60s Music

The (Curious) Story and Music of The Fendermen

The FendermenIntroduction to The Fendermen

The Fendermen were a short-lived rockabilly duo, a one-hit wonder by virtue of the single “Mule Skinner Blues,” their cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ original. There are many interesting things worthy to mention about them. Jim Sundquist and Phil Humphries were both born on November 26, 1937, but in separate towns – Sundquist was born in Kingsford, Michigan while Humphries in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The two eventually met while both were attending at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1950s. As if fate really brought them together, the two men shared the same musical interests and both also played Fender guitars, hence their name. The guitars the duo played were a Stratocaster and Telecaster, which were plugged into a single amplifier. As The Fendermen, they were signed to Cuca Records label which released their only big hit, “Mule Skinner Blues.” It became a Top 10 hit in 1960. Later, The Fendermen recorded a full album before splitting two years later. Sundquist died of cancer on June 4, 2013, aged 75.

 

The early years of The Fendermen

The Fendermen were an American pop/rockabilly duo best remembered for their only big hit “Mule Skinner Blues” in during the early 60s music era. They composed of lead guitarist Jim Sundquist (born James D. Sundquist, November 26, 1937) and rhythm guitarist Phil Humphrey (born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).  The two both attended University of Wisconsin-Madison where they also met. Since they were using Fender guitars (a Telecaster and a Stratocaster) when performing, Sundquist and Humphrey decided to call themselves The Fendermen.

 

 

 

“Mule Skinner Blues” — The Fendermen’s lone hit

In 1960, The Fendermen was signed to Cuca Records and issued their first single “Mule Skinner Blues” that would also become the duo’s first and final single. Distributed by Soma Records, the song charted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1960. The song also did well in Canada and in the UK, peaking at #2 and #32 respectively. In September 1960, the two released their sophomore single “Don’t You Just Know It,” but it didn’t’ meet the success that they were hoping for. They also released a full album, also called Mule Skinner Blues. In 1962 or 1963 the duo finally called it quits.

On June 4, 3013 in Fairfax, Minnesota, 75-year old Sundquist was claimed by cancer.

 

The Fendermen’s discography (may be impartial)

Cuca Records (Jan 1960)

 

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues
  • B: Janice

Soma Records

(May 1960)

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues
  • B: Torture

(Aug 1960)

  • A: Don’t You Just Know It
  • B: Beach Party

(Feb 1961)

  • A: Heartbreakin’ Special
  • B: Can’t You Wait

Oldies Records

(1963)

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues
  • B: Torture

(1966)

The Fendermen

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues

The Underbeats

  • B: Book Of Love

 

Eric Records

(1968)

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues
  • B: Torture

 

Era Records [Back To Back Hits Series]

The Fendermen

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues

The Uptones

  • B: No More

 

Collectables / Back To Back Hit Series US

Fendermen

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues

Chris Montez

  • B: Let’s Dance

 

Mel And Tim

  • A: Backfield In Motion

Fendermen

  • B: Mule Skinner Blues

 

Era : Golden Era Series

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues
  • B: Torture

 

Oldies Records

Fendermen

  • A: Mule Skinner Blues

Eugene Church

  • B: Pretty Girls Everywhere

 

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