Sunday, July 9, 2017

E.S. Saunders & The Spades

This entry has extra significance to me, being a post about the only rock band I know of to have released a record during the 50's and 60's in my hometown of Smithville, TX.

The only other local record I know of that was released by a band from my hometown was The Daylighters excellent blues 45 on the Austin based Domino label: "I'll Never Let You Go" b/w "Something Is Wrong". It is noteworthy that a young Sonny Rhodes was an original member in The Daylighters.

Another local 60's era singer who grew up in Smithville (though was living in Austin at the time of his two stellar soul 45's on the Gulf label) was the mighty talented Major Burkes.

Finding in depth information on The Spades from Smithville has been difficult since I have not been able to speak to any original members of the band. Original band leader Everett Saunders passed away years before I ever had the chance to interview him about the group.

Another confirmed member was Glenn Gaertner who lived in La Grange at the time and was a radio DJ over at local station KVLG.

Everett's original band was called The Royal Reltones, and probably contained a completely different set of musicians than were in The Spades. This band featured the following members: Bobby Lawrence, Eddie Sneed, Ken Laake, Frank Riha, Sydney Kasper, and Everett. Several of these band members may have been from around Bastrop county.

During the 70's and 80's when people were first rediscovering lost local recordings, there was much confusion regarding this group because there was a total of THREE unrelated bands named The Spades who made records in Austin during the 1960's! There was also a band who quickly changed their name to the Slades and recorded a record called "You Cheated" which became a big regional hit for the Domino imprint in Austin. Then there was Roky Erickson's first band before he joined the 13th Floor Elevators.

This record was recorded around early 1964 at Roy T Poole's Austin Custom Records in downtown Austin at 6th and Congress. It was released on one of Roy's custom labels called Echo Records, which had previously released a number of excellent country and rockabilly 45's starting in the late 50's.

"My Little Girl"
"Baby I Need You"

Many thanks to Diana Saunders for her help and for use of most of the images in this entry! If anyone else out there remembers these guys or played in the band,  I would love to hear from you!
Drop me a line at shape3 (at)

The man himself, E.S. Saunders

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