Wooden Nickel Album Discography
By Mike Callahan, David Edwards, and Patrice Eyries
Last update: October 26, 2005

Wooden Nickel was a Chicago-based label, the successor to Bill Traut's Dunwich label of the 1966-67 era. Wooden Nickel was owned by Traut and Jim Golden (of Dunwich Productions, Ltd.), and Jerry Weintraub. It was distributed by RCA. It lasted from 1971 to 1977, but for all intents and purposes, it stopped real operations when their star group, Styx, left for A&M in 1975. From there, it got messy. Wooden Nickel sued Styx for breaking their contract, and in the resulting court decision, Styx was forced to pay a cash settlement to Wooden Nickel, but were allowed to continue recording for A&M. Both sides declared victory, but Wooden Nickel was done. RCA issued a Best of Styx collection in 1977, but that was that.

Traut and Golden had been producing records for years (as Dunwich Productions) when they started Wooden Nickel in late 1971. Both had run record labels before; Traut with Dunwich and Golden (along with Bob Monaco) had run Destination, the label for the original Cryan' Shames releases. They had been recording Chicago-based bands and placing them on various labels, most recently the LA-based Happy Tiger label. The most accomplished of these Chicago bands was the Siegel-Schwall Band, who had been recording for at least a half-dozen years, originally on the Vanguard label.

Siegel-Schwall Band (l to r): Radford, Schwall,
Plotkin. (Courtesy of Varese Sarabande) Corky Siegel (piano, vocals, harmonica) and Jim Schwall (guitar, vocals), along with Rollow Radford (bass, vocals) and Shelly (Sheldon Ira) Plotkin (drums) met in 1964 as Roosevelt University music students. They played in South Side clubs featuring blues artists and there learned from such blues greats as Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. They recorded four albums for Vanguard, the last of which, Siegel- Schwall '70 was produced by Bill Traut. They had a steady following in clubs around Chicago, but didn't have any chart success. After signing with Wooden Nickel in 1971 as one of the label's first acts, they recorded five albums over the next three years, the last (R.I.P.) recorded after the band had essentially disbanded, but regrouped in the studio for one "last" recording. Siegel, Schwall, and Radford returned in 1987 for a reunion concert, replacing the late drummer Plotkin (d. 1990) with Sam Lay. They now play about a dozen shows a year.

Styx Styx, Wooden Nickel's most commercial group, started in the mid-1960s with twins Chuck (bass) and John (drums) Panozzo and their neighbor Dennis DeYoung (accordion!). By 1968, they added John Curulewski on guitar and called themselves the Tradewinds, which was soon shortened to TW4. In 1970, they added another guitarist, James (J.Y.) Young, and signed as TW4 with Wooden Nickel in 1972. At that point, the group decided to change the name of the band to Styx. The lineup remained the same until Styx left Wooden Nickel for A&M in 1975, at which point Tommy Shaw replaced Curulewski.

Although Styx recorded four albums for Wooden Nickel, and RCA distribution should have ensured at least moderate success, the four albums didn't make the kind of sales impact the group had hoped for, or the label had expected. This caused some friction between the group and the label. Most frustrating was the fact they couldn't even get their records played on WLS, their hometown top-40 station. When their fourth album came out in 1974, the music director at WLS told them he wouldn't play it, but he would start programming "Lady," a cut from their second album. It took off in Chicago and caused Wooden Nickel/RCA to reissue the single, which went top-10 nationally. Wooden Nickel reissued another old single as a followup, and that charted, too. Pointing to these delayed successes as evidence of lack of earlier promotion, the group bolted for A&M, and the legal wrangling started. Bill Traut has said years later that when Styx left, they took the label down with them. That certainly appears to be the case as far as lack of further releases, but in retrospect, RCA has seen enough sales from Styx' first four albums to re-issue them numerous times over the years.

James Lee Stanley Other artists on Wooden Nickel were local musicians signed on the strength of their club performances in the Chicago area, such as Megan McDonough of Des Plaines, Illinois (well before her Four Bitchin' Babes days...). Jerry Weintraub, at that time John Denver's manager, sent McDonough out on the road to open for Denver, and McDonough has been a touring songwriter/guitarist/vocalist ever since. A major exception to the "home town" trend was the signing of Wolfman Jack, the Mexico/California- based deejay whose star rose rapidly after the film American Graffiti. Unfortunately, his star went nowhere on Wooden Nickel. James Lee Stanley, a songwriter and singer/guitarist originally from the East Coast, was hired through Bones Howe. His backing musicians and vocalists were an all-star lineup including Michael Omartian, Batdorf & Rodney, Doug Dillard, and Larry Carlton, all of whom had chart hits on their own. He recently sent us the following note: "Dear BSN, Thanks for the diligence and the effort to create these pages. As it happens, I am still touring and recording...all the info is on my webpage. Thanks for being there, James Lee Stanley."

The future country star group Exile made a stop at Wooden Nickel long before they had turned to country music, or for that matter, several years before their #1 pop hit "Kiss You All Over."

The Wooden Nickel label was brown, with a backdrop of the obverse of a buffalo nickel done in wood tones. At the top of the label, in white lettering, was "wooden nickel". This design was used throughout the life of the label.

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 Wooden Nickel 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 2002 by Mike Callahan.



Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents

WNS-1000 - Wooden Nickel - Wooden Nickel [1971]

WNS-1001 - String Cheese - String Cheese [1971] Produced by James Lee Golden and Barry Alan Fasman.. Artists: Greg Block, Louis Constantino, William Dalton, John Maggi, Sally Smaller, and Lawrence W. Wendelken. For Now/Crystal/We Share/Here Am I/Empty Streets/Forage/Soul Of Man/Certain Kind Of Day/Woke Up This Morning

WNS-1002 - The Siegel-Schwall Band - Siegel-Schwall Band [1971] This album cover won a Grammy in 1972 for best album cover of the year. Produced by Bill Traut and Peter Szillies. Partly recorded live at the Quiet Knight, Chicago. (Wish I Was On A) Country Road/Devil/Leavin'/Corrina//I Won't Hold My Breath/Next To You/Hush, Hush

WNS-1003 - David Patton - David Patton [1971] Produced by James Lee Golden. Country album with Larry Carlton, Larry Brown, Tom Hensley, Bill Perry, and Buddy Emmons. You Are Gone/The T.V.A./The Devil In Me/Lincoln Freed Me Today/I'd Rather Be At The Grand Ole Opry/Bourgeoise Woman/Winter's Comin' On/Only Yesterday/Back To Atlanta/No Not Now/That Girl

WNS-1004 - In the Megan Manner - Megan McDonough [1972] Produced by Bob Monaco, Jim Golden, and Barry Fasman. Guitar Picker/Stay In Touch/Pocketful/Don't Worry Mama/Kevin Jane/Peacemakers/Vintage/Song Without A Story/Room And Board/Comin' Down Easy/On The Shores Of Your Tomorrow

WNS-1005 - Buckeye - David Patton [1972] Country album with Buddy Emmons, Larry Carlton, Larry Brown, Bill Perry, Lincoln Mayorgo, Michael Lang, Gib Guilbeau, and others.


WNS-1007 - Megan Music - Megan McDonough [1972] Lady In Love/Second Avenue/No Return/Eulogy For A Rock N' Roll Band/California Cowboy/Dark Cafes/Broken Guitar/All Time Heartbreak/Let Me Sing The Blues/Dirty Dishes/The Word's All Around

WNS-1008 - Styx - Styx [1972] Produced by Bill Traut and John Ryan. Reissued in 1975 as BWL1-1008; reissued in 1978 as RCA AFL1-3110. Reissued in 1979 as Styx I on RCA AFL1-3593. Reissued in 1981 as Styx I on RCA AYL1-3888. Movement For The Common Man- Children Of The Land-Street Collage-Fanfare For The Common Man-Mother Nature's Matinee/Right Away//What Has Come Between Us/Best Thing/Quick Is The Beat Of My Heart/After You Leave Me

WNS-1009 - Wolfman Jack - Wolfman Jack [1972] Reissued in 1975 as BWL1-1009. Produced by Don Sciarotta, of Quantum Productions. Sweet Caroline/Diggin' On Mrs. Jones/Spinning Ball/Let Me Belong To You/Hey Wolfman/others

WNS-1010 - Sleepy Hollow - Siegel-Schwall Band [1972] I Wanna Love Ya/Somethin's Wrong/Sleepy Hollow/Blues For A Lady/His Good Time Band/You Don't Love Me Like That/Sick To My Stomach/Always Thinkin' Of You Darlin'/Hey, Billie Jean

WNS-1011 - James Lee Stanley - James Lee Stanley [1973] Produced by Barry Fasman and Jim Stanley. Musicians: Jim Stanley (acoustic & electric guitars, vocals), Gib Guilbeau (fiddle), Doug Dillard (banjo), Larry Carlton (electric guitar), John Jarvis (piano), Michael Omartian (piano, organ), Mark Tulin (bass), Don Dunn (background vocals), John Batdorf (background vocals), Mark Rodney (background vocals). Runnin' After You/No Trace/Every Minute/I Knead You/Wash Away//Afternoon Rain/There Is A Woman/Where Am I Now/River/Taking You Home

WNS-1012 - Styx II - Styx [1973] (1-75, #20) Produced by John Ryan and Bill Traut. Reissued in 1975 as Wooden Nickel BWL1-1012. Reissued in 1979 as Lady on RCA AFL1-3594. Reissued in 1982 as Lady on RCA AYL1-4233. You Need Love/Lady/A Day/You Better Ask/Little Fugue in "G"/Father O.S.A./Earl Of Roseland/I'm Gonna Make You Feel It

BWL1-0119 - Through the Ages - Wolfman Jack [1973] Johnny Do It Faster/The Blob/One Mint Julep/The First Time/Sugar Plum Jones//The Rapper/My Girl/Ling Ting Tong/Stagger Lee/Old Man River

BWL1-0120 - Exile - Exile [1973] Devil's Bite/Ridin' Thumb/You're My Woman/Mabel/Just One Victory//Jesus Is Just All Right/Please Be There/Believe/Do What You Think You Should/Hold Tight, Woman

BWL1-0121 - 953 West - Siegel-Schwall Band [1973] I'd Like To Spend Some Time Alone With You My Friend/Traitor From Decatur/Good Woman/Just Another Song About The Country/Sung By A City Boy/When I've Been Drinkin'/Old Time Shimmy/Off To Denver/I Think It Was The Wine/Reed Zone (Psychiatric Institution Blues)/Blow Out The Candle

BWL1-0145 - Keepsake - Megan McDonough [1973] With Larry Carlton, Michael Omartian, Jim Gordon and Jim Horn. Stars/Texas Motel/Angry Eyes/Not The Same Woman/Chances R/Hold On/Love Comes And Love Goes/Daddy Always Liked A Lady/Stars/Wishing For You/Where Do I Go From Here

BWL1-0146 - James Lee Stanley, Too - James Lee Stanley [1973] Tried To Keep It Together/Free Way Wine/You Need Two/A Little Applause/This Could Be Goodbye//Hello Babe/Natural Sugar/You Into Me (We Can Make It)/Wishing Well/Lydia (A Song Of Seduction)

BWL1-0287 - The Serpent Is Rising - Styx [1974] (2-74, #192) Reissued in 1979 as Serpent on RCA AFL1-3595, and in 1981 as Serpent on RCA AQL1-4111. Witch Wolf/The Grove Of Eglantine/Young Man/As Bad As This/Winner Take All/22 Years/Jonas Psalter/The Serpent Is Rising/Krakatoa/Hallelujah Chorus/(Plexiglas Toilet)

BWL1-0288 - Last Summer: The Siegel-Schwall Band Live - Siegel-Schwall Band [1974] Rock Me Baby/You Don't Love Me Like That/I Won't Hold My Breath/Sun Is Shining/Let's Boogie/Hey Billie Jean/West Coast Blues/Out-A-Gas?

BWL1-0430 - Three's the Charm - James Lee Stanley [1974]

BWL1-0431 - Magic - Richie Lecéa [1974] Slowin' Down But Goin' Faster/Ain't Nobody Like You/I Want a Home/Maybe I Can Find a Way/Sometimes It May Seem Easy//Magic Is You/Save My Home/Yellow Brick Road/Season of the Mist/So I Sing Songs to You

BWL1-0499 - Sketches - Megan McDonough [1974] You're Turned My Head Around/Empty Spaces/Do Me Wrong, But Do Me/Mirror/What Am I Gonna Do?/One Woman/Delta Shelter/No Southern Man/Jesus Children Of America/Rainmaker/If Love Is A Dream/Coming On Strong

BWL1-0554 - R.I.P. - Siegel-Schwall Band [1974] Take Out Some Insurance/Pretty Good/(I) Can't Believe You Wanna Leave/Wild About My Lovin'/Night Time's The Right Time/I'm A Hog For You Baby/Tell Me Mama/You Don't Have To Go/Long Distance Call/It's Too Short/Women Make A Fool Out Of Me

BWL1-0635 - Mo - Mo McGuire [1974] I Got You Covered/Mama Was A Cowgirl/Living Without You/Chicago Bust Rag/Hard Lovin' Blues/Mean Old Frisco Blues/Just About Over The Hill/Take Out Some Insurance/First Day Of May/Hold An Old Friend's Hand/Saturday Night In The Summertime

BWL1-0638 - Man of Miracles - Styx [1974] (11-74, #154) Reissued in 1979 as Miracles on RCA AFL1-3596. Rock & Roll Feeling/Having A Ball/Golden Lark/A Song For Suzanne/A Man Like Me/Lies (Unfinished Song)/Evil Eyes/Southern Woman/Christopher, Mr. Christopher/Man Of Miracles

BWL1-0673 - It's All Done with Mirrors - Richie Lecéa [1975] Keep On Dreamin'/Crazy Music Man/Travelling In A Circle/Everyday I'm Trying/Through It All/Love, Love/I'll Take You Home/Moonchild/Rainy Day

BWL1-0772 - Come Again - Jaggerz [1975] I'll Be Okay In The Morning/Love Music/Satisfaction Guaranteed/It's Me/Gotta Find My Way Back Home//High Heel Rockin' Roll Shoes/Shame On You/Don't It Make You Wanna Dance/2+2/It's Better To Have And Don't Need

BWL1-0790 - Schizoid - Boa [1975]

BWL1-0791 - Zazu - Zazu [1975] Produced by Zazu, Bill Trout, and Barry Mraz. Country Eyes/Upon The Island Unisphere/Just Friends/Midnight Train//Ittsanottasonatta, But It's Close/Morning Rain

reissue BWL1-2250 - Best of Styx - Styx [1977] Reissued in 1979 as RCA AFL1- 3597 with a different cover. You Need Love/Lady/I'm Gonna Make You Feel It/What Has Come Between Us/Southern Woman/Rock & Roll Feeling/Winner Take All/Best Thing/Witch Wolf/The Grove Of Eglantine/Man Of Miracles


Varèse Sarabande/Varèse Vintage VSD-6006 - The Very Best of the Siegel-Schwall Band: The Wooden Nickel Years (1971-1974) - Siegel-Schwall Band [1999] Corrina (S)/Next To You (S)/(I Wish I Was On A) Country Road (M)/Always Thinkin' OF You Darlin' (S)/Blues For A Lady (S)/Hey Billie Jean (S)/His Good Time Band (S)/Sick To My Stomach (S)/Somethin's Wrong (S)/I'd Like To Spend Some Time Alone With You Tonight My Friend (S)/Old Time Shimmy (S)/Traitor From Decatur (S)/Out-A-Gas (S, live)/I Won't Hold My Breath (S, live)/Night Time Is The Right Time (S)/It's Too Short (S)


Wooden Nickel singles, like the albums, started with their own numbering system, but in 1973 were put into the consolidated RCA numbering system where they shared a catalog numbering sequence with all of the RCA-distributed labels. The label design was the same as for the albums, that is, a brown, wood-like color with a buffalo nickel backdrop, and "wooden nickel" in white at the top of the label. Promotional records used the same design, with "NOT FOR SALE" printed on the label. Promo copies usually featured the same song on both sides, one mono and one stereo. The deejay numbers on the 65-0100 series were completely different (e.g., the promo issue of "Guitar Picker" was SP/SPS-45-314 vs. the commercial issue of 65-0105). The WB-10000 series deejay issues used the same numbers, but with a "JH-" prefix instead of "WB-".

Number - Artist - Contents (Chart) [Release Date]

65-0100 - David Patton - The Devil In Me/You Are Gone [1971]
65-0102 - Megan McDonough - Pocketful/Don't Worry Mama [1972]
65-0103 - David Patton - Her/Like Tonight [1972]
65-0104 - Siegel-Schwall Band - Always Thinking Of You Darling/Sleepy Hollow [1972]
65-0105 - Megan McDonough - Guitar Picker/Stay In Touch [1972]
65-0106 - Styx - Best Thing (9-72, #82)/What Has Come Between [1972]
65-0107 - David Patton - People In Dallas Go Hair/Los Angeles Leavin' [1972]
65-0108 - Wolfman Jack - I Ain't Never Seen A White Man (9-72, #106)/Gallop [1972]
65-0109 - Megan McDonough - Lady In Love/? [1972]
65-0110 - Wolfman Jack - There's An Old Man In Our Town/Hey Wolfman [1972]
65-0111 - Styx - I'm Gonna Make You Feel It/Quick Is The Beat Of My Heart [1972]
65-0112 - Megan McDonough - Broken Guitar/No Return
65-0113 - James Lee Stanley - Every Minute/I Knead You [1973]
65-0114 - Siegel-Schwall Band - Good Time Band/Hey Billy Jean [1973]
65-0115 - Exile - Devil's Bite/Mabel [1973]
65-0116 - Styx - Lady/You Better Ask [1973]
65-0117 - Wolfman Jack - Ling Ting Tong/Johnny Do It Faster [1973]
65-0118 - James Lee Stanley - Wishing Well/This Could Be Goodbye [1973]

Changes to RCA Consolidated Series. The series used four prefix letters, the first of which indicated if the single was on the RCA parent label (=A) or a subsidiary/distributed label (=B). The second letter indicated the label, with "W" indicating Wooden Nickel. The third letter was mostly "B" except for a few pop artists' reissues (=A), and the final letter was always "O". Since many labels shared the sequence, the Wooden Nickel numbers are not continuous.

BWBO-0006 - Exile - Do What You Think You Should/Hold Tight Sweet Woman [1973]
BWBO-0032 - Megan McDonough - Daddy Always Liked A Lady/Wishing [1973]
BWBO-0065 - Styx - You Need Love/Winner Take All [1973]
BWBO-0066 - Siegel-Schwall Band - Old Time Shimmy/Blow Out The Candle [1973]
BWBO-0110 - Wolfman Jack - The Rapper/My Girl [1973]
BWBO-0137 - Megan McDonough - Love Comes And Love Goes/? [1974]
BWBO-0138 - James Lee Stanley - Afternoon Rain/Lydia [1974]
BWBO-0190 - Siegel-Schwall Band - I Think It Was The Wine/Traitor From Decatur [1974]
BWBO-0207 - Christopher - Henry's Highway/Get Me Goin' In The Right Direction [1974]
BWBO-0252 - Styx - Young Man/Unfinished Song [1974]
BWBO-0264 - Richie Lecea - Magic Is You/Season Of The Mist [1974]
BWBO-0322 - Mo McGuire - Mama Was A Cowgirl/Saturday Night In The Summertime [1974]

RCA Consolidated numbering system changes to the PB-10000 sequence, with the letter prefixes pared down to the middle two letters of the four-letter combination above.

WB-10004 - James Lee Stanley - Plenty Of Reason/Windmill [1974]
WB-10027 - Styx - Lies/22 Years [1974]
WB-10043 - Richie Lecea - Season Of The Mist/Slowin' Down But Goin' Faster [1974]
WB-10101 - Mo McGuire - First Of May/Just About Over The Hill [1974]
WB-10102 - Styx - Lady (12-74, #6)/Children Of The Land (Short Version) [1974]
WB-10107 - Donny Mann - I'm A Weak Man/Try Me [1974]
WB-10193 - Boa - Crazy Days/Love Ranger [1975]
WB-10194 - Jaggerz - 2+2/Don't It Make You Want To Dance [1975]
WB-10272 - Styx - You Need Love (5-75, #88)/You Better Ask [1975]
WB-10329 - Styx - Best Thing/Havin' A Ball [1975]
GB-10492 - Styx - Lady/Children Of The Land [1975]
WB-11205 - Styx - Best Thing/Winner Take All [1978, Golden Standard Series]

Promotional Issues:

SP/SPS-45-299 - Megan McDonough - Pocketful (mono)/Pocketful (stereo) [1972]
SP/SPS-45-314 - Megan McDonough - Guitar Picker (mono)/Guitar Picker (stereo) [1972]
SPS/SP-45-411 - Wolfman Jack - There's An Old Man In Our Town (stereo)/There's An Old Man In Our Town (mono) [1972]
SPS-45-442 - Styx - Father O.S.A./A Day [1972]
JH-10272 - Styx - You Need Love (stereo)/You Need Love (mono)

Thanks to James Lee Stanley and Marty Childress.

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