The Gentlemen - It's A Cryin' Shame
davies511 — April 14, 2010 — Great 60's Texas Punk classic
They came from Dallas and released this monster fuzz punk classic in 1966 for Vandan Records
line up: Tommy Turner on keyboards, Tim Justice on drums, Mike Kelley on guitar and vocals on "Cry'n Shame", Bruce Bland on bass, and Seab Meador on lead guitar and vocals"Tim Justice, drummer for the Gentlemen, gives the history of the band behind one of the most essential 45s of the 1960's, "It's a Cry'n Shame":
"The Gentlemen played in and around Dallas, Texas from 1964 until 1968, always enjoying a booked in advance schedule and putting on energy packed shows. Originally started by guitarist Seab Meador and drummer Tim Justice, they were joined by bassist Lonnie Taylor and guitarist and singer Mike Kelley in early 1965. The bands early musical direction was crafted by Meador whose guitar genius was recognized by all who came in contact with the group. Seab loved early Rolling Stones, Animals, Kinks and Yardbirds, concentrating heavily on the stylings of Jeff Beck."The band took on more of the rhythm and blues swagger of the Stones and Animals than the pop ballads of the Beatles and Dave Clark Five. Our original bass player was Lonnie Taylor, who lived in South Dallas and had a hard time making all the gigs. We found Jimmie Randall, or he found us, and slowly the transition took place. I do remember a few nights when he AND Lonnie showed up and we played with 2 bass players. Heavy."Jimmie also remembers something that I didn't, that he played bass on our first and earliest recordings, 'Beg Borrow and Steal', and 'Here I Cannot Stay', both written by Seab Meador. Boy, were we young. Must have been 15 at the time. In the session, Seab was on guitar and singing, I was drumming, Jimmie Randall was on bass and Mike Kelly was on guitar. The later three sang backup. Seab penned both songs and as far as I know, there are only 2 copies of the acetate, one owned by me and the other by Jimmie Randall. Jimmie reminds me that these AND the later 'It's a Cryin' Shame' sessions were recorded at Summit Studio, and the master acetates where made upstairs at Boyd Recording Service. [This first session] cost $150 that we split 4 ways. We just wanted to see what we sounded like and never tried to find a label."This unit played through 1965 with the addition of fellow Oak Cliff musician Jimmy Vaughn, later of the 'Fabulous Thunderbirds', creating a powerful duet with Meador during a several month stint. Meador and Vaughn forged a solid friendship during this time."In early 1966, the nucleus that would come to represent the band formed, including Meador, Kelley, Justice and new members Bruce Bland on bass and Tommy Turner on keyboards. This incarnation solidified into a driving rock band that always brought down the house. They played venues such as Louanns Club and the Studio Club in Dallas and Panther A Go-Go and The Box in Ft. Worth. During '66, The Gentlemen opened for James Brown at the Dallas Convention Center, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and The Beau Brummels at Louanns. They played along side Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison at Panther A Go-Go."Tom Brown, president of Vandan Records heard us play at LouAnn's Club in Dallas, and wondered if we would do some writing with him and Gene Garretson, his arranger. After several weeks, we came up with a song called 'You Can't Be True' and what was considered the B side, 'It's a Cry'n Shame'. We liked 'Cry'n Shame' better, but Gene spent a lot of time arranging violins and multiple tracks for 'You Can't Be True' so that was the track they pushed. It took us nearly two weeks to record 'You Can't Be True', and as a complete after-thought, 2 takes and probably 1 hour to slam down 'It's a Cry'n Shame'. Therein lies the genuine spontaneity that makes it pure straight ahead punk rock, I suppose."The result was what has now become a garage rock classic. 'Its a Cryn Shame' has been referred to by the G45 LEGENDS listings as: 'One of the top 10 tracks to play to anyone you need to convert to 60s garageism. Absolute perfection in every respect, including barnstorming drumming, scorching fuzz guitar complete with ripping break, bass alternately swooping and thumping. Add to this the distinctive vocals which combine the best pop sensibilities with the classic Texas punk sneer, and simple yet effective backing vocals. Everything's just perfect.'
"Bruce Bland, our bass player, was playing a no brand bass guitar that he picked up at a thrift shop for $50. He had a Fender for gigs but this thing was so funky-butt ugly and had a fuzzy thumping sound, perfect for Cry'n Shame. "