A Homegrown Record Label: BW Records

June 12, 2012

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the Wayne County, Ohio area, in addition to the surrounding counties like Ashland, Richland and Stark, had many rock bands that performed at a wide variety of venues throughout the region, and beyond, and several bands also produced records. One source of producing and distributing records from local bands and performers was BW Records, a local record label founded by Quentin ‘Reed’ Welty of Wooster, OH.

Actually, BW Records was two labels. Welty, a long time producer, promoter, manager and agent for rock, gospel & country bands, was also a long time advertising salesman for WWST radio in Wooster, OH. Welty started BW Records in 1961. The named comes from the combination of Welty and (Dana) Burns, who was a former partner of Welty’s but had no financial interest in the label. The subsidiary label connected to BW Records and owned by Welty was the Wel Burn label that primarily produced country music but the output was minimal.

The original BW Records existed from 1961 through 1970. A few years later it was revised with new logo, catalog numbering and image. Welty primarily was involved in the publishing and the production and distribution was handled by people associated with radio station WWVS, at the time a powerhouse West Virginia country music station.

But during it’s run, BW Records released a number of rock, country and gospel records, including other genres. One ‘esoteric’ release was a record titled ‘The Sounds of Dragway 42’, recorded at the drag strip facility in West Salem, Ohio that is still in operation today. Dragway 42 hired many local and regional bands to perform in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

One popular seller for the label were gospel recordings by the Slabach Sisters Quartet from Dalton, Ohio.

With rock music overtaking the country due to the Beatles and British Invasion, bands started cropping up by the hundreds all over the country, including Ohio and the Wayne County area and outlaying region.

Some of the bands Welty worked with and recorded remain fondly remembered even today.

                                                               THE STREYS

The Streys were a Wooster, Ohio based rock band of Wooster High School students that formed in 1966 and became a popular attraction. The band consisted of Randy Carlisle, Danny Miller, Jim Horst, Dave Albright & Jerry Albright. They recorded a couple of songs at Cleveland Recording in June 1967 that was issued on the B-W label. “She Cools My Mind” is excellent soul-influenced garage.

The Es-Shades were one of the more well-known and traveled bands that were based in Ashland, OH, consisted of Black River, Cloverleaf and Ashland high schools students and existed from 1965 – 1969. The band consisted of, over the years, the amazing Cathy ‘Cat’ Fissell, Sonny Swinehart, Mark Lance, Rick Peters, Tom Clifford, Pete Todd, Rick Stuart, Richard Carmichael & Norman Blaha.

The Es-Shades first recording was a 45 record on the B W Records label. The band recorded ‘Never Met A Girl Like You’ with ‘Good Lovin” on the B Side and was released on August 3, 1966. The record was recorded at WWST radio station studios and production duties were spearheaded by WWST DJ Don Vandemark. The record was played on WWST, WHLO, WKYC and mega-stations CKLW & WLS.

The band played its last gig at Medina High School in Medina, Ohio on March 7, 1969. Former Es-Shades drummer Richard Carmichael, who was joined by another former Es-Shade, Mark Lance (bass and vocals), went on to form Canyon in the 70’s.)

In addition to releasing records by such other regional bands and performers like Bobby & The Bengals, The Treytones, The London Tymes and others, Welty also, on occasion, entered into partnerships with various bands, performers and producers in other recordings issued under different label names.

One example was Wooster, OH based rock band Me & The Guys, one of the top bands in the mid 60’s in the Wayne County-Ashland County areas of Ohio. Formed in 1965 with members Joel Culp, Bill Ross, Steve Young and Tom Taylor, the band quickly became one of the region’s top bands and issued one single, I Can’t Take It b/w Why Can’t You Be True on the PLA ME Records label.

The band, made up of Wooster High School students, started out in 1964 as the Cobras before changing their name to the Ascots. They finally settled on Me & The Guys and played high school dances and the like. They also had a regular gig at the Lazy J Ranch that was a popular destination for Wayne County teenagers back then. (In ’77 the campground changed ownership and was renamed Beck’s Family Campground. It is now known as the Lazy B Ranch.)

By the time the fall of 1967 rolled around three of the band members went off to college and the band disbanded. There are reports they regrouped for a one-shot reunion gig in 1977. Joel Culp went on to gain some notoriety as a member of the famed Buckeye Biscuit country-rock band in the 70’s.

Welty and Me & The Guys came together through the bands’ Thursday night gigs at the Lazy J Ranch. Welty put together a broadcasting deal that aired the band’s performances each Thursday night.  Welty and Young’s manager (and father) then forged a partnership with producer Gary Rhamy to get the band recorded. Welty, accompanied the band to Audio recording in Cleveland for a recording session on July 14, 1966 that resulted in the 45 single, ‘I Can’t Take It’.

Me & The Guys

By September ‘I Can’t Take It’ was number one on the WWST hit line.

The only other release on that label that I was able to find was The Oceans, an Ohio band, who released ‘She’s Gone’ on the PLA ME label. Produced by Gary Rhamy, the B Side was ‘Abilene’. The band consisted of Ed Lonas, Mike Cunningham, Dick Brown and James Dean.

In addition to PLA ME Records, Welty also had a financial interest in various other record labels in the area. There is no way, at this time, to track them all done, but a couple additional labels that Welty had an interest in were Indian Head Records that featured records by Lum Hatcher and Chet Good, Hojo Records that released Hugh Williams w/ the Dale Roman Quartet (based in Millersburg, OH) and Pal Records that featured Howard Plant & The Stickbuddys.

Quentin Welty, besides a long and successful career at WWST Radio, was known throughout the Midwest and beyond in rock, pop and country circles for his record labels, publishing ventures, management skills and a host of other talents. He was a hard-working, honest and enthusiastic and knowledgeable man.

Quentin Welty passed away on November 21, 2006 at the age of 81 at his home in Wooster, OH. He was a graduate of Apple Creek High School, received his bachelor of arts from Baldwin-Wallace College and his master of arts from Northwestern University.

He had done special work at the NBC Radio Institute and Western Union School in New York City. He had also done additional graduate work beyond his master of arts at Northwestern University.

He worked 50 years in local radio, advertising and did motivational speaking.
Quentin was a lifetime member of the Country Music Association and a life member of the Nashville Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Many of his recordings have appeared in recent years on various compilation recordings issued by companies from all over the world.

No doubt though, at least for a few bands in the 1960’s in a small rural community, Quentin Welty offered the chance to get recorded and broadcast. And his impact extended far, far beyond the confines of Wayne County, Ohio.


601—-Bobby and the Bengals—————No Parking! / Double Rock
602—-Not Used
603/4—Treytones—————————–Blind Date / Cool Beat
605/6–Les and His Western Playboys——-I Don’t Care Anymore / Why Pretend
607/8–Chet Good and the Slabach Sisters–His Smile / If You Ever
609/10-Jack and the DriftersSweet———–Talk and Lies / Old Hawaii
611/2–Kathy Dee————————-Trail Of Tears / The Ways of a Heart
613/4–The Southland Gospel Trio——–Behold He Cometh / Pathways Of Life
615/6–Kenny BiggsSwingin’————– Swanee River / There’s No Excuse
617/8–Phil Stumpo—————-Heartbreaker / You Mean Everything to Me
619—-­­Kathy Dee————–If I Never Get to Heaven / Teardrops In My Heart
620—-Andy Sommers & Stringshifters———-Since We First Met / Loving You
621—-Judy Kaye——————-You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore / Take Everything
622—–Fonda St. Paul————–Wishing Well / Baby Blue (P/S)
623—–Sounds of Dragway 42——Part 1 / Part 2 (P/S)auto racing sounds
624—–Phil BeasleyItchin’ ———–To Love You / These Blues are Realc
625—–Kenny Biggs————-There’s No Excuse; I’ll Keep Foolin’ Around; It Wasn’t Easy / Corina; Once Again Baby; Swinging Swanee Rock subtitled “the Bigg Sound”
626—–Red Wilson—————–God Has A Full Time Job Watching You / unknown
627—–Jeanne Hart—————-Don’t Hang Around / Fools Will Fall In Love1965
628—–Es-Shades——————-Never Met A Girl Like You Before / Good Lovin’
629—–Brant Martin——————-Always Yours / The Less I Think I Do
630—–Don Collins——————-Give Me Back My Heart / Ramblin’ Man
631—–Gene Jenkins—————–Big Big City / Give Me Back My Heart
632—–Gene Jenkins——-Street of Heartbreak / Lay Your Head On My Shoulder
633—–Chuck “Fingers” Hess———-Go Go Guitar / A Blue Blue Sailor
634—–Chuck HessTijuana Stomp / Mother’s Day In Heaven1968 (RCA W4KM-3437/8)
635—–Streys————————-I’m Feeling Lovey / She Cools My Mind
636—–Cliff Coldiron & Countrymen—–Silver Bells / She Don’t Live Here Anymore
637—–Bob Lynn & Country Squires——-Open Up the Honky Tonks / Wondering
638—–London Tymes————-Rock N Roll Music / Evening Dreamer—-1969
639—–Bobby MacAuctioneer——Through the Water / Bad Girl; Folsom Prison Blues—-1969
640——Jim “C” Stevens——————-You Can’t Win ‘Em All / unknown
641——Keith Alan Crabtree—————He Touched Me / I’ve Been to Calvary
642——Bill Harrington—————The Arrangement of Things / Dawn—-1970
No #—–Linda Lee———Danger / At The Sight Of You1970 (RCA 804B-2925)
2010—–Bill Terry—-Mountain Boys Are Going Home / Greenbrier ValleyNov 1971
0934—–Gary McCullough—-I’ve Tried It Every Way / Every Day1972 (SJW 20313)
2017—–Midge Long—-Whatever Turns You On / Chasing Dreams Again1970 (SJW 17023)
2039—–Kenny Biggs————-It’s A Woman / Country Music Star——1972
2049—–Bill Terry –You Wait A Little Longer / Either She’s Married Or I Am–1972
2109—–Rod Carmer——Country Comfort / Looking Out The Window—1973


103——-Les and his Western Playboys—It’s Rough! / Things That Might Have Been
105/6—–Ken Speck——-Which Way to the Door / A Broken Heart, A Broken Vow
107——-Southland Gospel Trio—The Fields Have Turned Brown / Will You Be Ready

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©2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!

All images (c) respective holders.

One comment

  1. interesting AND a history lesson too. good, good stuff. amazing amount of research. thanks!

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