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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink Tony Hilder

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This extract is posted with the permission of Ray Baradat, the author of the original text. It is from the liner notes to Bacchus Archives BA1134, Rare L.A. Tracks: West Coast Style Vintage R&B and Doo-Wop, 1956-1964.

Although the focus of this collection is West Coast doo-wop, the notes contain information on the career of Tony Hilder, surf music record promoter, which I have not seen elsewhere. The collection itself also contains three non-surf instrumental tracks, one vocal track The Soul which is the Charades {Latin Knights] backed by the Rhythm Kings, and a number of tracks co-authored by Robert Hafner, Tony Hilder, or Al Garcia, all names familiar to people interested in the Hilder surf recordings. The liner notes are actually credited in full to Ray Baradat, Chloe Winston, and Jim Mendoza.

Ray Baradat sang tenor and baritone with a vocal combo called the Latin Knights, which Hilder recorded under the name the Charades. This recording was mainly doo-wop vocals, but included a number of surf-related vocals, including in particular the voices over the various Charades versions of Delano Soul Beat. The instrumental support for the Charades, the "Charades Band," also recorded two excellent California style instrumentals released as Christina and Sophia on Bacchus Archives BA-1135 Al Garcia and the Rhythm Kings ... with Tracks by the Charades Band. (The members of the Rhythm Kings band and the Charades band were in and out of various bands with each other from high school on.)

I also especially like one vocal track, Turn Her Down, sung by the Coupons, a combo notable for including as one member the sister of Tony Hilder's wife at the time, Barbara Adkins. Barbara Adkins is known to surf music history as the female voice in the voice overs on the Revels' Church Key. Her sister is not named in the notes, however the other Coupons track is attributed to Materlyn & the Coupons. (Madelyn, maybe?) This track is a version of Turn Him Down, recorded by Emmett Lord and also included in the collection. The composition in both cases is credited to K.C. Reeth & Robert Hafner.

Here's what Baradat et al. have to say about Hilder:

In the early 50's Anthony Hilder was a promotion man for a nightclub in Los Angeles, then joined Tender records as an A&R director in the late 50's. He later joined the Kent/Modern organization. A good friend of Jesse Belvin, an artist on this album, he knew all the major names in the L.A. music business. In 1959 he left Kent/Modern to be an independent. His first label, CT, was a start. Other releases on Challenge and Jaguar have Hilder's name, either as a publisher, writer or orchestra leader.

Impact, his second label, was formed to serve as an outlet for those masters which he could not distribute otherwise.

In the early 60's, Hilder quickly capitalized on surf music, cutting records in the morning and peddling them by evening to small recording companies. According to some, Hilder was responsible for more local surf music being recorded and released than any one individual. He scattered singles about as frequently as albums -- the labels were a veritable alphabet soup of LA recording companies.

One year, he had more products released than any other producer in the U.S., usually featuring local groups doing original material. Hilder could have been a leading record company executive if he had stayed out of politics, but he became enamored with the right-wing, and it influenced him to such an extent that he even put conservative slogans on the labels . The more he went into politics, the less time he had for music. By the end of the Goldwater Campaign of 1964, he was out of the music field.

When I met Hilder, my group the Charades were playing in Santa Maria at a battle of the bands. Wearing shoulder length hair and a tight black leather suit, he gave me a lot of "hype" about being an L.A. record producer. The next night while we were playing in San Luis Obispo, he approached us again. This time I asked him to call me at home, though I took his comments with the proverbial grain of salt. ...

The Charades began recording any and all material that Hilder gave us, We eventually recorded over 30 songs, of which only nine were released. ... By mid 1964, Tony was involved in politics and I was drafted. This ended our recording association with Hilder. ...

In 1974, I decided to try to find Tony Hilder, after a 10 year hiatus, in order to locate old masters by the Charades. We met and he loaned me what became a station wagon full of tapes he had stored in a garage in Santa Monica. ...

You can find Rare L.A. Tracks listed for sale at places like CD Universe, along with The Charades Connections, which is probably mainly interesting to surf music fans because it includes an undated (1970s?) Santana-esque recording of Christina arising from Baradat's later recording activites.

Ray Baradat kindly provided me with the following picture to illustrate this extract.


L to R standing top: Bruce Morgan, Johnny Johnson (Charade/Latin Knight), Al Garcia (Rhythm Kings), Hank Dalton (Charade/Latin Knight), Tony Hilder, Jackie , Levern Butler (Charade/Latin Knight), Vincent Bumatay (Rhythm Kings), Art "Tootie" Rodriguez (Rhythm Kings).

L to R kneeling bottom: Syl Grigsby (Charade/Latin Knight), Manuel Garcia (Rhythm Kings), Ray Baradat (Charade/Latin Knight), Ignacio "Iggy" Perez (Charade/Latin Knight).

Baradat says this picture was taken at a Rhythm Kings and Charades session in November 1962 at the Bob Summers studio in El Monte, CA. Bruce Morgan was just visiting, as a friend of Tony Hilder. The picture came to Baradat from Hafner who is probably the photographer.

Last edited: Jul 13, 2010 13:29:15

Very nice info & great picture! Thanks!!

There´s also a great deal of information on Tony Hilder and his colleagues (and on Ted Brinson´s legendary garage studio) on John Koontz´s myspace page.

Thanks, JC. I apologize for the length. I wanted to say something about why a surf fan might like this CD and include most of the quote. A trimmed version of that picture is on the back of the CD cover. I like that "OMG, look where I am" grin on Morgan's face. I left out a little of the good stuff ... like the full description of Hilder's outfit.

Although as far as numbers it obviously has to be taken with that grain of salt, it does give some valuable insights into Hilder's musical activities, information missing elsewhere. I'm intrigued by the description of the Mark Anthony band, the instrumental group.

Interesting - thanks for the info! Those two Charades Band songs on Dionysus' Al Garcia & the Rhythm Kings collection were pretty cool. (Maybe not on par with the RK stuff, but that's a given.) It was really easy to pick Vince Bumatay out of that pic even without the caption.

And please don't edit this one when BTD throws the inevitable fit. Very Happy

That was excessively violent and completely unnecessary. I loved it.

Interesting - thanks for the info! Those two Charades Band songs on Dionysus' Al Garcia & the Rhythm Kings collection were pretty cool. (Maybe not on par with the RK stuff, but that's a given.) It was really easy to pick Vince Bumatay out of that pic even without the caption.

I hate all editors, especially when they're right. However, I have deleted only my mouthy opinions, here and there, no actual facts. Here's an opinion I will never delete, however: Christina is one of the coolest songs ever. Written for Christina Cuellar by her husband, Eddie, while driving down to L.A. to record something for Hilder. (I didn't check, but I think I have that right.)

Yeah, Vincent Bumatay (BOO-muh-tay) (deceased) is pretty recognizable. I got Vince and Al and Tootie and Ray right without help, but the rest of my guesses were all wrong.

Last edited: Jul 15, 2010 04:54:56

Jeez ... I played in the Charades for about 5 years in the 80's (I think) Laughing

Your text to link here...

I summed up Tony Hilder's work on Impact and other labels.
May help your interest.

Edie Ugata of The El Caminos

Wow, Eddie! Welcome to the site. I'm a big fan of the El Caminos!

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Brian wrote:

Wow, Eddie! Welcome to the site. I'm a big fan of the
El Caminos!

Here's my poor Web Pages.

Your text to link here...
Your text to link here...

Last edited: Apr 16, 2011 13:18:09

Eddie, it's great to have your links for Impact! That's a serious discography site.

I'm also a fan of the El Caminos, so I appreciate those links too! I like your cover of Exotic! May I ask, was it based on the Dave Myers version or the Original Surfaris version?

Also, since you're so thorough about these things, I wonder if by chance you know anything about the Clee-Shays discography in Japan?

Thanks for interesting about my discography.

I finished about IMAPCT, WESTCO label.
Keep uploading rest of Hilder's work.

Please check
Discography Top Page

I'm trying to collect'em all label.
I will put Downey, Del-Fi, Challenge, Titan and Swan....
Incomplete collections..... about 80% to 95%

That Exotic is based on the Dave Myers version with shouting intro.

About Clee-Shays in Japan, many 45 and Lps were released but I believe
some of them are released under the name but different band.
May be Japanese band.... I will check them, my friend may have disco on Teichiku Union label.

Keep in touch

Thanks, I will look into these leads and keep in touch!

The Orginal Surfaris Exotic has that shouted intro "Outside!" too, which is one reason I wondered.

Tony Hilder aka Anthony J. Hilder was also Mark Hilder! In the Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series, Volume 16, Part 5, Number 1, it says on Page 270 that Mark Hilder is the pseudonym of Anthony J. Hilder.
See here

So that expands Hilder's roles somewhat. Also in Discogs, on Ace's The Birth Of Surf comp, Mark Hilder is credited for bass on "Latin'ia" by The Sentinels. See here

Last edited: Jan 18, 2020 23:49:55

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