Monday, March 12, 2012

New Oldies - Don't Ever Leave by The Delcounts

These guys had been recording as the Del Counts on the Soma label in 1966 and 1967, but they changed their name to the Delcounts when they cut this record on the Mar-Bil label in 1968. The group comes from Hopkins, Minnesota, a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis. The band's members were Charles John "Charlie" Schoen on vocals and keyboards, Steve Miller on guitar (not the Space Cowboy one), Bob Phalen on bass, and Kelly Vincent on drums.

Here's Don't Ever Leave by The DelCounts on Mar-Bil 109 from 1968:

And here's the flip side, Ain't Got The Time:

Like most local garage rock bands, the Del Counts played lots of local gigs, including stops at Hopkins High School, Richfield High School, and a place called The Barn which was actually located in a barn on old Highway 169 at I-494 in Eden Prairie. They continued playing into the 1970's at places like the Cascade 9 Club at 829 Hennepin, Diamond Jim's in downtown Minneapolis, the Dance Land Ballroom in Excelsior, Grandma B's, The Leaning Post, Hopkins Bowl, Maplewood Bowl, Burnsville Bowl, Iron Horse, Mr. Nibs, The Presidents Bar, and Apple Place. If you're from the Twin Cities, you've probably heard of most of these places.

On the day after Christmas in 1966 a huge show called The Biggest Dance In History was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium. The Del Counts were there, along with several popular local bands including The Castaways, The Accents, the Underbeats, the Electras, the Fabulous Flippers, Michael's Mystics, and many others.

On 27 May 1967 the Del Counts were chosen by the Midwest Academy of Contemporary Music to win the first Connie Awards, an honor created by jazz drummer Connie Hechter who was also the editor of the T.M.C. Insider, which later became Connie's Insider. The event was held at the Sheraton-Ritz Hotel in Minneapolis, hosted by Charlie Boone, and attended by 325 members of the music industry. The other bands nominated that night were Danny's Reasons, T.C. Atlantic, The Underbeats, and the Hot Half Dozen.

The Del Counts performed on the final installment of the Saturday afternoon B-Sharp Beat radio show on WDGY on 10 June 1967. The show was hosted by disc jockey Jimmy Reed and sponsored by the B-Sharp Music store owned by Jim Lopes. Jim's store was known for stocking the instruments used by British Invasion groups, especially those used by The Beatles. He carried all the good stuff, like Rickenbacker guitars, Hofner bass, and Vox amps and keyboards. When the Beatles came to Minneapolis in 1965, Jim presented Paul McCartney with a free Rickenbacker guitar.

Stillroven and The Del Counts opened an Aqua-centennial event sponsored by WDGY Radio on 14 July 1967. The headline act was supposed to be Sonny And Cher, but Sonny ended up doing the gig by himself. Cher suffered a miscarriage just a few days before the concert. It was the first time Sonny ever performed without Cher at his side. Instead, while interviewing Sonny on the air, WDGY Radio asked for female listeners who wanted to volunteer to sing with Sonny on stage!

The Del Counts opened for The Byrds at a dance-concert on 10 November 1967 at the Marigold Ballroom in front of 1,500 teenagers and, according to newspaper critics, blew the Byrds off the stage. According to the reporter, the show was "something of a drag" and The Byrds "appeared bored" with the whole affair. Maybe that's because Jim McGuinn, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman all dropped acid before the show, while Gene Clark was drunk on Jack Daniels. You could say The Byrds were "flying eight miles high" that night!

On 8 March 1968, The Del Counts were part of a huge show sponsored by WDGY Radio called Super Scene '68 at the Metropolitan Sports Center, hosted by local disc jockeys Johnny Canton, Scott Burton, Jerry Brooke, and JJ Bowman. In addition to many local bands, the show included Strawberry Alarm Clock, Wilson Pickettt, and The Hollies.

The Del Counts never made an appearance on any of the national charts, but they had regional success in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. On 3 June 1967, one of their songs, a cover of What Is The Reason by The Rascals, went to #4 on the KDWB Radio Big 6 Plus 30 chart, and #13 on WDGY Radio 1130's 30 Star Survey. That record was also mentioned as a Breakout Single in Billboard Magazine's 27 May 1967 edition. Local teens fondly recall their rockin' cover of Let The Good Times Roll, a 1956 hit for Shirley And Lee.

Unlike a lot of the local groups of the 1960's, the DelCounts are still playing gigs today. You can check out their website and see where they'll be playing by clicking here.

A lot of really great music came out of Minnesota in the 1950's and 1960's, beyond Bob Dylan and Eddie Cochran, and you'll hear all of it on MusicMaster Oldies.


  1. Did I start out in an only similar dimension before coming to this one ? The official Aquatennial dance that I attended in July 1967 featured the Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, Electric Prunes, and the Shadows of Knight - ????

  2. Thanks for the great article. Couple of corrections; The picture is of the California Del Counts and Charles Schoen who started the band lived in Minneapolis.
    Steve Miller

    1. Wow, a huge mistake! Thanks very much for pointing this out. Now I need to find a picture of the boys from Minnesota!