n August 1957, Don Robey, president of the Houston-based Duke-Peacock labels (One to the few successful Afro-American businessmen in a caucasian dominated industry), announced the formation of a new label, Back Beat, aimed at the burgeoning rock'n'roll market, Duke and Peacock being primarily gospel and R&B outlets.
"The artists appearing under our new label are in most instances teenagers in actual age count or at heart". explained Robey punctiliously, "and as such, our new baby Back Beat is dedicated to the teenage market." Back Beat made a strong start when "Tell Me Why" by Norm Foxx & the Rob Roys (a New York Group) became a regional hit and "So Tough" By the Casuals, a trio from Dallas reached the national top 50.
Gary Mears (aka Frederick Gary Mears) formed the Casuals with Jay Joe Adams and Paul Kearney in Dallas in the Summer of 1957. Don Robey's A&R man Joe Scott (the bandleader on most of Bobby Bland's classic side on Duke) flew to Dallas to record "So Tough" / "listen My Darling" at Sellers Studio in October 1957.
The Song became an immediate hit in Houston and Dallas regions where Robey held sway among influential Dee jays but was slow to move elsewhere. In December, Challenge Records of Hollywood recorded a cover version with a black vocal group, the Kuf-Linx, and this too became a territorial hit, mainly o the West Coast.
Robey sent the Casuals out on the road to visit disc jockeys and on 19th February 1958, the trio lip-synched "So Tough" on American Bandstand. On 24 February, the song entered the Hot 100, rising to #42.
At that point another group staked a prior claim to the Casuals' name and on subsequent pressings of "So Tough" (in fact, the Majority) the trio were listed as the Original Casuals. Mears remained on the fringes of the Dallas Rock'n'roll scene and later penned "Summer's Comin" by Kirby St Romain, A Top 50 US hit in 1963.