Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Richard B & The Hickory

I recently heard from band leader Richard Batchelor about his late 60's, early 70's band that recorded two 45's at L&F Recording studio in Port Arthur, TX. I only have one of the records, so you will only be able to listen to one of them in this write up. Below is the email that he sent me about the band:

I had written several songs over a period of time .. while playing in groups like 
"The Realms of Darkness" .. and "The Upjohn Spigot".  But by the time we finally
got into the studio to record them .. the "band years" were actually over.  There
were no more dance gigs .. no more "battle of the bands".. no more talent shows,
and no more being on the road to "somewhere" all of the time.  Even so, a few of 
us got back together long enough to record two 45 rpm records (On "Top Ten" label).  

"Soft Summer Dreams"
"Wind At My Back"

I had done a "demo" recording of "I'm Home" in the production room of radio 
station KLVI .. and took that to the record company to see what they thought
about getting it onto wax.  ( The 45 record ).  Things fell in place .. and we
came up with a rather hurriedly picked name for the group. ( Richard B and
the Hickory )  We got the recordings done ... and then had a publicity photo 
made.  The recording process was more complex .. and considerably more 
time-consuming than any of us had expected.  I was the lead singer for those 
recordings .. and played bass.  

The publicity photo was taken on a railroad track, very late in the day.  Things
got rather .. shall we say .. "interesting" during that shoot .. because what you
don't see in the picture .. is the fact that the photographer was using the light 
from an on-coming train, to help illuminate us .. and make up for the fading light 
of day.  He snapped the final shot, and we got off the tracks just in time.  Whew.  

The guys in that photo were .. ( left to right )

Toby Hayes .. ( Drummer )
Jerry Bell .. ( Keyboard )
E. George Strong .. ( guitar )
W. Richard Batchelor .. ( Singer and Bass ) .. with the shotgun

The "push" side for the first record was "I'm Home" and "Soft Summer Dreams"
was the "push" for the second one.  ( Flip sides were "Making a Main Road" and 
"Wind at My Back". )

Many specifics and details are lost in the mist of time, with muddled memories
and uncertainties as to exactly what or when or how ..etc.  I've often said that 
memories are basically quick snapshots that we piece together in our minds, in
order to create the larger overall memory of a certain event or time period.  But
the basic story here is pretty simple.

The experience of being in a professional recording studio and actually cutting 
a couple of records .. was quite special indeed.  The records were played 
locally for a while .. ( In the Beaumont, Texas / Golden Triangle area ) .. and 
although none of us heard it ourselves .. we were told at the time that one of 
the Houston stations picked up "I'm Home" .. and played it now and then.  I 
have no way of knowing that for sure though.  Getting good distribution
proved to be difficult .. but overall, it was a positive and exciting time.

Thanks to Richard for taking time to write the story and for sending me a copy of the 45!

1 comment:

  1. It certainly was a fun and exciting time! I was a good friend of the band and "roadie". They were such a talented band. They played so well and could harmonize like the Bee Gee's. I often think back on my time being with the band.