Bill Artz and His Rhythm Kings

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1963-65)

- Bill Artz -- keyboards 

- Bill Axsom -- drums, percussion

- Hugh Bost -- sax

- Clyde Ross -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Jimmy Strickland - lead guitar




- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  Variety Time

Company: Justice

Catalog: JLP 1001 A/B

Year: 1965

Country/State: North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring wear; minor light marks on the vinyl, but plays without skips

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5791

Price: SOLD $125.00


The cover gracing Bill Artz and His Rhythm Kings made it clear these guys weren't exactly a cutting edge rock and roll band.  Dressed in their matching Colonel Saunders suits and white shoes, this grim lookin' quintet recalled a road gang facing imminent execution for crimes against humanity.  


There are thousands of bands with far more talent than Artz and company, however these guys had the good fortune to be the first band to release an album on Calvin Newton's famous Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Justice label.  Other than that, there's really not a lot of logic for even listening to the group.


Since there doesn't seem to be any biographical information of Artz and the band, I'll go ahead and quote the brief liner notes:  "A record unique in its very existence; an arrangement to fit each generation, from popular rock 'n roll by a small group with a big sound.  The band is composed of the electric piano, sax, drums and two guitar men who have worked together three years to consummate the special sound effect.  You will hear "Organo Rock" and "Whatcha Call It" both written by Bill and arranged by the band.  In addition there are ten other selections.  All are combined with three special sounds - straight piano, electric piano, and the organo.  There is the gold sound of the tenor sax as played by High (Tiny) Bost.  Clyde Ross, vocalizes on a number entitled 'Searching' and also plays rhythm guitar.  On the lead guitar is Jimmy Strickland.  Mike Axsom plays the drums and Bill Artz, leader of the Rhythm Kings, coordinates the three piano sounds.  The big sound is made by the men working in close association with no instrument stopping or breaking at any time during a performance. An individual style was the main goal of the group's three years of work.  Harmony of instruments is congruous with harmony among the players, whose association is not just as one of business in the music field, but one of brothers in the cause - to prove themselves the small group with a big sound !"


"Bill Artz and His Rhythm Kings" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Organo Rock (instrumental)    (Bill Artz) - 2:22  rating: ** stars

One of two Artz originals, the instrumental 'Organo Rock' was an okay '50s-styled rocker.  Sax player Bost was featured through most of the song, though Strickland turned in a surprisingly good guitar solo.  The ending was a little rough, but so what.  

2.) There Goes My Everything (instrumental) - 2:56  rating: * star

Another sax propelled instrumental, 'There Goes My Everything' was essentially a slow waltz.  Worthless.   

3.) Searching - 2:10  rating: *** stars

One of three vocals by rhythm guitarist Clyde Ross, if you heard 'Searching' anywhere else it probably wouldn't have made much of an impression.  That said, surrounded by the rest of this album, the track came off as a pretty good slice of garage rock.  Yeah, it was quite amateurish and Ross wasn't a great singer, but it made for one of the few tracks that you could actually label as rock and roll..   

4.) Tuff  (instrumental)- 2:07  rating: * star

I had some hope for the instrumental 'Tuff'.  Misplaced it turned out since it was another lame MOR instrumental. 

5.) Square Dance Time (instrumental) - 5:16  rating: * star

The title told you everything you needed to know about this one ... 'C'mon why would anyone record a song entitled 'Square Dance Time'?  Not only that, but the damn thing was nearly twice as long as any other song.  Yech !!!   I will say that Artz's hyperactive keyboard was worth hearing. 


(side 2)
1.) Whatcha Call It (instrumental)    (Bill Artz) - 2:29
  rating: ** stars

Side two opened up with the second Artz original 'Whatcha Call It'.  Like his first composition, it was a 50s-styled rock instrumental with a heavy emphasis on Bost's sax.  Decent, but hardly something you'll be humming during the week.  

2.) Sleep Walk (instrumental)  (instrumental)- 2:30  rating: * star

Well, credit the band with truth in advertising with respect to 'Sleep Walk'.  Another instrumental waltz, this was easily the dullest track on the album zzzzzzzzzzz. 

3.) Almost Persuaded - 2:22  rating: ** stars

Listed as 'Almost Persuaded', this one sure sounded like a cover of The Coasters' 'Searchin'.'   This one stood out as the second vocal performance, but didn't have much else going for it.  

4.) Never On a Sunday (instrumental) - 2:15  rating: * star

'Never On a Sunday' offered up another half-assed , MOR instrumental.  Complete yawner.  

5.) Blue Tango (instrumental) - 1:50  rating: * star

In spite of the title 'Blue Tango' was another polka showcasing Artz's hyperactive keyboards.  This one would clear a party in a matter of minutes.

6.) Anniversary Waltz (instrumental) - 3:02

Curiously while the track listing showed the closing tune as being 'Anniversary Waltz', it wasn't actually on the album. Somehow I think it didn't make all that much difference.


Admittedly this one won't have any interest for garage or rock fans, but Justice label fans already know that.