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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sonny Flaharty And The Mark V ‎- Hey Conductor (1965-67 us, awesome fuzzy garage psych)

Dayton, Ohio’s Sonny Flaharty had been recording since the late 50s. In 1965 he helped a local band called the Rich Kids produce a demo. He ran into them again calling themselves the Mark V “direct from Toronto, Canada”! They asked Sonny to join the band but according to Sonny, “the only problem we had was with my past. I was very well known in Dayton. The band didn’t want to be associated with ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’”!

They changed their names and tried to pass themselves off as English or at least Canadian. They didn’t fool anyone for long, but there was nothing ‘old time’ about their music. Shad O’Shea of Cincinnati’s Counterpart Records asked them to record Sonny’s original, “Hey Conductor”.

There was a nine-month delay between the recording and the release of “Hey Conductor”. In the meantime Mike Losecamp (aka Haywood Lovelace), who played the distinctive organ on the record left to join the Cyrkle.

Once released Hey Conductor was a sizeable hit, selling in the thousands and immediately picked up by Phillips for national distribution. The good times didn’t last long, as its lyrics hinting at drug experiences got it banned on radio before it could break nationally. The song’s frantic pace, strange fuzz guitar and syncopated organ make it an often-heard record at dj nights even today.
by Chas Kit

"Hey Conductor" provided both a sizeable hit and new lease of life for one-time rockabilly Sonny Flaharty. Fuelled by a paper 'n' comb sounding fuzztone 12-string and a piping Farfisa organ (which candidly borrows the main riff from Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor") the discs crisp production and Flaharty's youthful voice make for a powerful, but polished, effort. Superb! The rest of this collection features a selection of songs that appear to be from the sessions the band recorded for RCA in 1967, supposedly for an album. 

These range from the frantic "Whole Lotta Shakin'," which is a wild, punkish take on the Lewis standard "Make a Woman" (a fine example of the fragmented riffed garage sound strongly inspired by the Raiders' "Just Like Me"), and the far softer "La La Song" and "When I Close My Eyes," which sound very similar to Merrell Fankhauser's psychedelic folk-rock efforts from the same time and the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Also included is the frat-instro "Coconut Stomp Part 1 & 2" by the earlier Young Americans. Pebbles and Nuggets fans will be enthralled by these rare sides. 
by Jon "Mojo" Mills

1. Whole Lotta Shakin' (Sonny Flaherty, Ray Bushbaum) - 1:59
2. Coconut Stomp Pt. 1 - 2:05
3. Coconut Stomp Pt. 2 - 1:38
4. Make A Woman - 1:53
5. The Mark V - 2:32
6. Do It - 2:46
7. Hey Conductor - 2:32
8. For All Of Us - 3:10
9. Harmonica Man - 2:24
10.La La Song - 2:03
11.When I Close My Eyes (Jim Wyatt) - 2:26
12.Can't Buy My Soul - 2:29
All songs by Sonny Flaharty except where noted

Sonny Flaharty And The Mark V
*Sonny Flaharty - Vocals, Guitar
*Jason Hollingsworth “Jason Starbuck” - Guitar
*Jim Wyatt “Farnsworth Wyatt” - Bass
*Mike Losecamp “Mike Lovelace” – Piano, Vox Organ
*N.D. Smart - Drums
*Susan Darby - Lead Vocal

Free Text


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  3. WOW!!!!!
    i just found this blog by total accident and as a long time music collector i tell you it is fantastic. i have found several real gems in the first couple pages including sonny flaharty and the mark IV growing up in cincinnati i remember this band very well and the controversey over the song hey conductor. thanks and keep up the great work.

    Dylan Thomas

  4. WOW INDEED!!!!! October 2018 UPDATE...Now 70 year old Dan Schear here reporting from my home in El Paso Texas. BIT-OF-BACKGROUND: I was a member of Cincinnati's famed "East Orange Express" (several EOE tunes currently posted on YouTube) the late 1960s popular area cover tune hard rock band sporting well-orchestrated 4-part harmonies and spawning three future members of "Pure Prairie League" as well as the solo career of singer-songwriter extraordinaire "David Pomeranz." Former Counterpart Records recording artists "Ivan & the Sabers" lead vocalist-keyboardist Larry Butler was also a member of EOE. Prior to my joining "East Orange Express," I, Dan Schear, was lead guitarist-harmony vocalist of popular Northern Kentucky based garage band "The Wyngates" who released the "save-the-world" song "See What's Right" in earlier 1967 on Counterpart Records (currently posted on YouTube) nearly the same time "Sonny Flaharty & The Mark V" released "Hey Conductor" on the same Shad O'Shea label. Now fast forward to the Summer of 1971 when all the aforementioned bands were broken up. The remains of "Sonny Flaharty & The Mark V" along with keyboardist-vocalist Mike Losekamp now estranged of his fantastic high water mark with "The Beatles" 1966 touring opening act "The Cyrkle," formed the RCA Records horn band "Green Lyte Sunday" (GLS) based in Xenia Ohio. GLS' first album which was self-titled, didn't sell well but got high critical acclaim. Word got out that "Green Lyte Sunday" had newly written songs and were looking for someone to stake money for production of a second album. That's where I Dan Schear came into the picture as a "demo recordist" for the band. My now late father, NKY attorney Charles J Schear along with the now late Mel Herman, Cincinnati "Music World Record Store Chain" owner, wanted to get into the record producing biz. Stan Hertzman leader of Cincinnati's premier band booking agency "A. Jaye" hooked me up with "Green Lyte Sunday" to record a multi-song demo of the band in their Xenia Ohio home basement rehearsal space. At that time, I owned professional portable recording gear so I did just that. I recorded seven "Green Lyte Sunday" songs on reel-to-reel audiotape in the Summer of 1971. Most of the GLS tunes featured the lead vocals of Susan Darby accompanied by Mike Losekamp. No record deal or album release ever came forth from that session. However, TO THIS VERY DAY, I still have that original reel-to-reel audiotape stowed away somewhere in my El Paso Texas climate controlled storage locker! (Btw, the lead guitarist of both "Sonny Flaharty & The Mark V" and "Green Lyte Sunday" correct last name is HOLLINGER!)

  5. Land of the Sun, "Sonny Flaharty And The Mark V ‎- Hey Conductor", reposted...