Dreamy Eyes - The Story of The Squires ©2002JCMARION


The Squires were a West Coast vocal group based in Pasadena, California, that was a part of the big influx of harmony makers from the L.A. area that was at the forefront of the rock 'n roll revolution in 1954 and 1955. To clear some confusion there were perhaps three other groups using that name at the time - one recorded for Combo, and one for Flair (marketed as a pop group singing "Sayonara" on #1030), and still another announced signed to Dootone in early 1954 (that some say recorded later as The Dootones). But OUR group of Squires got together in the summer of 1954 and started working out harmony patterns and singing styles.

The members of the group were Don Harris, Dewey Terry, Bob Armstrong, Chester Pipkin, and Lee Goudreau. As they worked to perfect their sound and presentation, they came to the attention of local record company execs Bob Gradney and Larry Mead. Soon the new vocal group was preparing for their first recording session in late February of 1955. The result was "Lucy Lou" / "A Dream Come True" on the Kicks label (#1 for starters). The record went nowhere and was lost in the great volume of new sides. Two months later the group was back with a new release, this time on the Mead-Gradney Mambo label. The songs were "Sindy" and "Do-Be-Do-Be" on Mambo #105. The ballad side "Sindy" (with an 's') was an immediate winner and good radio airplay carried the tune all the way to the East Coast. Larry Mead soon discontinued the Mambo label because many people would see the name and conclude that it recorded only Spanish language music which he thought hurt the sales potential of The Squires and others.

Soon the label name was Vita (the release still was #105) and The Squires had a solid vocal group hit on their hands. Don Bowman was now part of the group as a piano accompanist, and their popularity led to a spot on Al Jarvis Los Angeles TV show "Holiday Hijinks" in July, and also "Sindy" was picked as the record of the week two times in a row by Jarvis. During that summer, Mambo / Vita labels based in Pasadena, was doing well following their big hit of "Sindy". In September The Squires recorded the followup to their first hit. "Me And My Deal" coupled with "Sweet Girl" was out on Vita #113. The Squires appear for a weekend at the Green Mill Ballroom in Ventura, and then leave for a series of one nighters along the West Coast. "Deal" is a good ballad with a catchy bass intro that is tried out by most would be bass singers while forming a vocal group. Larry Mead tries something interesting as he keeps "Sweet Girl", but this time pairing the song with "Heavenly Angel" on #116. If this attempt was to try and build sales for "Sweet Girl", the effort failed.

At years end, "You Ought To Be Ashamed Of Yourself", and "Guiding Angel" are released on Vita #117. They are recorded with Effie Smith, an R & B performer ("Effie's Blues") who is newly signed to the Vita label. The group cannot duplicate the success of "Sindy" with their last two efforts, or their last recording for Vita during the spring of 1956. "Venus" and "A Breath of Air" are released by Vita records on #128, and The Squires meet relative failure again. If you thought that was the end of the group, guess again. By 1957 Vita Records is gone but The Squires are still hanging on. Crosstown L.A. label Aladdin records gives them a one-shot in the studio and the result is "Dreamy Eyes" a cover of a song done by another Los Angeles vocal group called The Youngsters for Empire Records. The tune is paired with "Dangling With My Heart" on #3360. This last release by the group is their biggest hit ever, scoring across the board with pop listeners as well as R & B fans. "Dreamy Eyes" becomes a pop hit, certainly not a million seller but a good sized sendoff for the group and one to be remembered for. A nice straight forward ballad, the Squires do a great job on the delivery and the falsetto lead on the second half of the bridge is a joy.

That was it for the group in 1957, as a three year existence provided a few successes and a lot of memories for the vocal group. As individuals however, they would be heard from in the future. In late 1957 Don Harris and Dewey Terry formed a duo fronting an R & B combo and made some great rocking music as Don & Dewey for a couple of years for Specialty Records. In the early sixties they became part of the backup band for Little Richard. They kept their hand in the modern rock era as a duo and as part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Don "Sugarcane" Harris was even a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention for a time. He went back to his R & B roots when he toured with Johnny Otis in the early seventies. (Don & Dewey can be heard on a great Specialty CD entitled "Jungle Hop"). And to think - it all started with a great little vocal group called The Squires !

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