This exciting group was born in Chicago and has come to be known as one of the top show bands in the country. They were formed in the late sixties.
They grew up together, hung around the same neighborhoods together and from their mid-teens played music together. Those years have made them a tight and very solid musical aggregation.
In that they were the first windy city group to incorporate a full horn section, they influenced many local bands who came later. (i.e. The Buckinghams, The Ides Of March and CHICAGO)
The majority of member’s (pre-the formation of The MOB), had played with the back-up band for the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tour. Thru years of grueling one-niters, crisscrossing the US and Canada in a Greyhound bus, they learned the importance of stage presentation.
When The MOB decided to go it on their own, their goal was to be a triple threat in the entertainment industry. That meant having the best presentation, involving the audience and keeping the quality of the musicianship at its highest level.
They accomplished all three goals which resulted in them earning “headliner status” in every major showroom in Nevada and across the country, including Canada, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
A highlight of their career as “road warriors” was being the first rock band ever to perform at a Presidential Inaugural Concert & Ball.
Although national recording success eluded them, two members of the group (Holvay & Beisbier) penned million selling records for The Buckinghams. These include: “Kind Of A Drag”, “Don’t You Care”, “Hey Baby” and “Susan”. The MOB had numerous regional hits such as: “Disappear”, “Open The Door”, “I Dig Everything About You”, “Give It To Me” and “Money”, which was a hit in Europe.
Unbeknownst to The MOB, they had developed a cult following with the Northern Soul fans in the UK. In 2005, Sequel Records, a label based in England, released a CD compilation of two MOB LP’s titled “The Heritage Sessions”.
COLOSSUS ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY
Colossus Album Discography by Mike Callahan, Patrice Eyries and Dave Edwards credits Shocking Blue, Tee Set, George Baker Selection and The MOB as a chart success for the label.
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.
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 Beisbier, 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 Beisbier were accomplished songwriters, having penned most of the hits of fellow-Chicago band the Buckinghams. Other members of the Mob were Al Herrera (lead vocals), Tony Nedza, Bobby Ruffino, James Franz, and Michael Sistak.
- Jimmy Ford & The Kasuals
- The Executives
- Kane & Abel (Al Herrera and Artie Herrera)
- Little Artie and The Pharaohs (Al Herrera and Artie Herrera)
Lead singers Little Artie Herrera and his brother and Big Al Herrera had been members of Milwaukee’s Little Artie and the Pharaohs and subsequently recorded as a duo under the name Kane and Abel.
BLACK DOUBLE-BREASTED SUITS, WHITE TIES, AND WHITE CARNATIONS
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 The U.S.Army. With Al handling lead vocals as The MOB, 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 ‘Disappear’ b/w ‘I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone’ (Mercury catalog number 72791)
- 1968’s Open the Door To Your Heart’ b/w ‘I Wish You’d Leave Me Alone’ (Daylight catalog 1000)
- 1968’s ‘Unbelievable’ b/w ‘Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight catalog 111)
Having started in early 1966 and playing in small clubs throughout the Midwest, by 1970 the group had developed into an exciting show band. They found steady bookings from LA to Vegas, Miami, Hawaii, the Caribbean and all across Canada. 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 Beisbier 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 ‘I Dig Everything About You’ b/w ‘Love’s Got A Hold Of Me’ (Colossus catalog 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)
“The Mob” Colossus album track listing:
- I’d Like To See You One More (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:34
- Once a Man Twice a Child (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 4:07
- Give It To Me (James Holvey – Gary Beisbier) – 2:52
- Maybe I’ll Find a Way (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 2:42
- Goodtime Baby (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 2:17
- I Dig Everything About You (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 2:30
- For a Little While (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:57
- Love’s Got a Hold of Me (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 2:28
- Lost More of You (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:55
- Back On the Road Again (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:17
Colossus released one more non-LP 45:
- 1971’s ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ b/w ‘Once A Man, Twice A Child’ (Colossus catalog CS-145)
Having eluded recording success with Colossus, they were quickly scooped up by then young President of MGM Records, Mike Curb. Curb was “on a roll” with The Osmond Brothers, Sammy Davis and Lou Rawls. He’d seen The MOB perform live in Vegas and along with the trak record of songwriters Holvay & Beisbier, he quickly signed them to a contract in 1973 with the band self-producing themselves along with engineer Jack Hunt.
A series of four unsuccessful singles followed. Although The MOB had recorded 3 albums worth of material they were never released.
- 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)
Still chasing recording success, Holvay reached out to his old band mate Jimmy Guercio who had now been tremendously successful with BS &T’s second album and a string of albums by CHICAGO.
He sent Jimmy the tapes from the MGM sessions for his review. Jimmy’s response was that he played the tapes at a meeting he had with CHICAGO in their conference room at the Caribou Ranch compound. And although they loved the music they felt that Jimmy’s involvement with producing The MOB would be a conflict of interest.
The MOB’s then manager (Pat Collechio – former manager of the Association) reached out to Bones Howe to produce the group.
Bones saw The MOB perform at a club (The Playgirl) in Anaheim and fell in love with the band.
Bones in turn reached out to Larry Uttals Private Stock label and a deal was made. 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. Big Al 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:
- All the Dudes Are Dancing (James Holvay) – 4:34
- Get It Up For Love (Ned Donhey) – 3:45
- S.Y.A. (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:54
- Hot Music (Michael Randall – James Holvay) – 3:38
- Rock and Roller (Chris Bond) – 3:16
- I Can’t Stop This Love Song (Michael Randall) – 3:39
- When You Get Right Down To It (Barry Mann) – 3:35
- Magical Lady (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:46
- Just One Good Woman (Don Dunn – Tony McCashen) – 3:13
- 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:
- 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)
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 available at
CD Baby and Jerry Ross Productions on Facebook Music Store
THE CHICAGO HORN ROCK SOUND
The MOB was the first band in Chicago to have a full horn section. Prior to The Mob (early-to-mid ’60’s), Gary and Jimmy had horns in all of their line-ups. “Beatle Time” was recorded in December of 1963 and charted on WLS. Gary and Jimmy recorded as a group called The Livers, previously The Chicagoans. The song carries the melody with a horn section.
In June of ’66, The MOB was playing at a club in Schiller Park on River Road called the Wine and Roses. Coming to see The MOB were every musician in a rock band in town. The Missing Links, The Exceptions and Carl Bonafede. The MOB’s very first release (”Wait” b/w “Mystery Man”) was on Cameo / Parkway Records in May of 1966. “Kind Of A Drag” by The Buckinghams was released in 1967, later Blood Sweat & Tears, CTA, the Ides Of March and Chase all featured horns.
It was said in Danny Seraphines’ book, that the MOB inspired Danny, Terry and Wally to add horns to their group, which was originally called The Missing Links, which then became The Big Thing. (now known as Chicago). In March of ’66, Jimmy Holvay was asked to write and produce a two sides for The Missing Links. It was a single called “Makin’ Up And Breakin’ Up” b/w “You Hypnotize Me” on Ivanhoe Records, when they were a four piece band, prior to them adding a horn section and re-forming as The Big Thing.
The Buckinghams also recorded their version of “Makin’ Up And Breakin’ Up” for their first USA LP. It was the producers (Dan Belloc and Carl Bonafede) who added horns to The Buckinghams tracks. The Buckinghams did not have horns in their band.
YOUNG WORLD’S FAIR
April 22 thru May 1, 1966 International Amphitheater in the stock yards Chicago, IL. The MOB backed-up artists like Freddie Cannon and others at the event. Opening day included master of ceremonies, Dick Clark along with Paul Revere And The Raiders, Gary Lewis And The Playboys, The Knickerbockers, Billy Joe Royal, Freddie Cannon. In the days to follow: Lou Christie, The Mamas And Papas, The Young Rascals, Sham And The Pharaohs, the Vogues, The Turtles and more.
from Chicago Tribune 4-10-1966 section 5 page 11
One memory for the teen trio, Mousie And The Traps was to perform all ten days at the Dick Clark Young World’s Fair held at the Chicago International Amphitheater.
from Chicago Tribune 4-12-1966 section 2 page 1
from Billboard 5-7-1966 page 56
RAVINIA FESTIVAL JAZZ-FOLK SERIES MOD NIGHT
Ravinia ventured into a new event within its jazz-folk series titled Mod Night. “Mod” is a term used in the 60s and 70s for young people subculture and liking of soul music. The first Mod Night was held on Wednesday, August 2, 1967. The event featured The MOB the first hour followed by The Association the second hour. The Rolling Meadows series for teens “Happenings” bussed 43 senior high school students. The first Mod Night set an attendance record at Ravinia of 17,320 breaking the July 24,1959 attendance record of 14,142 featuring the Kingston Trio and Gerry Mulligan.
from Daily Herald Wednesday, August 2, 1967 page 18
from Chicago Tribune 8-4-1967 section 2 page 16
from Daily Herald 8-4-1967 page 74
- American Bandstand
- The Don Knotts Show
- The Donald O’Connor Show
- The Joey Bishop Show
- The Lowan & Barkley Show
- The Tito Puente Show in San Juan Puerto Rico
- Where The Action Is
SOUTH DAKOTA ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC ASSOCIATION
SDRRHF is dedicated to celebrating and remembering those who have contributed to Rock N’ Roll’s history and future in South Dakota through the South Dakota Rock And Roll Music Association Hall of Fame museum and events. The SDRRHF goal is to promote and recognize those folks from South Dakota and surrounding areas that have made the music scene in our state what it is. There are a number of musical artists, dance halls, recording studios, DJ’s and others from this area that have made a local contribution to the music scene and some who have gone on nationally to continue their careers.
The South Dakota Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame mentions the renown showroom located in Sioux Falls, SD during the 70’s, the Macomba Club. Top acts played that club but The MOB is said to be, the most booked act and the biggest draws that the Macomba Club had.
October 2010, Don Fritz, President of the South Dakota Rock And Roll Music Association informed that The MOB was selected under the category “bands”. Inducted April 16, 2011 at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls, SD more than 2,000 people in attendance saw and heard The MOB in person, their first reunion in 35 years.
- Chicago Tribune section 5 page 11 – April 10, 1966
- Chicago Tribune section 2 page 1 – April 12, 1966
- Billboard page 56 – May 7, 1966
- Chicago Tribune Section 5 Page 10 – July 30, 1967
- Daily Herald page 18 – August 2, 1967
- Chicago Tribune section 2 page 9 – August 3, 1967
- Daily Herald Page 74 – August 4, 1967
- Chicago Tribune section 2 page 16 – August 4, 1967
- South Dakota Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
the maybees the chicagoans the livers the executives caravan of stars
the mob chicago group chicago band