PAUL COTTON... Musical Archive

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The Gentrys

Frank, Freddie & King (Paul)

At the Whiskey

Frank, Freddie, & Paul

Not long before change of name to the Rovin' Kind

In early 1965 Paul formed the Gentrys with Frank Bartel and Freddy Page. They performed a lot of Beatles, Righteous Brothers & other top 40 songs. The Gentrys played at numerous venues, including Poppel's Under 21 Club.

John Kelly, road manager for the Rovin' Kind & Illinois Speed Press:
"I went to a bar one night because I had been told that there was a good band playing there. It was probably in the spring of '65. The band turned out to be the Gentrys which was a trio w/ Freddy, Paul, and Frank. I had seen Paul before backing up a singer named Carol Vega. Paul was called "King" Cotton at the time and played a Gibson stereo guitar like B.B. King who I had just seen at the Regal. I don't remember the name of the club but it was filled w/ guitar players who wanted to see Paul play. Getting back to the Gentrys, I went to this bar on a Sunday night by myself and listened to a couple of sets, In between Frank came over and chatted me up. I thought they were very good and came back a couple of times w/ a date so I could dance. Then Frank told me that they were moving to a new gig at a place called the Black Orchid. They added Michael (Anthony)about that time. When they moved to the Black Orchid Kal (David) joined the band and it really took off. All of a sudden they were the hot ticket."

A message from Joe Clark of Lockport IL, 2008-01- "The Gentrys, played at our St. Anthony 8th grade graduation dance at the Turner Hall on Indiana Avenue, just around the corner from Frank Bertoli's father's music studio, Bertoli Music School in the summer of 1965. Paul was Norm then and the St. Anthony kids were the Gentrys biggest boosters (the IZ, Isabell Kiatta was the ringleader- great gal! The Maestro Fuzztone had just come out and "Satisfation" was the most requested song). I remember going after school to Bertoli's to watch a rehearsal. It was an intimate and instructive experience, and considering that everyone in the band was at least ten years older than our crowd, they were very considerate and suprisingly appreciative of our presence. Paul, I wish you well. Myself and a small group of kids used to go to Kressge's and inquire with your mom about your doings. She probably thought we were all nuts. God bless you and the memory of Frank Bortoli, who I was lucky enough to get to know after that early introduction."

In late 1965 the Gentrys changed their name to The Rovin' Kind because of a hit record that came out (Keep On Dancin') by a group from Memphis also called The Gentrys. The guys figured they'd have to change theirs, since the other ones already had the hit record and national exposure.

With Billy the Kid Emerson, the important black keyboardist of the sixties, the Gentrys cut “Doo doo pah”, at MBS studios. Although this was not released officially, this track soon became the opening song for every gig. Also in late 1965, the Gentrys cut “Everybody” in MBS studios, later released officially in December 1965 under the Rovin’ Kind. On this track, Paul handled the lead vocal & played his 12 string acoustic (which was always going out of tune so he says).
Initial band members

Frank Bortoli (aka Frank Bartell), bass, vocals 
Fred Pappalardo (aka Fred Page), drums) 
Paul Cotton, guitar, vocals
Other band members Kal David (guitar, vocals) Mike Anthony (aka Harry Baikauskas), keyboards, vocals
With help from Stu Rosenberg this is the only gig date I have tracked down so far. This is from the Chicago Tribune, September 17th 1965:
“The Fantastic Gentrys Whiskey-A-Go-Go, Chicago, IL Added attraction Mon. & Tues. Bobby Whiteside”

Further links to Paul's musical history -

History main page--- Beginnings--- Capitols--- Mus-twangs--- Starfires--- Carol Vega & Trio--- Gentrys--- Rovin' Kind--- Rovin' Kind Gig Dates--- Illinois Speed Press--- Illinois Speed Press Gig Dates--- Poco & Beyond--- Joseph Schwantner--- Chuck Edelhofer--- Keith Anderson--- Gerald (Jerry) Urban--- Guy Franchot (Frenchy) Germany--- Walter (Buddy) Riley--- Johnny Jordan--- Johnny Moyer--- Carol Vega--- Johnny Moore--- Verne Johnson--- Frank Bartell (Bortoli)--- Mike Anthony (Harry Baikauskas)--- Fred Page (Pappalardo)--- Rob Lewine--- Bobby Simms--- Barney Pip--- John Uribe--- Kal David--- Jim Jarosz--- Ronnie Laas---

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