Little Phil & The Night Shadows

Little Phil & The Night Shadows

The Night Shadows were originally organized in December 1956 as The Cavaliers. The spelling was changed to The Kavaliers in 1957 to avoid legal problems with another group using that name. After some personnel changes in the summer of 1959 the group became The Barons. In the fall of 1959 the lead guitarist wrote an instrumental he called Night Shadows that the bass player thought was the perfect name for their Blues group. Assuming leadership of the band and against everyone’s wishes, he changed their name to The Night Shadows on their business cards and quickly booked several months of gigs to make everyone relent. He also hired a front man for the group. From the fall of 1959 through 1961 The Night Shadows were primarily a Chicago-style Blues band featuring Bobby “Bones” Jones, a rowdy harp playing, skinny James Dean look-alike. Like the old-time blues men of the past, Jones went to prison for an alleged assault on someone with a brick mason’s hammer. He later lost three toes to frostbite passing out drunk in ten-degree weather on the bed of a pick-up truck. He still writes blues tunes as Sweet Papa Jones.
In 1962 the group changed to a Rhythm & Blues show band featuring Little Erv (Barocas) & Judy (Argo), an Elizabeth Taylor look-alike, as headliners. For the next two years, the group became one of the most popular R&B bands for racially segregated Southern college dances and formals (During that time Black R&B bands or “Beach" acts were considered “crude frat party bands” by snobbish southern faculty and alumni during the early 1960s). In 1964 the English invasion changed the group’s primary direction to Rock relegating R&B, now called (East Coast) Beach Music to secondary importance. That summer Little Erv quit the music business to get married and Judy Argo also quit the band and quickly became a jazz sensation appearing on NBC’s Tonight Show. An alleged suicide attempt in New York unfortunately derailed her career in the Big Apple and she returned to Atlanta to become a legendary jazz diva on the lounge circuit. The last gig Argo performed with the Night Shadows that year also featured Mac Davis and Little Phil on their show. Davis left for Los Angeles shortly after the gig and became an internationally famous recording and movie star. At the request of a Georgia Tech alumni reunion, Judy Argo returned to perform her last show with a reunited Night Shadows in 1988.
When 14-year old Little Phil (Rosenberg) was picked as Little Erv and Judy's replacement to front the group, the other band members thought their leader “had lost it” since they were all in their early twenties. Over their protests of playing “nursemaid to a snot-nosed kid”, he knew that Little Phil could do “James Brown type” choreography as well as sing Rock, Blues and Soul songs. His gamble paid off, and 1965 turned into a watershed year for the Night Shadows. Johnny Brooks, a studio engineer and producer Janoulis had worked with on sessions since 1959, had opened his own recording facility and was seeking artists with original material. This gave the group an opportunity to record both the tunes Little Phil had collaborated on and some others that Janoulis had written. The end result was a label deal with Dot Records, a very successful record company owned by Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, California. The single “So Much” featured Little Phil as lead singer. The other band members were Jimmy Callaway (guitar), Bobby Newell (organ), Charles Spinks (drums) and Aleck Janoulis (bass). Everything seemed to be going their way until the “conflict” in Viet Nam suddenly escalated into “war” and all able-bodied, single men between the ages of 18 to 26 were made eligible for the draft. Little Phil was still in high school and Janoulis, Spinks, and Newell were all in college. If the group left school permanently they would all be drafted except for Little Phil who was only 16. This prevented any extensive traveling to promote the record. As the record reached the Top Ten in three states, a corporate decision to make the record company a Country oriented label stopped all pop and rock promotion dead in its tracks. Their follow up single “60 Second Swinger” was permitted to be released on Gaye Records and featured a full color sleeve. Due to contractual obligations the group then recorded for Baja Records under the pseudonym “The Square Root of Two”. This became the title of their classic 1968 psychedelic album on Spectrum Stereo which now sells for over $1750 to record collectors. Due to internal conflicts the band split up after their last concert on Memorial Day in 1969. Teen-age guitar prodigy, Barry Bailey, performed with the group in their final months (Ref: “Live At The Spot”) and later went on to form the hit-making Atlanta Rhythm Section. Janoulis formed the group Starfoxx in 1974 that had a nationally charted hit “Disco Rock” in 1977 and, as Big Al Jano, released the anti-AIDS cult single, “The Condom Man”, in 1987, based on the Night Shadows 1961 blues single, “The Garbage Man”. Little Phil was lead singer for Kudzu and Bandit in the 1970’s and has recently been recording some new material in the studio. Incredibly, Little Phil and the Night Shadows are still selling records and CDs to collectors all across the globe. A new vinyl LP reissue of the group’s mid-1960’s rock music was released by Penniman Records and Vol.3 The Psychedelic Years (1967-1969) was issued by Hottrax Records to complete their historical trilogy on CD.


Little Phil & The Night Shadows Discography Tracks


Night Shadow* The Square Root Of Two (Album) Spectrum Stereo US 1968 Sell This Version
ST 1430, none Little Phil & The Night Shadows Live At The Spot(LP) Hottrax Records, Dance-A-Thon ST 1430, none US 1981 Sell This Version
ST 1450 Night Shadows, The* Invasion Of The Acid-Eaters(LP) Hottrax Records, Dance-A-Thon ST 1450 US 1982 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

45-16912 Little Phil And The Night Shadows* So Much / The Way It Used To Be(7", Single, Mono) Dot Records 45-16912 US 1966 Sell This Version
Little Phil And The Night Shadows* 60 Second Swinger / In The Air Gaye Records US 1967 Sell This Version
15002 Little Phil & The Night Shadows Don't Take It Out On Me(7") Hottrax Records 15002 US 1980 Sell This Version
PENN 45011 Little Phil & The Nightshadows* So Much(7") Penniman Records PENN 45011 Spain 2002 Sell This Version


5125-60003-2 Night Shadows* The Legendary Night Shadows Vol.1: The Rhythm & Blues Period 1959-1964(CD, Comp) Hottrax Records 5125-60003-2 US 1995 Sell This Version
5125-60006-2 Night Shadows* The Legendary Night Shadows Volume 2: The Little Phil Era 1964-1967(CD, Comp) Hottrax Records 5125-60006-2 US 1997 Sell This Version
5125-60012-2 The Night Shadows* The Legendary Night Shadows Vol 3: The Psychedelic Years 1967-1969(CD, Comp) Hottrax Records 5125-60012-2 US 2002 Sell This Version
Little Phil And The Night Shadows* Patriarchs Of Garage Rock (Comp) Penniman Records Spain 2004 Sell This Version

Videos (10) Edit