The Capitols

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1962-63)

- Sam George (RIP 1982) - lead vocals, drums 

- Ralph Julius Jones (RIP 2012)-- vocals 

- Richard Mitchell (aka Richard McDougall) (RIP 1984)

  --  keyboards, backing vocals

- Don Norman (aka Don Storball) --  guitar, piano, percussion

  backing vocals


  line up 1 (1965-69)

- Sam George (RIP 1982) - lead vocals, drums 

- Richard Mitchell (aka Richard McDougall) (RIP 1984)

  --  keyboards, backing vocals

- Don Norman (aka Don Storball) --  guitar, piano, percussion

  backing vocals




- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Dance the Cool Jerk

Company: Karen/ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-190

Year: 1965

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing; minor hissing in spots

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 903

Price: $20.00


So, not everything that came out of Detroit was golden - witness The Capitols.


Formed in 1962 and originally known as The Caps, the original line up featured singer/drummer 

Sam George, singer Ralph Julius Jones, keyboardist  Richard Mitchell, and guitarist Don Norman (aka Don Storball).  The group spent a couple of years working dances and Detroit clubs, eventually finding a patron in the form of DJ Ollie McLaughlin who signed them to his newly formed Karen imprint.


Released in 1963 (the first 45 released by the label), their debut wasn't a half bad party tune.  Yeah, the lyrics were brainless, but it was a fun tune that managed to disappear without a trace with the band quickly following suit.


- 'Dog And Cat' b/w 'The Kick' (Karen catalog number 16)


In 1966 Jones and Storball took notice of a popular Detroit dance craze known as the "pimp jerk".  The pair quickly came up with a tune to take advantage of the dance, renaming it 'The Cool Jerk' .  Sure they had a hit on their hands, the pair pulled in keyboardist Mitchell and convinced McLaughlin to finance studio time to record the track.  Released as a single, the quickly caught the attention of ATCO which bought national distribution rights, helping the tune hit the pop top-10:


- 1966's 'Cool Jerk' b/w 'Hello Stranger' (Karen catalog number 45-1524)  # 7 pop; # 2 R&B


LP back cover photo 


As was standard marketing procedure, Karen/ATCO promptly financed a supporting album - 1966's "Dance the Cool Jerk with the Capitols".    Produced by McLaughlin, the album was clearly recorded in a rush, reflecting a mixture of  pop and soul covers and a couple of sound-the-same Storball-penned originals.   There really wasn't anything wrong with covers such as 'My Girl', 'Please Please Please' and 'In the Midnight Hour', except for the fact they were all fairly rote, seldom deviating from the original arrangements.  Among the covers the best of the lot were their version of Barbara Lewis' Hello Stranger', a breezy take on Deon Jackson's 'Love makes the World Go Round', and an energetic version of The Rascals' 'Good Lovin''.  Regardless, the covers were all clearly meant as fodder to pad the album.  In contrast, the Storball-penned original material was far more impressive with the earlier single 'Dog and Cat, 'Zig Zaggin', and 'Tired Running From You' all showing considerable potential.  You were left to wonder what might have happened had the group been given a little more time and leeway to work on more original material.   The Loring Euterney cover was also a hoot - wonder what buying demography ATCO was aiming for with the '60s mod cover art ...


"Dance the Cool Jerk" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Cool Jerk    (Donald Storball) - 2:34

Say what you will, 'Cool Jerk' was clearly their moment in the sun - no matter how you look at it a classic slice of '60s soul.   Great vocals, great tune, great instrumentation (the Funk Brothers playing without attribution so as not to upset Berry Gordy Jr.).   Almost worth buying the album for this one tune ...   rating: ***** stars.
2.) My Girl  (William Robinson - Ronald White) - 2:47

Great tune and there wasn't anything wrong with their by-the-book, almost rote cover of the classic tune, but why would you want to hear this one when The Temptations version is readily available?  The fact of the matter is Sam George simply wasn't a David Ruffin.    rating: ** stars
3.) I Got My Mojo Working   (McKinley Morganfield) - 2:30

I'll give them credit for taking the Muddy Waters blues classic and giving it a more commercial soul arrangement.    rating: *** stars
4.) Please Please Please   (James Brown - Johnny terry) - 3:10

Geez, someone should have told them to stay away from anything James Brown had written and recorded.  
5.) In the Midnight Hour   (Wilson Picket - Steve Cropper) - 2:26

The worst of the popular cover tunes ...   rating: ** stars
6.) Good Lovin'   (Rudy Clark - Arthur Resnick) - 2:25

This won't make you forget The Rascals, hit, but it was probably the best of the popular cover tunes with some nice stinging guitar runs and one of George's better vocals.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)
Love Makes the World Go Round   (Deon Jackson) - 2:40

Other than the fact producer McLaughlin managed Deon Jackson, I wonder why they decided to cover the Jackson hit ...  This was actually the best ballad on the album.   rating: **** stars
2.) Zig Zaggin'  (Donald Storball) - 2:23

Tapped as the group's third single, 'Zig Zaggin'' was a clear attempt to recapture the sound and success of 'Cool Jerk'.   It wasn't half bad with some nice percussion moves, a catchy melody and chorus, but couldn't come close to 'Cool Jerk'.   rating: *** stars
3.) Dog & Cat   (Donald Storball) - 2:14

Their 1963 debut single was apparently included to help pad the album.  It wasn't about to win a literature prize, but was certainly better than some of the cover tunes.   rating: *** stars
4.) Hello Stranger  (Barbara Lewis) - 2:25

Other than the fact producer McLaughlin managed Barbara Lewis, I wonder why they decided to cover the Barbara Lewis hit ... seeing a pattern here ?   Their version was actually kind of interesting with some nice harmonies on the famous chorus.   rating: *** stars
5.) Tired of Running From You   (Donald Storball) - 2:14

In spite of some flat backing vocals, 'Tired of Running From You' was an interesting attempt that seemingly tried to cross bossa nova moves, with soul, and supper club jazz moves.   Very different from the rest of the album and quite cool.   rating: **** stars
6.) The Kick   (Donald Storball) - 2:15

'The Kick' was the flip side of their debut 45, which was unfortunate since if was actually far better than 'Dog & Cat'.   Another dance-inspired tune (weren't they all the rage in the early-'60s), this one had a ton of energy.  Hard to believe it wasn't a hit.   rating: **** stars



As mentioned, in addition to the two earlier singles, the album spun off the group's third 45:


- 1966's 'Zig Zaggin'' b/w 'I Got To Handle It' (Karen catalog number 45 1525) 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  We Got a Thing

Company: Karen/ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-201

Year: 1966

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut out hole top left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4645

Price: $20.00

Cost: $66.00


The Capitol's second LP is harder to find (at least it was for me).  Like the debut, 1966's "We Got A Thing" sports one of those 'mod' covers that you would never associated with a Detroit soul group ... at least the cover shows a couple of African American characters (though the band shown on the cover are  Caucasian Sgt. Pepper-styled  clones).  


Once again produced by Ollie McLaughlin, like the debut, the set was heavy on popular soul and pop covers.  While there was nothing wrong with the trio's performances on covers such as 'Knock On Wood', 'Hold On, I'm Comin'' and 'When a Man Loves a Woman' Sam George's vocals wre occasionally a little flat.  Like on the debut, Mike Terry's arrangements didn't stray far from the originals which raised the question 'why'd they bother?'  Far more interesting were the more obscure covers including Darrell Eubanks (aka Banks) 'Open the Door To Your Heart', Ashford and Simpson's 'Let's Go Get Stoned' and two Don Storball originals ('We Got a Thing That's In the Groove' and 'Tired of Running from You').  Nothing spectacular, but easy going fun ...  Elsewhere the album spun off a modest pop and R&B hit via:


1966's 'We Got a Thing That's In the Groove' b/w 'Tired of Running from You' (Karen/ATCO catalog number 45 1526) 


"We Got a Thing" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Knock On Wood   (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper) - 2:50

2.) Hold On, I'm Comin'   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) -2 :18

3.) Open the Door To Your Heart   (Darrell Eubanks - Murphy Lawrence) - 2:33

4.) Let's Go Get Stoned   (Valerie Simpson - Nicholas Ashford - Joseph Armstead) - 2:32

5.) Working In a Coal Mine   (Alan (sic) Toussaint) - 3:00

6.) When a Man Loves a Woman   (Calvin Lewis - Andrew Wright) - 3:12


(side 2)
1.) We Got a Thing That's In the Groove   (Donald Storball) - 2:27

2.) Wild Thing   (Chip Taylor) - 2:24

3.) It's Googaloo Time   (Richard Green - Johnny Griffith) - 2:16

4.) I Feel Alright   (Jimmy James) - 2:05

5.) Tired of Running from You   (Donald Storball) - 2:14

6.) I Got To Handle It   (Barney Browner) - 2:20



The group continued recording sporadic singles until they called it quits in 1969:


- 1967' Take A Chance On Me Baby' b/w 'Patty Cake' (Karen  catalog number 45 1534)

- 1967's Cool Pearl' b/w 'Don't Say Maybe Baby'  (Karen catalog number 1536)

- 1968's 'Afro Twist' b/w 'Cool Jerk '68' (Karen catalog number 1537)

- 1968's 'Ain't That Terrible' b/w 'Soul Sister, Soul Brother' (Karen catalog number 1543)

- 1969's 'When You're In Trouble' b/w 'Soul Soul' (Karen catalog number 1546)

- 1969's 'I Thought She Loved Me' b/w 'When You're In Trouble' (Karen catalog number 1549)



Sadly. The Capitols are one of those bands with a high mortality rate.


George was stabbed to death in a March 1982 domestic dispute.

Jones died of cancer in January 2007.

Mitchell died in 1984.