Austin, Texas garage combo the Sweetarts formed in 1965, reuniting bassist Ernie Gammage and drummer Dwight Dow after their collaboration in the frat rock act the Fabulous Chevelles. The group's initial incarnation raised eyebrows for including two African-American members, keyboardist Erbie Bowser, and a now-forgotten guitarist -- multiracial garage bands were a rare commodity, to say the least, and had musical differences not prompted this lineup to dissolve, the Sweetarts could have made history. Instead, Gammage moved to guitar to make room for new bassist Pat Whitefield, with singer/percussionist Mike Galbraith and keyboardist Tom Van Zandt (a distant cousin of Texas music legend Townes Van Zandt) rounding out the revamped roster. The Sweetarts quickly earned a fan following on the University of Texas fraternity circuit, and in 1966 they signed with the Dallas label Vandan Records to issue their debut single "So Many Times." The single was a local radio favorite, and after winning a local battle-of-the-bands competition, they were the first band signed to the fledgling Sonobeat Records, founded by KAZZ station manager Bill Josey, and the label that later launched the career of blues-rocker Johnny Winter. The Sweetarts' Sonobeat debut, the psych-punk cult classic "A Picture of Me," appeared in 1967, and was their last official single -- four songs recorded in mid-1968 in the studio of International Artists owner Walt Andrus never saw commercial release. The Sweetarts disbanded the following year, with Gammage, Dow, Van Zandt, and Whitefield continuing on under the name Fast Cotton.
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