The Escorts

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1961)

- Bob Buhrman -- bass

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals 

- Buzz Montsinger -- sax 

- Sam Owen (RIP 1964) -- vocals 

- Richard Parrish -- bass (replaced Bob Buhrman) 


  line up 2 (1961-62)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals (1961-68)

NEW - Tom Hill -- sax, vocals (replaced Buzz Montsinger)

- Sam Owen (RIP 1964) -- vocals

NEW - Richard Parrish -- bass 


  line up 3 (1962-64)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals 

NEW - Richard Eastman -- drums 

- Tom Hill -- sax, vocals 

- Sam Owen (RIP 1964) -- vocals 

- Richard Parrish -- bass 


  line up 4 (1964-65)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals 

- Richard Eastman -- drums

NEW -  Jimmie Faber - lead vocals (replaced Sam Owen)

 - Tom Hill -- sax, vocals

- Richard Parrish -- bass 


  line up 5 (1965-67)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals 

NEW - Sandy DeWitt -- drums (replaced Richard Eastman)

- Jimmie Faber - lead vocal

- Tom Hill -- sax, vocals 

- Richard Parrish -- bass (replaced Bob Buhrman)


  line up 6 (1967-68)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals

NEW - Richard Eastman -- drums (replaced Sandy DeWitt)

- Jimmie Faber - lead vocals

- Tom Hill -- sax, vocals

- Richard Parrish -- bass (replaced Bob Buhrman)


  line up 7 (1968-69)

- Nick Colleran -- lead guitar, vocals

- Richard Eastman -- drums (1962-65 and 67-69)

NEW - Ricky Goldman (RIP 1969) -- bass, vocals (replaced

  Richard Parrish) (1968-69)

- Tom Hill -- sax, vocals (replaced Buzz Montsinger)





- Our House (Tom Hill)




Genre: garage

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Bring Down the House

Company: TEO

Catalog: LPS 5000

Year: 1965

Country/State: Richmond, Virginia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stereo pressing; someone put a 'W' in black magic marker on the top right corner

Available: 3

Catalog ID: 4526

Price: $120.00

Cost: $1.00


I don't usually attend record conventions, but a couple of years back a friend convinced me to go to one in Northern Virginia.  The show was pretty much what I was expecting; a couple of dozen dealers selling fairly common wares at remarkably high prices.  Anyhow, in the last row there was an older guy and his wife with a couple of boxes of relatively common rock albums.  They also had one of those old LP carrying cases with a sticker on it that said "rare".  Opening the case up there was a bunch of fairly common 1950s' crooners that didn't do much for my collecting fetish.  Luckily, when I started leafing through the box I stumbled across this album.  I pulled it out and the seller started talking to me.  The guy was amazed I'd heard of The Escorts and it turned out he'd attended college in Richmond, Virginia and had actually been in the audience at the concert at the Richmond Mosque Ballroom when the LP was recorded.  The guy even remembered the date of the concert - June 24, 1966.  

I won't tell you how much the guy originally wanted for the LP, but apparently amazed I'd even heard to the band, we'll tell you that he sold it to me for the $25 I had on me at the time.

First, (with a massive thank you to singer/lead guitarist Nick Colleran for all  of the wonderful information provided when I located him on the web), here's a quick bio on the band.  As a 16 year old attending Richmond's Douglas Southall Freeman High School, Colleran formed the band in 1961.  The original line up included bassist Bob Buhrman, Colleran on guitar, sax player Buzz Montsinger and singer Sam Owen.  The call of college saw Buhrman replaced by Richard Parrish, with Tom Hill taking over for Montsinger.  The line up was eventually rounded out by drummer Richard Eastman.  

In spite of the band's relative youth, they became fixtures on the Richmond music scene, playing school dances, proms and local beer joints.  The band continued to perform through college, although in 1964 Owen and a date were killed when the car they were driving was crushed by a 15 year old engaged in a drag race.  Singer Jimmie Faber was subsequently brought in as a replacement.  When the Army draft claimed drummer Eastman, Sandy DeWitt was added to the line up.

Perhaps reflecting the fact Colleran was taking accounting courses at the University of Virginia, the band proved themselves business trendsetters.  Having formed their own label - TEO Records (The Escorts Operation), a 21 year old Colleran borrowed $1,200 from a local bank.  Having long promoted their own events, the funds were used to rent Richmond's Mosque Ballroom.  Giving new meaning to the word independent, the band rented and set up the recording equipment, sold their own tickets, ran the show's concession stand, designed and prepared the album cover art work (Hill's father took the cover photo), wrote the liner notes (Colleran's father set the hot type for the back cover), hired the recording engineer and arranged for mastering, pressing and final assembly.  

So what's this rarity sound like?  Well, as I said earlier, judging by the LP, The Escorts were your typical mid-1960s frat band.  Produced by guitarist Colleran, "Bring Down the House" consisted of a dozen popular rock and soul covers (Beatles, Otis Redding, Stones, Them, etc.) with a couple of lesser known tracks thrown in (Roy Head, Herman's Hermits).  Lead singer Faber's performances weren't exactly stunning (check out his strained performance on 'You're Going To Lose That Girl' - understandable given the band didn't have any feedback speakers), nor will you be awed by the rest of the band's technical merit, though they did bring an admirable sense of enthusiasm to their performances and lead guitarist Colleran turned in several nice performances (he nailed Roger McGuinn's 12 string performance on their cover of Dylan's 'Mr. Tambourine Man').   Highlights included a nice 'These Arms of Mine' and an enthusiastic 'Turn On Your Love Light'.  In spite of the fact it was recorded live with extremely primitive equipment (four microphones recorded straight on to a two track tape), the sound was surprisingly crisp and clear.  At least to my ears, musically the set compared favorably to better known frat acts such as The Ace's Combo, The Embers,  The Invaders (or just about any group signed to Justice Records). 

"Bring Down the House" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Treat Her Right   (Roy Head) - 2:15   rating: *** stars

I'm not going to tell you their version ripped up the Roy Head original, but when you remember these guys were in still in their mid-teens and this was recorded live ...  well, there results were actually quite impressive.

2.) You're Going To Lose That Girl   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:18   rating: *** stars

Apparently mid-'60s bands were not allowed to go on stage unless their repertoire included at least one Beatles song and one Dylan tune.  So call 'You're Going To Lose That Girl' their contractual obligation performance.  Again, it wasn't bad.  Just not terribly memorable.

3.) Listen People   (Graham Gouldman) - 2:25   rating: *** stars

Herman's Hermits ...  Kudos to Colleran for nailing the guitar parts.   Judging by the background noise, the audience sounded a but restless on this ballad.

4.) Gloria   (Van Morrison) - 2:31   rating: **** stars

Can you even be considered a garage band if you don't include a cover of 'Gloria'?  Isn't it a requirement to record this song?   Again, their version beats about 95% of those you'll ever hear with Faber showing off some real frustration in his delivery.  One of the album highlights.

5.) Mr. Tambourine Man   (Bob Dylan)  - 2:05   rating: **** stars

Another "contractual obligation" song.  Thankfully they opted to cover The Byrds folk-rock arrangement.  Guitarist Colleran shined on this performance.

6.) These Arms of Mine   (Otis Redding) - 2:41   rating: *** stars

I can only think it took some real guts for a bunch of young, suburban white kids to take on an Otis Redding song.   I suspect Otis would have approved of their enthusiastic performance.

7.) Turn On Your Love Light   (Deadric Malone - Joe Scott) - 2:45  rating: **** stars

Well, for such a young crowd, they certainly exhibited good tastes when it came to outside covers. exhibit A - Bobby Bland's 'Turn On Your Love Light'.  Another album highlight.  Wish it had gone on longer.

8.) narration - 0:32

At least it was funny.


(side 2)

1.) Louie, Louie   (Richard Berry) - 2:30   rating: *** stars

Another garage band requirement and with Faber slurring about half of the lyrircs, The Escort passed with flying colors.  

2.) The Last Time   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richard) - 2:54   rating: *** stars

It didn't do anything to stretch the performance envelop, but this was another performance that rose above the norm.  Kudos to Richard Parrish for the nice bass work.

3.) Scotch and Soda   (Dave Guard) - 2:19   rating: ** stars

The Kingston Trio did the best known version of this oldie.  Kind of a strange tune to have in their set list, but I guess it gave couples a chance to neck.  Even the audience seemed a little confused by the song.

4.) Bye, Bye Baby   (Mary Walls) - 2:44   rating: *** stars

I've always loved the Mary Wells original, so this one comes in as an also ran type performance.  

5.) Out of Sight   (Ted Wright) - 3:25   rating: **** stars

James Brown wrote this classic under the pseudonym Ted Wright and, again, I suspect he would have approved of The Escorts' enthusiastic performance (complete with start and stop structure).  Maceo Parker certainly would have been proud of Tom Hill's sax solo.

6.) Shout Parts I and II   (O'Kelly Isley - Rudolph  Isley - Randolph Isley) - 3:55   rating: **** stars

And for their garage rock post-doc thesis The Escorts turned in a rollicking cover of The Ilsay Brothers' 'Shout'.   



Starting in the mid-1960s the band also recorded a series of five singles, including a cover of 'Shake a Tail Feather', the original 'Turn On Your Love Light', the blue-eyed soulish 'Hitch Hiking Down Broadway' and 'S.O.S. (Heart in Distress)'.  The album and their latter singles brought CBS, Liberty and several other labels calling.  Liberty pressured the band to relocate to California and begin touring, however reluctant to lose their college draft exemptions, they passed on the offer, instead A&R man Bob Devere signing them to a recording deal with CBS's Date subsidiary.

- 1965's 'Shake a Tail Feather' b/w 'Everybody Loves a Lover' (TEO catalog number E-101)

- 1965's 'Searchin'' b/w 'Turn On Your Love Light' (TEO catalog number E-103-A/B)

- 1967's '(S.O.S) Heart In Distress' b/w 'I Love You But You Don't Own Me' (Soulo catalog number 109A/B)

- 1967's 'Hitch Hiking Down Broadway' b/w 'I Don't Want To Be Alone Anymore' (Soulo catalog number 107-A/B)

- 1968's  '(S.O.S) Heart In Distress' b/w 'I Love You But You Don't Own Me' (Date catalog number Z-1609)


With original drummer Eastman out of the army and back in the line up and bassist Ricky Goldman having replaced Parrish (who left to get married), 1968 saw the band starting work on a studio album.  Unfortunately, Goldman was drafted (within a year he'd died of a drug overdose).  The draft also caught Hill who ended up in the Marines.  With those personnel losses, the band promptly collapsed.  In an interesting side note, apparently semi-AWOL from the Marines, Hill reappeared in the band Our House, whom Colleran ended up producing. 


Colleran appears to be the only band member who kept his hand in the music business.  In addition to extensive production work, including acts such as Pat Benetar and Bootsy Collins, he co-founding Alpha Audio, Virginia's first large-scale recording studio, and Acoustics First Corporation. which offers a full range of acoustical materials including sound absorbers, barriers, diffusers, and specialty products for recording studios and other specialty applications (they have a website).  Hill went into business, including stints as president of the firms Planters-Curtiss and Kiwi.  Faber went into banking.  Parrish briefly tried his hand as a studio player, but along with the others seemed to have vanished.