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