COUNTRY CARAVAN, 1959. Left to right ....
Ercel Coffman (bass), Wilson Coffman (guitar), Dale Brooks (accordion, guitar), Bill Feagle (guitar), Buck Wade (fiddle).
Dale is still playing rockabilly music, working with a Florida band of Del Clark and the Rythmatics. They make some major appearances at places like Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, and Cowboys, a huge Orlando rockabilly club. Dale got the Rythmatics hooked up with NBT Records and their first release, Hotrod Daddy, is getting major play on European stations. This CD features one of Dale's songs, "Momma Loves To Boogie", which is well up on the charts for European radio stations at this writing.
Dale's original recording if "Ambridge Boogie" was re-released as one of several songs on an NBT Records CD titled "Hot Guitars" last year. The CD was picked by the National Rockabilly Convention in Green Bay, Wisconsin as one of the ten best new releases of the year. Other artists on the CD include members of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame such as Keith Anderson and Hank the Cowhand. All were veteran performers on Cozy Records.
Dale's Ambridge Boogie has been re-released on Bishop Records, and again on White Label records in Holland.
American Music Magazine chose Dale Brooks and the Country Caravan for their cover story in the September 2004 issue. A variety of photos was chosen to augment the story of his career in music.
BIG BOY FROLIC TV SHOW CAST. Left to right ...
Seated: Earl Steel (steel guitar), Ronny Huffman (rhythm guitar), Shorty Brooks (bass), Billy Williams (child guest), Boogie Bill Boggs (hot guitar), Guest: Addler.
Standing, 2 row: Dale Brooks (leader, accordion, guitar), Cheryl ? (guest), Bill Huffman (hot guitar, 6' 2"), Slim Calhoun (comedian, singer, 6' 9").
Standing, rear: Guest Trio. Dale and Shorty are brothers.
Dale spent some 30 years in broadcasting, first as a deejay and sales, then management, part owner of stations, and then into full ownership. During those years he hit the books and got into engineering too. His two sons, Rick and Scott grew up in his stations, learning the business by being involved and working for him. Rick went on the air part time at age 12, when his voice changed, and is still at it. Rick is music director of "K Country", WOGK FM, a 100,000 watt station picked recently by the CMA as number one country station in America, in Ocala, Florida. He was also with K-92FM in Orlando for 10 years. How many professionals can you name that are 43 years old and have 31 years expierence in their profession? Scott went into engineering and at one time was the youngest chief engineer of a radio station in the country ... he was only 16 years old then.
Tragically Dale was severely injured in a traffic accident while owning WLAB in St Pauls, N.C. He lost his left arm at the elbow, and figured his entertaining days were over. He could no longer play the dozen instruments he could play well before with only one hand. The owner of a club where played when he was hurt held his job open over a year, awaiting his return.
Dale Brooks. Johnny Lane and Estel "shorty" Brooks - 1953.
When he was finally able, he stopped in the club for lunch, and was urged to play the big double keyboard organ they had in the dining room. He didn't think he could, but the owner insisted he could, so he gave in and tried. After a few minutes experimenting he found he could compensate for his missing hand with different use of the foot pedals. Even though the organ had no automatic rhythm or anything, he kept a running bass and drums on the foot pedals and it worked. He was back to playing again!...and is still at it.
Dale sold his last radio station and retired from broadcasting and moved to Florida. He continued entertaining on organ and vocals in restaurants for developing a new style of playing. He got back to playing as a solo act in clubs, resorts, etc. He also plays trumpet and does vocals in a 5 piece band.
Now Dale has a special built electronic keyboard that lets him play the usual left-hand things with his feet, and al the lead and fill-in with his right hand. This keyboard has the actual sounds of virtually kind of instrument on it. He can play Rockytop on the 5 string banjo, fiddle a square dance, do Rockabilly songs. Or by touching a couple of buttons play the real sounds of the Big Band era. saxes, strings and all. By adding a special harmony machine, he can sing solo, or can add two part of 4 part harmony to his vocals. Whether Hess doing bluegrass tunes,. the Everly Brothers songs, or Sons of the Pioneers style westerns , or more modern styles like Confederate Railroad, he has the sound, both instrumental and vocally. In short, a one man band that sounds like several people on stage. He may well be the world's only one arm-one man band! He used absolutely no recordings when playing..He creates all you hear instantly.
Dale's records and songs, some dating back into the mid 50's, are still going strong in many countries around the world. He still gets royalty checks from BMI for performances of his songs and records from countries like Norway, Sweden, Greece, Holland, Australia, Argentina and others. One of his songs, "I'd Like To Hear My Name" has been recorded by nine different artists and groups, some of them major names.
Recently found this photo of Dale's brother Jack Brooks while playing a two year period with Tom T. Hall. Dale knew Tom several years before Dale knew he was acquainted with Jack.
Dale still makes records, has signed with a new label and new publisher. After years on Cozy, Skyline and Sterling, he is now with NBT Records, has a new CD album on their label, and at least two more in the planning stage. He also still writes songs and has recently had a dozen or so new songs published, some of which are on his new album titled The Ambridge Boogie Album, others will be on his next album.
He still does personal appearances in the Daytona Beach-Orlando area, and travels as far as Ft Lauderdale to play dates. And he recently did a 2,000 mile jaunt to do show dates in West Virginia and Ohio.
Busy as he has been, he still found time to write several books, all novels, and is a published author. He publishes through Adventure Books of Alberta, Canada. He has a western novel titled "The Claypool Conspiracy" in 2001, will have a second, "The Homesteader" coming out sometime in 2002, and more to follow. These are also to be available as E-books on line.
Tony Barbetta (piano), Archie Poling (guitar), Dale Brooks (trumpet), Kenny Plumber (sax), Stan O'Dell (bass).
UpdateDale's voice became known far beyond his West Virginia hills when he landed a contract with Homelight Chain saws to do all their commercials for two years. He sang songs he composed about Homelight Chainsaws, each emphasizing something about them that helped to make them one of the best selling saws on the market.
This took some deep thinking and research to come up with presentations that overcame the skepticism about changing the way lumberjacks and landowners had always felled trees commercially. Sales grew rapidly enough the Textron people extended his original contract to two years. These were heard on radio stations all over the United States and Canada.
Some of the musicians on his television shows gained enough recognition to get some really good breaks in show business. Mayf Nutter suddenly went from being just a teen age boy playing night clubs around Clarksburg, West Virginia to a star on the WWVA'S Original Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia. Mayf went on in both music and in acting, was on many shows like Gunsmoke, Charley's Angels, Rawhide, and many other television programs. Mayf married Miss America who had a successful career in Hollywood too including being one of the Gold Diggers on the Dean Martin Show. Mayf was also inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame the same night that Buck Owens became a member in a special ceremony in Bakersfield, California. They have a special page in the Rockabilly Hall too.
Other entertainers who worked with Dale were also inducted. Keith Anderson and Hank the Cowhand also have pages in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Dale Brooks got a big surprise when he was contacted by American Music Magazine, wanting to do a cover story on his career. They had already written the story and sent him a copy to critique. They also wanted more pictures to run in the story.
He said the story they had written about him was so complete and accurate he did not change one word of the story! Since he had never met or even seen the lady who wrote the story, he was amazed how she came to know so much about him. The magazine in published in Sweden, printed in London, and distributed world wide. He asked the editor Eric Peter how they ever heard of him over there. Mr. Peter responded, "I've been a fan of yours for over 20 years." The story is in the September 2004 issue of American Music Magazine.
After being inducted in Rockabilly Hall of Fame, he was also inducted into the European "Blackcat Rockabilly Hall of Fame"in Holland. It is also on line worldwide.
Once a newspaper reporter interviewing him asked Dale if he had accomplished all the things he wanted to do most in his life. "There is one project I never got a chance to finish. It's something I think everyone should do, no matter who they are or what they do. There are always people in everyone's life that influenced them greatly. You should try to look them up, meet with them and take them out to dinner and personally thank them for their influence."
He said he found them all except a couple that had already passed on. There were a couple of his favorite teachers, the band directors he played under in high school and college band, entertainer stars he had performed with and learned from. One was a fellow who had played in Dale's band the four years this fellow was going to college.
He majored in business administration, but upon graduating they both went their separate ways. Eddy Shoemaker became a deejay after spending a lot of time as buddies with Dale who was also a deejay. They did not see each other again for 31 years. After moving to Florida, Dale learned Eddy was in Stuart, Florida for many years. They had a joyful reunion and he found out Eddy had also started an advertising agency on the side, and it was so successful he eventually sold it to a national company and retired from both radio and advertising. He still is a professional entertainer and that's all he does now..just entertains and enjoys his popularity.
After this reunion, Eddy mailed Dale a promotional photo of himself and the Canadian girl who sings with him. He autographed the photo with "to my mentor ... Dale Brooks"and signed it.
That brought tears to his eyes, and that's when he decided he owed it to several people to thank them in person for the inspiration it gave him. Sometimes people who had great influence on us never know how much they helped us. We should make an effort to let them know.
Dale has an email address where he can be reached ... easy to remember, too
920 Montrose Avenue
Orange City, Florida 32763
386 775 6623