Monday, January 26, 2015

Great Lakes Spotlight: The Chentelles - Be My Queen/Time

Day 9 of our Great Lakes Spotlight has us digging on a great record on the famed Fenton Records label. Not too much out there about The Chentelles but it would appear they were a bunch of 13-16 year old kids from the Fennville, Michigan area in the West of the state. The band was Dale Atkins, Bruce Smiertka, Dennis Smiertka, Bill Dalton, Jr., Mark Adams and John Willerton. They released this one and only record in 1967. As usual, we'll flip the record over. Why? Because it's our blog and that is what we like to do. On The Flip-Side? get it?

The Flip-Side of the record, Be My Queen, is one of the all-time garage ravers, in this writer's opinion. Depraved vocals, wild organ, drums that sound as if they are being banged on by a group of wild baboons, tambourine leads, a hint of fuzz, and not one, but two restrained guitar solos. And the solos are done by a 13-year old junior high kid! The song was written by the bassist, Mark Adams, and the organ player, Bill Dalton. According to the cool folk at, Dalton does the lead vocals and Adams, the backup vocals. Adams also does the killer scream that pairs with the organ.

The A-Side, Time, is a slow, moody number that would make Wally Tax and his Outsiders stand up and take droopy-eyed notice. You may not dig it at first, but I urge you to stick with it. It's moodiness is really something to make this a better than average song. Plus, it's almost four minutes long! That doesn't happen much in the garage punk world. Bruce Smiertka and Bill Dalton Jr. share writing credit here.

Credit where credit is due. I've lifted the photo of Bill Dalton Jr. from the aforementioned More info on the band from that site, here.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Be My Queen is of the Honeycombs / Joe Meek vein, no? Kind of quirky vocalization is the main reason: that first line just oozes with it, the way he pauses before saying "queen" in a kinda creepy way that you just don't expect from a teenager. And the singing is full of this kind of natural, innuendo-rich information.

    Time is great! Funny you mentioned the Outsiders and the length of this tune. I was just playing a moody Outsiders tune, The Ballad of John B. which I noticed clocks in at nearly 6 minutes!

    1. Yeah, it does have a quirky Joe Meek style. Not the production, but the odd phrasing and the likes. A bit demented. When you get to that music break and he says "Because I love you...Whaaaaa". It has a real menacing feel to it. Like that creepy stalker who won't leave this innocent girl alone.