The Golden Voice Recording Co. Story Documentary

Now on Youtube!

The Golden Voice Recording Co. Story

A story of passion, creativity, do-it-yourself attitude and success in small town Illinois during the early years of  rock ’n roll!

Here is the whole movie in a youtube playlist. Enjoy!

Now available: Golden Voice Recording Co. shirts:

(click the image below for more info)


Now available for preorder:
Unreleased pop-psych masterpiece from Morton, Illinois’ Thanatopsis. This album was recorded c. 1968 at Golden Voice Recording by Jerry Milam and unheard until 2018. Thanatopsis treats us to everything from baroque pop to psychedelic teenbeat garage. This release contains the first and only official reissue of the songs from their sought-after Golden Voice 45 as well as 10 other cuts, ranging from Mothers Of Invention inspired wackiness to sincere late ’60’s teen pop. Thantaopsis pushed the limits of the freshly built four-track studio with new sounds and experimentation.

LP / CD / Digital include insert with rare photos of the group and detailed liner notes.

Gidians Bible – Normal, IL – 1969 – OUT NOW

Normal, Illinois’ Gidians Bible recorded at Golden Voice in 1969. They cut a total of five original songs which are now available on 10″ vinyl / Compact Disc or download + streaming here:

The Contents Are recorded in 1969 at Golden Voice.

The Contents Are was a band from the Illinois / Iowa border. They were based in the Quad Cities.  They recorded an album in 1969 at Golden Voice which was never released. It is now available on LP / CD and digital via Alona’s Dream Records.

Remedy – The Golden Voice Sessions 1970 – 1975


From 1970 to 1975 Remedy was one of the top live rock bands in Illinois. Their recorded legacy, which was recorded at Golden Voice, has remained largely unheard until now. Recently an album was created from the restored four-track masters which were originally recorded with Jerry Milam engineering.  This album has been released via a collaboration between Golden Voice and Chicago based record label Alona’s Dream.  The album includes extensive liner notes and pictures detailing the history of the group.  It is the quintessential example of the kind of album recorded in Golden Voice’s heyday.   Available for purchase on vinyl, CD or digital (streaming / download) here:

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Bobby Mack “the man with 1000 voices”

Bobby Mack “the man with 1000 voices” (1932 – 2016) was a fixture on the country music scene in Illinois.  He recorded several notable rockabilly 45s in the 1950’s and early ’60’s.He worked with Jerry Milam and did some of the earliest recording at Golden Voice. He cut the single I’m Leaving You / The Cost Of Love in 1967, co-producing it with Jerry.   Unlike his earlier rockabilly songs cut ,for local labels Tempus and (his own) B-Mac, I’m Leaving You has more of a contemporary orchestral pop feel with an almost Byrds inspired guitar solo.

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Some great Golden Voice music back on vinyl!

Some new releases of old music coming from a collaboration between Alona’s Dream Records and Golden Voice!

Out now is Pekin, IL group Abaddon.  Their sole 45, released in 1969 is now available as a nicely packaged reissue.

Coming soon is Remedy.  Their unique brand of funky hard rock is finally seeing release after 40 years!



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Abaddon’s Blues Tomorrow / Gotta Have It reissue is now available!

Abaddon’s Blues Tomorrow / Gotta Have it reissue is now available for preorder  from Alona’s Dream Records here:

The first 80 preorder copies include a limited edition letterpress reproduction of the original Abaddon business card from 1969!  (while supplies last!)

Preview both songs here:

Straight from the vaults of the legendary Golden Voice Recording Co. comes the official repress of this early hard rock gem from 1969 by Pekin, Illinois band Abaddon.

This limited edition reproduction 7″ is sourced from the original tapes and comes in a handsome picture sleeve. Includes a two sided color insert with the history of the band as well as never before seen pictures!

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Irv Espedal, unreleased 1973 recording.

Irv Espedal recorded only one song called “I’ve Learned to Survive” at Golden Voice around 1973. It was recorded with Jerry Milam engineering the session. Irv had recently taken a job in Peoria, Illinois, moving there from his native South Dakota.  Upon his arrival he met Jerry, who encouraged him to record a number of the original songs he had written. The song featured Irv on lead vocals accompanied by three studio musicians coordinated by Jerry to lay down the instrumental tracks. At the time Irv didn’t have the funds to continue his project so the music never made it to an actual vinyl record. Being from a small town in South Dakota, Irv was impressed with Golden Voice as it was the first experience he had with professional studio. He says “Jerry played the final cut over the studio speakers and the sound mixing was impeccable.” The song is also notable for the high quality playing of the regular session musicians who were around Golden Voice in it’s prime.  

Irv got his start playing in a group called Dee and the Sabers from Mt. Vernon, South Dakota. Starting out in the 1960’s the group consisted of Don “Big D” Oakley, lead guitar; Vern Descombaz, lead rhythm & vocals; Bob Kretchmer, bass guitar; Charles “Skip” Hayes, drums and Irv Espedal, rhythm guitar & vocals.

Sabers poster

According to Irv:

“The Sabers’ claim to fame was a new idea at the time: about a week prior to a performance they would roll into a sleepy South Dakota farm town. They would search out an old (or possibly vacant) venue and post their promotion flyers announcing a live music dance. Returning to play on Saturday night, the Sabers were greeted by enthusiastic crowds happy to pay the one dollar admission collected at the door. Occasionally the Sabers would book a gig at an established ballroom which may have featured the likes of Conway Twitty the previous week.  The Sabers also played high school proms.  One particular night, the band had booked a prom in Murdo, SD.  Like most bands in the area, they used a 2-wheel trailer pulled behind an automobile to carry their music equipment.  However they had just recently acquired from an estate sale an older Cadillac hearse. Intending to use it for camping, the previous owner had welded a 1955 Ford car body onto the top of the hearse which made it ideal for hauling lots of stuff.  To get to the prom gig in Murdo, the Sabers loaded the band and all their equipment into the hearse. With Irv at the wheel, they headed west on HWY 16 in the early afternoon. 

About two miles outside of Murdo, and cruising along at about 80 mph on an S curve, there was a major malfunction. No one in the band had given it any thought, but since the hearse had sat idle for a couple of years prior to the estate sale, the tires were in terrible shape. As bad luck would have it, both of the rear tires blew out and the vehicle immediately lost control, rolled three times down a steep embankment, and landed upright in a field. The Sabers were only slightly injured, but all were somewhat shaken. During the hearse’s downward descent, the doors had popped open. So as the South Dakota highway patrol investigated the crash, the band gathered up the instruments that were scattered along the embankment. A farmer driving a stock truck stopped at the scene and offered to help load everything in the back of his truck and haul it to Murdo High School. Long story short…the Sabers collected themselves, managed to put their instruments and gear into playable condition, and made it to the Murdo school prom nearly on schedule. The hearse had been towed to an auto shop, and while the band played, and even with the severely bent frame, it was made drivable with two new used tires. The band made it back to Mt. Vernon at sunrise.  A couple of the Sabers took sledge hammers to the hearse to put it out of its misery.  This ended up being the final performance of Dee and the Sabers together.

Big D is now retired after a successful engineering career and lives in Wyoming and Florida. Vern passed away in November, 2014 while residing in Battle Creek, Nebraska.  At the time he was a band member of The Broken Spoke Band out of Norfolk, which still exists. Skip resides in Hot Springs, South Dakota and plays drums occasionally with a group in Sturgis. Bob’s last known address is Lenexa, Kansas, and Irv is retired from American Airlines and resides near Madison, Wisconsin.”

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The Beggars Opera Co. Farmington, IL.

 The Beggars Opera Company recorded a 45 at Golden Voice around early June in 1968.  The band consisted of Dave Diefendorf of Farmington on guitar & vocals, Marc Cook of Canton on bass, Arlan “Tucker” Van Petten of Trivoli on drums, Tom Hefley of Farmington on organ, and Danny Bollinger on vocals.  The night before the group recorded at Golden Voice, they played at their own high school graduation.  After the gig they slept in Dave Diefendorf’s car then went over to South Pekin the next morning to record. 

According to Tom Hefley: “The “B” side actually was pretty good but we wanted to push the “A” side pertaining to better living through modern chemistry.  After all, it was 1968.”  The band promoted the record themselves.  The release received a few plays on local AM radio stations and even made it all the way to the jukebox at the Farmington Tastee Freeze.

Hefley continues: “Our band was very fun to play in and it was a great time to be in a band.  Our biggest claim to fame is when our band played in Canton at a battle of the bands (which we lost) preceding The Doors” The concert was a battle of the bands before The Doors fabled appearance in Canton, IL.

Tom Hefley would go on to play with the group Souled Out who also recorded a record at Golden Voice. More info on them here. 

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