Secret Stash are back and have unearthed another winner from the long lost vaults of obscurity. This time it’s with Milwaukee sensations and way before their time band Vic Pitts and the Cheaters. One of the few racially integrated bands in their area, this super group Funk, Soul, and R & B outfit made quite a splash in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas in the late 1960’s. So much of a splash that they were given their own TV show aimed at teens called Grapevine on WVTV. This was an unprecedented action for any local band of the time. From their club circuit and TV show they linked up with Andre Williams to record some tracks in Chicago at the well known Chess / Ter-Mar Studio.
“We had a lot of struggles and nobody handed us anything, but if there is one thing we accomplished , it was showing kids in our neighborhood that just because you were from the ghetto, it didn’t mean you couldn’t make something of yourself.“- Vic Pitts
The result of this session shows a wide influence from James Brown to Sly Stone, as well as their own versions of Neil Young’s “Down By The River” and Herbie Man’s “Coming Home Baby”. Along with two originals, “The Girl I Love” and “Got To Find The Love In You”, they also recorded an instrumental version of their highly sought after “Loose Boodie” record they put out later in 1972 on the Brewtown label. William’s whole plan was to have the band get in the studio and record ‘River Deep-Mountain High”. However, super producer Phil Spector had recorded this song previously with Ike and Tina Turner, it didn’t do ago anywhere, and as a result, he went into semi-retirement. As Williams had his plan rolling, unfortunately their version saw the same fate as Ike and Tina’s version. That determined the result of the songs they recorded with Williams. He took off for California and the Cheaters record got shelved and forgotten. Not just forgotten by record labels and the public, but actual band members. After these gems were unearthed, the real truth came out about Williams’ choice of “River High-Mountain Deep”. The band never wanted to record it. To keep the cosmic forces at bay, the song has been omitted from this new album. Although they were not phased by that recording session juju, they went on to perform and live in Europe, backing such superstars as Percy Sledge, Edwin Starr, and Arthur Conley, among others. Many of the band members stayed until the mid 80’s, with Vic Pitts remaining there today. Another band getting more love in Europe than here in the States.
With this record, Secret Stash have done it again. They are taking pre-orders for the July 1 gatefold vinyl (first 200 on red vinyl) release of another winner out of their stable. Get a piece of Milwaukee history with this one folks, it’s been waiting for you for 35 years.
Pre-order the record here.
Got mine. Thanks for the tip!
I recall the band performing as the Seven Sounds…1965 or so,with sister Sharon singing back up…Vic Pitts and Harvey Scales….great performers..Rollie on Alto,and a man named Vance on Bass?Lee Brown,a vocalist,and later,Billy Stonewall on drums…clearly recall a live gig where the band opened for Wilson Pickett in Madison Wisconsin around 1966….also recall the band playing much earlier in Wisconsin…around 1962 or so at a club called the Ravino in Neenah Manasha Wisconsin …great funk Band!!
Yes, I played trumpet with Vic Pits and the Cheaters, also Lee Brown and the Cheaters. It was my first real paying gig. I have some pictures and newspaper articles about the band. I went to Chicago after that and worked with Peter Cetera, Phil Upchurch, Jimmy Vincent in a band called the “Exceptions” (later morphed into the. Group “Chicago”. I missed out on that and later got drafted and sent to Vietnam Nam. After that I moved to San Diego where I still reside today. I’m still playing my horn and loving every minute of it, Marc