Friday, July 30, 2010


The Dynamics photo from Doo Wop

Hey, North Side is famous for its singers. In the fifties, a group of guys from the Shadeland Avenue neighborhood discovered they made a pretty good sound together and became the Dynamics.

They were George Winesburgh (lead), Jimmy Shoup (first tenor), Earl Viney (second tenor), Dick Johns (baritone), and Donny Fuchs (bass).

They released their first wax on the George Goldner/Jay Michael's Cindy label in 1957, "When The Saints Come Marching In" b/w "Gone Is My Love." The flip got a lot of air time locally.

Looking to break out of the Pittsburgh market, they approached Brighton Height's George Bodnar, who organized area hops, managed West View Park's Danceland (in fact, he would manage West View and White Swan parks after Danceland burned down), and was the founder of a then-new local label, Impala Records.

Bodnar was impressed with the act, and took them to Nashville to tape two songs at the Bradley Film and Recording Studios. On May 4, 1958, the Dynamics had a tape of "Someone" penned by Dick Johns and "Moonlight," written by Donnie Fuchs. The backing group of studio session players included Harold Bradley on guitar, Bob Moore on bass, and Floyd Cramer Jr. on piano, all to become famous as founders of the "Nashville Sound."

The 45 was released as Impala 501, and "Moonlight"/"Someone" rose to the top of the charts in the City.

Bodnar sold the distributing rights to New York based Seeco Records in November 1958, hoping to turn the local big fish into a national seller. The deal was for the Dynamics and Bodnar to receive 5% of the sales.

It was reissued as Seeco 6008; they even sold European rights to the song. But we all know how the industry worked then - Seeco didn't push the record, and the Pittsburgh connection didn't receive a red penny for the work.

To add insult to injury, the record had a revival a few years later, but as a pirate on the Steel City label, again cutting out the artists from the take.

Winesburgh and Viney split, and Ron Barnett and Dick Spracier replaced them. But the new Dynamics didn't have much more luck than the originals.

They released a couple of more singles - "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" b/w "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" on Laverve Records in 1961, and "Christmas Plea' b/w "Dream Girl" for Jules Kruspar's Dynamic Sound Records in 1962.

Neither took off, and the group faded into the mists of musical history. One problem was that no one took proper care of the business end for them. Another drawback was the group's name itself - it was estimated that up to a dozen groups went under the Dynamics tag during the fifties and sixties, and it's hard to break from the pack without a strong brand.

But they didn't entirely disappear. In 1991 Impala Records was sold by Bodnar. Along with the masters of "Moonlight" and "Someone" were 56 outtakes of a song called "Wedding Bells", which was never released in any format. The new Impala went into the Audible Images Studios, and made an EP of the three songs, now sold on eBay as a sort of Dynamics Greatest Hits collection.

"Someone" by the Dynamics (1958)

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