The Horror! The Horror!

The Greek Fountains were Danny Cohen, Tommie Miceli, Don Chesson, Duke Bardwell and Cyril Vetter. Formed in 1962, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based quintet were a popular attraction, and over a five year career the band supported visiting acts including The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere and The Raiders and Sonny and Cher.

The Greek Fountains issued at least half a dozen 45s including Countin’ the Steps/Blue Jean (with the odd credit of ‘vocal producer Shelby Singleton Jr’) on Philips in 1966. They also put out a fuzz-drenched version of the Monkees classic (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone, a rocking cover of Donovan’s Hey Gyp (as Buy You A Chevrolet), and a reasonably faithful copy of The Who’s I’m A Boy - although they clearly did not have access to a copy of the lyrics at the time.

Failing to score a hit, they acquired a couple of new members – Luther Leonard (a.k.a. Luther Kent, a.k.a. Duke Royal) and Butch Swann – and changed their name to The Greek Fountain River Front Band in 1967, releasing the album The Greek Fountain River Front Band Takes Requests. Unfortunately this would be the band’s last hurrah. Drummer Cyril Vetter, who wrote the hit Double Shot of My Baby's Love, went off to serve in Vietnam. Since his return he has enjoyed a varied career as an attorney, a TV executive, a record producer and an author. Miceli went on to become a well-known ER doctor in Baton Rouge, and for some time Chesson was involved in aviation.

Danny Cohen (who, along with Vetter, wrote most of the band’s original material) moved to New York City, changed his name to Casey Kelly and kept working, often alongside Duke Bardwell. Bardwell is probably the band’s best-remembered musician, having toured with Elvis Presley’s band, written for Jose Feliciano, opened for Loggins & Messina (with Cohen/Kelly), toured with the Byrds’ Gene Clark and recorded with Emmylou Harris. Named, like every other member of his family, after a university (seriously, he had a brother name Harvard!) he still plays and records today. Cohen/Kelly moved to Nashville where he has written for Kenny Rogers (he was Grammy nominated for the country number one Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight), Helen Reddy, George Strait and Tanya Tucker amongst others.

The Greek Fountains were a respectable garage/r’n’b act, but the perverse b-side An Experimented Terror- the flip of their Hollies-inspired single I Can’t Get Away and named after the 1962 movie Experiment in Terror - has to rank alongside Lieutenant Pigeon’s Opus 300, the Turtles’ Umbassa and the Dragon and the Beatles’ Revolution Nine as one of the most wilfully ridiculous pieces of music ever to be placed on a pop record. Sampled by Quasimoto for the song Shroom Music, here are both sides of this highly collectable, and rather expensive, 45.

I wonder why Bardwell is the only member of the group not to receive a writer credit?


(image peterh at

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