Though of little consequence nationally, Indianapolis was a hotbed of talent in the mid-sixties. The city’s best, namely the Boys Next Door, Idle Few and Sounds Unlimited, all recorded for Chicago’s Dunwich Records. Sounds Unlimited, in its original incarnation - featuring guitarists Phil Brandt and Steve Foster, bassist Ken Mahlke, and drummer Wayne Wilson – developed into a high energy rock band in the mold of the Yardbirds and Who. But as a recording act, early studio sessions in Chicago and Philadelphia merely languished in the vaults. Only in recent years has some of this material belatedly surfaced.
Following an accident, lead guitarist Brandt was replaced by fellow Indy musician Terry Talbot. When Ken Mahlke split for college, Talbot brought in his younger sibling John on rhythm guitar (with Steve Foster moving to bass). Six years his brother’s junior, John Talbot was a bit of a prodigy; barely in his teens and like Terry Talbot, already a force to be reckoned with musically.
Skeet Bushor, keyboardist of the Boys Next Door, was enlisted to produce the new lineup’s Dunwich debut. In fact, both sides of the Sounds Unlimited record, “A Girl As Sweet As You”/”Little Brother”, were penned by members of Bushor’s group; Boys Next Door guitarist Steve Lester and drummer Jim Koss, respectively. The Who and Kinks influences would take a back seat. Sounds Unlimited was now purely pop.
“A Girl As Sweet as You”, in particular, sounds like a long-lost Boys Next Door masterpiece. While on par with Dunwich’s best pop efforts, upon its release in ’67 the record inexplicably failed to chart. According to Terry Talbot, it was Bill Traut at Dunwich who encouraged the brothers to follow their first love, country music (but on Traut’s advice, to give it a rock feel). The result was Mason Proffit, the beloved precursor to the seventies country-rock sounds of the Eagles and so many others.