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the Determinations / Fabulous Determinations / Sexy Ways Band

Middletown, 1967-1975


The Determinations, later the Fabulous Determinations, were a top local group for many years and played many local shows. benefits, and brought a lot of goodwill to Middletown. The group started in late 1967 with Middletown High School students, and brothers Donald and James Bryant. They first added Matt Henderson and then Sam Johnson for a four-pack of singers. They performed for a while as a vocal group, but in 1969 they added a full band. The group included Dave Hymer (lead guitar), Phil Bowden (bass), Butch Howard (keyboards), Kenny Hart (sax), and two drummers, L.C. Thompson and Ted Howard. Frank Arrington was the manager.

The group competed in the 1969 statewide Jaycees Battle of the Bands, making it all the way to the finals at Marion, where they did not place in the top three (the Sticks and Stones from Newark were the winners). While getting to the finals is a great acheivement, they did even better in their next competition, the James Brown Soul Search, winning the battle and getting a recording contract with King and production help from JB's team. 

In the spring/summer of 1970 they recorded their first 45 at King, two originals by Donald with James Brown as co-writer. The record was a local success, but not a national hit. 


In November 1970, the lineup included a different guitarist, George McNeal, and a different bassist, Charles (Fish) Smedley. Craig Kindred was a second sax player, and Ted Howard was gone. In the article, more records are mentioned, but nothing ever came of them.

The group continued to play locally and regionally. In 1974, they changed name to the Fabulous Determinations, and over time, the backing band gained a seperate identity as the Sexy Ways Band. 

In 1975 they finally released their second 45, on the Mainstream label. They were produced by the AMG label crew, but fortunately the record went straight to a national release. Both songs were written by Sam Johnson. They came up with another quality 45, with a comtemporary sound. The group planned for a national tour starting in August 1975 but there are no mentions in the papers outside of the area.


Ad from August 13, 1975

James Bryant is deceased.

Girl, Girl, Girl / Bing Bong - King 6297, June 1970
Don't You Make Me Blue / Love Has Been Here Before - Mainstream  5570. 1975