Don't Mess Around
Welcome to Mankato, Minnesota! Mankato is a small farming town about 90 minutes south of Minneapolis and about 90 minutes north of the Iowa border. Of the 24,000 residents living in Mankato in 1964, we're going to focus today on four of them: Gus Dewey, Tom Klugherz, Bruce Waterston and Dale Menten. Together the Mankato-four were known as The Gestures. They started off in high school playing surf music but quickly transitioned to vocal rock. In October of 1964 the band released their first single for the regional label Soma Records. That song, written by Menten, was the excellent Run, Run, Run. Believe it or not they had a real hit on their hands. The song went to number 44 nationally, number 1 in Minneapolis, number 1 in New York City and number 3 in Los Angeles. The small town band and the small local label couldn't keep up with production and the song began to fall from the charts faster than Soma could print more copies. (for a real treat, flip that record over and dig on the brilliant It Seems To Me, also written by Dale Menten) The band was brought back into the Minneapolis studios to record their follow-up. That single, released in February of 1965, is our hero single of the day: Don't Mess Around/Candlelight.
Don't Mess Around is an unexpected number. Written by singer and guitarist, Dale Menten, the 2:19 song shows signs of jazz and includes a surprising bluesy time change for the impressive lead guitar work. We're going to also include the Flip-Side for you, the nearly as good Dale Menten song, Candlelight. The single failed to catch on and only made it to number 33 in Minneapolis and failed to chart anywhere else.
Sadly this would be the last time The Gestures would record. After just two releases the band dispersed.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!