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.