Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Next up was Jimmy Gilmer, whose group Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs had some hits in the early 1960's with songs such as Sugar Shack and Daisy Petal Pickin'. He sounded exactly like he did all those years ago - his voice was as good as ever! I just recently found out an interesting fact that deals with him and his group. In the couple months before Buddy Holly died, late 1958 and January 1959, he had recorded some demos of songs in his New York apartment that he had written, but had not had a chance to record properly in the studio. After his death in February, 1959, those demos eventually got adorned with backing instruments and back-up vocals starting in the early 1960's. And, you guessed it, the group that played on a lot of these sessions was Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs! It seems they both recorded out of the same studio in Texas.
Next up was a group from the early 1970's who had a hit I remember quite well. I even have the 45 rpm of it still. Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods had a number one hit with Billy, Don't Be A Hero - you probably remember it, too. It was about a young boy that went off to war, against his girlfriend's wishes, but dies in the end and becomes a hero. Bo Donaldson, played keyboards for the group, but the lead singer was the guy pictured on the left above, named Mike Adams.
Next up was the singer who had been with The Association, who still tours, by the way. His name was Jim Yester. He performed many of their greatest hits, including my favorite, Never My Love. That song has the distinction of being the most-played song on the radio of all time. After he did hits by The Association, his brother, Jerry Yester came out and they did a couple songs together. Jerry was in the group The Lovin' Spoonful, of which you'll hear more below.
Somebody I never thought I'd see was Eddie Brigati, the lead singer of The Young Rascals, and later, just The Rascals. He came out of retirement to play this show and he was just marvelous! It seemed like he started out slow, and a bit unsure of himself, but after the round of applause came for his first number, he loosened up and let fly with a great many hits of The Young Rascals. He even performed Mustang Sally, which was a song they covered and I know this because, once when I was in a band, we couldn't find any version of this song to learn except for a version on an album by The Young Rascals!
After Eddie left the stage, Jerry Yester returned and sang several hits by The Lovin' Spoonful. And he played a couple new ones that must have been his own songs. Both were well received by the audience members.
Next up were the group I had originally come to see. When I first heard about this show, I didn't realize there were going to be any other groups besides The 1910 Fruitgum Company. I still own several of their singles and their songs were the soundtrack for my early childhood. They played such songs as Simple Simon Says, May I Take A Giant Step, Indian Giver, Goody Goody Gumdrops, Special Delivery and my favorite 1 2 3 Red Light. Let me tell you, they know how to put on a good show! I found out from their website that they were performing in London a few weeks after this show. It must be nice!
Dennis Tufano, lead singer of The Buckinghams, came on the stage last. There was supposed to be one other act, to make it an even 10, but Barrett Strong failed to show up. I heard event organizers talking about this. They said they sent him the money to appear, but he didn't make it, for some reason. But, Dennis Tufano more than made up for any shortage of talent and entertainment. He sang the greatest hits of the Buckinghams, who still tour without him, by the way, and then as an encore, he came back out and did a dead-on impersonation of Bobby Darin's Mack The Knife. I have since found out that he does a Vegas-type show of nothing but Bobby Darin songs. It's probably something to see! Dennis has a great voice and stage presence and had everybody on their feet when he was finished. I look forward to seeing him again at the next Caravan of Stars.
After it was all over, Jim and I met with Janie and Janet, the two sisters we'd met in line, and had a late dinner at an International House of Pancakes restaurant. We said goodbye and came home, but it was a great day, all in all! It was the first thing like it I had ever attended and loving music like I do, how can I not go to another one?