The NEW! IMPROVED! UPDATED! 2nd edition of Baltimore Sounds
is now available on-line and in local stores !
Makes a great gift for any music fan, musician, or even get one for yourself !
Please see the ordering page to get your copy.
Now only $25 postage paid!
<<<<<<<< NEWS >>>>>>>>
LARRY "REDS" POPOLI
, May 13, 1925 - October 29, 2017, Lawrence Joseph Popoli was born and raised in Highlandtown on Decker Avenue along with his ten siblings. His parents were Anthony and Marie. He attended St Brigid's and Mount St. Joseph High School for 2 years before joining the Navy. He was aboard the Block Island aircraft carrier when they were torpedoed. The one thing he saved was his trumpet. Upon being discharged from the Navy, he worked for the City of Baltimore as a street surveyor for many years. In 1949, he and his brothers, Anthony and Michael formed the band Larry Reds Popoli and His Orchestra. Many Baltimoreans will recall the many venues that they played. The group played many Mayoral Balls and also played four times for Vice President Agnew. He later became the bugler at all of the local racetracks and had fond memories of meeting Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Redd Foxx, Howard Cosell and all the major jockeys as he called the Preakness ponies to the post. One year he even taught trumpeter Al Hirt to blow the call. When he was not bugling, he worked in the mutual departments of the tracks.
Larry is survived by his wife of 68 years, Connie (nee Kaniecki), his son Mark, his son and daughter-in-law Gary and Nicole, and his 2 granddaughters Alexandra and her husband Joseph, and Gabriella. He is also survived by his sisters Rosie, Marie and her husband Victor, and Stephanie, and numerous nieces and nephews. His other siblings, Lucille, Amelia, Dolly, Josephine, Margaret, Anthony and Michael are also deceased. Memory tributes may be sent to the family at www.evansfuneralchapel.com
-11.01.2017 source Evans Funeral Chapel
passed away on October 11, 2017 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. For 28 years Greg was the friendly proprieter of Greg's Bagels in Belvedere Square before giving up the business in 2016 due to his health.
Musically, as a multi-instrumentalist of guitar, bass, keyboards, and saxophone, Greg was member of Montgomery County based recording groups The Resumes, and The Newports, and also led his band Greg and his Novikanes. In Baltimore he was a member of The New Apocalypse who released several singles and an album "Stainless Soul" on MTA Records.
Radio personality Anthony Ferrell aka Dr. Doo-Wop
host of a popular oldies show on Morgan State University's radio station WEAA passed away on October 4, 2017 after suffering a stroke.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Announcing MEHOF ceremony number 10:
Congratulations to all the inductees!
passed away on September 25, 2017. In his teens he played saxophone for The Marquis, and The Chelseas throughout the Baltimore area and Ocean City. The Chelseas appeared on The Kerby Scott Show. Michael was a U.S. Navy veteran and operated a successful dental practice in Parkville for over 30 years.
R.I.P. Ed DiMarino
April 5, 2017. Bass guitarist, a member of local popular band Joy.
Ed relocated to Las Vegas in 1977 where he performed with many top artists including Wayne Newton, The Smith Brothers, and The Righteous Brothers.
Remembering Ron Litchfield
who passed away in 2014.
Ron and I grew up on the same street in Ellicott City, and later we both worked for the same employer for over thirty years. Ron enjoyed playing guitar, riding motorcycles, and collecting vinyl, especially Lynyrd Skynyrd related collectibles. Our record collecting hobby took us on many memorable escapades.
Ron's sole mention in the Baltimore Sounds book was as a member of the Howard County based bar band Wendell Ross & The Supremes.
Albert Charles "Budd" Hensel, Jr.
passed away on May 18, 2017 at his home in Ocoee, Florida. From 1958-1961 he was lead guitarist and vocalist of Gardenville area group The Adjectives. He later joined The Del Satins through the early to mid-1960s using the stage name of Buddy Lee Rimar.
Some of Budd's music is posted on broadjam.com, where a brief autobiography reads:
"Starting at 13 playing bluegrass music, During the mid 50's and late 60's I worked with many local Maryland, Washington D.C. R&B Bands Then an opportunity took me to the Big Apple working with some of the better known Artists of R&B era.
"In 1968, family responsibilities took me away from the spotlights, ending my dreams of being a known entertainer... So I began writing and taping various types of music and lyrics.
"In 2006 my children had discovered several of the tapes I'd composed, persuading me to continue my efforts into more than just a hobby.
"In 2007, I joined ASCAP and Broadjam, then assembled a mini-studio using a multitrack recorder...
"At my age, to be heard or even recognized as the writer of song you like, I say "Thank You" and always remember "For such is the life of a Struggling Musician.""
tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE
, aka BalTimOre is still alive and well and residing in the Pittsburgh area. Recent experimental usic collections include retro as well as contemporary tracks.
2013(CD) - mm bad 001 -- MM26
2015(CD) - mm bad 002 -- 12 selections from 40 years
2016(CD) - mm bad 003 -- Significantly Different from the Other One
2017(CD) - mm bad 004 -- Amusical Music Atheatrical Theater
, trombonist with The Deltas passed away on May 31, 2017 (67)
R&B / Jazz trumpeter Wendell Shepherd
passed away on May 7, 2017. The renowned Baltimore musician was a member of The Grand Jury throughout most of the 1970's. He later played in backing bands for Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, and Kenny Wright among others, and backed P-Funk groups on local engagements.
Most recently Wendell was a member of The Sky High Band.
A great time was has by all at the May 7, 2017 Maryland Entertainers Hall of Fame (MEHOF).
Congratulations to all the inductees!
R.I.P. Ed DiMarino
April 5, 2017.
Announcing the May 2017 Inductees to The Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame
The MEHOF honors individuals and groups who have made signifigant contributions to the history of entertainment in the State of Maryland.
Honorees include Musicians, Singers, Radio and Television Personalities, Promotional Icons, and all facets of entertainment.
It's quite an honor to be recognized by your peers for your contributions to the local music scene!
Congratulations to all the May 2017 inductees!!!
Robert "P-Nut" Johnson
(1947-2017), funk vocalist and songwriter has passed away on March 11, 2017.
This news from his friend Reggie Kelly: "It is with great sadness to inform those who knew him that ROBERT "P-Nut" JOHNSON has died! I met P-Nut some years ago when he was a member of the popular singing Quintet "THE CIVICS". Earlier on the group was backed up by an all White band known as "THE JETSONS"; then later they switched to an all Black band named "THE COLLECTIONS". It wasn't too shortly thereafter that he, along with Gary, Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson (no relation) were recruited by William "Bootsy" Collins along with others from the Cincinnati, Ohio area formed "Bootsy's Rubber Band" of which their first LP "Stretchin' Out" was released on Warner Brothers Records in 1976. After several reincarnations of the group P-Nut finally became a member of Parliament recording and touring until his untimely death."
Posted March, 15, 2017
On January 27, 2017 legendary radio personality Les Alexander
passed away at age 93.
After serving in the military in WWII, he began a career in broadcasting starting in Philadelphia, then moving to Baltimore where he hosted a talent show on WAAM-TV. He went on to radio at WITH, then to WCAO from 1957 where he was heard on afternoons until the early 1970s. He later moved to North Carolina to radio station WAYS-AM and also did television work.
Frank "Hank" Myers passed away on January 9, 2017 at the age of 67. Frank played guitar and keyboards. He was a member of many top Baltimore bands starting in the mid-60s including The Deltas, Shane, The Blue Meanies, The Overlea Brothers, Retrospect aka The Bottles that morphed into (Stevie &) The Satellites, and in recent years was a member of a reformed version of The Gigs.
Announcing 2017 schedule for Arbutus Record Show:
See the show schedule at www.arbutusrecordshow.net
Baltimore lost a legendary voice as Bob Brady
has passed away.
Photos: Bob Brady circa 1969
A vocalist, guitarist and pianist, Bob started out in the early '60s with local group The Flintstones. The group was a finalist in Buddy Deane battle of the bands. Members went on to many great local bands. In 1964 he joined The Conchords. Bob Brady & the Conchords became one of the top Baltimore area groups of the '60s and early '70s. They recorded a string of regionally popular singles on the Chariot label as well as a solo release on A&M Records. Many of their releases later became highly sought after collectible records in Europe. Bob was later a member of the groups Energy, Rise, Cadillac Cruisers, Pastime, and others.
In the '00s one of the Conchords records, "Everybody's Goin' To The Love-In," a Northern Soul collectible, had caught on in Europe as the music for a radio and television commercial. Bob proudly showed me a (very small) royalty check and remarked that after forty years he had become an overnight sensation!
Bob battled with heart disease and cancer in recent years and passed away on November 29, 2016 at age 71.
passed away on September 12, 2016. He was a saxophonist with '60s Baltimore
groups The Artesions, The Satins, The Statics, and The Epics. George reunited with the Epics in 2002 for the second R&B Jam reunion.
passed away on September 15, 2016 (82). A true legend in Baltimore radio.
Many thousands of listeners grew up with him on the air during the 1960s and '70s on WCAO-AM where he worked for 30 years. His voice immortalized on the "Cruisin' 1968" album (Increase Records). In his later years he was an air personality at WTTR in Westminster, MD. Much has been written about him... what more can I say? Thank you Johnny for introducing me to the most exciting years of Top 40 radio!
Photos above: Cruisin' 1968 (Increase Records) - Johnny Dark from the WCAO album
passed away on September 9, 2016. Vern started out with music in the
mid-1950s as guitarist of popular group The Londonaires. They made appearances on The
Buddy Dean Show. He went on to manage The RaVons, and wrote songs for pop singer Dick
Charles. Vern later worked as a mobile DJ using the name Vern Charles. A school teacher
by trade, in his retirement years he operated an antique mall booth in Westminster, and
specialized in military memorabilia sales on the internet.
Vern took an interest in the Baltimore Sounds book project, relating many stories and
introducing me to some of his bandmates. He designed an early version of the Baltimore
Sounds website. A friend who will be truly missed.
Here's wishing the best for Greg Novik
as he recovers from abdominal surgery. His shop Greg's Bagels in Belvedere Square has temporarily closed and he hopes to reopen soon.
Jesse H. Yawn
, 78, of Bradenton, Florida, passed away on July 5, 2016.
From AEI VBooking Agency website:
"Blues Singer Extraordinaire, Jesse H. Yawn has been a fixture in Baltimore, Washington areas blues scene for over 25 years. A personable Gentle Giant of a Man, Jesse has enjoyed a huge loyal following wherever he appears.
"Born in Florida, he cut his teeth on Gospel music. Later he was recuited by the national touring acts such as The Visionaires and The Trumpets of Joy.
"Jesse moved to Rochester, New York in the early 50's to join the Travelling Six Spirituals group and later formed his own group, The Flower City Gospelaires.
"Turning to the blues scene, Jesse worked with legendary giants such as Jack McDuff, George Benson, Grant Green and Albert King at such clubs as The Pithod Club, Lee's Hotel, Club Mr. Wonderful & V.I.P Lounge.
"Moving to Baltimore in 1971, Jesse was rediscovered by Bobby Parker and Larry Benicewicz of the Baltimore Blues Society at club 8X10. Jesse went on to help form the Soul Providers group and won the D.C Blues Best Artists Competition.
He was sent to represent the Mid Atlantic Region in Memphis, Tennessee at the National Finals of the Blues Foundation.
"Jesse Yawn has established his name on the local music scene and his popularity has sent him to various venues throughout the states, including shows for President Clinton's Inaugural Events.
His distinction for the blues has brought about engagements in Italy and Germany as well.
"You will find him performing at major Blues Festivals on the basis of his critically acclaimed album, "Forever More," newly released from HorsePlay Records . This accomplishment features not only the finest musicians with international credentials, but also received accolades from such notables like John Lee Hooker and Bernard "Pretty" Purdie."
SAVE THE DATE!
For more details and photos from the previous events see the Stanstock Facebook page.
Hope to see you there!
In memory of friends and fellow musicians...
, Michael Dean Kelly passed away on June 18, 2016 after a brief illness. He was 58. Mike played drums with several popular Baltimore area bands including Bock, Revolution, Apricot Brandy... RIP, Mike
passed away on June 28, 2016 after a battle with cancer. He was recently honored with induction into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame as a member of The Admirals. Tommy played bass guitar and sax. He was also a member of Danny & the Elegants, Pen Lucy, and SirPrize. RIP, Tommy
Carl Wayne Smith
, (65), original bass guitarist and vocalist of The New Diablos. Known as Wayne, he passed away on February 2, 2016 from dementia.
Wayne was featured on both New Diablos records "Land of Love" (vocal b/w instrumental version) on Littlefields Records in 1968, and "Tangerine Guides" b/w "I'm Fake" recorded in Philadelphia and released on Fayette Records in 1970. All three tracks are featured on the 2014 Gear Fab Records retrospective CD "Psychedelic States - Maryland in the 60s"
In the early 1970s he relinquished the bass guitar role becoming the sound man for the group, and continued to do sound for other groups into the 1990s. In addition to sound he sang including stint with the Baltimore Symphony Choir. He leaves behind a daughter and two grandchildren. Thanks Michele (Smith) Watson.
passed away on March 14, 2016 due to a stroke he suffered in 2009. Born in South Baltimore on September 20, 1945, 'Butch' went on to quite a career as a jazz guitarist. He attended Peabody, worked with Julius Brockington's groups, and ventured to New York where he toured with Jimmy McGriff and George Benson. During the 1970s and 80s he released more than a dozen albums on Groove Merchant, LRC, and other labels. He later moved to Singapore and developed a loyal following. In the early 2000s he returned to the Baltimore area.
I had the pleasure of meeting him through my friend and talent agent Michael Lipman. We went to see him perform several times at the short-lived jazz club Courtney's Place in Randallstown, and visits to his studio in Belair.
Butch had quite a sense of humor, and it was painful to see him partially paralyzed from his stroke though he remained upbeat in hopes of being able to play again. RIP Butch, you will be missed.
Franklin C. Kennedy
, singer of Frankie & the Spindles passed away on April 20, 2016 at age 67.
The Spindles were very popular in Baltimore and influenced many later groups such as The Softones, The Persians, and others... DJ Rockin' Robin took the group under his wing hooking them up with producer George Kerr and releasing several singles on the Roc-Ker label including their classics "(My Girl) Is Made Of Candy" and "Count To Ten." Rockin' Robin also introduced the group to songwriters/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in Philadelphia where they went on to release singles on Funny A, Gamble, TSOP, and Strawberry labels.
Frankie eventually left the group and worked outside of music, while the group continued in various incarnations into the 2000s.
, pianist and multi-instrumentalist known as Sir Andre, attended Forest Park High School, then Peabody Conservatory, before moving to Louisville, KY where he became musical director for Atlantic Records recording artist Ben E. King, later returning to Baltimore and operating his own production company. Phillip passed away on October 24, 2015 at age 65.
Had the pleasure of speaking with Jack Boucher
(Boucher Brothers Band) 30+ years since he and his group were playing as our regular Sunday night band at Back of the Vac. They also performed regularly at Spittel's Salty Dog Saloon, and The Horse in Fells Point among others. Jack has since relocted to Nashville where he continues to be quite busy producing, songwriting, performing, and running a nightclub. He has promised to provide some updates and additional information...
I was very saddened to learn that his brother Steve Boucher
passed away in January 2015 after a long battle with cancer.
Steve Boucher at Back Of The Vac circa 1983
The Maryland Music Awards
is an annual event that will highlight some of the great musicians in Maryland to help raise money for children with cancer, namely the The Nicole Van Horn Foundation, while honoring Maryland's Great Music.
Tickets are available on-line through MissionTix.
What: The Maryland Music Awards 2016
When: May 13, 2016, 7:30 PM
Where: Kraushaar Auditorium - Goucher College
1021 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson, MD 21204
The Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame
honors individuals and groups who have made signifigant contributions to the history of entertainment in the State of Maryland.
Honorees include Musicians, Singers, Radio and Television Personalities, Promotional Icons, and all facets of entertainment.
Congratulations to the May 2016 inductees!!!
Songwriter extrordinaire (and Maryland Entertainment Hall Of Fame inductee) Kenny Kerns
stopped by the Arbutus Record & CD Expo in February to say hello, and to make sure I had copies of his songs as recorded by Baltimore groups Blueberry Blend and Billy Joy & The Verdicts.
Thanks, Kenny, for the records!
Kenny Kerns and Joe Vaccarino Feb. 21, 2016
Carl E. Burkowske
passed away on Monday, February 15, 2016. Originally from the Woodlawn suburb of Baltimore, his last residence was in Lusby, MD.
Carl was introduced to me by RaVons manager Vern Ruppert. We met with bandmate Clyde Weitzel and enjoyed a small RaVons reunion and talked about all the old bands. Carl was intrigued by the Baltimore Sounds book. He was always eager to send additional information about local music and we corresponded quite often.
Using the stage name Carl Evans he was a guitarist with The Spartans, the original RaVons, The Centaurs, then in 1961 started a 35 year run as a founding member of The Sentries (managed by his dad Frank 'Bee' Burkowske). The Sentries became one of the Baltimore area's most in demand variety and show bands.
Carl's bands performed at all the major clubs in the area as well as wedding receptions, bull roasts, etc. They did countless radio and television appearances including The Buddy Deane Show, Kerby Scott Show, Wing Ding, Larry Angel Show... In 1967 Brenda & The Sentries released a single "Don't Make Me Lie" written by WCAO DJ Alan Field.
Aside from music, Carl worked for United Airlines for 32 years.
Funeral services were held on Friday, February 19. RIP, Carl.
Not to be forgotten...
, the first drummer and founding member of the band The Uncertain Things, died of liver failure in April 2013.
Posted 2/2016. Update courtesy of Matt Siran
, very prolific bass guitarist, whose groups included The Londonaires, Emmel & His Counts, The Esquires, Tommy Vann's Professionals, Al Rossi's Joy, and Dion's Streeheart Band. Passed away a couple of years ago.
2/2016 - Thanks to his Londonaires bandmate Vern Ruppert for the memory.
Announcing 2016 schedule for Arbutus Record Show:
Psychedelic States: Maryland In The 60s
Various Artists (Artist) Format: Audio CD
Gear Fab Records presents the 20th edition to their Psychedelic States series. This one features Maryland and DC area artists. Released in 2014"The definitive collection of over 40 great bands from the Chesapeake State. Featuring many never before heard and unreleased songs from 1965 through 1970. Double CD Jewel Case with a 20 page full color booklet."
Most of the original records are quite rare. This is your chance to own remastered versions of them all at a reasonable price.
1. Get Off My Back - The Henchmen
2. It's True - The Looms
3. Please Don't Go - The Second Hand Bitter Sweet
4. Tangerine Guides - The New Diablos
5. The Fugitive - The Dagenites
6. Hey Little Girl The - Marauders
7. All I Want Is My Baby Back - Piece Kor
8. I've Been Fooling Around - The Smacks
9. Been A Long Time - The Koffee Beans
10. Psychedelic Ride - The Ides
11. Letters Of Love - The Creatures
12. I Wish I Could - The Juveniles
13. Shadows - Attic Sounds
14. Little Latin Lupe Lu - The Invaders
15. I Want You All The Time - The Limits
16. Sweet Life - The Urch Perch
17. Cumberland Railroad - Tomorrow's People
18. I Don't Want To Try Again - The Dagenites
19. Savin' All My Love For You - Bob Brady & The Con Chords
20. You Won't Find Me - The Executioners
21. In The World Of Our Own - Cherry Pink Reason
22. Flower Children - Sodom & Gomorrah
23. Gone And Left Me - Mike's Messengers
24. She Still Loves You - The Henchmen
25. Watch Out - Paper Cup
26. Come With Me - The Trespassers
27. Dance, USA! - The Shoremen
1. Love - The Bad Boys
2. Everything Would Be Fine - The Fallen Angels
3. I Do - Jay Dee & The Chasers
4. Tiny Little Seeds - The Persuaders
5. All My Life - The Koffee Beans
6. I Was Wrong - Human Freedom And Security
7. J-J (Come Back To Me) - The Souls Of Britton
8. I'm Fake - The New Diablos
9. Fools Live Alone - The Lost Tribe
10. Haight Street Dream - Brandi Laine
11. I Can't Wait Till Friday Comes - The Hard Times
12. I Don't Know - The Penmar Stompers
13. Throw Stones - The Stratfords
14. Something For You - The Marauders
15. They Threw Sticks And Stones - The Nunsuch
16. Words Of The Raven - Piece Kor
17. What A Drag It Is - The Patriots
18. I'm Gone Slide - The Dagenites
19. I Can't Believe - The Omegas
20. Dawn - Summer's Misfits
21. Land Of Love - The New Diablos
22. Little Heart - The Newports
23. Carousel Of Dreams - Cherry Pink Reason
24. She's Bad - The Shoremen
25. Turtle Neck Sweaters - The Verdicts
26. I Need Love - The Mad Hatters
27. Things I See - The Urch Perch
CD available through Amazon.com
(1964 - 2015) speed metal drummer passed away in June 2015. He is noted in Baltimore Sounds with Decadence (p.116), Have Mercy (p.202), Mary Suicide, (p.296), Nothing Sacred (p.334), Pessimist (p.365), and Speaking in Tongues (p.455), but friend and bandmate John Cochran remembered "we had a rocking teenage combo (Driving Force, p.132) that made a little but significant splash. He wasn't no slouch on trombone either, no shit!"
"Three months later, his sister Michelle Flockton
(nee' Grden 1963 - 2015) died of leukemia. Michelle wasn't cited anywhere in Baltimore Sounds, but she was a brilliant flutist with a degree from Towson State, and later an instructor there. She would sit in with Driving Force during our covers of "Locomotive Breath" and excerpts from "Supper's Ready".
"Also somewhat belatedly, my dear friend and soulmate Karon High
(1955 - 2010). Karon came to Baltimore by way of Austin, Texas, and participated in regional songwriting forums. She was a good acoustic guitarist and had a voice that could melt glass. We would kill 'em at Fells Point with our "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" karaoke."
-Dec. 2015 - Thanks John Cochran for sending these notices
2016 Arbutus Record & CD Show
This is the place to find your favorite vinyl, CD's, tapes, DVD's, and other music memorabilia!
Shows are the third Sunday of each month (except May and July)
See the show schedule at www.arbutusrecordshow.net
11 years and still going strong...
ROOTS ROCK RADIO SHOW presents the best of indie ROOTS ROCK/POP, ALT COUNTRY/AMERICANA, BLUES ROCKABILLY, GARAGE/PUNK, and Real ROCK & ROLL from around the globe. Now in its 11th year in (2015)! The show has been reviewed in Rolling Stone Magazine, http://rrradio.com/images/RS_RRR52web2.jpg, Apple's iTunes has included the show in their list of a "special set of pioneering shows."
You can listen to the ROOTS ROCK RADIO show 24/7 on the Web at: Roots Rock Radio http://RRRadio.com/
You can also find Richard's 'Roots Rock Radio' show on facebook
Congratulations to Appaloosa
for 45 years together! Founding members Chuck Ansell and Mike Flaherty.
I have NO JOB
I have NO MONEY
I have NO CAR
BUT I'M IN A BAND!
Congratulations Winfield Parker
for receiving the 2015 ALTA Award!
From The Maryland State Arts Council website:
BALTIMORE (November 19, 2015) - A concert by Winfield Parker, legendary R&B, soul and gospel singer and musician, will highlight the Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Traditions annual Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts (ALTA) Awards ceremony and concert on Saturday, December 5th at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring.
The ALTA Awards is the state's highest recognition for the traditions, people, and places that are emblematic of Maryland's rich cultural heritage.
Winfield Parker, who has enjoyed a long and storied career as a rhythm and blues, soul and gospel singer and musician, has performed with Little Richard, appeared as a featured artist with The Temptations, James Brown, Etta James, and Carla Thomas. As a gospel singer, Parker has participated in productions with The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Vicki Winans, and the Jackson Southernaires. He is a role model and mentor to generations of R&B, soul and gospel singers and musicians in Maryland and beyond.
, aka 'JG' passed away on September 11, 2015 after a long battle with cancer.
JG played bass guitar for the Shyndells Band, backing many recording artists on Rufus Mitchell's Ru-Jac Records label, and as primary backing band for local R&B legends Winfield Parker and Kenny Hamber among others. The Shyndells provided backing music and/or opened for a virtual who's who of R&B music throughout the 1960's on many local stages including the Civic Center, Lyric Theater, and Carr's Beach, as well as tours on the famed 'chitlin' circuit.'
In 1969 JG joined the Hitchhikers (Denny & the Hitchhikers) along with Warren Garrison, Kenny Hamber, and others after the departure of Denny Picasso. The group membership evolved as they became known as The J.G. Hitchhikers. Among many venues local and abroad, they played two years as the house band at The Blackjack Club in Baltimore.
J.G. continued as leader of Kenny Hamber's backing bands, touring the U.S. and Europe, until his health began failing in recent years. He had a warm personality and a huge infectious smile. I was honored to be recognized by him at shows at the 5th Regiment Armory and the Patapsco Arena.
, lead guitarist of long-time popular Howard County band The Prodigals, was killed in an automobile accident on September 15, 2015. He was 72.
Larry was the first person I interviewed for the Charmed Times newsletter. The article was not published by Charmed Times, but subsequently led to the beginning of the Baltimore Sounds book. As a writer himself, Larry was quite intrigued by my project and was always willing to help, staying in touch over the years.
Larry was a founding member of The Prodigals (1959-72, 1980-91). The band was a staple at fire hall dances, county fairs, and night clubs throughout MD, PA, and DC, while also traveling as far as NY City. They released a record in 1966 "I Need You" b/w "You Better Move On" (Acadian 1000). The group folded in 1972, then as a result of a reunion in 1980 they reformed as a country band and continued into the early '90s.
Larry was also involved in guitar manufacturing, purchasing the Harptone Guitar Company in New Jersey along with tooling and manufacturing equipment from Microfret Guitars in Frederick. He and business partner Bob McHenry owned and operated the American Musicians Supply store in Sykesville, and were instrumental in organizing the town street festivals that brought bluegrass and country musicians from all over the region.
Congratulations Bill's Music House
on their 50th Anniversary!
Providing musical instruments, service and instruction to the Greater Baltimore Area.
Visit their store at 743 Frederick Rd., Catonsville.
Thanks to Bill, his family and staff for supporting the "Baltimore Sounds" book!
(Photo: Bill in front of the old store)
Saxophonist Gene Bonner
passed away on August 5, 2015 at the age of 80. Starting in the 1950s he performed with the National Guard Band and led his own orchestra that performed on WAAM-TV. He was a member of the Zim Zemarel Orchestra from the 1960's through the 1990's, then continued to lead the orchestra after Zemarel passed away.
Saying goodbye to Chris Trieble
, one of my oldest and dearest friends. Both of us music fanatics. We started garage bands during high school. And although our bands never got anywhere we had lots of great times. Chris studied classical guitar at Peabody. He went on to play in several successful local bands including This 'N That, and others.
Chris and I spent countless hours traveling to record stores and we both built nice record collections.
Outside of music we traveled the entire east coast on many different excursions - everywhere from Montreal (a trip accompanied with his sister Renee), to Key West. One trip we were headed to New York and at the last minute decided to head south 'not stopping until we saw palm trees,' eventually ending up in Savannah Georgia on a whim! There were many harrowing experiences that we managed to get through - one at the Canadian border entering New York. Once at a gas station in NW Georgia where we narrowly escaped a group of rednecks picking a fight. An all-night trip to Grafton, WV to visit a friend that should have taken 4-5 hours but we battled what turned out to be a bad alternator and a clogged gas filter - driving then gravel topped Route 50 at night with no headlights. The stories are endless. Thanks Chris!
Life took us in different directions until reconnecting at our 25th High School reunion and we stayed in touch on and off since. Chris was also a good cook. Will miss the many cookouts, his homemade Italian dishes and chili.
Chris was found deceased in his Arbutus apartment on June 23. I'll miss you, my friend. RIP.
Chris and Joe at the Baltimore Book Fair - 2008
RIP Norman R. Flinkman aka Randy Fisher
, died June 10, 2015 of pancreatic cancer in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Mr. Flinkman attended Forest Park High School, then served in the U.S. army. Under stage name Randy Fisher he released a record in 1958 "You're The Reason" b/w "I've Got The Feeling" (Saliano 112) backed by a studio group called The Sharp Tones.
During the 1960's he performed professionally as a comedian and singer under the stage name Buddy DeVille. He worked local clubs that included The 2 O'Clock Club on the famed Baltimore Block, and Sherrie's Show Bar on Pulaski Highway. He toured nationally, later becoming a promoter and a booking agent.
In the 1970s he owned a night club in Dothan, Alabama, and later retired to Florida.
Anybody heard of a R&B group circa late-'60s-early-'70s called
Recently a demo acetate pressing of two songs has been discovered by this group. The tracks are "West Side" (similar to a mid-'60s Drifters sound), and "Elephant Jerk" (a R&B Watusi type dance record). The recording is from Accent Studios on Biddle Street. I don't know if the songs were ever released as a single. Please let me know if you know anything about this group.
RIP Marylou Magee-Kern
, 49, of Marylou and the Untouchables passed away Thursday, June 25, 2015 at University of MD Medical Center. She was the spouse of Leonard Kern.
Marylou was born November 25, 1965 in Baltimore, MD the daughter of Elsa Lillian (Beyer) Magee and the late Carl W. Magee.
She came from a family of musicians, was lead singer for Marylou and the Untouchables, performed with various artists such as Tommy Thomas of the Drifters, Taylor Dayne, Dana Carvey, Ray Charles, Dimitri Callas (lead guitarist for the Four Seasons), Clarence Clemens (saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen), and James Brown.
Surviving her in addition to her husband and mother are brothers Mark and Thomas Magee, sister-in-law Yvonne Magee, sister-in-law Mary Magee and numerous nieces and nephews, family and friends. Preceded in death by brothers David and Joseph Magee.
Obituary from Burrier-Queen web-site
RIP Frank Stone, Jr.
, passed away peacefully on June 23, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. He was a keyboardist with '60s band King Solomon's Minds, appearing on the Kerby Scott Show, and sharing stages with the likes of Canned Heat and other major artists. Frank shared information about KSM and his dad who was in popular country bands in the '50s and '60s.
Posted - 6/25/15
RIP Bob Clark
passed away on May 27, 2015 due to complications of liver cancer. Bandmates Russ Krauch and Lee Doll noted that "Bob drummed for many local bands over the years including Talegunner, The James Morley Band and more recently The 13th Dream."
"Bob was best known however for his time drumming for Wally and the Weirdos. He was in the band from 1979-1982 and then rejoined in 1984 for the last year of shows. He also appeared on the Best of Wally and the Weirdos CD that came out in 2005. We will miss our friend very much."
Joe V has some fond memories of Wally & the Weirdos performing at Back of the Vac night club in the 1980's.
RIP Howard Ridgley
, bass player for the Upsetters, passed away on Sunday May 10, 2015 at the extended care facility in North Carolina where he had been living for the past year.
Howard played briefly for Terry & The Uptights. He was a member of the Upsetters band that recorded with and toured as Otis Redding's backing band in 1967.
Mark Koch, one of the musicians that followed Howard as bassist for 'Baby Blues and The No Attitude Band' located in Orlando FL and Nashville TN, said that "Howard has been a close friend for several years and I have grown very fond of him and will miss him. He will be missed by many musicians that considered [him] to be a true friend and wonderful musician. (Baby Blues Band members) Joey and Leslie Eberline are going to have a Celebration of Life for Howard outside Orlando FL sometime in the near future. Howard did not want a funeral service, but this will be more of a tribute to him by his musician friends."
Baby Blues & The No Attitude Band's 1996 CD "Real Beauty"
Posted - 5/26/15
RIP Joe Noto
musician and proprieter of Music Land in Belair passed away on May 7, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. Joe emigrated from Sicily as a teenager. He opened Govan's Music in the '60s, and the business later relocated to Belair as Music Land, operating for over 40 years. Although I missed him and his groups in the Baltimore Sounds book, Joe and I later had some nice conversations about local musicians, his bands (The Joe Noto Combo, and others), and many other bands and musicians from northeastern Maryland. Joe was very genuine and supportive of the many musicians who patronized his store. He wanted me to do another book to include artists that were missed in the book. As fellow Sicilian descendents, Joe and I also had ties to family and friends in Little Italy and it was fun talking about shared connections. I will miss his friendly smile and conversations at Music Land.
Now available - The Kenny Hamber Story "Tears In My Eyes"
Congratulations Kenny on the release of your book!
Tears in My Eyes: The Kenny Hamber Story
by Kenny Hamber and John Smith (Author)
Paperback: 194 pages
Available from Amazon.com
Kenny Hamber was born in Baltimore in 1943. Growing up in the projects there, he was strongly drawn to singing (much more so than to general education). After embarking on a musical journey as a member of a vocal harmony group, he struck out on his own as a solo singer just as soul music's golden age was dawning. He spent much of the 1960's performing in & around his home city though he headed off to New York and Philadelphia to progress his recording career (working with the likes of Bert Berns, King Curtis, Cissy Houston, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and others in the process). Towards the end of the 1960's, once again a member of a group, he relocated to Providence, Rhode Island to seek new opportunities. After establishing himself there, he built a new group and landed another recording contract. Moving on once again, this time to Hartford, he continued his career meeting numerous challenges along the way. After getting to perform overseas, Kenny finally learnt that all his efforts had not been in vain and that his old records were much sought after in various parts of the world. Over fifty years after he started out, Kenny is still chasing his dreams. He has experienced a lot en-route and 'Tears In My Eyes' tells his fascinating story. (from book intro)
Heard from Dominic Cappelletti
who offered kudos for the book and website.
Dom expressed that it is "an awesome thing that so much musicianship has been in this town forever."
Some of the groups Dom played with include Sabotage ('70s), Locked Up, Breaker ('80s), Fragmentz of Tomorrow ('95-98 - listed in the book as Fragments), Shimmer (2000-'05), Driven ('07-09), and since 2010 has been playing live every weekend with classic hard rock band CORE
, a group that includes former members of The Urge, Burn, Deadlock, Mystic Force, Cypher, Shimmer. Check 'em out!
(OHO, et al) surprised me with a package of two new CD releases.
First is a single by OHO
titled "Ocean City Ditty" a song about everyone's favorite summer vacation destination. This is the current OHO configuration with Jay (vocals, guitar, bass), David Reeve ("rhythmelodic deployment, engineering") and Ray Jozwiak (keyboards), with Bill Pratt (engineering, keyboards, vocals), and Gene Meros (tenor sax). I've been a fan of OHO since first witnessing a performance at the Catonsville Community College Santa Claus Anonymous benefit in 1974, and shortly thereafter obtaining their first album "Okinawa".
Second is an awesome retrospective of the group Grok
. The CD consists of vintage studio and live recordings of Grok, plus a new song by the group, and remastered recordings of precursor group The Verdicts. All this comes in a very nice package with extensive liner notes. Grok members included Bob Funk, Dale German, J.P. Graboski, Don Henritz, Bill Joy, and Colette Kelly, with appearances by Garrett Henritz, Bill Pratt, and Jamie Wilson.
Both discs are available at CD Baby.
For all the news about the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame
Reversing a heartbreaking trend I have some great news: Dave Clay
, old friend and guitarist of Jagged Edge, Nuthin' Fancy, Jesse Clay Band, and other Howard County based southern rock bands, is alive and well and living in Florida. Rumors abounded several years ago that he had passed away. I am happy to say that they were false... and Dave is glad to hear that he is still around too, although he is running out of lives!
Congratulations to Bad Neighbors
, together for 25 years!
Howard County band The Rebels
Guitarist Eric Neilson sends news that The Rebels performed for the first time in 45 years (since 1969!) on Saturday April 19th at the annual Ellicott City Music and Wine Festival.
The band now has 6 of the 8 original members, and recently recorded a new demo CD.
Another great event by The Maryland Entertainment Hall Of Fame
The 2014 R&B Awards
! was an awesome event!
Thank you Viola Griffin, AAT Productions
, for organizing and sponsoring these events!
Check out Joe's new Baltimore Sounds
Joe is now posting now&then photos and ads of local night clubs and entertainment venues of yore.
Stop in, check it out, and feel free to add your comments and memories to the postings!
A note from Demian Bell
, founder of the rock band Maypole...
"To those of you who like my music and would like to buy a copy of my CD "Live in Germany". I have a limited supply of the album for sale at $20.00 a copy including postage (USA only)
As I am unable to work while I recover from my battle with cancer it would help me out immensely.
I will personally autograph your copy if you wish. Please PM for details and Thanks in advance
For more information Demian can be found on Facebook
Maypole's 1970 album (Colossus Records) is available on CD from Amazon.com
2013 Sowebo Arts And Music Festival:
was held on Sunday, May 26 and a great time was had by all
Many videos of live music performances are posted on Facebook's Baltimore Bands of the 70s-80s-90s, and the Facebook Marble Bar sites.
Poster by David Wilcox
Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame
announces it's 2013 inductees:
1. Steve Rouse- media icon
2. Johnny Dark- media icon
3. Tom Davis - media icon
4. Doug Lewis/ Bonnie Lamdin-The Peppermint Rainbow- recording stars
5. Ronnie Dove- recording star
6. Tommy Vann- recording star
7. Bob Brady- recording star
8. Frank Bonarrigo- recording star
9. Bobby Anderson
10. Del Pushert
11. Barry G.- Grammy nominated recording artist
12. Gene Vincentt-bandleader/concert promoter/ radio show host/ TV/ newspaper columnist
13. Greg Moxley
14. John Sankonis- media/ Buddy Dean Show/ music promoter
15. Joey McCann- bandleader/ Karaoke show 'king'/ vocalist
16. Warren Blair
17. Joe Walsh
18. Clyde Allen
19. Joe Dyson
20. Warren Cassell
21. Bobby Berger/ bandleader/ Jolson Show/ club owner
22. Bobby Morris
23. Lew 'Diamond' Randall
24. Chick Hall
25. Jo Kellum
26. Carla Mandley
27. Trudy Cooper Morgal
28. Michael Hoover- National Elvis Show Stylist
29. Doug Lester-bandleader/talented multi-insturment performer
30. Annie Beccio- vocalist/ media personality
31. Johnny 'K' Kotrla
32. Jimmy Gilbert
33. Ed Hall
34. Loretta Paone
35. Walt Bailey
36. Mark Palmerino
37. Mark Elmore
38. Howard Brown
39. Mark Moree
40. Joe Norowoski
Always great to hear from Richard Walton
... Here's the latest scoop:
- Wanted to let you know my 10th CD, "Cover Me" just got released on (limited edition CD) and internationally, digitally over the internet. It's basically a 15 song, solo CD; 13 of which are cover songs from the 60's, 70's & 80's and the other 2 are mine. A lot of great friends/ musicians are on it.
Love your new book! Super job! Congrats!
(Thanks Richard! -Joe)
Hopefully, I'll see you around.
-posted April 1, 2013
honoring Baltimore's Own Renowned Doo-Wop & R&B Groups
from the 1950's, 1960's & 1970's
Was a fabulous and awesome event. This was a long time coming in honoring many great R&B artists. I saw many familiar faces and met quite a few others.
A great big Thank You to Viola Griffin for organizing this memorable event!
Looking forward to next year!!!
Saying goodbye to Dundalk Music
- An institution in Dundalk for over 36 years.
Thanks Dave Leoni - wishing you well in your current and future endeavors!
Dave says that he intends to "still play as much music as I can..."
New radio program: Tune in to WAMU on Sunday nights to hear
"The Home Town Special" with your host Jay Bruder
playing rare sounds as well as classics ranging from rock and roll to hillbilly from Jay's vast collection.
Jay is on Sunday nights 7:00-9:00PM
WAMU FM 105.5 - 88.5 HD2 - 93.5
Climbadonkey CD Release!!!
The legendary '70s group. Up until now there had been only one Climbadonkey song commercially released - it was on one of the original 98 Rock albums.
I'll never forget the day Bobby dragged out the box of Climbadonkey demo tapes and played them for me. They were so great I couldn't believe none of the material was ever released. Well now, only about 35 years later, their album (CD) is finally available!
What would you expect from a group consisting of Kyf Brewer, Bobby Hird, Fred Tepper, Doug Robinson, Lee Townsend, and John Tracey...
Get your copy now - CD format or digital download - at climbadonkey.com
- Jan 29, 2013
Words of wisdom from Motorhead's Lemmy
who said "If you think you're too old to rock and roll, you are"
A Great Time Was Had By All - J512
- the 5th gathering of Baltimore musicians and guests -
October 20, 2012 at Padonia Station.
You can view photos, video and more - just click on the Baltimore Jam Website
wrote to tell us The Landers & Heinz Project's recording of their song "It's A Shore Thing"
has been posted on the web by the Greater Ocean City, Maryland Chamber of Commerce. The song has enjoyed radio play worldwide as far as Russia, and has received over 18,000 hits in its first six weeks on you tube.
The song will appear on their upcoming CD that should be available by May 2012.
The group is Tim on guitar and lead vocals, John Heinz on electric violin and vocals, Mike Picirrilli on keyboard, rhythm guitar and vocals.
Visit 'Tim Landers Music' for show schedule.
Here's a note from John Pepsin
Hey Joe, just an interesting note for everybody that grew up listening to Jack Edwards and Johnny Dark on WCAO.
They are both working at the station I work for in Westminster that is owned by Pat Sajak, WTTR AM 1470. Talk about a couple of guys who have some stories!
Jack is on Mon.-Fri. from 9AM-Noon, and Johnny is on Noon- 3PM. They are still playing a lot of the music they did back in the day.
It's only 1,000 watts but streams online at www.wttr.com
WTTR AM 1470 - The Greatest Hits of All Time
January 5, 2012.
, bass guitarist of local groups The Uptowns, The Sentries, and Sideline, wrote to say hello.
He runs a successful DJ business. Check him out at http://www.NickyB-Entertainment.com
MID ATLANTIC DRUM
THE STORE IS LOCATED OFF OF 695 BELTWAY EXIT 29
1 BLOCK PAST THE LIGHT AT JOPPA ROAD ON THE RIGHT
8630 LOCH RAVEN BLVD.
TOWSON, MD 21286-2307
HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON!
has a new tribute site for his band DRYED ICE. Check out all the photos and music http://www.dryedice.com/
J4'08 The Baltimore R&B Jam
was a great success! It was on October 4, 2008 at Bobby B's Palace (the old Hoffman's Red Devil Inn). You can see photos, sound clips, blogs, etc. on the R&B Jam website: http://www.baltimorejam.org/
has released a retrospective greatest hits CD! Then & Now - The Best of Winfield Parker The CD features rare and collectable recordings from Spring, Wand, Ru-Jac, GSF, and P&L record labels, plus two fantastic brand new songs! Available at CD Baby. Also available direct email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local drummer / guitarist / recording artist Jerry MacNeish
(of the High Tyde, Playmates, Cobblestone, Beginnings, Memory Lane, and solo recording projects) is now a member of the legendary Fireballs with original members Jimmy Gilmer, George Tomsco and Stan Lark. They are looking for bookings locally and throughout the country. See Jerry's website for a history of the Fireballs and photos from their 2008 July 4th bash http://www.Z28camaro.com/4thParty.html
"keep your eyes on the sky and your feet in the gutter!" His recently defunct band CHELSEA GRAVEYARD has returned.
Announcing the "Bricologe" CD/DVD release for Jay Graboski (OHO)
. The "Bricologe" DVD anthology documents OHO 1988-1992 with video footage of the band's performance opening for Cheap Trick at Universal Amphitheater, Hollywood, CA., plus their Star Search auditions, and footage of the OHO 1990 CD release party at the Eight By Ten, The new CD release features 13 new songs plus eight bonus tracks spanning 1985-2007. There are already a number of notable reviews about these releases including Dirty Linen #106 "OHO sounds like Jefferson Airplane landing on top of Genesis and then taking a time machine ride with Fairport Convention to play at the H.G. Wells birthday party", and one from Rolling Stone "Shimmering Folk-Rock that would appeal particularly to fans of female vocalists: plenty of sprightly acoustic guitars and airy vocal harmonies." Note from Joe V: I first saw OHO at the 1974 Santa Claus Anonymous benefit concert at Catonsville Community College while working as a soundman for Top-40 group Sage. I enjoyed prog/keyboard laden groups such as ELP and Yes. I was blown away by OHO and went out and bought their album "Okinawa," an album that was quite progressive for the time. OHO has continued to evolve from those days in musical style and many quality recordings. Good luck Jay, and thanks for continuing to keep me in the loop with important happenings!
Ellicott City's own country music songwriter-guitarist-vocalist has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame! Stinson released two singles on the Rebel label in 1960. The recordings have enjoyed continued popularity in Canada over the years. Mr. Barth is working on a re-release of the originals recordings along with some newer original tunes. See his story and photos at www.rockabillyhall.com
(1942-2014) of the Coachmen during the mid-'60s. His group released a single on Monumental Records.
(1974-2014) songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of '90s group Classic Earth.
(1948-2014), bass guitarist of Graham Chambers System ('67-69), and in later years The Charmed Times Reunion Band. I knew Ray throughout my many years of attending record conventions. Ray and friends established a show in the 1989 at the Catonsville Knights Of Columbus Hall. The show later moved to the Arbutus Fire Hall where it continues strong into 2015.
Ray was also involved with the "Charmed Times" publication about local music. This led to the formation of The Charmed Times Reunion Band that was also instrumental in the reuniting of the group Legend.
The "Baltimore Sounds" book grew out of the Charmed Times newsletter.
In retirement Ray and his wife Chris moved to Maine to be near their daughter Carol, while Ray enjoyed a few years of outdoors life.
It is with great sadness to learn that my old friend Steve Smith
passed away in June 2013 after a long illness.
Steve and I shared musical interests since childhood, and in those days he tried (without much success) to teach me to play the bass guitar. Steve went on to play with his brother Jay in a 50's retro band Jupiter & The Jets, and later played bass guitar with Dragonfly, Taxie, and Jagged Edge among others...
I bought my first bass amp from Steve, a huge Kasino brand wheeled amp that I used to wheel half a mile up the road to jam in Earl's backyard. I used to climb up and jump off the amp (ouch!) - a rock star that couldn't play a lick - but had the hair and the big amp, thanks to Steve!
Had lots of great times at events with Steve's southern rock cover band Dragonfly (the ultimate Howard County party band) at the infamous Hillbilly Mansion and subsequent reunion parties, the concert in Nick and my backyard in Elkridge that made the front page of the local paper, and the many times we hired the group to play at Back of the Vac night club. Good times that will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace, Steve!
Word recently received that Jamie Hess
passed away this June 2014. Jamie played keyboards for RCA recording artist The Lafayettes. His piano playing will always live on in their recordings including the classic "Life's Too Short."
Baltimore's legendary saxophonist Al 'Madman' Baitch
passed away on March 24, 2014. The following article, a fitting tribute, was written by Michael Olesker and published in the Baltimore Sun in 2005.
'Madman' still calls the tune on saxophone
March 11, 2005|By MICHAEL OLESKER
THE MUSIC plays on. Al "Madman" Baitch, 80 years old, assures this yesterday morning as he bounces from his car toward Miller's Deli at the Greenspring Shopping Center, defying every lurking pneumococcus in the morning chill, and also defying the odds. His career is entering the springtime of its 65th year. He wears a brand-new pacemaker, which will have to learn to move to the rhythm of the Madman.
Baitch goes back to weekend nights atop Keith's Roof, where guys wore zoot suits and the dancing was interrupted only by the fights. Fights over deeply serious issues such as who gets to jitterbug with whom, and what part of town you came from. Fights where order was restored only when the band struck up the national anthem and everybody snapped to attention.
And gigs at the Surf Club, where he saw doorman Bob "Rabbit" Pomerlane back down heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano. And joints on The Block, where he fronted for distinguished ladies of the dance such as Irma the Body, Ronnie Bell and Her Twin Liberty Bells, and a youngster out of West Virginia named Belle Fleming who changed her name and created a legend as Blaze Starr.
And the Ambassador Club, Eddie Leonard's Spa, the Silver Dollar Club, the Club 21, the Club Charles, plus joints along Pennsylvania Avenue maybe 60 years ago where he learned his saxophone trade as one of the first white guys in town playing with black groups.
Most of them are gone now, the places as well as the performers. Baitch is Baltimore's link across the musical generations, a keeper of pop music history, still playing weekend gigs at American Legion halls and political barbecues with his trio. And still enduring.
Last week, he checked himself into Sinai Hospital for a new pacemaker. Yesterday, he was declaring himself the picture of health. He practically danced a little jig. For 65 years, the man has set so many others to dancing.
Like all the times at the Surf Club, when Al and Earl Bostic would engage in wailing saxophone showdowns, rousing packed houses to fever pitches, with Al down on his knees, throwing himself onto his back and bouncing his 240 pounds on the bandstand.
Or moonlight cruises on the Chesapeake, when the music was romantic and the post-war crowds were happy that the world had quieted down for a few beats.
He came out of the Lexington Market area, where he grew up as Abraham Mendel Baitch, whose parents were immigrants from Russia and Poland and had a little grocery store at 114 N. Pine, down the block from the old police station. The saxophone was a bar mitzvah present. He heard Vido Musso playing it on Benny Goodman's big number, "Sing, Sing, Sing," and figured, "I want to do that."
By the time he got to Forest Park High School, he was playing local clubs. Then he joined the Merchant Marine, sailed on a liberty ship taking supplies to wartime ally Russia, twice making the treacherous Murmansk run where they faced freezing weather and the fear of being attacked by a submarine.
After the war, everybody looked to start their lives over again. Baitch found work at a place called Chick's Bar, Baltimore and Greene streets, where somebody told him, "You gotta have a gimmick." Television was coming in big by then, and Al saw a newspaper ad for Muntz TVs. Mr. Muntz wanted to practically give the sets away, but Mrs. Muntz said no. Madman Muntz, the old man called himself. Al liked the sound of it. Thus, "Madman" Baitch was born.
"It fit," he says. "The way I used to walk the bar playing the saxophone, and lying on my back. I was a showman. You had to be. So I became Madman."
But his reputation came from more than a nickname. The guy knew how to play. He backed up Sarah Vaughan, Bill Haley, George Shearing. For six years, he was a fixture at the Surf Club, Fayette near Highland, where he saw the confrontation that endures in local legend.
The joint was packed, the waiting line was long, and Rocky Marciano, accompanied by fight promoter Benny Trotta, tried to enter. Bob "Rabbit" Pomerlane, manning the door, said no, and cemented a reputation as one of the town's not-to-be-messed-with guys.
"In those days," Baitch says, "you saw all kinds of confrontations. Hell, all those years I worked on The Block. ... "
It was live music in those days, and names that defined a generation of street fighters, gamblers, sporting types: Julius (Lord) Salisbury and Pacie Silbert, Henny Corcoran and Sylvan Bass and Foto Lewis, who got his name because he'd run along the grandstand as the horses headed down the homestretch at Pimlico for a photo finish.
And the most famous Block denizen, Blaze Starr. "She was a waitress on Baltimore Street," Baitch remembers. "Attractive, well built. Solly Goodman owned the Two O'Clock Club then. He said, `I want you to work for me.' She said, `I never danced.' He said, `Don't worry, you don't have to dance.'"
Blaze let your imagination work for you. She brought a little elegance to the undress. "She never cursed, she never was drunk, she was never out of line," Baitch says. "She was a lady."
He remembers it all. He's still out there, a sax symbol at 80, playing with his trio. Wearing his brand-new pacemaker, too. The thing will have to work hard to keep pace with the Madman.
Vocalist Lou Meyers
passed away on Wednesday, Feb., 26, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. A long-time veteran of the Baltimore music scene, Lou sang with the Playboys, The MoJo's, The Progressions, and others. In 2013 Lou was honored with induction into the Maryland Entertainers Hall of Fame. Condolences to his family and friends.
RIP - Bob 'Spider' Schauer
passed away on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 as a result of a stroke suffered a week prior. Services were private. Bob was a very respected local drummer who played for Buddy Robbins, Joe Noto, Johnny Walker's Good Guys, City Lights... He was inducted into the Maryland Entertainers Hall of Fame in 2013. Condolences to his family and friends.
I am very disheartened to learn that my friend Llewellyn 'Hondo' Scruggs
passed away on Christmas Day 2013, apparently as a result of a heart attack. I first met Hondo while while working on the first edition of Baltimore Sounds. At the time I was trying to find out about the groups that recorded the records that I had in my collection. Groups like Madhouse, Grand Jury, Chocolate Rain, Creme Soda, etc... Hondo introduced me to many of the band members and over the years he kept me informed of the projects he was working on including gospel music he had written, and recordings made with guitarist Timothy Moore (founder of Heaven Bound), and others. Lew was a vocalist with the funk group Madhouse that released an album and two singles on Today Records in 1972. More recently he provided vocals on the 2011 CD by Bennie Cowan & the Real Brasstaxx titled "It's a Horn Thing 'G'." I'd like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
- Jan. 10, 2014
Baltimore Radio DJ Icon 'Sir Johnny O'
dies at 75
by Zenitha Prince -- Special to the AFRO
A legendary Baltimorean fell silent when Sir Johnny O, who for years graced Baltimore's airwaves as a host on WWIN-Spirit 1400 AM radio, died on Oct. 29. He was 75.
Sir Johnny, whose real name was Johnathan Compton, had been battling a respiratory illness at a a Baltimore hospital. Several former colleagues visited him during his illness, and shared their memories of their peer and friend.
Compton's involvement in the media business began in his teens. In 1962, he distinguished himself when, at the age of 19, he landed his first on-air position at 1600 WWRL-AM in New York. Opportunities continued to present themselves, and a year later, he moved to WDAS in Philadelphia.
By 1964, Larry Dean, a former WWRL radio host who had helped Compton secure the New York gig, had advanced into a management position at WWIN in Baltimore. Dean convinced Compton to move farther south, and he assumed the 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. shift at WWIN, where he stayed for 20 years. During that time, he created the popular "Turnpike Jazz" segment which aired as part of the all-night show.
In later years, Johnny handled fill-in shifts at WEBB and WITH and also tried his hand at Internet radio.
A venerated veteran of the business, Compton mentored several fledgling jocks trying to break into the Baltimore radio industry, including J.B. Brown, Sam Beasley, Guy Broady and Curtis Anderson.
Many of his mentees and colleagues recalled the fascinating stories he would share about his time in the business. One such tale revolved around the April 1968 riots that erupted in Baltimore at the news of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Compton was at the studio and on the air when shots were fired through the window and he had to dive for cover, he told them.
"We won't forget his engaging personality, deep and cultured baritone voice, or his love for the business and the many who worked with him," radio veteran Bob Mathers said in a statement.
Mr. Compton, a Baltimore native, graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1956, and served in the Army before pursuing a radio career. He died of heart failure on October 29, 2013 at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Musician and radio personality Danny Reese
passed away suddenly on April 28, 2013 at his home in Naples, Florida. Danny (born Reese Danial Blankenship) was born in Havre de Grace, MD and grew up in Delta, PA. He graduated from Kennard-Dale High School in 1969. He was only 61.
From The Baltimore Sun: "Danny began his successful career as an on-air radio personality on WNOW in York, PA, and then moved on to WPOC (where he was known as 'Old Blue Eyes'), WITH, and WCAO in the Baltimore, MD market. After 20 years in the radio industry, Danny then moved into the public relations, insurance, mortgage and sales fields."
Danny and his wife Ronni "relocated from MD to Naples in 2005 to enjoy the FL sunshine and lifestyle. Danny never lost his passion for music. He brought his high school rock and roll band, Sites 'N Sounds, together in May, 2010 to perform once again for their MD/PA fans, and they continue to reunite twice a year for performances there. In 2011, Danny joined the Fort Myers-based classic rock band Redemption, as their front man, and they performed throughout Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Matlacha, and Naples."
Joe V: I met Danny in 1981 around the time I has aspirations of becoming a DJ. We became friends and I attended many of his record hops especially many occasions at Spittel's Salty Dog Saloon on Rolling Road in Catonsville where he encouraged me, often letting me sit in as a guest DJ, and a couple times filling in for him when he had other engagements.
I saw Danny sporadically over the years, but when the first Baltimore Sounds book came out he called to congratulate me. We got together and he presented me with a copy of a record released by his teen band The Sites 'N Sounds. Up until then I hadn't known that he played in a band. His band was actually from Delta, PA, but played a lot toward Baltimore especially at teen events throughout Harford County. Their record was done at a label based in Aberdeen, MD. The group biography was added to Baltimore Sounds second edition.
I saw Danny just before he and Ronni moved to Naples and we vowed we would someday get together again. Fast forward to 2009 - on a trip to Fort Myers/Cape Coral, I misplaced his number. Not knowing if I would ever make it to SW Florida again, I tried a phone book search and disappointingly found that his number was unlisted. Knowing that he collected vintage guitars I jotted down the numbers of several music stores in the area, but thinking it was too much of a long shot almost didn't call. Finally before my trip was over I tried the number for a store called Gator Music and explained to the clerk that I was just grasping at straws but maybe he may know of my friend, guitarist, and guitar collector Danny Reese. Without hesitation the person immediately exclaimed "of course, that guy is a guitar legend in this town!" and at that very moment I recognized the voice of Danny himself who answered the phone! What a coincidence, he was working part time at that store! We got together that evening for a couple beers and a few laughs. Danny's friendship, sense of humor and infectious laugh will never be forgotten."
"DR" will continue to rock on in the hearts of everyone who knew him." A celebration of his life and a memorial service were held in Naples. A memorial service for family and friends was held in Towson on June 1.
Joe and Danny circa 1982 Spittels Salty Dog Saloon, Catonsville
Joe and Danny circa 2009 Naples, Florida
On May 18, 2013 we learned that Steve Cayce
was found dead in his Towson apartment, apparently as a result of a bad fall. Initial reports are that it was accidental.
Steve was a great guitarist whose skills were heard in bands such as Queen's Chapel, Deceiver, Spitfire, and a couple of stints with blues rock group Doc Rogers & the Rock Dodgers.
David Wilcox posted the news on Facebook "As you guys know, Steve was one of my closest friends, and he will certainly be missed. I must also say here, that he was one of the best guitarists I ever knew, and that I ever had the privilege of working with - and I'm sure you guys feel the same. He was one of the rare and few who could "pull off" (playing-wise and sound-wise): Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Robin Trower, and other blues-rock greats. Steve was truly one of the finest and talented out there."
"There will be no viewing or service of any kind, per Steve's own wishes. I was told that when Steve had his accident a couple years back (with his legs being crushed, etc.), that he apparently put something in writing at that time - (believing he might very well not make it from his leg injuries)." May you rest in peace, Steve.
It is with great sadness to note the sudden passing of
Peter Przylepa, Jr.
on Thursday April 11, 2013.
Baltimore Bands facebook site host Stan Gibson posted "His skills at sound engineering had him working with some of the most famous people in the business. J Geils, Stevie Ray Vaughn etc... He was the best when it came to telling stories from the past." See many tributes and comments https://www.facebook.com/groups/209543105828380/
Sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
Singer Damon 'Otis' Harris
passed away on February 18, 2013.
Damon began his singing career with local teen R&B groups the Tempros, and Shades Formation, then the Vandals (Young Vandals) who released singles on T-Neck Records.
At the age of 21 he fulfilled a dream joining his idol group Motown's Temptations as a replacement for the departed Eddie Kendricks. From 1971 through 1975 Damon sang on all the major Temptations hits including their biggest "Papa Was A Rolling Stone." During his tenure with the group they earned nine gold record awards, three Grammies and two American Music Awards.
In 1975 he returned to Baltimore and reunited with former members of the Vandals calling themselves Impact. The group released albums and singles on Atco and WMOT labels. Damon also released a solo album in 1978 with a single "It's Music" reaching the national R&B charts. After some work in Vegas and tours with a Tempations off-shoot group Damon retired from music and went to school to study law.
In late '90s he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and after a number of years winning the battle he founded The Damon Harris Cancer Foundation. Damon told me how proud he was to give something back to the community by promoting awareness of prostate cancer among African-American men - the demographic most susceptible to the disease.
After a 14-year battle with cancer Damon passed away at the Joseph Richey Hospice in Baltimore at the age of 62.
Michael S. Lipman
passed the morning of January 8, 2013 due to complications from a stroke.
Michael worked a number of jobs including insurance and sales related positions. In recent years he ran his own talent agency named Missile Productions (the name derived from his initials MSL).
His musical experience came from the 1960s-70s when he worked as an equipment manager for the Michael Goldberg Band and hung out at The Full Moon Saloon.
I began running into Michael at many local music events and we became friends. Mike seemed to know everyone. He knew your likes and dislikes and was always giving gifts, especially if he knew what music you liked he would make specialized CD music collections. Knowing that I collected records he gave me his album collection after he had transferred it to CD. He was good with computers and was always very helpful to anyone who asked. He was also very knowledgeable about sports. His signature was creating paper roses out of napkins for all the ladies. If you knew him you knew that he could be quite opinionated and always try to impose his way of doing things. Sometimes we would butt heads but it was always good natured. He loved the colossal doughnuts at Shopper's and was proud of how he could get a cheap meal by buying two dollar BK burgers and combine them onto one bun. There was never anything green on his plate, and he would tell you the only thing green in his refrigerator may have been some old meat.
During my marriage separation he welcomed me into his home where I rented a room. It was a nice situation as we were both very interested in music and were able to travel to events together albeit for different purposes. He was checking out bands for bookings and I was conducting interviews for my book. We introduced each other to our friends in the business. He introduced me to his friends Dennis Chambers, Victor Williams, and Joe Phillips (of the Winstons), among others, at Tom's Sports Bar in Randallstown where we would often stop in to enjoy their weekly specials and a beer, although Mike never drank nor smoked (he claims his entire life). We also traveled on occasion to hear local artists, and multiple times we saw The Spindles, Chauncey Harris & Joyride, Tony Sciuto, Linda Nelson, O'Donel 'Butch' Levy (also going to his studio, and visiting him in assisted living after his stroke). We had great visits with Renaud on his rural farm, and a memorable holiday party at Victor's house. We went to see artists perform at the Lexington Market, Lurman Theater, Harbor Place, and many other venues.
It was only a couple days after his 65th birthday. I happened to be off from work one day when my phone rang at about 5AM. It was Mike from the next room calling to ask me to help him. He suffered a stroke that morning and his condition quickly deteriorated. In the following months he went through various rehab programs but ultimately was confined to a bed at several assisted care facilities over his remaining two and a half years. His motor skills were greatly diminished but he kept his sharp mind and wit.
I tried to drop in on him once a week although in recent months could not make it as often as I had wished. Mike was a true friend. He was also a great help with the book and I am thankful that he saw it come to completion.
Services will be at Sol Levinson Funeral Home in Pikesville. Please call them for details.
Vocalist Byron Summerville
an original member of the great West Baltimore R&B group The Softones was
diagnosed with lung cancer just four months ago and passed away on Friday November 2, 2012.
The Softones started in the '60s and were influential to many groups in the area that followed in their footsteps.
With Byron the Softones were known worldwide, releasing numerous hit singles and an album on Avco Records.
Byron was one of my first interviews when I started assembling the first 'Baltimore Sounds' book.
He was very kind and willing to help. Byron may you rest in peace.
Vocalist Beretta Mercer
sang throughout the Baltimore/Washington area for over 30 years in
popular local groups MFD & Co, and The Rollex Band. She died in her sleep on August 25, 2012.
Baltimore Afro-American columnist Valerie Fraling wrote "Beretta who endured so much would often say "I won't complain," could
"tear the roof off the mother, sucker" rolling on the floor, jumping on chairs and tables as guests watched in amazement of this
full-figured star. Whenever she saw me, she would sing my favorite song "At Last." She loved us begging her for one more song."
"Maceo's owner Dante said Beretta stopped in the club Friday night, making her rounds to her
favorite places, unknowingly taking her final curtain call. Beretta may you find the peace you so deserve. "at last."
August 27, 2012
Longtime career musician Roger Hernandez
died earlier this year at age 56.
Roger had an extensive history performing locally and abroad.
Guitarist Richard Walton recalls that Roger "hired me right out of high school in a working 9 piece band called Sunset Dawn in 1974.
We were doing a lot of good gigs back then.
After the band broke up Roger went solo, working cruise ships and touring."
passed away on June 27, 2012
Debbie was an indie talent agent who worked a lot in Maryland. Condolences to her family and friends.
Bass guitarist Tommy DiPaula
, passed away on July 16, 2012, as a result of an auto accident.
Tommy was an original member of local favorite and RCA recording group The Royal 5 + 1. He also played in many other Baltimore area groups including
Horizon, Night Shift, and more recently with The Klassix. Sincerest condolences are extended to his family and friends.
My friend and colleague Susan Elizabeth "Susie" Mudd
, Music Monthly publisher,
passed away on April 5, 2012 after a long battle with cancer.
Susie did as much or more than anyone to promote music of the Baltimore region.
See article by Frederick N. Rasmussen:
Susan Mudd, April 13, 2012, By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
Susan Elizabeth "Susie" Mudd, the former publisher, editor and owner of the free magazine Music Monthly, which for nearly three decades reported on Mid-Atlantic rock bands and musicians as well as other music, died April 5 of cancer at Sinai Hospital.
The longtime Lauraville and Lutherville resident was 56.
"Whether Susie realized it or not, she had made her mark on the Mid-Atlantic music scene," said Paul Manna, who worked for Ms. Mudd as a columnist and later in advertising sales. "She was highly regarded by the music community and wanted people on her staff who believed in what she was doing."
"Her death is a great loss to the music community. She was a dear friend and big proponent of what we did at the 9:30 Club in Washington and at Merriweather Post Pavilion," said Richard Heincke, a concert promoter and owner of IMP Productions.
"She got so many local musicians their start in the world that she's had some bearing on," he said. "In the local Baltimore-Washington music scene, she was very influential. Her magazine was a regional force in the Northeast Corridor."
Born in Baltimore and raised in West Towson, Ms. Mudd was a 1973 graduate of Towson Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Mount St. Mary's University in 1978.
After a brief stint in the traffic department at 98 Rock, Ms. Mudd joined the fledgling music publication Maryland Musician as a reporter and columnist.
While Ms. Mudd preferred the bass, she did not play an instrument.
"The bass was her favorite instrument," said Ms. Mudd's niece, Kelly Connelly, who was a columnist and editor at Music Monthly. "She was more of an admirer of music than a participant."
Ms. Mudd's column, "The Red Rocket Report," featured news on local rock bands and took its name from her love of rock music and her penchant for wearing red clothing.
In 1981, she became sole owner of Maryland Musician, which she renamed Music Monthly after buying out her partner.
"Covering music created by Mid-Atlantic artists was her life's work and passion. She was as much known for her brash, no-holds-barred reviews as she was for shining light on local talent and giving people chances to contribute to the magazine as writers and photographers," said Ms. Connelly, who lives in Charles Village.
"She also covered the Baltimore Symphony as well as the jazz scene. She covered all types of music," she said. "She felt it was important for bands to get publicity in our publication."
Ms. Connelly said her aunt had a sharp eye for emerging talent and that Music Monthly played an important role in an era before the Internet took over publicizing musicians, bands and other celebrities.
"Often, Music Monthly was the first publication area artists received publicity from, and she took pride in playing a part in the success of such artists as Good Charlotte, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tori Amos and countless others," she said.
"Susie never held her tongue about anything, and there was never a dull moment working with her," her niece said. "She was passionate about covering music and stuck to her guns. She was fearless when it came to giving it back to critics."
"She gave me my first job in the music business in 1991, and I owe her dearly. It was a big leap of faith and was a major turning point in my life," recalled Mr. Manna, who wrote "Maryland Artists on Stage," which were live concert reviews.
"I admired her tireless passion to keep her free publication around for us fellow music junkies. All Susie wanted was for her paper to survive each month," said Mr. Manna, who is now a concert promoter and owner of Baltimore's 24-7 Entertainment.
"As a free magazine, it's a tough business because you live and die on advertising, but Susie gave me complete autonomy. She struggled and sacrificed so much every single month trying to keep it afloat," he said. "Those who really knew her, know underneath her rough exterior was a very kind soul."
By 2008, the magazine's circulation had risen to 90,000. But beset with financial problems and the onset of health problems, Ms. Mudd made the decision to end publication of Music Monthly.
"It had become difficult for her to keep the independent publication afloat, so she stopped," said Ms. Connelly.
"She had a love of music that was tangible," said Cyndi Lewis, the former website and merchandising manager for Baltimore's Kelly Bell Band.
"Her words resonated with readers who anxiously waited for Music Monthly to come. She offered constructive criticism, and her opinions mattered," said Ms. Lewis. "She was the best friend Baltimore music ever had."
Ms. Mudd, who was living in Roland Park at the time of her death, was especially fond of her three bichon frises and was an avid Orioles fan.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Peaceful Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Center, 2325 York Road, Timonium.
In addition to Ms. Connelly, she is survived by three brothers, John Mudd of Towson, Dan Mudd of Montclair, Calif., and Tom Mudd of Haywards Heath, England; three sisters, Tricia Mudd of Towson, Amy Ciarlo of Timonium and Mary Ann Connelly of Onacock, Va.; and many other nieces and nephews.
passed away in October 2011 after unusual and unfortunate circumstances.
Steve played bass guitar with local bands including Modern Vogue, The Vamps, The Actors...
Steve was also known in New York City where he worked as a lighting technician at the famed CBGB's night club. Friend Warren Cherry forwarded the following link.
passed away on September 21 after long fight against injuries sustained as a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle in Atlantic City.
Ernie played drums with Both Worlds after Ralph Fisher left the group. He played with many other groups from the Baltimore and D.C. area including Sweet Blindness, White Heat, Downstairs Band, Johnson Brothers, as well as bands of Phil Flowers, and Ernie Fields.
Iconic studio engineer Louis "Lou" Mills
passed away on September 16 of a heart attack. Lou established Recordings Inc., later known as Flite 3 Studios.
From its inception in 1958 through closing in 2003 he engineered and/or produced thousands of sound and video projects from music, to radio/TV commercials, to major movie productions.
, lead guitarist for the Urch Perch, Black Foot Smoke, Koffee Beans and many other groups from Baltimore, Maryland, passed away after a long illness on August 17, 2011.
Please visit his Facebook page to share condolences and to celebrate all the wonderful years of great fun and music we shared with Gil
Saying goodbye to fellow musician Gerald Treffinger
, vocalist and keyboardist of Denny & the Dynamics, The Satins, Danny & the Elegants, Majic.
He was found deceased at his home in Florida on Tuesday March 29, 2011, apparently of natural causes.
, According to CBS/WJZ news reports,
well known and respected Baltimore musician Kraig Krixer along with his roomate John Gurkis were found dead
inside Krixer's Perry Hall condo on January 21, 2011. I have not yet heard the cause of death. Tom Warner has a nice tribute on his blog page
passed away on July 1, 2010 after a long battle with throat cancer. He was primarily known as a bass guitarist, playing music for almost 50 years with local groups including The Rhythmaires, CJ & the Legends which later became known as Legend, The Lower East Side, and in more recent years The Charmed Times Reunion Band. All of these groups released records.
Jimmy was and always will be a Legend. Not only in band name, but in class and personality, as well as musicianship. Jimmy played a big part in recent years stirring up nostalgia for the Baltimore music scene. He seemed to know everyone and had endless stories about himself and others playing locally and touring across the country. His knowledge of music in addition to his encyclopedic memories of old TV and other such trivia was phenominal.
He was part of a group that wrote and published band biographies for the Charmed Times magazine, and he influenced me to continue the work which eventually snowballed into the Baltimore Sounds book. I was honored that he was kind enough to write an endorsement for the book and I had his words printed on the first page.
owner of 'Ferndale Oldies' passed away Feb. 12, 2010.
You can leave a guestbook entry if you care to at:
Gregory Alan Therres
On March 20, 2010 Gregory Alan Therres, devoted father of Jessica and Christina Therres, and his loving four-legged companion Audrey Fay. He is also survived by his siblings Terry, Cindy, Michael, and Kevin.
Greg was a vocalist and member of Tamerlane with Dr. Feelgood, Beginnings, Jeremiah, and was owner of Starleigh Entertainment
A memorial service was on March 27 at the family owned Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc. 1050 York Road. Contributions may be made in his name to www.americanheart.org, or www.kidneyfund.org or www.diabetes.org
. Band manager and booking agent. Passed away of cancer on December 27, 2008. R.I.P. Some of local groups he managed during the '60s and '70s included Gary & the Artesians, The Del Vinos, The Legends, The Package, Raintree, Felix, Carry On...
Saying so-long to Ralph Fisher...
By Baltimore Sun writer Jacques Kelly
Ralph Otis Fisher
, a versatile drummer who performed at jazz clubs and did studio work with 1970s pop artists, died of cancer Saturday (December 27, 2008) at his Randallstown home. He was 61.
Over the past five decades, he played rhythm and blues, jazz and gospel at numerous clubs and private parties and was one of Baltimore's best-known drummers.
"He had the right timing. He had the right touch. He had the right feel," said singer Ethel Ennis. "Speaking as a vocalist, he was a take-care-of-you drummer."
Born and raised in Frederick, he first showed an interest in percussion when, as a child, he would hammer out musical rhythms on his family's kitchen chairs. After he wore out their upholstery, his father bought his 5-year-old a set of drums. He played in the school band at Linganore High School.
Family members said his first professional job was playing at the Gist Club in Libertytown at 16. A year later he moved to Baltimore and performed at the Sphinx Club, Club Casino and New Albert Hall in the then-flourishing Pennsylvania Avenue music scene.
"He performed flawlessly and was one of the most highly sought-after and highly respected drummers to come out of Baltimore," said E. Scott Johnson, chair of the Maryland State Arts Council.
When African-American stars came to Baltimore and sang at the Royal Theatre or at Carr's Beach near Annapolis, Mr. Fisher played alongside and often performed with opening acts.
"He was a natural talent and very serious about his music. He wanted everything to be right," said Nevitta Ruddy, a friend and keyboard player. "If someone else wasn't playing properly, he'd stop the music."
Family members said he moved to Los Angeles for a while many years ago and did studio work with Earth, Wind and Fire and the Temptations, often supplying his brand of funk to practice sessions. He also toured with Wilson Pickett and Luther Ingram.
"Ralph was known throughout the music world as a gifted drummer, and to see him live was to be treated to an explosive show," said his sister, Shirley L. Jackson of Randallstown. "He was versatile enough to play any music genre, but jazz, R&B, funk, blues and gospel were his favorite musical entities."
In Baltimore, he played at the New Haven Lounge, the Park Plaza, the Caton Castle, Mimi Junior's, the 32nd Street Plaza and Duffy's Lounge.
He also recorded with the poet Wanda Robinson on two albums on the Perception label in the early 1970s and was a member of Cruel Shoes, a group led by John Palumbo that released a CD in 1992. He was also a member of Scott Cunningham's Band in the late 1970s.
"Like many of the noted local musicians, he could be found regularly at the Sportsman's Lounge, where there was a jam session Monday nights," said his sister.
Family members said that Mr. Fisher was a "very spiritual person" and played drums for a church band at Bible Manor Church with his longtime friend Julius Brockington. At the time of his death, he was working on a gospel CD, a project he did not finish.
, vocalist of the Spindles for over 40 years, passed away on Saturday, November 8, 2008.
Accomplished jazz and rock guitarist Hiram Bullock
passed away on July 25, 2008. In January he was diagnosed with a
tumor in his throat and it ultimately took his life. To quote Scott Pendleton "Another friend and musician gone... keep your friends close... too many of them are leaving too soon."
Guitarist Bill Miller
, former member of the Grabbers and other Glen Burnie based groups, passed away in July 2008.
(Wild Fire, Wild Mouse) passed away on May 12, 2008. In the words of friend John Cochran "Keith was a good singer, rhythm guitarist, and one of the finest songwriters I've ever known. He'll be sorely missed by every musician whose privilege it was to work with him."
Local great jazz saxophonist Henry Baker
passed away in April 2008. Mr. Baker was instrumental in organizing the music program at Morgan State where he formed the Mo-Bops in the 1950s. Among other local and national artists Henry also played with Tracy McClearey's Royal Men of Rhythm as house band at the Royal Theater, Owen Pinkney's Quartet, the Aristocrats of Jazz, and traveled nationally with Paul Bley's band. In addition to his music career he was proprieter of Mr. Baker's chain of hair salon's. He owned the Peyton Place club on Pennsylvania Avenue in the '60s, and later The Closet jazz club on West Franklin St. Condolences to his family and friends.
, LEAD SINGER FOR 2ND COMING BAND DIED MAY 20TH 2009 @ MARYLAND UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL-HE NEVER HAD TO ASK (WHAT IF!)-GO TO myspace.com/2ndmusic for pics and music-in balt we played Club Venus, Hollywood Palace, Club 40, Legends, Mr Pipps, along with any other clubs open at that time and wherever Starleigh booked
, saxophonist and songwriter, passed away on September 29, 2009. He was a member of Morgan's Pirates, Sawbuck, Tugboat, Contraband, and others... Condolences to friends and family.
, guitarist of '60s band the Nomads, passed away in August 2009. Roland worked at Fred Walker Music and Dundalk Music for many years and was a retired Army veteran. A memorial gathering was held in his honor, attended by family, friends and many members of his '60s band the Nomads. Some great stories were told. He will be missed by many.
I am sorry to note the recent passing of two early members of The fabulous Sentries
and Bill Hoffman