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.
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 ‘Wait (Please Don’t Walk Away)’ b/w ‘Mystery Man’ (Cameo C-421)
- 1968 ‘Disappear’ b/w ‘I Wish You Would Leave Me Alone’ (Mercury 72791)
- 1968 ‘Open the Door To Your Heart’ b/w ‘I Wish You’d Leave Me Alone’ (Daylight 1000)
- 1968 ‘Unbelievable’ b/w ‘Try a Little Tenderness (Twinight 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 ‘I Dig Everything About You’ b/w ‘Love’s Got A Hold Of Me’ (Colossus CS-130)
- 1971 ‘Give It To Me’ b/w ‘I’d Like To See More Of You’ (Colossus CS-134)
- 1971 ‘Lost’ b/w ‘Where You Lead Me’ (Colossus CS-144)
from Billboard February 6, 1971 page 63
“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 (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:55
- Back On the Road Again (James Holvay – Gary Beisbier) – 3:17
Ross also had a relationship with Berry Gordy, Jr. and had been hired to head up the East Coast operations of Motown Records. Jerry brought The MOB back to New York in April of 1971 for a second album. 12 songs were recorded:
- All I Need (Beisbier-Holvay)
- I Feel The Earth Move (King)
- Money, That’s What I Want (Gordy-Bradford)
- Where You Lead (King-Stern)
- Two & Two Together (Beisbier-Holvay)
- Between The Lines (Beisbier-Holvay)
- Move On (Beisbier-Holvay)
- Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh (Beisbier-Holvay)
- I’ll Cry Tomorrow (Beisbier-Holvay)
- Make Me Yours (Swann)
- Since You’ve Been Gone (Beisbier-Holvay)
- Girl, I’ll Always Love You (Beisbier-Holvay)
Colossus released “Where You Lead” followed by “Money That’s What I Want” as singles distributed by MGM Records. Despite the cult success of “Money That’s What I Want” in the European market, Colossus was rumored to be in financial trouble. As a result, even if Jerry’s intention of a deal with Motown for the licensing of both albums, the second LP never came out.
Jerry later communicated to Holvay in a phone conversation that the master tapes from the Bell Sound Studios were burnt up in a fire he had in the warehouse where he was storing them. A reference Motown acetate (JO-201571) from 8-18-71 includes most of those recordings in mono (sold – John Manship https://www.raresoulman.co.uk/contacts/)
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 ‘You Give Me the Strength (To Carry On)’ b/w ‘Feel Like Dynamite’ (MGM 14406)
- 1973 ‘One Way Ticket To Nowhere’ b/w ‘Who’s Shaking Your Jelly Roll’ (MGM 14456)
- 1973 ‘Tear the House Down’ b/w ‘Rockin’ Revival’ (MGM 14519)
- 1973 ‘Dynamite Lovin” b/w ‘Fat Lucy’ (MGM 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 PS 45,016)
- 1976’s ‘All the Dudes Are Dancing’ b/w ‘I Can’t Stop This Love Song’ (Private Stock 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 Dohney) – 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 ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ b/w ‘Skysurf (Theme For The Hanggliders)’ (Private Stock PS 45,084)
- 1976 ‘Love Connection’ b/w ‘Gemini Lady’ (Private Stock 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
DICK CLARK’S YOUNG WORLDS FAIR
April 22 thru May 1, 1966 International Amphitheater in the stock yards Chicago, IL. The MOB backed-up artists like Freddie Cannon, The Toys, Brian Hyland and more 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 Dick Clark’s Young Worlds 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.
Ravinia 1967 brochure with pin-up calendar
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
WHO IS THIS MOB?! The St. Valentine’s Day Radio Spots
The February 14th holiday was also known in Chicago for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which occurred in the 1920’s. Manager Joe DeFrancesco’s idea of the St. Valentines Day radio ad promotion for the new Mercury release seemed FAN-tastic. It was decided to purchase (with the royalties from the Buckingham’s hits) numerous ads on the local Top 40 power house radio station WCFL, which ran the radio spots for weeks; all building up to the release of “Disappear” in 1968.
Read more about the radio campaign and listen to the radio spots at https://mikebaker45s.weebly.com
THE INAUGURAL YOUTH CONCERT 1973
The first organized and separate Inaugural Concert began at William McKinley’s Inauguration in 1897. A chorale made its appearance at that concert for the first time and has been utilized in most concerts since then. The second Inaugural of President Nixon and Vice President Agnew expanded The Inaugural Concert into three separate concerts: American Music Concert, The Inaugural Youth Concert and The Symphonic Concert. Held on Friday, January 19, 1973 The Inaugural Concerts was the first to be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Preforming Arts and the first to have more than one concert held at one time. The first Inaugural Youth Concert took place at The Eisenhower Theatre of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and featured pop, rock and soul groups including The MOB.
THE INAUGURAL YOUTH BALL 1973
Also a first, The Inaugural Youth Ball was held at the same time as The Inaugural Ball on Saturday, January 20, 1973. The Inaugural Youth Ball took place at the Sheraton-Park Hotel, Connecticut Avenue & Woodley Road Northwest. Both the Inaugural Youth Concert and the Inaugural Youth Ball featured many MGM recording artists including The MOB.
- 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.
- The Maybees
- The Chicagoans
- The Livers
- Jimmy Ford & The Kasuals
- The Executives
- Little Artie and The Pharaohs (Artie Herrera and Al Herrera)
- Kane & Abel (Artie Herrera and Al 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.
- Carolina Beach Music: The Classic Years by Rick Simmons ISBN: 9781609492144
- BadCatRecords – The MOB
- Club Pop House – Beloit, WI – 1941-1973
- John Manship
- Chicago Tribune section 5 page 11 – April 10, 1966
- Chicago Tribune section 2 page 1 – April 12, 1966
- Billboard page 56 – May 7, 1966
- Ravinia Festival Association 1967 brochure
- 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
- Spectropop Presents Jerry Ross
- Billboard page 63 – February 6, 1971
- Richard Nixon Presidential Library And Museum | The Inaugural Concerts – January 19, 1973
- South Dakota Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
- The MOB (Chicago band) Official Website
- Follow on Facebook The MOB (Official)
- Official MOB Music – YouTube
- The MOB | ReverbNation
- The MOB (Chicago Band) | ReverbNation
- The MOB Public Group | Facebook
- The MOB (Chicago Band) – Wikipedia
- Jim Holvay – Wikipedia
- Gary Beisbier – Wikipedia
- 45cat – The MOB Discography
- Discogs – The MOB Discography
- AllMusic | The MOB
- OCLC WorldCat – The MOB, 1975
- Session days – 1975 The MOB
the mob chicago group chicago band