Oak Cliff Mirror & Glass,
Randall Reed's Prestige Ford,
Nervous Records & RUFF KUTT Records

The Excels of
Mc Kinney, Texas

Posted July, 2009 - Posted July, 2009 - We were invited to play at the South By South West Music Festival in March of 09. That was our fare well gig. Roger is playing in a praise band full time now. Danny is still with his 60's-70's band.╩James Goode is╩now hanging with blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh!╩James wrote the songs in╩The Mill Block Blues by The RUFF KUTT Blues Band featuring Anson Funderburgh.╩ The blues album won the "Coolest Blues Song of 2011" competition sponsored by The Big City Rhythm and Blues Magazine. Anson told╩James that╩James was one of the factors that contributed to his desire to be a guitar player. He would come and watch the Excels play when he was 10 years old. Our CD is The Mill Block Blues by The RUFF KUTT Blues Band. He told me that I was one of the factors that contributed to his desire to be a guitar player. He would come and watch the Excels play when he was 10 years old. Here are some pics:

Posted May, 2009 - The Excels have rejoined for the after screening party of the Teen A Go Go movie at the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth. Their show was taped and is on You Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb3sQWx_bt4

Posted 7/21/08 - Danny and James (representing the Excels) are being featured in a movie about the bands from the 60's in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. It is called The Teen A Go Go Movie.

The Excels were created December of 1963 in Mc Kinney, Texas. The four members of the Excels were: Roger Bennett, lead guitar; Gibson Harris on drums; Danny Goode on bass guitar and lead vocalist and James Goode on rhythm guitar. Danny, Roger and Gibson were juniors in Mc Kinney high school and had been practicing for a school talent show. James, Danny's older brother had listened to the three practice and suggested that the four of them form a band ... just for fun.

The Excels @ Poor David's Pub opening for:
Kenny and the Kasuals / The Nite Kaps - December of '07

All of a sudden they became very popular. They were invited to just about every party in town. And, of course, they were asked to bring their guitars and drums and play. Back then the guys would play every chance they got ... usually just for the fun and no money.

James was a freshman at North Texas State University. He started booking the band at various frat parties at NTSU. The word spread and soon the Excels were playing frat parties at SMU and TCU. The highlight of the frat parties was when the Excels played for a NTSU homecoming Party at the Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas. The party got so large and attracted such a crowd that the hotel staff had to take down the removable walls to accommodate the overflow. Seen at the party among the crowd was the current mayor of Dallas, Earl Cabell. Also seen dancing was another party crasher, Jane Mansfield and her husband, Mickey Hargaty.

After two years as a freshman at NTSU and on scholastic probation numerous times, James dropped out of school and started to work at Gibson's Discount Center in Mc Kinney. Sam Turner, the assistant manager of Gibson's booked the Excels for the Gibson's Discount Center employee Christmas party. The people at the party would not let the guys stop playing. The Excels wound up playing an extra set.

A few days later, Sam Turner asked James if the Excels would like to do a recording. He also asked if he could manage the band. After checking with the other guys, James agreed to the proposal. The guys signed a recording contract with Sam and he subsequently started the Gibson label. The guys in the band recorded "Let's Dance", written by Danny, at the Herring Studios in Fort Worth, Texas.

The guys toured on weekends to promote the single; appearing at as many as 4 Gibson Discount Centers on Saturday for free. Then James would book a Saturday night gig for the Excels for money, playing at such venues as LouAnns, The Red Jacket, and The Loft at Panther Hall.

The Excels would record one other 45 called "First Kiss" also written by Danny. It was during this time that Sam turned the booking of the band over to the Hugh Fowler Agency, in Dallas, Tx. Roger was drafted in late 65 and was replaced with Ron Vermillion from Van Alstyne, Texas. Vermillion stayed with the band until the Excels broke up.

James and Ron would book the Excels locally and a new booking agent by the name of Howard Reed began booking the Excels on tours. Howard Reed was at one time the lead guitar for Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. Extensive touring began to take it toll on the Excels. Gibson enlisted in the Amy in '66. Gibson's leaving the band was the final episode for the Excels, they formally disbanded in 1967.

Danny went on to front the Orphans and ATnT. Roger and Gibson were in the service. James went back to school and got married. Vermillion went into the music business, teaching guitar and opened a music store.

After 40 years, the Excels have been "discovered" two more times. In 1986, Barney Koumis, traveled from England to find James, now coaching football and Danny, owner of Oak Cliff Glass. By this time Danny's song, "Let's Dance" had been covered by various groups in the UK and Europe. The Excels version had been bootlegged in more than a dozen compilation albums in Europe and England.╩╩ Let's Dance is now considered a Rockabilly standard song in Europe.

... with Ron Vermillion

In 2005, Roy Williams CEO of Nervous Records, contacted James by email. Roy and James established a strong friendship. Roy had sought out the guys in the Excels to pay them royalties for "Let's Dance". One of Roy's bands, The Backbeats, had covered "Let's Dance". James and Danny subsequently signed with Roy as their agent overseas.

The Excels have been inducted in to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2006.

Ron Vermillion with James and Danny Goode

James Goode finally completed his education with a Ph. D. in secondary and higher education, is now retired after 36 years of teaching and coaching in Texas. He resides with his wife, Kay in Garland, TX. Danny Goode is co-owner of Oak Cliff Glass and Mirror, in Dallas and resides on Lake Granbury, TX with his wife Dana Ann. Roger Bennett is retired from playing rock and rollabilly, but plays in a religious praise band in Sherman, TX. Gibson Harris is currently working as an insurance underwriter in a brokerage firm in Dallas. Gibson and his wife reside in Richardson, Texas. Ron Vermillion is CEO of Vermillion Interprises; he and his wife resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Excels get together in December of each year with other 60's Texas bands; such as Kenny and the Kasuals, The Briks, The Novas and the Jackals for a reunion and jam session. Last year's jam session held at Lakewood Bar and Grill in Dallas drew upwards of 250 fans.

Brian Setzer with James

Posted, July, 2008

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