the Triumphs / Marv and Betty and the Triumphs


Dayton, 1962-8

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L-R: Barry Kiefaber, Tad Devlin, Marvin Smith, Kenny Bender, Keith Rabold. Betty Reed and Bill Witherspoon were not present

Dayton's Triumphs were a salt-and-pepper band with male and female vocals. Former member Barry Kiefaber provides this first hand account:

"The band started out as The Fadeaways. In 1962 or so, Marvin Smith and his cousin, Betty Reed were added and the band took a much more R n B sound. At that time it consisted of Kenny Bender - Lead Guitar and leader, Tad Devlin - Bass Guitar, Bill Witherspoon - Tenor Sax, Keith Rabold - Drums, and I played a Wurlitzer Electric Piano. Of course Marv and Betty did fantastic vocals. "

"We played a lot of the music venues in Dayton in the mid 60's such as Wampler's Ballarina, Forest Park Caverns, The Coconut Lounge in Urbana, and a lot of the local High School Dances. Marv and Betty nailed songs like Mockingbird, Can I get A Witness, Mickey's Monkey, Stubborn Kinda Fellow, Shout, Sally Go Round The Roses, Try Me, and on and on. With Bill's Tenor Sax, he contributed songs like Harlem Nocturne, Wham, and other Sax Driven gems of the day."

The Triumphs recorded their 1st 45  got it released on Cha-Cha records. The song "You Gotta Dance" got some action in the area.

"The first attempt at recording was approximately 1964. We went down to Cincinnati and recorded a song that had a definite Chuck Jackson sound to it. I don't even remember the name of the song or where it came from. We did a couple of instrumentals that would have been the "B" side, but nothing came of the session and that was that. As far as the Cha Cha label goes, If I remember correctly, Marvin had a friend who had a friend ect, and put the wheels in motion. Marvin was the one who wanted a single out and played on WING. After all. The Rough Riders has three records and part of an album. Ivan & the Sabres had a record out and so did Sonny Flaherty, and he figured we needed on too. The really weird thing was. It was Marvin's project so to speak, yet what came out as the "A" side was "You Gotta Dance" written and sung by Keith. It wasn't a bad song, but Marvin was the face of the group. The label told us they thought there was more of a market at that time for "POP' as opposed to R N B. We disagreed, but the people putting the money into the project made the discisions."

"That was the beginning of discontent and Marvin's eventual leaving the group. Betty was the first to go because she was pregnant and wanted to be a Momma. I left in 1966 because I was in college down at Morehead Kentucky, and the three hour drive to Dayton got to be too much. They replaced me with a guy named Larry, but in less than a year, the whole thing unravelled and the Triumphs were through for good. Such a shame for such a good band with lots of potential, but that is how it is in the music business."

The band recorded a second 45 for Cha-Cha that is more pop influenced. There is a female singer, but it was not Betty. 

"We did not go to Chicago, but went to "I Believe" Metro Sound. We spent most of one day in there and recorded 7 or 8 tracks. I'm not sure of the timing of the two releases, but You Gotta Dance came out first. Bring It On Home w as a song we had played for most of our career. (Editor - I think Bring It On Home was the better song) It should have been the A side. It sold well locally, but that's about it. The other record came out after I had left the group. I understand Marvin tried to take over the band and had another singer with him and voiced over the instrumental tracks. By then Keith had left to go to the Navy and Bill Witherspoon missed a lot of gigs, so the Real Triumphs were pretty much gone and the record did nothing. I wasn't involved with it and know almost nothing. It was technically the Triumphs with Marvin, but not the real core of the group from what Keith told me."

Discography :
You Gotta Dance / Bring It On Home - Cha Cha 747, 1966
I Need You / Baby Don't Leave Me - Cha Cha 750, 1967

Thanks to Barry Kiefaber