A Dale Wehba Experience…………..#111 (60’s)


   The musicians original reason to visit the Bethany Music Store was to inquire about the metal reeds for his Wurlitzer #120 electric piano having discovered the franchised Wurlitzer music store in Oklahoma City devoid of the necessity.   Gary entering,  having no  volition to buy anything else, but  once inside he came across something that caused  him to pause. On the main aisle to the counter was a used  three octave vibraphone for sale.

His immediate thought was of another place and another time,  Gary one of those who equate almost every past memorable event with a song.  Standing before the vibes, Martin Denny’s Quiet Village came to mind, first hearing it during  basic training days at Fort Ord.  The musician recalled reading that Arthur Lyman accorded the vibes for Martin Denny,  and later initiated his own recording with a top 40 hit entitled Yellow Bird

Taking notice that the electric cord to the motor-driven butter-fly valves in the resonator tubes was plugged in, its countenance beckoning him to turn it on, and with the mallets resolving the tonal bars,  the mellow idyllic sound coercing an acceptance and making it unable to deny its appeal.  An inner feeling persisted, Gary once again a victim of an unspoken manifesto, with the purchase of the vibes satisfying both worlds, his and the captivity of the vibraphone.  The addition of the vibes would mean securing an electric bass,  enlisting the talent of Jerry or even Larry,  thus allowing the pianist freedom from his keyboard bass to enlighten the sounds of his newly acquired accompaniment.     The additional instrumentation would  greatly enhancing The Untouchables capabilities, increasing the number of instruments to nine.

The band having assembled again in the confines of Staff Studio,  owner and sound engineer Larry Frazier calibrating the equity from the positioned microphones for the first score of a demo-tape for publicity purposes.   A first session, a pause, then a second,  arriving at a parity was onerous,  Glenn and Gary were cognizant of the financial aspects,  time was  discerned as currency in a recording studio.   Gary finding a solution to rescue the time consumption adjustments ,  suggesting to Larry that he leave the microphones settings as is and the recording enabled,  chronicling the ongoing repertoire until completion.  The  session was a success,  the demo songs, some with more than one take were recorded,  the  conversations between selections and duplicate takes could be edited out.  The recording wasn’t of outstanding quality, but more than satisfactory for the demo-tapes booking purpose..

Glenn was on his way to Gary’s residence on S.W. 46 Terrace, the musician  forecasting that WKY radio disc-jockey Dale Wehba would be arriving.  The Untouchables having associated with WKY radio personalities, having  performed at a  sponsored teen-hop engagement at Wedgewood Village Amusement Park, making the acquaintance of Dale Wehba.   Dale desiring to make his melodious vocal presence known with his first recording, capitalizing with aspirations to add the title of recording artist to his resume.  With Dales arrival,  the three discussing a recording session.   Gary at the piano with a brief run through Dale’s vocal selection to structure an arrangement, Dale insisting on having a background vocal group for the recording session.

Their meeting coming to a conclusion, the two musicians setting about making arrangement with Larry Frazier at Staff Studio, Glenn following up with a call to Ruth Sallee,  the band’s booking agent asking her assistance in acquiring a vocal group.    With a little perseverance the recording session began to take shape, Ruth able to provide a four person black group called the Rebels, all the recording ingredients meeting at Staff Studio for an inaugural run thru of the songs.

It was soon became apparent because of time constraints and scheduling conflicts, it would be best if the band and vocal group recorded their tracks together,  Dale to add his vocal track later.  The session being accomplished,  Wehba’s A side song,  “Baby, You Sure Look Fine  receiving ample air-time on WKY radio, the B side was I Love You Darling, Gary not too impressed with the selections, but granting that it would provide ample giveaway’s at future Dale Wehba WKY sponsored  teen-hops.

Glenn’s concept of FEE  Records (Froman Entertainment Enterprises) coming to fruition,  the recordings of Black-Eyed Peas and Sliding Sideways by the Untouchables receiving some applause and media exposure in the Oklahoma City market.  The band making encore appearances on KOCO televisions Ida B Show, the Gaylon Stacy Show on KWTV and was asked to back Top 40 recording artist Dick and Dee Dee featured on Dick Clarks nationally televised Band Stand show on a WKY sponsored Hootenanny at Oklahoma City’s  All Sports Stadium. The Hootenanny, a musical presentation mimicking the hit TV program Shindig,  to be held between games at a 89er’s baseball doubleheader.

The event being highlighted with a spectacular entrance, all the featured performers being paraded into the  stadium,  circling the outfield,  positioned up on the backseat of new Cadillac convertibles supplied by the local dealer.  The band having meant with Dick & Dee on the ball diamond at All Sports Stadium the afternoon prior to the nights program, their producer handing the band sheet music for their performance song.  Gary somewhat taken aback,  explaining they had never played the song before and would need run through it with them,  the two vocalist,, very impatiently,  turning to the producer, saying they would just as soon lip-sync to the recording.  Gary was somewhat relieved at not having to rush into the unknown, but also perturbed at the attitude displayed by the recording artist.

The Untouchables were scheduled as the opening  act and because of the hootenanny theme, playing a band original, entitled Oklahoma Jazz.  The instrumental,  a medley of country gold hits including Water-baby Boogie, The Beverly Hill Billy’s Theme, Under the Double Eagle, Oklahoma Hills, Mountain Dew, the Steel Guitar Rag, and from the applause,  it was apparent that guitars Jerry Willis had captured the crowd.  Finishing their song the band hastily packing up having to leave immediately for Chickasha,  a 9:oo calling at J.C. Hunter’s  El Rancho Club.

As they were leaving the stadium,  the event still in progress,  they were thankful that they were first on the program as some of the die-heart baseball fans began to get vocal, shouting they came to see a game, not to listen to music.  Gary concluding the effort and publicity might lead to a sit-down engagement, a quiescence from travel would be a welcome change.

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