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. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Nifty video! A shame Joe didn't do better on the charts...two Hot 100 entries, one Bubbling Under, IIRC, and that was it...fine music for its time, the kind of spontaneity all but gone in modern music, even the best of it....

  2. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Just call him Spartanburg Joe and maybe you could sneak him in... ;)
  3. mdpierocarey

    mdpierocarey Forum Resident

    Really an outstanding performance. Man O Man, what excitement! I wish a spoonful of that would rub off on the "I'm so bored and depressed and here's my song about it" crowd. What's so bad about feeling good?

    I'll feel better all day after watching that this morning. Thanks for the tip Steve.

    Mr Bennett, if you are still reading this thread, dang! Nice work from everybody in that band! I am so glad that performance was recorded. You really left your mark making music to be proud of with that one.

    Doug Piero Carey
  4. chip-hp

    chip-hp Cool Cat

    Dallas, TX
    I bought copies ... and I didn't even know who you were :) ...
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Great, good to know.

    Can I ask how your heard about the album? Press or you saw it in the store and thought it looked interesting?

    Just curious.

    I would have bought it for the cover alone..
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Photos from Joe Bennett.

    Joe kindly sent us these neat snaps! Take a look..

    1. The Sparkletones with Ed Sullivan, 1957

    2. Joe now.

    3. Joe with Minnie Pearl.

    4. Joe and Sparkie, now!

    5. The Sparkletones with Elvis in Vegas, 1957.

    Joe writes:


    Hope I'm not overloading you with pics!

    Some Pic Background:

    Ed Sullivan Show. This was our first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. We performed "Black Slacks"

    Elvis came to my show at the Royal Nevada in Vegas-which is now the parking lot for the Stardust Hotel. After the show, he came to our dressing room to visit. If you would like a hard copy I'll snail mail you one.

    I was a backup musician for Minnie Pearl in Torrejon Air Base, Spain

    I had a band in Madrid, Spain called Joe and the Jaguars. Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead was my drummer. We were in the Air Force together. Later, we both went to California and Mickey started a band and I was his guitarist! He has a picture of Joe and the Jaguars in his book "Songcatchers." Also he tells about me being his guitarist in his interview in the book, "Conversations with the Dead."

    Thanks for mentioning Boppin' Rock Boogie in your forum. It is my favorite of all the Sparkletones' songs. Paul Anka was the high background, "Who-o-o-o-o" on this song! He dropped in on our session at 1:00 A.M at the Bell Sound Studio in NYC."


    Attached Files:

  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    6. Joe with Mickey Hart.
    7. Joe singing "Black Slacks".
    8. The only LP by Joe Bennett And The Sparkletones, compiled by moi.

    Attached Files:

  8. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    The Sparkletones with a Dead connection - I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it... :eek:
  9. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
  10. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Those pictures are great! The guys in the band always look like they're having a good time.
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yup, looks like they were enjoying every minute of it.

    As Carl Perkins once told me: "Beats picking cotton!"

    From Joe Bennett:

    "Thanks Steve!

    If you have any movie producers or directors in your forum maybe they will read what Bruce Eder wrote about us and give me a call!

    Written by: Bruce Eder, All Music Guide:

    (The Sparkletones' story should have been a movie.) For a lot of listeners, they were and are what rockabilly music was really all about-four kids from the south, none older than 16 and one as young as 13 when they started, getting together and making fast, sometimes raunchy sounds, literally the soundtrack to their own teen years, and having a lot of fun and getting an adventure out of it. Their music at its best sounded as freewheeling as their approach to it really was, and they were rewarded in October of 1957 with a No. 17 placement on the Billboard charts for the only record they ever did chart, "Black Slacks."

    (Joe's NOTE: He did not know that "Penny Loafers and Bobby Socks" charted that same year as #42.)

    "Cool Daddy-O," We have stories that would "Rock their Socks Off" that we are saving for a book or movie!

    "That's The Way We Did It In The Fifties"
    Mr. Freed Called It Rock and Roll...........
    (A tidbit from my latest song)

    .....Did you know that Lindsay Buckingham won his first talent show singing "Black Slacks"? Check out his web site..

    Best regards,

    He's gone, mostly in the head....Black Slacks!
  12. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

  13. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I just love this act, and the energy of real rock & roll is all there!

    I gotta get the Steve Hoffman mastered LP now. I hope the fidelity is there.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Can't get over Joe's great guitar tone. I mean we are listening to bad optical sound from a 16mm Kine print and that Strat sounds like dynamite!
  15. chip-hp

    chip-hp Cool Cat

    Dallas, TX
    Don't recall ... but I probably ran across them flipping thru LPs at a record store ... I had a boot of Johnny Burnette's Rock 'n Roll LP ... which I loved ... I knew the song Black Slacks and was curious to hear their other material ... I also bought a bunch of the compilation CDs that you did for MCA and DCC ... long before I noticed the common denominator ... mastered by Steve Hoffman ...

    Great pics ... thanks for sharing ...
  16. billdcat

    billdcat Well-Known Member


    These guys are SWELL !

    I love the just plain-old FUN of their music.

    I wasn't aware of there being an album of their ten sides,
    now I gotta see if I can locate a copy.

    Was it also released on CD format?
  17. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    No legit cd is available. I hope Bear Family might put out a reissue someday - they've put out sets for folks who had less chart action than The Sparkeltones.
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    A shame. Such great, happy music. Deserves to be on a CD!
  19. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Does anyone have their later tracks done for the Paris label? I'm assuming they're more pop oriented.
  20. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    But the LP is a "super hot cut" slab o' wax with short sides from original 1st gens?

    I think you told me before you were working in all analog then. So this LP is prime needle droppin' goodness. If I could just find it.
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Got a few more snaps from Joe Bennett.

    First two show the "Sparkletone Limo", heh.

    Third shot is my holy grail: Joe's 1956 two tone sunburst maple neck Fender Stratocaster and Fender Tweed amp. What a tone from that duo (helps to have a phenomenal guitar player like Joe as well)..

    Fourth is ROCKET, a great 45!

    Joe sez:

    Dear Steve,

    "I'm attaching a picture of my Strat and amp.
    I used this guitar and amp from the beginning of the Sparkletones tour until the end. I wore it completely out! I made the BIG mistake of selling the Strat cheap after my Sparkletones tour was over because I thought it was worth nothing any more. I sold it when I lived in Spain. I'm trying to locate it now.

    Also, a picture of our first "Limo" that we toured in, a De Soto Limousine. When "Black Slacks" was released with "Boppin' Rock Boogie" on the flip-side, I painted the car to promote the record.

    It worked until we tried to get on the Interstate. Highway officials told us we could not drive on it because this car was considered commercial because of the Ad! So, we had to take back roads and toll roads to our venues.

    We drove it on tour for about 1 1/2 years until it broke down in Tucumcari, NM. We had it towed to a junk yard there. A few years ago a fan told me he saw that old De Soto still in the Tucumcari junk yard and you can see it as you drive down Route 66! That reminds me of the Disney movie, CARS!

    I wanted to add a note about "Rocket". On the LP it shows "unpublished". ABC Paramount let Alan Freed publish "Rocket" in his publishing company, Figure Music, before we performed on his show.

    You can see Figure Music as publisher on the original 45 in the photo I've attached.

    It was then somehow passed from Figure Music to Longitude Music which was also Windswept Music, and now our royalty statements come from EMI as publisher!

    This was the only one of our songs that did not stay with the original publisher.

    I was once told that "Rocket" was the first RAP song!"


    Joe Bennett

    Attached Files:

  22. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Limo? That beast looks like it's as big as a Zeppelin.
  23. His Masters Vice

    His Masters Vice W.C. Fields Forever

    Sydney, Australia
    Not only is Joe's guitar tone awesome, but I dig watching him play. That's really something. :)
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Agreed. Look at the Ed Sullivan clip (sescond link) and watch his solo on BLACK SLACKS. Now, watch the later Nat Cole Show version (which is the first link to click on). See how much better and rockin' his solo is? That's non stop gigging. It really helps the chops!
  25. His Masters Vice

    His Masters Vice W.C. Fields Forever

    Sydney, Australia
    You're right, he's really cooking on the Cole Show. He's a natural, but still you can see the improvement in his playing even in that short space of time. I wish I was that good!
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