Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’

The Mitch Ryder Show : Courtesy of George Shuba

March 14, 2015

In late 1966, Mitch Ryder broke with the Detroit Wheels and formed a 10-piece back-up band in the style of Wilson Pickett and others. This band, which included 5 musicians from working Baltimore bands, toured behind Mitch’s hit record, “Sock It To Me Baby” under the name emblazoned on the tour bus: “The Mitch Ryder Show.”

Ultimately, this was not a happy period for Ryder who suffered under the heavy production hand of star NY producer, Bob Crewe. Crewe gave the Michigan band their name (they were formerly Billy Lee & the Rivieras) and their access to Billboard’s Top 10 — “Jenny Take A Ride” made #10, “Little Latin Lupe Lu” hit #17, “Devil With A Blue Dress” his best at #4, and his final Top 10 entry with “Sock It To Me Baby” at #6 — but after roughly 2 years the ride was over for Ryder. This is how that period is described on the official Mitch Ryder website (http://www.mitchryder.net/biography.php):

Divorced from the power drive of The Wheels, swamped by saccharine strings and pompous pretense (poetry by Rod McKuen and music by Jaques Brel on a Mitch Ryder album, for Chrissakes) … It was the final straw- Ryder bailed out of his contract with Crewe …

After the split, the liner notes on Ryder’s next album, “The Detroit-Memphis Experiment,” included phrases like …

“After being raped by the music machine that represents that heaven-on-earth , New York b/w Los Angeles” and “Mitch Ryder is the sole creation of William Levise, Jr.” [Ryder’s given name]

… leaving little doubt about his feelings over the Crewe experience.

Because of the short duration of this band and Mitch’s bitterness over where Bob Crewe took his career, there is very little untainted information about the band and very few photographic remnants floating around. That’s where George Shuba comes in.

George Shuba’s own website [http://www.georgeshubaphotography.com] calls him “Cleveland, Ohio’s 1st Rock-N-Roll Photographer!”, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that he is one of the first anywhere—48 of George’s prints hang in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

George began his rock photojournalism with his first assignment—the Beatles 1964 U.S. tour appearance in Cleveland. Over the next 20 years, through thousands of photographs, he documented virtually every act to appear at the Cleveland Arena, from Aerosmith to the Zombies. This just happened to include the April, 1967 appearance by The Mitch Ryder Show. The  photos here, courtesy of George, are the only ones I’ve ever seen of the entire band with all 5 Baltimore musicians. These photos are also posted on the BaltimoreJam website.

For anyone interested in the development of rock & roll and the emerging rock concert experience through this intensely creative period, the professional photos of George Shuba are priceless. They capture the spontaneity of these performers better than any album cover, publicity shot or concert snap shot you’ve ever seen. Many of his photos are available directly from George through his website and eBay store. Here are links to George and his work:

www.georgeshubaphotography.com
www.stores.ebay.com/shubasrockshots
www.facebook.com/ShubasRockShots


Photo #1:
The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH – April 1967

The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH - April 1967

L to R: Jimmy Wilson (trumpet), Andy Dio (trumpet), Chuck Alder (bass), Don Lehnhoff (trombone), Mike Maniscalco (guitar), Bob Shipley (tenor sax), Mitch Ryder (vocals), Jimmy Loomis (tenor sax)

Photo #2:
The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH – April 1967

The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH - April 1967

L to R: Jimmy Wilson (trumpet), Andy Dio (trumpet), Don Lehnhoff (trombone), Chuck Alder (bass), John Siomis (drums), Frank Invernizzi (organ), Mitch Ryder (vocals), Bob Shipley (tenor sax), 1/2 Jimmy Loomis (tenor sax)

Photo #3:
The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH – April 1967

The Mitch Ryder Show, Cleveland Arena, OH - April 1967

L to R: Don Lehnhoff (trombone), Andy Dio (trumpet), Mitch Ryder (vocals), Chuck Alder (bass), Frank Invernizzi (organ), John Siomis (drums), Mike Maniscalco (guitar), Jimmy Loomis (tenor sax)

 

 

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A Nod to the Rod

December 11, 2014

This Christmas Eve will mark the 18 anniversary of the death of Maurice “Hot Rod” Hulbert who died December 24, 1996 in a Baltimore hospice at the age of 80. Hot Rod was the self-proclaimed seed from which germinated a radio garden.

“Hot Rod was still programing two Baltimore stations until the mid-’90s, leaving after medical problems took away his voice [suspected throat cancer – unconfirmed]. He was in and out of hospitals and then the hospice for the last year, but he stayed in touch with many of the people he’d met in his travels.”

[from friend and admirer, Jonny Meadow, in a New York Daily News article]

Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert

In 1951 Hulbert left radio station WDIA in Memphis to work at WITH 1230 AM in Baltimore, Maryland. The most remarkable thing about that move is it made Hulbert the first full-time black air personality to work at an all-white Baltimore radio station – a minor revolution for 1950s Baltimore.

There is surprisingly little information online about Hot Rod, considering his originality and influence. If you google him, most of what you’ll turn up is the meager collection we have at BaltimoreJam.org. Much more well known is a Hot Rod protege and “appropriator” named Douglas “Jocko” Henderson. Henderson knew Hulbert and was on the air in Baltimore briefly in 1952 on WSID. A year later Henderson “borrowed” Hulbert’s trademark rap, rocket ship show format, great googa mooga and the rest, took it to Philadelphia and presented it as his own. From there he became much more widely known than Hulbert, and most people today think of Jocko as the originator of that radio persona.

The best single article I’ve seen about Hot Rod appeared in a Boulder, CO magazine, Blues Access, in 1997. That article is still available online, written by a DJ named Cary Wolfson who counted Hulbert as an influence. These are the words of the Rod as published in that article:

“Hello mommios and daddios, keen teens, ladies and gentlemen. Commander Hot Rod moving and grooving, wheeling and dealing, hop, skipping and jumping here, there, each and everywhere bringing you the best in music, oyay, the best in songs, the best in jive, the best in helpful information, dedicated to you, the greatest people in the world, my listeners, as we move and groove, wheel and deal, hop, skip, jump here there and everywhere, I gotta say this is without a doubt the High Priest of Space, not the flower, not the root, but the seed, sometimes called the herb, sometimes called the burner.

VOSA!”

WITH Hot Rod ad - March 1964

Buddy Deane Remembered in the UK

November 9, 2014

Back in July we were contacted by Ian Whent. a writer for the popular British music magazine, Mojo. He was doing research for a story on Buddy Dean and in the process had come across BaltimoreJam.org and our page on Deane. In addition to the information on our site, I referred him to John Sankonis who I was sure would have more detailed info, unpublished recollections and possibly some unseen photos. The resulting article came out in the October issue of Mojo and it’s a great capsule story of the show, it’s origin and impact, and eventual demise.

I’m posting the article here with the assumption that Mr. Whent won’t mind. It’s one small story in a magazine packed with great stuff including the final interview with the late Johnny Winter, Smokey Robinson’s take on how to write a soul classic, and a great tour of New Orleans, past and present, conducted by the Night Tripper himself, Dr. John, a.k.a. Mac Rebennack. There are also stories on Queen, the Kinks, Kate Bush and much more … a pretty cool magazine.


Mojo, Buddy Deane Article, page 1

 

Mojo, Buddy Deane Article, page 2

Solidarity Forever… Pending a Viable Alternative

November 26, 2012

When asked why anyone would live in Minnesota, a place that routinely charts temps of -20 in winter and +100 in summer, the answer always includes its rich cultural environment. Historically, the business and community leaders here have been totally in sync, and the result has been a wealth of theater, art and music at all levels. This is why recent news is so disturbing.

As of this writing the musicians of both the Minnesota Orchestra  and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, two world-class ensembles, are living (and not working) under a lockout. Of course, so are the players of the National Hockey League (apparently it spreads like the plague), but while hockey players and owners are squabbling over how to divide up millions of dollars, these accomplished musicians are literally fighting for survival—their personal survival as working musicians, and the survival of artistic integrity they feel would be seriously compromised under the contract being offered them.

I joined the Baltimore union for a gig when I was 17. I dropped it when I quit playing, and I rejoined in 2007 for my jazz funeral band. Obviously, I must see value in representing myself as a union musician and in supporting working musicians in this way. There are a wide range of opinions on unionism and organized labor in general, so I’ll just say this: employers are focused, well-organized and highly motivated to keep wages low. How, without some position of strength in numbers, does an individual wage earner or contractor negotiate for equity? The lockout situation here in Minnesota is sad, but we’re not alone. Arts organizations around the country, including many major orchestras like ours, are in similar turmoil.

So what has sparked all this rumination on unions? I have to hold Sam Towers responsible. He recently uncovered a personal cache of materials that had been hidden away for more than 35 years. It consisted mostly of receipts from Fred Walker, but also included 7 issues of “‘The Baltimore Musician’—Official Journal of the Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Local No. 40-543 of the American Federation of Musicians” — dated between 1976 and 1978. Almost as much as Joe Vaccarino’s great book, these 6 to 8 page journals provide their own interesting glimpses into Baltimore music.

The issue featured here is the first of the batch, and it’s one of the more interesting. Dated May 1976, it is filled with familiar names from the BaltimoreJam experience and Baltimore music scene. The names include people suspended for nonpayment of dues, reinstated for repaying dues, and a lot of changes to the membership directory by people you will recognize. This issue even has my own address change when I moved  to Minnesota. Roger Pace is listed under his real name of Paesch. There is a formal announcement by Denny Picasso that he is no longer affiliated with Music Men, Inc. (Gary Chalmers’  booking agency … the story behind that announcement must be interesting). I even spotted an address change for my Parkville Elementary School band teacher, Mr. Clarence Ogilvie (I think he played bassoon).

So with thanks to Sam, and a shout out to Jough Loosmore (he’s currently a Director At large of Local 40-543), here are all 8 pages, scanned as PDFs. Click on each individual link to access the full-size PDF of that page.

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976,_page 1

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 2

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 3

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 4

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 5

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 6

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 7

The Baltimore Musician – May 1976, page 8

Baltimore Radio Legends Still On The Air

January 8, 2012

The following information was received from Joe Vaccarino, who received it from John Pepsin of WTTR Radio in Westminster:

———————————————————————-

Legendary Baltimore DJs, Jack Edwards and Johnny Dark, are both on the air again. Known in their heyday for their work at WCAO Radio in Baltimore, MD, they now broadcast for WTTR AM 1470 in Westminster, MD, a station owned by Pat Sajak. Jack is on the air Monday thru Friday, from 9AM-Noon, and Johnny is on Noon- 3PM. They still play a lot of the music they did back in the day. WTTR is only 1,000 watts, but they stream online at www.wttr.com.

Legendary radio personalities, Jack Edwards and Johnny Dark, return to broadcasting at WTTR AM 1470 in Westminster, MD

Legendary radio personalities, Jack Edwards and Johnny Dark, return to broadcasting at WTTR AM 1470 in Westminster, MD

Bluesette Reunion 2010

October 21, 2010

In some respects I, and many of you, were living in a parallel universe in 1965 to the bands and patrons of the Bluesette. While we were sporting matching plaid tux jackets they were wearing random paisley frocks; while we were playing for the well-oiled crowd at Hollywood Park, they were playing it sober at the Bluesette.

Guy in front of the Bluesette

The Bluesette embraced a wide range of music, but they were clearly locked into the so-called “British Invasion.”  We all dealt with it in our own way, but whether or not you hated or embraced this musical wave one thing was for sure—it was not to be ignored.

I was in a 10-piece R&B band called the Dynamics when the Beatles landed. We didn’t fight it. We had 2 singers (Mike “Jones” Hodgeman and Jerry Treffinger). This made us able to mount a little Lennon/McCartney duet action, so we did a Beatlies set as a feature. It was great. No room for horns, so me, Buzz, Barto and Santo found a comfy spot to sit and have a smoke while the rest of the band worked harder than us.

The Bluesette was a non-alcoholic night club in central Baltimore City at 2439 North Charles Street, near 25th St., Charles Village that clearly embraced the new music. In operation from 1965 to early 70’s, the Bluesette was more than just a music venue—it was a significant part of the youth culture at that time. You can read more of the Bluesette story here. For more info and participation, there’s also Bluesette on Facebook.

The Bluesette is mounting a reunion on November 14, 2010 … just a few weeks away. It’s being held at Frazier’s On The Avenue, 919 W. 36th Street in Baltimore, MD, starting at 2:00, and I have no doubt that it will be as interesting and musical as other musical reunions with which we’re familiar. You can learn more at the Bluesette Reunion on Facebook.

Bluesette Reunion flyer