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Roburt

The Mob

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I'm sure we all have 45's (& maybe albums) by this 60's / 70's outfit.

They made a decent few good tracks back in the day. Following an internet campaign, the guys out of the group were reunited for a big music awards ceremony around 2 years back. 

 

Initially the group were formed in Chicago though their early vocal mainstays, Little Artie Herrera and his brother Big Al Herrera, had started out as members of Milwaukee's Little Artie and the Pharaohs. The Mob moved on from the Windy City and cut loads of further tracks in the New York / east coast area. They gigged all over the US, playing dates as far apart as Florida, New York and Milwaukee. Eventually they broke up around 1980.

 

A US newspaper printed up a 5 part article on the group & their 2011 award .... though throughout the 5 pieces you don't really get a decent potted history of the group.

An example of the articles .....  http://www.examiner.com/article/the-mob-2-from-chicago-il-to-sioux-falls-sd-30-years-or-less-overture

 

There is some info on the group posted under this youtube video entry .............

The mid-1960s found the Herrera brothers in Chicago where they joined up with Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) and Gary Beisbier (who co-wrote hits for The Buckinghams), Jimmy Ford, Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino and Mike Sistak. Artie was drafted, exchanging life as a musician for a tour of Vietnam. With Al handling lead vocals as The Mob, the group became one of the first horn-rock outfits in Chicago where they released a series of singles over the next couple of years:

-1966's 'Wait' b/w 'Mystery Man' (Cameo catalog number C-421)

-1968's 'Unbelievable' b/w 'Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight catalog 111)

-1966's Open the Door To Your Heart' b/w 'I Wish You'd Leave Me Alone' (Daylight catalog 1000)

-1968's 'Disappear' b/w 'I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone' (Mercury catalog number 72791)

 

But at least fans of the group did succeed in getting the guys back together and they got an award that helped reflect their past work, but I don't really think that the 5 newspaper articles did them justice.

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Edited by Roburt

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The Mob live back in 1969 .........

 

They come across sounding very similar to many of the best UK beat groups that were all playing soul songs in their live acts in the mid 60's. 

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love their version of darrels open the door to your heart..obviously the vocals dont touch mr banks but the overall version has more bollox about it which i like....had someone ask me if i had it on the wrong speed once! :g:

 

dean

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love their version of darrels open the door to your heart..... the overall version has more bollox about it which i like....had someone ask me if i had it on the wrong speed once! :g:

 

dean

Like most groups, the Mob seem to have played all the tunes in their live act at a faster pace that their (or other artists) recorded versions. 

Back in the 60's (at niters) I used to get a bit upset that the hit artists performed their known songs at much too fast a pace (compared to the record) but I guess they all did it to increase the energy level during their live shows.

I'd say that they cut their version of "Open The Door" at the same pace as they performed the song during live shows. I think their early recordings were put out to reflect the content of their stage shows and to sell to folk who had seen them play live.  

Edited by Roburt

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A couple of pieces on the net that detail more info on the group (the 1st one is very detailed and puts the group's formation & work into context with regard to the wider Chicago soul music scene)   ...............

 

http://www.themobmusic.com/MOB_story.html

 

http://mikebaker45s.wordpress.com/the-mob/

an extract from the above .......... By the early 1970s the group shifted into a show band switching over to the club and hotel circuit ...... it was a concert in Puerto Rico that brought the group their next break. Performing at San Juan’s Americana Hotel, they attracted the attention of producer/record company owner Jerry Ross. Impressed with the band Ross immediately signed them to his newly formed Colossus label.

.......... seems strange that they had 'gone cabaret' before landing their best record deal. 

 

Carole Waller (USA Records artist) performed on shows (down in Florida) with the group and got to see them play live numerous times. She has nothing but good things to say about them & their live work. In addition, after the Mob broke up, she was actually in a band with Big Al Herrera. 

I'm awaiting Carole's approval to a piece I have just written on her before I post it up here. The article will hopefully contain more details on her work with Big Al.

Edited by Roburt

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Guest Soulfood33

I read somewhere when they had girl-group back up,  Mousie & the Traps (Toddlin' Town) were the ladies on stage.

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I was in contact with James Holvay some years ago for a piece in my Soulin' magazine. He cut a couple of CD EPs one of which included "Hot & Heavy Love" - a popular spin at Soul Essence at the time. I don't think it ever got picked up for official release which was a real shame.

Really nice guy who always remembered me on his Xmas card list for years afterwards.

"I'd Like To See More Of You" a personal fave too.

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Interesting that. Thanks. I think that "I dig everything about you" and "love has got a hold on me", also "I'd like to see more of you" are just great feel good recordings.

 

I just won a really nice Aussie issue of I dig everything, and Love has got a hold on Aussie Polydor, very nice..

 

mal

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Edited by Mal.C.

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"I'd like to see" alson on spanish 45 with picture sleeve, can't recall if sleeve shows the band or not. Was told it came out in Germany too but can't confirm that so far.

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I just won a really nice Aussie issue of I dig everything, and Love has got a hold on Aussie Polydor, very nice..

 

mal

 

Also available on a Brazilian Polydor copy ............

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The vocal mainstays of the Mob in the mid 60's were Little Artie & Big Al Herrera. Both had been recruited from Milwaukee group Little Al & the Pharaohs, though the pair had also recorded as Kane & Able. 

Little Artie was only in the Mob for a year (June 66 to June 67) before he was drafted.

After Artie left, Big Al took on most of the lead vocal duties for the group and he remained in that position till they broke up at the very end of 1980.

Artie & Al had been born down in Texas and were of Mexican descent.

So they sang 'brown eyed' soul alongside the 'blue-eyed" soulsters in the Mob. The outfit certainly turned out some good tracks.  

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I sent an e-mail to Little Artie & Al Herrera to ask them about their 'Kane & Able' tracks & work in the music biz ........

.... I got a reply but it came from the Mob's James Holvay (who wrote, produced & arranged "Life of the Party").

James tells me ............

My name is James Holvay and I am the writer and producer of “Life Of The Party”.

Al Herrera forwarded me your email, in hopes that I can answer some of your questions regarding the session and the song.

I first met Artie and Al Herrera when they were performing at a club in Chicago called The GiGi. I was attending college at the time, having just gotten off the road with The Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars tour.

It was the height of the Vietnam War and the only way to avoid being drafted was to be attending college, unless you had a medical deferment.

Joe DeFrancesco (who later became the manager of The MOB), was a promoter of local dances and record hops. He told me that I needed to see this great group (Little Artie & The Pharaohs), who were transplanted to Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Waco, Texas.

I was blown away by Arties voice and showmanship. They did a Righteous Brothers Medley in their set that was dead on.

Joe wanted me to write a song for them and get them in the studio asap.

Their first release was a take off on The Righteous Brothers, who at the time were red hot. I wrote “Break Down And Cry”, which recently came out on an Ace Records compilation — “Wall Of Sound”.

Having been heavily influenced by my hometown idol and mentor Curtis Mayfield, I wrote “Life Of The Party” for Artie to sing, as their second release.

There were only a handful of studios in Chicago at the time. Universal was the best and most expensive. All of the early VJ stuff had been cut there. (Dee Clark, Jerry Butler, Betty Everett, etc.)

Chess was the next most expensive. Out of my budget. (ha, ha)

Sound Studios (230 N. Michigan Avenue), is where I cut “Life” and a lot of other tunes over the years, was in the middle price-wise. The remaining studios went down hill from there. It’s kinda like “you get what you pay for.” If you go to a cheap studio, the sound is horrible.

Stu Black was the engineer at Sound Studios and always did a great job. He later moved onto Chess and engineered a lot of The Dells hits in the 60’s. (“Stay In My Corner”, etc.)

I used the musicians that were part of the Dick Clark Tour band, who later became The MOB. Gary Beisbier wrote the horn charts.

Regarding your questions to Artie about performing in the military, etc., that is an extremely sensitive subject for him.

At the time, Artie was the lead singer of The MOB and our whole show was based around him. Al played tenor sax and sang background parts. Artie was “the star” of The MOB.

We were performing at a club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin called The Attic and getting standing ovations every night. We were on fire.

A few months prior to this, Artie received a notice to report to the draft board. We all figured that his “medical deferment” was going to keep him out of military service. He arrived at the draft board on Friday morning and in the afternoon he was whisked off to Fort Bragg, Georgia. Unfortunately for Artie and us, the military folks did not accept his deferment.

That night we had 2 shows to perform and no lead singer or front man. We told the club owner what had happened and he told us to just play dance sets to get thru the weekend and get paid.

We went back to Chicago with our tails between our legs, wondering how in the hell we were going to go on without Artie?

With “our star” gone, it was our manager (Joe DeFrancesco), who suggested Al become the lead singer. After a tremendous amount of work and rehearsals we were able to continue as The MOB for 14 more years.

For the next year, there were numerous letters, phone calls and pleading from Artie’s mother and the pastor of their church to try and get Artie released from his military service. He eventually did get out.

When he was released from duty, emotionally Artie was not in a good place. He returned to Milwaukee and gave up the entertainment business to focus on his wife and family.

The military experience and the fact that he gave up his music career bothered him for decades.

The story does end on a good note.

Two years ago, The MOB was inducted into a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in South Dakota. I contacted Artie, who now lives in San Diego, California and invited him to perform with us at the Hall Of Fame event.

Like the professional he was and still is, Artie rose to the occasion was the fantastic singer, entertainer and performer he always was.

What a night that was to see all of us original members back together on stage. It had been 30+ years and way over 40+ years for Artie.

THANK YOU for asking about “Life Of The Party” and the best of Chicago 60’s soul.

. . . . James Holvay (a.k.a. Jimmy Soul)

Edited by Roburt

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I'm sure we all have 45's (& maybe albums) by this 60's / 70's outfit.

They made a decent few good tracks back in the day. Following an internet campaign, the guys out of the group were reunited for a big music awards ceremony around 2 years back. 

 

Initially the group were formed in Chicago though their early vocal mainstays, Little Artie Herrera and his brother Big Al Herrera, had started out as members of Milwaukee's Little Artie and the Pharaohs. The Mob moved on from the Windy City and cut loads of further tracks in the New York / east coast area. They gigged all over the US, playing dates as far apart as Florida, New York and Milwaukee. Eventually they broke up around 1980.

 

A US newspaper printed up a 5 part article on the group & their 2011 award .... though throughout the 5 pieces you don't really get a decent potted history of the group.

An example of the articles .....  http://www.examiner.com/article/the-mob-2-from-chicago-il-to-sioux-falls-sd-30-years-or-less-overture

 

There is some info on the group posted under this youtube video entry .............

The mid-1960s found the Herrera brothers in Chicago where they joined up with Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) and Gary Beisbier (who co-wrote hits for The Buckinghams), Jimmy Ford, Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino and Mike Sistak. Artie was drafted, exchanging life as a musician for a tour of Vietnam. With Al handling lead vocals as The Mob, the group became one of the first horn-rock outfits in Chicago where they released a series of singles over the next couple of years:

-1966's 'Wait' b/w 'Mystery Man' (Cameo catalog number C-421)

-1968's 'Unbelievable' b/w 'Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight catalog 111)

-1966's Open the Door To Your Heart' b/w 'I Wish You'd Leave Me Alone' (Daylight catalog 1000)

-1968's 'Disappear' b/w 'I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone' (Mercury catalog number 72791)

 

But at least fans of the group did succeed in getting the guys back together and they got an award that helped reflect their past work, but I don't really think that the 5 newspaper articles did them justice.

 

 

how rare is o t d t y h on a daylight w/d ?

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