documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Buckle – I’ve Got Something On My Mind (LPI Records)

“I’ve Got Something On My Mind” / “Woman” (LPI Records 1001) 1967

Before I bought this obscure record by The Buckle I knew nothing about them but like most of the time I always feel the need to educate myself so I started looking in the usual reference guides and checked for previous comp action.

’I’ve Got Something On My Mind’ turned up on ’Highs In The Mid Sixties – Volume 12’ in the 80s but since then nothing! The short liners on the back of that album suggested that Sam Neely, a commercially successful singer/songwriter during the 70s, was part of The Buckle. I had a lead, and started hunting about the internet.

Sam had his own website and he confirmed that he started out as a guitarist for a Corpus Christi TX, teenage group called The In Crowd back in 1964. They then changed their name to The Buckle sometime in 1966 and were part of the exciting music scene that included The Zakary ThaksThe Liberty Bell and The Bubble Puppy. I was just about to send Sam an email to tell him how much I dig his Buckle 45 when I noticed that the last update was back in 2006 telling visitors to his site that he had died.

’I’ve Got Something On My Mind’ is a straight forward, no messin’ version of The Left Banke jewel. The Buckle version is excellent with a strong production by Richard Beard. The flip, ’Woman’ is their interpretation of The Zombies killer but more bluesy.

Sam Neely (lead guitar/vocals) died 2006
Paul White (organ) died 1974
Bill Winters (drums)
Larry McGill (bass)

I recently exchanged emails with Buckle drummer Bill Winters who kindly sent in some press cuttings from October 1967 and a couple of related photographs. Here are Bill’s memories about those heady days back in the mid to late 60s.

Bill Winters: 

”I had just started drumming, in Lubbock in about ’63, and almost had a band started, then we, mom and two sisters, had to move to Corpus Christi in ’64. (getting away from mom’s bad divorce) I soon met a neighbour who played rhythm guitar, and he introduced me to Paul White.

Paul played lead guitar pretty good, so we got a bass player and became a 4 piece ’combo’! We played for about a year, then Sam Neely called Paul one day looking for a keyboard player and a drummer. 

That’s when I found out that Paul already had 7 years of classical piano training!!! He bought a Farfisa Combo Compact organ, and he and I joined up with Sam and had a ball for about two more years.

Playing the cool songs that had keys, like The Doors and Procol Harum. Sam sang the hell out of ”Whiter Shade of Pale”! We played at the Carrousel Club a lot, and that’s where we met the Zakary Thaks. They were the band we all learned from and wanted to be like. The 13th Floor Elevators and The Bad Seeds were also big then, but a little over our heads at that time. 

I don’t remember a lot about the record, we only made that ’one’, other than the fact that Richard Beard wanted us to do it, and hopefully become a big producer someday. I’ve had no luck trying to locate him over the years.

As soon as we finished the first side of the 45, I got a call from a band in Lubbock to come back and join them for a road tour in ’68. That’s why we disbanded and why David Fore drummed on the other side of the single. He was with The Liberty Bell then, and joined Bubble Puppy after that.

And then after that tour, (a whole other story)….I got a call from Sammy in ’69 to come back too C.C. and play with him again! It was a ’sit-down’ gig at The Rogues Club, for three years. A funky dive, but it was fun because we had Rex and John from the Thaks!

Sam was diabetic, but took great care of himself and no one would ever suspect it, because he was on top of things. I was NOT on top of things, but having a smoke of a good time!!!

We lost contact, but I saw him when he played a gig here just a few years before he died. Paul became a monster on the Hammond B-3, and moved to Peoria, where he partied too hard. I think he was only 22 when it all caught up with him. I’m 65 now, and still doing pretty good. Not drumming any more, but playing dobro and lap steel now.

Here’s a few photos. Sam and Paul at Carrousel, Go Go dancers that danced with all the bands, the Zakary Thaks, the Rogues Club, and Al Hunt who played with everybody at one time or another. Al was a HOOT and very lovable guy and crazy good guitar player. I have an old cut of him doing, ”Mule Skinner Blues”, one of his signature tunes.”

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