charlie
Peoples who handled the business end. The
thing I remember most about Charlie was that
he wore a wristwatch that spelled out the
letters P-E-N-N-S-Y-L-V-A-N-I-A instead of
numerals. The watch was the prize they gave
to winners of the Penn Relays. He was a
talented guy....and all business. Best wishes,
Stu
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1432
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.55.239
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 2:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

YOURE the one with the memory, Stu!!
Oy vey!
The army vet place was the 366 club.
Another haunt of ours was the Baltimore Tavern at 55th and Baltimore.

The penn Frat houses were special to us as we aalways had a ball there as we played in beer up past our ankles!(smile)

Do you remember when Larry Magid, who runs Electric Factory Concerts was still at temple and just starting to bok gigs, and Herb and the Impacts were his very first band!!
he was also my roomie on the road when we went "out of town' like to Muhlenberg or Penn State.

You can e mail me at phillysoulman@verizon.net if you wish.
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1436
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.55.239
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 2:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Stu..

The Impacts were:

Wally Osborne--Bass
Howard "Little" Rice--Drums
Curtis Brooks--Sax
Charlie "Teach" Peoples (RIP) Piano and Organ
Bobby Eli --Gitfiddle( as Herb would call it)
Herb Johnson--Vocals
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Stu-62 (stu62)
1-Arriviste
Username: stu62

Post Number: 6
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.80.183.254
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 3:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Bobby, Typical frat house gig was down
in the basement. No stage. No monitors.
Just a couple of Shure columns for a PA.
Beer flying everywhere. Four sets from 8
til midnight. 40on/20 off. Then you'd carry
the gear up the steps. So glad you have
fond memories. The first time I saw Animal
House, I said "they nailed it." Stu
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Eli (phillysoulman)
6-Zenith
Username: phillysoulman

Post Number: 1438
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.236.55.239
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 4:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Animal House--exactly!!
Penn al the way, but not the "Biff and Muffy types"! No "Sweetheart of Sigma Pi", capice??#$

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