The Fabulous Capris - Story and Gallery:
I then managed to make contact with Gene through Phil York - both of whom have been so helpful in bringing this project to fruition I cannot thank them enough. (although we did start off on a bit of a bad foot!) but I have to say that they are both such consummate and seasoned music professionals and have been a real pleasure to work with.
Luckily Gene still had the original ¼ inch master tape which we attempted to re-master directly from, but regrettably quality had deteriorated and then Phil with his York Town Production Company and their technical knowledge came through with this amazing re-master from Gene's last remaining & personal copy of the 45.
Stagger Walk and In the Alley were recorded at what was described at the time as being 'a funky egg-crate rigged, little 12 track studio' - namely: Brian's Recording Studio Studio in Tyler, Texas in 1970 and then released on March 15, 1971 on Gene's Garland based 'Domino' label as #105, only 250 copies were pressed in total and most of these were sold by the Fabulous Capris themselves direct from the bandstand in the venues they played. The band had radio airplay in East Texas and across a few other States. It is no wonder that copies of this recording have remained so elusive, but off the topic of vinyl for just a second to ponder what a privilege it would have been to have seen this hot band play these two tracks live back in the day...!
Up until the point I re-released this 45 I had only seen a copy for sale on two occasions (in fourteen years). So, realising it's true rarity, I decided to do some research which eventually lead me to bring this amazing piece of music out again for release.
Scans from the
Studio recording note from the 1970 session
The original 1/4 inch master tape
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Gene Summers is an artist of acclaimed underground fame and has been responsible for many musical ventures over the last 40 years-largely in the field of Rock and Roll. In 1968 he founded Domino Records as an outlet for his own recordings and had also set up his own publishing company: Silicon Productions in 1962. In 1970 he was sent a tape of these two recordings by the manager of the Fabulous Capris and he decided to help the fledgling band out and issue it on his Domino Record label, this was the only R&B / Funk venture for the label. All dealings were done through the post, he never met the band or saw them perform live.
Then there was the initial learning curve of the logistics to release a record: tracking down people Stateside, phone calls, negotiating, drawing up contracts, checking out technicalities of sound, writing websites & the times of just waiting.... but all worth it for the music for sure.
With thanks to: Gene Summers, Phil York, Dean Johnson and to hisknibs for designing the original Sticky people artwork all those years ago: feel free to drop him an email with any enquiries.......and of course to all of The Fabulous Capris, I hope we stay in touch and I sincerely wish you all the best.
I first heard this track in 1991 in Manchester, when Dean, my DJ partner played it at Djangos - one of the club nights we were running at that time. As with so many records in the world of funk and soul obscurity it's UK link goes back to the mighty John Anderson of Soul Bowl who unearthed it from one of his miraculous sources and it ended up in the hands of Dean, the heavyweight collector and formidable DJ. Dean ran Soul Bowl's only retail outlet, Expansion Records, where I also worked.
We were both digging deep for funk 45s around this time & Dean first played this out at one of our 'it's early doors - what new records you found this week?' sessions. The way the breakdown on this heavy monster of a track just keeps coming back in put it firmly on the wants list. So on with the hunt for this elusive 45 I went….no chance! - it took me 10 years before I could actually track a copy down & this came from a northern soul dealer in the UK who probably had this 'oddity' as surplus. (maybe sold all those years ago as part of one of Soul Bowl's infamous soul 45 packs?)
Since the Sticky Records reissue of the Fabulous Capris 45 back in 2005 I've been very lucky to have made contact with three of the band members. It's been a great pleasure to talk with them, hear some of the old stories, find out what they are now up to musically and to clarify and correct some of the previously posted information.
Firstly - huge respect to all the band members, namely: Ronald Curry (Bass), Tommy Dawson (Drums), Chris Lynwood (Guitar), and Wesley Dennis (Keyboards), with their Manager Willie Harris - they were Fabulous Capris. They hailed from Denison, East Texas USA & information on them and their recordings was until now, very hard to come by.
Quite a notable update is that the Fabulous Capris are the same band as the Fabulous Caprices, Stagger Walk was their first release and the band went through a name change only as a result of a typographical error on their Camaro label second release. This was called "Groovy World' and also went on to become an acknowledged Funk 45 classic, original copies have always exchanged hands for lots of Dollars and this track has also been compiled in Europe. (more on the topic of unofficial releases from unscrupulous parties later!)
The vast majority of information previously published was in fact correct. They really were a fledgling band in 1971, they had started to play together in 7th Grade and some members were only 18 at the time of recording, but wow did they know how to write and indeed play! Ronald and Tommy are still passionate for and engrossed in music to this day, Ronald plays in the Sherman and Denison local areas in a seven piece band called the Texoma Gospel Saints and Tommy plays more heavily on the blues nowadays, in fact as I type I excitedly await a package of his latest works.
Stagger Walk was also issued as a B-Side to a 'Ricky Ringside' track, renamed as "Moon Dog Walk" and issued on Front Row Records (A Domino Records associated label) and was used as a theme music for a famous 60s / 70s Wrestler who went by the name of Moon Dog Mayne.
Back to 2009 and after speaking with Tommy, Ron and Wesley it has transpired that their 2nd recording "Groovy World" which was featured on a UK compilation of dubious legality in the early 1990s does not appear to have been formally licensed. I have since made contact with the original issuer and attempts to morally resolve this issue was meant with aversion. I maybe should, but I won't name names here but I am sure of the fact that many of you know who I speak of. They are no longer a Limited Company & this appears to be now unresolvable.
The same track was also issued more recently in Europe on a CD compilation and after managing to track down the compiler and issuer it transpires that some finances and royalties have been set aside for the band. On their behalf I am now trying to finally locate and distribute some payments, so 38 years later it's fingers crossed for the bands dues! - I'll update the site with any news...
L-R Wesley Dennis (keyboards) Willie Harris (Manager)
and Chris Lynwood (Lead Singer / Guitar)
Kindly supplied by band member Wesley Dennis. Neither photo offers a full band line up as per the Sticky Records released recordings. Ronald Curry is the only member not in either photo - he replaced Clyde Parker on Bass in the band for Stagger Walk & In the Alley.
L-R Wesley Dennis, Chris Lynwood, Clyde Parker, Tommie Dawson & Ms. Smith