Well, Mostly Music….
Here is my collection of Colorado Tales formerly Posted:
The Beat Generation in the Mile High State
From the AllStateBlog – April, 2013
“Beat icon Jack Kerouac used the advance money from his novel “The Town and the City” to purchase a house at 6100 W. Center Ave. in Lakewood. The home was meant to serve as new headquarters for his Eastern-living family, whom Jack moved to Colorado. But one by one, his family grew wary of their new environment and left the state for greener pastures. Kerouac stayed on for a while, researching and working on his classic novel “On the Road” before finally packing up and leaving for California.”
“He may be most remembered for his poem “Howl,” which to many solidified his standing as the Beat generation’s poet laureate. He moved to the Queen City to pursue the affections of Denver’s Neal Cassady. During this time, he lived in the Colburn Hotel and spent many evenings with Cassady drinking at Charlie Brown’s (980 Grant St., Denver), the bar at the foot of the hotel.”
“My Brother’s Bar at 15th and Platte, the oldest bar in Denver to still be serving drinks and meals in its original location. There’s no signage, but you’ll see the “B” on the shutters. This was Neal’s favorite bar, and he once wrote a letter to the owner to pay his tab when he was serving time in juvenile hall for stealing cars. The original letter is on the wall; if you ask, you can get a copy to take home.”
Cassady and Kerouac at Sonny Larson Park
Sonny Lawson Park and Ball Field at 23rd and Welton, where Cassady played as a youngster. Kerouac also watched ballgames here, among “all humanity, the lot.”
Casino Cabaret – Cassady/Kerouac Hangout
Five Points, one of Denver’s oldest historic neighborhoods and the onetime heart of the city’s African American community, where legends such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole and Dizzy Gillespie once appeared. Celebrated sites include the former Rossonian Hotel at 27th and Welton and the still-grooving Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom at 2637 Welton Street. The ballroom is in the historic Casino Cabaret, an establishment that Kerouac and Cassady would have known well.
Bob Dylan at the Satire Lounge
(From Westword 2012)
“Did you know Bob Dylan once spent a summer in Denver as a then-unknown teenager with a fake accent, sleeping on a floors and gigging at the Satire Lounge? He was nineteen at the time. It was just a year after the young Robert Zimmerman adopted his iconic stage moniker and around the time he’d discovered folk music, Woody Guthrie and the travails and romance of hobo life. There was also the obvious Kerouac mystique. Dylan, enamored of this, yearned to shed his small-town Minnesota persona and embody a new one. What better way to do this than to hitchhike out West carrying only a guitar and a suitcase?
“If Dylan made any impression on the locals here, it was not an especially positive one. Folks were annoyed by his fake Oklahoma accent, and it’s more likely Conley took pity on Dylan than admired his performance. The fact that he had subscribed completely to the hobo aesthetic (this was before “shabby chic” entered the pop lexicon) probably didn’t help, either. Dylan played just a few gigs at the Satire, opening for the Smothers Brothers, before getting kicked out.
Central City – Gilded Garter
So he moved west. This time the singer played at a now-defunct bar in Central City called the Gilded Garter, a rough, shaggy venue where the locals mostly ignored him. He was in the West alright, and in a little Front Range mining town filled with the kind of rural folks Guthrie praised in song. But he was also broke, probably homesick, and having no success in Colorado.”
Joe Cocker – Crawford, Colorado
Joe Cocker – the British recording star – lived in the Western Slope Colorado town of Crawford (population 500) for nearly two decades right up until his death: “The idea was we were going to get just a summer, drop-out place on the West Slope. But we fell in love with it. I love the seasons. And I go walking with my dogs. I’m fishing in the summer. I grow tomatoes, which is a passion of mine,” Cocker said. “So I find plenty to do.”
Shown below is the “Mad Dog Mansion” on the “Mad Dog Ranch” in Crawford – It was originally listed at $7.5 Million which was lowered later on. Joe Cocker passed away on December 22nd, 2014 in Colorado from lung cancer.
The Harris Brothers
from Colorado Springs – 1960’s and Beyond!
The lineup for Markley was the final assembly of the “West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band” with Bob Markley, Michael Lloyd, Danny Harris and Shaun Harris. The Harris brothers were both born in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Following are several releases by groups with one or both of the Harris Brothers quite often with their future West Coast Pop partner Michael Lloyd as well as a solo long play by Shaun Harris.
The California Spectrum (1968)
The Laughing Wind (1967/1967)
The Rogues (1965)
The Snow Men (1964)
The Snow Men were the predecessors to “The Sun Rays” of “I Live For the Sun” fame managed by Beach Boy dad Murray Wilson. The Harris brothers didn’t come over with the band but remained with Michael Lloyd on the Tower label and beyond.
Shaun Harris LP/45’s – 1973
The Lewis and Clarke Expedition
and Michael Martin Murphy (“Travis Clarke”)
“Murphey formed the Lewis & Clarke Expedition with Boomer Castleman, and recorded one self-titled album for Colgems Records, the company that also released the Monkees’ LPs. They had a modest hit with “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)”. Boomer Castleman went on to find success with his controversial song “Judy Mae” and as the writer and producer of the million selling novelty hit “Telephone Man” for singer Meri Wilson.”
The Lewis and Clarke Discography
LP – Colgems COM 105 – “The Lewis and Clarke Expedition”
45 – Colgems 66-1006 – “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)” b/w “Blue Revelations”
45 – Colgems 66-1011 – “Freedom Bird” b/w “Destination Unknown”
45 – Colgems 66-1022 – “Why Need The Pretend?” b/w “Chain Around the Flowers”
45 – Colgems 66-1028 – “Daddy’s Plastic Child” b/w “Gypsy Song Man”
From the Pages of The Colorado Music Hall of Fame (Murphey Inductee)
Born in Oak Cliff, Texas, on March 14, 1945, and grew up in Dallas. His special love for cowboy stories and songs lead him to become a student of the arts. Mark Twain and William Faulkner were a couple of his early mentors.– and was writing poetry before he was in his teens.His first album, Geronimo’s Cadillac (1972), yielded a modest hit in the title song, which was later covered by Hoyt Axton and taken up as an anthem by Native American civil rights activists. A second album, Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir, was well received critically and also a modest hit in the Austin area.
“Wildfire,” got to No. 3 on the pop charts in 1975 and became his first gold record. “Carolina in the Pines,” another song from the same album, also made the Top 30. In 1982, Murphey signed a recording contract with Liberty Records, which yielded two original albums, Michael Martin Murphey and The Heart Never Lies, as well as a best-of collection with superb re-recordings of his A&M and Epic hits as well as his original Liberty hits “Still Taking Chances,” “Love Affairs,” “Don’t Count the Rainy Days,” “Will It Be Love,” and “Radio Land,” the latter a sort of country-flavored equivalent to “American Pie.” The American Country Music Association named him 1983’s best new male vocalist of the year. His rerecording of “Carolina in the Pines” rose to the country Top 10 in 1985, outperforming the original Epic version.
Though he now focuses on cowboy music, he also organizes a series of annual celebrations of the American West called West Fest. He issued Storm Over the Rangelands, a collection of songs about contemporary ranching life, in 2005. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide. He was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
Past Colorado Musicians/Friends/Family Check In……
Had some interesting comments come in this past few weeks from the PopRockBopTilUDrop family.
From Judy Cowan Thomas:
“I am George Holmes Niece and Joel Cowan Daughter yes I have many memories of them practicing in our Living room I still have material and instruments of my fathers Uncle George was not born in Denver but was born in .Colorado so Talented was my family I have pictures of my father with Nat King Cole I loved them deeply….”
From “Joel Cowan Jr.”
Another Joel Cowan offspring checked in as well (not sure of real name):
“That was my dad and everybody calls me Joel Jr. I’m a saxophone player my daddy got me started on guitar when I was about four years old but I switched to the Reed instruments.
He got me a clarinet when I was six and I moved going to the Reed instruments after that. My favorite is the baritone sax which I still play to this day.
When you talk about the Tropics, my dad on that club when I was little he used to take me to five points where he played which is responsible for me getting into the Navy Band.
I played my first gig with him at Fitzsimons Officer’s Club. I played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on my clarinet. When the spotlights hit me I knew what I was going to do with the rest of my life. One more thing, he was one of the first black musicians to play in Japan.
I miss my dad very much to this day.
PS: I forgot one last thing for you good people my dad also played with Nat King Cole when he had a trio.”
Obviously, Joel Cowan was a heck of a nice guy!
From Frank Kavelin:
(Frank is the label owner of the southern California record label “Lute Records”, which was founded back in the day by his father and which exploded onto the pop scene with the release of “Alley Oop” by recording industry personality Gary Paxton performing with studio musicians as “The Hollywood Argyles”. The Kavelin family has close ties with Colorado via their association with Morey Bernstein who partnered for a time with the senior Kavelin to form “Finer Arts” records out of L.A.
Bernstein eventually migrated the label to Denver, Colorado.
I’m contacting my favorite bloggers with the news that Lute Records is releasing its first new product since the 1970s! The artist’s name is Julius Graham. Although he is a country artist, he does novelties and Lute has had it’s best success with novelties. His first two releases are entitled “She’s Young Enough To Be Your Daughter (But She’s Not)” and “Testosterone.” You can click the following two links to listen to them.
(Click on the Links above to listen to the new Julius Graham cuts on Lute and let Frank know what you think. Visit the Kavelin Music web site by clicking on the image below)
From Marty Cooper
Marty Cooper was born in Colorado at a very early age and remained into his teens. He departed for greener pastures and has enjoyed a interesting and diverse career music, composing, producing and performing.
He composed or contributed songs for the Kingston Trio, the Marathons (Peanut Butter), Jack Nitzsche (Lonely Surfer) and Bobby Day to name a few. He was a member of the Shacklefords along with Lee Hazelzood.
“I just came across this amazing list of things with which I was (am) associated while setting up a google alert. How ever did you find all those 45s? All best,
From Kenny Vaughan
This was a real treat to hear from Kenny Vaughan, the exceptionally talented guitarist who has done it all and continues to do it today:
“Hello, I was in Band Box Studio on a Saturday morning with my father sometime in late 1966 or 1967. We’d gone there to investigate recording my neighborhood band that started in the fall of 1966 in Littleton. The band went through several names, The Innersounds, Spox Creation, and Amos. The members were Dave McDonald on guitar, Doug Heath on Bass, Phil “Flip” Carter on Drums and myself, Kenny Vaughan on guitar.
We all sang. The thing that I most remember about the brief visit was a very cool, well dressed gentleman that looked like a cross between Ronnie Kae and Eddie Cochran came in, sporting a nice top coat, cool relaxed pompadour, nice suit, carrying a guitar case that could have been a Gretch 6120 style, and also carrying an Echoplex. He spoke with the engineer about what he was going to record.
Years later, I worked with Dewey Knight and Sammy Cee at the Club Corner. I’ve enjoyed reading all of your info, and I remember a good deal of the names mentioned. Great work! I’m still in the music biz. I live in Nashville and record there regularly. I am a member of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives. We released our latest album, Way Out West, on March 10th”
(I asked if Kenny learned the identity of the guitar player)
“I don’t think that we talked to the guitar player. I’ve never been able to figure out who he was. He looked like a star from the early 60s. I vaguely remember my Dad talking with the lady who ran the place, but mostly I remember that there was a guy who seemed to be an engineer conversing with the guitarist, and I remember the Ampex tape machine and the tube power amplifier that powered the monitor speakers. I wish that we had recorded there!
I believe that Sammy Cee passed quite awhile ago. I knew a lot of the people that you’ve mentioned. I played at Club Corner, The Caravan West, and Ollie’s Roundup a lot in the very early 80s. I also played out at The Four Seasons before it became an oldies place. I saw Buck Owens there in 1968.
I went to a ton of rock n roll shows from 1966 through 1976. Lovin Spoonful, Stones, both Cream Shows, all 3 Hendrix shows, many Dead shows, Doors, Big Brother, Howlin Wolf, Little Feet, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Allman Bros, The Who, Procol Harum, many Zappa shows, King Crimson, Ramones, The Nerves, ZZ Top, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band w/ Free and Ten Years After at Roller City(!), Deep Purple in Greely, Junior Wells & Buddy Guy in Boulder, saw the Astronauts at Euclid Jr High(!), Moonrakers, The Galaxies, Crystal Palace Guard, Holden Caufield, many Zephyr shows, John Mayal, The Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, lots of small jazz shows, life was good in Denver!
I had a band called the Jonny III from 1976-1979 that played around Denver, Boulder, Chicago, the Midwest and NYC a lot. We played mostly songs that we wrote, and the audience was mostly the Alt Punk and alternative crowd. We had a fairly loyal following. I moved to Nashville in 1987.”
From a Boltz Family Five Descendent
“Hi! The Boltz Fanily Five were my grandparents, father, aunt and two uncles! Amazing you have documented them here. Thx!”
The Boltz family released an LP in 1he 1960’s on Denver’s Band Box Label, recording a collection of Hawaiian tunes in the Band Box studio – Hawaiian was their specialty. The photo above is quite likely from a Band Box recording session. I believe that is the piano which I have seen Band Box owner Vicky Morosan sitting at and tickling the keys.
From Paul Payton
Good old Paul – another life long musician still going strong – See my recent Post “Living the Dream”
“I should add – as I think I did in the part – that I have Denver ties, although tenuous. In the revolving-door year of 1974, I was a DJ on KBPI; I lasted 7 weeks and was told I was #48 in a two-year period to either quit or get fired! Four weeks later, another KBPI DJ who “sponsored” me out there got fired and was said to be #51! I subsequently did part-time work on the wonderfully eclectic KFML until, literally down to my last ten bucks, I got a call from my original Hartford, CT, progressive station, WHCN, that they had been sold and wanted me to come home!
Ah, radio – almost as chancy as being a professional musician!
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame…
Reached back a bit for their latest class of inductees. In April of 2016 they honored Paul Whiteman, Elizabeth Spencer, Bilyl Murray, Glenn Miller, and two from more current times, honkytonk piano player Max Morath, and cabaret entertainer Lannie Garrett (who recently retired and who is also an inductee into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame).
The following displays are from the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, located at the foot of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Colorado’s famous venue which will actually be induced soon into the hall.
(Click on the image above to visit the Hall)
Colorado Events (Mostly This Spring – 2017)
Trivia Night at Henderson’s Lounge
Monday Music and Movie Trivia Night
March 31st, 2017
At the Blush & Blu
April 1st, 2017
Mile High Soul Club
With Tyler Jacobson – Steve Cervantes – DogBoy
9 PM start time
Syntax Physic Opera – 554 South Broadway
Straight Outta Oz
7:30 PM – Tickets at http://www.altitudetickets.com
A Night at the Pub with Duncan Tuck
Saturday, April 8th, 2017 at Sheabeen Pub
2300 South Chambers Road (SE Corner of Iliff & Chambers)
Great music and comedy – A former Band Box Recording Artist
(Click on Image to visit his web site)
April 8th, 2017
Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo
Downtown Denver – McNichols Civic Center Bldg.
144 West Colfax Blvd.
April 9th, 2017
Toy & Doll Supershow
Sunday, April 9th – Ramada Plaza
11 AM until 3 PM
I-25 and 120th Avenue – Northglenn
April 23rd, 2017
The Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo 2017
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel
10 East 120th Avenue – Northglenn
(Click on Image to visit his web site)
April 29th, 2017
The Kingston Trio
The Paramount Theater
Saturday April 29th
April 29th, 2017
Snap 90’s Dance Party
Saturday, April 29th, 2017 Ophella’s
May 1st, 2017
The Roxy Suicide with Dr. Boogie
The Larimer Lounge Denver
May 16th, 2017
Primus/The Claypool Lennon Delirium
Red Rocks Ampitheatre
June 14th, 2017
“The Atlantic Years”
June 30th, 2017
Umphrey’s McGee at Red Rocks
With Stick Figure
July 14th, 2017
Railroad Smith & Leftover Salmon
Red Rocks Ampitheatre – Morrison, CO
with Keller and the Keels
Fake Music Abounds in Colorado
Here’s a summer Red Rocks Amphitheater line-up for those of us who weren’t there before or who just can’t quite let go as well as the upcoming Fab Four concert at the Paramount Theater:
The Ultimate Tribute – The Fab Four – March 25th, 2017 – Paramount Theater Downtown Denver
Brit Floyd – June 8th, 2017 Red Rocks
The Music of Abba – Arrival – June 11th, 2017 – Red Rocks
1964 – The Tribute – August 19th, 2017 – Red Rocks
Get the Led Out – September 7th, 2017 – Red Rocks
KIMN’s Competition – KBTR 1966
KBTR Jock Bart Star
KBTR Jock Paul Miller
KBTR Jock King George Michael
KBTR Jock Johnny Mitchell
KBTR June 6th, 1966 Hit Predicts!
Big K Record Expo Coming to Denver in April
Sunday, April 23, 2017 10am – 4pm
10 E. 120th Avenue
Northglenn, CO 80233
Umbra – Country Paul – Kenny Boy & Neal – The Rossonian – Road Runners
My friend Steve Faulkner – former 1960’s-70’s era drummer for the Denver group “Umbra” – sent in this video link for a song called “State of Mind” performed on YouTube by his current ensemble “Secret City”.
Steve is very active in the Denver music scene – not only performing and recording but also instructing.
A Band Box Update
Another friend – “Country” Paul Clayton sent in this comment relating to my previous Post on Van Trevor and Penny Starr – two former Denver Band Box recording country stars:
“I was working at country station WHIM in Providence, RI, when Van was peaking in his country popularity. I already knew of him because in Providence, we “could see” Hartford, 70 miles west, which had an intense local music scene including several local hits by Van in his rock era. I still have – trapped on a radio station cartridge – a jingle Van cut for me on WHIM, a verse and chorus of “Our Side” with a new vocal track singing the station call letters. Also, I’m tickled that you mentioned Rod Harris; he was this great ol’ guy who looked every bit like the character he portrayed (and who he really was); he’d come up and hang out at the station and do an occasional on-air interview. I wish I’d known more about him back then.
I’d heard of Penny Starr and Penn de Haven, but not known that they were one and the same until starting to get your dispatches. I found a nice post-Band Box side by her, Mama Lou, from ’69 on Imperial (nice but a very “crowded”-sounding recording – no room in the mix to “breathe. Better recorded is her Band Box side, “A Grain of Salt,” sorta “cute honky tonk” and quite charming: (View Below)– (Did I really just use the word “charming” un-ironically?!? I must be getting old….)”
Did you Know that Ken Kesey…..
…was born in 1935 and was born in La Junta, Colorado? He apparently remained there for about 11 years with his family who were dairy farmers. They moved in 1946 to Portland, Oregon. Kesey also was an extraordinary college wrestler just missing be selected for the Olympic Team. He wrote a few novels, two of them turning into successful motion pictures – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion”. In the 1960’s Kesey fell in with the Haight-Ashbury crowd – most specifically the “Merry Pranksters” and Timothy Leary.
Later in life he stated in an interview that he was too young to be a beatnik and too old to be a hippie. But he took his best shot, experimenting with LSD and merriment. Kesey passed away due to multiple health problems in 2001 at the age of 66.
Neal Cassady in the Rockies
Kesey befriended and spent a lot time with beat generation figure Neal Cassady – in his new life and with the “Merry Pranksters” in San Francisco. Cassady was also a Colorado boy, being raised in Denver, Colorado. His life started off stable enough, with his family living in the 2563 Champa Street (not on Grant as sometimes reported), that is until his father’s life came tumbling down due to his fight with alcohol. From Grant Cassady’s mother and younger siblings moved to a home at 22nd and Stout, while Neal joined his father on Denver’s “skid row” (Larimer) since revamped as a Mi-lineal haven in the “Lo Do” sector of Denver.
Neal and his father (also “Neal”) took refuge in a run down establishment called “The Metropolitan” at Market and 16th Street. Young Neal was in Denver long enough to attend Denver East High School, at least for a brief time – getting into a lot trouble with the law. In about 1944 he his shenanigans landed him in a Canon City, Colorado reformatory for just over a year. After that, he made his way out of Denver but would return from time-to-time as documented in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” where he appears in fiction as the vagabond “Dean Moriarty”.
The photo below is of “The Rossonian” at 27th and Welton in Denver’s Five Point neighborhood – It was a hangout in the years when Kerouac would accompany Neal back to Denver – They would enjoy jazz like true Beats at the Ross. The “Rossonian” lives on today.
(For a great account of Neal’s Denver experience visit this web site to read “Visions Of Neal Cassady’s Childhood In Denver, Before He Went ‘On The Road'” – Hart Van Denburg – 2014)
Cassady died in Mexico in 1968 after a party, found unconscious outside laying next to railroad tracks, he could not be revived fully and passed away three hours later – He was 41 years old.
The photo below is from the Google-Mobile – Appears that both the Cassady home and adjacent property are boarded and abandoned – Hopefully protected from demolition – Planning to drive by when the snow clears here in Denver.
(From Westword Article – January, 2015 by Jamie Siebrase):
The Rossonian & Kerouac
“Ninety-five-year-old Norman Harris Sr., who still owns a liquor store and apartment complex in the neighborhood, remembers Billie Holiday and Joe Louis staying at the Rossonian, and Sonny Liston hanging out at the adjacent barber shop. Duke Ellington once spent an entire summer at the Rossonian.
The Rossonian happily accommodated anybody with money and attitude in its first-floor lounge, where the top-notch talent performed. “It was no different than in New York,” says Webb. “If people wanted to hear good jazz there, they’d go uptown to Harlem. For whites who wanted to hear good jazz in Denver, it was Five Points.”
“Jack Kerouac, who walked past the Rossonian when he first visited Denver in the 1940’s, immortalized the area and the era in On the Road: “At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night.”
Denver’s Roadrunners & Buddy Biglow
Sometimes the Denver Roadrunners, who recorded “Road Runnah” in the 1960’s – a song which went to the number 2 spot on the KIMN charts but flopped elsewhere, are confused with a group that recorded at the same time out in California out of Fresno. Denver’s version had involvement with L.A.’s Gary Paxton of Hollywood Argyle fame (Alley Oop”) as well as involvement with Denver Finer Arts record label owner Morey Bernstein, who worked with Gary when the label was first based in Los Angeles, before Morey took control and moved the label to Denver.
This from song writer Buddy Biglow on “Cute Little Colt” in September of 2014:
Biglow: “It was a great record by the Road Runners and another one I co-wrote with Gary Paxton. The legendary George Sherlock the west coast promotion man for London Records did the leg work. We all remember the Rolling Stones record, ‘Under assistant promo man’ right. Well George was the model and inspiration for that song and he brought the group (Rolling Stones) down to Gary’s Studio on Melrose Avenue called Nashville West in Hollywood in hopes they would record there. This was when their Record of the Old Buddy Holly song “Not Fade away” had just been out a short time and long before they had become the Legends they became.”
The long play by the Road Runners on London, has several of the hot rod “standards” by Brian Wilson, DJ Roger Christian, L.A. composer/producer Gary Usher four songs written by the Road Runners.
Biglow also composed
Biglow: “On the promo of Red Hot Honda the original title was released and pulled back before ‘Red Hot Scrambler Go’ the eventual title was released and before the production version. When It was changed because of a threatened law suit by Honda motor cycles who didn’t want their brand to be associated with the so called hot rod image and long before the Hondels’ record..Gary’s name should have been there all along and was correctly added.”
A couple of other singles are shown with Biglow involvement (Dick Dale and The Cochrane Twins)
Biglow re Dick Dale: “Hi TOKENHIPPIE, you are probably getting a lot of mileage out of that BW production story, but having been there at the session at RCA studios I can assure you the Two Jim’s given credit and listed are correct along with the incredible production assistance and musical mind of Gary S. Paxton who co-wrote ‘Wild, Wild Mustang’ with me. We are older now, I am 77 years old and up there a little, Dick did a great Artist job on this song, both vocally and with his one of a kind Guitar.”
High in the Mid Sixties – Colorado Garage Bands
Picked up this LP from the Archive International Record series of vintage 60’s band from throughout the United States. This one has some great stuff – “The Soothsayers” from Greeley – “The Astronauts” (first recording pre RCA Victor) – “Sur Royal Da Count” – Colorado Springs group “Our Gang” – “The Doppler Effect” – “The Elopers” – “The Poor” who evolved from several Denver-area band – “The Moonrakers” – “The Rainy Daze” – Commerce City band “The Lidos” – “The Trolls” from Pueblo – “The Soul” – and Northern Colorado’s “Monocles”
The Fantabulous Jaguars – The Raves and the mighty Warblers….
I was recently checking the 45 Cat (Catalog) of 7-inch singles as posted by enthusiasts from around the globe. I was checking on a group called “The Jaguars” which I had posted there a couple of years ago and based on some discussions with local Colorado collectors, we seemed to think these guys were from somewhere in Colorado. Now, three years later, we can’t seem to recall the circumstances behind our reasoning.
But what caught my attention, was an additional handful of 45 singles had been added to the “45 Cat” for the group “The Jaguars (Colorado)”. The “Colorado” classification came from myself and none of the “45 Cat” moderators or posters questioned this. But several members did post comments relating to members of this group. There is disagreement among members as to the Jaguar line-up, but what it all boils down to is that for sure the Epic label Jaguars are made up of Country Hall of Fame member and premier fiddler Charlie Daniels.
And most like the other singles shown here are also the same band. Daniels’ Wiki entry and his own web site make no mention of the Jaguars. But the cataloging site “Discogs” does: (In about 155 “He (Daniels) formed a bluegrass band, ”The Misty Mountain Boys”, but the group changed its name to ”The Jaguars” following the single ”Jaguar”, which they recorded in 1959 (produced by Bob Johnston). Daniels said, “for nine years we played every honky-tonk dive and low-life joint between Raleigh and Texas”. This enabled him to master a variety of musical styles, but his only national success came in 1964 when he wrote an Elvis PresleyB-side “It Hurts Me”, a tender ballad that remains one of his best compositions.”
Ward Darby and the Raves
Further, according to Discogs, another member of The Jaguars was a musician named “Ward Darby” who head up a group in the late 1950’s called “Ward Darby and the Raves”. They had a 1959 release on Petite Records “Wham-O” b/w “Safari”. The record was released by the Nashville based Dot Record Label also in 1959. Another member of the Raves was Leo Watkowitz who co-authored “Safari” and possibly Ray Bolling was a member of that group as well.
Ward Darby was also known as “Willie Ward” and he fronted another rock-a-billy band called “Willie Ward and the Warblers”. His song “Madman” is very popular with rock-a-billy enthusiasts and Ward was still performing in Branson, Missouri up to at least 5 years ago.
They cut records for the Fee Bee, and Star (also spelled “Starr”) labels.
“Safari” was covered in 1996 by a group called “Robert Johnson and the Punchdrunks” and an album titled “Feels Like Buzz Aldrin”.on Strange Edge Records.
So back to the intent of this Post – to inform the world that poor old Charlie Daniels and the Jaguars will be rubbed from the pages of this Colorado musician site. Well, on second thought I guess I will leave them right where they are. What the heck.
Ski Maniac Bob Gibson
But to make up for all of this – I really need to find a “stretch” to add to the site based on a Colorado Connection. I found it. Right under my nose. How many times have I (you) seen this long play by Bob Gibson (folk singer) lurking in the cut-out bins or the boring bins of a vinyl store? But I started thinking “Ski Songs” hummmm… And Walla! There it is – “The Connection” in the liner notes – “A couple of years ago (this was in the late 1950’s), Bob journeyed to (yes) Aspen, Colorado, with the intention of working in one of the bistros there (not a pub, or a dive, or a joint – but a “bistro” – Remember this is Aspen we’re talking about here) It took two weeks before he found the time to strap on a pair of skis. He hasn’t taken them off yet.”
His track “Super Skier” was played quite often around Colorado but never charted in Billboards Hot 100. A novelty sort of rip off of the Kingston Trio’s “M.T.A.” (nearly the same tune delivered in the same style). In the Vancouver BC radio station survey the song charted in 9161 (entering the charts at number 26. His backing group were – oh boy – “The Snowmen”. Bob’s skiing song LP was recorded in 1959. To top off the tremendous success of “Super Skier” Bob followed it up with a tune called “Super Skier’s Last Race”.
That is all I needed – Goodbye Jaguars – Hello Mr. Gibson.
On a more somber note – Bob Gibson passed away in 1996 at the age of 65.
Darby Ward (and the Raves – and Warblers) Tracks
Bob Gibson from An Aspen Bistro
All This and Rock and Roll?…..
What I know about the Colorado Punk scene could fill a thimble and so for this Post I rely on Bob Rob Medina’s book “Denvoid and The Cowtown Punks – A Collection of Strories from the 80’s Denver Punk Scene”. Get his book for the background stories behind these bands. Quote marks denote punk names. Some of these may be considered “New Wave”, “Hardcore” or “Gothic” – who knows? – To learn everything about the Colorado Punk scene go get a copy of Bob Rob Medina’s “Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks” published in 2015.
What is really a treat (for me) in “Denvoid” are the many references and interviews relating to Wax Trax Records which sort of served a “ground zero” for the Punk crowd in Denver. There is a great interview with store co-owner Duane and quotes from his partner Dave Stidman. The fellow-traveler with Wax Trax back in the early days of Denver Punk was the nearby Mercury Café owned by Marilyn Megenity. The “venue” became a base of operations for the Punk artists and their followers, and in co-op with Wax Trax promoted Punk happenings.
The Café migrated over the years from location-to-location (often not by choice) but thrives today in it’s “LoDo” location at 2199 California Street.
New Mobile Strugglers’ Legacy
I received some interesting correspondence this week from Howard Richoux relating the following regarding Colorado’s New Mobile Strugglers from Loveland:
“Hi – I attended college with Steve for the year he was at Doane College (Crete Nebraska) and enjoyed playing and singing with him. I actually put a hole in his guitar while carrying it back to the dorm after a “coffee house” in the campus center on an icy sidewalk. I still feel bad about it…
I do have a copy of the album and am in the process of converting it to MP3 – not happy with the first try. I had a small stack of them, but they are long since gone during some previous move. I will post here when I have a good conversion and someone can figure out the copyright ownership issues.
I am sad to learn of his passing, but that is starting to be more frequent these days as we age (gracefully or not).”
And (recently) “I woke up in the middle of the night recalling a notebook which I still had, where I had Steve record some lyrics and chords for some additional songs he wrote. I see it has ‘The Sailin’ Mornin’ Mist’, ‘An Educated Man’, ‘Home’, ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow‘.
‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ I recall was his latest and greatest work – his longing to return to Velma and Colorado. I lost touch with Steve after he left Doane, and have no idea if he wrote these songs down anywhere else or worked on them later. I really need to make contact with his family – this notebook belongs with them.”
I inquired weather or not Howard was aware of a Band Box Records 45 by the Strugglers, and he had not seen or heard of such a release (Band Box 205 – “Wait For The Door to Swing Back” b/w “Satisfy Your Mind” which apparently was never released.
Van Trevor in Cash Box
Colorado’s music historian/DJ – Lisa Wheeler sent me this Band Box advertisement which appeared in Cash Box magazine in the 1960’s. Note that his producer/manager Dick Heard is listed based in New York which is what I suspected because Band Box owner Vicky Morosan worked closely with music industry operatives on the East Coast.
The Beast Emerges
I located this nice poster in an antique mart here in Denver. This poster coincides with the group’s 1969 Cotillion record label release “The Beast”.
Located this Denver radio station bumper sticker on Ebay last week. KDKO was Denver’s early country and western station turned “soul format” in the 1970’s into the 1980’s,
Denver’s Own Ink Spots
Ink Spot historian extraordinaire Austin Casey contacted me this past week filling in another piece of the Denver version of the Ink Spots. He relates:
“I’m always doing research so I’m sure theres a lot more I’ll learn about George Holmes, but I thought you’d be interested to know that he was born in Denver. That probably explains the Band Box LP. Just thought you’d like to know. I’ll let you know if I find out more info relevant to your webpage.”
And next Austin followed with this bit which now places four of the five Denver-version of the Ink Spots firmly with Denver links:
“Hi Craig, I’ve got one more for ya… Herman McCoy was another Denver guy. in the 1940s he formed his first “Swing Choir” from folks living in Five Points. I don’t know if he was “from” Denver but he studied music there at least… and lived there. He later worked with and directed choirs who recorded for folks like Dean Martin, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and lord knows how many others. The Herman McCoy choir was on dozens of records backing pop artists. Here is a clip of him working with Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music suite.”
Shown below is a later version of the George Holmes’ Ink Spots:
In the 1960’s Holmes paired up with Denver’s Joel Cowan, who taught music for a very long time in the Mile High City. Holmes is bottom right and Cowan upper left.
The Blues Syndicate
It was nice to hear recently from Erv Trujillo from the Greeley based group “The Blues Syndicate”. This was one of my “lost” 1960’s Colorado bands.
From Erv: “I played trumpet and then bass for the band “Blues Syndicate” in Greeley CO back in ’67 through ’70. In 69, the band changed names to “Another Way” and we played in Loveland, Estes Park, Boulder. Some of the members I knew were, Ted Worth, drums, Rod Seeley, organ, Harry Booker, vocals, Eddie, vocals and Mike Osborne, guitar.”
The Garfield Air Mattress/The Tuesday Club/Fargo (Grand Junction)
I was nice to come across an great article on “Garage Hangover” on this group who originated out of Grand Junction. The original members were Daryll Cooper, Bruce Lambert, Pete Frease, Terry Tezak, and Tony Decker. Upon the departure of Tezak and Lambert, Dean Wilden joined from Utah. Most members of the group attended Mesa College in Grand Junction with the exception of Bruce Lambert who was attending Grand Junction High School when they formed in 1966. They would later become “The Tuesday Club” signing a national recording contract with Mercury and with a release on the Philips record label in 1967.
On to The Tuesday Club
The group would depart Colorado for a time moving to Amarillo, Texas where they would cut their Philips single as The Tuesday Club employing the services of Coloradoan Marty Cooper who produced, composed and performed nationally (see the Marty Cooper listing in this site). Cooper was a member of “The Shacklefords” along with singer/songwriter Lee Hazelwood.
The Philips single managed to chart for a time on Grand Junction’s KEXO radio station Top 40 weekly survey in August of 1967. Lambert and Tezak departed returning to Colorado, Dean Wilden came in from a group called “Maudz Only” out of Utah – an earlier garage group which included Tony Decker at the time when he was growing up in Salt Lake City. Next, Cooper and Frease departed to be replaced by Randle Potts on drums for a time then he gave way to another drummer, Bob Holman.
And Finally, Fargo
Fargo evolved out of The Tuesday Club in 1968 and released one single on Capitol Records. Their Capitol recording was also produced by Marty Cooper. In 1969 the group released an LP on the RCA Label titled “I See It Now”. The final lineup for Fargo was a trio who included Decker along with drummer Bob and Dean Wilden. In 1969 they recorded an LP for RCA Victor titled “I See It Now”. Wilden and Holden remain active in music today and do stay in touch with each other.
Spencer Haywood – Basketball’s Pioneer
Spencer has the distinction of being the first college basketball player to come out of college early – prior to graduation to sign a professional contract. Haywood attended Trinidad Jr. College for a year in southern Colorado. He then became the high scorer for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1968 before transferring to The University of Detroit.
He entered the professional draft, but NBA rules prevented him from being drafted early. And so he entered the ABA in 1969 as a member of the Denver Rockets. Haywood lead the ABA in scoring and rebounding and was named Rookie of the Year after leading the Rockets to a Western Division Title. The Rockets advanced to the second round of the playoffs before falling to the L.A. Stars.
Spencer was also selected as MVP in the 1970 ABA All-Star Game. He jumped to the NBA in 1970 joining the Seattle Super Sonics. A legal battle ensued landing in the Supreme Court – and finally being settled in his favor. Haywood went on to appear in several NBA All Star Games. Sadly, his career was cut short by drug addiction.
However, Haywood’s journey opened the door for all future players to sign professional contracts before or during college.
The Next Pioneer – Ralph Simpson
Ironically, Haywood’s high school teammate in Detroit, Ralph Simpson, also broke out of college early also joining the Denver Rockets and becoming the second player to do so coming out of Michigan State college after two years. He remained with the Rockets until they merged with the NBA at which time he joined his home town Detroit Pistons.
Simpson would return to Denver as a Nugget a few years later but his production fell off dramatically. He played for a short time with the Philadelphia 76ers and finally the New Jersey Nets before retiring in 1980.
I met Ralph Simpson in the 1990’s at a nearby neighborhood basketball gym in Aurora, Colorado. He was raising a family and had settled down in the Denver area. I asked him if he would care to play on my men’s basketball team and he agreed to do so – giving me his phone number – but shortly after he was offered a high-school coaching position and so my team’s chance to have a Denver Nugget top ten all time scorer vanished.
33 1/3 Single – NBA – “Play It Pro” – “Defensive Rebounding” and “Offensive Rebounding” – 1976
Colorado Vinyl/Music Mafia’s Spontaneous Gathering
Denver’s vinyl haven Wax Trax was the site of a spontaneous meeting of several members of the Colorado Vinyl/Music Mafia. Here we have George “Doc” Krieger, “Brother” Dave Stidman (owner of Wax Trax), “Band Box 244, and newly inducted honorary member Fred “The Sleeve” Hoyt (from California) posing arm-in-arm – about to break out in a four-part harmony version of “Can’t Stand to Be in Love With You”.
A Word About Binx Selby on Band Box
I picked up a copy of the Band Box Ethnological Music Series pressing, titled “Music of Northern Morocco. I paid a little more attention to the liner notes: “The strange combination of religious and social aspects of Ramadhan is reflected in the love songs on side one….. as compared to the ancient religious songs from Tetuan on side two.”
And – here we have good old Band Box on the leading edge of the “movement to legalize the evil weed” three and one-half decades ahead of it’s time “Kif is the Moroccan word for a form of Marihuana (yes “Marihuana”) smoked in a pipe with a long wood stem and a small clay bowl on the end.” And how ironic is it that all these years later that the old Band Box studio in North Denver know features this very same “Kif”!
“To My Way of Thinking, There’s Only Four: K-I-M-N” No More!
Found this 10-Inch long play this week in Netherland – a collection of little ditties promoting Nabisco’s “Salad Wafers” (five pack) – locally produced just for KIMN Radio – The singer on these jingles reminds me of the guy in the Motel 6 commercials when he “sings” about leaving the light on for us.
We Aren’t L.A. but We Are What We Are….Here in Colorado
Just a few tidbits from around the Mountain State in the world of vinyl.
The Colorado Vinyl Mafia
Got together with a couple of my vinyl fanatic friends on Cinco De Mayo at the Blue Bonnet Cafe down on South Broadway. We swapped stories and records and tales of adventures. “The Colorado Vinyl Mafia” has been so christened by Doc Krieger, who along with DJ Lisa Wheeler from Colorado Springs, myself of Band Box obsession were in attendance. There are others – DJ Pat Downey, Hitchhiker Larry Higgins, Brother Dave Stidman (Wax Trax), Steve Faulkner, Frankie Rino and many more .
Speaking of Lisa Wheeler
This lady is a crazed Colorado music enthusiast – She authors a bunch of Colorado vinyl-related sites including her “Pueblo City Limits” and “North of Pueblo” but now I learn about her site “Radio Use Only – The Record Collector’s Guide to Radio Station Vinyl”! These are the long plays and 45’s that were issued primarily in the 1960’s and 1970’s often featuring a collage of various artists but you just sort of have to visit the site to appreciate it. Click on the image below:
Band Box is in the Mail
Located a Band Box 45 RPM Mailer this week – Now if I could only find the original Band Box sign that adorned the studio on North Sheridan and 41st!
A Moonraker Label Mate?
I came across this interesting item this week – the “Joplin Forte” a late 1960’s group who performed out of Aspen, Colorado in the Jerome Hotel. This LP is from 1968. Two members of the group – Dennis Coats and Gary Carlson later joined the Canadian group “The Original Caste” who had earlier charted with “One Tin Soldier” in November of 1969 (#34). Coats and Carlson joined the Caste in 1972. Before departing, Dennis Coats composed the two Dunhill tracks shown here.
Two Shamley 45’s were released by the group in late 1969, nearly at the very same time period when Denver’s Moonrakers were recording for Shamley (during their Christian Era) when they released several 45’s and an LP. The “Sing Along with Bonnie & Clyde” LP is a curiosity appearing on George Garabedian’s novelty oriented “Mark56” company.
Joplin Forte Recordings
Gary & Eddie
I have been in communication with a Blog visitor (Fran) recently and was encouraged to feature the country star Gary Morris who I was told had ties to Colorado. Both Wikipedia and the Gary Morris web site weren’t of much assistance, mentioning only that Gary had performed in the Denver area in the 1970’s after coming into town from Fort Worth. Beyond that on his own site he mentions spending time more recently in the Colorado mountains to do some fishing and relaxing.
And then Fran presented me with this tidbit: Gary Morris played regularly at Taylor’s Supper Club for at least five years, and, this is just for you as an old vinyl guy. He recorded a live album there with Eddie Johnson produced by Don Leyland titled (you guessed it) “Gary and Eddie”.
The Female singer on the album was Teri Hernandez. Eddie and Gary actually formed in 1969 and continued for at least 5 or 6 years. Gary went to Nashville but Eddie Johnson continued in Denver and with Bo Cotrell formed the Lawmen. (His is a ) neat story and am impressed with Gary’s staying power. It was not until 1981 that he started to have recognized success. Many call Gary “cheesy” but I am sure he doesn’t mind that label as I am sure Bobby Hart is fine with the label “bubblegum.
That sent me scrambling to retrieve my copy of the Cartay LP recorded by Gary and Eddie (with Teri). And sure enough, there on the back is an autograph from non other than Gary himself. The Cartay label was owned at, least in part, by Taylor’s club owner Sammy Toole. Gary and Eddie made their way onto the label via the long play and the single shown below.
As for Eddie Johnson – the singer continues to perform around Denver today, most recently at Lannie Garrett’s Clock Tower Cabaret as a member of the “All in the Family Band” where he is joined by his sister and his son. From Eddie’s bio:
Eddie Johnson has been a constant talent on the Denver musical scene since 1969 when he and his pal, famed Nashville artist, Gary Morris, teamed up to create, “Gary and Eddie”, better known as “Taylor’s Cowboys”. You might also know Eddie Johnson from his time with a group called “The Lawmen”. The Lawmen were all former Jefferson Country Police officers that played music for civic functions and service clubs. Their act was wildly popular with the crowd at Taylor’s. He and his Lawman pal, Bo Cotrell, opened a nightclub in Glendale, Colorade called “Bo and Eddie’s Saloon and Home for Wayward Cowboys”. Bo and Eddie shared the stage with many old friends and stars such as Jimmie Rodgers, John Gary, Mel Tillis, Dottie West, and others.
For Gary, it was onto Nashville and eventual fame. He scored his first country hit in October of 1980 with “Sweet Red Wine” released on the Warner Bros. label. Gary would go on to score 27 country charting hits, including 5 number 1 records all shown below. In August of 1983 he recorded his game changer, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” which was selected as the Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year”. The song would become Bette Midler’s biggest hit in 1989 reaching the number one spot on the Hot 100.
Me with the Big Three!
There was a whole lot of Colorado music history gathered in one spot this past weekend at the Big K Productions Record Expo in Denver. Show below are Colorado Music Historians and collectors extraordinaire. I was flattered just to be in their presence. They are George “Doc” Krieger former board member and the driving force behind the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and Blog author for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Reviews & Trivia” — Lisa Wheeler (with me) Colorado DJ and Blog author of two exquisite sites “Pueblo City Limits” and “North of Pueblo” — and Tom Lundin, Blog co-author for “The Denver Eye”.
If I could remember one one-thousandth of what these three know – I would know more than I could ever know!