The In's highly regarded song Just Give Me Time has recently been featured on Volume One of Sundazed's solid Garage Beat '66 series.
While researching information on the various bands, Sundazed's Jeff Jarema made contact with band member Eddie Burton. Jeff did an
excellent job of recapping Eddie's recollections in his piece on the band for the
website so when we had the opportunity to
ask Eddie some questions it wasn't our intention to get a full history on his band. Instead, we reviewed Jarema's story and asked
Eddie some questions that were raised when reviewing the ton of data provided in the Sundazed interview. Eddie in turn asked for
the input of drummer George Vail when some of the details were hazy. 60sgaragebands.com is pleased to present more information on
Huntsville, Alabama's The In.
An Interview With Eddie Burton
60sgaragebands.com (60s): What encouraged the band to go to Bobby Land's studio to record in the first place?
Eddie Burton (EB): I don't remember exactly why but in 1966 there weren't that many recording studios in Huntsville. One of us heard about Bobby's place. It was actually owned by his father but Bobby ran it and engineered there. There was probably a radio ad or a newspaper ad that attracted us to his little studio. As I remember it was in a little shopping strip. There were windows on the front side and a little greeting area with a desk and some chairs and then through another door in the back was the studio. The recording room was a nice size with a small control room behind a glass. I'm sure all Bobby had was a two-track recorder. It might have had sound on sound but I don't remember. I don't know how he did overdubs but I think he was able to. I guess the reason we wanted to record in the first place is we were exposed to two years of The Beatles and a year and a half of The Stones and we knew the only way we would be able to be heard outside of Huntsville was to cut a record. Bobby had a nice little studio and it was cheap, too. George said he and Bill Peck were driving up North Memorial Parkway and saw it in the Imperial Office Center. He said they were just curious and went in. That makes sense to me.
60s: What do you recall about The Bobbies - the band you assisted during your recording session?
EB: I don't know where The Bobbies were from - maybe Memphis. I don't know, but George said they were from Florence, Alabama . Their singer, Bobby Heathcoat, is the guy you hear doing the high note scream on (the version of) In The Midnight Hour that we cut. I remember him being a tall, dark haired, handsome, Latin looking guy who could really sing and dance. He had all the moves, the whole package. The organ solo on that song is by their organ player, Richard Hahn. After Bobby Land left The In, Richard became a member of our group. The background noise and backup singing and hand clapping and girls voices you hear on that record is a combination of us, The Bobbies and two of The Bobbies' girl friends or wives. We did a hand clapping thing on one of their cuts. These are the same songs that were released on Sonny Records. George Vail tells me that the single they cut that day was She Put Me Down Part 1 and Part 2. I remember them being very nice to us and friendly. I believe we shared a four hour session. We did our four songs in the first two hours and they did their songs in the last two.
60s: How long did you tour with The Newbeats?
EB: Our experience with The Newbeats began in Nashville at a lunch counter across the street from Acuff Rose Publishing/Hickory Recordson 8th Avenue South. Wesley Rose took us over there to celebrate our signing with the label and there we met a guy name Dick O'Bitts who was working with them in promotion. He was also the manager of Ronnie Dove during the time he had nine #1's in a row on Diamond Records. If my memory serves me correctly, there were also maybe two of The Newbeats there. They were looking for a backup band that could double as an opening act and they asked us if we'd like to do it. Of course we said yes. As I remember we only played three dates with them but there could have been one more; it's just been too long to remember exactly. I know we worked Pensacola Beach at a club that opened up right on to the beach. It was beautiful. The next night we were in Tallahassee, I think, I don't remember much about the venue but it was a college town and there were lots of college aged kids there. The last date we played with them was in Montgomery, Alabama in a high shcool gym. George Vail had left the band suddenly and we had to get a replacement drummer from the musicians union and they gave us a jazz drummer who had never played rock 'n' roll in his life and after Larry Henley got through with him, he probably never played another one either. Larry had him hit the snare so hard that the poor guy burst his own eardrum. I think The Newbeats - having a bad experience with the fill in drummer - made them look for someone else to back them and open for them. They were very nice guys, especially the two brothers Mark and Dean. We would go over to their room after a gig and hang out with them and listen to their road stories. All in all it was a great experience...but too brief.
60s: How many songs did you record at Faron Young's studio in Nashville?
EB: Bill Peck told me that he thought we recorded two songs. One was call Vagabond Man and it was written by Bill. The other was call Psychdelicly Nothing and it was written by the whole band with Bill writing the lyrics. I do remember that we blew the engineer's mind. Being a 'Nashville' engineer he had never been exposed to the kind of fuzz-toned, wild, dissonate, brand of music that we played. The producer was a DJ named Mitch Montgomery. Bill said he remembers going back to Nashville the next weekend and working on the vocals. I remember all of us going over to Mitch's house and listening to the mix and thinking how cool it was. Where those master's are (today) is a mystery. None of us can locate Mitch. It would be a kick to find those masters. They would be a treasure, at least to us. This was probably in 1966 also.
60s: Were The In actually filmed on the set of WHERE THE ACTION IS for use on the show and then the footage not used - or did the local TV station film you on the set once they learned Steve Alaimo decided not to film you?
EB: For any of you guys who remember, WHERE THE ACTION IS used to go around the country and do the show from different locales: beaches and resorts and (other) points of interest. Huntsville, Alabama has a great spot right downtown called Big Spring Park. That's where they filmed the show. While they were in town doing the TV show, the acts would do a show at the local coliseum that night. I don't remember everyone who was there but I do remember Leslie Gore, The Righteous Brothers, Keith Allison, Paul Revere and The Raiders, The Rascals and of course The Action Dancers. Sonny Limbaugh took us down there to the set to see if he could get us on the show. Steve Alaimo, who was also a singer, was the producer. Sonny met with Steve in a production trailer and we heard them playing our record. Steve said he would think about it and get back to us in a few minutes. Sonny asked him if we could hang out in the green room area with the artists and he said sure. So we got to be in there with all those acts. Everyone was very nice to us. They asked what we were doing there and we told them that we might be taping a peformance for the show. They all said, "cool, good luck." When all was said and done Sonny had us dress up in our best uniforms and got the make up people to make us up for TV. We thought we were in. At the last minute Steve came out and said he'd done some checking around and our record hadn't had enough national exposure yet, so we couldn't do the show. We were all kind of embarrased - and very disappointed - but a local TV station was there and they filmed us performing our song for the 6:00 and 10:00 O'Clock news. Later that night, some of us went to the show and had great seats right down front and when The Rascals did their version of In The Midnight Hour Felix dedicated it to "The Ins." That made us feel pretty good.
60s: What station filmed the band on the set? What was the footage used for - a news piece, or a local TV special?
EB: I know there was a WAAY-TV as well as radio so it could have been that. Also there is a WHNT-TV but I'm not sure if they were in Huntsville in '66 or not. George believes the station that filmed us was WAAY-TV. Man...if someone could find that tape or film or whatever format they used back then at local stations that would be a kick to watch. It was used as a news piece. You wouldn't believe how many people told us they saw it.
60s: One of the posters on the Sundazed site hails the band as "from WHERE THE ACTION IS". Were local shows trying to capitalize on that fact even though the band never actually appeared on the show!? If so - great stuff! Ah...the '60's!
EB: That's right, I don't know how it happened but people in town thought we actually filmed the show. Maybe because they saw us on the news doing our song from the set of the show and there was a nice newspaper article also with a picture about it . Of course, promoters were going to try to make us sound like the hottest thing since sliced bread so they used any and all publicity they could.
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances other than the news segment?
EB: This is another one that is hard to remember but I do remember us playing a telethon. It too was done from the Big Spring Park club house. I remember one of the other guests was Jerry Van Dyke because I remember standing outside the clubhouse talking to him while he was playing his banjo and trying out jokes on me. George said we did THE TIGER TERRIL SHOW on WAAY-TV and at least two telethons - The March of Dimes and Muscular Distrophy. They may have been on WHNT Channel 19.
60s: Are there any other In recordings, such as live recordings, or unreleased songs anywhere?
EB: The session we did with Mitch Montgomery is the only other recording we did. Someone may have had a portable recorder at a show we did but once again I haven't heard it.
60s: How did the band land the gig on the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars?
EB: If you'll check what I said in the Sundazed article, I called it, "some kind of a smaller version of a Dick Clark Caravan of Stars". I by no means meant it was sponsorded by Dick Clark. It was kind of a poor man's caravan of stars. Believe me...if Dick was behind it, it would not have fallen apart like it did. I think when the Buffalo Springfield dropped out, the tour was doomed. The Seeds were a cool act but at that time they weren't a headliner. They would have made a great opening or supporting act for the Springfield but they couldn't carry the tour all by themselves. We were hired to be the backup band for the single acts and play a short set of our own material. As I remember the promoters saw us when we were booked to open the show at the stop in Huntsville. I hope I've cleared up the Dick Clark thing. Now Larry Byrom from Huntsville was hired by Dick Clark to play in The Hard Times from seeing him play in Huntsville as the 'real' caravan passed through. That's another story all together.
60s: We've recently interviewed Terry Barkley of The Shandells and specifically asked him about The In. Here are his recollections: "I certainly remember The In; however, the drummer - George Vail - is the only one I knew. They were in the third wave, maybe, of Huntsville bands - The Continentals/Tiks and Hi-Boys in the first, The Shandells, etc., in the second (circa 1964). I remember that The In used a 12-string Rickenbacker and did original Byrds tunes really well! No one else was doing The Byrds, one of my favorite bands." What are your recollections of The Shandells?
EB: Well, time plays tricks on the mind. I do remember The Shandells being a good band. I don't remember Terry Barkely but I know we played a Battle of the Bands with them. As far as Terry's nice comments about The In...well, Terry, I've never played a 12-string Rickenbacker in my life. We did several tunes by The Byrds but I used my 1958 white Fender Esquire. I had a trick pick that had two tips on it and it made my guitar have the attack of a 12-string because each string was plucked twice with every picking motion. George Vail was our drummer and we did Bryds songs but (didn't use a) Rickenbacker. As far as us being in the third wave, I guess that's true. Another great band was The Exiles. When George left The In he went to work with The Exiles. They were a power trio with German brothers John and Donnie Huber on guitar and bass and George on drums. They did Hendrix and Cream and were very cool. Donnie Huber was a Paul McCartney look alike and sang and played great. John played dirty guitar - but brilliant - and George held the whole thing together and really drove them with lots of power.
George recalls The Hi-Boys as Curtis Bolden, guitar and vocals; Bobby Glenn, bass; and the late Ray Sanderson, on drums. One note about The Hi- Boys; our leader, Fred Sanders, bought a PA system from them and I'm not sure all the payments were paid before our band broke up. I hope The Hi-Boys have written off that debt after almost 40 years.
60s: You also rated The Tiks very highly in the Sundazed piece...but do you have any recollections of these other area bands that Terry recalled: 1) The Rocks; 2) Coachmen; 3) Mystics; 4) Ramrods; and 5) Jamie Hurt and The Mariteens?
EB: I remember all these bands names. George told me The Rocks were were Randy Duck on vocals, Skip Atkins on bass, Jackie Tiller on guitar, and Richard Hahn Keys (boy...he got around, didn't he?). The Coachmen are the most familiar to me but I don't know who was in the band or anything about them except they were competition for us. George remembers The Coachmen were "the something" brothers. He couldn't remember their names - (possibly) Danny and Vanny; I guess they would be the brothers. George also remembers that Jamie Hurt and The Mariteens was Jamie (Roger Murrah), lead vocals; Jerry Smith; keyboards; and Ray Brand, lead guitar. As you may or may not know, Roger Murrah is a big time Nashville songwriter. He has had 27 top ten singles. Roger was from Athens but they worked around Huntsville quite a bit. Another great Nashville songwriter from Huntsville - he went to school with us at Lee High - was Jim McBride. Jim has been very successful writing songs for all the top artists in Nashville.
One band I'd like to mention is Applehood and Mother Pie. George and I and Donnie Huber were in this band with three other friends of ours: Jerry Smith on keys, Jamie Farr on Sax and flute, and Gary Trust on trumpet and flute. We played clubs in 1967 and we really kicked butt. After all is said and done, nobody was better than The Tiks. With Jerry Brewer on drums and Bill Rasnake on sax and one of the great lead singers they had named Bobby Grant, no redheaded boy with freckles should have that much soul. They were miles ahead of all of us. I have no idea why they didn't become huge nationwide.
60s: Terry's recollections on the Battle of the Bands at the time is that they were like wrestling: Everybody took a turn winning. Would you agree with that assessment?
EB: Well once again, Terry's recollections and mine differ. I remember them (Battles) being a competitive thing. Usually the audience was the judge and we had to pull out all stops to win. The funny thing is, I can't for the life of me remember who won the battle that The Shandells and The In were in together but I'm going to say it was us and I'm sure Terry will say it was them. I guess for a couple of old rockers in their late 50's like he and I, that's about the best you can expect. As I've said before, history is the only thing that appears bigger the farther away you get from it.
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