The Variations

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1965-66)

- Nonnie Bost -- bass 

- Jimmy Brawler -- sax, keyboards 

- Bobby Ennis -- drums, percussion

- J.B. Gamble -- vocals 

- Jimmy Kincade -- lead guitar 

- David Poteat -- rhythm guitar



- none known





Genre: garage

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Dig em Up!

Company: Justice

Catalog: J-LP-112

Year: 1966

Country/State: North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: signed by band on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1396

Price: $375.00


Yes, another addition to my strange desire to hear (and own) every release by the small North Carolina-based Justice label ...  Here's one of the rarer entries in the company's catalog.  Reflecting the company's first and only foray into color cover art, I'll readily admit that categorizing The Variations as a garage band is somewhat of a stretch (note that the Hearse shown on the cover actually billed them as 'The Variations Combo').  In the interests of full disclosure they're probably better described as being blue-eyed soul purveyors.  Not that it matters since the chances are that if you're looking at this one you already know what to expect.


As was standard practice for Justice, the liner notes on 1966's "Dig em Up!" shed little information on the group.  Their customized Hearse carried North Carolina plates and the line up was credited as bassist Nonnie Bost, sax player Jimmy Brawler, drummer Bob Ennis, singer  J.B. Gamble, lead guitarist Jimmy Kincade and rhythm guitarist David Poteat.  In addition to being the senior member (he was 26 while the rest of the band members were between 18 and 20, though most looked 14), Ennis was the band front man.  Musically this was fairly standard Justice material.  Sporting the label's typical low tech sound, these guys at least made up for the technical limitations with surprisingly energetic performances.  For a 19 year Gamble proved a more than decent singer, his gruff delivery well suited for the band's mix of garage, R&B and soul covers. Lead guitarist Kincade didn't get a lot of time in the spotlight, but was quite good (check out their cover of the chestnut 'Summertime').  In contrast sax player Brawler got quite a few solo sports and added nothing to the proceedings.  True, nothing here was liable to blow you away and side one was far stronger than the flip side, but about half of the tracks were worth hearing a couple of times - the band's modest competence and earnestness going a long way to explaining the set's weird charm.  Highlights including 'Out Of Sight', the rocking closer 'Shake A Tail Feather' and a surprisingly smoking cover of Wilson Pickett's 'In the Midnight Hour'.  The color cover and the goofy costumes were almost enough to get them a fourth star on my rating scale ...


"Dig em Up!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Night Train - 2:55

2.) Out Of Sight - 1:55

3.) In The Midnight Hour - 2:26

4.) Summertime - 4:07

6.) Laugh It Off - 2:42

7.) Something's Got A Hold On Me - 3:06


(side 2)
1.) Watermelon Man (instrumental) - 2:10

2.) You've Lost That Loving Feeling - 3:32

4.) Under The Boardwalk - 2:37

5.) Crying - 2:37

6.) Come A Little Closer - 2:45

7.) Shake A Tail Feather - 2:18