We have not posted in quite awhile and I thought I would use this posting as a catch up and present some of the emails we have received… Feel free to jump in and add your comments.
Eugene Baker on the In_Men Ltd. & Peace Core
From: "Eugene Baker"
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 18:36:18 -0500
Subject: HEY BABY DAYS - Contact Via Website
I'm Eugene Baker (keyboards). I was really surprised when I stumbled across this site. (www.heybabydays.com) It really brings back memories.
I was the keyboardist that took Moose Smith's place after he got married and moved away. The In_Men were using the name "Peace Core" at that time. Freddy was singing, playing some bass, sax and fronting the group. Tommy was sill on drums with his brother singing. (What was his first name?) along with Howard, Freddy and Garth. Jerry Clapp was on guitar. I played Piano Bass and the Hammond. We practiced in an old church turned community center near Elon. I remember the night we hit a deer coming back from a gig and stopped at a country store about to see if there was a phone. It was about 3 Am
Before the Peace Core I worked with the Monzas till they retired. Also played Keyboard for them. What led me to the site was the fact that I was checking up on my old friend Eddie Middleton and was shocked the he also worked with Peace Core (In_Men) . We both ended up in Gospel music during the eightes & ninties each not knowing the other was in the same industry. I was in southern Gospel with Jake Hess & JD Sumner and he in Contempory.
I'll be checking out the books and music.
Yall have a great site.
Panama City Fl.
What great info I have not posted to the blog in a month of Sundays but this info is too good not to share. it was Wilson Rogers singing lead and was Harold Williams playing sax then. He and Eddie were there toward the last ( of the In-Men/Peace Core) as they had been when King David and the Slaves thought they were a Third World Band. lol Here's another shocker for you... Most of the Original In-Men Ltd. came back together a few years back and recorded some fantastic cuts... I hope I am being objective; the band was a personal favorite of mine.
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Thanks for the fast reply.
I mulled over Wilson Rogers's name all evening. I remember one gig we played at the Atlantic Beach Pavilion backing B.J Thomas. I think Harold was on sax & flute and Bobby Thomas was on bass,, Garth on Horn. I think Howard had gone with Rhondels and Harold might have come with us. (It seems we were always trading players with the Rhondels) You probably know the details better than I. Of course Tommy on drums; Jerry on guitar; (man! he is still probably the best slide player I ever worked with) . B.J.'s brother was there... drunk out of his mind. leaning on the side of the stage, beating it with his hand and cussing that the music was wrong! (Heck it probably was!) But what an obnoxious guy. Anyway, we rocked!!... Doing some Allman Brothers "Black Hearted Woman" & others. There isn't anything better than Allman Brothers with Horns.
Nice to hear from you. I'll spend some more time looking at the site later. I wanna get the book & CD's
Great stuff but just beyond the hey baby days when the highs were still provided by PBR etc. Like I say in the book, we went from "Baby, I need your lovin'" to "War, what is it good for ?" in but a blink of the eye. Interestingly, when many of the bands of the transition era get together for reunions, they tend to use their play list from 1966 rather than 1972. As for the Allmans and horns etc. They had some pretty soulful stuff as Hour Glass. When traveling with the Gregg Allman band, Harold Williams recalled how Gregg would sing ( not as in a performance but offstage) some of the R 'n B classics with such authenticity.
That's not surprising.
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Escorts from Richmond, Virginia.
The Escorts were founded in 1961 by Nick Cooleran. The band
lasted through 1969. We hope to add photos, member history and discography, soon..
Nick also recorded in the 1970's with Ron Moody , Bill Deal and the Rhondels, Ida Sands and many more groups. Visit his site at http://www.alphaaudioarchives.com
I sent you some Soulmasters and Fabulous Generals photos a while back which you were kind enough to post on your site.
I've just run across an old (and tattered) autographed picture of the original line-up that I thought you'd be interested in. ( See above)
The black and white photo of The Fabulous Generals is circa 1967. They were fronted by a great female vocalist, Debra Carol Crowder and did a killer version of the Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love." I was 10 when I saw them win a battle of the Bands at Ballou Park Shopping Center here in Danville, VA. There were so many groups that they had them alternating on 3 flatbed trucks in the parking lot, one after another. The Generals took the top prize, $100! The band signed 8x10s after the performance and sold their 45s for $1.00. They had two releases on independent labels. I have one of them somewhere.
The color shots (sent earlier) are from a later performance (also 1967) at the 360 Drive-In in Danville, after Debra left the band. They were then billing themselves as The Generals. The Generals and The Soulmasters (of Danville, VA) played as warm-up band for The Tams of Atlanta, GA, who were then riding high on the strength of their regional hit, "I've Been Hurt." They had earlier scored a national Top 10 hit with "I've Been Hurt." The Tams had their own band, featuring two drummers. Group member Charles Pope later told me they were brothers. The place was packed and the groups played on a small stage in front of the movie screen.
Those were the days.
Hello Greg –
I can’t believe you’ve assembled so much material on Beach Music, but I’m damn glad you did!
I played tenor sax in Chester Mayfield and the Casuals in 1967-68, then played in Calvin Lindsay and the Hysterics in 1969-1970. I now run a website for a non-profit (http://uniconexed.org) after 25+ years in marketing and sales, following my wife around in her job from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Andover, Massachusetts to Morristown, New Jersey and now back to Andover, Massachusetts again for the past 14 years.
I wrote this up a couple of years ago, and added a few updates today, just trying to remember it all; it’s an on-going project –
In the late sixties, I worked my way through UNC Chapel Hill and continued playing full time for about four years after that playing Carolina Beach Music 3-4 nights a week on average. I played in 7- and 8-piece bands that usually had a 2 to 4 piece horn section and a black male singer “out front”; the horn guys sang backup a lot. We played stuff by Tower of Power, Sly Stone (Everybody is a Star in 5-4 time), Otis Redding (“Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”; “They call Me Mr. Pitiful”), James Brown (Try Me), and songs by people like Willie Tee (“Walkin’ up a one way street and “Thank You John”), The Radiant’s (“Voice your Choice”), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Spinners, Curtis Mayfield, Major Lance, Wilson Pickett and Ben E King. Play an hour or two of Beach Music and you could play just about anything else you wanted.
You couldn’t go into a club without hearing Billy Stewart, Smokey Robinson or Willie Tee.
I played every frat house from Virginia to Georgia (I am exaggerating only a little here). Also, many cotillions and country clubs and not a few military bases, not to mention the night clubs. We always played OD clubs in the summer – Ocean Drive near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In Greensboro, we used to have a standard Sunday afternoon gig at The Castaways (“The home church of rock and roll”). For a couple of years, we had a standard Wednesday night gig at The Cellar in Charlotte. We played The Embers Club in Raleigh all the freakin’ time. The club owner’s sons were also the leaders of a band called, naturally enough – The Embers. I remember playing the Kentucky Derby party scene once.
We played on the same circuit as Bob Collins and the Fabulous Five (no relation), The Embers, Calabash Corporation, The Catalinas and four or five other groups I can’t remember now. Shadowing us on the circuit was the bawdy group Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts from Carrboro, North Carolina (“My ding-a-ling”). The name groups booked through Hit Attractions in Charlotte (Tommy Hand, I think his name was and a partner); Doug Clark got his own bookings, which were numerous.
We opened for Wilson Pickett, the Tams, the Drifters, the Shirelles, even Chuck Berry once, and backed up Barbara Lewis (“She-bop she-bop – seems like a might long time”) and regional sensation from Knoxville, Clifford Curry (“I’m going to hate myself in the morning, but right now, it’s alright” and “She shot a hole in my soul”). Chester Mayfield and the Casuals backed up Patty LaBelle once – in front of an all-black audience in Elizabeth City. She was with The Blue Bells at the time. Not a good gig.
There were three regionally successful groups I played with. I was with Chester Mayfield and the Casuals (I found this morbid link on my site – http://bigtuner.com/Chester-Mayfield-high-point-enterprise.htm). Chester was a cousin of Curtis Mayfield – sort of like the Neville clan in New Orleans. Another band that did well was called Calvin Lindsay and the Hysterics. We were booked virtually every weekend, booking as many as 5 gigs a weekend occasionally and 12 nights in a row around Christmas. I got in on the tail end of Cannonball; I’ve never carried so much equipment in my life. The drummer had his own roadie.
In the late sixties–early seventies, with two blacks in the band and my hair looking like a dandelion, we were frequently stopped by cops or harassed at restaurants. The Hysterics travelled with a well hidden 45 “just in case”.
The big thing was a dance called The Shag. This was a more or less polite dance requiring you to hold onto usually one hand of your partner and move lightly back and forth with lots of footsteps; if you were a guy, it helped if you wore Lacoste polo shirts in a sherbet color and I think Pappagallo shoes were the thing for women. The Shag was mostly adopted by the rich white local kids and their parents. But, it allowed the white kids to hear and feel the R&B that was all over the black communities.
Yes, I played the black clubs too in a band called Plenty D. Good; Plenty Dingle from Thomasville, North Carolina was the singer’s real name. Sounded e x a c t l y like Percy Sledge. I played both the black clubs paying liquor taxes and those back in the woods that served “un-bonded” home cooked stuff, but we played R&B, not Beach Music, although there were many crossover songs. Plenty started in gospel and I believe returned to gospel after the band broke up.
Regarding band members, when I joined The Casuals, some of the players I remember include Randy Flynt, owner and bass player, Mike Stephenson a soft-spoken, level headed accomplished guitar player, Curtis Fields, a well-trained jazz saxophone player that left for New York and another saxophone player, Johnny Lashley, who pissed on an elevator full of debutantes in Raleigh, thus launching my career. I’m sure that Johnny, if he is still alive, would not care in the least that I relate this. He really helped me in a number of ways, giving me a decent mouthpiece and encouraging me to “Just blow” – the best advice I ever received for playing extemporaneously. In a weird way, he was my mentor. According to Doug Reid, a guitar player that also played in both The Casuals and The Hysterics, “Randy Flynt, owner of the group, does operate a small music store, Big John's Music.....(336) 841-7309 in High Point, NC. He would be your best source for any pics of the Casuals.” (and Hysterics). Randy booked and played in a band called “Cut Glass” for a number of years after The Casuals.
Some of the Hysterics players in 1969-1970 included owner and drummer Lee Bowman, Jerry Hutchins, bass, Doug Reid, guitar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jerome Smith (AKA Juke), organ; Jerome also played in the Casuals for a time. According to Doug Reid, after a stint in Clearwater, Florida, “Jerome made his way to Atlanta and formed a group, "The Backstabbers ". His group was the backup band for "The Tams" for a number of years. Jerome returned to Thomasville about twenty years ago, and lives in the same neighborhood. He was the keyboard player at his church last time I checked.”
Wouldn’t you know it? I Googled it and these two say it all about The Shag –
Both the Casuals and the Hysterics played a lot. We might play Thursday night in Atlanta, Friday in Charlottesville, Saturday at a frat in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, maybe Sunday at the Castaways in Greensboro. I used to hitchhike from Chapel Hill to High Point for practice, about 70 miles, then catch a bus back to Chapel Hill. We’d know in advance what songs we wanted to learn; usually it was some song or two coming up the Billboard R&B charts. You were expected to know your part and the form of the song on arrival. Whatever songs we learned at practice were the first to be played the next time we had a gig. Then, later in the night, we’d play them again. By the time the songs had made it up the charts and were on the radio, they were in our repertoire and pretty well polished, contributing to our success.
The gas crisis of 1974 changed the whole picture. After one moonlit night where we were literally the only vehicle on the highway and carrying 20 gallons of gasoline in the trailer so we could make it back from Charlottesville to High Point, the band I was in at the time reformed as “Payday” to play weekend gigs within a couple hours drive of High Point; these gigs were mostly at the apartment complexes catering to singles that grew like weeds in every city in North Carolina around that time. It was the same folks listening and much of the same music, but it wasn’t the same.
Anyway, I see that your book is out of print; I ordered it from athensdmusic.com, though.
Best regards and thanks for the memories….
Dan “Danny” Collins
If you are still compiling places, I have one I did not see on the internet posting:
The exact location is fuzzy, since it was c. 1965-66, but I believe it was somewhere around Winston-Salem, NC, or the area between Winston and G'boro.
The name of the club was The Cerise Lounge.
Vickie Koontz Smith
P.S. Love the walk down memory lane.
hey my name is dawn...my dad played with cortez greer....i have a 45 record of them with 2 songs on it...one called IVE BEEN WATING & the other is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. I have their picture on a little magazine put out in augusta ga...i dont have any memories of that time cuz i wasent born till 1970....my dad played music all the time...most times i had a live band in my livingroom when i was a child...he played till he died...he was 38 when he passed...i was 17.... His name was charles pope but most people called him chuck......just thought u might want to know that & if u can give me any info it would be great...you can email any time and thank you for your time
DAWN POPE ALEXANDER
More missin’ Pieces
I emailed you once before and now add this to the previous info on the Pieces of Eight.
I hope I can fill in a little info on the downfall and regrouping of the POE. I joined the POE in the summer of 68 replacing Jim Bumgardner on Bass. That was an interesting job because I spent the previous summer backing up the POE in PC in a band called the Disciples of Blues where I orignally played guitar. When we switched from blues to soul music, I moved to sax and flute and occasionally played bass so our lead singer, Don Hilburn, could get down. When Earl C called me to come to Opp to meet with Steve he didn't say what he wanted. I packed my King super 20 Tenor sax and an extra pair of socks and headed to Opp. After a little muddling around, Steve told me Jim B. was leaving in 2 weeks and they needed a bass player. I of course took the job. I remember when Michael Abdullah came in. He played sax. After a couple of months, since there was another frontline spot open (I can't remember who left), I was moved to sax and flute. WHEN Frank Rountree left THINGS REALLY STARTED FALLING APART. We were constantly changing personnel and Earl C. just hired warm bodies so we could keep the gigs. Earl called me one day and asked me to come to his house. By this time I was ready to quit myself. When I came in Earl said We've got a problem. I countered YOU sure do.
We (earl & I) wound up in the bus driving to Athens Georgia . Earl managed another band in Athens called the Elans. They had hit some bumpy roads also due to, among other things, the draft. We pulled up to a trailer where some of them were living and Earl kept me (not because of my talent but because I had worked with both the music (bass) and the show (sax and flute)). He combined me and the remaining 7 of the Elans to reform the POE. I only lasted a few more months before I came to my senses during a few days I spent in Muscle Shoals babysitting a broken down bus. I left early in 1969, March I think. The Elans included Ron Hicks, Bobby Dollar (guitar), Charlie Hughes (Trumpet), Johnny Seabolt (Sax), David Bernard (Keyboards), Roger Wright (Bass) and ??? (drums).
I am still looking for pictures of the Disciples of Blues. If I ever find them I will send copies.
Dennis Hodges (Sax, flute and occasional trumpet)1968-1969