SOUTHWEST FLORIDA ROCK AND ROLL
By Barry M. Klein
Over three years ago, I posted an article entitled "Barry Klein's Shortest Article: Guide to Rockabilly in Southwest Florida"
Although the existence of 1950-style rock and roll, rockabilly and doo-wop music is alive in southwest Florida, there is more to tell our readers about, so I am taking this opportunity to do so.
First of all, one of Florida's longest running "roots" radio shows is The Doctor Doo-Wop Show hosted from Fort Myers' WOLZ Radio, 95.3 on the FM dial. I first listened to The Doctor Doo-Wop Show while traveling on I-95 between Orlando and Pompano Beach about eight years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to have been able to receive WOLZ on the east side of the state. Dr. Doo-wop, whose real name I know, but which he prefers to keep a secret ("I'm part of the government's Witness Protection Program"), is a native New Yorker, who currently resides in North Port, Florida. Until April 2003, Doctor Doo-Wop's weekly show was broadcast for 3 hours on Sunday between 5:00-8:00 p.m. Recently, however, the station moved the show to a 2-hour time slot from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Sundays. Anyone wishing to express their displeasure about Dr. Doo-Wop's program being cut one hour and moved to a later time can call the station manager, Jimmie Roberts, at area code (239) 225-4300. Be civil to Jimmie - Dion is his favorite oldies artist and I still believe Dion DiMucci possesses the greatest voice in the history of rock and roll.
Getting back to Dr. Doo-Wop: in addition to being a doo-wop aficionado, he has assembled a tremendous database of popular and rare doo-wop music that is abundantly evident to listeners of his program.
In addition to Dr. Doo-Wop, a co-host on the radio show is another native of New York, the "G Man", who began his musical career singing in grade schools and graduated to working on stage with such national oldies acts as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge (Johnny was also lead singer of the Crests), Jan and Dean, The Capri's, Dion, Three Dog Night, and many more.
Dr. Doo-Wop and the G Man frequently take their show "on the road" appearing at many venues in southwest Florida, and often attract hundreds of fans to their shows.
"DR. DOO-WOP" AND THE "G MAN" PERFORM
AT ONE OF THEIR LARGE PARTIES IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
The G-Man takes credit for starting a great doo-wop a cappella singing group based in Naples called Byrlcream.
Small World Department: Bill Louth, whose stage name is "Billy D", and who handles the lead singing for about
75% of Brylcream's songs, is a native Detroiter who found me at an outdoor oldies benefit show 2‡ years ago
at the Miramar Outlet Center in Estero, Florida. I saw Billy D and Byrlcream perform live in late 2002 at a venue
in Naples, and they were so good, I immediately purchased one of their CD's, "Dr. Doo-Wop Presents
BRYLCREAM IN ACTION -
THAT'S BILL LOUTH (BILLY "D"), LEAD SINGER, ON THE FAR RIGHT
Byrlcream is available for bookings in southwest Florida and can be contacted by calling group member Dr. John "Wopp" Mina at (239) 995-1588. I purchased one of the Brylcream CD's called "Brylcream - A Little Dab of Doo-Wop", backed by the Naples group The Lords of Cool. This is an excellent CD, with some original arrangements of classic doo-wop songs, as well as songs that weren't originally recorded as doo-wop numbers. Fun to listen to!
Okay, okay, I know this is a rockabilly web site, so people are probably wondering what kind of rockabilly music exists in southwest Florida. There are three groups who satisfy my hunger for rockabilly during the six months I spend in Naples, Florida. The Lords of Cool
(A HREF="http://www.lordsofcool.com">www.lordsofcool.com) are probably the
LEFT TO RIGHT: BILL WOZNAK, BOBBY "C" AND STEVE PETERMAN
best known "oldies band" in Naples, Florida. Calling themselves an "oldies power trio", the group has a sizeable rockabilly repertoire, including a great version of Buddy Holly's arrangement of "Midnight Shift". In fact, The Lords of Cool were formed in January of 1994 as an offshoot of a blues band whose name was "Midnight Shift". They also play 50's and 60's oldies, blues, swing, and classic country as well as some Motown, soul and classic rock. The group consists of Bill Woznak (who grew up in Madison Heights, Michigan, which is a short distance from my high school in Oak Park, Michigan) on bass; Bobby "C" (Cannizzaro) on drums, and Steve Peterman on lead guitar and synthesizer. All three not only play well, but each has an excellent, distinctive voice. Steve can rise to the tough challenge of doing Roy Orbison tunes such as "Crying", while Bobby can hit the high notes for the Del Shannon and the Four Seasons' songs, and Bill can do anything from Buddy Holly to Merle Haggard.
THE LORDS OF COOL CAN MAKE ANYBODY LOOK GOOD!
THAT'S STEVE PETERMAN ON GUITAR,
BOBBY "C" ON DRUMS, AND BILL WOZNAK ON BASS.
The Lords of Cool have provided instrumental backing for such classic rock and doo-wop groups as The Harp Tones, Elegants, Del-Vikings, The Tokens, Earl Lewis and the Channels, The Mystics, Jimmy Jones and many others. In fact, The Lords of Cool provide the instrumental backing on the Byrlcream CD I mentioned earlier. The Lords of Cool have released their own CD, "Live 2000", and they were recently featured in a Naples Daily News article:
http://www.naplesnews.com/03/02/showcase/d893530a.htm. They can be booked by calling Bobby "C" at (239) 254-0171.
Another "class act" that I first saw about two years ago in Naples is Joe "Elvis" Marino, who describes himself as a "rockabilly voice impressionist." Joe certainly made an impression on me the first time I saw him perform. At 6'2" and 190 pounds with dark, wavy hair, he certainly looked like a young version of Elvis. When he approached the stage, he was accompanied by four uniformed guards, which I found out later was part of the act.
Joe Marino's backup group is called "All the King's Men", which currently boasts two former key members of a longstanding southwest Florida rockabilly group called The Crestliners. These two recent additions to Joe's All the King's Men are Barry Johnson on lead guitar, who I feel is the best rockabilly guitarist in southwest Florida, and Bill Rosenthal on drums. I have known Bill for a few years and visited his home about three years ago, during which time I found that he had an amazing collection of old, rare rockabilly and other old rock and roll vinyl 45's and LP's, rare original posters for Alan Freed's old rock and roll shows, as well as an astonishing video collection which includes, among other things, all of Ronnie Dawson's live television performances.
INSERT BILL'S COLLECTION
BILL ROSENTHAL WITH SOME OF HIS GREAT VINYL COLLECTION.
Not only does Joe Marino's voice, appearance, and mannerisms remind us of Elvis, he is an accomplished musician, playing guitar, upright bass and drums. He has mastered the piano as well, and during his shows, Joe will also do tributes to, and great impersonations of, the likes of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson and others.
HERE'S JOE WITH HIS PINK '56 CADILLAC COUPE DeVILLE.
Anybody who doubts that this guy is rockabilly should know that his email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org! Joe's web site,
www.elvisentertainment.com, is impressive and contains no hyperbole about his wealth of repertoire. For more information about Joe and Elvis Entertainment, Inc., you can call (239) 793-1353 or email
Joe recently performed at the band shell at Cambier Park in Olde Naples, Florida and played to 3,000 who gave him thunderous ovations.
On May 2, 2003, Joe Marino put on a 2+ hour show in front of hundreds of people at the Waterside Pavilion Shops in Naples, Florida with an 86† setting sun shining in his face at this tony outdoor mall anchored by Saks (remember, my day job is that of a shopping center executive). Joe and All the King's Men were awarded with loud applause throughout their performance. Joe is a very unselfish person, and he knows his band has talent, so he will turn to Barry Johnson to sing Carl Perkins songs and demonstrate his talent on the axe. Ditto for Bill Rosenthal on drums and Rick Davidson on bass. Barry wowed the audience with an excellent performance of "It's Only Make Believe". Incidentally, Barry Johnson, Bill Rosenthal and Rick Davidson played together as a rockabilly trio called The Magnatones for a spell in 2002, before joining Joe Marino's band.
Joe "Elvis" Marino performing at Shops at Waterside Pavilion In Naples on May 2, 2003:
JOE AS BUDDY HOLLY
LEFT TO RIGHT: RICK DAVIDSON ON BASS,
BILL ROSENTHAL ON DRUMS, BARRY JOHNSON ON LEAD GUITAR,
AND JOE MARINO ON LEAD VOCALS AND RHYTHM GUITAR
JOE AS JERRY LEE LEWIS ON PIANO. (HE DOES A GOOD FATS DOMINO VOICE TOO).
1,500 PEOPLE SPREAD AROUND THE ENTIRE OPEN MALL AREA TO SEE THE PERFORMANCE,
WHICH LASTED OVER TWO HOURS.
BARRY JOHNSON AND JOE "ELVIS" MARINO SLINGIN' AND POUNDIN' TOGETHER.
SLIP AND THE SPINOUTS:
The first "real" rockabilly group I saw perform at a nightclub in Naples over five years ago was The Crestliners, whose pictures were featured in my last southwest Florida rockabilly article
http://www.rockabillyhall.com/BarryKSWfla.html. Led by founder Todd Fadely of Fort Myers, Florida, The Crestliners have had some personnel changes over the years, but the latest was a real surprise: Todd has joined a Ft. Lauderdale group called Slip and the Spinouts, which features Slip Mahoney of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on guitar and lead vocals, Boxcar Mike on drums and vocals, and Todd on upright bass and vocals. In addition to a large rockabilly inventory, Slip and the Spinouts also take advantage of Slip's versatile Gretsch guitar virtuosity and infuse some jump blues, roots, alt-country and swing into their act.
I recently saw Slip and the Spinouts perform at The Liquid CafÈ in Ft. Myers, Florida, and their music kept bringing people from the street into The Liquid CafÈ. Todd will still handle some vocals, and the group has just released a new CD, "Slip and the Spinouts". This thirteen-track disc is in a neat package, and the inside jacket says "All songs recorded in the garage using the most inferior instruments and equipment. All mistakes left in at no extra charge."
SLIP AND THE SPINOUTS (WITH TODD FADELY ON THE FLAMING BASS) PERFORMING ON
A SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE LIQUID CAFŠ IN DOWNTOWN FT. MYERS
TODD OF SLIP AND THE SPINOUTS WAS THE LEADER FOR SEVERAL YEARS
OF THE ROCKABILLY GROUP "THE CRESTLINERS"
Most songs are penned by Slip Mahoney, or Slip and Tim Horvath. One of them, "Lil Kitty", is catchy, cute, and not for the children. You can email the band at
email@example.com, or call (954) 647-7741.
AS A GUITARIST AND PERFORMER, SLIP REALLY STANDS OUT!
On the recent occasion of an annual rock n' roll cocktail party I host at my home in Naples, The Lords of Cool were the featured band, and were joined by Joe "Elvis" Marino, Billy "D" of Brylcream, Barry Johnson of Joe Marino's All The King's Men, an English friend of mine, Trevor Rowe, and yours truly for a memorable ensemble of rockabilly, doo-wop, and oldies performances. We missed Slip and the Spinouts, who were across the state performing at that time. Over 100 people were treated to some great performances. Here are some pictures of that event:
BILLY "D" FROM THE DOO-WOP GROUP, BRYLCREAM, PERFORMS WITH THE LORDS OF COOL.
THE LORDS OF COOL ARE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, STEVE PETERMAN ON GUITAR, BOBBY C ON DRUMS,
AND BILL WOZNAK ON BASS.
THAT'S ME DOING SOME MOVES DURING AN INSTRUMENTAL BREAK OF CHUCK BERRY'S
"AROUND AND AROUND". LEFT TO RIGHT: BARRY JOHNSON OF ALL THE KING'S MEN ON LEAD GUITAR,
JOE "ELVIS" MARINO ON DRUMS, AND BILL WOZNAK FROM THE LORDS OF COOL ON BASS.
©2003 Barry M. Klein & the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (R)