Rick Falkowski remembers Cory Wells’ special induction ceremony

When Cory Wells was selected to be inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (BMHOF) in 1997, he was touring with Three Dog Night and could not make it to the event. He later had a break from touring so we scheduled a Special Induction Ceremony on May 26, 2000, at the Lafayette Blues Room.

Cory wanted to give the event a Buffalo slant so he reunited his band the Enemys, a group that was formed in Buffalo and relocated to L.A. in 1965. Drummer Dave Treiger was still living in Buffalo and guitarist Mike Lustan, who also played with Cory in The Vibratos, came up from Florida. They had not performed together since 1966. Three Dog Night keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon came to Buffalo for the induction and Rick Ryan, from the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame band Weekend, completed the band on bass. It is ironic that Rick Ryan is now the bass player for WNY-based Three Dog Night tribute band – E.L.I.

To promote the Special Induction Ceremony, Cory was a guest on the Oldies 104 and 97 Rock morning radio shows, along with appearing on Channel 7’s AM Buffalo. Sportsmens Tavern owner Dwane Hall let the band use Sessions Recording Studio, next to the club, as a practice room. Cory put a lot of time into promoting and rehearsing for the show.

The induction ceremony opened with a set by BMHOF member Barbara St Clair and her band the Shadows. Cory’s plaque was presented by BMHOF radio personality Danny Neaverth, who admitted he was a big fan of the band and had the opportunity to introduce them at concerts in the 1970s. Officers from the Three Dog Night Fan Club came to Buffalo for the event. They expressed appreciation that Buffalo was inducting Cory Wells into the BMHOF, when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland had not recognized Three Dog Night for their numerous achievements.

45 FRIDAY ENTRY ON THE VIBRATOS

Everyone attending the Special Induction Ceremony was treated to a very memorable night. Cory Wells showed he was a down to earth person, who cared about not what you would do for him, but what he could do for you.

Since his passing on October 20, 2015, many stories have been told about Cory being a family-oriented person, who loved fishing and abstained from alcohol/drugs. He will not only be remembered as one of the top vocalists of classic rock music, but for the positive life he lived and the many lives he touched.

Rick Falkowski
Founder, BMHOF

 

 

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45 Friday: JERRY JAYE – Going To The River

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By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon

Here’s a nice Rock’n’Roll record on a Buffalo record label, by an apparent Rochester guy, but little seems be known about him locally. And nationally, information is sketchy because he’s gotten confused with another Jerry Jaye – or two.

Jerry Jaye (born Gerald Jaye Hatley) hit the charts in March 1967 with a cover of Fats Dominos’ “My Girl Josephine”. It was a nicely rockin’ track, not ‘wild’ but closer to the original R*R stuff than what either Nashville was doing with country, or what psychedelic popsters were doing with Rock.

Some saw it as a return to Rockabilly – and it did have that sound –  but aside from a few old timers who never quit, and just a HANDFULL of rebels among the flowers and beads crowd (like CCR), Rockabilly didn’t return for another decade. But Jerry Jaye (Hatley) continued on with more singles for Memphis’ HI records label, and eventually an album. Most (more than half) of his recordings were reworkings of Fats Domino tracks. His love for Fats continued unabated, despite the public never really reconnecting after that first single.

Compilers of info on R&R and Rockabilly will tell you that despite his 1967 success Jerry Jaye (Hatley) was a first generation Rock’n’Roller who actually started in 1958. And this Rochester/ Buffalo recording (today’s Friday 45) was his first release. But they’re wrong. The 1967 Jerry Jaye was a Southern boy (Tennessee), a different Jerry Jaye from the 1958 local artist we’re celebrating today.

Not much is known about our local boy. I don’t even know his real name. It probably wasn’t really ‘Jaye’. He later had a trio and they were a fixture at Rochester’s 414 Club, J&I Lounge, The Avenue, and Garden Grill. The Jerry Jaye Trio included Neil Marvel and Gene Newman.

Along the way he cut a record for Fine Recordings in Rochester using Sonny and Bobby Geno as backup. After a small pressing on Fine (supposedly only 250 copies) it was issued on a label out of Buffalo with a 20 West Tupper St address, intriguingly named Label Records. This was related to the Masters Releasing group (essentially a Lenny Silver company).

Label had only three releases, all R&R. The others were the Four Ekkos – a Rochester R&R vocal group – and the Cornell Sisters – a pop/ R&R duo). All were pressed by Columbia.

Think about the confusion involved with that: Label Records. Real “Who’s On First?” stuff.
“What record company is it on?”
“Label.”
“Okay: label?”.
“Yes.”
“Yes what?”
“The Record company!”

But I digress. Our local JJ’s recordings for Fine, picked up by Label Records, sold some copies regionally but ultimately stiffed. A guy who COULD be the same Jerry Jaye (pretty likely) cut a track in 1958 for Stepheny Records (out of Illinois), both sides of which have been compiled on a Buffalo Bop CD of Rockabilly tracks. Unfortunately for music detectives they’ve also been included on an unauthorized compilation of the Memphis Jerry Jaye’s music. I’m not sure if the Stephney Records JJ is the Label Records JJ but I know neither of them are the 1967 Memphis JJ!

To complicate things further there there was a 1959 release by a Jerry Jaye on Pallette Records out of Allentown PA. It even has picture sleeve, which shows this JJ playing an electric bass. I don’t THINK this is our man – though it’s possible – but I’m pretty sure it’s not the Memphis cat either.

In doing some research I found that the Memphis JJ apparently never recorded before the mid-1960s and apparently never left the South. So I’m pretty sure none of the other JJ’s are related to him. Yet the foremost resource for Rockabilly info lists two of their records (those of our guy and the Stephney Records guy) as his first records.

It’s easy to see why the R&R historians got this wrong, because the Memphis Jerry Jaye’s fixation on Fats Domino coincides the plug side of the Label Records release by ‘our’ guy, a Rockabilly cover of another Fats Domino tune. “Going To The River”.

So this should be perfectly clear- two different white guys named Jerry Jaye covering Fats Domino tunes Rockabilly Style almost a decade apart, with no other apparent connection. Got it?

Anyway, “Going To The River” is a good rockin’ track. The flip is a slow ballad version of the standard “A Cottage For Sale”. After this our Jerry Jaye disappeared into the mists of time, leaving only confusion in his wake.

Oh, one more thing: in 1958 a group called the The Jaye Sisters (??) released a record on Atlantic. A cover of a song by – you guessed it – Fats Domino. Another version of “Going to The River”!!

45 Friday: Davy and the Crocketts – Turn Your Back

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David Myles Meinzer has been making music in Buffalo for 40 years now. Here’s  his earliest recording.  BTW, I’m filling in for Bob Paxon this week, and I’ll attempt to fill you in on some of the background.

Since Dave is a friend, I’m going to eschew the Associated Press style and just call him by his first name. He traces his musical roots, like so many others,  back to hearing the Beatles as a young kid in the 1960s. But by the time he got to college in the 1970s, he was already exploring roots music. He was involved with the legendary Buffalo State College music magazine Shaking Street Gazette (which took its name from a MC5 song and took its money to publish from the student government there; it was edited by Gary Sperrazza). He would have been the one writing about Gram Parsons, and he recalls being at the legendary Kinky Friedman show in Buffalo where a small number of feminists were protesting Kinky’s song “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven (and Your Buns Into Bed).” In Kinky’s memory the incident has since grown into a feminist riot!

But by the time the late ’70s came around, most of the interesting music was coming out of the punk/new wave scene. And Dave says he remembers being inspired by the do-it-yourself attitude, that you could take a guitar and go play at a local club.  Plus his friends had always jokingly called him “Davy Crockett” as a kid because of his first name. So the name felt like a natural.

While Dave was never a punk, he could — and did — get into the rockabily and power pop edges of that scene. And since the since was really a melange of styles, that meant playing at McVan’s, the Schuper House and any of a number of other places where he and the band might be sharing the stage with Mark Freeland and Electroman, the Enemies, the Jumpers or a host of other punk/new wave/edgy bands.

When it was time to record, the group — Dave (guitar plus lead vocals), plus Dave Zwink (drums), Geoff Copp (guitar) and the mysteriously named E. Minor (actually Russell Steinberg on bass) — went to Tommy Calandra’s BCMK studios. Both sides of the single (“Long Time, No See” was the flip) were Meinzer compositions, and the production was credited to the Crocketts and Calandra.

Recorded in January of 1979, the song has been included on the “This Is It”  CD compilation of punk/new wave put out by Bob James (of the Third Floor Strangers, Restless and numerous other bands) in 2002. It’s a great piece of power pop that still holds up to this day.

The band actually had coonskin caps, by the way, although Geoff will tell you he was the only one to wear his.

The graphics for the single’s sleeve are actualy credited to Marlene Weisman and Attack Graphics. That’s a surprise, given that Dave went on to do graphics for many of the BCMK releases and has done art for dozens of albums, posters and CD covers for local performers and local shows by national artists over the years. He has also gone on to release an impressive number of recordings, with groups (Nimrod Wildfire, Dry Bones and, currently, with the Outlyers) and individually. The Crocketts, meanwhile, have scattered. Russ Steinberg is still in Western New York, but Dave Zwink is in Alaska and Geoff Copp on Long Island.

Meanwhile,  in one of this writer’s favorites, “Rock Castle,” by the Outlyers, Dave recalls the early years at McVan’s, which was indeed built to look like a castle. The castle was rockin’ indeed.

You can check out Dave’s own way more detailed history of the band here.

 

 

Another perspective on Lance Diamond

Much will be said and written about Lance Diamond in coming days, following news of his death on Sunday (Jan. 4, 2015). But here’s a perspective that may not get much attention.

As great as Diamond was as a performer, his bigger contribution to Buffalo may have been bringing the city’s residents together across racial lines. What bigger tribute can you pay to a performer than to say they helped peace and brotherhood grow in their community?

It can be a frustrating at times, but sometime it seems like that invisible line that runs down the middle of Main Street still keeps people apart. Music fans can be almost totally oblivious to great performers who live and perform just a few miles away. Soul great Jessie Butler is one who comes to mind in that regard. Recognition for Count Rabbit came late, and Donnie Elbert never received it in his hometown.

But Diamond didn’t just blur those lines he obliterated them. In his band. And especially in his audience. That’s thanks in part to his collaborations with the Goo Goo Dolls, but at least as much to his own personality. I can’t think of another performer – white or black – as widely loved in the Buffalo area. When it was a Lance Diamond show, it wasn’t a matter of black, white, gay, straight, or any divisive labeling. It was people coming together to enjoy the music, the moment and each other.

Dale Anderson wrote a great profile of Diamond for The Buffalo News back in 1989, when the singer had recently started working with the Goos and was seeing his prominence rise. Here’s a bit of what he told Anderson:

“There are so many great musicians I’ve had the honor to work with,” Diamond declared. “Drummers like Mike Caputy and Eli Konikoff. Keyboard players like Doug Gaston, Bobby Jones and Kevin De La Pinta. Great horn sections with Nelson Sky and Dick Griffo. Guitar players, I’ve got some awesome ones like Steve Camilleri and Tyrone Williams, Andy and Freddy Ripello. I’ve had the cream of the crop. Name any musician in this city and they’ve probably played with me.

“I came from that Pine Grill school of thought that said you had to dress the best and sound the best. I’ve spent over $50,000 on equipment that was stolen and on clothes. At one time, I could go two weeks in a row and never wear something twice, and that was when I was working six nights a week in the hotels.

“Everything I’ve done has been to look the part of the entertainer I’m trying to be,” he added.

And that was the kind of entertainer he was.

***

Who will take Lance’s place? Nobody, really, but it’s good to see walls breaking down in Buffalo. Critt’s Juke Joint and DBGB’s are entities that both fill that gap, as do performers like Rod Nickson, Van Taylor and others I’m either forgetting to mention or haven’t had a chance to encounter yet.

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Best of the Videos of the Day! A Top 10* List

This isn’t a scientific measurement, or really even an exact list. The Video of the Day project on WNY.FM’s facebook page has given me a chance to hear/see a lot of music that I might never otherwise have been exposed to. This, then, is a loosely assembled list of videos that I saw and loved this year.

Some were from before 2014, but all are relatively recent … and each was a Video of the Day in 2014. None of the archival videos for this post, and none of WNY.FM’s original videos.

So here’s the countdown:

10* — Juini Booth & Friends at the Colored Musicians Club: Why the asterisk? Because there’s a tie for No. 10. This one’s from 2013, with Juini Booth (bass)  playing with George Caldwell on piano, Carlos Day on trumpet, Dave Phillips on drums and Miles Tucker on sax. Some great jazz, Buffalo style.

10* — Those Idiots – I Want To Rock & Roll All Night (and Polka Everyday): Our other No. 10 makes clear that I can’t resist the silly and ridiculous. And they don’t get much more silly or ridiculous than Those Idiots. They can turn anything into a polka. The perfect pick for April Fool’s week.

9 — Alison Pipitone – Helpless: Alison Pipitone is one of those artists who you suddenly realize has become an institution on the local scene. It’s hard to believe Pipitone has recorded so many albums over so many years, and this video came off her new one this past year. It’s one of several shot in the grain elevators this year.

8 — Willie Nile – One Guitar: Buffalo Music Hall of Famer Willie is a WNY boy who has been restrengthening this local ties over the past few years. Well, he started last yar by playing with Bruce Springsteen and Mike Peters (of the Alarm) down in Asbury Park, N.J.

7 — Handsome Jack – Right On: Buffalo has always had a spot in its heart for 1970s-style hard rock. Handsome Jack nails it.

6 — The New Beginning Choral Assembly – Rock My Soul: The energy on this one is off the charts, but what really pushes this one over the top is the dancers. Hall of Famer Ella Robinson leads the group.

5 — The Steam Donkeys – Gimme Shelter: The Steam Donkeys are another great Buffalo institution, and on this one they do some Rolling Stones as an encore with a crowd of other performers at the Larkinville show. It’s a great example of the vibe of the Larkin shows.

4 — Chuckie Campbell – Synesthesia: Chuckie Campbell is a teacher and a coach – and also a rapper. He’s done some great work this year, doing well-produced videos, playing with live bands and staying positive.

3 — Cosmic Shakedown – Can You Help Me: This one says 1972 to me. Grand Funk. Heavy stompin’ music. Retro in a great way.

2 — Alan Evans’ Playonbrother – Back to Buffalo: A shoutout back home that’s also a great funky jam from one of Buffalo’s best connections to the national scene.

1 — The Sleepy Hahas – I Hate My Body (and it hates me too): The Sleepy Hahas have staked out their position as one of the city’s most interesting and energetic bands. This video is one example.

45 Friday: LOU COURTNEY- Hot Butter N All (Part 1)

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The search for info on Lou’s Buffalo background goes on unabated, but unrequited- so far.

Lots of information on his recording career and record releases is available but nothing had been known about his early life in Buffalo.

Teasing little bits of information have turned up. Someone sent me some links to news articles and each contains another piece of the puzzle. I’ll share some of the pieces with you- maybe it will lead somewhere somehow.

We know Lou was born Louis Pegues in 1944 to Louis R. and Georgia L. Pegues. A news clipping from 1946 shows the birth of a sister, and a family address of 84 Walnut.

A 1960 Courier-Express article from reveals the divorce of Lou’s parents and a new family address of 311 Madison Street.

Another Courier-Express article reveals Lou graduated from Hutchinson-Central Technical School (Hutch-Tech) in June 1962, where he studied Building Design and Construction. My guess is he probably sang with schoolmates there in an informal (pop) group, if not in a school group.

The 1966 Pittsburgh Courier has a photo of Lorraine Ellison as ‘Mercury Record’s New Singing Star’, with a dapper Mr. Courtney – described as her Recording Director – showing her some music charts. A trade publication article from 1966 discusses the signing of Walter Davis by ‘Mercury Records executive Lou Courtney’.

Most recently, a 2012 notice sadly announces the death of Timothy Terell Edwin Pegues in New York City, survived by his father Lou (now ‘Louis Pegues, Jr.’), mother Yvette Moore and two brothers. From that I assume Lou has been living in NYC.

Let’s look back to 1970 when Lou cut an amazing slice of Funk. “Hot Butter ‘N’ All” came out on a one-shot (actually two-shot) label as Hurdy Gurdy #101. It did nothing as far as sales due to its indie-label status but it has subsequently attained high status among Funk and Soul fans.

“Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 1” was credited to just Lou Courtney and it’s an amazing slice of hard Funk. Full of explosive energy, with hard drums and blaring horns, Lou puts it over the top with some James Brown-like screams.

The flipside, “Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 2”, is an instrumental version. Credited to Mr. C & Funck Junction, it’s the better-known side today because it’s perfect for mixing and sampling. Everything seems slightly ramped-up on this side which is hard to do because the Part 1 vocal version starts on a 9.5 out of 10! It seems to be mixed hotter and has some overdubbed instruments.

Proving that a good track should never go wasted, “Part 2” turns up again on the apparent only other release on Hurdy-Gurdy: “Life Is Free” by Donald Height. Height previously recorded for the Shout label, among others, but here he is uniquely also credited as ‘The Singing Preacher’. Hurdy Gurdy #C-100 uses the exact same backing track as “Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 2” but adds entirely new lyrics. Less is known about this tiny label than even is known about the early life of Lou Courtney so we’ll have to be content with this much – for now.

Enjoy the Funk!