Around three years ago, Frank Bruno, a collector of rare Memphis records, purchased a Memphis Recording Services acetate record online. An acetate is basically the mold or first sample copy of record that is made before it is pressed and prepared for retail.
Printed on the acetate was the band name, Heathens, the song title, Steady Girl, and the date, Dec. 8, 1956.
Bruno says luckily someone that owned the record prior to his purchase had typed out all of the band members names. It wasn’t much to go on but Bruno being the rare Memphis record collector that he is wanted to figure out who these people were.
The Heathens were five teenagers who attended East High School in the 1950s right here in Memphis. The band consisted of Colin Heath (vocals), Kaye Garren (rhythm guitar), Roger Fakes (lead guitar), David Gibson (piano), and Joe Bauer (drums).
Heath and Garren dated in high school and would later go on to get married. Bauer was the only member who went on to become a career musician as a member of the popular rock group The Youngbloods.
Bruno says once he started unraveling the story of The Heathens, he initially wanted to get copies made for the families to have. Instead, it led to a much bigger project.
“When I finally found the family, they had no idea this existed. They had never even heard the mom and dad sing together. This new label in Memphis, Black and Wyatt Records approached me, and I played it for them, they loved it just as much as I did so they helped fund it and put it all together,” says Bruno.
If you’d like to own a copy of this limited run 45 record, you’re in luck. The record release party is Saturday night at B-Side Memphis inside Minglewood Hall. The show starts at 7 pm and admission is $10 which also gets you a copy of the record.
For more information, click here.