The Nightcaps were a blues / R&B group from Dallas, Texas. They were formed in 1958 by high school friends Billy Joe Shine (vocals), David Swartz (lead guitar), Jack Allday (drums), Mario Daboub (bass) and Gene Haufler (rhythm guitar). Although hugely popular on the local scene, they never quite made the breakthrough to achieve national fame. Despite this, the group continued to perform throughout the Sixties and beyond, albeit with several line-up changes.
The group's debut single "Wine, Wine, Wine" was issued in 1959 on the local label Vandan. A second single for the label, "Thunderbird", was released in 1960. The following year the outfit issued their one and only LP, also called "Wine, Wine, Wine". The album was recorded at the studios of WRR, one of the local radio stations in Dallas. The station's Kat's Karavan programme championed the group, with Karavan DJ Bill Carroll supplying the sleeve notes.
It would appear that the group recorded a handful of further 7" singles during the Sixties, but no follow-up LP. The Nightcaps were reportedly influential on other Texas musicians including Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top, both of whom recorded versions of the song "Thunderbird".
Links To Peel
"Dallas' big band when I lived there in the 1960s." (11 December 2003)The Nightcaps were a band that Peel remembered fondly from his time living in Dallas in the early Sixties. As mentioned above, the group had a close link with the Kat's Karavan radio show, the programme which gave Peel his first presenting job on the airwaves, most likely during 1961.
In 1980 Charly Records reissued the Nightcaps' album, prompting another spin of "Wine, Wine, Wine" on the programme on 12 February 1980. Peel comments that the sleeve notes were written by DJ Bill Carroll of Kat's Karavan, although he does describe them as "dreadful".
Broadcast on 11 December 2003, session guests from Minneapolis the Midnight Evils covered the Nightcaps' "Thunderbird", a song that had been popularised by ZZ Top on their 1975 "Fandango!" LP. This had given Peel the opportunity of airing the original version the previous evening. He was very complimentary about the Midnight Evils' version ("that is dazzling. And I love them for doing it too"), but commented that it would be nice if they could cover "Wine, Wine, Wine" should they return to record another session.
Wine, Wine, Wine
"When I lived in Texas I devoted most of my nights to hanging around with people from Bryan Adams High School - all the American teenage nonsense you know, parties, lakeside barbecues, drive-in movies, cruising, going to the drag racing at Caddo Mills - and all of this despite the fact that I was in my mid-twenties. Immature even then, you see. There was one record which was like an anthem for all of the kids in Dallas. This record." (30 August 1979)
Of the Nightcaps' recorded output, "Wine, Wine, Wine" was undoubtedly Peel's favourite - "one of the great records of all time" was the opinion he expressed on 23 December 2003. He indicated on several occasions how popular the song had been in the Dallas area during his time there:
"When I lived in Dallas, Texas that had to be played on the radio on every station at least once a night. Otherwise you hadn't got a radio station." (12 February 1980)
"This was the one record which you had to have if you lived in Dallas in the early 1960s. And it had to be played on every programme at least once, and it is a stormer." (14 October 2003)
"Wine, Wine, Wine" was amongst the forty songs Peel selected to mark his 40th birthday on the show broadcast on 30 August 1979.
On 14 October 2003, Peel reveals that over the weekend he had attended a record fair in Bury St Edmunds and had been pleased to pick up a 7" version of "Wine, Wine, Wine". He played it that night, again the following week and then opened what was to be his final Christmas special from Peel Acres with it. It is likely that this copy on the Musicor label was the one later found in John Peel's Record Box of his most treasured singles.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 30 August 1979: Wine, Wine, Wine (7") Parkway
- 03 September 1984: Wine, Wine, Wine (JP: "Ah, brings back memories, I can tell you.")
- 13 September 1988: Wild Cat (v/a LP - Strummin' Mental! Volume 2) Link
- 28 October 1990: Wine Wine Wine (7") Vandan
- 11 September 1997: Wine, Wine, Wine (LP - 12 Greatest Golden Oldies)
- 14 October 2003: Wine, Wine, Wine (7") Musicor
- 22 October 2003: Wine, Wine, Wine (7") Musicor
- 07 November 2003 (BBC World Service): Wine, Wine, Wine (7") Musicor
- 10 December 2003: Thunderbird (LP - Wine, Wine, Wine) Charly
- 23 December 2003: Wine, Wine, Wine (7") Musicor