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Grand Rapids

Band Members:

  • Patsy Stevens  (Lead vocals – 1966-)
  • Dave Clelland (Drums -1966-)
  • Bob Hey (Lead guitar – 1966-)
  • Tom Cordle (Bass – 1966-)
  • Johnny Boggs (Keyboards -1966-)
  • Dexter Bell (Lead guitar -1968 RIP) (Replaced Bob Hey 1966-68)

Soundsations at Westgate

From 1961 until 1966 keyboardist Johnny Boggs, drummer Dave Clelland, bassist Tom Cordle and lead guitarist Bob Hey were members of The Ramrods.  In early 1966 they split with Ramrods founder Tom Carter, forming The Soundsations.

Following the split the group was hired as the house band by Kalamazoo’s Colony Room (a great looking place to play judging by the album cover photo).  Guitarist Hey was quickly lost to the draft, with Dexter Bell stepping in as a replacement.  The group was subsequently approached by the local Phalanx label with an offer to record one of their live shows.

Produced by CAP Studios, 1966’s “Soundsations” was apparently intended to capture the band’s in-concert excitement.  If that was one of the goals, then it was totally missed.  In spite of some lame audience sound effects, nothing here sounded live, nor particularly exciting. Featuring a mix of then-popular pop and soul hits the album deserved a ‘D’ for creativity, though the inclusion of one Boggs-penned original (‘Moody Love’) saved it from an ‘F’.  In case you were wondering, the bluesy organ-propelled original was also the album’s highpoint.  Perhaps because they were so bad, the band’s haphazard readings of ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ (I could read Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” with more feeling), an equally inept ‘Midnight Hour’ and a seemingly endless ‘Shout’ (with a particularly disturbing drum solo) were fascinating in the same way a bad traffic accident captures one’s attention.  By no stretch of the imagination was this great music, but the band’s misplaced enthusiasm helped compensate for the absence of originality and the rather flat production.  The other saving grace came in the form of guest vocalist Patsy Stevens.  While she wasn’t even shown on the album cover, Steven’s handled lead vocals on several tracks and her performances on ‘What Now My Love’ and ‘Just You’ provided two of the LP highlights.   Reportedly 1,000 copies were pressed with the majority being sold at club performances.

Tom Carter & The Ramrods

Tom Carter & The Ramrods

Following the album’s release the group undertook a series of regional tours, but the lack of commercial success led to internal frustrations, with the band calling it quits after Boggs and Cordle got into a nasty fight during a performances in Green Bay, Wisconsin.









Soundsations 1966 Ad for Westgate Bowl










Back Side of the Soundsations LP

Back Side of the Soundsations LP









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