Monday, July 24, 2017

Allen Mann & The Mustangs

From L to R: Jimmy Simmons, Carlton Buxton, Al Mann, Mike Anderson

Band member line up:

Al Mann- vocals and guitar
Jimmy Simmons - bass guitar
David Swinburn - bass guitar (replaced Jimmy after the record was recorded)
Carlton Buxton - drums
Mike Anderson- lead guitar

The Tennessee Travelers in their western outfits

The band was originally formed in Orange, TX by guitarist Al Mann and Jimmy Simmons who played together in the same church band. In 1963 the duo added Carlton Buxton on drums and then 14 year old guitarist Mike Anderson. The band was led by Al, who was a good 8 or 9 years older than Mike at the time.
Starting out as more of a country western group, they originated under the name of Al Mann & The Tennessee Travelers. 

The Mustangs in 1966 with David Swimburn on bass

The combo traveled all over SE Texas and into western Louisiana playing many fairs, Knights of Columbus halls, VFW halls, and other venues. Their biggest appearance was in 1963 when they were one of the featured performers opening for Hank Williams Jr at the dedication of the Sam Rayburn Dam (in deep east Texas about 70 miles north of Beaumont). The band played for a crowd of 53,000 people in attendance, most notably including President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird Johnson.

Mike Anderson, Gary Ware, and Al Mann at B.O. Sparkle Club in Bridge City, TX 1966

In 1965, The Mustangs went into L&F Recording Studio in Port Arthur to record their first record: "Tears In My Heart" b/w "First Love". Around 500 copies were pressed and sold out, with a second pressing being made.
About 5-6 months later, a second record was reportedly issued with the songs "Up and Down" b/w "My Girl Judy". I have never seen or heard mention of this record anywhere though, so it must be quite under the radar if it was pressed up beyond the acetate stage.

"First Love"
"Tears In My Heart"

In 1967 the group disbanded, though Al Mann continued to tour the club circuit and later played in Narvel Felts band. Mike Anderson went on to do studio work in the 70's at AMI studio in Nashville, working with many well known country artist. He now plays in the Big Thicket Band in Orange, TX and is the director of The County Seat Music Hall.

The Big Thicket Band in 2017
Many thanks to Mike Anderson for sharing these memories and sending me his copy of the 45. Thanks to Al Mann for connecting me with Mike!

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