Monday, March 30, 2009

barbara porter & little rock- little rock

George Bryan wrote:

LITTLE ROCK: The band was David Bates on drums, Doug Duffey as keys, arranger, and vocals, bass was some child who was green as a pool table and twice as square, and me on guitar. Singer for the shows was Barbara Porter, wife of Jim Porter the manager (and jazz aficionado…one of the best record collections I had ever seen and a genuinely nice and decent human being). Eventually we had Sterling R McBee added to play bass. We worked the Sheraton in Little Rock a lot, and saw a lady who would become Bill Clinton’s mistress….she was in a band that played before us and was the singer. Met and played for Mr. Tyson at his lake house for private parties. We worked the Tracks Inn, and followed people like Tanya Tucker when they came through. We did a trip back east, hit NYC (Doug and I got busted standing on the roof of the Holiday Inn in Jersey). We did the country club circuit in the south and Vegas at the LandMark, and a month in LA at the Ramada Inn at the foot of Beverly Hills, just off Rodeo Drive. Great wilted spinach salads with hot bacon dressing. Lorna and Barbara worked downtown for an Iranian named Tom Massoud. Eventually the band went back to Little Rock, broke up, Doug went to LA, and I quit the music business and went to Florida to live on a beach.

Doug Duffey wrote: years before, when i was back home in monroe- between bands- i played Hammond B3 and sang/opened the show in the 'earl duke 'revue'; which played the local black "chitlin circuit". much later, the horn section [vaughn quimby- sax; gene newman- trumpet] moved to colorado where they hooked up with the band "cotton" [george bryan [guitar], cid cidlick [B3/vocals], and dave trupp [drums]. they called me and asked me to come out and work with i went. it was a serious blues band. we played a lot of funky bars in colorado and nebraska- the high point being when we opened for 'muddy waters' in lincoln, nebraska at the university; which was way cool! the main point of this is that i met my life long friend, guitarist george bryan, in "cotton". [he did the louisiana folklife festival and new orleans jazz festival with me in 2003- we hadn't seen each other in 20 years!].

while in colorado i got a call to go back to little rock and work with an act called "barbara porter and little rock" - i had worked with her before when she was working with tommy riggs- [jim porter- barbara's husband- had been the booking agent for "merging traffic"] -barabara had split from tommy- was forming a new band and this time, also needed a guitarist, so george went back with me. we did more upscale type gigs: country clubs, hotel lounges, the hunt & polo club, the peabody, in memphis -did some east coast shows, the joe franklin show in nyc, and eventually several stints in las vegas.

when barbara wasnt working with us, we played band gigs. we were pretty funky. [we did some great demos at 'soul brothers' studios in little rock!]

we were playing at "tracks inn" in little rock when one of the managers [cholly bassoline] of rare earth, george clinton, parliament funakdelic, bootsy collins [backstage management] came in and caught us. after the gig he said to me "if you ever get to hollywood, look me up"* ... the old "son, i'm gonna make you a star" line.
we wound up working vegas with barbara for a few months, two different times. as fate would have it, after the last period, we went to los angeles, where we played the lounge in the beverly hills ramada inn for a month or so. i made the call* to cholly as soon as i got there; he came to see me with the legendary kathi mcdonald [backing vocalist for leon russell, the stones, etc. who introduced me to 'stingers']- we became fast friends.
i went and met ron strasner and robert mittleman- cholly's partners in backstage management- and coming out of the door of the office as i was going in was bernie worrell, george clinton and some of pfunk! they'd just heard MY demo tapes, and bernie said when we were introduced, "there's the star!"
when we got back to little rock i quit the band, packed my van and moved to hollywood!

[c]2009 doug duffey

cotton blues band

George Bryan wrote:
COTTON: I don’t remember the year it started, but I moved to Colorado and was followed shortly thereafter by Dave and Cid. We formed Cotton in Ft. Collins, Colorado and after a few false starts with some folks, got a strong 4 piece together with Gary Reeves on bass, Dave Trupp on drums, Jim Cidlik on organ and vocals, George Bryan on lead, slide and vocals. After an iteration with two drummers and a chick singer, and several 2nd guitarists that didn’t work out and a harp player, we decided we would stick with one guitar and add horns, so we got Vaughn Quimby (sax from Oklahoma) and Gene Newman (trumpet). We were saying we needed another singer and Vaughn said “I know a guy”. The result was Doug Duffey came to join the band, and I met someone who became instantly one of my best friends for life. Until he could get his lady Lorna out to Colorado and get a place, I moved him in with me in my purple house in the foothills. We opened in Lincoln, Nebraska for Muddy Waters and played a lot of venues in Colorado and Nebraska for a while, but eventually drugs blew the band apart. Doug talked to me about going to Arkansas. I had never lived in the South………been enamored of it for years…..and was really tired of snow. I decided to go to Little Rock to join Barbara Porter and Little Rock.

doug duffey wrote: i was not doing drugs then; i was channeling bessie smith at the time, thinking i had to drink a water glass full of gin before going onstage...and the whole 5th before the night was finished! we were doing some serious blues. opening for Muddy Waters was a real life experience!
seeing him/the band backstage later, smoking and drinking whiskey, and playing poker was a 'kodak moment' stamped n my head. i dont remember a lot; maybe Cid and Trupp should chime in.
[c]2009 doug duffey

duffey's plantation band [circa 1970]

duffey's plantation band: [original line up]:
doug duffey [vocal,piano,hammond b3]
pebble daniel [vocal]
bill dunn [vocal,sax,flute]
thumper sweeney [guitar]
toni sehulster [bass]
raymond battillo [drums]

some later members:
gary acklen [hammond B3/piano//vocals]
rick potter [guitar]
robert jackson [drums]
sonny farmer- [drums/vocals]
mike foreman- [B3-vocals]
arnold loe-[trumpet]
lamond whitten- [sax]

the band came about because merging traffic was defunct and i needed a band to promote the record. i put a tribe together in little rock made up of some of merging traffic [me, bill, thumper], raymond battillo from white lightning, pebble daniel and toni sehulster. i'm not sure how much tony moon [producer and eventually agent & manager] had to do with the line up; i do remember rehearsing off music row by jack clements... i also remember i was 20 when the single came out and had to have my parents sign legal papers etc.

we lived in
and toured from Nashville, toured across america and did some notable "opening act" slots: for edgar winter-and- grand funk railroad; both at their peak.
we were a great band, doing a sort of delaney and bonnie/ leon russell style of southern gospel/r&b flavored rock. we had the potential to do great things... but... like so many bands i have formed we were ahead of our time. Nashville was REALLY country, red neck and closed minded, back then- and we were NOT! we wore pretty wild stage clothes... and rocked hard and loud!

we did some band recordings- and bill, pebble and i did some backing vocal work- most notably on 2 gene simmons [of "haunted house" fame] songs: "my ring dang doo"- and- "memphis blue"- which i have somewhere on an old 45rpm!
we stayed together a few years, went through various changes/band members, going from a 5 piece to 7 piece- and then broke up. pebble and toni stayed in nashville

[c]2009 doug duffey

merging traffic- circa 1970-71

merging traffic:
doug duffey- vocals/keyboards
bill dunn- vocals/keyboards/sax and flute
don garrett- vocals/bass
thumper sweeney- guitar
gary hall- vocals/sax
mike welch- drums

merging traffic had a national hit with "bit by bit'. their lead vocalist [richard shook] left the band and i was asked to replace him. i moved to little rock, arkansas [where they were based] to join them in 1970. i was 20 and under age [again] to work clubs in arkansas, but i did anyway! we mostly worked locally/statewide.
some of the original members of the band were there when i joined: phil miller [guitar] bobby Lincoln [horn] rocky hestes [organ] - but i cannot remember- people came and went-
the band changed members multiple times. clay thompson [drums] was in a while as was ty corbett [drums] and buck mcarthur [guitar] etc

when it was time to record the follow up single in nashville, it was a completely different band than when i'd joined. we did the sessions, recorded/produced by tony moon at jack clements studio in nashville- "merrillee thompson" [written by some english guys] was the A side, and "it's all right with me" a song written by myself and bill dunn was the B side; we also recorded a version of Dr. John's "when the battle is over" which wasnt used. the band broke up, shortly after the recordings.

the single was released [under my name "duffey's plantation band"] on royal america records [dick heard's label] and got chosen as 'pick hit' in record world, cashbox, and billboard magazines.
then... i had to put a new band together... and moved to nashville!

[c]2009 doug duffey

beckett/ smooth cow

doug duffey- B3 & vocals
gene pace- bass
robert jackson- drums

beckett started out [late 60s] as a psychedelic jazz type trio. i fashioned the band on brian auger, jimmy smith, jack mcduff, etc- long semi psychedelic jams. we later added horns [vaughn quimby & gene newman*- whom i met when working with the 'earl duke revue'] and changed the name to "smooth cow"- i dont quite get why... now... but it was the 60s- and i was always out to do freaky things, shock, and expand ALL horizons...etc. i think the original drummer was danny barr...

the main significance of this band- although we never did any recordings and not that many gigs [mostly smitty smith's clubs in monroe]- is that it was a 'groovy' little group- and unusal for monroe in that time.

through gene newman and vaugh quimby*, i ended up joining Cotton [in colorado] and meeting george bryan whom i would work with later in little rock [and who is a life long friend]; and robert jackson whom i 1st knew through dabney tannehill [white lightning] in jackson, mississippi, eventually played drums for me in one of the last versions of 'duffey's plantation band' after raymond battillo bailed, and 3 or 4 other drummers came and went.
[c]2009 doug duffey

white lightning- circa 1968-1971

'white lightning' onstage at the exodus- denver- september 1968
me at my vox organ & keybass- exodus denver- 1968 [w/3 packs of marlboro on the organ?] appreciative fans used to put joints & hits of acid and everything else on it! the altar of psychedelia

denver- 1968- promo foto
raymond & doug- outside the exodus- denver-1968

pete, dabney & raymond- denver- 1968

raymond & dabney- the exodus- denver- 1968

raymond & dabney-monroe, louisiana- 1968 or 1969
L to R: raymond battillo, bill dunn, doug duffey, rusty mccraw,

white lighting-post dabney- we were way too crazy for poor rusty

white lighting:
[original members]
doug duffey- vocals/organ/bass [vox organ/key bass- later hammond B3/foot pedals and key bass]
bill dunn- vocals/keyboards/flute and sax
dabney tannehill- guitar and vocals
raymond battillo- drums

later member:
rusty mccraw [guitar/bass/vocals]

white lightning was the "creme de la creme" of the best musicians from the best bands in the ark-la-miss [tri-state area]. we all quit our respective bands to form one 'super group'. we had a vision: to do original music... and some cover music we liked! this was the psychedelic 60s, and we were a VERY psychedelic rock/soul band.

we started out working Monroe-Jackson, getting the thing together, but left Louisiana to seek our fortunes in L.A.- but only made it as far west as Colorado. we lived in Nederland a while w/a family friend of Dabney's- then landed a semi house gig at the Exodus-
Denver's hippest music club and moved to the city.

We became a cult band there, and had a great following; people lined up around the block to get in to see us. We were known for VERY long extended jams... ala Traffic/the Doors/Led Zeppelin- a lot of improvisation and theatrics... and Who like destructive chaos as a grand finale. We performed regularly at the Exodus- and in the Colorado area [mostly denver/boulder/fort collins/colorado springs] with trips back to Louisiana, periodically, to do some shows, but were too nuts for the provinces; 60s hippie psychedelic denver/boulder was our oyster

our star was ascending- beginning to get opening gigs for top name acts like 'black pearl' and 'janis joplin'- but due to busts and some members getting strung out- the band folded. dabney [guitarist -and irreplacable in the mix, as any of us were to 'the' band] quit- and we tried to keep it going with rusty mccraw- but it was never the same. dabney was the heart if not the soul of the band.

it's too bad there are no recordings of us. i THINK we did record some demos, but they have vanished.
i wrote a lot of the music for the band, but as there are no recordings, i do not remember any of those songs. i have found some lyric notebooks with chords written in them, but the melodies are gone like the band...

[c]2009 doug duffey

thursdays children- circa 1966-1967

when i joined this group- after leaving the secrets- i was maybe 16-17 - the other guys were older and at university. i was under-age to perform in nightclubs in north louisiana, so we mostly played teen centers, coffee-houses, and private parties around Monroe. however, the two guitarists were from south Louisiana [where the laws were not so strict] so we played some nightclubs down there.

we also landed a recurring gig at a very questionable black club in Vicksburg Mississippi down on the riverfront- which had "rooms in the back"- which served the best 'tom collins' i ever had, through a hole in a closet type door! we'd done a party for firemen or something, i had gone back to the motel- the guys were driving around and ended up down on the riverfront [which was all black then];
someone asked if they were a band [tem drove a black hearse w/the band name on the side] -the band hadn't showed up for the club- so they came and got me, and we went and played. it was great. they were surpised to hear a 16 year old white boy belting out wilson pickett, otis etc.

when i turned 18 we began playing nightclubs in north louisiana. we mostly did cover material- hits of the day- which was everything from james brown to the doors!- which was probably the beginning of my life long
mix of musical styles. there again, wilson pickett and aretha were singing beatles songs- and the stones and beatles were doing old american blues and r&b
[c]2009 doug duffey

the secrets- circa 1964/1965

the secrets:
doug duffey- vocals/ace-tone organ
mike guidry- guitar vocals
wayne moore- guitar vocals
steve dana- bass
tony dana- drums

this was one of my 1st bands. i don't remember how we ever formed, except that possibly steve, wayne and i met in high school. mike and tony went to catholic high school, but the catholic boys must've known each other from church. we rehearsed in my mama's beauty shop. we played teen centers & school dances & private parties around monroe.... and even did some shows in arkansas. we did covers of hits of the day, which was mostly british bands covering american blues and r&b. [i find that very funny now, considering where we all came from]. i began writing my 1st original music while in this band.

i do remember blowing almost every cent i made from the gigs buying LPs for about 2.49$
each! those were the days!

[c]2009 doug duffey