Van Dykes, The

Band members               Related acts

- James Mays - vocals (baritone) (1964-68)

- Wenzon Mosley - vocals (tenor) (1964-68)

- Eddie Nixon - lead vocals (falsetto) (1964-65)

- Randalis Tandy - lead vocals (falsetto) (1964-68)



- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Tellin' It Like It Is

Company: Bell/Mala

Catalog: 6004

Year: 1966

Country/State: Fort Worth, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: mono pressing; small drill hole top left corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4651

Price: $100.00

Cost: $66.00


This album is a personal favorite in the soul genre (In case you're wondering, I'm selling it because I have two copies).  One of the reasons I rate it so highly has to do with the fact it offers a weird as hell combination of 1950s doo wop and mid 1960s soul influences.  You wouldn't think the two would meld very well, but in the hands of these Fort Worth-based soulsters it somehow worked.


Randalis Tandy brought the group together in 1964.  The original line up consisted of Tandy along with James Mays, Wenzon Mosley and Eddie Nixon.  Lead singer Nixon dropped out before the group was signed to the small Texas-based Hue Records, where they debuted with the Randalis-penned 'No Man Is An Island' b/w 'I Won't Hold It Against You' (Hue catalog number 6501).  With the single beginning to pick up regional airplay, Bell/Mala picked up national distribution, reissuing the single under Mala catalog number 520.  

A top-40 R&B hit (it also hit the pop charts), Bell rushed the group into the studio to record a supporting album.  


Produced by Charles Stewart, 1966's "Tellin' It Like It Is" is unique in a number of ways.  First off, whereas most quickie albums feature throwaway covers, this set showcased a largely original set of material.  Six of the ten tracks were penned by Tandy.  Then there's the issue of quality.  The album may have been recorded quickly, but Tandy's material is sterling throughout and producer Stewart ensured that it sounds like a million bucks.  So what's it sound like?  Well, like I said earlier the album offers up a strange mixture of 1950s doo wop and mid-1960s soul influences.  To be perfectly honest, doo wop flavored tracks such as ''Never Let Me Go don't do that much for me.  To my ears they sound rather old fashioned against Tandy's material.  Under the old adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the good news is that Tandy's chief musical influence appears to have been Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.  Propelled by Tandy's soaring falsetto (if you have a dog, protect your pet before playing this album), some stunning harmony vocals, and spare backing tracks Tandy originals such as 'Tears of Love', 'I've Got To Go On without You' and 'You Need Confidence' literally drip with Mayfield's influence.  It's almost weird in that the resemblance is so close that some of the material almost sounds like long lost Impressions songs  Elsewhere Bell/Mala reached into the album for four more singles:


- 1966's 'I've Got To Go On Without You' b/w 'What Will I Do (If I Lose You)' (Mala catalog number 530) 

- 1966 'I've Got To Find A Love' b/w 'Never Let Me Go' (Mala catalog number 539)

- 1966's 'You Need Confidence' b/w 'You're Shakin' Me Up' (Mala number catalog 549)
-1967's 'I'm So Happy' b/w 'A Sunday Kind Of Love' (Mala catalog number 566) 

"Tellin It Like It Is" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) No Man Is An Island   (Whitney - Kramer) - 2:37

2.) What Will I Do (If I Lose You)    (Randalis Tandy) - 2:30

3.) Tears of Joy    (Randalis Tandy) - 3:12

4.) I've Got To Find a Love    (Randalis Tandy) - 2:00

5.) Hey, Mr. Lonesome   (J. Diggs) - 2:40

6.) Never Let Me Go   (Joe Scott) - 2:34


(side 2)
1.) I've Got To Go On without You    (Randalis Tandy) - 2:53

2.) I Won't Hold It Against You    (Randalis Tandy) - 1:56

3.) You're Shakin' Me Up  (Charles Stewart) - 2:02

4.) I'm So Happy    (Randalis Tandy) - 1:45

5.) You Need Confidence    (Randalis Tandy) - 2:17 


One more non-LP 45 'Save My Love For A Rainy Day' b/w 'Tears Of Joy' (Mala catalog number 584) and it was over.  Tandy subsequently decided to head for California and by 1968 the group was history.