Barons, The


Band members                             Related acts

  line up ? (1971)

- John Anderson -- lead guitar

- Vance Charles -- vocals

- Ralph McCauley -- drums, percussion

- Frank Sebesta -- keyboard, vocals

- Dusty Wakeman -- bass, vocals

 

  line up ? (1976)

- John Anderson -- lead guitar

- Vance Charles -- vocals

- Ralph McCauley -- drums, percussion

- Frank Sebesta -- keyboard, vocals

 

  backing musicians: (1976)

- Jeff Barosh -- steel guitar, fiddle

- Chuck Lewis -- percussion

 

 

 

 

- Chance

- Vance Charles (solo effort)

- Vance Charles and the Sonics

- Yakkity Quack and the Sonics

- The Sonics

- Texas Pride (John Anderson)

 

 

 


 

Genre: garage

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  The Barrons

Company: Baron

Catalog: BRN LP 001
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Houston, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 167

Price: $75.00

 

Geez, talk about a popular 1960s band name - there are literally dozen of outfits out there with The Barons nameplate and for some reason a bunch of them (including this outfit), hail from Texas.

 

Can't say I know much about this quintet.  The liner notes show their line-up featured lead guitarist John Anderson, singer Vance Charles, drummer Ralph McCauley, keyboardist Frank Sebesta, and bassist Dusty Wakeman.  Charles had previously recorded a couple of solo 45s including one for Spinner (credited to Yakkity Quack and the Sonics, one for the Lori label, and one under his name for the Golden Eagle label.  Charles, McCauley, and Sebesta had also previously been members of Vance Charles and the Sonics, who recorded a mid-1960 single for the Texas-based Golden Eagle label:

 

   credited to The Sonics

- 1963's 'Is It True' b/w 'Is Our Love True?' (Renner catalog number 237)

 

   credited to Yakkity Quack and the Sonics:

- 1964's 'Mr. Train' b/w 'Suzy Q' (Spinner catalog number 9553)

 

   credited to Vance Charles:

- 1965's 'Let's Fall in Love' b/w 'Closer To Me' (Lori catalog number 9553)

 

   credited to Vance Charles and the Sonics:

- 1966's 'Put the Shoe On Willie' b/w 'All for the Love of a Girl' (Golden Eagle catalog number GE 201)

- 1966's 'My Soul' b/w 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place' (Golden Eagle catalog number GE 204)

 

By the early-1970s Charles and company had morphed into The Baron and become locally popular playing American Legion posts, Knights of Columbus fund raisers, and  Houston clubs.  They're audience was seemingly large enough to encourage the band to record a vanity album - 1970's cleverly titled "The Barons".   Judging by the track listing, they were strictly a cover band, but for the most part the performances were at least okay.  They also had a pretty eclectic repertoire ranging from conventional country (Conway Twitty's 'Never Been This Far Before'), hard rock (Deep Purple' 'Smoke On the Water'), and even a polka thrown in the mix ('Corn Cockle Polka'),.  There wasn't anything particularly original or impressive on these ten tracks, but (with the exception of the polka number), it was easy to see that these guys were probably an enjoyable live act.  You know what?   I'll take that back.  Their cover of Sly Stone's 'If You Want Me To Stay' was so unexpected and so strange that it was original.  Couple of cold beers probably made them sound even better.

 

- I wasn't expecting a great deal from the opener 'Slow Down', but have to admit they're Southern rock styled cover of this rock chestnut was actually quite enjoyable.  Nice Molly Hatchet touch to it with John Anderson turning in some blazing double tracked guitarrating: *** stars

- A pretty, if saccharine country-tinged ballad, 'That's the Way Love Goes' was pretty cloying to my ears.  The cheesy synthesizer touches were mildly entertaining, but couldn't save the song.   rating: ** stars

- In case you were wondering, 'Corn Cockle Polka' was really a polka.  No idea what language Charles was singing in ...  Polish?   Geez ...   rating: * star

- Another country-tinged number (remember these guy were from San Antonio), their cover of Conway Twitty's 'Never Been This Far Before' was notable for Charles' somewhat unsteady vocal and the funny bum, bum, bum refrain.   rating: ** stars

- I'm guessing the inspiration for 'If You Want To Get To Heaven' was the Sugarloaf hit.  Their cover sticks pretty close to the original; maybe a tad quicker, but pretty good.  Won't make you forget the original, though Frank Sebesta's extended keyboard solo was fun.   rating: *** stars

- With Charles turning in his best Sly Stone impression (if Sly had just spent three weeks in a desert without any water), 'If You Want Me To Stay' displayed a surprisingly funky edge !!!   Seriously, not something you would have expected from these guys.  Add to that a simple, but effective walking bass line from Dusty Wakeman.   Great tune.   rating: **** stars

- I'm too lazy to pull out the original Chicago album, but I don't remember the piano intro to 'Color My World' going on so long.   So Charles and company didn't stray  too far from the original arrangement, though their cover came off as rather flat an uninspired.  Too his credit, Sebesta's organ added a nice edge to the performance.   rating: ** stars

- For some reason I'd always assumed Dobie Gray had written 'Loving Arms' ...  Wrong.  Tom Jans.  Another one that stuck pretty close to the hit arrangement, but paled compared to it.  rating: ** stars

- So their cover of Deep Purple' 'Smoke On the Water' stands as my choice for standout performance.  Anderson turned in a blazing cover of Blackmore's famous solo and Charles sang his lungs out on this one.  I'll also mention, hearing these guys sing it also made me pay attention to the lyrics.     rating: **** stars

- And why not round out the LP with a Dylan cover.  Well, at least Charles sounded better than Dylan.   rating: *** stars

 

Nothing spectacular, but the I've heard far worse than this.

 

"The Barons" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Slow Down   (Larry WIlliams) - 3:29

2.) That's the Way Love Goes   (S.D. Shaffer - Lefty Frizzell) - 2:49

3.) Corn Cockle Polka (instrumental)   (unknown) - 2:18

4.) Never Been This Far Before   (Conway Twitty) - 2:52

5.) If You Want To Get To Heaven   (S. Cash - J. Dillow) - 2:59

 

(side 2)
1.) If You Want Me To Stay   (Sylvester Stewart) - 3:15

2.) Color My World   (James Pankow) - 2:47

3.) Loving Arms   (Tom Jans) - 2:43

4.) Smoke On the Water   (Richie Backmore - Ian Gillan - Roger Gover - Jon Lord - Ian Paice) - 5:39

5.) Knockin' On Heaven's Door   (Bob Dylan) - 3:29

 

There are a couple of Barons 45s and at least three more Barons LPs:

 

- 'Mellow Moonlight' b/w 'Strung Out On You'

- 'Wounds Of Love' b/w 'Put Me In Jail'

 

  

 "The Barons" (Solar catalog SOR 101)

- 1972's "By Request" (Solar catalog number SOR 102)

- 1976' "Small Town Revival" (Baron catalog BRN LP 002)

 

 

You have to live the internet for the connectivity it brings about.  This showed up in my in-box the other day:

 

To whom it may concern;

I just ran across your website and read your posted comments in regards to “The Barons”. I certainly appreciate your take on the album and you were spot on about the lack of cohesiveness with this album but we had our own recording studio to produce these songs and everyone wanted to put a couple of songs of their choice on the album. Keep in mind this was cut on a 3M 8 track tape machine using 1”tape I think for the time we were able to accomplish a lot of sound on minimal amount of tracks using very creative techniques. Hindsight says the album was over produced but it is what it is and will forever be a stage of my existence that I am proud of as a musician.

 

Just a little history:

 

My self “John Buckley Anderson” and Jeff “Chance” Barosh who played fiddle and steel on the Baron’s Small Town Revival Album and later became a full member of the Barons went on in 1977 to create a very successful Texas Dance hall band called Texas Pride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h2CYkUFHgs

 

which later became “Chance” the group and in the early nineties Jeff adopted the name “Chance” and pursued a solo carrier with the members of Chance the group as his backup band.  Other members of Texas Pride was Jeff’s brother Mickey Barosh, who played drums and sang, Bill Hafer, who sang and played bass guitar and is the owner of Hafer Case Inc. an ATA case manufacturer since 1987, Jon Mulligan on keyboards who has since passed away along with Jeff Chance as well.

 

The group “Chance” was signed to Mercury Polygram records Nashville in the mid 80’s and had charted singles on Bill Board magazine including “To be Lovers” &“She told me Yes” which both were 20”s and 30’s charters. We had a 20+ year run in the Texas dance hall scene playing on average of 3- 4 nights a week to crowds of 800- 2,000 people in the height of our carrier as Texas Pride and many more followers as “Chance” the group.

 

Backing up a bit…. Dusty Wakeman, http://www.maddogstudio.com/dusty.htmlthe bass player and backup vocalist who performed on the Small Town Revival album, left the band before it actually went to press. He had an opportunity to move to California and pursue his carrier as a studio musician which led to getting in with Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum earning credits in engineering and bass on Dwight’s album. Dusty is now affiliated with David Royer designer of Mojave Microphones.http://www.mojaveaudio.com/aboutus.html

 

Please do your research on Dusty and myself before posting this information because this is a very abridged version of the story.

 

I personally would like to thank you for the nice comments in regards to my vocals and guitar styling’s. I was 24 years old at the time of that album and I was enjoying the opportunity to play and perform every chance I got. I will say, The Barons group launched my chances to participate in the national music scene and I give total credit to Ralph McCauley “Drums” and Frank Sebesta “Keyboards” for giving me the chance to play on stage and in the studio for the group. It was a great time in my life and The Barons were a local and regional phenomenal success drawing mega crowds in and around Texas for over 10 years ….thus inspiring the title cut on the album “Small Town Revival”.

 

Thanks again for the kind words, 

Sincerely,

John Anderson (February 2012)

 

 


Genre: garage

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Small Town Revival

Company: Solar

Catalog: BRN LP 002
Year:
 1976

Country/State: Houston, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 192

Price: $90.00

 

 

Produced by The Barons, 1976's "Small Town Revival" found the band opting to showcase a largely original set of material.  And like the earlier album, the results were mixed.  On the positive side, Charles and Anderson were both decent singers, capable of handling a broad array of genres (more about thayt in a minute). Anderson was a surprisingly nimble guitarist, turning in some truly impressive moves - anyone doubting his chops need only check out the closing rocker 'Gotta Getcha Back '.  The downside was that similar to the earlier album, the band's constant genre shifting made a difficult to get a grip on their musical identity.  By my count the album included stabs at five different genres, including country, country-rock, pop, progressive, and conventional rock.  Some of their efforts were more successful than others, but you couldn't blame them for trying to attract as wide an audience as possible - I would have checked them out in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, by spreading their talents so far and apart, they ultimately left you wondering where their collective hearts lay.  

 

- Opening up with some blazing John Anderson lead guitar, 'Small Town Revival' showed how good these guys could be.  A rollicking bar-band rocker, there wasn't a single original note here, but the band's enthusiasm and sense of fun was 100 times better than the top-40 crapola their mega-selling competition was pushing out.  Shame they couldn't have recorded an album's worth of this kind of stuff.   rating: **** stars

- When you're a small, independent outfit like The Barons you can be forgiven for trying to cover as many genre bases as possible - every fan you can attract and every sale you make helps.  That said, 'Morning Had To Come' was a surprisingly nice Firefall-styled slice of country-rock.  Excellent lead vocal from John Anderson who also turned in another impressive guitar solo.   rating: *** stars

- The opening wind sound effects were a bit cheesy and went on way too long, but eventually the 'Your Eyes' came into focus - the result being a slightly ominous ballad that sounded like a mash-up of Blue Oyster Cult-meets-local-lounge act.  Nice Anderson guitar and super cheesy Frank Sebesta synthesizers made this the album's strangest track.   I'll admit to playing it quite a bit.   rating: *** stars

- With Charles handling lead vocals (he sounded kind of nasally on this one), 'Piece of the Action' found the band taking a step into social commentary.  Personally I wouldn't have expected much from the tune, but built on a catchy, mildly funky melody, it wasn't half bad.  Nice Hammond from Sebesta ...   rating: *** stars

- A breezy, pop-meets-country-rock tune,that's always reminded me a little of England Dan and John Ford Coley (they guys who had a hit with the nauseating 'I'd Really Love To See You Tonight'),  I'm guessing 'St. Augustine' was envisioned as the album's commercial number.  Unfortunately, with the exception of Sebesta's synthesizers, there wasn't much here.   rating: ** stars

- A relatively straight-forward country number, 'Hallelujah (Piece of Mind)' had an up-beat,  but anonymous melody which made the nice group harmonies the standout characteristics.   rating: ** stars

- Hum, a Texas band goes progressive ...  Why not?  Seriously, you weren't going to mistake The Barons for Yes, but  the synthesizer and guitar dominated 'Looking Into the Sky' had the same kind of pop-progressive sheen that Kansas and Styx rode to the top of the charts.  Nice melody and II have to admit that Anderson and Sebesta turned in some nice moves on this one.   rating: **** stars

- 'Gotta Getcha Back' closed the album with an Anderson rocker.  Initially I thought it was going to be a Kinks-styled thrasher, but it was actually far more interesting with Anderson using it as a platform to display his fret fireworks.  Cool way to end the album.  rating: **** stars

 

All told, overlooking the hideous album cover (which looked like a piece of discount wrapping paper), it was better than their self-titled album and you were left to wonder what they could have done with some professional direction and deeper investment pockets.

 

"Small Town Revival" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Small Town Revival   (Vance Charles - C. Hollon - Ralph McCauley - John Anderson) - 2:43

2.) Morning Had To Come   (Earl Montgomery) - 5:39

3.) Your Eyes   (Vance Charles) - 4:54

4.) Piece of the Action   (Lee Kreigh) - 3:18

 

(side 2)
1.) St. Augustine   (Frank Sebesta) - 2:44

2.) Hallelujah (Piece of Mind)   (Ralph McCauley) - 2:16

3.) Looking Into the Sky   (John Anderson) - 4:08

4.) Gotta Getcha Back   (John Anderson) - 4:58

 

 

 

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