Several months ago, I was searching for information on a long-lost LP by Arnie and his Soul Brothers entitled “Doin’ the Prune”. It’s an excellent early 60’s rocker with a soulful jazzy flavor and one of the very few rock LP’s released in Indiana during the pre-Beatles era. When I stumbled into Arnie’s blog I thought immediately, “Hey, I know that guy!”
I’d met Arnie Goldberg in 2010 at a business networking event, and we had a pleasant chat for 30 minutes or so, yet I was without a clue that he had a musical past. Recently I ran into him again and decided it was well past time for an interview with Arnie. Sincere thanks to Arnie Goldberg for the info and photos, and if any of you have a copy of the LP that you’re willing to part with please let me know.
Q: Tell me about the formation of Arnie and the Soul Brothers. When, where and how?
A: Founded in 1959 Bloomington, Indiana Indiana University campus .. the first rock n roll, rhythm n blues, soul jazz group ever on the IU campus.
Q: You released two 45’s and one LP. When did they get released? Did you run your own label, or did someone else do it for you? What does “Emmes” mean?
A: Emmis was my own label (it means “truth” in Jewish) and we released “The Prune /”Lookout” in 1961 … followed six months later by “Tenderloin”/” Dream Theme”; all four songs were originals by the band. “The Prune”, “Tenderloin”, and “Dream Theme” were created by Marty Zuroff , “Lookout” was created by Arnie.
Q: Tell us about the recordings How many copies of the 45’s and the LP? Where did you get them pressed? Where was the music recorded?
A: “The Prune” was recorded in Don Sheets Studio, Nashville Indiana … a few others were recorded there… a couple were recorded in a studio in Chicago… All records were pressed by RCA in Indianapolis and if I were to guess 20,000 copies of “The Prune” were pressed before the rights to “The Prune”, and the band name Arnie & the Soul Brothers was sold to Jacob-Carle Records in Chicago .. rumors have it that “The Prune” was a hit in Brazil, Bolivia and a European country. However the bad news was that Jacob-Carle Records turned out to be a fly by night company and disappeared and I and the band never received any money from them.
500 albums were pressed at RCA in Indianapolis and approximately 100 of them were used for promotion for the band… the others were sold at retail at events etc …
Q: What was it like, musically, in the early 1960’s at Indiana University? What other kinds of bands/artists were around? Where did you play live?
A: The band was booked 32 times a year during the school year, for three full years never missing a single Friday or Saturday night .. played mostly on the IU campus, but did play several times at other universities, like Purdue, Ohio State, Wabash College, DePauw College, Ball State and several high school proms throughout Indiana. Our first year and last year (together for five years) we played approximately 20 times per school year. Our final year together, 1963, was spent in Indianapolis playing in three different bar locations. Two of the musicians were guaranteed two nights a week work and were actually on my payroll for three full years …
We played mostly fraternities and sororities, several campus wide dances at the Student Union, and the Delt Street Dance three different years with about 7,000 students dancing outside in the street. Competitive bands were playing what I called “society music” to include Al Cobine and 6 pieces playing Glen Miller and that type music… great musicians but not what the kids wanted.
Q: How and why did the band break up?
A: The band broke up when I got married in April 1964 and then had to go to the Army in June 1964 for two years.
Q: What is your fondest memory of being in Arnie and His Soul Brothers?
A: I think two of the fondest memories were playing on the Bandstand Show in Cincinnati (Bob Braun Show) with a group of dancers that accompanied us occasionally called the Benjy Schulman Dancers and they were on the TV show with us. Another was playing at the Rooftop Garden in Monticello, IN following Joey Dee and the Starlighters in for two weeks “The Peppermint Twist” … also playing at a large venue in Ft. Wayne with approximately 5,000 young dancers.
Q: If you were do one thing differently with the band, what would it be?
A: Same band . I was and still am very fond of organ jazz … and love organ combo’s with guitar, drums and saxophone … to include Jack McDuff, Joey De Francesco …. Loved Ray Charles’ big band.
Q: What else would you like people to know?
A: The band played one time in at my birthday party in 1989 after not playing for 25 years and now has a band job on December 18, 2011 which is 47 years since 1964, the last formal time the group played. Marty Zuroff passed away a few years ago and we will dedicate a couple songs to him …