At some point, the Gemini Five lost Nugent and Korrus and picked up a new drummer, Eugene Rickey, and morphed into the Oddballs. The band's schtick consisted of dressing in ridiculous outfits such as a straw hat, sportscoat with a t-shirt and tie, and pants ripped at the leg. (But perhaps the oddest quality of all is that they still played straight-up rockabilly numbers in 1966!) The Oddballs headed up to Ace Recording Studios in Boston to record two tunes penned by Mitch in the late 1950s, "Rockin' In The Jungle" — complete with monkey noises by Gene Burrows — and "That's My Baby." These tracks wound up on the now-infamous Rocket label (home of Mel McGonnigle's mega-raw "Rattle Shakin' Mama" from 1958), and though the exact date is unknown, Mitch states it definitely was after the Gemini Five, placing the release most likely in early 1966.
Update: It's been discovered that the Oddballs 45 appeared in the October 3, 1964 issue of Cash Box magazine, placing the release date most likely around a month or two earlier.
|The Oddballs live at the Ritz Cafe in Westerly, R.I. From left: Mitch Wayne, Eugene Burrows and Richard Thomas (with Eugene Rickey on drums in the background). Photo courtesy of Mitch Wayne.|
Mitch continued to play music throughout the decades, though he has lost track of his Gemini Five and Oddballs bandmates. He still enjoys a vibrant solo country career and his new music can be found here.
Attention: Rip It Up RI still needs a copy of the Oddballs "Rockin' In The Jungle" for the local collection. If anybody out there has a copy, please get in touch!
THE GEMINI FIVE
A Go Go Baby / Can't Say No
Planet (No. 56) Sept. 1965
Rockin' In The Jungle / That's My Baby
Rocket (110) Sept. 1964