45 Friday: : Kathy Lynn & the Playboys – Rock City


Bob ‘The Record Guy’ Paxon


Surf music is a California thing, but it was too popular and too cool to stay that way forever. It was inevitable that bands all over the country would adopt it. WNY, with a deep tradition of instrumental rock, naturally took to Surf. In Rochester they had the Vacqueros and the Vistas, in Buffalo The Buddies and – for one record anyway – Kathy Lynn & the Playboys.



Kathy Lynn Keppen and band’s stock in trade later became funky soul instrumentals, especially after they moved to Detroit with manager Tom Shannon. These were issued under a variety of names, though most often as The Buena Vistas. But in the days of their first few releases it seems they had no fixed sound, moving from Rockabilly to Pop/Soul. And this one example of killer instrumental Surfin’ Music.

Both sides of this 1965 release are raw and rockin’, featuring great guitar played here by Eddie Bentley, an off-and-on member of the group (to this day, I believe) and familiar to WNY folks from his many musical ventures as well as his music store. Other members are Nick Ameno and Carl Cisco. I believe Tony DiMaria is the drummer here. Trainspotters may want to note that this lineup recorded at least one track that was released under the name The Rockin’ Rebels.

The label of “Rock City” states that it was recorded ‘live at The Peppermint Stick’. This was a teen club on the corner of Niagara Falls Blvd and Ward Road in North Tonawanda. About which I know nothing except the Caveman often played there, and on one snowy night (Christmas, 1965) a little group called The Yardbirds appeared, guitarist Jeff Beck posing proudly with his Telecaster and Vox amps for the KB Teen News photographer. Want to know what THAT sounded like? So do I. But until someone shows up with those tapes, we can listen to this great live track and imagine 1965, Kathy Lynn and band wrapping up a wild set, and Beck watching from the wings, plotting a few flash moves with which to upstage these Yanks.

Kathy Lynn & the Playboys “Rock City/Rockin’ Red River” on Swan 4175



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