The Sparkletones "BLACK SLACKS"! Special photos. Joe Bennett, rest in peace*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jan 26, 2007.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Thanks to Indy Mike for pointing this out!

    Joe Bennett And The Sparkletones: "Black Slacks" from "The Nat "King" Cole TV show", 1957.

    Dig the guitar solo by Joe (16 years old at the time) and twin Fender two-tone sunburst maple neck Strats, just like Buddy Holly! If this doesn't give you Rockabilly Dudes a woodie, you're dead! This is the real deal. Turn your sound way up. Check it out on YouTube:

    I speak to Joe every now and again (after compiling and releasing their only album back in the 1980's..) Great band; my favorite from that era.
  2. whaaat

    whaaat LT Fanatic

    Toronto, ON
    Thanks, Steve. Put a big smile on my face. :)
  3. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

  4. Eli

    Eli Party Coordinator

    Isle of Lucy
    These very talented young guys wrote their own material, too.
  5. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Northwest Illinois
    Neat performance.

    I like it!
  6. kensc1nj

    kensc1nj Forum Resident

    Warwick NY
    Semi related note: in 1993 during a reunion stand in NYC, Simon and Garfunkel did 'Black Slacks';
  7. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Yikes! :eek:
  8. Larry Mc

    Larry Mc Forum Dude

    WOW! that was a treat. Ahhhh, those were the days.
  9. Mark

    Mark I Am Gort, Hear Me Roar Staff

    Who knew that Beaver Cleaver could pick such a mean guitar! Thanks for posting this one.
  10. kensc1nj

    kensc1nj Forum Resident

    Warwick NY
    It was during a portion of the show paying tribute to the bands who influenced them, like the Everlys, etc.
  11. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Howard "Sparky" Childress is the rhythm man who could have been the Beav's lookalike. Joe Bennett could have been played by Barry Williams/Greg Brady. :) Here's some information about the band:
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Joe's guitar playing is so incredible (for that era). The tone he gets on that axe is just right, gotta be a Fender Tweed Deluxe amp or a Vibrolux with 6V6 output tubes and a 10" Jensen speaker, nothing bigger; it has that SOUND!. I know; I have a '59 Vibrolux with that same sound! Same as used on LAYLA years later. Recognize the tone?

    Joe and George Tomsco of the Fireballs are my Fender Strat Gee-tar Heroes (along with Buddy Holly and Jimi).
  13. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest


    January, 2006

    Sparkletones' Equipment

    "What kind of guitars did you all use?" "Amps?" "How did you get that sound?" plus many other questions about style, equipment , age, etc. Tell you what....I really feel embarassed at times because I don't know the answers! I know that seems crazy but it's true!

    For what it's worth, here goes on equipment.

    In '55/56 my Dad said if I would finish the Gibson course on guitar, he would buy any guitar and amp that I wanted. Well, I did and he did and what a great day it was for both of us. It was time to go shopping!

    I drooled over Arthur Smith's Stratocaster every day after school when his show was on WBT TV in Charlotte. On Sundays after church, we drove by Smith Music to let me look in the show window at Arthur's Strat's twin brother. It was a 55 or 56 Strat because in '57 we were on the road. I filed the 3rd string groove a little too deep at the nut so out came the handy-dandy silver chewing gum paper ... just a very little ... to stick underneath the string and raise it beyound the buzz. Can you tell me why "Silver" paper? Did I think it had electronic qualities or what? Who knows? Anyway, I grooved the neck on that puppy but kept on playing it.

    The amp was a Fender deluxe ... NO reverb! That is how we got that sound! The reverb on the recordings came from Bell Sound Studio in NYC. The speakers were Jensens and we were very happy to have them ... Sparkie's mom and dad followed suit and we had twin-packs.

    Jimmy played a set of blue-sparkle Slingerlands with hand matched hi-hats and hand-picked Ziljians with cases ... bought at the factory. After we stopped playing, Jim sold his beloved Slingerlands only to repurchase them a few years ago ... he won't tell what it cost to get them back! They were the originals ... Sullivan, Bandstand, Nat King Cole, etc!

    Wayne played a fat-cat Kay bass red-brown trimmed in white. That bass is still around but we don't know where.

    There you have the equipment list of The Sparkletones in the early years. The name was thought up by my mom who is now 93 and in a nursing home after a stroke. She said, "Why don't I make you a vest with a sequined treble clef over the heart and a few notes and you call yourselves The Sparkletones?" So, all the other moms did the same and there you have it ... voila!

    Some of our music was written on the front porch of our house ... Black Slacks for one. We practiced there and music was written there along a few at Wayne's.

    Sparkies "Cotton Pickin' Rocker" and " Late Again" were written in Clifton at his house. We practiced at the other guys houses also where cookies and coolaid were the going refreshment at the time.

    Sometimes I would experiment with Gibson strings and flat wound strings ... even Black Diamond strings. They were cheap and not too bad on the tone.

    I hope this has answered questions you may have ... if not ... fire me an e-mail at and I'll be glad to give you any info I may have.

    Thank ya'll for reading this little monthly blurb. Have a great month!

  14. There is a medley including "Black Slacks" on the Old Friends box set.

    Great performance. Thanks.

    A scan of the original Sparton Canada 78 rpm.

    Attached Files:

  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Do you have a scan of the other side? "Boppin' Rock Boogie". A fantastic "B Side"!
  16. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

  17. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Spain (EU)
    I like the mics around their necks. :)
  18. Wasn't it uncommon to have such a young instrumentalist in a band? Little Anthony, Stevie Wonder, Brenda Lee and other acts featured a really young vocalist, but with the exception of Wonder none of them seem to have instrumentalist chops too.
  19. rhkwon

    rhkwon Forum Resident

    Houston, TX USA
    Very nice!
  20. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    You know, watching this again:

    It could be our own Joe Nino-Hernes!!!!
  22. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Delightful! Thanks Indy Mike & Steve for the tip.

    There was a load of really fine talents on Nat's show. I'd really like to see the whole ball of wax out there on DVD.
  23. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Washington DC Area
    Compiled and Annotated by Steve Hoffman :righton:

    Attached Files:

  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter


    Can you put up a minute or so of BOPPIN' ROCK BOOGIE? I have not heard it in many years...
  25. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Washington DC Area

    I really would if I could. Sorry Steve. :shrug:

    The best I can do is post my beat up 45 label (just for reminiscing). :D

    Attached Files:

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