Posts Tagged ‘Ashland Ohio’

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Gene Carroll Show Remembered

October 13, 2008
Akron's Chrissie Hynde appeared on the Gene Carroll Show in the early 70's with her band JACK RABBIT before heading back off to England to eventually form The Pretenders.

Akron’s Chrissie Hynde appeared on the Gene Carroll Show in the early 70’s with her Akron-Kent based band JACK RABBIT before heading back off to England to eventually form The Pretenders.

Anyone who lived in northeast Ohio during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s is more than likely well aware of the Gene Carroll Show, a local variety/talent show that aired from April 1948 until sometime in 1979. First known as the Giant Tiger Amateur Hour, Carroll (April 1897 – March 1972) quickly morphed it into the Gene Carroll Show that aired every Sunday at noon and featured, well, ‘talent’. Some good, a lot of them bad and some of them very, very bad. I can imagine the line of pushy wanna-be stage mothers hauling their next superstars to Cleveland for their big break.

 

I didn’t watch it too often, too many accordion players for my tastes, too many baton-twirling majorettes and too many five-year-old tap dancers trying to become the next Shirley Temple, but the show had its moments as it occasionally presented local and regional rock bands. Think of the Gene Carroll Show, which was a big hit on WEWS TV 5, as a forerunner of American Idol.

 

The show is noted, however, for the first ever television performance of the Cowsill brothers in 1960, a few years prior to the family becoming ‘The Cowsills’.  Other notables who appeared included The Womack Brothers (Bobby Womack), U.S. Male, Jill Colucci who is a well-known songwriter, Candice Francisco, Canada’s The Crew Cuts and Jack Rabbit, an Akron-Kent area rock band featuring Chrissie Hynde prior to her return to England and eventual formation of The Pretenders.

 

Andrea Carroll (no relation to the host), who appeared semi-regularly on the show for about a decade, is now known as Andrea Hill, Ph.D., MFT. But during the 60’s, after a local release, she eventually landed recording contracts with labels like RCA, Epic and United Artists and toured with the likes of Stevie Wonder. She had several hits, especially locally, including Why Am I So Shy? That was recorded at age 16 with The Chiffons providing backing vocals.

 

I can vaguely remember one or two area bands from the Wayne County and Ashland County, Ohio appearing in the late 60’s and early 70’s but for the life of me I can’t remember the band names. I am almost positive one from Wooster appeared (Me & The Guys, maybe?).
Gene Carroll died in 1972 but WEWS standby star Don Webster, late of the popular Upbeat TV Show, took over as host and it stayed on the air until 1979.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Gene Carroll Show mainstay Andrea Carroll's Big Top Records release in the early 60's.

Gene Carroll Show mainstay Andrea Carroll’s Big Top Records release in the early 60’s.

 

 

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Me & The Guys: Rediscovered 60’s Gem

September 13, 2008
Ohio In The '60s Vol. 2

Psychedelic States: Ohio In The 60’s Vol. 2

Ever since The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show I have been a rock ‘n roll fanatic and whether the bands were from England, the USA or down the street, if it was good rock ‘n roll I was in. Back in the mid-1960’s I was too young to go check out any local bands but through my older brother and sister I would hear about them and one in particular, Me & The Guys, impressed me as a kid because they were from the next town over (Wooster, Ohio) and they had a record out!
 
Somewhere around 1966 my older sister and friends went to the north end of Wooster to the Lazy J Ranch, a camp grounds, to check out a local rock band (we used to have family reunions there). They were called Me & The Guys and Cheryl brought home a new 45 single that the band released, I Can’t Take It. The B Side was a tune called Why Can’t You Be True? Needless to say, it got played at our house. I would also assume that local radio station WWST (now known as WQKT) played it.
 
I always wanted to see the band but never got the chance. I can recall being soooo impressed that a band located here in humble Wayne County, Ohio had a rock ‘n roll record out. They had to be big time!
 
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.)
 
Members of the band included Bill Ross on guitar, Joel Culp on guitar, Tom Taylor on bass and Steve Young on drums. 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.
 
The record has since been lost to time but a recent conversation with a fellow local rock historian got me to thinking about the record and the band so I did a little searching and found out that Why Can’t You Be True was re-released in 2005 on a compilation CD called, Psychedelic States: Ohio In The ’60s Vol. 2. This CD is made up of songs from various Ohio-based garage bands from the 1960’s and Me & The Guys are represented with the aforementioned Why Can’t You Be True?
 
So Amazon here I come. And another chance to relive my childhood!

 

A scan of an autographed copy of the band's 45-single released in 1966. Pic (c) Garagehangover.com (see link at right).

A scan of an autographed copy of the band’s 45-single released in 1966. Pic (c) Garagehangover.com (see link at right).

 

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