Mob, The

Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1966-75)

- Gary Beisbier -- keyboards, sax, trombone 

- Jimmy Ford -- trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion  

Big Al Herrera -- vocals, sax   

- Little Artie Herrera -- vocals  

- Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) -- guitar, bass, backing vocals   

- Tom Howard -- 

- Tony Nedza -- keyboards, backing vocals  

- Bobby Ruffino -- drums, percussion  

- Mike Sistak -- guitar, trombone, backing vocals


  line up 2 (1975-80)

- Gary Beisbier -- keyboards, sax, trombone  

NEW - Dennis Budimir -- guitar (replaced Mike Sistak)  

NEW - Joe Farrel -- drums, percussion (replaced Bobby Ruffino)

- Jimmy Ford -- trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion  

- Big Al Herrera -- vocals, sax 

- Little Artie Herrera -- vocals  

- Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) -- guitar, bass, backing vocals 

- Tom Howard -- 

NEW - Mike Melvoin -- keyboards (replaced Tony Nedza)




Kane & Abel (Al Herrara and Artie Herrera)

- Little Artie and The Pharaohs (Al Herrara and Artie Herrera)




Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Mob

Company: Colossus

Catalog: CS-1006

Year: 1971

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4265

Price: SOLD

Cost: $9.00


I've always had a soft spot in my heart for stuff on Jerry Ross' Colossus Records.  Like most folks, my familiarity with the catalog was pretty much limited to the big three - The George Baker Selection, The Shocking Blue and The Tee Set.  As such, this 1971 album came as a surprise to me.  Not only weren't these guys Dutch, but they trace their roots back to Minneapolis, Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois.


I also have to be honest and admit I wish I'd been able to dig out more info on this outfit, though lead singers Little Al Herrera and his brother Big Artie Herrera had been members of Minneapolis' Little Artie and the Pharaohs and subsequently recorded as a duo under the name Kane and Able.  


The mid-1960s found the Herrera brothers in Chicago where they hooked up with Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) and Gary Beisbier (who'd co-written numerous hits for The Buckinghams), Jimmy Ford, Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino and Mike Sistak.  Artie was apparently drafted, exchanging life as a musician for a tour of Vietnam.  With Al handling lead vocals as The Mob, the group became one of the first horn-rock outfits becoming fairly popular in Chicago where they released a series of singles over the next couple of years:


- 1966's 'Wait' b/w 'Mystery Man' (Cameo catalog number C-421)

- 1968's 'Unbelievable' b/w 'Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight catalog 111)

- 1966's Open the Door To Your Heart' b/w 'I Wish You'd Leave Me Alone' (Daylight catalog 1000)



- 1968's 'Disappear' b/w 'I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone' (Mercury catalog number 72791)


(early Mob publicity photo - credit Joe De Franco)


By the early 1970s their recording career had run out of steam so the group shifted into show band stance switching over to the club and hotel circuit.  They apparently did quite well for themselves finding steady bookings from LA, to Vegas and even the Carribbean.  In fact it was a concert in Puerto Rico that brought the group their next break.  Performing at San Juan's Americana Hotel, they attracted the attention of producer/record company owner Jerry Ross.  Impressed with the band Ross immediately signed them to his newly formed Colossus label, resulting in the release of 1971's "The Mob".  Produced by Ross and Chuck Sagle, the BS&T comparison was actually quite apt, though without the annoying jazz or experimental tangents the former often pursued.  With Holvey (his last name was actually spelled Holvay) and Biesbier responsible for penning all nine tracks, material such as 'Give It To Me' and 'Love's Got a Hold of Me' was probably best described as BS&T with a soul influence.  Underscoring the BS&T comparison, as lead singer Herrera bore an uncanny resemblance to David Clayton Thomas !!!  So now a bunch of you are wondering about annoying horns ...  True, tracks like as 'Once a Man', 'Goodtime Baby' and 'Back On the Road Again' sported horns, but for the most part the arrangements were rather conventional, avoiding the annoying experimentation that plagued so much BS&T material.  The overall results were quite good, making for an album that was surprisingly commercial and should have attracted considerable radio play.  (Interestingly virtually every online review I've read days these guys were simply killer in concert.)  Elsewhere Colossus pulled a series of quickly forgotten singles from the LP:


- 1971's 'Love's Got a Hold of Me' b/w 'I Dig Everything About You (Colossus catalog number CS-130) 

- 1971's 'Give It To Me' b/w 'I'd Like To See More Of You' (Colossus catalog number CS-134)

- 1971's 'Lost' b/w 'Where You Lead Me' (Colossus catalog number CS-144)


"The Mob" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) I'd Like To See You One More  (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 3:34

2.) Once a Man Twice a Child  (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) -  4:07

3.) Give It To Me  (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 2:52

4.) Maybe I'll Find a Way   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 2:42 

5.) Goodtime Baby   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) -  2:17


(side 2)

1.) I Dig Everything About You   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) -  2:30

2.) For a Little While   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) -   3:57

3.) Love's Got a Hold of Me   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) -  2:28

3.) Lost More of You   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 3:55 

4.) Back On the Road Again   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 3:17


The album went nowhere, though Colossus released one more non-LP 45:  


- 1971's 'Once A Man, Twice A Child' b/w 'Money' (Colossus catalog number CS-145)


1973 found the band signed to MGM where they managed to release a series of four quickly forgotten singles:


- 1973's 'You Give Me the Strength To Carry On' b/w 'Feel Like Dynamite' (MGM catalog number 14406)

- 1973's 'One Way Ticket To Nowhere' b/w 'Who's Shaking Your Jelly Roll' (MGM catalog number 14456)

- 1973's 'Tear the House Down' b/w 'Rockin' Revival' (MGM catalog number 14519)

- 1973's 'Dynamite Lovin'' b/w 'Fat Lucy' (MGM catalog number 14575)



bier) -  

Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Mob

Company: Private Stock

Catalog: PS-2005

Year: 1975

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: promo copy sticker on back side

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5360

Price: $20.00


Released by Larry Uttals's short-lived Private Stock label, 1975's cleverly title "The Mob" isn't exactly rare, but it's nowhere near as common as the earlier Colossus LP (explaining the price differential).  Produced by Bones Howe their sophomore album found the band largely abandoned their earlier blue-eyed soul and pop moves for a more contemporary sound which included nods to disco ('All the Dudes Are Dancing') and Latin dance music ('Get It Up For Love'), Throw in the extensive horn arrangements and by all rights there shouldn't have been a lot to like here.  That said Little Artie Herrera's dark and bluesy voice remained an undiscovered treasure, saving all but the band's most routine offerings.  So what tanked an what worked?  The instrumental 'S.Y.A.' and the bland ballads ' I Can't Stop This Love Song' and ' Magical Lady' were among the numbers beyond salvation.  Recalling their earlier sound 'Hot Music' and the rocker 'Rock and Roller' were both radio friendly though rather anonymous.  That left the creative highlight as the atypical bluesy closer 'Who's Foolin' Who?'.  So the final score was an album with three strong compositions, four decent numbers, and three complete losers.  Conclusion - start with the Colossus LP and continue onward with caution. By the way the album was also tapped for a pair of singles:


- 1976's 'Rock and Roller' b/w 'Just One Good Love Connection' (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,016)

- 1976's 'All the Dudes Are Dancing' b/w 'I Can't Stop This Love Song' (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,053)


"The Mob" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) All the Dudes Are Dancing   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 4:34

2.) Get It Up For Love   (Ned Donhey) - 3:45

3.) S.Y.A.   (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 3:54

4.) Hot Music   (Michael Price - James Holvey) - 3:38

5.) Rock and Roller   (Chris Bond) - 3:16


(side 2)

1.) I Can't Stop This Love Song   (Michael Randall) - 3:39

2.) When You Get Right Down To It   (Barry Mann) - 3:35

3.) Magical Lady    (James Holvey - Gary Biesbier) - 3:46

4.) Just One Good Woman   (Don Dunn - Tony McCashen) - 3:13

5.) Who's Foolin' Who?   (Michael Price - Dan Walsh - Steve Barri - Michael Omartian) - 4:54


Private Stock also released a pair of non-LP singles over the next two years: 


- 1976's 'Don't Let It Get You Down' b/w '' (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,084)

- 1976's 'Love Connection' b/w 'Gemini Lady' (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,159)



In 1995 the British Sequel label released a posthumous 17 track compilation - "The Mob - The Heritage Sessions" (Sequel catalog number NEM CD 724).  In addition to all of the material off of their first Colossus LP, the set was rounded out by 9 bonus tracks including 'I Feel The Earth Move', 'Make Me Yours', 'All I Need', 'Everyday People/Love Power', 'Savin My Love For You', and the previously unreleased 'Uh Uh Uh Uh Uh Uh'.