I'd been thinking about it for awhile the early days of blues rock and early electric bands in general in Hamilton starting with my own experience growing up in Hamilton in love with black rock 'n roll & rockabilly & electric blues & then playing with Son Richard (Richard Newell aka King Biscuit Boy) & the Chessmen from 1963 to 1965...and then I went to the Canal Bank Shuffle blues festival in Thorold, Ontario back in October and ended up seeing Harrison Kennedy backed by an old friend, Keith Lindsay on various keyboards who put me in touch with Russ Carter, the guitar player for The Bishops with which Harry had been front man at one time...and Russ has pictures & stories...& I was in band back then to & one thing leads to another so here I go...
If anyone reads this & has access to or know where there are photos, documents & especially music, tapes, 8mm or super* film or better etc. (at the moment I'm looking for material from the late '50s
to the mid-60's, pre-psychedelia but that will be another chapter & then the next era & so forth...)
I'd love to get in touch and talk about adding the material to a "history of Hamilton bands" aspect
of this blog...some bands contemporary with The Bishops and the Chessmen I remember:
Freddy & the Goldtones, Doug Holland, The Prophets, The Bucks (I have vinyl by the Bucks! they practiced in a basement on East 26th Street a couple of blocks over from my house ), Frank Rondell,
Nicky Moore & The Sceptres...but there were lots more...
To give you an idea where I'm comin' from here are some early band photos I somehow still have...and a couple of the tunes from a tape Richard made in 1963 at the Sportsmen's Bowling Alley & lounge on the side of the escarpment in central Hamilton off Wentworth Street south...Richard, vocals & harp, Ron Copple, steel guitar, Rick Golka, lead guitar, Russell Carter guitar (understudying Rick on lead to take over at the next gig as Rick was leaving to play full time on the Ontario bar circuit with Frank Rondell with whom he eventually cut a few 45's), Richie Hodgson, drums, Paul Cronkwright piano and myself on bass...playin' the blues for me starts in 1963.
We played all over the city, there were dances everywhere...we rehearsed in a Fish 'n Chip Shop run by Ron Copple's parents at Brucedale & East 13th right to next to a fav teen hangout, The Rocket, a combo variety store soda shop with a great juke box...let the joint jump, let the good times roll!
clockwise from the top: The Chessmen on East 25th Street, clockwise from top right Steve Caskenette, Richard Newell, vocals & blues harp, Doug Carter. bass, Ron Copple,, steel guitar, Richie Hodgson, drums; The Chessmen, clockwise from upper right,Richard Newell, Andy Torkelson, guitar, Ritchie Hodgson, Ron Copple, Doug Carter; Rick Golka, guitar; Seersucker Suits, from left to right, Richard Newell, Doug Carter, Babe Myles, , drums,Steve Caskenette.