In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s there was no more professional or popular a musician in the Medicine Hat area than Elgin Mann. He used a full sound system long before other bands did, had high quality posters made, dressed like a rock n’ roll star and when he played the rural community halls and school gymnasiums it was rock n’ roll show time. Along with his brothers Melvin and Jimmy working as The Mann Brothers they were a very popular attraction all over Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Here is a poster from about 1960 that would promote live shows for the Mann Brothers. It suffers from some water damage but is still very cool.
If this appears to be a picture of Jimmy Mann when he was about 12 years old that is exactly what it is. Jim started very young and remained a very good guitarist for the rest of his life. (see The J.A. Pann Co ). Jim was also a very talented artist and we hope to have some of his work on the site soon. There are a number of his portraits on display in the Royal Hotel.
Jimmy was billed as ” Little Rockin’ Jimmie” in the Mann Brothers Band and this likely was a take off of the Collins Kids, Larry and Lorrie Collins, who were very popular at the time on the country music TV show Ranch Party.( Larry Collins, who was still a young boy, would play a double neck guitar and jump around all over the place while playing.) The above is purely my guess.
Brother Melvin rounded out the Mann Brothers Band on drums. Most bands in the Medicine Hat area at the time did not even have drums. Melvin continued to be active in the Medicine Hat music scene during the 1960s and played with Elgin when music hit the bars in the mid 60s.
Another shot of drummer Melvin Mann from about 1960.
Another poster dating from about 1960 that Elgin used to promote Christmas season shows….a novel idea to start at 12:05 AM on New Year’s day.
And here is a photo of the Mann Brothers which is taken from their poster. An iconic picture that truly represents the rock n’ roll and country music scene in about 1960 complete with shiny jackets, lots of attitude, white bucks and Fender Stratocaster guitars.
There was a talent contest sponsored by the Pet Milk company and held at the CHAT radio studios on First Street ( back when radio stations still had live broadcast studios) in the late 50s that used the Pet Milk Band to accompany the contestants. (see The Pet Milk Band ) . Elgin Mann, in front of the CHAT radio mic, was a contestant and won the contest. The players L to R…Frank Kochie (fiddle), Archie Thome (guitar), Ben Wilke (steel guitar), Carl Zubot (bass), Stan Antonuk (guitar). The musicians were largely country players but Elgin has got some rock n’ roll swagger going on!
In 1965 Elgin Mann landed a major label release of the song “It Takes A Good Woman To Treat A Good Man Right”. The Nashville recording session featured the best studio musicians of the era….Charlie McCoy, The Jordonaires (Presley’s vocal group) DJ“Sticks” Fontana (Presley’s drummer), Grady Martin, Pete Drake, Jerry Reed and many others. The overall production was superb and, although the record saw strong rotation in some markets, particularly Calgary and Great Falls, it only had marginal success. With proper promotion this could and should have been a huge hit. Below is an audio clip of the song.
It Takes A Good Woman To Treat A Good Man Right (Audio)….single release version
It’s interesting that this song was re-recorded in Nashville some years later with an all star cast of great players but it fails to capture the raw energy and feel of the original 45rpm release. It is included below purely for comparison but it is still a well crafted recording..
Too Many Teardrops , above, was the follow up single to It Takes A Good Woman and below is the audio for this song. Another session that was done in Nashville and featured the top studio players at the time. Just a note….the back up singers on this session were the Jordanaires.
Too Many Teardrops (audio)
The cover of Elgin Mann’s LP with photo by Ron Mayer. It contained a number of self penned songs recorded during several trips to Nashville. 19??
Elgin Mann was the first musician to play in a bar in Medicine Hat in 1964?? when the government finally permitted music. This photo was taken at the Park Lane Hotel. L to R Harry Heckenliable (bass) (See Harry Heckenliable) Elgin Mann (guitar and vocals) Melvin Mann (drums) Wally Vossler ( steel guitar) . Having music in bars made for packed houses every night and added a number of venues for musicians to perform in on a steady basis. There are not many pictures of Wally Vossler or Melvin Mann so this one is quite cool.
Below is audio for a very interesting song that Elgin recorded in Nashville but never released. It is catchy and has a great hook.
Don’t You Know I Love You (audio)
A very young Elgin Mann posing with Grand ole Opry Star Carl Smith about 1955. Elgin sold programs at many of these events. Judging by the pictures in the background this might have been taken at the Stampede Coral in Calgary. ???? Maybe the old Arena Gardens on 4th Street??? Elgin was a very big draw all over Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan in the late 1950s and early 1960s working as the Mann Brothers with brothers Melvin and Jimmy.
During the 60’s the downtown core was very active during the Stampede and often had live entertainment on the streets. This is Elgin Mann, Wally Vossler(steel guitar), Melvin Mann (drums). The foto is of the band in front of the old War Surplus store on 3rd street and next door was the iconic Club Café whose sign is partially visible at the top. Wally was the manager of War Surplus.
This is the Elgin Mann band at the Park Lane Hotel. John Somolia (bass), Elgin Mann (guitar), Melvin Mann (drums), Wally Vossler (steel guitar).