Uploaded on Sep 24, 2009
From 1964 to 1967, the top teen band in North Texas was a five piece combo called Kenny and the Kasuals. To earn the distinction of being number one was no easy task in those days as the competition was fierce. The hot R&B band The Nightcaps were still rockin' the city in the mid-sixties and younger rock bands were also filling local clubs and dances. Jimmie Vaughan was leading The Chessmen while his younger brother Stevie Ray was just starting to be noticed in a band called The Cast of Thousands. With competition from The Novas, The Briks, The Sensations, The Chaparrals, The Outcasts, The Five Americans and so many other talented groups in town, it meant that the choices when booking a band were huge. But the top choice was always Kenny and the Kasuals. They were the kings of the proms, frat parties and dances, drawing full houses and demanding top dollar.
The first LP for Kenny and The Kasuals was The Impact Sound of Kenny and the Kasuals Recorded Live at The Studio Club. This mouthful of a title was rarely used, and almost everyone referred to the album simply as "Impact." Only 500 albums were pressed, with the band thinking that it might be difficult to sell even that many. It wasn't. The album sold out (except for a few dozen copies which were warped beyond salvation in the heat while in drummer David "Bird" Blachley's car one summer day).
"Impact" has been cited by Rolling Stone as one of the most collectible American albums ever, and original copies still sell for over $400. The LP was reissued on vinyl in the seventies and is now available on CD.
After a couple of additional single record releases, in 1966 they hit on the song that would be picked up for national release. It was called "Journey To Tyme" and has been labeled as the very first "psychedelic style" recording.
Local airplay and positive sales caught the attention of the successful national record label United Artists, which negotiated with Mark Lee for the American rights. The song received good radio station play around the country, making the top ten in its hometown and reaching number one in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Kenny has stated that the band's unwillingness to sign exclusively with United Artists kept the song from breaking into the national hit charts. Nevertheless, the song and the band were doing very well and it seemed like a good time for going "big time," and that meant a move to New York.
"In New York, we played The Rolling Stone Club after The Young Rascals and stayed in a hotel in Greenwich Village," Kenny remembers. "The New York bands we saw were terrific - Jimi Hendrix at the Nite Owl, The Seeds and The Lovin' Spoonful. We were asked to open for The Beatles at Shea Stadium. It was a great adventure."
After returning from a successful month in the Big Apple, Kenny and the Kasuals went back to their lucrative frat-party and nightclub circuit, becoming the most popular live band in Texas.
Record collectors rediscovered the "Impact" album in the early seventies, and eventually all of Kenny and The Kasuals recordings were re-released.
The band has been featured in write-ups in Rolling Stone (which called them one of the only true sixties bands left in the world), Texas Monthly, D Magazine, Creem, Bomp and Goldmine Magazines and have been featured on television news and variety shows.
Kenny and the Kasuals still perform, regularly featuring three of the original members (and on certain fun occasions, the entire original band). Two other top-quality musicians round out the current line-up. The music they play is still a high-energy mix of the hits and album dance songs that filled the dance floors in the sixties.
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