Monday, December 24, 2012

New Oldies - It's A Cry'n Shame by The Gentlemen

My move from San Diego to Dallas is complete. So, as promised, here's a little taste of Texas garage rock for you!

The Gentlemen came from Fort Worth and played all over the Dallas area back in the mid-1960's. They made only one record, this one, which was released on the Vandan label. These records are nearly impossible to find today and could easily fetch $1500 or more in the used vinyl market. But, if you're lucky enough to find a copy on the "Crimson" label, hold out for more money. That hand-written test pressing was probably made first and is crystal clear compared to the Vandan release, which was clearly defective. Don't expect to find one, however. While a few thousand copies of the Vandan pressing were made, the Crimson test pressing is probably one-of-a-kind. Also, let the buyer beware, there are bootleg copies of this single out there. You can spot them fairly easily. The gold top looks more like yellow, and the word "distributors" doesn't hug the edge of the label like it does on the original pressings.

The group featured Mike Kelley on guitar and vocals, Seab Medor on lead guitar and vocals, Tommy Turner on keyboards (Farfisa), Bruce Bland on bass, and Tim Justice on drums. Mike handled the lead vocals on this particular track, which had just been recorded by another Dallas group called The Briks before being covered by The Gentlemen. The group formed in 1964 and cut one test pressing, Beg Borrow And Steal backed with Here I Cannot Stay, before making this record.

You can hear that earlier acetate and get a lot more background information about this band at the Garage Hangover blog, which also includes a rare recording of a rehearsal session for this track!

Here's It's A Cry'n Shame by The Gentlemen on Vandan 8303 from 1966:

And here's the flip side, You Can't Be True:

Now that I'm set up in Dallas, I hope to get back to regular posts here. I've also got some exciting plans for MusicMaster Oldies. With a little luck, you may soon be able to help pick which songs are played. Stay tuned!


  1. Who recorded this song first?

    1. Good question. I heard the Briks recorded the song first, even though it was Seab and Mike who wrote it. Maybe the Gentlemen played the song around town before recording it themselves. The Briks may have heard it, liked it, and cut a record of it first. That being said, however, I have never seen a copy of It's A Cryin' Shame by The Briks on record. Recently I learned a somewhat different story. Apparently, The Briks recorded a cover of Baby Let Me Take You Home by The Animals that has a guitar intro that sounds a lot like the guitar riff in the opening of It's A Cryin' Shame by The Gentlemen. This could be the recording that started this rumor. If that's the case, then both band actually copied that riff from The Animals who did their version in 1964. The guitarist for the Animals at that time was Hilton Valentine, so he's probably the guy who came up with it first. He's also the guy who plays on House Of The Rising Son. He was with the Animals until 1966.