The Liberty Bell Story By Ronnie Tanner

After graduating from Ingleside High School across the bay from Corpus Christi, Texas in 1966, I was a member of the rock band ‘The Acoustics’ and we got the opportunity to play at the Carousel Club late that year. We were so excited to get to play in the ‘Big’ city where such local bands as ‘The Pozo Seco Singers’, ‘The Bad Seeds’, and a new group, ‘The Zachary Thaks’ were playing and getting radio air play on the top radio station KEYS.   We put on our show and afterward a man by the name of Carl Becker introduced himself to me and asked if I would be willing to come and audition for a band he was going to sign to his ‘CEE BEE’ record label. They were called ‘The Zulu’s’. I was asked to meet the band at the drummer Carl Aeby’s house and the audition went well. I was asked to join the group as lead singer and soon the band’s name was changed to ‘THE LIBERTY BELL’.  Things moved quite quickly after that. Recording sessions in McAllen, TX, band photos, songs to write and covers to learn, and lots of appearances. It seems  like just yesterday when the rhythm guitarist Richard Painter and I were driving around town and heard our first release, ‘The Nazz Are Blue’, come on the radio. I’ll tell you there was nothing like hearing Carl Aeby’s distinctive flam that sets the song in motion! Followed by that incredible guitar sound of Allen Hunt. It makes me smile to think about that moment.  Wayne Harrison, the bass player, said to me that when he first heard it on the radio it felt better than SEX and fast cars!  We all tried to see if that was true but I can’t remember now if it was! We were all so happy and worked so hard and dreamed of what would be next.  Soon we were back in McAllen tracking more songs while ‘The Nazz Are Blue’ (a Yardbirds cover) climbed the chart at KEYS Radio. A few weeks after the song hit the top ten at KEYS we were asked to do a Big Red soft drink commercial set to the tune and that probably did a lot for our popularity because the commercial was in higher rotation each day than the record  ‘For What You Lack’, a song written by Allen, became our second single and a song  I wrote called ‘That’s How It Will Be’ was put on the B- side. (I learned a few years ago that a group from Australia called the Lime Spiders covered ‘That’s How It Will Be’ and put it on their first album. I have recently been in contact with Mick Blood, the Spiders lead singer, and he promptly sent me a few copies to put in my collection
VIEW "THE LIBERTY BELL"  SINGLES   While ‘For What You Lack’ climbed the local charts, we began to branch out to other Texas cities and enjoyed a year of incredible fun and soon other stations were picking up the record.  We had fun listening to the ‘Thaks’ and ‘The Bells’ records on the radio. There was plenty of friendly rivalry to go around.  Soon, Sam Neely (another Corpus Christi singer whose band I would join some ten years later after returning from the US Army), had a song on the charts and the south Texas music scene was in full throttle .  We recorded a song I wrote called ‘Something For Me’ and it became our third single backed with a song written by Allen called ‘Al’s Blues’. "Something For Me"   
 View-Liberty Bell In Court  

Somewhere around this time in early 1968, we were being pitched to a major record label in Houston named Back Beat Records. I was of draft age and Viet Nam was taking a lot of my age group out of the populous and by August I was leaving the Beatle boots, suits, and ties of ‘The Liberty Bell’ and exchanging them for olive drab Army fatigues.  Chris Gerniotis, of the Zachary Thaks, was named as my replacement. The band recorded ‘Look For Tomorrow’ and ‘Thought’s And Visions’, both written by Chris, and they became the fourth release on the Back Beat label.  Another song by Chris, "Reality Is The Only Answer" was recorded in 1968 but never released unitl the 80's and then became the title of The Liberty Bell's CD released in 1995. View-Liberty Bell Recording Session        I remember returning home on leave from Basic training and seeing the band with Chris and I was incredibly proud having been a part of such a great band and great friends.  As I remember more stories, some of which can only be told among band members.
VIEW THE LIBERTY BELL PHOTO GALLERY      View-RADIO SURVEYS(1967-8  I find myself feeling a mixture of joy and pride for what we accomplished. A lot of people helped us and many of their names have passed into my distant memory but a few to be named are Carl Becker, Jim Chase, Charlie Brite, and Jim and Bill Melhart. Corpus Christi, Texas was a very cool place to be in 1967 and 1968!

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