L-R: Julius "Dr J" Dawson (bass), "Billy
from Philly" Smith (drums), Wayne Osborne (tenor and alto sax), Andy
Gutman (guitar), Junior Mince (vocals), Virgil Angel (baritone sax), and
yours truly (on those "88s").
This band grew out of the desire of a couple of white boys to explore classic soul music of the 1960s, emulating the black/white soul bands that grew out of the studios of Stax Records in Memphis. In the late 1980s, as rap and hip-hop were emerging, soul music was, sadly, being left behind. Andy Gutman, a guitarist, who at the time was my banker, and I decided to put together a soul band to keep this music alive.
Neither of us had played music with other people in years, but that was just a bump in the road. We dusted off our instruments, honed our respective chops, and put a listing for musicians in one of the local LA music papers. When the calls came in, we booked a rehearsal hall, picked up a couple of sixpacks of Miller Genuine Draft, and after auditioning a larger-than-you-can-believe number of musicians, things started to come together.
Our first gig was a single set at Madame Wong's West on Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood. The singer didn't last more than that one gig, but the core of the band stuck together. Once again, we hit the audition trail, and eventually struck gold by finding an excellent singer from Houston TX, named Tom Mosley, who we re-christened Junior Mince. Andy was great at finding bookings for the band, and before we knew it, we were playing all over Los Angeles: clubs, concerts, weddings, any place that would pay us. But our favorite gig was as a regular Saturday night band at the legendary Lighthouse club in Hermosa Beach.
Egos broke up the band after a few years (isn't it always the case?) but we had a good run of it for a while there.
Listen To The Band:
No More Love To Give To You (Ron Wilkerson) © 1988
This is a song I wrote with Junior's voice in mind. It's more of a bluesy ballad than a soul song, but I always thought Junior really nailed it. Guitar on this track is Scott Ellison and drums are Kai Ballard.
Knock on Wood (Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper) © 1966
A cover version of the Eddie Floyd hit. Same lineup as above.