Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sonny Flaharty and His Young Americans on PAQ

Sonny Flaharty and His Young Americans

10845 ~ Coconut Stomp  Part 1
10846 ~ Coconut Stomp  Part 2

Bushbaum & Flaharty, Ridge Pub. BMI (both)

Recorded Live at The Coconut Lounge

PAQ Records

A Young American Production No. 21


Note : recorded in a Dayton studio (not live, and neither in Springfield)

The saga of the Stomp

The song went like this:

“There’s a place I know where the cool kittens go, it’s a place that the hippies found, where you stomp and shout and knock yourself out, it’s a place called the Coconut Lounge.”

The song, “Coconut Stomp (Part I),” by Sonny Flaharty and His Young Americans, is as primal and enthusiastic as the day it was cut, 47 years ago.

And that’s the problem.

“It still makes me want to dance,” Flaharty, now 68, confessed, “but I can’t afford the hip replacement.”

While they hailed from Moraine, Flaharty and the Young Americans became the house band at the Coconut, playing their own shows, opening for national acts and even backing acts like The Crystals, which didn’t have a touring band.

“We were always pretty starstruck with the people we were with,” recalled Flaharty, who mostly writes music nowadays for his Unity church in Southern California and has become something of a legend with collectors of ’60s garage-rock records.

While backing The Orlons locally, Flaharty heard a word in their song “South Street” that intrigued him.


“I had never heard that word before,” he said, “but I thought it was cool.”

Cool enough to be included in his own tribute to the kids who hung out at the Coconut.

“They were hip and needed their own dance,” he said.

The song became a regional hit, even making the list of the most-requested songs at the Peppermint Stick, a similar club in Lima.

But pay no attention to the fact that the record says the song was “recorded live at the Coconut Lounge.”

It was actually recorded in a Dayton studio, Flaharty revealed, with the aid of a sound-effects record for crowd noises.
Doug Porter :

By 1960, I was Sonny Flaharty and the Young Americans' full time drummer. I was still in Junior High School. I stayed with the Young Americans for about 5 years, until we broke up. We traveled every weekend. We backed up many of the early stars. We all were card-toting musicians and I could site read. We worked with Lou Christie, Bobby Vinton, The Shirelles, The Four Seasons, Bobby Darin, Chuck Berry, The Four Tops (we backed the Tops up several times and they offered me a road job but I was still in high school). The list goes on and on but one sticks out with me.

The Rolling Stones came to Dayton, Ohio just about the time the Young Americans were at their peak and we were the opening band for them. We shared the dressing room with the Stones. That is a story all to itself. Soon after that, the group broke up. It consisted of Sonny on lead vocals and sometimes rhythm guitar,Terry Nieus on lead guitar, Mike Flaharty on bass, me on drums, Ray Bushbaum on piano/organ, and Bobby Brain on tenor sax.

We never played nightclubs - just road gigs, proms and private parties. Bobby Brain came to us from Teddy & The Rough Riders. They were also a hot group in the area. We both played things for WING radio. Check out: www.thecoolgroove.com. That's Jim Colegrove's site out of Texas. You'll see Sonny and I both mentioned. I played in Jim's band, the Knights, when the Young Americans parted ways.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you! An excellent post on Sonny Flaharty. I recognized the name as someone I've heard of before, so checked out your post. Not sure how I know him. Thanks to you and YouTube, I've been able to enjoy the many fine tunes he put out.

    I write The Music Muse Interview. In the future I hope to post on Sonny Flaharty, thanks to your help. I'll be sure to cite you and your sources. You have been a big help in bringing a deserving, lost artist to my attention. That's one reason I enjoy writing my blog. There are many of these little-known or lost artists, who are worthy of note.

    Thank you again. Keep up your excellent work.