By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon
Here’s a record which troubled local collectors for a long time. The copies which turned up had no label (record company) name, just ‘Custom Recording Service’. All copies give a Williamsville location, but there’s no Cameron Drive in Williamsville. No one remembers a recording studio in Williamsville at all. I only saw or heard of one copy for a period or years, and the label credited them as Reble & The Jaguars. No collector or veteran of the local music scene could place the band at all.
One local collector figured out that Cameron Drive is actually in Clarence – in the Harris Hill neighborhood – but was assigned to the Williamsville Post Office zone. Having seen the address on a few interesting records he went there and knocked on the door.
It turned out that the house had once belonged to Vince Morette, the founder – later – of Mark Records, with his son Mark. At that time Vince worked for Century Records out of California. They had no studios. All they had was a pressing plant. You brought your tape to a local representative who sent it off the California to be pressed onto 500 record albums or 1000 45s, or whatever. When they came back they would have a local address, the address of the local agent. Rochester had an agent, many cities across the country had one. In most cases they would have a black label with the Century logo and a local address. This fooled many a collector who assumed the bands were from the same town as the label address but many of the bands apparently traveled far to get their precious tapes directly into the representatives’ hands.
Since there was no need for a studio, Century agents could work out of their homes. Basically all they needed was a place for bands to drop off their tapes and pick up the records.
Eventually Morette realized he was missing a lot of business because many of the bands didn’t have a place to get their sons onto tape. So Mark Records was formed, first as an affiliate of Century, later independent and eventually with their own pressing facilities. Their first recording studio was a shack on Goodrich Road in Clarence Center. Later they moved to a large building on Bodine Road in the Clarence Hollow neighborhood of Clarence where they are still in operation.
Collectors were still no closer to figuring out the identity of Reble & The Jaguars though. One day a customer came into my store with a couple copies he wanted to let go. These copies had a similar yellow label but some different info and now the spelling was REBEL & The Jaguars. There aren’t many guys around WNY named Rebel so I wondered if this could have been Rebel Payne, a member of Stan & The Ravens and also Ronnie Hawkin’s band.
I suspected the owner might have known the band and indeed he did. Turns out the band was actually from the Southern Tier: Olean or Salamanca. That’s why local people here didn’t remember them. There they were well-known, but usually worked simply as ‘The Jaguars’. That’s why it was hard tracking them down – their real name didn’t include ‘Rebel’!
I’m guessing that maybe Rebel’s parents came up with the money to get the record pressed so he insisted on the extra label credit. Also I expect there’s two versions because the first pressing had labels misspelling the name as Reble and the band demanded they be repressed with the correct name.
One thing I don’t know is WHERE it was recorded. The labels suggest it was not just pressed by Century but that the Morettes got it recorded too. Maybe it was their first effort making an actual recording locally. There’s this clumsy statement on the label: “Custom Recording engineered for The Jaguars by Custom Recording Service”.
The single probably came out in 1966, though it could be 1965. The only other things I know about The Jaguars is that they apparently played every summer for a few years at the teen club clubhouse in Alleghany State Park. And both sides are credited to J. Dono who I assume is a group member.
There is one other strange thing. Around 1967 an LP came out on Mark Records titled “Your Sexuality – A Thing Of Beauty”. It was a talk by a Christian husband and wife aimed at kids. It’s mildly explicit – basically sex education for Christian teens. Though it seems to have some strangely specific info that to me doesn’t seem necessary for the purpose! At the end of side two is an instrumental track which turns out to “Take Off”, the B-side of “It’s All My Fault”. It’s weird because there’s no other music on the LP and track seems just tacked onto the end with no relevance and no explanation. I wonder if the band was even notified that it was used?
By the way, the LP has Mark Records labels but mentions Century Records, so it’s from the time the Morettes were transitioning into their own independent business.
Anyway, that B-side is instrumental music in the Surf-Rock vein but the A-side is pure garage rock, albeit on the crude side. Enjoy!