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Sensations (Hustlers)

East Cleveland/Willowick/Brecksville, 1964-9

sensations pic

L-R: Joey Gee, Jeff Gould, Jim Hughes, Ron Harkaii - taken at Hires Lounge the day they changed names to the SenSationS.

The Sensations (often billed SenSationS) were one of Cleveland's most popular players of the local style of 'Blue Eyed Soul". Lead by the excellent lead vocals of Jeff Gould, the Sensations packed dances and clubs all over Cleveland's east side. 

Band member Joey Gee (Giacomin) - "I was a founding member (Joey Gee) of the SenSationS – Our original name was the Montclairs…and included Jim Hughes (Guitar) Rick Biagiola (Drums) and Art Jones (Bass). We became the SenSations in the summer of 1964 while rehearsing at Hires Lounge in Wickliffe, Ohio. (Demo’s: “ I Don’t Wanna Hear it” written by Joey G .and “Good Bye” written by Jeff Gould and Joey Gee)."

"By this time, Art Jones had joined the Marines and Jeff Gould was added to the Group. Earlier in 1964, while Rick Biagiola was on an extended stay in Italy, Ron Harkaii filled in on Drums. Ron was the studio drummer on the Outsiders hit record,” Time Won’t Let Me”. Upon Rick Biagiola’s return from Europe, he rejoined the group and Ron Harkaii joined the Pilgrims along with Glenn Schwartz. Glenn Schwartz had a local Cleveland group by the name of the Sensations which were dissolving. He knew we were searching for a new name so he suggested that we take the name of his outgoing group."

"So- In the Summer of 1964 “The” SenSationS were born. Jeff Gould, Bass Guitar, Jim Hughes, Guitar, Rick Biagiola, Drums and Me, Joe Giacomin (Joey Gee) Guitar. All of us sang – Jeff and I covered most of the leads – all of us would switch off on harmonies, etc."

"We prospered under this configuration for the next two years. We played just about everywhere, from the clubs – Torchlight – Orbit (Utopia) - Shibley’s Sahara – the list goes on forever from the very best to the dives – all the way to the Cleveland Arena as one of the opening acts for the Beachboys. In the Spring of 1966 we brought Ray Cefaratti ( Saxaphone) and Gary Heil (Trumpet) into the group. At the same time, Rick Biagiola left the group to join the Outsiders. He was their drummer on all of their remaining hits. Replacing Ricky was Ronnie Herbert – originally the drummer with Frank Samson and the Whalers back in the “day”. I also left the group at this time. I was drafted and went to Viet Nam."

The group continued on playing for a few more years. Sometime around 1967/8 the group recorded a 45 of a couple of original songs. It seems like the record was done in Michigan, The record was released under the band name of the Hustlers, presumably as there were recording acts called the Sensations, including the Michigan soul outfit who recorded for Cleveland's Way Out label - and to which there is no connection between the groups. The story after that is not yet complete.

Thanks to Joey Gee