Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Fourmore of Atlanta, Red Hots, Tempests, Original Celestials, Cardinals (Augusta, Georgia) and Big ? Ben Atkins

The Fourmore of Atlanta


Great to hear from you! My name is Mark Stone and I played saxophone in an Atlanta group called “The Fourmore of Atlanta". We were based out of Tucker, GA, and there were originally four in the group, sort of like a Beatles band, and then they added a sax to get the "soul" sound in, and that was our identity from then on out.

I have a few photos of the group, dressed in our specially designed outfits, made in Buckhead (same tailor that made Tommy Roe, Billy Joe Royal, and others) - very neat outfits (may still have these in storage). Our amplifiers were "rolled & pleated" black from the Vox Shop, same as Rollin Stones.

Would like to contribute to your effort. The book before left us out, but we were a factor then, winning the biggest battle of the bands competition in the Southeast at the time, the opening of the Atlanta Merchandise Mart. Got a recording contract with Mercury ...or at the time would be Bill Lowery studios, plus other things.

Backed up Chuck Berry, played several jobs at the old Atlanta Auditorium (now Georgia State), where they would feature several groups on stage, beginning in the afternoon on into the evening. We played on same shows with Paul Revere and the Raiders, James Gang, Mamas & Papas, Billy Joe Royal (several times), Joe South, Tommy Roe, Ian Whitcomb, Jan & Dean, and many others.

Anyway, I'll stop for now - let me know if you would like for me to send in the photos.

Our group was comprised of:
Stan Ruffin - lead singer, keyboard & guitar
Mickey Norris - lead guitar
Gary Anglin - rhythm guitar
Mark Stone - tenor saxophone
Eddie Johnson- drums


Mark Stone


One of the reasons we started the blog was to accelerate the information about bands that were unintentionally left out. Please send us any vintage 60s photos that you have of the band so we can post. There were quite a few of the Beatles type bands that made a transition to the soul sound and vice versa. The timing is hard to keep up with because we have accounts of bands making transitions to other genres at about the same time. (Some to soul and others to harder rock) One of the tell tale signs was whether or not the band wore the same stage outfits in 1968 or 1969. The "soul music/R&B/Beach" oriented bands had a tendency to dress alike until their play list changed. We will add a post about The Fourmore of Atlanta." Also, we are seeking information about other Atlanta based bands of the mid 60s: e.g. The Sol-Jers, Wayne Lacadece and Kommotion and others. If you have any information about them or know someone who does, pass the inquiry along.


Greg Haynes

Red Hots, Tempests, Original Celestials, Cardinals (Augusta, Georgia)


You left out the 1961 Red Hots , The Tempests, and The Original Celestials. My name is Bobby Byrd and I was the bass player and singer for those groups


We know we missed some great bands; there were so many but we hope to continue to collect the information and photos so we can expose them on the blog and if we have a Second Volume, we want to have them included. I think we had photos of the Tempests, the Celestials and the Red Hots in the Augusta section. These may have been later editions of the bands. We put a lot of Augusta bands in the book but know it was a hotbed for music.


Greg Haynes

Yes, unfortunately you did not have any pics of me and the original Celestials, Red Hots Tempests But it is ok I was a bass player and I also had the Cardinals with Billy Walker before he went to the Prophets I taught Tommy Witcher the bass.


Do you have any old photos of the bands that we can publish on the blog and any subsequent book printings? We were very proud of all the information we got from Augusta but knew there was much more. Would love to present more detail if you have the time or inclination.Regards, Greg Haynes

Big? Ben Atkins (may not be the size he once was but still has the “Big” Sound)


I don't know yet how to get on the blog, but did go to the site & read some of the postings. Someone was asking about Big Ben Atkins and I just wanted to say he is still playing with a large horn section, Hammond B3 organ and some girl singers. Still out of Columbus, MS as I understand. Ben is not BIG anymore. Don't know how he lost it, but is now at a very respectable weight. Did not affect his sound though, he still rocks like the old times. He has played at my wife's Mardi Gras krewe ball the last two years and I wouldn't be surprised if he did not play this year. Loved the book and look forward to figuring out the blog because this is great information.

Rick Stephens
Tuscaloosa, AL


Thanks; we'll update blog and let people know. Appreciate your response.

Regards, Greg

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