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From the Land of Band Box Records

Swinging Drums!

Ronny Kae was Band Box’s most visible local recording act in the Denver area during the 1960’s – releasing six singles and a rare Band Box long play as well. Thanks to the liner notes on his Band Box LP entitled “Swingin’ Drums”, we have the following information to share.

Ronny (real name Ronny Kleitman) came to Denver from New York. He was born in Brooklyn and attended New York City Community College before coming to Denver where he attended the University of Denver (at the time of his Band Box LP release – most likely sometime in 1962.Band Box - Ronny Kae

Recording On Band Box

Band Box LP 1006 - Kae, Ronny FThe “Swingin’ Drum” LP release is a bit difficult to follow in the progression of Band Box recording releases. Ronny’s earliest matrix number on Band Box is 201 – which appears to be the very first release in the Band Box 45 catalog. If so, this release should have come out sometime in 1958 or perhaps 1959. The catalog does contain a single numbering oddity – that being Leo Frazier’s Band Box 0003 release “If I Could Be Your Friend” b/w “He’s Your Savior, He’s Your Friend”. This too could be the very first Band Box release – Very little is known about Leo or this release.

After Band Box 201 by Ronny Kae, it would be awhile before he would appear again on the label, at least from a catalog numbering stand point. This brings us to his LP release on Band Box -“Swinging Drums” Band Box 1006. The LP contains 12 compositions, including “Bonfire Part 1”, “Warsaw Concerto”, and “Twist’n Rumble” all of which appeared as singles in 1962. However, the title cut or what could now appear to have been the title cut – “Swinging Drums” for which Ronny is best rememberd, is not on the album.  “Swinging Drums” actually reached the number 1 spot on Denver’s KIMN Radio.

This could mean one of two things – the LP was cut in 1963 a year after Band Box 289 and 300 – and was cashing in on the local market success of “Swinging Drums”, or the LP was simply titled “Swingin’ Drums” and it had a good ring for a future single release in 1963.

Blog sites and Web Sites report that Ronny performed as a session drummer at times with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin. The liner notes on his Band Box LP states that “Ronny has played his drums from the East to the West coast’s distinguished clubs and hotels. Ronny leads his own orchestra, and has become a familiar personality on television and radio.  Dave Barhite from the Saints was a good friend of Ronny’s and said the saints often backed him up on local appearances as well as in the studio.  Barhite says that Ronny was a character and he would often visit the local radio stations delivering modest enticements to get his record played.  Barhite explains, “He did this not so much to sell records because we were in a very small market here in Denver back then, but to promote his name in order to book local venues.”

Gary Stites

The strategy worked with Ronny landing gigs at local high schools and colleges.  Barhite further recalls that local and national teen recording star Gary Stites would occasionally work alongside Kae and actually was included in some Band Box sessions.  We have not confirmed this.  Long-time music store Guitarland  was Ronny’s retail endeavor located in Wheat Ridge which he started up around 1965. It continues to this day flourishing with his two son’s guidance. Ronny passed away in 1993.

Other “K’s”?

A minor mystery from the Band Box catalog are the releases by a couple of ladies with interesting last names.  No one seems to remember these two artists and there is  probably no relationship to the Denver drummer.  Ronny was apt to change the spelling of his last name from time-to-time sometimes “Kae” sometimes “Kay” and at least once as “Ronnie Kaye”.

Band Box bobbie Kaye Nancy Kaye

Band Box Singles

Band Box 201 – “Boom, Boom” b/w “Caravan”
Band Box 289 – “Bonfire Part 1” b/w “Tangerine”
Band Box 300 – “Twistin’ Tumble” b/w Warsaw Concerto”
Band Box 336 – “Swinging Drums” b/w “A Flight For Drums”
Band Box 339 – “Let There Be Drums” b/w “Drums Fell Off a Cliff”
Band Box 362 ‘ “Swimming Drums” b/w “The Lurch”
Band Box Special 506 – “Swinging Drums” unknown flipside
Band Box (Unreleased) – “Broadside” b/w “What The World Needs Now Is More Drums”

Band Box LP

Band Box 1006 – “Drums Fell Off a Cliff

Band Box LP 1006 - Kae, Ronny F

Band Box 201 A Band Box 201 B Band Box 289 A Band Box 289 B Band Box 300 A Band Box 300 B Band Box 336 A Band Box 336 B Band Box 339 A Band Box 339 B Band Box 362 A Band Box 362 B Box Box SPC A

Ronnie Kae on YouTube:

“Drums Are Back”

“Swinging Drums”

“Nostalgia”

“Boom Boom”

“Drums Fell Off a Cliff”

“Harry Play Those Drums” (on the Honey label – owned by Ronnie Kae)

 

18 Comments

  1. Where can I hear “the lurch”, “twistin’ rumble”, “caravan”, “boom boom”, “Bonfire”, & “Tangerine”? I’ve heard the others, but I must hear the these to see how the master differed each title with the same beat & stunning vocals! Priceless stuff! By the way I got to record him doing “Elway – Throw that ball” in the early ’90s before he passed on his disc legacy to his sons, Tim & Jason. He was a true character of characters.

    • I can record them (the ones I own) and place them in a private folder for you on Drop Box – Let me know if that works for you.

      • I lived in the front range area for 17 years & recorded Ronnie at FTM studios in Lakewood (with him playing the “world’s most expensive drum set” – a set of Sonors w/gold plated hardware, not very well tuned I might add. He was like a little kid at Christmas time when doing that session. I used to frequent his drum shop to buy sticks when I first moved there in 1980. Unfortunately, I didn’t make a copy of “Elway”, but you can google “Harry, play those drums” & it was basically a clone of that – identical “quality” performance included! Wish I had a copy of the “autographed” picture of him holding the “Ronnie Kae and his drums” drum head that he left at the studio. Funny stuff, not to mention the questionable Frank Sinatra story!

      • That would great if you could do it on Drop Box. Thanks!

    • PS: Are you from the Denver area? Where did you conduct that recording session for “Elway”?

  2. By the way, I ID’d the other 2 replies as “Reo Fendel”

  3. Fun Stuff, thanks very much!! Now I’m itching to hear the Warsaw concerto, A Flight for drums, & “Swimming drums” (to see if it differs any from “Swinging drums” I bet Tim or Jason Kae at Drum City/Guitar land still has a copy of “Elway – Throw that ball” & the other cuts I did that day – Ronnie’s instructional tape “drum along with rockin’ Ronnie”. If you’re in the Denver area you could probably contact them. I’m out in Maine now.

  4. re: Release #0003 sung by Leo Frazier The artist (Leo) is still living and has told me he would have recorded that in 1961 or later. November 12, 2013

    • Thank you! If you have ongoing contact could you ask Mr. Frazier a few questions. Did he record the single on Band Box in the 41st Ave studio in North Denver? Does he have any recollection of the owner Vicky Morosan? And did he record any other material on Band Box or at other Denver recording studios?

  5. Leo does not remember the location that he recorded the single at. He also does not have any recollection of Vicky Morosan. He did not record anything else with Band Box or with other studios. His history after coming to Denver from New Orleans in 1961 is as a music teacher/choir director in public and catholic schools and with the archdiocese of Denver since about 1961. He still sings at funerals and other functions occasionally for various catholic parishes in Denver. I think he cut the Band Box record at the request of George Morrison Sr., who was the author of the songs on the 45.

  6. Hank Lovato was my dad, he was one of the 4 Gigolos. I think he did the vocals on The Lurch.

    • Thanks for contacting me. Is your dad still with us? I will let fellow Gigolo Larry Higgins know you contacted me. Do you have any photo images or anything you would like for me to add to the Gigolo listing? Thanks again!

  7. Wow just found your site.Would really appreciate if you could record items you have and place in dropbox. I’ve got the Let there be drums.drums off a cliff tracks. Didn’t realise he recorded so much for Bandbox

    • I believe I have a few already recorded and surely can do the rest – When I get them posted I will send you a Drop Box link

  8. Thanks Craig. Look forward to it

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