Friday 45: The FOUR EKKOS – Toodaloo Kangaroo

45-Friday_4

By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon

Finishing up with the Four Ekkos we have their first release proper – the first issued under their own name. This comes in-between their 1957 (debut backing local Rockabilly singer Jerry Engler) and their last 45 on Buffalo’s Label Records.

“Toodaloo Kangaroo” b/w “My Love I Give” was released in 1958, credited to The Four Ekko’s [sic]. The writer of “Toodaloo Kangaroo” was Robert Genovese. I have speculated that Genovese and/ or his brother Sonny were members of the group. Regardless it’s almost certainly Genovese’s lead guitar on the break.

Robert Genovese was known professionally as Bobby Geno. He’d been the guitarist in Rochester’s Frank DeRosa & The De-Men. He played on their 1957 recording “Big Guitar” / “Irish Rock” on Rochester’s Ken Records label. This was picked up by Dot and “Big Guitar” became a moderate hit, though it was dwarfed by 1958’s cover version by Owen Bradley Quartet.

Geno turned up next on a 45 that was owned by Buffalo radio station DJ and program director Dick Lawrence. First Records 101, “The Shawnee” (a Geno composition) b/w “Little Rock Getaway” was credited to Bobby Geno but he was noted as “Mr. Big Guitar” on the labels! The label’s logo actually reads ‘Another First’, leading some collectors to question the actual name of the company; but to me it appears to be actually First Records. Not much is known by local collectors about this label but Lawrence at one time managed both The Graduates and The Tune Rockers, both Buffalo groups.

Bobby Geno’s brother Sonny Geno was also a member of Frank DeRosa’s band. He had one single under his own name – also on Rip Records. Sonny’s 45 “Blue Skies” / “Just Be Good” gave a writing credit to Bobby who is featured on guitar.

That brings us back to today’s record. The Four Ekkos’ “Toodaloo Kangaroo” and Sonny Geno’s “Blue Skies” are the only two releases of which I’m aware on Rip, apparently a local label. Since Bobby Geno has a writing credit on both, and had probably just left the DeRosa group, I have a feeling he was a member. Aside from that, and the K. Reinhardt who wrote the other side of the Rip Records 45, I have no clues as to possible membership of the Ekkos. After their next (and last) release in 1959, nothing was ever heard fom them. I’m also not aware of any further activities of Bobby Geno. Sonny Geno ended up later in Patsy Cline’s band – playing pedal steel guitar!

Anyway, “Toodaloo Kangaroo” is a decent R&R record with an interesting feature in the middle- a vocal buildup to the guitar solo.

I welcome any further info about the Four Ekkos or the Genos, especially any other involvement in the Buffalo music scene. And any info on Rip Records, Label Records or First Records.

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3 thoughts on “Friday 45: The FOUR EKKOS – Toodaloo Kangaroo

  1. I am the younger Brother of the two Individuals above. Bob Genovese is a Phenominal Guitar player, and a Loving and Caring Brother-Ha,Ha! …Sonny Geno was the perfect example of a Renaissance
    man, name it, he could do it. At 14 he won a Scholarship to an Art’s College,-He played Bass and Steel Guitar for Patsy Cline, here in Vegas in 1962 & 63. He was on his High Schools Swimming and Diving team, He was part Time Curator at The Rochester Zoo, and his Love of Arabian horses was so great that he had 2. His Bedroom was like the Alexandria Library, because it was not about just one subject. When he left us, we counted 1043 Hard Covered Books on three Giant Bookshelf, and the most books that contained similar Info was no more than 3. He was My Idol and a GREAT role model…Miss you Brother!

  2. Thanks for sharing that tribute. I always like getting a ‘human’ angle on the story. Admittedly, I don’t always know much about my subjects – especially on a human level. So always nice to hear. Interestingly, I only just got copies of two of Bobby’s records in the last month- the one on Dorset (Nothing -Part 1) and one I had never previously even heard about (Hubcaps/ Rolling, on Big Top; credited to Frank De Rosa but both sides written by Frank + Bobby).

    take care, Bob The Record Guy

    • Thanks Bobtherecordguy, A very Musical Family, Our Oldest Sibling came back from Tokyo,(The War Was Over, When He Got Assigned there, came back with a Guitar, and my other 2 Brothers were ready for this. I was only 2 yrs. old as my other brothers took it up in a flash. My Instrument became a Catcher’s Glove, and my love for Baseball was the ONLY career that I wanted to get into.
      A Knee Injury solved that….I guess it was not meant to be! Thanks again!

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