The Egyptian Combo's
National Releases 1964-67 CD
Ellis McKenzie, in the 1967 version of the band, died March 29, 2008 in Phoenix.
Ellis contracted alzheimer's in 2002.
He was 62.
GALE WINDS (R4KM-9603) Copyright July 18, 1963 /
Rockin' Little Egypt (R4KM-9604) Copyright September 17, 1964
Norman N-549 & Norman DOTN-549
Distributed by Dot Records, Inc. Hollywood
Dot Contract August 13, 1964
Billboard review September 19, 1964
October 3, 1964 BREAKOUT SINGLE (St Louis)
October 17, 1964 #108
October 17, 1964 BREAKOUT SINGLE (San Francisco)
October 24, 1964 #107
October 31, 1964 #104
October 31, 1964 BREAKOUT SINGLE (Mpls-St Paul)
November 7, 1964 #103
November 14, 1964 #106
KXOK July 25, 1964 EX
KXOK August 1, 1964 #26
KXOK August 8, 1964 #19
KXOK August 15, 1964 #?
KXOK August 22, 1964 #?
KXOK August 29, 1964 #32
KXOK September 5, 1964 #28
KXOK September 12, 1964 ( - )
ent WLS October 9, 1964 #21 WP 5
WLS October 16, 1964 #18 WP 6
WLS October 23, 1964 #20 WP 7
WLS October 30, 1964 #16 WP 8
WLS November 6, 1964 #20 WP 9
WLS November 13, 1964 ( - )
St. Louis Blues (RK4M-8408) /
The Frog (RK4M-8409)
Norman N-555, 1965
I Don't Care Anymore (U4KM-2881) /
Watermelon Man (U4KM-2882)
Norman N-576, 1965
Main Theme From 'Dr. Zhivago' (100081) /
Norma's Theme (100082) Copyright May 26, 1966
MGM K 13518, April 19, 1966
The Invaders Are Here
Copyright February 23, 1967
Mike Adkins, RCA 9135, February 1967
Arranged by The Egyptian Combo
"Watch out for the crooked hand of The Invaders"
ABC-TV January 10, 1967- September 17, 1968
A QM Production
~ Quitman Dennis & The Escorts
Epic 5-9724 (ZTSP 78844), September 1964
Tribute to The Egyptian Combo
~ European Dot EP VDEP.34.008
THE EGYPTIAN COMBO
THE EGYPTIAN COMBO
BEFORE HE WAS FAB
First American Visit
seriously researched book
by Jim Kirkpatrick
Kevin D. McKee, Flat Rock, NC,
writing film adaptation
of Jim Kirkpatrick's
BEFORE HE WAS FAB
BEFORE HE WAS FAB
BEFORE HE WAS FAB
BEATLES? NO THANKS: At 15, Reinhardt College President William Nevious played drums and put together the Egyptian Combo, a local band in St. Louis that developed a following, made the '60s pop charts and played next to Ike and Tina Turner. He also had a brush with the Beatles. In the new book "Before He Was Fab" by Jim Kirkpatrick, Nevious is featured as the band leader who rejected the Fab Four. "I found out accidentally when an AP reporter called and wanted to know about me turning away the Beatles," said Nevious. "The bottom line is, I told them, 'Don't call us, we'll call you.' " In the early 1960s, George Harrison's sister heard the Egyptian Combo and asked Nevious if he could book her brother's British band at a pavilion the Combo leased in Benton, Ill. If the band got enough bookings, they planned to come to the States. After listening to a few cuts, Nevious rejected the request. When Harrison asked if he could sit in and play with Nevious' band, members said no. "We didn't let other people play in the band," Nevious said. "That was our policy." The rest is history. For more on the Egyptian Combo, go online to community-2.webtv.net/autodoug/THEEGYPTIANCOMBO/
Record Collector #256
During summer 1963, George Harrison spent three pleasurable weeks of comparitive anonymity at his sister's Louise's home in Benton, a small Illinois mining town. Conspicuous only as a long-haired Englishman, he was unrecognized, unphotographed and unpestered as he wandered its streets, thumbed through wares in its record store, and watched movies at one of those new-fangled drive-in cinemas. An interview on local radio and even a stage appearance with the Four Vests, Benton's bass group, had the impact of a feather on concrete -- the British Invasion was still months away.
In the centuries to come, George's ghost is less likely to be observed wailing and rattling chains around Benton than, say, the Speke council estate where he grew up. Nevertheless, his US holiday is the thrust of this well-researched -- if necessarily slim -- volume, by a regional journalist who argues that it was as significant as Stephen Foster's equally brief stay in "My Old Kentucky Home."
One of the Four Vests, for example, recalls "hearing George play a guitar lick that sounded similar to 'Day Tripper.'" Moreover, Harrison was to return to Britain with the Rickenbacker 425 that he would go on to use on later Beatles hits; a James Ray album from which he'd revive "Got My Mind Set On You" to million-selling effect in 1988, and a funny story about the aftermath of his night with the Vests when someone told him that "with the right kind of backing, you could go places."
~ Alan Clayson
The Atlanta Journal
The Atlanta Constitution
Jan 18, 2001
By Glenn Hannigan
Some people must overcome great odds to succeed in life.
Some people must overcome great odds merely to survive.
Reinhardt College President William A. Nevious has done both.
Nevious, 53, didn't just take the road less traveled on his unusual journey to the upper tier of academia. He took the road unchartered.
Though not all the specifics appear on his resume, here are a few roles Nevious filled on his remarkable path: hobo, migrant worker, foster child, rock 'n' roll drummer, decorated Vietnam veteran, Associated Press photographer, marketing executive, newspaper publisher, business owner, college president.
His extraordinary story would be difficult enough to edit down into a book, let alone recount within the space confines of a newspaper column.
"It's certainly been an unusual journey for me," Nevious says with a gentle smile. "My wife, Kristen, has been encouraging me to write down some of the details of my life. She thinks it might make an interesting book."
Indeed. The biggest challenge might be convincing people that Nevious' incredible stories are purely nonfiction.
From the start, he faced tough odds.
At age 5, shortly after the death of his mother, Nevious was thrust into life as a vagabond, literally following in his father's footsteps. The two hopped freight trains from town to town, state to state. The youngster's only schooling came on the streets, learning how to beg for food from the back door of a restaurant and creating makeshift beds out of cardboard boxes.
Nevious and his father occasionally worked in migrant camps, picking peaches, apples and --- worst of all --- cotton.
"Cotton really cuts your hands up," says Nevious. "I spent three of the worst weeks of my life working the cotton fields in Alabama. We never did that again."
At age 9, while visiting his grandmother's home in southern Illinois, Nevious' life took a dramatic turn.
"My grandmother pulled me aside and said, 'You're going to hate me for what I've just done, but one day you will thank me,' " Nevious said.
An hour later, social service workers arrived to escort young Nevious to an orphanage. He would see his father only a few times afterward.
"I had to learn to survive in all types of circumstances," Nevious says. "I was 9 years old when I was sent to school for first time in my life. I had to learn how to be flexible and know how to adapt."
After three years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, Nevious was placed with an aging childless couple who lovingly raised him until he graduated from high school. They also purchased him a set of drums, which soon set his life on another course.
"I picked up the drums pretty quickly," Nevious says. "I soon got involved in forming a group called the Egyptian Combo."
The young rock band, which developed a strong following in the St. Louis area, made the '60s pop charts and performed on the same bill with Ike and Tina Turner. More noteworthy, the group was heard by the sister of a young British guitarist.
The young woman, sister of George Harrison, asked Nevious if he would book her brother's band at a pavilion the Egyptian Combo often leased in Benton, Ill.
In a recently released book about Harrison, "Before He Was Fab," author Jim Kirkpatrick relates the story of how the Beatles were turned down flat by young Nevious.
"Harrison's sister sent me a demo with a few Beatles songs on it," the college president recalls. "She said if they could get enough bookings in the U.S. they would bring the band over for a tour. I knew their sound was something new and different, but I really wasn't too interested. I said something like, 'Don't call us, we'll call you.' Looking back, I think 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' might have been one of the songs on the tape."
Nevious also rejected a request for Harrison to sit in and play guitar with the Egyptian Combo.
"We didn't let other people sit in with the band," he explained.
Eventually, Nevious and most of his bandmates volunteered for the Army and were sent to Vietnam, an unusual story that received widespread press coverage.
The Egyptian Combo even brought their equipment to southeast Asia and were often dropped off by helicopter into outlying firebases to perform for the troops.
"I don't think any other band was ever sent into the kind of areas we were sent into," Nevious says. "It was crazy. The enemy would hear all the noise and then zero in on our location. We'd end up scrambling for cover from mortar fire. I took some direct hits on my drum set. We had amps with bullet holes in them."
Fortunately, the band members fared better then their equipment. All survived the tour of duty, which included the infamous 1968 Tet Offensive.
While serving in Vietnam, Nevious won a Minolta camera in a card game, which began another significant life change. After returning to the United States, armed with his poker winnings, he began a successful career as a photographer.
He also earned a master's degree in education and a doctorate in speech communication.
"I've learned how to cope with change in my life," says Nevious, who has two sons, Matt, 11, and Ben, 3. "I think that puts me in a good position to face all the challenges ahead."
After taking over as president of Reinhardt last year, Nevious has wasted little time.
In December the 117-year-old college was awarded accreditation as a four-year institution from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Until the mid-1990s, the college offered only two-year degrees.
According to Nevious, Reinhardt will continue to expand its curriculum --- and its facilities. The Waleska-based school is currently undergoing $13 million in new construction projects, with more being planned. The school has also built a $55 million endowment.
"We have many challenges in properly preparing for the future," Nevious says.
"We have a blue-ribbon committee researching options for expanding our library facilities, our student center and student housing. We have to be prepared to survive in an increasingly competitive environment of higher education."
And who could be in a better position to deal with rapid change than William Nevious?
about Louise & George Harrison
More Illinois-related Articles
about Louise & George Harrison
ROCK 'N' ROLL DREAMS:
BANDMATES, VIETNAM VETS HOPE STORY HITS SILVER SCREEN
BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Tuesday, May 11 2004
HERRIN -- Any Baby Boomer with Southern Illinois roots who knows anything about music has probably heard of, if not listened to, the Egyptian Combo.
In a couple of years, the entire nation may learn about the group as efforts are under way to sell their story, "The Golden Boys," to a movie company.
Starting out as a quartet in the summer of 1960, the rock'n'roll group, which was better known at first for its instrumental talents than vocals, consisted of Rick Linton, Lloyd Rainey, Butch Nevious, and Charles Williams.
Linton played bass guitar and trumpet. Rainey played guitar and keyboard. Nevious was the band's drummer and Williams played guitar. Not long thereafter Lonnie Dixon and Nick Ridgeway, a pair of saxophonists, were added.
A few years later, Linton's younger brother, Doug, replaced Williams. Ellis McKenzie, a trombonist from Herrin also joined the ranks as did vocalist Kevin Cox.
A regular performer at all the teen centers and happening nightclubs in the region in the early '60s, the band eventually hit it big with "Gale Winds," an instrumental piece written by Rainey, which reached No. 12 on the pop charts nationwide in 1964.
Linton, now 58, said that he, along with Nevious, Rainey and McKenzie were inducted into the Army in 1967, in the middle of the Vietnam War. Their induction, in fact, was televised live on WSIL-TV, Channel 3, in Harrisburg.
Serving with the 101st Airborne Division, the band was flown by helicopter to perform for troops on the front lines at many different locations during the war.
"I think our story is a fantastic story," Linton said. "It would be such elation to see this made into a movie."
Linton said the plot is based more on comedy than drama. "It's flat out hilarious in some respects," he said. "There have been several Vietnam War movies, but none like ours. I kind of envision our story as Vietnam's version of 'M*A*S*H.'"
Linton explained the story has been written and rewritten for the better part of a decade, and some well-known actors who own movie companies, such as Michael Douglas and Dennis Hopper, made offers for the rights to the story.
"But we turned them down -- didn't think we were getting our money's worth at the time," Linton said. "But now we have a prominent company in New York City that is very much interested in the story, and we have high hopes of getting this off the ground."
Partnering with a promoter, Herrin native Michael Stergis, and experienced screenwriter Ed Ascheman of St. Louis, Linton said he is confident that a whole new generation of movie enthusiasts would enjoy the band's story. So would many the same age as the band members, he said.
Stergis, a guitarist and trumpet player who has also played with the band, was a huge fan of the Egyptian Combo as a youth. He admits he idolized them. And he's been the driving force in pushing for the band's story to be made into a movie.
Stergis said that what's great about the band's story is that members had such great loyalty to one another. "When one was drafted, the others went to a recruiter and all enlisted together.
"This story is about music, war and comedy. It tells of what all happened to the boys from the time they entered boot camp to the time they were discharged," he said. "It's about carrying their electric guitars on one shoulder and an M-16 on the other."
THE EGYPTIAN COMBO
May 25, 2002
THE EGYPTIAN COMBO's
May 26, 2001
Egyptian Combo Day
during HerrinFesta Italiana 2001!
The Southern Illinoisan
By John D. Homan
AREA FANS PAY TRIBUTE TO HARRISON AT CANDLELIGHT CEREMONY
HERRIN -- Many fans of George Harrison and the Beatles descended upon The Hard Day's Nite Bed and Breakfast Saturday evening in Benton to pay tribute to a talented entertainer struck down by cancer prematurely at the age of 58.
One of those fans attending the candlelight ceremony and invited to speak a few words about Harrison was Rick Linton of Herrin, an original member of The Egyptian Combo. The group is a popular Southern Illinois band that celebrated its 40th anniversary as a group this year.
Linton said he and his fellow band members were introduced to Harrison by his sister, Louise Harrison Caldwell, in the summer of 1963 while George was visiting the area -- only a few months before the Beatles hit America by storm.
"Some of my friends had heard George play with a country-rock group at a bar in Eldorado. They said he was good and that we ought to let him sit in with us when we were playing one night at Christopher," Linton said.
"But we turned down the opportunity. We'd had a bad experience just a few weeks earlier, letting this girl sing with us and she was absolutely terrible. We were so mortified by that experience, we decided we weren't going to let anybody else sit in with us again.
"And we didn't know George, this Englishman in sandals, from Adam. Here, we had the opportunity to let George Harrison, whose music would help change the world, sit in and play with us and we turned him down. You can imagine we had a lot of laughs about that over the years and a lot of teasing from Louise."
Linton said he rekindled ties with Louise when she moved back to Benton about five years ago.
"As a Franklin County tourism consultant, I'm proud to say I was involved in efforts to preserve the Harrison home and help turn it into a tourist attraction."
Linton said he considers Harrison to be much more than a talented musician.
"Of all the Beatles, I would have to say our group probably identified more with George than anyone. We appreciated his interest in the ecology and his stance on human rights. And his music reflected his attitudes."
In Conversation With:
Rick Linton of The Egyptian Combo
By Dorian Falco
STLtoday.com Associate Editor
Chances are, you've heard the Egyptian Combo's groovy instrumental, "Gale Winds." It hit No. 7 on the Billboard charts during the early '60s (the group also performed the theme to "Dr. Zhivago.") They also had the opportunity to sit in with Beatle George Harrison, who happened to be in Illinois visiting his sister only months before the Fab Four made it big, but passed it up, not knowing what to do with this "nice young Englishman in long hair and sandals." The group also narrowly missed playing the Ed Sullivan Show, and were displaced at the last minute by another group that hadn't yet made it big: the Rolling Stones.
Though this series of near-misses sounds discouraging, the group is still together; 2001 marks their 40th anniversary. Though they all currently work full-time, they still devote any time they can to their first love — playing music. Doug Linton, one of the Combo's original members, spoke to STLtoday.com about how the group stuck together despite the demands of a hit-hungry music industry and a stint in Vietnam, which found them digging shrapnel out of their amplifiers.
STLtoday: Who were the original members, and how did the group get started?
RL: Lloyd Rainey, of Johnston City, Illinois; William Nevious, from Christopher, Illinois; [myself] and my brother, Doug Linton of Herrin, Illinois, Lonnie Dixon, and Nick Ridgeway, also from Herrin.
The group got together through area talent contests before any of the members were of age to drive. Rehearsals were a problem for the first few months, until Lloyd and [I] turned 16 and got cars. The reason for the name "Egyptian Combo" is that southern Illinois used to be referred to as "Little Egypt." Everything in the '50s and '60s was called "Little Egypt" like "Gateway" is now used in St. Louis.
STLtoday: What were your main musical influences?
RL: Influences on the music style first came from pop instrumental artists of the day, like the Bill Black Combo and Boots Randolph. Some big band and jazz ideas also came into the mix, along with the blues-rock style of Ray Charles and Little Richard.
The group created its own unique sound, similar to Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago, but many years before they became popular. Our sound today is much like our old group, except we have much better and more sophisticated equipment. We do mostly covers, but still perform a few of our originals during the night. We are discussing new music, and Lloyd Rainey has started work on several new compositions. All of the group's members are business owners, which makes it difficult to dedicate the time we need to write and record a CD of new music. I think our live experiences, our collective musical experience, and our knowledge of new recording technologies will be a great formula for new material. The biggest difference is that we won't be so concerned if everyone likes it.
STLtoday: The Combo barely missed the opportunity to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show — what happened?
RL: As very young boys, before our first record release, we had peddled our music in Nashville and Memphis, recording in several studios, including RCA, where Elvis had cut several of his tracks. We soon learned that everyone in the big music scene had their own projects they were working on and other than getting a few dollars for a couple of studio sessions, we came away empty-handed. When Norman Weinstower and Mel Freedman [of Norman Records] told us they would record and release "Gale Winds," we were all skeptical. We met Norman Weinstower in his St. Louis office in about March of 1964 and played our tapes from the Nashville sessions. He liked "Gale Winds" and immediately booked a session at Technisonic Studio on Washington Avenue, St. Louis.
STLtoday: What was that like?
RL: Our experience in the recording studio was one of the most exciting times of our lives. We had some of the best technology of the day, and professionals to help us record our music. Everything we had wished for and dreamed of was happening at last. I was amazed at the sound quality and kept wondering what other people would think when they heard our recordings. Like the sudden popularity that followed, it seemed like a dream to have that opportunity and hear our music come to life.
To our surprise and delight, "Gale Winds" was being played on stations throughout the country within a few months of its release. We were receiving mail from everywhere, including Europe, a result of an additional international release. Within six months, we had received a letter from the Ed Sullivan Show, requesting arrangements for an appearance. The prerequisite was that "Gale Winds" would have to climb to at least the Top 10 on the Billboard music chart. That, of course, did not happen, and the Rolling Stones filled the time segment on the Sullivan Show.
The entire experience was exciting, confusing and stressful. We were shuttled from one promotional appearance to another, all the time being told the secret formula for fame — the right time, right place, the right sound, etc. At the same time, the war in Vietnam was becoming a larger issue than our musical careers. Although we thought our second and third efforts were far better, subsequent record releases did not fare as well as "Gale Winds" and our energies had to be refocused on staying in college and out of Vietnam.
STLtoday: On that note, can you talk about what you called "The Uncle Sam Tour?"
RL: When most of the group's member's draft status became 1-A, we all began to see doom of war on the horizon. It was as if something had sucked all the air out of the balloon. I remember that it was difficult to talk to each other, because we had exhausted the subject no one wanted to be reminded [of]. Lonnie, our saxophone player, visited an Army Recruiter named Sergeant Nanny to discuss his own future. When Lonnie told him about the group's probable demise, Sergeant Nanny began to put together a plan for six of us. Doug was too young at the time, and he would have to stay behind. We all bought into the idea that the Army was going to use us as entertainers (stateside) and as a public relations ploy to recruit young men for the war, we would be sworn in on regional television.
Later, in St. Louis, during our Army physical, Lonnie discovered he was borderline diabetic, and Kevin Cox, the other saxophone player, had scoliosis. That left four of us. Lloyd Rainey, Butch Nevious, Ellis McKinsey and myself, Rick Linton. There is so much to the story about our Vietnam adventure that we have been working for the past five years on a movie based on the true story with Ed Ascheman of Phoenix Entertainment and Ben Moses, screenplay writer of "Good Morning, Vietnam."
A short version is that the Army did not follow through with any of the promises they made. No explanations or discussions of our written agreement. We were, however assigned to the 101st Airborne Division Band at Fort Campbell, KY. Then we were told the unit was packing for Vietnam. We slipped our Combo equipment on base and packed it on huge pallets and covered it with military supplies and ammunition. Once we got to Vietnam, we confiscated two small generators, found two more musicians and began to play music until we had attracted quite a large crowd of soldiers, including the division chaplain, who promptly got us assigned to special duty. We flew around Vietnam in two Huey helicopters and played rock 'n' roll for the troops for a year. We were called the Screaming Eagles Combo. We were decorated with the Bronze Star and Army Commendation for our performance in hostile areas. Some of our performances were actually interrupted by mortar attacks and small arms fire. The movie project is, of course, a comedy that features scenes that are based on our experiences. We actually had shrapnel in our Fender amplifiers.
STLtoday: The other historical piece of information I'm sure a lot of readers are interested in is your "missed opportunity" to sit in with George Harrison.
RL: The Egyptian Combo was starting to gain momentum as a popular group in southern Illinois. During our first two years, we were playing nightclubs and high school dances. By our third year, the Combo was the by far the most popular act in the three-state region. There was also no competition with exception of a few country bands. We were the only rock act outside St. Louis or Chicago that performed in the region.
In 1963, Louise Harrison Caldwell, who had moved from Canada with her husband to Benton, Illinois was visited by her brother, George. At the time, the Beatles had just made their debut in England, but their popularity had not yet reached the U.S. The Egyptian Combo had the opportunity to have him sit in during a performance in Benton one night. Several friends told us about hearing him sit in with a country-rock group at a bar in El Dorado. They said he was very good, but we did not offer, and he did not approach the stage. Over the years, we have all gotten a lot of laughs out of the story, and we have even become acquainted with Louise in the past few years. She always makes a point to kid us about our "brush with fame." The recent book by Jim Kirkpatrick ["Before He Was Fab"] dedicates a paragraph to our missed opportunity.
STLtoday: Another question about history, this time with a local flavor. What was Gaslight Square like, back in its heyday? The Combo played there, correct?
RL: My memories of Gaslight Square are only those of many great live performances. Although the Combo was not among the groups that frequented the clubs, we got great ideas for live performance from just watching and listening. You could hear the best music of the day performed by some of the best musicians. Gaslight was probably one of the Midwest's hottest live music venues. It was a great time for musicians and music lovers.
Southern Illinois in the '60s was not a hot bed of music. Prior to World War II, there were a few exciting things happening, like White City Park in Herrin, where Tommy Dorsey, Fats Waller and almost all the big bands played. But that era died and was replaced by small groups and even smaller clubs. By the '60s, only state fairs and special events were hosting big name entertainment.
STLtoday: Enough history — what's the group up to these days?
RL: Most of our current group has businesses of their own. My brother Doug manages a car dealership, I am a partner in a St. Louis based advertising agency, Lloyd owns a business machines company and Chris, the youngest and, of course, not an original member, is a music major at Murray State in Kentucky. Lonnie Dixon will retire from his job in Tucson, AZ and rejoin the group in February of 2002.
We perform a wide range of music including some of our own. One of the group's favorite songs we usually play every performance is an arrangement of a song by the Grass Roots called "Midnight Confessions." We cover mostly dance music from the '60s, '70s and '80s. Our song list includes: "Knock on Wood," "Midnight Hour," "Land of a Thousand Dances," "Them Changes," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" . . . all the usual suspects. We always surprise our crowds with a couple of interesting selections each set, like "Everytime You Go Away" by Paul Young. We try to keep our performances enjoyable from both a music and entertainment perspective.
[We play] an average of two engagements a month. For now, that's enough to keep our interest in staying together, yet not too much that it becomes work. Our engagements are mostly dinners, class reunions and annual events like the Herrinfest Italiana in May. Last year we opened for Atlanta Rhythm Section and we will open for another "headline" group this coming May. We try to stay in touch with our fans via newsletter, and that's infrequent because most of our engagements are not open to the public.
STLtoday: I noticed the Herrinfest announcement on your site — what exactly was that engagement like?
RL: At the Herrinfest Italiana in May of 2001, we were presented with a key to the city and a proclamation of "Egyptian Combo Day," May, 26th. The four members of the band who were in Vietnam were also recognized for our service. The recognition was due to our announcement of the Band's 40th Anniversary. The Vietnam Veteran's traveling Wall display was also part of this year's Herrinfest. The Veterans involved with the Wall project had read in our news release about our service record and they decided to make that connection with our special recognition. It was an emotional and memorable event for all of us.
STLtoday: You also have a new CD out.
RL: Our current CD is a compilation of releases that were only on 45 RPM records until two years ago. It was fun using new electronics to remove noise from the original tracks. We plan to re-edit them with even newer software in the near future. We also plan to record and release new original material in 2002.
STLtoday: So — how do you perceive the current state of the music industry, as opposed to what things were like in the '60s?
RL: The local music scene is much different, except for the resurgence of blues. Blues musicians seem to be bringing back the live performance art form. Jazz is also attracting some young players. Our saxophone player, Chris, is involved in some college jazz projects and my son, Shaun, a high school freshman, has joined the jazz band. I think we should all look at what's good in music today. I'm sure the entire group could give you far too many examples of bad music. Other than the over-pretentious kids filled with angst or the formula-pop bands, we don't hear very much good new music out there. There are, of course, some monster talents, but it is apparent the current music consumers don't appreciate genuine talent.
During the '60s, when we had our flash of fame, AM radio was the media through which we all got to hear new music and 45 RPM singles were the technology. KXOK in St. Louis and WLS in Chicago were the dominate stations and "Gale Winds" was being played on these and most of the big stations across the country. We have a small collection of some the weekly music surveys of those radio stations that list "Gale Winds" as it moved up and down the lists. We appeared several times in St. Louis during that time, including the Russ Carter Show, KXOK-Johnny Rabbit radio show and the Traveling Shindig, the Playboy Club, at Keil Auditorium — also with Johnny Rabbit — and many other venues.
STLtoday: After 40 years of playing together, what are the plans for the future?
RL: Our plans for the future are rather brief; we're in our fifties now, not a lot of time left for all the great things we were going to do in our youth. If one of us were to win the lottery tomorrow, we would all be in the recording studio for the remainder of our years making music for own enjoyment and whoever wanted to listen.
To keep tabs on what the Combo is up to, visit them on the web at http://community-2.webtv.net/autodoug/THEEGYPTIANCOMBO/
To order a CD of re-mastered Combo 45s, visit Gemm Records at www.gemm.com
On Saturday, December 8 at 7 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil for George Harrison at his sister Louise Harrison Caldwell's bed and breakfast, The Hard Day's Nite Inn, 201 West Park Street, Benton, Illinois. Call the Inn at 618-438-2328 for more information.
Thursday, November 29, 2001
Rock 'n' Roll With The Egyptian Combo
by Mike Pettit
Lloyd Rainey and Rick Linton remember when making music meant traveling through sweltering heat by helicopter to please America's troops in foreign lands.
Linton and Rainey were not only Vietnam War draftees 33 years ago, but members of the Egyptian Combo, a popular rock and roll band from Southern Illinois.
A helicopter flew the band, the equipment and a generator around Vietnam to supply America's troops with entertainment when they weren't fighting the war.
"We were carrying lead and instruments," said Linton, bassist and trumpet player for the band.
The current quartet, composed of Rainey, Linton, Linton's younger brother Doug, and Chris Thornton, will be armed only with instruments Saturday as it makes its appearance at Mugsy McGuire's to play old and new songs for their crowd.
The band formed in Southern Illinois in 1961 after Lloyd Rainey and a neighborhood friend discovered their joy of making music could escalate to getting a band together.
They scouted a number of musicians at talent shows and events in Herrin, Johnson City and Christopher, trying to find the sounds that would fit. After Rainey put the pieces together, the Egyptian Combo formed.
The pack began as an instrumental group of six, playing horn-oriented rock and roll and soul, and after a few years of voiceless play, the group incorporated vocals into their act.
By 1964, the band hit Southern Illinois stardom, playing nightclubs, youth centers and regional events as the one of a few rock and roll bands in the area at the time.
The band peaked with the hit single "Gale Winds," listed as a regional "breakout" by Billboard Magazine that rose to the national Top 40. The song reached the top five on radio stations in St. Louis and Chicago.
Success kept the high school band plugging away, playing just about every homecoming and prom from Mount Vernon down to Cairo, Rainey said.
"If we didn't have that record out, I doubt we'd still be together," said Doug Linton, hitting keyboards and vocals.
After the national matters divided the group overseas for a year, the band continued to play after returning to the states. The name remained the same while bandmates moved on and faces changed.
Rainey, owner of DigiGrafx in Marion, and the Linton brothers - Rick, president of Imagery Advertising in St. Louis, and Doug, manager of Elite Auto Sales in Herrin - are the original members, with new addition Chris Thornton, a music major at Murray State playing the saxophone.
The band is now tackling its 40th year as a music maker, but normally on a more private level. Playing an average of two shows a month at functions, weddings and conventions, the Egyptian Combo hasn't played a bar gig in four to five years.
"It'll be exciting to see and talk to people we used to play for," Rainey said.
Factoid: Hear the Egyptian Combo from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Mugsy McGuire's on Saturday.
If spoilage, as the question implies, generally follows the stardom flights of hitherto unsullied country boys, then they're due for a large dose of it.
The sextet, with roots in the Herrin-Johnson City area, is close to the jackpot in their world--a shot on the Ed Sullivan show. They'll tape a segment for the show in New York August 25, and according to word from the manager, the remuneration will be in quadruple figures.
On the jet out there, the Egyptians can reflect on the hot hand they've been holding lately: A smash appearance on one of those teen-age record TV programs, which immediately orbited sales of their record, "GALE WINDS."
A Playboy Club booking which immediately resulted in a string of future commitments to play Bunnyland from sea to glittering sea. A strong tie-in with Norman Records, which plans an album release...
Success may spoil them yet, but it certainly isn't shaking them now. They're leaving everything in the hands of manager Mel Friedman, St. Louis, and plucking away."
Egyptian Combo Hits National Stardom
* Recent engagement at St Louis Playboy Club
* Commitments for a national tour of Playboy Clubs throughout U.S.
* Recent record "Gale Winds" is No. 12 on KXOK survey
* Appearance scheduled on the Ed Sullivan Show August 25
Egyptian Combo Day At Yuill Music Co.
* Combo will play from 2-4:30PM and from 6-10PM at the Yuill Music Co.
* West Cherry St. will be blocked off.
* Combo will autograph records
* Free tickets will be given on the Plymouth Barracuda car to be given away at the Egyptian drive this Fall.
Dot Record Firm Buys Combo Rights
An area band has had its recordings purchased by a national recording firm. Egyptian Combo recordings will be on the Dot Record label. Norman Recording Co., St. Louis, sold the rights to Dot. The group's hit record "Gale Winds" is now being played nationally by disc jockeys. A video tape filming for the Ed Sullivan show has been delayed until September when the group should have become better known, Lloyd Rainey, Johnson City said. Rainey writes much of the music played by the Combo. He said the group will record an album to be called "Gale Winds" Saturday in St Louis for Dot Records.
At various times, Norman Records was located at 1900, 1902, 1906 & 1914 Washington Avenue, St. Louis 3, MO (63103). Phone: MA1-0470, MA1-0075 & CEntral 1-5430. Also at 1906 Washington Street: Roberts Distributors, owned by Robert Hausfatter, Norman Wienstroer, Sales Director. Roberts distributed Norman Records after April 1963.
As per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, February 14, 1999, Norman H. Wienstroer died Thursday, February 11, 1999. The Post-Dispatch did not run an obituary. According to the March 13, 1999 issue of Billboard, Norman Wienstrover (SIC!) died at age 83.
by Harry Young
Norman LP NL 100 / NS 200
The Bold Humor Of Davey Bold
Norman LP NL 101 / NS 202
Singleton Palmer: Dixie By Gaslight
Norman LP NL 102 / NS 202
Quartette Tres Bien
Norman LP NL 103 / NS 203
A Bold Knight With Davey Bold
Norman LP NL 104 / NS 204
Sammy Gardiner: Blues By Gaslight
Norman LP NL 105 / NS 205
A Musical Tour Of Gaslight Square
Norman LP NL 106 / NS 206
Singleton Palmer And his dixieland Band:
At The Opera House
Norman LP NL 107 / NS 207
Quartette Tres Bien: Kilimanjaro
Norman LP NL 108 / NS 208
Marty Bronson: To My Someone
NL 112 / NS 212
Meet Me In St. Louis
Norman LP NL 300 (No Stereo) Ceil Clayton
Norman LP NL 301 / NS 601 Muggsy Sprecher And His Gaslighters:
Silver Dollar Dixie
Norman LP RCM 1161D (561F22A / B)
Bob Kuban Brass © 1975
426 Achilles & Frank: Somebody Knockin' / As We Do Today 473 Ray Ruff BB 1-13-62 500 Norman Petty Trio: Weird / Find Me A Golden Street
501 The Mechanics: The Fastest Thing On Wheels / Trampoline Love Affair 502 Tommy Wills: The Third Man Theme / Mr. Movin' Is Groovin' 503 Ray Ruff: Half-Pint Baby / I Need Someone 504 Top Hits: Love No One / Thum-A-Lum-A 505 Little Mojo: Paula / You Ain't The One 506 Gabriel And The Angels: Ginza / I'm Gabriel 507 Don Daffron: Angel With Golden Wings / Walkin' And Cryin' 508 Ray Ruff: Love's Made A Fool Of You / My Wish Is You BB 7-3-61 & BB 3-31-62 509 Jules Blattner: Slip N Slide / Heartbeat 510 Gabriel: Gabriel Blow Your Horn Part One / Part Two 511 Rev. P.W. Jones: Tossin' And Turnin' Part One / Part Two 512 Jules Blattner: Do You Love Me / St. James Infirmary BB 12-25-61 513 Ray Ruff: Well Alright / Angel Blue BB 1-13-62 514 Gabriel And His Trumpet: Miss You So / See See Rider 515 JoAnn Cameron: I've Got A Crush On You / Loser's Lullaby 516 Russ David & His Orchestra: Can't We Talk It Over (M08W-4956) / Gaslight Shuffle (MO8W-4957) 517 Sammy Gardner & The Mound City Six: I Remember When (N80W-0963) / Stranger On The Shore (N80W-0964) BB 3-10-62 518 Brenda Parker: All You Have To Do / It's Spring Again 519 Ben Wasson: Am I Still Your Number One / It's Springtime, Baby 520 Marty Bronson: The River / In Your Arms 521 Shad O'Shea: Shad's Tune / Hit Record Part Two 522 Buddy Moreno: Money Talks / Bessie Couldn't Help It 523 Judy James: I'm Yours / The Heart That Broke Was Mine 524 Ray Ruff: Let Me Tell You About Linda / My Gift To You 525 Singleton Palmer: Mama's Gone Goodbye / When The Saints Go Marching In 526 Quartette Tres Bien: Ramblin' Rose / I Left My Heart In San Francisco 527 Dave Bold: All Time Favorites Medley / It Looks Like Rain In Cherry Blossom Lane 528 Ray Ruff And The Checkmates: Lonely Hours / Love 529 Shad O'Shea: The Golden Miracle / The Club 530 531 Jean Trevor: Get Outta My Heart / Southbound Train Var 1-30-63 532 Marty Bronson: My Coloring Book / They Call The [Wind Mariah] 533 Jules Blattner: I'm So Blue / 500 Pound Cherry 534 Quartette Tres Bien: Kilimanjaro / Secretly P4KM 4596 / 4597 535 Jean Trevor: Since I Fell For You / Somebody Knockin' 536 Gloria Van: Hear Me / Raindrops 537 Rex Miller: The Weather Lady / Hammy Awards 538 Jules Blattner: One More Time / Ooh That's Corny 539 Ray Ruff: I'm Qualified / A Dream 540 Lee Elliott: Ribbons / Strange Brotherhood 541 Quartette Tres Bien: Boss Tres Bien Part One / Part Two 542 543 Frank Harris: Stan The Man / I'm Just A Country Boy 544 545 Charlotte Peters: Java 2 / 546 Joe Schirmer: Around The World / Cha Cha Joe 547 Marty Bronson: Stan The Man / High Flying Redbirds 548 Clea Bradford: Someday My Prince Will Come / DOTN 549 THE EGYPTIAN COMBO: GALE WINDS / ROCKIN' LITTLE EGYPT R4KM 9603 / 9604 550 551 552 553 Bob Kuban Band: I Don't Want To Know / (You Gotta) Dance With Me 554 555 THE EGYPTIAN COMBO: THE FROG / ST. LOUIS BLUES RK4M 8408 / 8409 (1965) 556 557 J.B.G. And Jules: Crazy Stockings / Goodbye Baby 558 Bob Kuban Band: Jerkin' Time / Turn On Your Love Light S4KM 6726 / 6727 = Atlantic distributed 558 NOR 9013 / 9014 BB Breakout single 5 June 1965 BB rvw 10 July 1965 559 Quartette Tres Bien: Exodus / Three In The Morning / = Atlantic single 45-2295 A 9081 / 9082 [June / July 1965] 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 Bob Kuban Band: Little Girl (Don't You Feel So Sad) / I Don't Want To Know 568 Achilles And Frank: The Two Peddler Men / Watermelon Is A King's Delight CB rvw June 11, 1966 569 570 Sal Ferrante: Little Darlin' / Wonderous World Of Love 571 572 573 574 Barbara Fairchild: Brand New Bed Of Roses / 575 851N 576 THE EGYPTIAN COMBO: I DON'T CARE ANYMORE / WATERMELON MAN U4KM 2881 / 2882 (1965) 577 578 579 Jim Pipkin And The Boss Five: Mr. Clean '67 Part One / Part Two 580 581 Barry Ebling and The Invaders: Sunny Day Rain / I Can Make It Without You Baby 582 583 Oviatt Brothers: How Can I Go On Without You / Don't You Think I Know 584 585 586 Barbara Fairchild: The Telegram / It Gets Kind Of Lonesome At Night 595 Hugh 'Peanuts' Whallum: St. Louis Is... / I Remember You 851N-595 W4KM-6392 / 6393 Recorded Live At The Spanish Door 596
600 Hot Water: You Woman You (Z4KM-5228) / Reaction (Z4KM-5229) 851N-0600 (1970)
Quartette Tres Bien:
Jeter Thompson (piano),
Richard Simmons (bass),
Albert St James (drums) &
Percy James (conga, bongos)
Quartette Tres Bien on Decca:
114639 Kilimanjaro ~ N 534
114640 I Left My Heart In San Francisco ~ N 526
114641 Secretly ~ N 534
114642 I Didn't Know What Time It Was
114643 My Favorite Things
114644 My One & Only Love
114645 Ramblin' Rose ~ N 526
114646 You Came A Long Way From St Louis
~ Decca album DL(7)-4548
Kilimanjaro = Norman LP NL 107
Masters Assigned in NY March 11, 1964
114647 Boss Tres Bien
114648 The Sweetest Sounds
114649 Love Letters
114650 I Love Paris
114652 Days Of Wine & Roses
114653 Always On Saturday
114654 The Breeze & I
114655 Love Come Back To Me
114656 Rhodesian Chant
~ Decca DL(7)-4547
Boss Tres Bien = Norman LP NL 102
Masters Assigned in NY March 11, 1964
Boss Tres Bien Parts 1 & 2 / Days Of Wine & Roses
~ Decca single 31615
Other Quartette Tres Bien Decca sessions: NY April 9, 1964 ~ Spring Into Spring LP, NY June 3, 1964 Charade Part 1 & 2 ~ Decca single 31661 , NY April 28 & 29, 1965 ~ Sky High and Stepping Out LPs, St. Louis September 9 & 10, 1965 ~ “In” Motion LP, NY June 13, 14 & 15, 1966 ~ Where It’s At, Here It Is LPs, 'Goodbye' on Our Thing LP and Theme From Tres Bien UNRELEASED NY November 1, 1966 ~ Love Is A Hurting Thing, Pamelam A Lam Decca single 32128 and Goin’ Out Of My Head, Tracy’s Boogaloo LA April 4 & 5, 1967 ~ Our Thing, Four Of A Kind LPs and Manha De Carnival UNRELEASED & NY June 17, 1968 remastered Alfie, I Am That I Am, The Sound Of Music and Wish You Were Here
Quartette Tres Bien Decca albums: DL (7) 4547 Boss Tres Bien (= Norman LP NL 102) DL (7) 4548 Kilimanjaro (= Norman LP NL 107) DL (7) 4617 Spring Into Spring DL (7) 4675 Stepping Out! DL (7) 4715 Sky High DL (7) 4791 "In" Motion DL (7) 4822 Where It's At! DL (7) 4893 Here It Is DL (7) 4958 Four Of A Kind DL (7) 5044 Our Thing
Quartette Tres Bien Atlantic album: SD 1461 Bully! 1966
Norman Subsidiary label
401 Jean Trevor: As Long As It Comes From You / On The Street Where You Live 402 Quartette Tres Bien: Always On Sunday / Lover, Come Back To Me # ? Quartette Tres Bien: No Name (Missouri, BMI) / Love Letters Variety review 9-12-62 558 The Rebels: Truly / Run, Little Sheba
(RCS Label Listing)