THE BAND DAYS: 1960 TO 1978  

  (as written by Dan)  Last Updated: 20170318  

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Please take your time here and enjoy the rich musical history of a local band who played, during the 1960s & 1970s, in the general area of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Below are a few of the images and sounds from those days of yore (1960-1978) when my friend John Douglass and I (Dan Martin) had our band, THE BLUE VELVETS.  Both of us lived in Leawood, KS - a suburb of Kansas City, MO. 

The heart and soul of was John and myself,    Here we are as we appeared in those early days, (for real early, click on our pix).  John played Fender Jazz Bass (S/N L20138) (after giving up the Ward's Airline guitar you see in his early photo) through a Fender Bassman Amp.  I played lead on a Fender Jazzmaster (S/N 54138) through a Fender Concert Amp (both bought new in the early 1960s).  All are now  vintage instruments worth thousands apiece.

The band's inception was in 1960. John and I were riding our 650cc Triumph motorcycles one day, going north on Ward Parkway. We turned east on Meyer Boulevard. Soon another Triumph motorcycle pulled along side (driven by Ed Rode) and the three of us rode onwards to Troost Avenue. There we stopped for a coke. We soon discovered that all three of us played guitars, so we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet for a jam session in a few days. Ed knew a drummer (Phil Kezele) and a pianist (Bill Boclelman) and he also said we could meet at Rockhurst College. That jam session began The Blue Velvets (although we did not yet have a name). For the first year or so our instrumentation was three guitars (no bass), piano, and drums. There was no vocalist until a bit later when Tom Moran (another friend of Ed's) joined us.

At the very end of our band days (1978), both John and Dan had converted to Carvin guitars.  My Fender was great, but my Carvin CM130  (S/N 07751) is the best I have ever played  You can see and read more about the CM130 ($285 in 1978) and other Carvin guitars and amplifiers at the  Carvin Museum.  It is well worth an hour of your time browsing around.  Dan's Carvin guitars and amp are given several nice pictures and writeups in the Carvin Museum here and here too, and here three.  Here are links to pictures and descriptions of two more recent Carvin guitars:  2000 SC90 and a  2003 SC90.   Like everything else, Carvin prices continue to rise steeply due to the forces of inflation.  Still, they are among the best values in the business.  Joe Walsh and Tim Schmidt (both of The Eagles) have given a strong endorsement to Carvin guitars, basses, and amps.

A wealth of info on the noble guitar can be found in this on-line encyclopedia,  Wikipedia: Guitars.

John and I graduated from  Shawnee-Mission North  High School in 1958.  I learned to play the guitar from John when he and I roomed together as second semester freshmen at  Kansas University (spring of 1959).   Here is a list of the  1959 Top Hits  just for fun.  Every song an inspiration...

The entire world, not just my life, was transformed by the genius of  Clarence Fender.   Just for the record, and way too late, I'd like to say  Thank You, Mr. Fender. You helped the world learn how to party - you were the wind beneath all our wings...

For some reason, the two midi tunes linked above may not sound so good when heard with the plug-in player provided with many browsers.   Download and play them locally with either  WinAmp or Windows Media Player.

In 1963 I heard  Lonnie Mack  for the first time on his seminal album The WHAM of that Memphis Man. Lonnie also inspired the late, legendary  Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Stevie is workin' the Night Shift now, along with my son Scott and friend/bandmate John Douglass (RIP). As must we all, Lonnie passed from this earth in April 2016 and now he, too, is workin' the heavenly Night Shift along with many other who are sadly missed. You can (and should) get CDs of all Lonnie's albums on his  website.   Go there if you love the blues.  I did my best to steal Lonnie's guitar licks.  You can hear Lonnie Mack's influence echoed in my lead in The Blue Velvet's version of Lonnie's "Baby What's Wrong" (MP3 downloadable below).  Lonnie's detailed musical history is nicely documented in this Wikipedia article.  Lonnie also has an excellent presence on myspace.com, where you can hear a number of his tunes.  Listen carefully to his A Song I Haven't Sung.

Needless to say I never had even a fraction of the fame or talent of either Stevie or Lonnie, but I do so treasure all my years in The Blue Velvets.  Still, I have gone through some of the ancient low quality cassette recordings we made over the years and snatched some segments of my guitar leads as MP3s and zipped them up.  Click for Licks to download the latest version of that zip file.  If you need the WinZip program itself, you can download it by  clicking here.

Here's a Blue Velvets Play List from 1968:   40+ years ago:        (Thanks to Paul Schlapper)

The Boys In The Band:

Throughout those 18 halcyon years a succession of members brightened our musical light.  Below are introduced those whose faces survive in my photo archives. 

Dan Martin (guitar)          John Douglass   RIP

Ed Rode (guitar)                Phil Kezele (drums) RIP

Tom Moran (Vocal)                 Bill Bockelman (piano) 

Mark Curran (guitar)       Bill Noll (sax) 

  Mike Shaw (vocal)         Tony DiPardo Jr. (drums) 

 Mike Jones* (vocal/keyboards) Bill Guffey (keyboards) RIP

 Terry Rush* (drums)           Bill Yates* (vocal/keyboards) 

  Frank Agron* (vocal/sax)   John Malone* (Drums)

  Craig Bartles (drums)

Other band members whose paths intersected with ours were (in approximate order of appearance): Steve Joyce (drums),  Bill Jernigan (vocal),  Phil Buchta (drums), Judy Goodman (vocal),  Loretta Tucker* (vocal), and several others whose names are now long lost to my time-ravaged brain.  

OK Everyone: Now let's give a  big hand for all the boys (and girls) in the band!

In 2002 Ed Rode emailed me to say "Its really great being reminded of those "wonder years."  Not to disillusion any of our readers, but didn't we really start out as a motorcycle gang?  We met quite randomly one late summer evening passing each other on our Triumph motorcycles. After joining up we spent the evening cruising up and down Main, Gillham Road and other KC streets, finally stopping for a coke at Sydneys drive-in on the Plaza.

"Sitting on our bikes, enjoying the warm summer night - we were hot stuff. The subject of guitars somehow emerged into the conversation and after you and Duck [John Douglass] realized that I too played, we decided to get together in the next few days and trade ideas. What a simple beginning to a wonderful relationship.

"A few of my buddies at Rockhurst College later joined in the endeavor, Phil on drums, Bill on the piano, etc. etc.  Most of our practice sessions took place in Duck's living-room.  God bless his mom and dad for their forbearance/patience. They never complained and there were times when we sounded just awful.

Some of the Gigs from Hell must include the night we got stiffed by the bar owner in Lawrence Kansas because our contract was just verbal, and the time we played in a barn for a KU sorority, It was so cold we could see our breath, couldn't get our fingers warm enough to find notes on the guitar and there were small animals nesting the the nearby piano.
"

Most of our gigs were excellent and a few even seemed inspired - but two were surely The Gigs From Hell: (1) 1969 - Lead singer called in sick at the last minute.  Needed a body to fulfill the contract.  Picked up unknown accordian player from union.  Whilst playing a maudlin version of Unchained Melody, the audience began laughing.  WHY?  Looking around I saw the squeeze box guy had taken out his front teeth bridge and had perched them on his nose.  (2) 1975: Lead singer ill (again). One of biggest crowds ever: a national sorority gig.  Again we had picked up a body at the union - an unknown organist of unknown character.  By mid third set, the guy was so stoned he fell off the bench.  We did the rest of show with him inert on the floor. After the show no one could wake him up.  We left him and his organ there for dead...

Speaking of organs, here is a tasty memory for everyone who ever played with one...   the unforgettable whine of the mighty  Hammond B3 Start/Run sequence.

So where are they now (as of March, 2008)?  Here's Ed Rode and Bill Bockelman at a brief reunion in February 2002 at Bill Bockelman's home in Overland Park, KS, (another suburb of Kansas City, MO).  Ed Rode now lives in Grand Rapids, MI. At Christmas 2009, Ed emailed me this recording of himself (1.5Mb .mp3) playing a tune composed by legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt. My lifelong friend and bandmate John Douglass passed away in August, 2005.  Frank Agron still lives in Kansas City (last I heard), and I (Dan Martin) have moved to Longmont, CO.  I retired from McKesson Provider Technologies in July, 2005.  Tom Moran is retired and said to be living in Belton, Mo.   Bill Guffey passed away in April, 2007.  He was a devoted husband and father, and also a member of the Shooting Star band.  First Drummer Phil Kezele passed away in 1994, yet another great talent lost to the world.  In March of 2008 I made contact with Mike Shaw (previously known as Mike Bashwiner) who was our first vocalist.  It is his voice you hear on Don't Leave Me This Way and Some Other Time, below.  Mike now lives in Atlanta GA where he manages his own ad agency.  That's all the info I have on any of us...  Listen up: If you have a band, take my advice and do your best to keep track of your cohorts and photos down through the years.  You will greatly treasure this later.

ALERT: If anybody out there knows the email address, phone, address, etc.  of any of the B-V or Reflection alumni above, please, p-l-e-a-s-e, email the info to me!

The Blue Velvets have got Googled so perhaps it will now be easier for more long-lost band members to find this site.  (It's working: Frank Agron and Ed Rode both made contact in January 2002,  Tom Moran in June 2002, Bill Guffey in July 2002, and Mike Shaw in 2008).  There is also a nice listing of Blue Velvet info at this excellent eastern multi-band web site

At any given time there were four or five Blue Velvets on stage.  We found that four yielded the most $$ per person, so that's where John & I tried to keep it.  Our fullest/best sound were those years when the lead vocalist doubled on keyboard, and we had a man on sax - regardless, four men consistently made us the most money.  Not as if this were a whole lot - our best year (mid 70's) grossed just a bit over $18,000.

About 1970 or so, we decided that our name was a bit too saccharine (Bobby Vinton was passť by then), so we changed it to .  The banditos above whose names have * next to them were part of REFLECTION.  Of course, John Douglass and myself were there for the entire 18 glorious years both as Blue Velvets and as Reflection.

And yes, we were pretty good!  One of the proudest moments in my life happened one day about a year after we had changed our name.  A lady called and asked if I was leader of The Blue Velvets.  Sure, I said (pays the same by whatever name).  She went on to inquire if we were available to play on a certain date.  We were already booked and I regretfully declined.  Obviously disappointed, she then asked if I could help her get in touch with a band called REFLECTION, because she had heard they were almost as good!  Imagine my double gratification and her double disappointment when I told her we were one and the same!   Life is good!

Come with me now back to yesteryear for a brief pictorial journey through the 1960s with The Blue Velvets.  Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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 bv9828_1964.jpg (51065 bytes) bv_dwarf.jpg (42938 bytes)  Our best 45s: Summertime.jpg (23750 bytes) BabyWhatsWrongWithYou.jpg (24447 bytes) SomeOtherTime_b.jpg (20948 bytes) DontLeaveMeThisWay_b.jpg (20781 bytes)

I (Dan) used a 1962 Fender Jazzmaster and a 1962 Fender Concert Amp for all the band shows and 45 rpm records, up until mid 1978. That is when I retired the venerable Jazzmaster in favor of a 1978 Carvin CM130 guitar. More info on 1978 Carvin Guitars.

John "Duckie" Douglas used a Fender Jazz Bass and a Fender Bassman Amp (both early 1960s models) for all the tunes... also up until mid 1978. At that time he bought a Carvin CB100 bass guitar. More info on 1978 Carvin Bass Guitars.

The Fender guitars and amps were used on all four of 45 rpm records we recorded at Damon Studios in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1960s. Two of these recordings are also to be found (as of late 2015) on three YouTube Videos (be sure to read the comments for each of them):

SOME OTHER TIME, and DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY, and a 2nd post of the same tune: DLMTW

The unique and shimmery sounds on Don't Leave Me This Way was made by plucking the Jazzmaster "whammy bar" with a quick pull and release of my little finger.

Now Hear This: Down-loadable MP3 files of The Blue Velvets!  Alert: Each song is 2 to 6 Mb in size, so if you have a slow connection please allow plenty of time.  You will need an MP3 player to hear them, and I recommend  Winamp (download the "lite" version).

THE BLUE VELVETS MP3 FILES BELOW ARE DOWNLOADABLE (right click song title, select "Save link as").

SUMMERTIME (.mp3 file) with Dan, John, Ed, Tom, and Phil.   Damon's studio fees for this cut (hand-made on a real Scully lathe), and for the BWW session below, were paid for by Betty Blasco, who wrote the 1950s pop hit My Happiness.  Betty was a customer of my dad's grocery store (I was a checker there) and she thought my band had real talent and potential. A problem was that, in those days, we were non-union and could get no air-play from the local DJs.  Thanks, Betty, for your faith and our happiness! Betty's son Allen Blasco is leader of the popular Kansas City band Neon Blue. When you're in KC, look up their schedule and go see them.

BABY, WHAT'S WRONG (.mp3 file) (flip side of above, same band)

SOME OTHER TIME (.mp3 file) with Dan, John, Ed, Mike, and Tony

DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY (.mp3 file) (flip side of above, same band)

Believe it or not, Don't Leave Me This Way has made it around the world - literally - like a kind of musical chain letter.  Here is retold the short version of the odyssey:  Incredibly, one of the 50 or so copies that we sold (out of the 500 pressed) made its way to a used record store in London, England.

The events leading up to the record's relocation are the greatest of mysteries: Who carried it cross the ocean and why?  How many intermediate owners did it have before coming to to rest at that used record store?   What twist of fate caused a visitor from Kansas City (Missouri, USA), some twenty five years later,  to pass by that shop and step inside?  What incredible mesh of synchronicity - across a generation - brought the record and the traveler together?  It goes like this:

During the ensuing conversation the record shop proprietor mentioned to the traveler that he had a used record from Damon recording Studios in Kansas City.  Because the visitor was a collector of such things, he made the buy.  Upon his return, the mysterious traveler somehow found my phone number (there are many hundreds of Martin's in the book) and asked if I were the Martin on the record credits.  I was.  He wanted to buy a few more copies, which John and I still had.  One of these he later sold to some guy in Australia who several years later (about 1994) included the song on a CD of '60s garage bands (Track 16).  Here is the proof:

Frantic_A.jpg (52569 bytes) Frantic_CD.jpg (30444 bytes) Frantic_B.jpg (59261 bytes) Frantic_Liner_A.jpg (72472 bytes) Frantic_Liner_B.jpg (74774 bytes) 

In 1998 I decided to record the audio from the CD onto a cassette tape. You can read the unusual notes I made during the process.

Virtually nothing survives of Reflection artifacts.  Here are most of the few from the 1970s:

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Here are two downloadable MP3 tunes from REFLECTION , laid down from a live show in 1978 (just before we broke up forever):

UNION MAN is our cover of the Cate Brother's 1976 #1 pop hit. Frank Agron is on vocals and sax with Bill Yates on keyboard. Terry Rush is featured on drums.
MOON DANCE - with Bill Yates on both vocal and keyboard, and Terry Rush on drums - is refreshingly smooth and therefore stands as our final sonic projection into the 21st century - a headstone to commemorate all the frequent flights and funky flubs from each of us across those 18 wonderful years.
A little agony, a lot of fun, and a few actual triumphs.

A Tribute to Dan's Blues Roots: 

Several years before John & I had roomed together at college,  I had been mesmerized by the virtuosity of Frank Plas, lead guitarist with Roger Calkins and The Fabulous Silver Tones (a local Kansas City band that was so deservedly inducted (at last) into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame on January 13, 2007).  Frank played a red Gibson guitar, a ES-355" model, through a Magnatone amplifier (the only guitar amp ever to have true pitch-shifting vibrato). Read more on Magnatone History, click here

midntthdrB.jpg (88606 bytes) You can hear Frank, his ES-355, and Magnatone amp in this rare original recording (late 1950s) of Midnight Thunder (600K .mp3), written by Frank.  This earthy instrumental was truly the birth of my blues roots.  A deep bow to The Silvertones.  Here are two more tunes by the Silvertones: Hey SallieMae (2 Mb .mp3) and Dimples (2.5 Mb .mp3).  My unending thanks go out to Clay Stabler and Ron West of Missouri.  Without their love of music, these revered relics from a more graceful era could never have been brought to life again.

TIPS & HINTS: BLUES WRITING and GUITAR CHORDS.  Click on the chord diagram at right and you will see an easy chart of how to play, on both piano and guitar, the most often-used sequence of chords (C Am F G) in all of western music.  Print it out, along with the GUITAR CHORDS link (above, center) and you'll know more about playing music than 95% of the human population.

Since my earliest Band Days, I have spent countless hours figuring out chords from records, CDs, and music videos. I've gathered much of that work for you into  this chart . It includes lyrics, chords, and video links (plus some random bonus features) to some of my favorite songs.

Home Pages of Other Bands:   Email me if you want your band listed, or if you are trying to find former band members, 

Missouri (Ron West, Kansas City) "My First Band"   Electric Prunes
 2000 Guitars Database  Almost everyone...
Little Mary (Denver)  

The Legacy lives on...

Dan's third son Steven (email to Steve) went on to become a world-class drummer.   In spite of that, and to Steve's real credit, he became a devoted husband and father - a rare and noble thing in the music business.  Below are click-on links to three tracks featured on MP3.com in which Steven plays drums for his friend and guitar virtuoso Tim McFadden in the early 1990s.   A real big Thank You ! to Tim for providing these original, full-length tunes (4-6 Mb MP3s) to this humble website when the original www links to them went down:  

Empty   Mister Toad   Snack
In July 2009, Steve and Tim began recording tracks for a new CD. I think they're still working on it (occasionally).

2017 Update:

The little girl whose hand Steven is holding (click on Steve's picture above to see her back then) has matured into a beautiful and responsible young lady. She is working three jobs to save up for college. At left is Steve as he looks in 2016. At right is Elizabeth in the dress she wore when she graduated (May 2016) from Shawnee-Mission North High School - the very same school from which I graduated 58 years earlier.

Steven is drummer for a killer Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band called
The SRV Experience. These three guys really do it right (just like the original SRV), and they are playing everywhere (check it out)!

To hear the SRV Tribute band playing (recorded on June 4th 2016) on Youtube video: Click Here. A second YT video from the same band gig is at this link here. Look closely and you'll see both son Steven and my '61 Fender Concert Amp in the frame. In addition to Steven, the musicians are Bill Royce (guitar & vocals), and Bobby Kay (bass). Bill Royce is playing through the same Fender Concert Amp that I bought in 1961. It still has an awesome voice.

Steven is on Patreon so browse on over there and have a look. Contributions are always welcome to help further his recording career. Here three complete .mp3 tunes from The SRV Experience that Steve recorded in his basement (!) using only a Presonus AR16 audio mixer.

     Texas Flood     Mary's Little Lamb    Lenny

My fourth son, Brian Martin, was never a musician, but he went with me on many of our 1970s band jobs.  He, too, is a devoted father.   Brian is Sole Proprietor of his own home remodeling and painting company for the last 20 years.

Brian honored his late brother Scott (RIP 1983) by naming one of his own sons after him.  
As a teenager Scott the younger was a motocross (motorcycle) racer.  
Click this link to jump to SCOTT'S RACING WEBSITE

2016 Update:

By June 2016 Brian's son Scott had graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in Construction Science. Congratulations, Scott! In the photo at left he is shown standing by his grandmom and grandad (me). He sort of outgrew both of us. Even before graduation he had landed a position of responsibility with a company in Kansas City.

His younger brother George graduated from High School several years ago and has been working in the transportaion industry.



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Epilogue (the party's over...):

Now please allow me to introduce three Very Special People:

 

Louise Waterman   Louise was "seamstress to the band", my spouse of 14 years, and the mother of our five beloved children, Scott, Craig, Steven, Brian, and Tricia.  Special thanks go to Louise for taking most of the pictures you see above.  Without her, hardly any of what you see here would you see here.  Hats off and a deep bow to you, Louise.


Scott81.jpg (41993 bytes)  Scott Robert Martin   (1963-1983).  Scott was our first child, and seemed to be destined to become a professional guitarist - he certainly had the makings.  He went with me on many of the band jobs and took to heart my love of it all.  Scott had several of his own bands during his all-too-brief sojourn through this life.  His untimely passing was a great loss to all of his family and many friends.   I salvaged a few scraps of his talent from an old basement cassette tape that he made in his last summer.   Here we can all get to hear him play again, if ever so briefly, in the  White Light,   Bouquet, and  T-Wrecks instrumentals that he composed.  Scott plays and multi-tracks all the guitars, sometimes accompanied by his now late friend, Chris Houston.  Who knows how high Scott's star might have risen had he remained with us, but I am confident that he now plays on in the heavenly "Night Shift" along with Marvin, Chet, Stevie, Phil, and so many others now lost to our earthly stage.  I wrote this haiku poem on the 19th anniversary of Scott's passing.  On the 20th anniversary in 2003 these thoughts of remembrance were written for a brother and for a son.   In January of 2004 Scott's grandmother died, and a beautiful personal experience convinced me his spirit is never far away...

Amber Dream (2 Mb - MP3) is a song of faith and hope that I wrote in 1985, in memory of Scott.

The lyrics to Amber Dream were partially taken from notes of his - a new song Scott was writing - that I found at the scene of the crash that took his life.  In completing Scott's words in my own way, I hope to have given at least some meaning to the senseless tragedy.  Amber Dream is performed here by The Seekers of His Grace, a gospel band which I later joined.  I like to think that Amber Dream describes that final moment when Scott first met Jesus - face to face -
 "Gentle Beauty filled the air around you..."

Scott's girl wore this pin.  If you're the one, please  email me and let me know how you've been,  what you're doing now, etc.




 

 Sheryl Todd   "Sheri" and I met late spring of 1975 when  Reflection was doing a show at the Brookridge Country Club for the "Always On Friday's" singles club.  She became one of our most loyal fans, and also the enduring love to guide me through the rest of my life.  Thanks, wife, friend, and sweetheart for believing in me!  I love you now and always.


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