The Showmen (later String and the Beans) were a popular rock and roll band in the mid-1960s. The band was made up mostly of members from other garage bands that found each other at shows around town. In 1962 the group included Bill Burns on lead vocals, Craig Fulford on lead guitar, Chuck Butterworth on bass, Louis Gigis on drums, Kent Donovan on keyboards, Sam McDavid on rhythm guitar and Robby Robertson on backing vocals. Fulford and Robertson partnered on songwriting duties.
Fulford, Butterworth, Donovan, McDavid and Robertson were all students at Shades Valley High School. Gigis attended Woodlawn and Burns went to Ramsay. The played at school dances, sock hops, and colleges. In 1963 Burns left to join the Navy and Robertson took over as lead. A group of back-up singers was recruited to recreate dance routines at the front of the stage for a while, but they were dropped before the group went to the recording studio.
The Showmen recorded "Come Back to Me" and "When I Get That Feeling" at Bill Lowery's Master Sound Recording in Atlanta, Georgia. Donovan was sick that day and a studio musician was brought in to play keyboards. Because there was another band called The Showmen, the had to pick a new name. Billy Joe Royal and Joe South, who were in the studio that day, suggested String and the Beans, inspired by Robertson's tall, skinny physique. The record sold well in Alabama, but was suppressed on the radio circuit by DJ Dave Roddy, with whom the band had feuded over fees from a performance.
Lowery invited the group back to Atlanta to record for free. He added horns and strings in later dubs, but also used the band's songs for other artists' releases. The band broke their contract with Lowery and signed with Hit Attractions in Charlotte, North Carolina. The group backed up The Tams on tour for a year before breaking up.
- Gigis, Louis and Chas Kit (April 21, 2008) "String and the Beans" Garage Hangover