Thursday, October 18, 2012


Brothers Chuck and Ray Brannon and Tony Wilcher together started The Soul-Jers. Ray and Tony had played together in high school and when Chuck got out of the Navy the three moved to Atlanta to try to start a band. They were joined by Phil Thomas (guitar) and Jim Cole (keyboard).  Shortly they moved to the Auburn Alabama area playing nights anywhere they could and practicing days. They bonded like brothers and during that summer in Alabama worked very hard and gained experience.
Returning to Atlanta with Ray as the front man and Chuck on drums and vocal harmony, they quickly became successful playing for WQXI radio, school proms and dances and clubs. The Soul-Jers nonstop 45 minute James Brown Show was always a big hit with Ray's voice and footwork. At one show girls pulled him off stage and tore off his shirt during "Please Please Please". 

Within six months the Soul-Jers built a huge following and appeared on the cover of Atlanta Magazine.
Pat Hughes, at the time a DJ at WFOM AM in Marietta, GA, became their manager and they played at his club the Stingray Club. They also played at Hugh Jarrett's teen club, Big Hugh Baby's Hoparooni. Hugh Jarrett was the former bass singer with The Jordanaires, who backed Elvis Presley.  He later was a popular DJ at WQXI AM in Atlanta.
Left; The Soul-Jers in action at The Armory in Alabama

The Soul-Jers also opened for many shows and played on bills with Joe South and Billy Joe Royal. Billy Joe's made a comment "Everywhere I go, that's all I hear is Soul-Jers, Soul-Jers, Soul-Jers!" They also worked for Bill Lowery Agency, as most of Atlanta acts did and The Arnold Agency.
One time they ended up backing Clifford Curry who had hit song called "She Shot a Hole in My Soul" when he showed up without a band at the Hoparooni. Band members Jim and Phil were still going to Cross Keys High School at the time and were asked to sign autographs at high school.
The original Soul-Jers who dreamed the dream and did all the work going to gigs in a 1953 Cadillac hearse, before having a van.  Later Steve Cook and John Fristoe played with the band. Sometime later Chuck and Ray decided to join forces with Ted Trombetta and Will Boulware, both incredible musicians who went on to form Booger Band. Will Boulware is still active in music today. 

Sad to say but Soul-Jers drummer and singer Chuck Brannon passed away in early 2011. 
Also would like to thank Bill Hardin for some of these photos. Also thanks to original Soul-Jers Tom Wilcher for his input.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions

Drummer Rick Bear formed the band "The Kommotions" in 1962 with Emory Gordy Jr. (Emory Gordy and Rick Bear attended high school and college together) and Jimmy Calloway. Wayne Logiudice joined about 1963 when they were playing at a place called "Ray Lee's White Dot" on Ponce De Leon Ave.

Jimmy Calloway left the band, later joining the Night Shadows and John Ivey (who is still playing in Atlanta) began playing with the band in mid to late 1964. Barry Bailey soon joined and he and  Emory swapped back and forth between guitar and bass. Some of the finest horn players in the country like tenor saxophonist Ray Jarrell played and later Al Sheppard. Also the great Harry Hagan played trombone in the band.
The Kommotions were one of the first white bands to play in the Royal Peacock in Atlanta.  This was in 1963, before Wayne Logiudice joined. The band was Emory Gordy, Jimmy Calloway, and a tenor player named Nylas Foster. Nylas was a local black sax player, so they were technically not a "white band”.  They played there opposite a group from Asheville, NC featuring, the then unknown, Ronnie Milsap.  At that time Ronnie was singing R&B and sounded just like Ray Charles. He and Rick Bear became friends and Emory and Rick did a few shows with him over the years.
Once Wayne Logiudice joined the Kommotions they had the front man they needed and  began to rock Atlanta and the entire southeast causing ripples all the way up the Atlantic to New York City and beyond!
Wayne was a dynamo onstage, he knew all the tricks like dropping the microphone stand with his feet and then flipping it back up and all the dance moves, a white James Brown, similar, and some say better, than another blued eyed soul Georgian, Wayne Cochran. He could hold the audience in his hand with a ballad or have the place rocking in no time with up tempo R&B and Rock n' Roll, he was the complete showman. 
Here is a great story of Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions playing the famed Apollo in NYC!
One night in 1966 at the Apollo Theater, Wayne was singing the Chuck Jackson classic “Any Day Now” to a packed 100% black audience. When he got to the line… “Then the blue shadows will fall”… a blue light appeared from the lighting area in the upper balcony and it came and rested squarely on Wayne's face… then came a shout from the man shining the light, “Go Home Honkie!” With this, the place became silent… the music stopped as well as Wayne’s vocals…
Wayne recalled how he was incensed more by the intrusion, than he was by the words. He was a professional and this was totally uncalled for… Great anxiety seemed to reign over the stilled and silent crowd as they waited to see what would happen next. Eyes and ears were glued on Wayne. After a short pause, which seemed perhaps like an eternity, he calmly and clearly spoke the following words into his microphone, “I am home… sucker!” With this, the crowd erupted with admiring approval and an ovation for Wayne, a white R&B singer from Georgia! The blue light was shown no more and the show that must go on, did! Wayne Logiudice & the Kommotions played a final show in Atlantic City that had Billy Stewart was on the bill. That was about the last job that the Kommotions played together. Emory Gordy, Barry Bailey, Charlie Dechant (who has been with Hall & Oates for years now), Fielder Floyd and Marcus Belgrave (from the old Ray Charles band) and Rick Bear.
 Wayne only released one record a 45 on Phillips with a picture sleeve(very rare and hard to find) Here  is a YouTube link to the flip side "Come On Everybody"


The Winstons became Wayne's band after the Atlantic City gig. He toured with them and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions for about the next 2 years.
Wayne Logiudice made his final appearance at the Apollo in 1969. By that time, he had appeared at virtually all the major black nightclubs and major venues in the country with the exception of the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia. Many times, the billing on the club’s marquee read like it did at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Wayne Logiudice “The Blue-eyed Soul Brother”. Wayne Logiudice is now living in Tennessee near Nashville.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Tommy Mann Recalls The K-Otics
I come from a family of musicians so it was natural to be a member of the high school band as well as the church choir. I was not a member of the original K-Otics but joined early on – by accident, actually. I was assigned to a dorm room in the fall of ’62 with a total stranger, Joe Torillo. Joe was playing his guitar one night and I knew the song so I started singing it. Joe asked, “You can sing?” I said, “Yep.”

He had me learn a few more songs over the next few days. Joe told me he played in a band called The K-Otics and that their lead guitar player was doing the singing for them but wasn’t really a lead singer. He asked if I would sing with them the following weekend.

We played at the Ozark teen club in Ozark, Alabama, which was 50 or so miles from Troy University where we were students. The only song I was able to do good enough was “Rhythm of the Rain” but the crowd loved the song so much that I had to sing it four times. I was paid $20.00…but the feeling of being on stage and being paid for it was wonderful! I figured I was done though since I had overshadowed the guitar player who was also the leader of the band. Joe told me the next week that the band had decided to make me their new lead singer.

For the remainder of the year we played on campus and at high school proms, etc. Over the next few months the other members dropped out of college. I believe Joe was the last one to leave. We picked up members as needed. When Joe left he said The K-Otics was my band if I wanted. For the next one and a half years the name of the band changed to Tommy Mann & The K-Otics. I used students that could play drums and guitar to play with me when I contracted to perform. Some of those players were really good. A guitar player from Kissimmee, Florida, Ken Murphy may have been the best of them all, but they kept leaving school so I had to keep replacing rhythm players.

At the end of the 1964 school year, in April or May, I was looking for some new members and agreed to listen to three guys that had just graduated from high school. We practiced and then played a gig. Not only was the sound great but we all seemed to get along with each other. One of the guys played guitar and after a few months I let him go and started playing guitar myself. This was the last time we only had four members.

In 1965, my last year in college, we recorded a song called “Charlena” for Rick Hall of fame Records which went to number one in Montgomery as well as in Troy, Auburn and other locales. I think Jimmy Johnson may have recorded it for us (Jimmy told Kim Venable last year that he thinks he did record us there but that he wasn’t 100% sure. How about that? The K-Otics might have jumpstarted Jimmy Johnson, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham to their eventual stardom! Just kidding!). Our rate to perform went much higher and we began to get calls from most of Alabama as well as from eastern Georgia. We played for most of the high school proms in the area…but the best was yet to come!

I first heard “Double Shot (Of My baby’s Love)” played by a local band in Troy. They had heard a band called The (Swingin’) Medallions play it somewhere. We played at a club in Panama City, Florida, at the Old Dutch Inn and went to another club where we head The Medallions. They played “Double Shot” and said they were going to record it. We started playing the song like most bands and figured they would release the record. We saw them months later and they said Dot Records refused to do the record. I, we well as my drummer, told them we were thinking of recording it and they said, “Go ahead.” I knew that there had been a version years before so I had a contact research the history and found the Dick Holler & The Holidays (original) version. Since the song had already been recorded it was perfectly okay for us – or anyone – to record.

Within a few weeks I arranged a recording session. This next part will surprise a lot of people but the first time I recorded “Double Shot” was in very late 1965 or early 1966 for – are you ready for this – Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee! I still have the dub. Sam said he would release it or have us come back to improve upon it; it did need more work.

Sam made of the more serious mistakes in rock and roll during the next few weeks. After approximately a month Rick Hall from Fame Records, where we had recorded “Charlena” a year earlier, said Sam had called him and told him that his opinion was that “Double Shot” would be a local hit in Alabama for us and a local hit for The Medallions in South Carolina! Rick disagreed with Sam and wanted us to record it for him immediately. I cancelled all plans for the next week and we set a date.

Here, again, one of those things that change history forever happened. Rick’s secretary called and said Rick was sick and told me that we would have to delay the recording session for a week. The next week he was worse and we delayed it another week. They called again the third week and said Rick had pneumonia but that he had heard The Medallions were going to record for Mercury Records and he didn’t want to delay the recording any longer. He wanted us to come up and record “Double Shot” with one of his songwriters, a guy named Dan Penn. I asked, “Who the Hell is Dan Penn? I want you to handle it.” But it was to be the first record Dan produced. He did a good job. It was his idea to use the fuzztone on the guitar. Spooner Oldham made some suggestions also. Both of them went on to outstanding careers.

Rick was to get us on Atlantic Records in short order and the single went nationwide on their Bang label. Due to Rick’s illness The Medallions record had reached radio stations all over the United States three days ahead of us. This made a big difference to some of the stations. A great many of them played both versions and asked the kids to let them know which one they liked best. The stations that did this told me we beat The Medallions about 90% to 10%. Bert Berns had a full-page ad in the March 26, 1966 Billboard Magazine.

The song did well in Miami (#1 or #5?). When we played in Tampa the radio person told me they received both version of “Double Shot” at the same time so played both and asked the kids to call in. We received 97% out of each 100 votes. He also said he had been under pressure to report just the opposite and told me he had to do just that if he wanted to keep his station open. This (same thing) was repeated to me at other locations. A local record store in Auburn, Alabama kept ordering our version but kept receiving The Medallions’ version. I found out later that this was a way to stop distribution and therefore sales! This is what happened; no sour grapes, though – I’ve done extremely well. The pros in Muscle Shoals tell me “Double Shot” should have reached the Top 40 only – not reached #17. I will believe to my dying day that both versions should have gone to the #35 or #40 position and probably did…but if you take the air play and sales from both groups you wind up with a #17 position.

I thought we were off to the big time. Indeed, Fame Studios with Dan Penn producing again had us record several songs for an album but, alas, another ironic twist of fate happened. The song that we were to release next and which we recorded during this session was “I’m Your Puppet.” Dan said if we were able to get high enough on the charts we had it; if not, two guys from Pensacola – the Purify Brothers – would get to release it. I believe the song became the biggest hit Dan Penn ever wrote! You can see the tear drops…can’t you?

We started playing at all the popular teen centers and frat parties. The biggest shows we played were the Big Bam Show in Montgomery; WVOK Show in Birmingham; and Wape “The Big Ape” in Jacksonville. We played the Brandon Armory is Tuscaloosa and at the West Point, Georgia teen center; the Alexander City, Alabama Recreation Center; and at Buddy Buie’s in Dothan, Alabama. The biggest nightclubs we played – in prestige, not in size - were the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Atlanta and the Civic Center in Mobile. We also played in Tifton, Georgia; the Sandpiper Club (and one other) in Pensacola; Big Mack’s teen center in Tampa, and places in Jacksonville Beach and Miami Beach.

I handled all of the band’s bookings, recordings, and personal management until early 1966. At that time “Double Shot” was doing really well and we needed to move on up. We had initially signed recording contracts with Fame Studios in 1965 and in 1966 signed management and recording contracts with Buddie and Bill Lowery in Atlanta. A list of groups and personnel managed by these guys at the time read like a “Who’s Who” of rock and roll: Roy Orbinson, The Candymen, Tommy Roe & The Roemans, Billy Joe Royal, The Classics IV, Joe South, and The K-Otics. Buie later combined guys from The Classics IV and Candymen and I believe some others to form The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Our sound was rock and roll with influences from The Beatles, Stones, Otis Redding, and Roy Orbinson. I don’t know how to describe a “child prodigy” but our lead guitar player at the age of eighteen could play extremely well and could watch another good player – Mitch Ridder, for example – and immediately play just as well. How good did we become? I can only mention the things we were told. The crowd always told us that we were the best band they had ever heard. Do fans tell you that anyway? Perhaps – but the accolades came from fans and fellow musicians. If we announced that we were going to be in a battle of the band contest no other bands showed up; we therefore had to decline offers! We played in, I believe, Macon, Georgia and the crowd said we were the best they had ever heard. One guy, a musician, said he heard a group in Jacksonville that might be just as good as we were. This, of course, got my attention. How could he say such a thing? He said they did something he had never seen before. I asked, “Like what?” He replied they had double lead guitar players and that while our vocals might have been better and our guitar player may have been the best he ever heard the double leads were fantastic! I asked who they were. He said their name was something “like The Almond Joys (Allman Joys.)” I said, “Sounds pretty dumb to me!” The rest is history!

Another recent reference came from Greg Haynes, who produced a book called The Hey Baby Days of Beach Music(Greg remembers going to see a big name group in Macon in 1966 and telling one of the people he met there how good he thought the band was only to have the guy reply, “you haven’t heard anything until you go over to Alabama and hear a band called The K-Otics. Greg’s project should be completed soon. Our first record “Charlena” was supposed to be a big part of it but Rick Hall refuses to release it!

The K-Otics broke up because of the Vietnam War. The bass player and I were in the national Guard and had to report for active duty training and upon our return some of the members had left while others had joined other bands. For example, Kim Venable and Lawrence Shawl joined The Classics IV (“Spooky”, “Traces”). Marvin Taylor joined The James Gang and later was in a group called Moses Jones who toured extensively in the northeast. He now plays in Atlanta with a former member of .38 Special in a group called Java Monkey.

Fate seemed to determine who made it big and who didn’t during that time in music more than at anytime before or since. One situation that points this out is this: I hired a keyboard player in 1965 who was young and still learning to play. My guitar had no patience with him and was always trying to get me to fire him. One night, as we were leaving a gig, we backed up the car and ran over the guitar player’s guitar. It seems that the keyboard player was supposed to put the guitar in the trunk! The guitar player tried to strangle the keyboard player and I had to pull him off. He said, “You’re going to have to fire him or I’m going to kill him.” I went to the back of the car and told Ed, “I’m going to have to fire you or Marvin is going to kill you.” Ed said, “I know it, Tommy.” After I fired him, Ed went with another local band then on to Los Angeles and founded The Sandford Townsend Band. He co-wrote “Smoke of a Distant Fire” which I believe went to #9 on the charts in the ’70’s.

I currently play a little guitar and sing with a friend locally here on lake Martin. I retired at age 52 after 25 years in Human Resources. I sing in the same choir (not with the same people of course) but some members are there, however. I ride in the boat during the summer and also play a little golf. I’m still married to my lovely wife pat and have two children, Thomas Mann Jr. and Angela.

I had a local studio make a CD of five of our records – the ones actually released on vinyl. The album is called “Double Shot”, of course. These are the only recordings I have; our last recording session at Fame Studios was lost over the years.

My experience with The K-Otics was wonderful. I'm not the first one to say it, but there was something in the air during those times that has not been here since and sadly will never be here again. 
Footnote: The K-OTICS played all over including many Atlanta area places including Misty Waters

Friday, June 29, 2012

Randall Bramblett, The early years

Atlanta Bands:
King David & The Slaves hailed from Jesup, GA and played all over the state and southeaast. The line up of King David and the Slaves over the years consisted at different times of: David Harris (King David) - Rhythm Guitar; Randy Replogle - Saxophone; Jack Brinkley - Lead Vocals; Denny Brinkley - Guitar; Moi Harris - Drums; Lee Riggins - Keyboards; Russell Martin - Trumpet; Butch Peede - Keyboards; Eddie Peede - Trumpet; Wayne Scarborough - Guitar; Eddie Middleton - Vocals; Harold Williams - Saxophone and Vocals; Davis Causey - Guitar; Scott Piotrowski - Trumpet and of course Randall Bramblett

The members on the pic of King David & The Slaves: Members L-R: Eddie Peede, Harold Williams, Russell Martin, Randall Bramblett, Dennis Brinkley, Wayne Scarborough.
Back: Butch Peede, Moi Harris.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Night Shadows

The story of  The Night Shadows begins in 1959 when Alex Janoulis changes the band name from "The Barons" to "The Night Shadows"   and the band evolves when Bobby Newell replaces Mike Moore on piano. Bobby "Bones" Jones (vocals & Harmonica) is hired as the first "front man" for the group and Hilton Dickerson joins the group as their first "road manager." The first public appearance as "The Night Shadows" is made on December 13, 1959 at the Maid of Athens' Annual Masquerade Ball. In 1960 – 1961 The Night Shadows became one of two alternating house bands playing shows at the skating rink at “Misty Waters". (The other group was The Zots, a.k.a. Mac Davis and The Zots). Although both groups' shows were primarily blues oriented, radio station DJ's and local concert promoters started to book the Night Shadows as the primary back-up band for solo rock & roll stars who were touring in the area. Their ability to quickly learn the songs of the traveling artists and arrange them in a show format (often just minutes before curtain call) gave The Night Shadows a virtual monopoly over other local bands. It also increased their bookings by giving them a lot of exposure in front of large crowds. They would "warm-up" those audiences with their own show which featured a great blues singer and harmonica player named Bobby "Bones" Jones. 
Go to: 

To order The Night Shadows recordings.

Some of the earliest tracks by the Night Shadows, "I Love You Baby" and "Honest I Do"  on the CD titled "Volume 1: The Rhythm & Blues Period 1959-1964" are live performances and are the earliest known recordings of the Night Shadows with Jones fronting the band. These primitive tracks were recorded on a tape machine with one microphone located near a telephone booth in Misty Waters in late 1959 or early 1960. If you listen closely, you can hear a conversation outside the phone booth and the static caused by someone stepping or tripping on the microphone cable. In 1962 After Jones left the group in the fall of 1961 the Night Shadows joined forces with Ervin Barocas and Helene Kopell, a male/female duo that fronted the band as Little Erv & Helene. It was during this period that the Night Shadows began to release records on independent labels. The group's first release was a risqué single titled "Garbage Man" backed with "The Hot Dog Man" The tunes were written and sung by Janoulis to break into the lucrative college fraternity market that was dominated by black artists performing party songs. Their earliest commercial release was a new dance called "The Elevator". Also joining the band on vocals during this time was an outstanding singer named Judy Argo.

                                            Above is a rare picture sleeve from the Little Phil era

In 1964 The Beatles headed the "English Invasion" of rock bands and the Night Shadows and the other American groups would follow this new direction in music. This broader scope of music became a factor in the change of lead singers later that year when Little Erv quit and Judy Argo departed for opportunities in New York. In June 1964 Little Phil joined the Night Shadows as lead singer. Little Phil had just completed the ninth grade in high school while the rest of the band members were college-age adults. Everyone except Janoulis thought he was too young to front the band. It turned out to be the right decision however, since Little Phil could sing rock and R&B equally well. He remained lead singer for the next five years and Little Phil & the Night Shadows era began.

                                                The very rare and valuable album from 1968

Monday, June 25, 2012

Misty Waters

The early 60's in Decatur, Georgia, in the fast growing area south DeKalb,  was a place called Misty Waters operated by a man everyone knew as Pop Childes. Now this was during the segregated times and the sign out on Candler Road read, Misty Waters "For White Only!" There was  a roller skating rink, swimming pool, golf course and mini putt putt golf and a lake with a sand beach(see the picture of the pool area above). On the weekend nights the roller rink hosted many local and national recording stars and the roller rink became a dance floor. The local Atlanta radio stations like WQXI AM promoted shows there and many local bands and artists opened for the likes of Billy Joe Royal and the Royal Blues, Joe South and the Believers, Tommy Roe and the Satins(later The Roemans). I will cover these artists and others eventually in this blog. Please feel free to mention anybody you saw perform at Misty Waters, the purpose of this blog is to record and discuss the history of these great times.Quite a few artists went on to fame, one particular is Mac Davis, who moved to the area in 1960 from Lubbock, TX, to live with his mother right near Misty Waters. Mac soon met up with some local musicians who were part of a Southwest DeKalb High School band called The Zots. He took up Bongos and soon became the singer and they played all over including Misty Waters many times. Here is a YouTube Video of the Zots :
The Zots opened for many top bands and when Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs played at Misty Waters, Mac Davis ended up selling him a song. Mac went on to sign a deal with Lowery Music in Atlanta and released 45's on VJ and other labels and took an AR job and moved to the west coast and then Elvis and others recorded his songs and the rest is history as they say.
The Zots here in 1960 from left, Phillip Prescott, Mac Davis, David Savage, Bobby Dawkins and Paul McClarty. There were other members thru the years like Leon Fulbright, Billy Beldon and Bill Holden. and others, be sure to blog me on any details not mentioned.