MP3 J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers - Last Kiss-the Definitive Collection
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25 MP3 Songs in this album (66:37) !
Related styles: ROCK: 60's Rock, POP: 60's Pop
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Texas has a long history of great singers. Janis Joplin from Port Arthur,Buddy Holly from Lubbock, and Roy Orbison from Wink are some of the best know. One singer overlooked for years and relegated to one hit pop wonder status is J.Frank Wilson. The recordings on this Cd will provide ample evidence that Wilsonâs musical roots were in the rock nâ roll sound thriving in Texas in the late 50âs and early 60âs.
(John) Frank Wilson was from Lufkin, Texas. He was born on December 11, 1941. The story of how J.Frank Wilson joined with the Cavaliers begins when he was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas in the early 60âs. Wilson knew about The Cavaliers since they were the finest band in town. They needed a new lead singer and J.Frank wanted to enlist. He passed the audition. Sonley Roush was a 27 year old record producer from Midland, Texas. One time he was at The Blue Note Club in Big Springs when he saw J.Frank and The Cavaliers perform and was duly impressed with their stage act. He talked to them about recording a Wayne Cochran song titled "Last Kiss".
Ron Newdoll, had a new studio and recording facility on 14 Tyler Ave. in San Angelo, called Accurate Sound Recording Company. Ron also had a production and publishing company called Askell Music & Sound. He worked out a deal with J.Frank, The Cavaliers, and Sonley. He would produce, engineer, and allow endless use of the studio for ownership in the masters as producer and publishing on some of the original songs. The Cavaliers at this time were: Lewis Elliott-leader of the group, Roland Atkinson-drums, Gene (Buddy) Croyle-lead-guitar, and Mike Hodges-piano. The Accurate Sound Recording sessions started in the spring of 1964 and continued thru the rest of the year.
Besides recording âLast Kissâ numerous other recordings were done, many with the theme of romance and tragedy like âTell Laura I Love Herâ, âA Teenager In Loveâ , âHey Little Oneâ âYoung Loveâ, âSea Of Loveâ, âA Kissâ, âKiss and Runâ and âThe Day Before Our Weddingâ . Other recordings were done in a rock nâ roll vein, like âIf You Knew Meâ, âWine Wine Wineâ âSummertimeâ and âI Saw Her Standing Thereâ. Buddy Hollyâs sound also influenced J.Frankâs singing as is clearly evident on âSpeak To Meâ, Too Many Girlsâ and âBound To Happenâ.
The first nine songs on this Cd comprise for the most part the projected âLast Kissâ album that Ron and Sonly wanted to release. However the masters used on this Cd never were released in the 60âs! For example, Over The Mountainâ is almost twice as long as the recording which appeared on the 1964 âLast Kissâ Josie Records album. Everything that J.Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers recorded for Accurate Sound during the spring and summer of 1964 is included on this Cd with the following exceptions-âThatâll Be The Dayâ, âOnly The Lonelyâ and âSchool Daysâ are omitted because they are perfunctory covers. âDing Go The Chimesâ is just plain awful as is the b-side to âLast Kissâ, âThatâs How Much I Love You Babyâ and another song called âEenie Meanie Mine Moeâ and these are omitted,too.
When the recording sessions were done Ron Newdoll took âLast Kiss and shopped it around to labels with Sonley Roush but they needed someone big to break it. Major Bill Smith (of Ft. Worth, Texas) was enlisted. Major Bill had already scored a number of big hits with Paul and Paula and Bruce Channel. As a result of Ron, Sonley and Major Billâs enthusiasm two different versions of "Last Kiss" ended up on two different labels. The first release was with Tamara Records (the last track on this Cd) and that version of âLast Kissâ differs from the hit version because it is a completely different version.
Jamie Records signed a contract with Sonley, Ron, and Major Bill and released âLast Kissâ on the "Josie" label in August of 1964. This is the version that is remembered as the "Hit Version" and differs from the Tamara single version. A lawsuit ensued between Jamie Records and Tamara Records. A settlement was reached whereby Josie Records became the sole company selling the single and Tamara Records was paid a sum of money. âLast Kissâ received heavy regional airplay and then started to hit in the major markets. Regionally,âLast Kiss was a hit a full two months before it was number one nationwide. The week of August 8, it was number six at WORC in Worcester, Mass. The week of September 5, it was number one at WORC in Worcester, Mass. and number 4 at WQAM in Miami.
As "Last Kiss" continued its climb to the top of the charts J.Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers were booked by the Morris Booking Agency for a tour. They went on a nationwide tour with The Animals and The Royalettes. The tour went through Nashville, New York City, Utica, Rochester and many other cities. The Cavaliers opened the show, backing The Royalettes. Subsequently, J.Frank took the stage with The Cavaliers. Finally, The Animals would take the stage riding high on the chart with their first American hit, âThe House of The Rising Sun". The Cavaliers and The Animals had a friendly rivalry (the bands both shared the same tour bus).
The Animals saw J.Frank Wilson perform "Bring It On Home To Me" and later would record the song. The Animals were part of The Beatles led British Invasion that was in full swing when âLast Kissâ was released and that sound affected some of the The Cavaliers recordings like âTell Laura I Love Herâ, âNot This Timeâ and âI Saw Her Standing Thereâ. Leading off âI Saw Her Standing Thereâ with a pithy comment aimed squarely at The Beatles haircuts,J.Frank slyly says âthey look like a sheepdogâ. In another nod to the Fab Four,âNot This Timeâ starts off with the riffs to âI Want To Hold Your Handâ.The Beatles were influenced by one of Major Bill Smithâs acts, Bruce Channel. The Beatles toured with Bruce Channel in the United Kingdom prior to making it big in the USA. Channelâs harmonica sound (used to great effect in âHey Babyâ) influenced The Beatles early sound on songs such as âMiseryâ, and âThereâs A Placeâ. The version of âTell Laura I Lover Herâ that appears on this Cd has that same moody sounding harmonica effect The Beatles used that gives this song a melancholy effective edge over the hit version by Ray Peterson.
After the Animals-Royaltettes tour ended Lewis Elliott and Roland Atkinson flew back from New York through Chicago to San Angelo. Sonley was to set up another tour. He went to Nashville and told Lewis and Roland that when the band got to Oklahoma City they would pick up the tour and re-join the band. "Last Kiss" was #3 in Cashbox and Billboard Magazine the last week of October when tragedy struck. In the early morning hours of October 23, J.Frank Wilson, The Cavaliers (Buddy Croyle-sax and guitar, Jerry Graham-drums, Phil Trunzo-bass), and Bobby Wood (a Memphis recording artist for Joy Records) and Sonley Roush were traveling from Parksburg, West Virginia to Lima, Ohio. The band had performed in Parksburg on October 22 and were due to perform in Lima on the evening of the 23rd. Sonley was driving the station wagon on Route 31, south of Kenton, Ohio. He fell asleep at the wheel and at 5:15 A.M. the car drifted left of the center plowing head on into a tractor trailer truck. Sonley was killed instantly and J.Frank was severely injured with head lacerations, broken ribs, and a fractured ankle.
The press had a field day linking the tragedy with the lyrical content to âLast Kissâ. The October 31 edition of Billboard Magazine blared on the front page âCrash Kills Roush: Song is Propheticâ. âLast Kissâ hit number one on the Cash Box Top 100, the week of November 7. In Music Business Magazine and Billboard it went to number two. .Josie Records released an album of songs culled from the Accurate Sound recording session, the second week of November. The lp entered the Cash Box top 100 at 91 on November 14. The album would sell over 100,000 copies in the first few months of its release. It would reach as high as number 35 ,the week of December 26, in the top 100 of Music Business Magazine. A follow up single to âLast Kissâ was released the week of November 14-Hey Little Oneâ and âSpeak To Meâ. The single peaked at number 85 on the Billboard top 100 in December of 1964. âKiss and Runâ which appeared on the âLast Kissâ album was also in the top 100 charts in November but the recording was done by the songâs author, Bobby Skeel and was released on Major Billâs âSoftâ record label. (Soft 826).
The car accident was the beginning of the end for the magical combination of J.Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers. Major Bill tried to make him a solo star but the singles didnât chart nationally. J.Frank even re-did âLast Kissâ for Major Bill in 1969 and released it as âLast Kissâ69. By the end of the 60âs J.Frank was a overlooked figure of the music scene, falling into the one hit wonder class. The 70âs would find J.Frank in his hometown of Lufkin. On the tenth year anniversary of âLast Kissâ rein on the charts a major news article revealed that he was working in Lufkin as a Nursing Home Orderly, earning $250.00 weekly. J.Frank was quoted as saying âThey took a little country boy and put him in a big city with big money and he didnât know how to act, I had a hard life, but I learned, learned. I got pretty screwed up, I got on booze and went into institutions for alcoholâ. On October 4, 1991, J.Frank Wilson passed away. His greatest legacy is captured on these recordings with The Cavaliers.
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