•  The Firesiders aka The Vel-Tones (2) aka The Impacts (3)

     The Firesiders (Niagara Falls, NY)
    aka The Vel-Tones (2)
    aka The Impacts (3)


    Personnel :

    Calvin 'Cal' Briggs

    Neal Davis

    Ernie Vendetti

    Emilio Giondomenico

    Discography :

    The Vel-Tones (2)
    1958 - Playboy / Cal's Tune (Coy 101)
    1959 - Playboy / Cal's Tune (different take) (Kapp 268)

    The Firesiders
    1961 - (I'll Remember) One And All / No Ones Cares For Me (Swan 4074)

    The Impacts (3)
    1964 - Take My Love / Where Are You Going (PEH 7345)   


    Biography :

    In 1958, the thought that there could one day be a "Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame" couldn't be anything but a teenage joke. Except for Elvis Presley and a handful of others, R&R was played by kids, for kids, and no one expected it to be more than that. Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry were great but existed in another world - on the radio or TV. The way youngsters experienced R&R was through the local teen combo. Every town or high school or parish had its band. Some were better than others, some could be local stars for awhile after they'd performed at a dance or hop - but for the most part they were just kids from the neighborhood, whose celebrity quickly faded.

    If you lived in Niagara Falls in the late 1950s the Vel-Tones were that group. Though their story is a little different. They may not be well-remembered now but they were able to have records released on two national labels and have a career that carried them through the glory days of R&R. Another thing that was unusual was their interracial makeup which is reflected in their eclectic mix of R&R, R&B, DooWop and Rockabilly sounds. Calvin 'Cal' Briggs, Ernie Vendetti, Neal Davis and Emilio Giondomenico recorded two sides in 1958 that were released on the Coy label. Coy was a label in name only - actually put out by Fine Records of Rochester, a legendary name itself to many collectors. Playboy is a greasy teen ballad that is exactly the type of lowrider doowop that Frank Zappa loved to parody, while Cal's Tune is a rocker.

    (L to R) Emilio Giondomenico, Ernie Vendetti, Calvin Briggs & Neal Davis

     In 1959 these were leased to Kapp Records but the versions released by Kapp are completely different - Cal's Tune had its guitar and piano solos replaced with an sax solo, and both are more tame. The original version of Cal's Tune is highly-regarded by Rockabilly fanatics, to the point that it's recently been reproduced on vinyl. Following this they returned in 1961 as The Firesiders on Swan Records with two genre-bending sides that widen their palette to include influences of country pop and even pre-soul! The rest of their story is mostly unknown, except that they managed to change styles again and issue one more record. Under another name, of course. As The Impacts (on PEH Records) they achieve a typical mid-Sixties garage sound. They will never be in the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame but if you were there a the right time in the right place, they may have been your Rock 'N' Roll.


    Songs :

    The Vel-Tones (2)

    Playboy                            Playboy (Kapp)                Cal's Tunes

    The Firesiders

    (I'll Remember) One And All    No Ones Cares For Me

    The Impacts (3)

    Where Are You Going


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