The Mob

I.

Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s remembers The Mob

Chicago-based group called the Mob, a seven-piece “show band” that had been playing around the Windy City for years. Jimmy Holvay and Gary Biesbier, go all the way back to 1964 with the Chicago chart instrumental “Beatle Time” as the Livers on Constellation. The Mob was formed in the mid-1960s and was one of the early rock bands that featured brass in the lineup. They were still charting records in the mid-1970s, and were quite influencial on the Chicago scene. For Colossus, they charted “I Dig Everything About You” [Colossus 130, #83] and “Give It to Me” [Colossus 134, #71] in early 1971, the last chart hits for Colossus. Their album charted at #204. Holvay and Biesbier were accomplished songwriters, having penned most of the hits of fellow-Chicago band the Buckinghams. Other members of the Mob were Al Herrero (lead vocals), Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino, James Franz, and Michael Sistak.

II.

Band Members____________________________
Gary Beisbier – keyboards, sax, trombone (1966-80)
Dennis Budimir – guitar (replaced Mike Sistak) (1975-80)
Joe Farrel – drums, percussion (replaced Bobby Ruffino)  (1975-80)
Jimmy Ford – trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion (1966-60)
Big Al Herrera – vocals, sax (1966-80)
Little Artie Herrera – vocals (1966-)
Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) – guitar, bass, backing vocals (1966-80)
Tom Howard -
Mike Melvoin – keyboards (replaced Tony Nedza) (1975-80)
Tony Nedza – keyboards, backing vocals (1966-75)
Bobby Ruffino – drums, percussion (1966-75)
Mike Sistak – guitar, trombone, backing vocals (1966-75)

Related Acts______________________
Kane & Abel (Al Herrara and Artie Herrera)
Little Artie and The Pharaohs (Al Herrara and Artie Herrera)

Jerry Ross’ Colossus Records included The George Baker Selection, The Shocking Blue and The Tee Set.  The Mob’s 1971 album traced roots back to Minneapolis, Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois.

Lead singers Little Al Herrera and his brother Big Artie Herrera had been members of Minneapolis’ Little Artie and the Pharaohs and subsequently recorded as a duo under the name Kane and Able.

The mid-1960s found the Herrera brothers in Chicago where they joined up with Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) and Gary Beisbier (who co-wrote hits for The Buckinghams), Jimmy Ford, Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino and Mike Sistak.  Artie was drafted, exchanging life as a musician for a tour of Vietnam.  With Al handling lead vocals as The Mob, the group became one of the first horn-rock outfits in Chicago where they released a series of singles over the next couple of years:

  • 1966′s ‘Wait’ b/w ‘Mystery Man’ (Cameo catalog number C-421)
  • 1968′s ‘Unbelievable’ b/w ‘Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight catalog 111)
  • 1966′s Open the Door To Your Heart’ b/w ‘I Wish You’d Leave Me Alone’ (Daylight catalog 1000)
  • 1968′s ‘Disappear’ b/w ‘I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone’ (Mercury catalog number 72791)
The Mob (sters)

From left to right: Gary Beisbier, “Big Al” Herrrera, Mike Sistak, Jimmy “Soul” Holvay, Tony Nedza, “Little Artie” Herrera, Bobby “the Cheeze” Ruffino, Jimmy Ford

By the early 1970s the group shifted into a show band switching over to the club and hotel circuit.  They found steady bookings from LA to Vegas and even the Carribbean.  In fact it was a concert in Puerto Rico that brought the group their next break.  Performing at San Juan’s Americana Hotel, they attracted the attention of producer/record company owner Jerry Ross.  Impressed with the band Ross immediately signed them to his newly formed Colossus label, resulting in the release of 1971′s “The Mob” produced by Ross and Chuck Sagle.  With Holvay and Biesbier responsible for all nine tracks, material such as ‘Give It To Me’ and ‘Love’s Got a Hold of Me’ was probably best described as a Blood Sweat & Tears sound with a soul influence.

Wondering about the horns? Tracks like ‘Once a Man’, ‘Goodtime Baby’ and ‘Back On the Road Again’ sported horns, but for the most part the arrangements were conventional, avoiding the experimentation.  The overall results were quite good, making for an album that was commercial and should have attracted considerable radio play.  (Interestingly virtually every online review reports these guys were powerful in concert.)  Elsewhere, Colossus pulled a series of quickly forgotten singles from the LP:

  • 1971′s ‘Love’s Got a Hold of Me’ b/w ‘I Dig Everything About You (Colossus catalog number CS-130)
  • 1971′s ‘Give It To Me’ b/w ‘I’d Like To See More Of You’ (Colossus catalog number CS-134)
  • 1971′s ‘Lost’ b/w ‘Where You Lead Me’ (Colossus catalog number CS-144)

Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s remembers The Mob singles

“The Mob” track listing:

(side 1)

  1. I’d Like To See You One More  (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) – 3:34
  2. Once a Man Twice a Child  (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) -  4:07
  3. Give It To Me  (James Holvey – Gary Biesbier) – 2:52
  4. Maybe I’ll Find a Way   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 2:42
  5. Goodtime Baby   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) -  2:17

(side 2)

  1. I Dig Everything About You   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) -  2:30
  2. For a Little While   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) -   3:57
  3. Love’s Got a Hold of Me   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) -  2:28
  4. Lost More of You   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 3:55
  5. Back On the Road Again   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 3:17

Colossus released one more non-LP 45:

  • 1971′s ‘Once A Man, Twice A Child’ b/w ‘Money’ (Colossus catalog number CS-145)

In 1973 found the band signed to MGM where they managed to release a series of four quickly forgotten singles:

  • 1973′s ‘You Give Me the Strength (To Carry On)’ b/w ‘Feel Like Dynamite’ (MGM catalog number 14406)
  • 1973′s ‘One Way Ticket To Nowhere’ b/w ‘Who’s Shaking Your Jelly Roll’ (MGM catalog number 14456)
  • 1973′s ‘Tear the House Down’ b/w ‘Rockin’ Revival’ (MGM catalog number 14519)
  • 1973′s ‘Dynamite Lovin” b/w ‘Fat Lucy’ (MGM catalog number 14575)

Released by Larry Uttals’s short-lived Private Stock label, 1975′s title “The Mob” produced by Bones Howe is their sophomore album. It abandoned their earlier blue-eyed soul and pop moves for a more contemporary sound which included nods to disco (‘All the Dudes Are Dancing’) and Latin dance music (‘Get It Up For Love’), Mixed in was extensive horn arrangements.  Little Artie Herrera’s dark and bluesy voice remained an undiscovered treasure, saving all but the band’s most routine offerings.  The instrumental ‘S.Y.A.’ and the ballads ‘ I Can’t Stop This Love Song’ and ‘ Magical Lady’ were among some of the numbers.  Recalling their earlier sound ‘Hot Music’ and the rocker ‘Rock and Roller’ were radio friendly.  The highlight as the atypical bluesy closer was ‘Who’s Foolin’ Who?’.  The album was also tapped for a pair of singles:

  • 1976′s ‘Rock and Roller’ b/w ‘Just One Good Love Connection’ (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,016)
  • 1976′s ‘All the Dudes Are Dancing’ b/w ‘I Can’t Stop This Love Song’ (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,053)

“The Mob” Private Stock album track listing:

The Mob (Private Stock album)

(side 1)

  1. All the Dudes Are Dancing   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 4:34
  2. Get It Up For Love   (Ned Donhey) – 3:45
  3. S.Y.A.   (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 3:54
  4. Hot Music   (Michael Price – James Holvay) – 3:38
  5. Rock and Roller   (Chris Bond) – 3:16

(side 2)

  1. I Can’t Stop This Love Song   (Michael Randall) – 3:39
  2. When You Get Right Down To It   (Barry Mann) – 3:35
  3. Magical Lady    (James Holvay – Gary Biesbier) - 3:46
  4. Just One Good Woman   (Don Dunn – Tony McCashen) – 3:13
  5. Who’s Foolin’ Who?   (Michael Price – Dan Walsh – Steve Barri – Michael Omartian) – 4:54

Private Stock also released a pair of non-LP singles over the next two years:

Don't Let It Get You Down - The Mob

  • 1976′s ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ b/w ‘Skysurf (Theme For The Hanggliders)’ (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,084)
  • 1976′s ‘Love Connection’ b/w ‘Gemini Lady’ (Private Stock catalog number PS 45,159)

The Mob on Private Stock Records

The Mob Private Stock Records logo

In 1995 the British Sequel label released a posthumous 17 track compilation – “The Mob – The Heritage Sessions” (Sequel catalog number NEM CD 724).  In addition to all of the material off of their first Colossus LP, the set was rounded out by 9 bonus tracks including ‘I Feel The Earth Move’, ‘Make Me Yours’, ‘All I Need’, ‘Everyday People/Love Power’, ‘Savin My Love For You’, and the previously unreleased ‘Uh Uh Uh Uh Uh Uh’.

The Mob - The Heritage Sessions

RELATED_____________________________

vi
Also making the WLS charts in 1964 was a snappy little British-sounding single called “Beatle Time” by the Livers [Constellation 118]. The Livers were a group known as the Chicagoans, featuring Jimmy Holvay and Gary Beisber, well-known songwriters and performers in the mid-60s Chicago teen scene. Holvay and Beisber later wrote many hits for the Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag,” “Susan,” “Don’t You Care,” “Hey, Baby, They’re Playing Our Song,” etc.), and were the force behind the show band called The Mob, who had several national chart records in the 1970s.

Open The Door To Your Heart

vii.
“OPEN THE DOOR TO YOUR HEART” – Released 1967. THE MOB, Band members: Gary Beisbier – keyboards, sax, trombone (1966-80). Dennis Budimir – guitar (replaced Mike Sistak) (1975-80). Joe Farrel – drums, percussion (replaced Bobby Ruffino) (1975-80). Jimmy Ford – trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion (1966-80). Big Al Herrera – vocals, sax (1966-80). Little Artie Herrera – vocals (1966-). Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) – guitar, bass, backing vocals (1966-80). Tom Howard – Mike Melvoin – keyboards (replaced Tony Nedza) (1975-80). Tony Nedza – keyboards, backing vocals (1966-75). Bobby Ruffino – drums, percussion (1966-75). Mike Sistak – guitar, trombone, backing vocals(1966-75). Little Al Herrera and his brother Big Artie Herrera had been members of Minneapolis’ Little Artie and the Pharaohs and recorded as a duo under the name Kane and Able. The mid-1960s found the Herrera brothers in Chicago where they hooked up with Jim Holvay (aka Jimmy Soul) and Gary Beisbier (who’d co-written numerous hits for The Buckinghams), Jimmy Ford, Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino and Mike Sistak. With Artie apparently being drafted, and Al handling lead vocals, the group became one of the first horn-rock outfits becoming fairly popular in Chicagowhere they released a series of singles over the next couple of years. By the early 1970s their recording career had run out of steam so the group shifted into show band stance switching over to the club and hotel circuit. They did quite well for themselves finding steady bookings from LA, to Vegas and even the Carribbean. In fact it was a concert in Puerto Rico that brought the group their next break. Performing at San Juan’s Americana Hotel, they attracted the attention of producer/record company owner Jerry Ross. Impressed with the band Ross immediately signed them to his newly formed Colossus label, resulting in the release of 1971′s “The Mob”. Produced by Ross and Chuck Sagle. With Holvay and Biesbier responsible for penning all nine tracks, material such as ‘Give It To Me’ and ‘Love’s Got A Hold Of Me’. Tracks like as ‘Once A Man’, ‘Good Time Baby’ and’Back On The Road Again’ sported horns, creating an Album that should have attracted considerable radio play. The flip side to “Open The Door To My Heart” was “I Wish You’d Leave Me Alone”.

The Heritage-Colossus StoryAin't Nothin' But A House Party

viii.
“Give it To Me” and “I Dig Everything About You”
are available on “The Heritage/Colossus Story” @ the iTunes Store

REFERENCES______________________________

  1. http://www.bsnpubs.com/mgm/colossus.html
  2. http://www.geocities.com/badcatrecords/MOBthe.htm
  3. http://pophouse.accardiweb.com/?m=200610
  4. http://www.amazon.com/Dig-Everything-About-You-Mob/dp/B000YULGHW
  5. http://www.amazon.com/Give-Me-Mob/dp/B000YUJICC/ref=dm_ap_trk13
  6. http://www.bsnpubs.com/chicago/constellation.html
  7. http://www.musicpopstars.com/become-one/videos/prb-id925628577.html
  8. http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=128515513&s=143441

Rock N’ Roll Stories – James Holvay   http://vimeo.com/88115020   James Holvay, songwriter who penned “Kind of A Drag” and other hits for The Buckinghams in the 60′s brings insight to Rock N’ Roll Stories

Jimmy Holvay 2012 LT Hall of Fame

surf to themobmusic.com for more

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