Wow! The cup indeed runneth over as Atlanta musician John Ivey opened some doors and in came some great information about the referenced bands, coming all from musicians who played with the Divots, The Jokers Seven and The Night Shadows.
I was very lucky to find Rick Bear on the Internet. He led me to Wayne Logiudice and to John Ivey. All three played together in Wayne Logidice and Kommotion. We still have not finished our conversations with Wayne, so stay tuned. As for John Ivey, if you want information on bands and musicians in Atlanta (probably for all decades) he’s the go to person. If he doesn’t have the answers, he can probably direct you to the person who does.
Thanks to John, we received some input from Aleck Janoulis about the legendary Atlanta band, the Night Shadows. Additionally, we learned that we missed another "band of Jokers" having previously apologized for missing The Jokers Wild of Richmond, Virginia. John showed his copy of the book to Jim Woodford and as a result, we got an email from Jim with the photo of The Jokers Seven of Greenville, North Carolina. Then another email came from Mike Webber who was referred by Jim. Mike is a former Divot of Roanoke Virginia who went on to play bass for the Judds and other big time names. We did not however miss the Divots in the book. They were a long running band that amassed quite an outstanding reputation through the years.
The photo above of the Divots above is used in a great story written by John Pugh which appears in "The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music" courtesy of The Roanoker Magazine.
Mike’s email sums up the feeling of many musicians from back in that era. Also, Jim Woodford has furnished us a contact for the Royal Kings of Roanoke, another glaring omission from the book.
My name is Mike Webber and I was the bass player in the Divots from, oh gosh let me think. I would say somewhere from 1964 to around 1966, maybe even in 1963 or so. However, I do have a photo of the band. The organist was my brother Bobby Webber, who, unfortunately died 2 years ago in Va. Beach from lung and brain cancer. I am the oldest of our siblings and at the age of 63 in March. There were a few different band members as time went by, but for the most part a few regulars. Jimmy Lowe, was one of the sax players. Wayne Johnson was a great vocalist. Orlando Smith was a wonderful organist, but that was somewhat before my time there. Perry Calligan was the guitarist from the get go I would say, followed later by his brother Larry. My brother Bobby was the organist after Orlando. Sonny Womack was a bass player and singer at different times as was Don East, who I believe was the original bassist. It was a wonderful time and I've probably not had as much fun in my entire life as I did in those days. Gee, we were all so young, talented, interested in what we were doing and willing to give up anything in order to pursue that endeavor, and we did! The singer in the photo I'm sending you is Bugs Hughes.. I always love that guy, and haven't seen him in maybe 40 years or more. Good grief. Anyway, that band was very good and went to back up some major artists, such as...Dionne Warwick, The Four Tops, Rufus Thomas, The Shirelles, Tom Jones, The Tams, and more than this old mind cannot recall. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to write me back, as I really love talking about those days. The beginning of rhythm and blues, soul, and all that good stuff.
Thanks for your email. The Divots was a highly regarded band by those who count most, other musicians. During my research for the book beginning in 2000, I kept hearing from members of various bands that the Divots were an absolute must for the book. I write about the difficulty in finding a source in the book. After calling every Richard or Dick Hodges in Roanoke and mostly leaving voice mails, , I finally got a return call from a message I finally was able to hook up with Dick Hodges, the long time manager of the Divots and he provided me with a lot of information, most of which had already been published in the Roanoker Magazine. (I am afraid that Dick may be deceased as I tried to mail him a book and it came back)
I was able to secure permission to reprint the story written by John Pugh in the book. John's story about the band is excellent. I supplemented it with additional information I was able to obtain from Dick and Greg Slusher. I did not fare as well with the Royal Kings although I tried several sources. I think I have one now thanks to contacts obtained through John Ivey. I was not able to obtain photos that I could use as I only had a copy of the article. If you have other photos we could post, that would be great.
It is very sad that the Divots never recorded as they no doubt had the talent. Thanks for sharing the above with me and please respond with anything else you would like to share about those incredible times and that incredible band, the Divots.
The Jokers Seven
I saw your book over at John's house and was fully amazed; many of my old friends are in it. It's a wonderful book.
Attached is pic of The Jokers Seven of Greenville, NC -- 60s band. Most of us went to East Carolina University. We played R&B, worked mainly in NC, college parties and beach parties. Backed up major acts like The Dixie Cups, The Drifters, etc. I'm the one on bottom left-hand side of (guitar player) of the pic attached
"Hit Attractions" also booked The Divots out of Roanoke, VA. Hit Attractions made a promo pic of The Divots in the exact same style as the J7 pic attached. You can get a copy of The Divots' pic from my close friend/musician Mike Webber, originally from Roanoke, VA; bass player for the Divots. He moved to Nashville and became a star with the Judds and other hit groups, as you point out in your book. Mike's email is email@example.com
Ed Watkins is a wealth of info about the Jokers Seven. He was our band leader; in the middle of the three people on the right-hand side of the attached. Although Baron Hignite (front and center in the attached pic) referred to the J7 as his band
Contact Ed firstname.lastname@example.org get the details about the J7; then you can me what he says and I'll be glad to fill in any additional information I know.
Peter Harholdt, my good friend/musician from Roanoke, VA and in the 60s bands can help you out regarding the Royal Kings. I spoke with him by phone few days ago; told him about your book. He can provide the info you're seeking about the Kings. His email is email@example.com
I'm Cc'ing this e-mail to Mike, Ed, and Peter, and to John Ivey too.
Jim Woodford, Ph.D.
The Night Shadows
John Ivey gave me your information and I thought I had tried to contact you but maybe not. I am interested in knowing more about the Night Shadows (with Little Phil etc) especially the early days when the band was playing more R&B, i.e. “Money etc.” The band is very well known from those days and sorry we did not get more info before we published The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music but we are constantly adding and may append the first volume.
The Night Shadows started out primarily as an R&B group in the late 1950s, 7 years before Little Phil joined the group. We were originally called The Kavaliers in 1957 and eventually changed the name to the Night Shadows in 1959. Since the band started in my basement garage and I started writing original tunes, we are considered the first "garage band" by most collectors. We preempted other garage bands by 6 years (pre - Beatles), so a record company in Spain released an album and CD titled "The Patriarchs of Garage Rock" in 2007. (Attachment) (see above)
You can read more about the band and view some old pics by clicking on:
Also, click on the CDs for additionally info.
Thank you and I hope that others reading this will click on the link above and learn more about an Atlanta band that achieved a great amount of popularity in the day. Maybe they’ll also buy the CDs.