Touch


Band members               Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Ovid Bilderbeck -- drums, percussion

- Paulette Butts -- vocals  

- Royal -- vocals, keyboards  

- E. Ray Schulte (aka Ray Stone) -- vocals, guitar,

  harmonica  

- Jerry Schulte -- bass  

 

  line up 1 (1969-70)

NEW - Thom Rhoty - drums, percussion  (replaced 

  Ovid Bilderbeck)

- Royal -- vocals, keyboards 

NEW - Chuck Sabatino -- vocals (replaced Paulette Butts)

- E. Ray Schulte (aka Ray Stone) -- vocals, guitar,

  harmonica 

- Jerry Schulte -- bass 

NEW - David Surkamp -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

 

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Thom Rhoty - drums, percussion  

- Royal -- vocals, keyboards 

- Chuck Sabatino -- vocals 

NEW - Eric Salas -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Thom Rhoty)  

- E. Ray Schulte (aka Ray Stone) -- vocals, guitar,

  harmonica  

- Jerry Schulte -- bass  

- David Surkamp -- vocals, rhythm guitar  

 

 

 

- The Essence (Ray Stone - Royal)

- The Guise (Ray Stone)

- Pavlov's Dog (David Surkamp)

- The Sheratons (Jerry Schulte and Ray Stone)

- David Surkamp (solo efforts)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Street Suite

Company: Mainline

Catalog: LP 2001

Year: 1969

Country/State: St. Louis, Missouri

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG-

Comments: record is quite scratched and plays with considerable noise in places; has several skips on track three; gatefold sleeve; extremely thick sleeve and vinyl

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4906

Price: SOLD $150.00

 

 

And you thought Detroit was the only place in the country with angry 1960s hippies ...

 

Singer/guitarist E. Ray Schulte (aka Ray Stone) was the brainchild behind this St. Louis outfit.  Stone's roots as a professional musician actually trace back to the early-1960s when he was a member of Bob Kuban and the In Men.  In 1967 Stone split from Kuban and along with a couple of other In Men, launched The Guise who recorded a series of three 45s.  Leaving The Guise Stone hooked up with his brother Jerry to form the short-lived The Sheratons.  By 1968 The Sheratons were history with the Schulte brothers having gone on to form Touch (not to be confused with the Seattle based progressive outfit).  Backed by drummer Ovid Bilderbeck and singer Paulette Butts the quartet quickly began to attract a local audience with their tough blues-rock sound.  Opening slots for a number of name bands such as Cream and Steppenwolf bolstered their cause and in 1969 they went into St. Louis' Technisonic Studios to record a self-financed album.  

 

Produced by Josephy Pokorny, "Street Suite" is an interesting, if largely dated timepiece.  Musically the album served as a showcase for Ray who wrote most of the material, provided lead guitar and handled most of the vocals.  Ray may have been the band's creative mainstay, but Butts was the most impressive component.  While she only got to handle a couple of lead vocals, she had the far stronger voice, occasionally recalling Grace Slick, though without Slick's shrillness.  Sounding like something John Sebastian might have recorded, the set certainly got off to an interesting start with the atypical 'Happy Face'. From there on Ray and company got progressively more pissed off.  Not particularly focused, the album showcased a mix of hard rock (the instrumental 'Beginnings'), blues ('Catfish'), country shuffles ('Gotta Keep Travelin' On') and West Coast-styled psych moves (the Jefferson Airplane-ish 'Let's Keep the Children On the Street').  Exemplified by material like 'Get a Gun', 'Let's Keep the Children On the Street' and the anti-Vietnam 'Motor City's Burning' at the time the group's revolutionary rhetoric was probably quite intimidating for potential audiences (remember this was heartland Missouri).  Still, it was nice of them to show that legendary mid-western friendliness by name checking the cop in the liner notes - 'special thanks to ... Art, the cop'.   Today it's simply cliched and dated ...  In case you're interested in facts like this, reportedly only 100 copies were pressed, though the set's been booted.

 

"Street Suite" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Happy Face   (E. Ray Schulte) - 0:45

2.) Beginnings (instrumental)   (E. Ray Schulte) - 1:08

3.) Get a Gun   (E. Ray Schulte) - 3:55

4.) Catfish (traditional) - 7:38

5.) Gotta Keep Travelin' On   (E. Ray Schulte) - 3:06

 

(side 2)
1.) Let's Keep the Children On the Street   (E. Ray Schulte) - 5:27

2.) Motor City's Burning - 4:46

3.) Gettin' Off   (E. Ray Schulte) - 6:40

Following the album's release Butts quit to join a commune.  She was replaced by singer Chuck Sabatino.  Next to go was drummer Bilderbeck.  Drummers proved difficult to hold on to and over the next year the band went through Thom Rhoty, followed by Eric Salas.  

 

The revised line up managed to record a pair of instantly obscure 45s:

 

- 1969's 'Stormy Monday Blues' b/w 'Day To Day Man' (Mainline catalog number 01)

- 1969's 'Light My fire' b/w 'Round Trip' (Mainline catalog number 02)

 

Another set of personnel changes that saw Sabatino replaced by singer/keyboardist Royal and the addition of future Pavlov's Dog mainstay David Surkamp.  The final iteration of the group managed to record some additional material, though it didn't see the light of day until the late 1990s.

 

Stone and Royal went on to record in The Essence.  Surkamp went on to Pavlov's Dog and various other projects including Hi-Fi with Ian Matthews.

 

 

 

 

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