bio- The Chaps - Alive and Still Picking
The Chaps musical group had its origin in Arkadelphia, Arkansas at Ouachita College back in 1961. Their original group name was The Chapelles until 1966, when they signed with Stan Lewis's Paula Records label out of Shreveport, La. and shortened their name to The Chaps. The group's home base for most of the years prior to hitting the road was Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They performed/rocked all over Arkansas and the Southwest prior to 1966 and after 1967, plus spending road time in 1966-67, primarily in So. Carolina, Florida, No. Carolina, Louisiana, & Wisconsin.
They played gigs - colleges, night clubs, high schools, teen centers, etc. - with their high energy show and music ranging from rockabilly/pop, blues, r&b, to the British sound. "Brutal Savage Rock" was the descriptive term applied by many of their fans back then. Some notable artists they appeared live with over the years included Roy Head, The Uniques, The Newbeats, Louisiana's Boogie Kings, D.J. Fontana, and a group in Wisconsin that later evolved into The Electric Flag.
After 40 years of silence, the group reunited in October 2007 near Santee, SC at vocalist Don Bochette's home town, where they performed live for 2 straight nights and then re-recorded 5 of their original sides that had previously been released or recorded with Paula Records back in 1966. Bassist Mac Heird, who'd been in the recording business back in Arkansas, engineered these recordings.
After enjoying the SC weekend, the group decided to meet and record more material(old & new) at Heird's studio in Jacksonville, Fla., including writing some new original songs and producing the sessions themselves. With these efforts, we can hear how The Chaps have evolved over the years. With the 35 new tracks and the old tunes they cut as well, The Chaps have proven that they're "Never Too Old To Rock."
The original Chaps are a 5-piece group consisting of Don Bochette from Santee, SC(vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin, & harmonica); Stueart Matlock from Benton, AR(vocals & keyboards-organ/piano); Jim Woodfield from High Point, NC(vocals, lead & slide guitars, dobro, & harmonica); Mac Heird from Little Rock, AR(bass guitar), and Doug Fulmer from Flower Mound, TX(drums & other percussion). This is the same group, intact, who recorded the original songs "Forget Me" and "Tell Me" that were released on Paula Records back in 1966. The Chaps, in addition to playing their music on all the recorded material, do all their own harmony & back-up vocal parts themselves. Getting together to record again in Jacksonville, FL at Heird's then location was no easy feat for the band due to their now distant locations apart.
This Cd set is a collection of all the recorded material by the reunited original Chaps to date. There may be more to come in time, hopefully, as the title suggests, as long as they're "Alive and Still Picking."
The Chaps would like to thank all their friends/fans who have kept up with them & their music over the years. Also, special thanks to their fanilies who put up with the long nights, their being away from home and traveling, rehearsing, and all the trials & troubles inherent with playing in a band and having a normal family life.
Some people who helped the group get going & along the way included Bennie Allen(their 1st & only manager), the late Stan Lewis plus John Wessler of Paula Records/Su-Ma Publishing in Shreveport, LA, and the late Major Bill Smith of LeCam Records/LeBill Publishing of Fort Worth, TX. Special thanks also go to radio stations KOTN in Pine Bluff, AR, KAAY in Little Rock, AR, and KEEL in Shreveport, LA who helped break out their records and get radio airplay for The Chaps throughout the Mid-South Region in 1966. Thanks also go to Robin Hood Brians, who helped the group get off the ground with their early Paula recordings,at his Robin Hood Recording Studio in Tyler, TX, as well as his assistance with the later Chaps recordings on the Soft and LeCam labels.
These Chaps had many musical influences including Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks, The Band, The Beatles, and others of the English groups, the old Sun and Phillips Records artists out of Memphis, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Bob Dylan, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Rascals, the old Stax & Atlantic R&B artists plus many of the old Delta & Chicago Blues artist just to name a few.
The Chaps would like to dedicate this album to the lasting memories of 3-later year Chaps - Mike(Burger) Scoggins, Gary(Hollywood) Ray, and Phil(Psychedelic) Schlenker, all who contributed to the Chaps in the late 60's plus the 70's, and most of all were friends, who passed away too young. Other notable Arkansas musicians who played in the group over the years included Tommy(Buke) Buchanan, Kenny Red, Kenneth(Brown) Williams, Bill McCumber, David Osmon, Howard(Happy) Caldwell, L.B. Gibson, Steve(Sting Ray) Huselton, Ray Scott, and Robin Nix.
The original Chaps had a 2nd reunion in late June, 2012 in Pine Bluff, AR, returning as a group to perform live there for the 1st time since 1967.
bio - Remembering The Chaps 1968-1972 (The Lost Tapes)
After the original Chaps from Pine Bluff, Ark. came off the road in 1967 - the group broke up due to lead guitarist Jim Woodfield being hired away by Joe Stampley & The Uniques and guitarist/vocalist/front man Don Bochette moving back home to South Carolina. The Chaps kept playing for a while with their remaining personnel - Stueart Matlock(vocals/keyboards), Mac Heird(bass guitar),Tommy Buchanan(drums/vocals) plus the late Phil Schlenker(lead guitar), and then Ray Scott(drums - as Buchanan became the front man). After the 1966-1967 experience - The Chaps made 2 more attempts at staying out on the road - the most successful being spending the summer of 1968 in Myrtle Beach, SC at a club called the Teddy Bear #2. The group now consisted of Bochette, Matlock, Schlenker, the late Gary(Hollywood) Ray on drums, and Bill McCumber on bass guitar. They played nightly and pretty much packed the house on weekends there. After Schlenker got a draft notice - he decided to get back in college in Arkansas.
Then, The Chaps regrouped in Pine Bluff in 1968 with Matlock, Heird, Schlenker, Doug Fulmer on drums, and hired L.B. Gibson, a black R&B vocalist, and then added Mike(Burger) Scoggins as guitarist/front man) to the group. Burger had previously had his own group in Pine Bluff called Burger & The Buns - where he got his nickname. He was also called the Head Bun by his fellow Chaps.
Their next move was getting back into recording - they'd previously been with Paula Records/Su-Ma Publishing out of Shreveport, La. who'd let the Chaps contracts lapse. Matlock went to Fort Worth, Texas to try & get the group an opportunity with well-known Texas independent record producer Major Bill Smith, who had his own record & publishing companies in Fort Worth. Smith had produced 3 national #1 records - Hey Baby by Bruce Channel in 1962, Hey Paula by Paul & Paula in 1963, and Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers in 1964. He also helped Delbert McClinton get his start on his hit record If You Really Want Me To I'll Go. Smith's main record label was LeCam Records & his main publisher was LeBill Music. He owned several other subsidiaries as well. Smith would get the publishing rights on original songs and then market his records to larger labels such as Mercury/Smash, United Artists, Uni, and others. Smith listened to some Chaps' material and told Matlock he'd be interested in using The Chaps on his Soft Record label and Softcharay publishing. The Chaps were very receptive to his offer as producer.
The regrouped Chaps(1968) played out of Pine Bluff as a 6-piece group with Scoggins(guitar/vocals), Matlock(keyboards/vocals), Schlenker(lead guitar), Heird(bass guitar, Fulmer(drums), and vocalist Gibson. The group added guitarist Kenneth(Brown) Williams in early 1969 to play both lead & rhythm guitar. Later in 1969, Schlenker got drafted and Williams took over as lead guitarist. In late, 1969 Gibson moved away to Milwaukee. When Schlenker returned from Vietnam in 1971, he rejoined the band & again shared guitar duties with Williams. The 1971 group is the one pictured on the CD cover.
The Chaps did numerous recording session with Smith as their producer - including several in Tyler, Texas at Robin Hood Studio, as well as some other studios in Dallas, Texas, and Shreveport, La. Smith released a number of single records by The Chaps - the 2 most successful being Little Red Wagon in 1969 and Maybe I'm Amazed in May 1970. Both of these releases got a good deal of regional radio airplay and gained The Chaps some national recognition in both Billboard and Cashbox magazines. The Chaps did their last recording sessions independently in Tyler in late 1971, arguably doing some of their best original material - several of their songs later re-recorded by The Sweet Magnolia Band out of Little Rock. During this era - these Chaps played many different venues in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, & Texas, including some joint appearances with the Uniques and other bands.
Besides their original material included on these CD's, The Chaps did their version of many songs by others including The Beatles & Paul McCartney, The Band, The Beau Brummels, Marvin Gaye, Bo Diddley, Roy Head, Howling Wolf, The Butterfield Blues Band plus a Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper instrumental Refugee they used as a break song. They include also one of the most unusual versions ever recorded of The Rooftop Singers' Walk Right In and also a song by one of Smith's other writers Vince Murphy called Population Zero.
In early 1972, The Chaps finally called it a day, with some members going in different musical directions. What resulted was 2 groups evolving that played many years in the Arkansas and Soutwest areas - The Sweet Magnolia Band and The Matlock Band(new CD forthcoming in Nov. 2014 on CD Baby), both groups playing out of Little Rock.
The main reason for doing this album was to pass The Chaps' musical memories to family, friends, and fans with their music recorded from 1968-1972, many songs having never been released. Some people referred to this era of The Chaps as the Burger years.
These 2 CD's represent most completed studio recordings by this group of Chaps. 3 bonus tracks are included on Disc 2 - 2 of them being the earliest studio recordings by The Chapelles, from 1962, for United Southern Artists Records(unreleased). The other bonus track was a re-released alternate version of Maybe I'm Amazed with strings added under the direction of producer Smoky Montgomery. Disc 2 also has the only two Chap songs ever co-written by Matlock & Scoggins- Passing Time and Rescue Me, plus Rock Ridge Mountain - a song co-written by Scoggins & Schlenker. All the remaining Chaps originals were written either by Scoggins, Matlock, or Fulmer.
This CD set is also in memory of these former Chaps who have passed away: later year Chaps - Mike(Burger) Scoggins, Phil(Psychedelic) Schlenker, Gary(Hollywood) Ray, and original Chap - Kenny Red.
Some of the digitizing was done from 1/2 or 1/4 track reel to reel tapes, cassettes, records, & acetates - whichever source of the best 2-track mastered recordings was available. Only in the course of putting these CD sets together was some of this previously recorded material rediscovered.