Forgotten, But Not Lost, The Kavemen, One of Dallas's Many Great Garage Rockers of the '60s
The Kavemen were, from left: Roland Allen, Jimmy Allen, Rodney Vinyard, Tommy Fonseca, Bill Walden and Jerry Colwell
Longtime friends of the show know of my obsession with the local garage-rock scene of the mid-1960s; if and when I ever write a book ... Ah. Anyway. To the estimable list that includes, oh, The Chessmen, Kit and the Outlaws, Mouse and the Traps, Floyd Dakil, The Esquires, The Briks, Kenny & the Kasuals, The Mystics, The Gentlemen and The Exotics, for starters, please add another: The Kavemen.
Didn't know anything about them till a couple of days ago, when someone posted to YouTube the band's "I Feel The Same" -- which, turns out, is among just four songs the band recorded in '65. And all of them remained unreleased till just a few weeks ago, when Garage Hangover's Chas Kit found ex-wife of rhythm guitarist Tommy Fonseca, who lives in Mesquite and who let him post the acetates cut at the late, great landmark Sumet-Bernet Sound Studios. And they didn't cut 'em with just anyone, I discovered after making a few calls this afternoon.
Says Carlene Fonseca on Garage Hangover: "The band got together first as an instrumental group playing at Twilight Time Skating Rink in Dallas [and] for high school dances at H. Grady Spruce High School and E. B. Comstock Junior High." Carlene's a '69 grad of the Spruce, pride of Pleasant Grove. Kit adds that the band also played the Surfers A Go Go, a converted bowling alley at C.F. Hawn and Raynelle Ave., where Johnny Green and The Green Men were among the regulars.
I asked Angus Wynne if he remembered the Kavemen; "barely," he said. Angus suggested I call famed engineer Phil York, who told me he didn't get to Sumet-Burnet till '69. (York also said this afternoon he's working on his memoirs, which will include stories about these legendary late-night Rolling Stones sessions cut at Sumet-Burnet, which he happened to record.) York recommended I call the legendary engineer Bob Sullivan, his predecessor at Sumet-Burnet.
"I sure did do a session with the Kavemen," says Sullivan from his Oklahoma home. "I recorded all those bands -- The Chessmen, the Five American, Jon and Robin. I don't remember the personnel or what we did. But I remember the Kavemen. I thought it was an unusual name for band. That, and the 'K.' But I've been doing this since the 1940s, and I did so many of them ..." Like, say, Elvis Presley and Hank Williams at the Louisiana Hayride. And Merle Haggard. And Johnny Winter. And Bob Wills's final sessions. For starters.
So. Visit Kit's website, and download all four Kavemen songs -- "Can't You See," especially, a true gem even with its skips and pops.
And: Happy Thanksgiving to all the Friends of Unfair Park. See you Friday morning.
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