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

Robert & Randy: An interview with Randy Haspel

“Good Company” / “I Won’t Ask Why” (Holiday Inn Records 2209) November 1968

I bought this 45 recently not knowing who it was or what it sounded like, but like all good record collectors followed my hunch and took a chance.

Some research followed and I finally confirmed that Robert & Randy were Bob Simon and Randy Haspel from Memphis beat combo Randy and the Radiants of ’My Way Of Thinking’ fame.

’Good Company’ appears to have been the plug side of this 45 and it’s a strong hippie rock tune with hammond organ and subtle wah wah guitar flourishes. This song has not been compiled before and did not appear on the recent Big Beat CD ’Randy and the Radiants – Memphis Beat’.

The gentle folk rock ballad ’I Won’t Ask Why’ is on the ’Memphis Beat’ CD but this Holiday Inn 45 is a slightly different mix with some brass. It’s got some real nice jangle – a total winner

I contacted Randy Haspel last month and here are some of his thoughts about this record:


”Thanks for your enquiry. There aren’t too many copies of that record around. The quick background:

”Firstly, here’s a promo photo we did for that record. I’m the driver. Must be ’67 if I’m driving the ’65 Pontiac LeMans. Life was good”

After our band, Randy & the Radiants, had broken up, it was common knowledge that Sam Phillips was looking to sell Sun Records and its catalogue.

Sam had a long standing agreement with businessman Kemmons Wilson, who founded the first Holiday Inn in Memphis, that when the hotel chain grew large enough, they could bypass the usual distribution business by selling records in the lobby, cutting out the middleman. It was a good idea, but only half-heartedly attempted.

My partner, Bob Simon, was kept on as a staff songwriter for Sun in its last days, ostensibly to record a solo album with Knox Phillips producing, and these two songs are from those sessions, which were in 1967, I think.

”Good Company” is all Bob, trying his hand at a psychedelic composition. I loved this song. The lead guitarist is Teddy Paige, from the group on Sun, The Jesters, and he is playing through one of the first wah-wah pedals that came on the market. Teddy was great, but I don’t think he’d seen a wah-wah until the day of his solo. He went to England in the 70s and is currently institutionalized for some vague craziness.

Knox booked the ace house band from Chips Momans’ American Studio, although the musicians often worked for both studios before Chips made them sign with him exclusively. At American, they were the ”Memphis Sound” with players like Reggie Young, Tommy Cogbill, Gene Chrisman, and Bobby Woods.

When work dried up in Memphis in the 70s, they packed up as a unit and moved 200 miles down the road, and became ”The Nashville Sound.” Flutes and horns are from Charles Chalmers, later of the back-up singing group extraordinaire Rhodes, Chalmers, and Rhodes.

”I Won’t Ask Why” was a tune from the Radiant days that Bob felt he didn’t get to record properly. Since I already knew the song, Bob asked me to come on the record to harmonize with him. That’s probably why it was released as Robert & Randy instead of just Bob Simon, although he might have gotten cold feet about releasing his songs on a brand new label and wanted someone with which he could share the blame.

Holiday Inn only released a handful of records before stopping production and Sam Phillips sold Sun the next year. I understand that the tapes of these sessions are still intact, and there is the outside chance that Bob’s unreleased solo album may one day see the light.

I’m going to check out your blog. I also, surprise, write one as well that you might enjoy, although it’s mostly politics.

Best Regards,

Randy Haspel
Memphis, TN

originally posted – 11th March, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: