Rocky Road Album Discography
By Patrice Eyries, Dave Edwards, and Mike Callahan
Last update: February 7, 2010

This Bell-distributed label started life in 1971 as the Carousel label, but changed their name to Rocky Road shortly after releasing their first hit record, due to a conflict in label names that surfaced when the hit record appeared. The label was owned by Marc Gordon, a veteran in the music business who had worked for years at Motown Records. The label had a limited roster of artists signed to them, the most notable being Climax and Al Wilson, but they also released singles by the Grasshoppers, Viva, Holly Sherwood, Sugar, Johnny Stevenson, the Dream Machine, Sweet Grass, and Formula IV. Rocky Road lasted until 1975.

Their first single, "Hard Rock Group" by Climax, was issued in 1971 on Carousel 30050. This was followed by two equally poor sellers by Al Wilson, "I Hear You Knocking"/"Sugarcane Girl" [Carousel 30051] and "Falling"/"Bachelor Man" [Carousel 30052]. Climax' second single, "Precious and Few" was originally issued in late 1971 on Carousel 30055. The company issued several other singles before it was served with a "cease and desist" order that a name change for the label was required, so the Carousel label 45s ran to #30059, which was "A Million to One"/"Dynamite" by Sugar. At that point, the change took place and 30060 ("Heavy Church" by Al Wilson) was issued on Rocky Road Records. "Precious and Few" was reissued as Rocky Road 30055, where it sailed to #3 nationally.

Climax was a band fronted by Sonny Geraci, erstwhile lead singer for the Cleveland rock and roll group the Outsiders, who had hit big with "Time Won't Let Me" in 1966. By 1968, the Outsiders were breaking up, with both Geraci and others leaving. Geraci split for the West Coast and started a band in 1969 as a West-Coast version of the Outsiders, with Geraci singing songs including those by Walter Nims, a guitarist who had joined the original Outsiders as a replacement. "Geraci's Outsiders" played gigs in Los Angeles looking for a label to sign them, while Tom King, another of the original group, was back in Ohio trying to make what was left of the original group work. Geraci's group eventually signed with Metromedia Records, where they recorded an early version of the Walter Nims song "Precious and Few," but nothing was released. By 1971, they hooked up with Marc Gordon, and Geraci talked Nims into joining his group, which was now called Climax due to a dispute with Tom King over the name "Outsiders". For their recordings, Climax was Geraci and Nims backed by Los Angeles studio musicians, but they also put together a "traveling" version of the band that included Virgil Weber on keyboards, Steve York on bass, and Robert Neilson on drums.

Climax had one additional chart hit, "Life and Breath" [Rocky Road 30061, with the band now called "Climax featuring Sonny Geraci"], which reached #52 in late spring 1972. They released an album, Climax featuring Sonny Geraci [Rocky Road RR-3506] in May, 1972, which reached #177 in the album charts. There were no known albums issued while the company was using the Carousel name.

Al Wilson had had some success in the 1960s with Johnny Rivers' Soul City label, and eventually proved to be Rocky Road's biggest star. In fact, Johnny Rivers was still producing the Al Wilson songs for Rocky Road. After four singles for Carousel/Rocky Road had bombed, he hit it big with "Show and Tell" [Rocky Road 30073] in October, 1973, and by January of the next year it had reached #1 nationally. Wilson followed with chart hits "Touch and Go" [Rocky Road 30076, #57], "La La Peace Song" [Rocky Road 30200, #30], and the medley "Won't Last a Day Without You/Let Me Be the One" [Rocky Road 30202]. This singles chart success led to three albums, two of which charted.

Most of the other acts on the label had little success. A minor exception was Holly Sherwood, an actress and singer who had been in the original cast of the Broadway musical Godspell. Her 1973 single "Yesterday and You" [Rocky Road 30068] not only reached #117 on the "Bubbling Under" charts, but also made #30 on the "Easy Listening" charts.

In late summer, 1974, changes were taking place at Bell. Clive Davis, who had been running Columbia Records, took over at Bell, and started moving toward changing the stodgy Bell image to the more hip "Arista Records." About this time, Rocky Road changed their numbering sequence (after single #30078) to the 30,200 series, and their LP sequence from the 3600 to the 3700 series. As Marc Gordon recalled, Davis was very interested in promoting "east coast" acts, and labels such as the west-coast Rocky Road received little more than neglect. After just three singles and one album with the new series, Gordon shut down the label in early 1975. Gordon continued in the 1970s as manager of Al Wilson and a number of other big-name groups such as Tony Orlando & Dawn. Sonny Geraci and Walter Nims continued performing with their band Climax until 1976, when the group broke up. Geraci then launched a less-than-wildly-successful solo singing career, while Nims stayed in Los Angeles. Al Wilson signed with Playboy Records, where he had another chart hit.

The Rocky Road label was orange with black lettering with an "RRR" logo and "ROCKY ROAD RECORDS" written on the top half of the label in dark brown. The following text was also written in the form of an arc at the bottom of the label: "DISTRIBUTED BY BELL RECORDS. A DIVISION OF COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC., 1776 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10019" for the 3500 series. For the 3600 series, the text was slightly different: "EXCLUSIVELY DISTRIBUTED BY BELL RECORDS. A DIVISION OF COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC., N.Y.C."

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Carousel/Rocky Road or Bell Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and Follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2006 by Mike Callahan.



Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] Contents

3500 series:

RR 3506 - Climax Featuring Sonny Geraci - Climax [1972] (6-72, #177) Original album cover was a fold-over at the top. Inner sleeve included lyrics to the songs and a photo of Geraci. Life And Breath/I've Got Everything/Postlude/Picnic In The Rain/Face The Music/Precious And Few//It's Coming Today/Rainbow Rides Are Free/If It Feels Good-Do It/Merlin/Prelude/Child Of December

3600 series:

RR 3600 - Weighing In - Al Wilson [1973] Born On The Bayou/Somebody To Love/Settle Me Down/Things Are Changing/All For You/Listen To Me//The Last Phonograph Record/You Do The Right Things/The Magic Of Your Mind/Amen Brother/Keep On Loving You/Quick Reaction

RR 3601 - Show And Tell - Al Wilson [1973] (12-73, #70) Show And Tell/I'm Out To Get You/Queen Of The Ghetto/Touch And Go/My Song/Broken Home//What You See/Love Me Gentle, Love Me Blind/Moonlightn'/For Cryin' Out Loud/A Song For You

3700 series:

RR 3700 - La La Peace Song - Al Wilson [1974] (10-74, #171) La La Peace Song/A Stones Throw/Medley: I Won't Last A Day With You-Let Me Be The One/Goin' Through The Motions/Passport//I'm A Weak Man/Fifty-Fifty/The Longer We Stay Together/Willoughby Brook/You're The One Thing (Keeps Me Goin')

RR 3701 - Come and Get Yourself Some - Formula IV [1975] The group includes Leon Kittrell (lead vocals, drums), Ted Butler (bass, vocals), Charles Richard Cason (keyboard, vocals), and Billy Ray Charles (lead guitar, vocals). Come And Get Yourself Some/Willoughby Brook/Whay Can't We Simply Fall In Love/What Am I To Do Without You/If You Gonna Do It (Do It Good)//Wee Willy Sweetwine/If We Can't Get Along/What's This World Coming To/Will You Be There/Empty Bottles And Broken Glass

Thanks to Alex Podlecki.

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