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

The Tweeds – We Got Time (Coral) 1968

We Got Time” / “I Want Her To Know” (Coral 62551) 1968

From Buffalo, New York, teenage band The Tweeds were fortunate to release two singles during their brief time together. Their debut 45 on Coral ’What’s Your Name’ / ’A Thing Of The Past’ sold well enough for the record company to chance their arm again with this second release in the Spring of 1968.

Both sides of this disc show a maturity and musicianship beyond their years. ’I Want Her To Know’ is a slow paced ballad with added strings whilst ’We Got Time’ is a typical 60s rocker.

Guitarist Dave Constantino from the band would form hard rock outfit Talas in 1971. A few years later he was joined by former drummer from The Tweeds Paul Vargo. (29/12/08)

The Tweeds – We Got Time

This is Jim Duffey’s article that appeared decades ago in Discoveries Magazine, a now-defunct record collector’s publication.

The short story: Kenmore teens Paul Varga (drums), Ted Connor, Alan Shaw & Dave Constantino (guitars) formed a band when they were all no more than 14 years old!

Shaw left and James Dunnigan came in, completing the group with a bass guitar. This is the best-known Tweeds lineup. After playing in local dances and teen clubs, they won a Battle Of The Bands at WKBW’s annual Fun-A-Fair. They were rewarded with the chance to record in a New York City studio, toward a possible major label contract.

“A Thing Of The Past” / “What’s Your Name” was released in the Summer of 1967.

This brings us up to 1968 and today’s record. But first a few additional facts to fill in the gaps with what I already wrote.

Varga was a student at Kenmore West but Connor, Constantino and Dunnigan all attended Kenmore East.

1967 was the first year for WKBW’s Fun-A-Fair event. It was co-organized by Maury Bloom, area promoter for Decca Records. The contest prize is unclear – apparently a “chance” at a contract with Decca. There was some kind of further acceptance process which included an audition.

I’m not sure if they had to pass an audition first before being allowed to record, or if the recording session served as the audition. In any case it was recorded at Decca’s NYC studios and released on Decca’s affiliate label Coral.

I believe The Rogues, Caesar & His Romans, The Rockin’ Paramounts and The Vibratos all performed at the Fun-A-Fair. Not sure if they were only performers or actually competed. Two bands that did compete were The Druids and The Cavemen. Though they didn’t win they may have gotten noticed there. Both bands got to release a 45 around this time.

Dave Constantino wrote “Thing Of The Past” especially for the session. Credit for this (and the other three Tweeds sides) was shared with all members for the sake of unity but Dave was the main writer.

They used the same Decca studio where things like Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock (a Decca release) was recorded. Mike Jacobs produced and Paul ‘Green Tambourine’ Leka helped.

“A Thing Of The Past” never cracked the Billboard Top 100 though it sold 30,000 copies over time, peaking at #2 on the local charts.

In February of 1968 The Tweeds returned to the Decca studio to record their second 45. Mike Jacobs, son of Coral artist Dick Jacobs, again produced.

“I Want Her To Know” / “We Got Time” also came out Coral. Since they had done well with the ballad “A Thing Of The Past”, “I Want Her To Know” was similarly intended as the ‘plug side’. But some radio station DJ’s were pushing the rocker side “We Got Time”. This hurt the momentum of the single.

Following a shakeup at Coral they were given a new producer, John Simon, who promised to cut an album if the single did well. With this motivation, Tweeds’ members personally tried to intervene to get DJs to stick to the “I Want Her To Know” side.

Their manager George Constantino (Dave’s father) tried to contact Coral/Decca for help too. But nothing came of it. DJs continued splitting the play and the single stalled.

Ultimately “I Want Her To Know” / “We Got Time” only sold about half as many copies of the first record. So no album would be recorded.

I chose the ‘Rock’ side “We Got Time” for today’s feature. Unlike the Beatles / Beau Brummels sound of their other tracks, this one has the harder British Invasion sound of The Who as filtered through an American teen garage band sensibility.

Note that it unusually has two guitar breaks. It’s interesting also to note that the members were 14-16 years old at the time of the first recording, and half a year older at the time of the second!

Jim Dunnigan left the group not long after this, as he was preparing for college. Tim Murphy came in on bass but soon Ted Conner also left – drafted – and the Tweeds became a trio consisting of Constantino, Varga and Murphy. When Murphy left Billy Sheehan came in. They continued for awhile as The Tweeds, but eventually became Talas, and the rest is history well-known to Western New Yorkers. (Originally published February 13, 2015)

The model in my Tweeds video is DeDe Lind. I have scanned her pictures from Playboy magazine, published August 1967.

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