Akron - c. '60 - 1969
Singing Cop - was all you needed to say in 1960s Akron. Harvey Russell was a cop, and a singer, and in the polarized world of the mid-late 60s, a cop who sang rock-n-roll.
Harvey had started singing in local pop vocal groups including the Wonders (who recorded a 45 on Reserve). In the early 60s he continued to sing 'solo'. He had a local hit with "Out of My Teens" on the Vicki label.
In 1964 Russell started his own record label, Janie, named for his wife. He recorded a record of his own, but also released records by the Decades and Pacers. By 1965 he had decided to start singing for the teenage set, so he partnered with the Rogues, an Akron band who were pretty popular in the teen clubs.
In 1966 he recorded "Shake Sherry" with the Rogues at Cleveland Recording, and issued it another of his own label creations, Jade records. The record was a big local hit and was picked up by Roulette records. Harvey and the Rogues made several live appearances (although they were always considered seperate performers) and did TV shows like Upbeat where the "Singing Cop" angle was always played up.
Dissatisfied in their dealings with Roulette, Harvey and the Rogues decided to record a 'deal breaker', a record too loud and raw to be commercial - so they went back to Cleveland Recording and layed down "Keep a Knockin'" and "Slippin' and Slidin', two sides of blasting guitar powered garage with Harvey's deliberately over-the-top screaming vocals out front! Roulette passed but Perry Stevens decided to release it on his "HANDS" label (Haims AND Stevens). This record also did OK locally.
In 1969 Harvey released his final rock-n-roll effort - this time a live recording of "Shout" (recorded with a different band). The flip side was a sincere plea for peace in a troubled time, called "A Policeman's Prayer". This was also issued on Jade. Harvey contiuned to sing off and on, and retired from the Akron police force a few years ago - even 30 years after his prime time, he was still known as "the singing cop".