The Original Sensational Showmen

The Original Sensational Showmen
National Guard Armory-Concordia - 1965

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Noblemen


The Noblemen, 1965 from left: Jim Anderson (partially visible) on bass, Frank Wright, Landis Dibble, Randy Rahberg



I was in a band called The Noblemen in the 1965-67 time period. We had no recordings or anything, just played dances etc. Basically we weren’t very good, but we had a good time. We just did cover songs, nothing original.

Regular members were myself on guitar, Landis Dibble on drums, Frank Wright on guitar, and Clint Laing on electric piano. We started out with Jim Anderson on bass. Other bass players were Blair Honeyman and Michael Brunton.

We played in the Topeka area, and traveled as far as Alma.

The pictures I have are ones that Landis’ mother took when we played for the parents on their back patio.

Randy Rahberg

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More old popular ballroom pics


Spearfish Pavillion, Spearfish, SD

Skylon Ballroom, Hartington, NE

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Summer In The City

Great song given to us by the Lovin' Spoonful in the mid 60s but this version blows it away! Turn up your speakers.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sensational Showmen at Turtles Concert in Sioux Falls, SD June 26, 1967


The only picture of us playing at the Turtles Concert in Sioux Falls, SD. This photo turned up in a collage of photos from Sad Lad and the Mourners, who were on the same concert billing. Many thanks, Wille!
Left to right: Dick Grube, sax; Paul Justyna, sax; Ron Balderston, trumpet; Phil Pfister, lead guitar; Larry Jackson, bass guitar; Not pictured was Mike Srite, hammond organ; and Robin Hood on drums (hidden behind the equipment, but they were there! This picture shows our "state of the art" PA sound system and Kustom amps.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One of my favorite Beatle songs we played every night.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Astronauts


One of my favorite albums from the early 60's. This may be where we got the ideas for our outfits. In 1962/63, the original band named The Astronauts were a surf rock band from Boulder, CO, home of astronaut Alan Sheppard. Members were 1962: Richard Otis Fifield:vcl/gtr, Dick Sellars:gtr, Bob Demmon:gtr, Stormy Patterson:bs, Jim Gallagher:dms;1963: Richard Otis Fifield:vcl/gtr, Dennis Lindsey:gtr, Bob Demmon:gtr, Stormy Patterson:bs, Jim Gallagher:dms

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Devastating Dinks - Beloit, Kansas


Pat Waddell - lead vocals, replaced by Dean Dietz
Steve Kadel - lead guitar, replaced by Bill Hollingsworth
Bob Bergmann - rhythm guitar and vocals
Gail Scanlon - organ
Bruce Brown - bass
Mike Morrand - drums



The Dinks' "Nina-Kocka-Nina" takes the repetitive nonsense of "Surfin' Bird" and adds a bizarre parody of an Asian accent. The soft-spoken opening has the Japanese inflection down well, even if most of the words are gibberish. Once the song gets going the tone shifts to something that sounds like no real language except variations on "papa ooh mow mow". The few lyrics in English, "get out your pencils, get out your books, try to catch all the teacher's grubby looks" and "I'm taking English, History, Biology and Chemistry" imply that school is turning him into a raving idiot! Ironically, the writer of the song would become a teacher himself after leaving the Dinks!

"Penny a Tear Drop" is very different, and the contrast between the twelve-string guitar and organ sounds great. It's something of a shame that the success of "Nina-Kocka-Nina" put the Dinks into the novelty category and ended their chances of making it as a sincere pop act. Song writing credits for "Penny a Tear Drop" go to Ray Ruffin (a variation on Ray Ruff's name I hadn't seen before) and Jack Dunham, whose name also turns up on the Dinks second 45.

Needing a follow up to "Nina-Kocka-Nina" they predictably cut another song in that vein. "Kocka-Mow-Mow" lacks the magic of the first record. Instead of being a band original, it was knocked off by two of Ray Ruff's associates: Jack Dunham again, and Royce Taylor, a singer who had his own 45 for Sully as part of Gaylen & Royce, "I Can't Stay" / "Modern Day Fools".

Oddly it comments directly on their first disc: "all the DJs across the nation, thought we had a bad creation, they just thought we were up in smoke, but that's kind of funny because we're on all the charts" ... "radio stations started getting calls, they said our band made their skin crawl, they didn't like the music 'cause it made them sick, but everybody wanted to hear it, kids" ... "they said 'Nina-Kocka-Nina' was the most ... you better think twice before you put this one down." On the flip is an incredibly insensitive song by Royce Taylor, "Ugly Girl", sung in the sweetest voice.

Dink's rhythm guitarist Bob Bergmann answered some of my questions about "Nina-Kocka-Nina" and the band:

I am Bob Bergmann, the writer and lead singer for "Nina-Kocka-Nina" on the Sully label. I played rhythm guitar for the Ragging Regattas and the Dinks back in the 60's out of Beloit, Kansas.

The band was started earlier by Steve Kadel, from Beloit, Kansas. He was one of my best friends growing up in the 60's. We graduated together in '62. We learned guitars together during high school, by ear. We learned with 5-strings on our guitars--THANK GOD--there was no little E-string.

After graduating, Steve went to Fort Hays College which is now Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and I went to St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas. Steve started the band The Ragging Regattas in Hays. After two years, I transferred to Fort Hays State College and joined the band. Steve was the person who should be giving credit for starting the band.

I was in my froshmen year in college at Dodge City, Kansas and came up with the song "Nina-Kocka-Nina" and the jibberish language. We put the song together after a performance somewhere in Nebraska. We were sitting there on our amps, very tired, and I got up and started to sing the song which the band had never heard. They all plugged back in and the song was created. I had no idea what the jibberish meant, but at some performances, I was asked by orientals if I knew what I was saying and I think they agreed, I was saying some real words. Pat created his own background words during the recording. Pat's name should have never been first on the record [writing credit] and he will admit that.

The reason we went to Texas to record, two different times, was our so call it manager had contacted Ray. We did not write "Penny A Tear Drop". It was written by a person in the 30's. The song was the reason we were asked to come to Texas to record. I would say it got us in the recording field. "Penny a Tear Drop" took hours. [We] needed a flip side and we did "Nina-Kocka-Nina" in a few minutes and it went over the best.

We were called the Regattas when we went to record, but Ray sent our contract back and changed our names to the Dinks because Ragging Regattas didn't match the "Nina-Kocka-Nina" song. I did sign a contract with BMI in New York after "Nina-Kocka-Nina" came out. There was a nice writeup in one of the top record magazines in the US about the song. Full page showed a picture of the record and around the record were comments from DJ's around the nation about the song.

We were mainly an instrumental band. The song list was very long and mixed between vocals and instrumentals. Our main songs were by the Ventures, and other instrumental groups, many from England. We recorded an album of instrumental songs at Sully Studio after the two 45s, but it never came out.

Somewhere I have one of the many sheets of songs we had taped to our our Fender Dual Showmans. We all had Fender instruments and amps. I did have a Country Gentleman at one time. I also played rhythm on a Fender 6-string bass that was owned by one of the guys in the Blue Things. It had a very funky sound and the frets were very far apart which made it tougher to play.

One of the hardest songs that I remember doing was "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" by the Ventures. Our lead guitar, Bill Hollingsworth was the greatest, and I don't think I could have learned the rhythm without his help. You mention "Surfing Bird" by The Trashmen: Bill was first cousins with their lead guitar player.

After a few years, Bill Hollingsworth replaced Steve on lead guitar, and Dean Deetz replaced Pat Waddel on vocal. I left the band in '66. I got married in January 1967 and finished my teaching degree. I am a retired business teacher here at Jetmore, Kansas of 35 years.

If my memory serves me correctly, [the Dinks] went on a year or so before some of the guys were drafted. After that, they split company and two bands were started - I think the Beasts and another Dinks band. I was one of the junior high school sponsors and we hired the Beast for our high school prom. I remember joining the band for "Nina-Kocka-Nina". The students and staff couldn't believe it. One student came up to me and said "Mr. Bergmann, I didn't know you had that in you"!

On March 7, 2009 the Dinks were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a gala celebration for our band who I had not seen for forty years. Steve could not make it to the induction ceremony.

Bob Bergmann

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



The Fabulous Apostles

"Sad Lad and the Mourners" was a 7-piece horn band that formed in the late 1960's. The group consisted of college students Willie Bertsch(vocals), Gary Swanson(drums), Ken Huseboe(trumpet), Sam Hasegawa(sax), Rod Anderson(guitar), Al Christopherson(bass), and high school student Gerry Moore(keyboards). This was about the time horn bands were becoming very popular, led by the Flippers, Red Dogs, the Mob, and others. Soon they changed their name to The Fabulous Apostles after a popular group by the same name out of Kansas had broken up and their new booking agent, James Reardon & Associates, picked them over seven other bands that had sent a demo tape. James Reardon was able to expand their playing area in the Midwest.

The Apostles toured with some of the top rhythm & blues horn bands of that era, including the Fabulous Flippers, Roarin Red dogs, Spider and the Crabs, Rising Sons, and many more. They were advertised on KOMA. In 1968, before a crowd of 10,000, they won the "Battle of the Bands" in Sioux Falls. The band played all the area ballrooms, including the Hollyhock, Arkota, Surf, Roof Garden, Showboat, Ruskin Park, and many, many more. Willie Bertsch and Sam Hasegawa still perform in the Sioux Falls area as the "Apostles Jazz Standards Band".

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Playmate Blues Band



Received this photo courtesy of Mike Kelley.

Picture taken at the Chase Palladium
L to R; Dave Coon, guitar; Rich Bisterfeldt, drums; Mike Kelley, guitar; Gary Cooley, bass.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Original manager for The Fabulous Flippers



There was more to Eddie Basgall than just polka music. He was the original manager of The Fabulous Flippers and promoted the rock and roll band on KOMA radio in Oklahoma City.

Flippers DVD Photo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

James Reardon


Reardon and Associates, a booking agency for midwest rock bands in the 60's operated out of the Dark Horse Inn in Hays, Kansas. Our band was just one of the many that got their start with Jim and his booking agency.



John Brown Mid Continent Productions
John Brown
Home Town: Lawrence KS





The next inductee into the Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame goes into the Hall as the owner of a booking agency. Not just any boking agency, but without question the most successful rock and roll booking and promotional agency Mid America has ever seen. Mid Continent Productions of Lawrence, KS. The man behind all of this is its founder, John Brown.

John Brown started Mid Continent Productions in the mid 60's and built it into one of the most successful booking and management agencies of all time.

Brown helped form and in some respects create such groups as The Fabulous Flippers, The Roaring Red Dogs, The Blue Things, The Young Raiders, The Rising Suns and let's not forget, Spider & the Crabs.

There was not a ballroom, town hall, armory, high school or college in the state of Iowa that was not a client of Browns' Mid Continent Productions.

When it came to promoting rock groups, nobody was better than John Brown. Who would ever forget those inamous night time radio ads for all the Mid Continent bands on KOMA radio in Oklahoma City.

There was not a teen in Middle America who didn't tune in to KOMA at night to see what great bands were coming into Iowa, promoted by Brown and Mid Continent.

These ads helped turn Brown's Mid Continent Productions and his bands into household names as well as helped establish his agency as one of the most successful of all time.

Its with great pride the Iowa RocKNRoll Music associations Hall of Fame inducts its first booking agent and booking agency inductee, John Brown of Lawrence Ks., and Mid Continent Productions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Turtles Concert Billing-Sioux Falls, SD




Even though we were not from Oklahoma, this was our billing. What an opportunity to play in front of all the kids that had come to see the famous "Turtles" in concert. I remember how nervous we all were and how proud we were to be a part of this venue. The Turtles even used our PA system for their portion of the concert. This concert was held June 26, 1967, Sioux Falls, SD City Arena. The concert was sponsored by KISD radio. The promoter, on his blog, states that he paid $5000 for the Turtle's appearance! Wonder what we got paid?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Listening in the 60's on AM

50,000 Watts of AM Radio Power in the 1960’s

Growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s (and while you were “cruising the loop” at night) there were many great, area AM radio stations playing rock and roll & Top 40, but from approximately 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, three AM stations blasted across the Midwest airwaves and further with their 50,000 watts of power. Do you remember WLS in Chicago, KOMA in Oklahoma City, and KAAY in Little Rock? WLS…890 on your dial. In the 1960’s WLS was a major force in introducing new music and recording artists. They were voted by broadcasters nationally as “The Station of the Year” in 1967, 1968, & 1969. Some of the notable disc jockeys who worked there included Dick Biondi, Art Robert, Ron Riley, Larry Lujack, and Dex Card. KAAY…1090 on your dial. “The mighty ten ninety” could be heard clearly at night in Key West, Florida, and as far to the northwest as Jamestown, North Dakota. KAAY’s cult status was forged in the late 1960’s when after 11:00 each evening, the station abandoned the standard Top 40 format for three hours of underground music with the program Beaker Street. A few of the on-air personalities included Mike McCormick, Doc Holiday, Buddy Kerr, and Ken Knight.KOMA…1520 on your dial. KOMA had a listenable signal in such far away locales as Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and even Los Angeles. Fans of rock and roll & Top 40 music living in North and South Dakota could enjoy listening to the music in the evening. Do you remember those ads promoting dances by - The Blue Things; The Fabulous Flippers; Spider and the Crabs; and the Red Dogs to name a few? A few of the notable DJ’s were Charlie Tuna, Robert Morgan, Ronnie Kaye, and John Peel. These three powerhouse AM stations and the local AM stations allowed us to hear, enjoy and appreciate the great rock and roll music of the 1960’s. Thank you AM radio and all the great DJ’s for the memories!

Surf Ballroom 50th Anniversary Memorial


Fans Pack Surf Ballroom for Tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper
Wanda Jackson, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely, Crickets Recall 50th Anniversary of Fatal Plane Crash
CLEAR LAKE, Iowa -- Fifty years later, a lot of things sure seemed the same at the Surf Ballroom. Poodle skirts, pompadours, the Crickets on the bandstand and the brutally cold weather with below-zero wind chill.Feb. 3, 1959, was the day the music died as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper perished in a snowy plane crash shortly after performing at the Surf as part of the Winter Dance Party that had crawled through the Upper Midwest in a poorly heated school bus.On Monday night (Feb. 2), 1,800 people from 32 countries gathered in Clear Lake at the sold-out Surf to commemorate that infamous day by listening to an eclectic parade of stars -- Wanda Jackson, Graham Nash, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely, Peter & Gordon, Dave Mason, Delbert McClinton, Bobby Vee, the Big Bopper Jr. and the Crickets, Holly's backup band.Mary Gerber was at the concert in 1959, surprised that her parents would let a 16-year-old out on a school night. She stood up front and excitedly snapped seven photos. She rediscovered those negatives two years ago while cleaning out her mother's house. Those rare pictures -- perhaps the only ones existing of that historic night -- were on display in the lobby of Surf on Monday as Gerber returned to the ballroom for the first time in five decades. On that fateful night in 1959, she and her 18-year-old brother drove home to Walters, Minn., but he fell asleep at the wheel and the car ended up in a ditch -- and the siblings had to walk the final three miles home. She also recalled that the Surf wasn't particularly crowded that night -- not like it was on Monday.Steven McGregor, 45, made the trip all the way from Australia -- his second ride at the Surf since 2005. "I love Buddy Holly. This is fantastic," he told CMT.com. Born in Scotland, he was making a whirlwind journey with stops in Hawaii, the Sundance Music Festival in Utah, Clear Lake and then Scotland. He didn't quite figure out what to do with the Valens replica guitar -- signed by Los Lobos and others -- he bought for $1,600 at auction at the Surf. Would he ship it home or carry it as baggage?Bob Hale was the emcee of the concert in 1959. He announced the death of the three young stars that morning on KRIB radio after Surf manager Carroll Anderson called him to confirm their identities at the crash site a few miles north of town. Hale then phoned United Press International in Des Moines, Iowa, and the news spread around the world. Now a retired TV personality in Chicago, Hale, 75, returned to the Surf Monday to introduce J.P. Richardson Jr., aka the Big Bopper Jr. The ex-DJ shared the story of how he and the Bopper sat in a booth near the stage in 1959 and talked about how both of their wives were pregnant. He then brought his "adopted son," Bopper Jr., onstage for the Clear Lake gathering.A showman in a faux leopard-skin jacket, Bopper Jr. reminded the rock fans that his dad wrote hits for other people, including George Jones' "White Lightning" and Johnny Preston's "Running Bear." He sang those and, of course, his father's biggest hit, "Chantilly Lace." However, this second-generation rocker wasn't the main attraction.The Surf-goers, who looked to range in age from 8 to 80, came to hear silver-haired stars sing hits by Holly and Valens. Bob Hobart, 65, a retired high school principal from Peoria, Ill., pined for "Donna" and "La Bamba" while his son Steve, 30, a seventh grade math teacher in Clear Lake, showed up for "the party that everyone has been talking about for months." (His last visit to the Surf was to see the hard-rock band Anthrax.)Aria Asbe-Snyder, 18, who had seen Joe Nichols and REO Speedwagon at the Surf, said "it's great to be part of history," but she had to be back at college in Mankato, Minn., by 10 the next morning. While the college freshman wore a commemorative Winter Dance Party T-shirt, many Surf-ers sported Grease-evoking outfits, pompadours and fake horn-rimmed glasses.The five-hour program, sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was relatively seamless considering how many acts were involved. Cousin Brucie, a legendary New York radio disc jockey, and Sir Tim Rice, who wrote lyrics for Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber, served as emcees. An all-star house band featured saxophonist Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones), keyboardist Chuck Leavell (Stones, Allman Brothers), bassist Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Smashing Pumpkins). Two boom cameras zoomed over the ballroom crowd to capture this show for a possible TV special.Most of the stars offered three-song sets, usually featuring at least one tune by either Holly, Valens or the Big Bopper. For instance, Wanda Jackson did Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," which Holly covered on the 1959 tour, while Ely jumped into Buddy's "Oh Boy." Graham Nash never mentioned that he used to sing in the Hollies before joining Crosby, Stills & Nash, but he did three Buddy Holly favorites, including "Every Day" with Peter & Gordon. Rocker Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens, who released a Holly tribute album this year, added a nice touch with three violinists on his three songs.Dave Mason, formerly of Traffic, provided a change of pace with his rock hits, "We Just Disagree" and "Feelin' Alright." Los Lonely Boys tore it up with their high-octane brand of blues-rock before downshifting into their hit, "Heaven," which had the younger folks in the Surf crowd singing along. Bolstered by Keys on sax, Los Lobos rocked the house. Ely sat in with them to do "Are You Listening Lucky," and then various members of the extended Valens family and Holly's widow, Maria Elena Santiago, joined Los Lobos for a spirited, long-winded "La Bamba."Tickets cost $85 for Monday's marathon. In 1959, young rock fans paid $1.50 to attend the Winter Dance Party at the Surf. Over the years, this classic ballroom has played host to everyone from Duke Ellington and Lawrence Welk to Merle Haggard and Montgomery Gentry. The Surf has been staging Winter Dance Party anniversaries since 1979 but none as big as this year's.Fittingly, Sonny Curtis and the Crickets closed the evening with an extended set. Curtis reminded the folks of all the hits he'd written, including "I Fought the Law" and "Love Is All Around," the theme to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He offered his "The Real Buddy Holly Story," his answer to the 1978 hit movie starring Gary Busey. And, of course, his trio performed the songs that they and Holly made famous -- "It's So Easy," "Raining in My Heart," "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be the Day." They closed with an all-cast rendition of "Not Fade Away," complete with band member Tommy Allsup, a tall Texan in a cowboy hat, taking a guitar solo just as he had done 50 years ago on that same stage.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Credits video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fTMExlF7SQ

Bill Lee, Kansas Music Hall of Fame Founder


KMHOF President Bill Lee honored by surprise induction
Kansas Music Hall of Fame founder and president, Bill Lee, was surprised at this year's induction show when his fellow board members joined him onstage and announced that he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for all of his efforts on behalf of Kansas music over the years.
Lee spent 25 years as a radio disc jockey and program director; wrote a book about Kansas music in 1999 called Kansas Rockers...the First Generation ; moderates a Yahoo group devoted to discussing old Kansas and Kansas City music ; and for all he has done with the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interesting Biography of the Rising Suns/Young Raiders band members

The Rising Suns/Young Raiders/Southern Flavor 1962-1978 Postscript- 2009
On Sat. Jan 13, 2007 The Rising Suns were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Members of the first Topeka band, Greg Thompson, John Neal, Dave Newman, Donnie Wierman, Steve Dahl, Ron Mikkelson etc/ along with Steve Clark and Ken Weidenbach of the "combo- Rising Sun/Young Raider " bands were inducted. In March 2009 The Young Raiders were inducted in the Kansas Music Hall of Fame and 21 members who played in the band from 1967 to l971 were inducted. "......everybody played in the Young Raiders....." has been said many times but the musicians who came and went in the band were not your every day players. The following postscript may surprise you.

John Neal, vocalist, band leader. Several Rising Sun and Young Raider bands were built around his voice. John is still playing in Calif. He has a new (2006)blues CD out. After leaving the Young Raiders also played with The Germs and was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with them in 2006. Johnny Neal stays busy performing with his band, Johnny Neal and Bluesprint.
Steve Clark, trpt. trombone, sax, leader. Took over after Neal. "Kept band together" until late 1977. Young Raiders became Southern Flavor who toured all 50 states, toured with Ike and Tina, Righteous Bros. in Canada and Hawaii. Clark still plays 60 gigs a year with Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes, a successful 9 piece R&B show band. Clark has also toured and recorded with Okla. and Ark. Country bands. Greg Thompson The original band member lives and plays in Topeka and continues to try and keep all the "boys" connected from the Dantes, Rising Suns,Young Raiders/ Southern Flavor. Responsible for successful Rising Suns induction at KMHOF. Who knows what's next? Rock and Roll,..........
Ken Weidenbach, bass, vocals, co- leader with Clark until 1970. Later played with The Smoke Ring, did recording in Calif. and was called on to do a few emergency gigs with America.
Marlin Butcher, bass, vocals, leader. Took over after Clark. Later played with Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Sensational Shoes. Continues to play with "Harvey and the Wallbangers, a successfull Oklahoma City, party band.
Steve Dahl, trpt. vocals, Left Suns to be front man/vocalist for the Red Dogs for years. Made them one of the premier bands in the mid-west. Later fronted The Smoke Ring. Currently manages Monteray Entertainment in Nashville, one of the most sucessful booking agencies in the entertainment business.
Larry Lingle, guitar, vocals, left Young Raiders/Risings Suns to join Dennis Loewen's The Fabulous Flippers, the top show band in the mid-west. Later played guiter and sang in the Four Seasons with Frankie Vallee. Currently a guitar rep.
Mike Lingle, drums, vocals, left Young Raiders/Rising Suns for the Germs. Continued to play for many years in Calif.
Bill Leacox. drums. Came from the Germs, After two years with The Young Raiders, joined the band "America" who he has toured with for the past 30 years and recorded with on several million selling hits such as "Horse with no name" etc. Elected into the the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Roche Grace. organ, vocals, A major part of the l 970 Young Raiders and composer of many of the songs on their l970 album. After leaving The Young Raiders, Rocky put a new Blue Things band together, then played with Denny Loewen's Sanctuary. Co- wrote, million selling "Rocky Mountain Way with Joe Walsh.
Tom Stephenson, organ vocals, Young Raider organist before Grace in l969. Tom also later played with Joe Walsh and Tommy Bolin. Later recorded with Glen Frey of the Eagles and Poco.
Kenny "Ajax" McKenna continued to play on the road after Southern Flavor and today his a successful western artist and gallery owner living in Oklahoma but he still plays when he is not painting and can sometimes be found backing up singers in casinos and clubstheOklahoma City area.
Jeff Severson, guitar, vocals. After leaving The 1970 Young Raiders Jeff moved to the Washington D.C area where he runs a very successful recording studio. He also played four tours with Hall and Oates and did two solo albums for C.B.S. Records.
Greg "Grog" Ayers, trombone. After leaving The Young Raiders he toured for several years with Kent Leopold's "Central Standard Time," "Calliope" and finally Danny Hein's "Heinsight" Grog has written several musicals, and church anthems.
Mitch Bible, guitar, vocals. Played with Eric and the Norseman before joining "The Young Raiders in l969. Mitch left The Young Raiders to play with Central Standard TIme. Mitch was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame as a member of Eric and the Norseman
Steve "Klondike" Solmonson, guitar, vocals Klondike was the first musician hired by Clark for the l971 Young Raider band and stayed at Mid-Continent when the band moved to Chicago. Klondike later was a major part of the Daisy Dillard band of Minnesota which he still records and tours.
Tom Taylor,vocals. After fronting both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor, Tom returned to Nebraska where he still continues to sing with his own band. He also owns Taylor's Steak House.
Cleve Warren, drums. Played in both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor with Clark, touring most of the U.S. Later played with Gary P. Nunn, composer of the Austin City Limits theme. Currently is the first call drummer in Oklahoma City in everybody's book.
Butch Neese, vocals, Joined Southern Flavor on the east coast after many years with The Red Dogs, In 2005 was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with the Red Dogs. He also continues to sing with the Coffeyville Rising Suns.
Bruce Dunlap, bass, guitar vocals, Played bass in the l971 Young Raiders, left to join Leopold's "Calliope" and later returned to play guitar with Southern Flavor. Inbetween, he played with "Little Anthony and the Imperials." Bruce is still on the road somewhere.
Steve Schmitz, drums. Played nearly every state in the union with Southern Flavor. Came off the road in Houston, Tex. in the late l970's and continues to play regularly in the Houston club scene.
Donnie Weirman, after leaving The Rising Suns, "Gorilla" played with Spider and the Crabs and the Soul Express. Today, he is a factory guitar rep. and still plays and records in Minnesota. He has a new CD out in 2007.
Dave Sisson, organist/vocalist in last Southern Flavor band, toured for several years as organist, musical director for numerous vocalists, eventually put himself through law school as piano bar performer. Today, successful attorney in Norman, Okla. but can't stop playing keyboards. Key member of successful Southern Flavor recording and concert reunion in June, 2006.
Fletcher Buckley Fletcher was the last member hired into Southern Flavor, replacing longtime member Steve Clark in late l977. Fletcher still continures to play his sax today in New York City and has performed and recorded in recent years primarily in Florida and New York. Fletcher also spent time on the road with the Talking Heads.
Gary Michaels "Muck" was almost killed in the wreck that ended the Topeka Rising Suns, being saved by Greg Thompson. Gary moved back to South Dakota before moving to Southern Calif. where he has worked as a record producer for many years. His current project is with Lou Marini and he sometimes records old friend Mike Finnigan .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A quip from Ron Balderston


I pulled this old post from the Yahoo group while the 2009 induction was in process. Since there were 3 different Sensational Showmen groups in Kansas from 1964 to the early 1970's, Ron did a good job of clarifying that the Concordia group was the original group and had actually been the group that made the name "The Sensational Showmen" popular and well-known. Thank you Ron, for this excellent posting.

From: baldy60ron

Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] Re: The Sensational Showmen-Concordia to Parso...To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.comDate: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 11:27 AM
Hey guys, my name is Ron Balderston and I was lead singer & trumpetplayer for the original Sensational Showmen "back in the day"! Itstruck me funny to see the times of your posts this morning. Once anight owl always a night owl!I can appreciate the dilemma you are faced with and am honored simplyfor the consideration. If you look at Bills post on Oct. 31referencing an archived post I had made on another website you willget a sense of who and what we were. We did establish the name of theShowmen, performed extensively thru-out Kansas and the midwest. Weadvertised heavily on KOMA radio the last year or so of our existence.As a bunch of high school, or recently graduated kids we knew we hadreached the pinnacle when that first ad played over the airwaves!!!Ha, what great times those were to see the crowds growing bigger andbigger as we became better known and certainly more accomplished. Wewere booked out of the Dark Horse Inn and Jim kept us on the run. As amatter of fact, after my parents passing recently I had to clear outthe safe deposit box and in it was a copy of the summons for breach ofcontract from James N. Reardon & Associates, naming the Showmen underthe leadership of Ron Balderston as defendant when we came home in themiddle of our 1967 summer tour. We were not well networked and whentwo of our original members gave notice we simply returned home topursue our careers or education. It occurred to me when Chris, (SEK Showmen), stated in some post alongthe way that they were approached to take on the name and addedmembers to become a Rhythm & Blues Horn band, that it had been anestablished name and reputation. The group from SE Kansas no doubtmade an impact in those days and much to their credit they continue tocontribute today. My guess is they are very deserving of inductioninto the Hall of Fame.I was told a couple of years ago by a dear friend that our group wasgoing to be put into nomination. I started trying to get caught up viaa couple of different websites and saw then the potential confusion.I, like Chris, new nothing of another Sensational Showmen as I movedout of state in 1969 and currently reside in Boise, Id.No worries!!! Chris and the guys have lobbied hard. Our group was outthere on the circuit with the likes of The Blue Things, The Red Dogs,Spider and the Crabs, of course The Flippers. We did well, we had amarvelous following and I am sure got the most out of our abilities.Of course you always wonder "what might have been"!! When I think of the days of hauling all of our gear in u-haul trailersto buying and customizing our bus, and finally having a custom builttrailer and our big ole Suburban to travel the midwest, not to mentionlugging that heavy Hammond B-3,(wish I had it today), all of ourKustom Amps and one of the biggest & best PA systems available, in andout of different venues every night it makes me tired, but then I amold now!! I feel I can speak for the rest of the guys when I say we are humbled,thrilled, and greatful for your consideration and appreciate themanner in which you are trying to resolve this confusing issue.Founding members were;Robin Hood...Drummer- --Concordia, KsPaul Justyna...Saxophone ---Concordia, KsLarry Jackson...Bass & Vocals (Note) Larry is deceased---Clifton, KsBob Burns...Guitar- --Concordia, KsPhil Pfister...Lead Guitar & Vocals---Clifton, Ks.Mike Srite...B-3 & Trumpet---Concordia , Ks.Ron Balderston.. .Lead Vocals & Trumpet---Clyde, Ks.Others along the way;Dick Bokius...Drummer- --Salina, KsDick Grube...Saxophone- --Kearney, Ne.Ray McComas...Hammond- --Concordia, Ks.I apologize for the extremely long post.Respectfully,Ron