Newsletter for January 2019



Thank heaven for little girls……..for they grew up and gave us what is known today as the ‘Girl Group Sound’. Phil Spector was one of the early pioneers of recording girl groups such as The Ronettes and The Crystals. But before him there was the Shirelles which some say was the girl group that started the girl group sound phenomenon. About the same time though we had the Bobbettes and the Chordettes. Both these groups started recording before the Shirelles but didn’t have quite the success as the Shirelles so they get much of the credit for the sound see here now.

Let’s spend some time this month listening to the ‘girl group sound’. After the success of the Shirelles and then Spector’s recordings, girl groups popped up all across the country and they were very successful. Along with the top 40 hits there are plenty of recordings that were local hits and some great sounds that didn’t get any air play. Come and hear some fun music as we go back to beginning and the era of the girl groups. Bring some of your own to play if you want to.


Another year has flown by and we all feel a little older. Hearing about the passing of many of our music heroes makes us feel that much older. I don’t usually spend much time on the sad news of deaths but I thought I would list some of the guys and gals who passed away in 2018 that were part of a long gone era of fun music and an era of music that people who grew up during that time call the greatest music of all time. It’s only natural that people will say the music they grew up listening to is the best. So here we go. Thanks to all the people who provided us with that era of music and now we say a big ‘thanks for the memories’ to these who are no longer with us.

D.J. Fontana: March 15, 1931 – June 13, 2018. Was the drummer for Elvis for 15 years beginning in 1954. Played on over 450 RCA cuts with Elvis. Was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2009 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (sidemen category) in 2018.

Floyd ‘Nokie’ Edwards: May 9, 1935 – March 12, 2018. Was the lead guitar player for the Ventures from 1960-68, 1972-1985. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Ventures in 2008.

Tony Joe White: July 23, 1943 – October 24, 2018. Singer/songwriter. Compositions include ‘Polk Salad Annie’ and ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’.

Marty Balin: January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018. Singer/songwriter/musician. Formed Jefferson Airplane. Was lead singer along with Grace Slick for Airplane and later Jefferson Starship. With the group when they performed at Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, and the Altamont Free Concert.

Ray Thomas: December 29, 1941 – January 4, 2018. Musician/singer/songwriter and co-founder of the Moody Blues. His flute solo on the band’s hit, ‘Nights In White Satin’ has been called one of progressive rock’s defining moments. Inducted posthumously with the Moody Blues into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ed King: September 14, 1949 – August 22, 2018. Guitarist/bassist who was with the Strawberry Alarm Clock and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Started as bassist for Skynyrd until the former bassist rejoined thus creating a 3 lead-guitar band which the band referred to as the ‘Three Guitar Army’. Co-writer of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Ed and all the pre-plane crash members were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Danny Kirwan: May 13, 1950 – June 8, 2018. Guitarist who was with what is known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac from 1968-1972. This was when the band was a blues band and before a split and the uniting with Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to form today’s Fleetwood Mac. Check out swipe n clean.

Aretha Franklin: March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018. Singer/songwriter/musician. The ‘Queen of Soul’ who had 112 charted singles which include 20 number-one R&B singles. In 1987 she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks her as the number one on their list of ‘The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time’.

Dennis Edwards: February 3, 1943 – February 1, 2018. R&B/Soul singer who was with such groups as the Contours and the Temptations. Sang with the Temptations on the hits “Cloud Nine”, ‘I Can’t Get Next To You’, ‘Ball of Confusion’, and ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’. In 1989 he was inducted as a member of the Temptations into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Dennis was born in Fairfield, Alabama moving to Detroit with his family when he was 10.

Edwin Hawkins: August 19, 1943 – January 15, 2018. Musician/singer. Leader of the Edwin Hawkins Singers who had a major hit in 1969 with their recording of ‘Oh Happy Day’. The song was an 18th century hymn that Hawkins put his own arrangement on. The song was put on the RIAA’s ‘Songs of the Century list. The group also did the backing vocals on Melanie’s ‘Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)’.

Clarence Fountain: November 28, 1929 – June 3, 2018. Original member of The Blind Boys of Alabama. The group was formed in 1939 as the school chorus of the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Alabama. The group is a Five-time Grammy Award winners and were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of fame in 2010.

Barbara Alston: December 29, 1943 – February 16, 2018. Singer with The Crystals. One of the defining groups of the ‘girl group era’, The Crystals had 8 songs that made the Hot 100 over a 4 year period.

Yvonne Staples: October 23, 1937 – April 10, 2018. Singer with The Staple Singers. Yvonne served as a backup singer and business manager for the group. The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and a Life-time Achievement Award at the 2005 Grammy’s.

Roy Clark: April 15, 1933 – November 15, 2018. Musician/singer. Served as host of Hee Haw from 1969-1997. Known world-wide as a guitarist, fiddler, and banjo player. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1987 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He had 8 charted songs on the C/W charts.

Freddie Hart: December 26, 1926 – October 27, 2018. C/W Singer. Had the Country Music Association song of the year in 1971-72 with # 1 C/W & Pop Chart hit, ‘Easy Loving’. He had five other C/W # 1 songs. At age 15 he lied about his age to join the Marines and would go on to see combat action at both Iowa Jima and Guam. Freddie was born in Loachapoka, Alabama. His given name was Frederick Segrest.

Lazy Lester: June 20, 1933 – August 22, 2018. Blues singer and musician. Had some of the best remembered blues songs such as ‘I’m A Lover Not A Fighter’, ‘Sugar Coated Love’, and ‘I Hear You Knocking’. Though none of these made any of the charts nationally they were well known around Birmingham and the southeast. Born Leslie Johnson, he was given the name Lazy Lester for his laconic laid-back style by Excello Label producer, Jay Miller.
Received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 by the Boston Blues Society. In 2018 he was seen in a Geico tax preparation commercial playing the harmonica.

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy: December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018. Blues guitarist. Moved to Chicago in 1948 and was with the Howlin’ Wolf band in 1949. Later worked with Little Junior Parker and Ike Turner. Would record and perform with the Blues Brothers from 1980 – early 2000’s. Part of the Blues brothers Band in the movie.

Rick Hall: January 31, 1932 – January 2, 2018. Record producer, songwriter Founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Known for recording some of the best soul sounds of the 1960’s. Performers such as Arthur Alexander, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Wilson Pickett, Tommy Roe, Joe Tex, The Tams, and Jimmy Hughes. Later, acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Osmonds, Paul Anka, Tom Jones, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks would record with Rick. In 2014 he received the Grammy Trustee Award for his contribution to the field of recording. Received an honorary doctorate from University of North Alabama.

Ray Sawyer: February 1, 1937 – December 31, 2018. Singer. Ray was Dr. Hook of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. ‘The Cover of the Rolling Stone’, ‘Sylvia’s Mother’, ‘When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman’ and many more hits made the group one of 1970’s most popular group in both the pop and C/W charts. Ray was born in Chickasaw, Alabama. He had at least two recordings released as a solo artist in 1960-61 on the Sandy label out of Mobile, Alabama.

So many others left us also in 2018 such as Eddie Willis – 82 (Funk Brothers Guitarist), Otis Rush – 84 (blues guitarist/singer), Hugh Masekela – 78 (jazz trumpeter had $# 1 hit with ‘Grazing in the Grass’). Thanks to all these who gave us many good, fun memories of the music we remember.


Don’t forget to check out all the new internet radio shows the club has on its website. Go to and click on ‘RADIO’. New shows added weekly..


Only Seventeen’

The Beattle-ettes (1964)


Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand)’

The Shangri-Las (# 5, 1964)

See ya,


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