The Sensational Soul Company

2003 - Band

Members: Al Klein, Loren Paulson, Mike Clague, Harold Hughes, Craig Snow, Dan Christensen, Ken Wachal, and Larry Arends


The Soul Company was formed in early 1968. The band, consisting of nine high school students, including Loren Paulsen and Ken Wachal from Estherville, Al Klein from Spirit Lake and Steve Schroeder from Lake Park. These four had played together in a band the prior year and had decided to add a horn section and become a “Flippers” type band.

They were joined by Darrell Henry of Spirit Lake; Mike Clague, Jim Kraft, Dan Christensen and Steve Willey of Estherville. They performed mainly at high school dances and teen centers within a 50-mile radius. They played the Roof Garden Ballroom at Arnolds Park as backup band for the “Box Tops” on June 11, 1968. Two days later a tornado hit the Park so the Soul Company performed in a “Battle of the Bands” in August at the “roofless” Roof Garden.

Soul Company broke up at the end of August, 1968 when some members went off to college. Loren, Al, Ken, Mike and Dan added Craig Snow from Sibley, Harold “Duck” Hughes from Spirit Lake and Larry Arends from Estherville. They added an adjective to the band’s name and became the “Sensational Soul Company.” They also began traveling further and played their first night club – The Macamba Club in Sioux Falls, S.D.

SSC won the 1969 “Battle of the Bands” at the Roof Garden in May; naming them “1969 Band of the Year.” They were sent by IGL Recording Studio of Milford to represent the Iowa Great Lakes on ABC-TV’s “Happening 69/Battle of the Bands” in California. They appeared on two shows, winning the first round and losing the second. The shows featured Paul Revere and the Raiders, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Freddy Weller and the first appearance of a new group called “3 Dog Night.”

The band also performed a half-hour live TV show for IPTV Fort Dodge. They were back up band for “Merril Lee Rush and the Turnabouts” at the Roof Garden in August before college claimed more casualties.

In order not to lose the band’s momentum, arrangements were made to combine with raining members of the band “The Shymen” who had disbanded for similar reasons. Loren and Mike teamed up with Daryl Hillburg, Dale Fraser and Mike Hansen from the Algona area. They added Randy Warrington, Bill Crim, and Steve Booth from Estherville. Two Iowa Lakes Community College students joined in: Bill Burt from Algona and Dave Driessman from George. With 10 pieces, the band was billed as Northwest Iowa’s hottest new band. Ken Stump was added as business manager to replace college-bound Al Klein.

By the summer of 1970 the band was down to nine pieces with some members having left and the addition of Gary Hagen from Algona, Mike Jones of Pittsburgh, Penn., and John Rhoweder from Estherville.

SSC won the 1970 “Battle of the Bands” at the Starlight Ballroom in Carroll and were elevated to headliner status at the Roof Garden. September of that year once again robbed the band of members down to six. They added Gilbert Wilden from Algona but, alas, the music scene was changing. Sensational Soul Company played its last gig in December of 1970.

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