Vintage Vinyl

The Ric-A-Shays

The Ric-A-Shays

"Turn On"/"Groovy"

Lola Records #002, 1965.

The Ric-A-Shays were originally called The Travelers. The name changed was, according to group leader Ron Story, "forced" on them by their producer, John Marascalo (Little Richard, The Surfaris).

The lineup included group leader and lead guitarist Ron Story, rhythm guitarist Bob Johnson, bassist Dusty Kessler and drummer Freddie Gonzales.

These tracks were recorded at Audio Recorders in Phoenix in 1964 and released on what looks like an RCA custom pressing on the Atco/Atlantic distributed Lola label in 1965. The track leads off with a spirited spoken line obviously inspired by the British Invasion, "Turn on governor," and another Brit style line, "Jolly good show chaps" fills in a break towards the end of the track. But this up-tempo number with "Wipe Out"-style drums as well as the excellent surf-style flip-side are instrumentals, released at the height of the British Invasion, which proved to be too dated for the time.

The spoken lines were delivered by none other than a young Harry Nilsson and were tacked on the finished recording by their producer. Not too long after this record was released, the group broke up when Story joined the Navy. He later returned to Tucson and earned a philosophy degree. Story is an internationally published science writer and has written several books, including "The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounter."  Story was, in reality, not behind his time, but well ahead of it, what with the now two-decade-long surge of interest in surf and instrumental music!

These days, Story has a version of The Travelers Band gigging regularly in the Tampa Bay, Florida area! Check them out at

Turn On: Groovy:

Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (, marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He now lives in California.


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