Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Conversation and Interview with Wayne Logiudice Part One

Our First Conversation with Wayne Logiudice

Our first conversation with Wayne Logiudice took place on Tuesday December 23. It was briefer that I would have liked but I had company and although I sensed that there was genuine interest from those in the room, I kept it brief. But I got a promise from Wayne that we would pick up after he got the book at looked over the contents. It was easy to like Wayne. He immediately declared that all those that said he was the real White James Brown, and better than Wayne Cochran knew what they were talking about. Does he have some great stories from the greatest days of R&B? Yes he does. ! His voice reminded me a lot of Wilbur Walton’s, a southern sultry soulful tone that could control an audience. Wayne said he had a good ten-year run as a performer and did not seem to have any regrets after it ended in the early 70s. I had been confused somewhat about his connection with the Winstons but it came a lot clearer after understanding a bit more about the Otis Redding connection. Three members of the band that backed Otis prior to the Bar – Keys formed the nucleus of the Wayne’s new backing band after the Kommotions had disbanded primarily as a result of members being drafted. Among those band members was saxophonist Richard Spencer who wrote “Color Him Father.’ Prior to the song, which put the Winstons in the national spotlight, they were the backing band for the Impressions and Wayne Logiudice Wayne traveled with the Impressions show for a period of time. Four gigs at the Apollo were among his favorite memories. Over the next few weeks, we hope to share stories from Wayne Logiudice about his memories from The Hey Baby Days.

Here’s one:

One night in 1966 at the fame Apollo Theatre, Wayne was singing the Chuck Jackson classic “Any Day Now” to a packed 100% black audience. When he got to the line… “Then the blue shadows will fall”… a blue light appeared from the lighting area in the upper balcony and it came and rested squarely on Wayne's face… then came a shout from the man shining the light, “Go Home Honkie.” With this, the place became silent… the music stopped as well as Wayne’s vocals…

Wayne recalled how he was incensed more by the intrusion, than he was by the words. He was a professional and this was totally uncalled for… Great anxiety seemed to reign over the stilled and silent crowd as they waited to see what would happen next. Eyes and ears were glued on Wayne. After a short pause, which seemed perhaps like an eternity, he calmly and clearly spoke the following words into his microphone, “I am home… sucker.” With this, the crowd erupted with admiring approval and an ovation for Wayne, a white R&B singer from Georgia. The blue light shone no mo and the sho that must go on, did.

Wayne Logiudice made his final appearance at the Apollo in 1969. By that time, he had appeared at virtually all the major black nightclubs and venues in the country with the exception of the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia. Many times, the billing on the club’s marquee read like it did at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Wayne Logiudice “The Blue-eyed Soul Brother.”

Wayne Logiudice & The Kommotions may have been the first white band to appear at the famed Royal Peacock in Atlanta.