PAUL COTTON... Musical Archive

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The Mus-twangs
(Circa 1961-1962)

The Mus-twangs - November 23, 1961 at Caldron, Thornton Junior Jigh (click for larger view)

Mustwangs "Marie"
click for large view

Yes, it was Paul that came up with this name!

The Mus-Twangs were effectively the same band as the Capitols. Paul played guitar, but still did not sing. Although they had several lead singers the Mus-twangs were primarily an instrumental band. Some of the venues for Mus-twangs gigs included Poppel's Under 21 Tropicana Club , The Morgue, Riverdale Park District, Harvey YMCA and the Aragon Ballroom.

Guy (Frenchy) Germany:
"The band changed its name about the time of our first recording as we thought we needed something catchy. I think the name Mus-Twangs came from the fact Paul and Buddy were influenced a lot at the time by their idol, “Dwayne Eddy”, who had a big twangy sound to his music. That sound carried over into our original music. If you listen to “Marie”, it shows. We played as the “Mus-Twangs” quite often with Jim Lounsbury (well-known Chicago DJ) as many as 5-6 nights per week. We would do live sets and sometimes played backup for his celebrity guests. Freddie Cannon is one of many that comes to mind. We played once at the Aragon Ballroom which I would have to say was our biggest audience ever. We played with Bobby Rydell backstage before the show. He played bass, was left handed and played it upside down, therefore, making it an unforgettable sight watching someone play a bass in such an awkward position. The crowd was in the thousands—not sure of the exact number. When we opened the show, it was truly a very unforgettable thrill for such a young musician."

Jerry Urban recalls:
"When we were the Mus-Twangs and were hooked up with Jim Lounsbury, we used to play every other Friday night at the Oak Park - River Forest high school sock hops that Lounsbury hosted/DJ'd. The other Fridays, were all over Wisconsin, Indiana (Whiting), and Silver Beach Amusement Park, in St.Joe, Michigan, also with Lounsbury. We hooked up with Jim Lounsbury as our manager after we made the Nero/Smash recording."

Band members

Paul Cotton (guitar)
Gerald (Jerry) Urban (sax) Guy Franchot (Frenchy) Germany (drums) Walter (Buddy) Riley--- (guitar) Keith Anderson (accordian/bass)
VOCALISTS (at different times): Jim Jarosz Chuck Edelhofer Bobby Simms (Robert Siemiaskzo) Carol Vega (perhaps)

Marie/Roch Lomond, 1961, Nero, 1-64, first issue
Marie/Roch Lomond, 1961, Nero, 1700
Marie/Roch Lomond, 1961, Smash, 1700
Frankie & Johnny/Dearest, 1961, Smash, 1709
Marie/Roch Lomond was first a local pressing on Nero Records. The tracks were picked up by the new Smash Records label. It was the very first record to ever bear the Smash Records label. It launched a new company. The first single was released world wide, notably April 1961 it was released in the UK.

The following article appeared in a UK Magazine called Record Mail, June 1961 edition:
The Mus-twangs, with something new in presentation and talented showmanship, have, despite their youth, developed their group in a firm bid for fame and fortune. Their success came overnight, when Mercury Record's new 'pop' label, Smash Records, on the lookout for new talent, heard this group and negotiated for a contract. The result was the Mus-twangs' first professional recording session, and the first talent to be released on the new label. Composed of six young musicians, the Mus-Twangs met in February 1958, while attending Thornton High School in Harvey, Illinois, and decided to form an instrumental group. Practising every spare moment they could find, they developed their own unusual style, and within a few months were playing for school dances, church affairs and various social functions. Then the Harvey branch of the YMCA hired them for their first professional job and it wasn't long before the Mus-Twangs were the talk of the town. Then and there they decided on a career in show business. Filled with vitality and youthful energy they practice every evening while attending school. Keith Anderson, manager of the sextet, states, 'our motto is all for one and one for all' and Norm cotton, Bud Riley, Franchot Germany, Jerry Urban and Chuck Edelhofer agree. 'By sticking together', states Norm Cotton, 'we have been able to iron out our troubles and problems and find a solution for anything that bothers us'. While entertaining at dances the young musicians dreamed of becoming recording stars some day, but they did not realise the day would come, long before they donned their caps and gowns for graduation at Thornton High. These young musicians spend their leisure hours together, as well as their working hours. Their favourite way of relaxing is by boating and fishing together, and the funniest experience in their short career in show business was the night the group played for a function in Oak Park, Illinois, for 800 teenagers. 'Keith leaned over', states Jerry Urban, 'and his trousers split - we put on the best show we ever did to cover up for Keith who sat through the entire show". Their disc debut here was made with their 'Roch Lomond' (Mercury 45-AMT1140). Coupling was 'Marie.
Also in the magazine:
THE MUS-TWANGS - Roch Lomond/Marie
Two real rockers from Mercury this month. Roch is really Loch as you've no doubt guessed and it really does...rock that is. This is a good group, mainly guitars but with a sax away in the background. The old melody is given a completely new look and sounds great. The familiar old Irving Berlin tune on the other side gets a solid rocking treatment that drives incessantly through to the finish. The tenor sax is allowed up front for a honking chorus with the guitars coming back strong at the finish.
Guy (Frenchy) Germany remembers:
Some of the memories that stand out the most would be the first time we heard our record on the radio…a huge event to young musicians!!!!! We knew when it was scheduled to be played, and we were travelling as a group to the big car show in Chicago that is held yearly. Therefore, in order not to miss it, we carried a portable radio on a commuter train while en route to the show. That is where we were when we experienced that thrilling moment. Also, I remember coming home from a show in Michigan. We had stopped at a small restaurant and saw our record on the jukebox. What an ego trip!

Bill Bielby (currently Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA) had this reflection in July 2002:
"I was in one of the early Thornton Township High School rock bands - The Newports . We started in 1961, and by then the Mus-Twangs were already legends. Watching them perform at the Harvey YMCA changed my life in many ways."

In mid 1962 Frenchy Germany left the band, possibly replaced by Johnny Jordan. Late in 1962 Bobby Simms & Keith Anderson went out on our own to form the Bobby Simms Trio. They did not officially "cut the ties" until it became apparent they had more work than did the Mus-Twangs, so there was a period of transition. Carol Vega may have been involved for a brief period after this, however, when Jerry Urban withdrew (due to illness)at the end of 1962 the Mus-twangs ceased "to be".

Further links to Paul's musical history -

History main page--- Beginnings--- Capitols--- Mus-twangs--- Starfires--- Carol Vega & Trio--- Gentrys--- Rovin' Kind--- Rovin' Kind Gig Dates--- Illinois Speed Press--- Illinois Speed Press Gig Dates--- Poco & Beyond--- Joseph Schwantner--- Chuck Edelhofer--- Keith Anderson--- Gerald (Jerry) Urban--- Guy Franchot (Frenchy) Germany--- Walter (Buddy) Riley--- Johnny Jordan--- Johnny Moyer--- Carol Vega--- Johnny Moore--- Verne Johnson--- Frank Bartell (Bortoli)--- Mike Anthony (Harry Baikauskas)--- Fred Page (Pappalardo)--- Rob Lewine--- Bobby Simms--- Barney Pip--- John Uribe--- Kal David--- Jim Jarosz--- Ronnie Laas---

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