North by Midwest, Day 2


Delighted to see you again on this, Day 2 of NXMW 2009.

Tonight, we have some old stuff for you from our corner of America.

I only vaguely remember Tongue as one of those bands making the rounds of bars, colleges and roadhouses of Wisconsin during the early ’70s. I don’t think I ever saw them, but I know I heard their name on the radio as their gigs were advertised.

Here is Tongue’s story, as told by Steve Seymour over at his fine (mostly Michigan) music blog Rock n Roll Graffiti:

“Founded in 1967 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout by singer/guitarist Paul Rabbitt and bass player Bob ‘Hippie’ Collins, the group was originally known as the Tennis Shoe Tongue Band. … (The band) quickly became student body favorites for its blues-based hard rock sound and ferocious live shows. …

“Tongue toured extensively with another Wisconsin band, Soup, and opened shows for many headliners on the Midwest concert circuit. Tongue toured with the Cleveland-based rock band James Gang, featuring Joe Walsh, and played with Chuck Berry, Cheap Trick, Michigan’s own Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper. … After gigging around the Midwest for a decade, the Tongue called it quits in 1976.”

Tonight on the NXMW turntable are a couple of tunes from Tongue’s 1969 album, “Keep On Truckin’.” Steve Seymour is right. This certainly is a heavy “blues-based hard rock sound,” and it was popular.


“The Tongue was lucky as our audiences accepted our original material even though we did not have Top 40 radio airplay,” Paul Rabbitt told Steve Seymour.

My copy of “Keep On Truckin'” is a dollar record found under the tents in my friend Jim’s back yard last fall. Enjoy these originals.

“Homely Man Blues” — Written by Rabbitt, but keyboard player Mick Larsen gives the Hammond organ quite a thorough workout. This one really must have cooked when played live.

“The Earth Song” — Written by Rabbitt and Bob Collins, whose guitars grind away. This one must have been pretty nasty live, too.

Both by Tongue, from “Keep On Truckin’,” 1969. It was recorded at Scott Sound Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and released on Hemisphere Records out of Madison, Wisconsin. The album link is to a 2000 re-release on Fab Gear Records, a European label. It has three songs not on the original record.

Readers’ note: My excerpt of Steve’s fine post is just the tip of the iceberg. Head over to Rock n Roll Graffiti to read more about Tongue, and to see some vintage photos of the band. You also may dig the embedded jukebox full of vintage rock from the Michigan music scene.


Filed under March 2009, Sounds

3 responses to “North by Midwest, Day 2

  1. Dave L.

    I saw saw Tongue a few times in Oshkosh and maybe Fond du Lac too. Theirs shows were very good as I remember. The band that really put on a kick ass live show was Crow, a band out of Minneapolis.

  2. I remember seeing Tongue at the Pack and Hounds club in Green Bay.The thing that amazed me about the band was the bass player had an Ampeg SVT top AND 8-10 bottom on each side of the stage! The bass guitar sound was unbelievable to me! I purchased a top and bottom Ampeg SVT system for my bass keyboard setup and used it until I couldn’t stand lugging it around all the time! The top weighs close to 90 pounds and the bottom 8-10 cabinet is about 120 pounds.Beautiful sound, but so heavy and cumbersome.

  3. Saw Tongue and enjoyed them many times at Pack & Hounds Pub in Green Bay, Wi. . Paul Rabbit was great fun to watch & listen too! The band was great !!! Bill Thomas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.