Castaways and Timothy D. Kehr
2006 - Band
Members: Dennis Craswell, Robert LaRoy Folshow, Dick Roby, Jim Donna, Roy Henley, Timothy D. Kehr
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Bio: By the end of 1965 the Castaways has sold nearly one million copies of their Soma smash single “Liar, Liar” and were literally on fire. The band was playing a 22-date West Coast tour, making appearances on such teen shows as ‘Shivaree,’ ‘Hollywood A Go Go’ and various Dick Clark productions such as “Where The Action is” and a cameo appearance in the movie, “It’s A Bikini World.”
The young Minneapolis group had made the leap from local – to regional – to national band status literally in the span of a few months, after the release of their first 45. However success doesn’t always come that easily. Hard work, patience and paying their dues had come first for the Castaways as they had existed nearly three years before their first single was released to the public.
The Castaways started in 1962 when Dick Roby and the other kids went to Roby’s house to jam. A couple weeks later drummer Denny Craswell joined in followed by singer Roy Hensley and guitarist Robert LeRoy Folschow. Not wanting to be just another guitar band, they recruited Jim Donna on keyboards in 1963.
The Castaways won the River City Talent Tournament in April of 1964, bringing them nightclub offers, media recognition and their first television appearance on “The Bill Carson Show” (WCCO-TV). The band worked as a team in Jim Donna’s basement to write “Liar, Liar”. Backed by their producer Timothy D. Kehr, with tape in hand they went to Amos Heilicher’s house. The owner of Soma Records liked the song, signed them up to a contract on the spot, and soon after released “Liar, Liar” with a Folschow original “Sam” on the flip side.
The 45 went to #1 locally in a matter of weeks. Before long it was huge on both coasts, reaching #12 on the Billboard charts. Roby left the band to pursue a solo career so Hensley switched to bass and the band hit the road. The Castaways went on an extensive tour of the West Coast, played Vancouver, British Columbia with the Beach Boys and appeared with Eric Burdon & the Animals. A second 45 was released in the fall of 1965 (Goodbye Babe/A Man’s Gotta Be A Man). With the second release, the Castaways found themselves on the road again to Texas, Indiana, Chicago and the East Coast.
By October of ’65, the band was heading out for its second West Coast tour including an appearance with Sony and Cher. In mid-1966 they stopped touring the country long enough to return to the Minneapolis studio Kay Bank to record a Folschow original song: “A Girl In Love.”
At the end of that year Folschow received his draft notice. Jim Donna went back to college and other musicians came and went for several years after that recording a total of 22 songs; the majority of which were original compositions.
The Castaways significantly impacted the Iowa music scene for several years and are honored as the 2006 Inductees from outside of Iowa along with their producer Timothy D. Kehr. He has the distinction of producing one of the “Top Ten 60’s Garage Records of the Decade” and played an important role in the early recording success of the Castaways. Kehr was one of the most influential Midwest record executives from the 60’s decade, working with many Iowa and Minnesota bands. He was Midwest Promotion Manager for Columbia and Epic Records, Motown Records, 20th Century Fox Records and Polydor Records. Kehr was named by Billboard Magazine as their Midwest Record Executive of the Year in 1972 through 1978 and is a voting member of the Grammy Awards Academy.