From the Land of Band Box Records

Colorado Music – Part 97

June 23, 2017

Duncan Tuck Here For the Summer!

Musician/Entertainer/Comedian Returns from the High Seas – Available for Local Bookings!

This in from Colorado musician Duncan Tuck:

“Two of the cruise lines I work for are not using musical act this summer in Alaska, so it looks like I will be in Colorado much of the summer.  I’m not too disappointed as I have always enjoyed summers in Colorado and I haven’t had that chance since I started on ships 18 years ago.

I’m booking local engagements and a few road trips over the summer, and I will keep you up to date on those, but I am also available for organizations and private parties.  If you know of anyone that might be interested, please direct them to my website. They can also call Terry at 303-601-6491 or e-mail me duncan@duncantuck.com for any questions or additional info.

I have special pricing for Veterans Service Organizations, Fraternal Organizations, and Benefits.”

(Visit Duncan’s Web Site by clicking the image below)

Sax Player Lee Allen – Denver, Colorado Raised…..

Famed saxophone player Lee Allen who backed Fats Domino for many years in Dave Bartholomew’s band, as well as playing behind many others such as Little Richard and Lloyd Price after migrating to New Orleans

He was born in 1927 Lee Francis Allen in Pittsburgh, Kansas and moved with his family after his father passed away in 1927 at the age of five to Denver, Colorado where he was raised until age 17 at which time he headed off to college in Louisiana on an athletic scholarship.

In the 1950’s Allen headed to New York where he became the A&R man for the Herald and Ember record labels.  He was coaxed into recording on his own and thus the hit instrumental “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee”.

I was fortunate to have been able to see Fats Domino with Lee Allen in the early 1980’s in Denver and was able to speak with him briefly (it was a very small venue) and obtain a signature.

I have not been able to locate much information on Lee’s time in Denver such as his home address or school’s attended and obviously he was enrolled in high school receiving an athletic scholarship.  Apparently Lee did play for a time with a Denver group “The Blasters” being an acquaintance of the band’s founder Phil Alvin who met Lee in Denver when he was 15 years old and called him up to join the group for a time, which he did.

London’s Ralph Sharon – Final Destination – Colorado!

Seems that Berry Gordy Jr. was up for about anything – and so Ralph Sharon on the Gordy label.  Ralph Sharon was born in September of 1923 in London.  He died on March 31st, 2015 at age 91 in Boulder, Colorado.  He had earlier retired in Boulder and performed in the Colorado Front Range at “The Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge” as well as other venues.

Sharon came to Boulder in 2002 after playing with Bennett for nearly 4 decades – doing 300 performances each year.

Sharon came to the U.S. at the age of 31 – He would back Tony Bennett as his pianist and become very close to the star vocalist for years – It was Sharon who discovered the song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” coming across the manuscript and then forgetting about it for some years before dusting it off.  Bennett and Sharon liked the song but were convinced it would only break out locally – It went on to become Bennett’s identifying track.  Sharon recorded 30 long plays of his own including the Gordy label curiosity which I do have in my Motown collection.

Image result for the dazzle restuarant denver

Denver’s Jazz Club – The Dazzle on Curtis Street Downtown

Band Box Rarity Surfaces

Just when you think you’ve documented every Band Box label (North Denver’s Own) up pops yet another – in this instance one more version of Orlie and The Saints’ “Twist and Freeze” (Columbus, Ohio version).  Had not seen or read about this release previously so there may be yet more cities who did the “Twist and Freeze” in 1961 done in more than 2 dozen versions influenced no doubt by Tommy Facenda’s “High School U.S.A.” in late 1959.

As written here previously, Orlie and the Saints missed a shot at the Big Time in 1961 when invited to appear on Dick Clark’s American Band Stand – but were prevented when a huge snow storm forced a cancellation of the their flight to Philadelphia.

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