The Vontastics

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The Vontastics' career mirrors that of the Ideals, another Chicago group, in that each had three records that achieved some popularity outside of Chicago. They even recorded for the same label, St. Lawrence…
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The Vontastics' career mirrors that of the Ideals, another Chicago group, in that each had three records that achieved some popularity outside of Chicago. They even recorded for the same label, St. Lawrence Records though the Cortland label released "Gorilla," "Mo Gorilla," and "Mo Jo Hanna," the Ideals most popular recordings. The latter, about a voodoo lady from Louisiana was first recorded by Henry Lumpkin (Motown 1962).

Powered by two lead singers, Kenneth Gholar & Jose Holmes, a prolific songwriter, Bobby Lee Newsome, and Raymond Penn, the Vontastics' sound was fresh and emotional and only lacked the proper exposure. In 1965, they receive some local love with their first release "I'll Never Say Goodbye" b/w "Don't Mess Around," on Satellite Records, but few heard it outside of Chicago.

"No Love For Me" b/w "Peace Of Mind," issued in October of 1965 began an encouraging time on St. Lawrence Records. While it didn't light up the charts, the follow-up "I Need You" b/w "Keep Rollin' On" (March 1966) were two equally good sides that received dual play in some cities. The next release "Day Tripper" (September 1966) is curious because the songwriter credits say Bobby Newsome, though it's the same song that John Lennon & Paul McCartney wrote. The jam became their biggest record; St. Lawrence followed with "You Can Work It Out" b/w "Never Let Our Love Grow Cold," February 1967; the A-side strutted like "Day Tripper," the B-side groove was similar but the lyrics more meaningful. Subsequent one off releases on Moonshot, Chess, and Ernest Leaner's Toddlin' Town Records didn't do much of anything and the guys left the music business.