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!