The Early Rockin' Years I:
Shadows ~ Dovermen ~ Fugitives
See Part II: The Bobby Curtola Connection
April 27, 2002
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Ray St. Germain
Reunion of two Curtola Touring Bands from Brandon
The Dovermen with Bill & Sue-On Hillman
Big Dyck Cadillac
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This group consisted of Delkeith Dubbin (rhythm guitar and vocals), John Bishop (bass), Warren Hannay (drums), Bill Hillman (lead) and later Cyril Stott (sax). I brought Cyril in from another group I was working with: The Flamingo Combo. After the band parted ways with Dubbin we picked up local guitarist/singer Gerry Budinski and became The Fugitives.
In the early days of the British Invasion we played all over southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, many Brandon and Winnipeg community clubs and shows, and Western Canada tours. We started off as a guitar band doing many of the Shadows hits - guitar instrumentals I had learned from records imported from England. When the Beatles invaded the North American charts we started doing more R&B, blues and hits off the British charts.
Our manager. Fred Smith, owned the Brandon Roller Rink where we played on a regular basis. This was a musician's dream as "The Rink" also promoted shows featuring the top touring rock acts of the day. We got to meet, study and play with acts like: The Ventures, Conway Twitty with Al Bruno on guitar, Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, The Fireballs, Johnny Cash, and Chad Allen and the Reflections (this band later evolved into The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive: BTO).
Our first big break came when we were booked as opening act for the CKY Fall Festival of Stars in the Winnipeg Auditorium. We then stayed on stage as backup band for the Newbeats who were warmup act for Roger Miller and The Everly Brothers. Miller's guitar player was Thumbs Carlisle while the Everly's lead player was Sonny Curtis from Buddy Holly's Crickets (composer of Walk Right Back, Mary Tyler Moore Theme, etc.)
The years have dimmed many of my memories of this show but a few things stand out:
- some of the songs we opened with were a Shadows instrumental, The Kink's You Really Got Me and a song from the Stones' first album
- the look of surprise on the faces of the Newbeats when we showed up to rehearse their songs (Bishop and Dubbin were in their late teens but they looked MUCH younger)
- Larry Henley showing me the standard guitar blues riff they used on all their numbers (it has served me well... I've adapted it to countless songs)
- our first look at the excited sellout auditorium crowd
- seated in the front row was a band we had studied and admired many times when they performed in Brandon: The Reflections with Chad Allan, Randy Bachman et al.
- the great backup musicians in the two headliners' bands
- our first experience with a really wild audience... it started with them singing along with all the hits... and then bursting into screams as the Everly magic took hold
- the show had originally been billed as The Roger Miller show as he was currently riding high with a string of top ten hits BUT early in the tour it was determined that Don and Phil Everly HAD to close the show because at every appearance the audience had gone wild in Beatlemania style
- the exciting look and stage presence of the Everlys... and the goose bump harmonies!
- the fire wardens closing the show down each time waves of fans mobbed the stage during the Everlys' act
- the first time we had worked with male performers who wore stage make-up... and who appeared strangely "glassy-eyed."
- returning to the auditorium to pack up equipment the next morning and finding one of the famous black Everly Brother Gibson acoustic guitars behind a curtain
- the "disappointment" when a long distance call came from the Everlys' road manager in Minneapolis asking if anyone had found a missing guitar
- the drudgery of returning to the O-so-mundane classes at Brandon College
- then the excitement, soon after our return, of learning that we had been chosen as Bobby Curtola's backup band for his winter tour of Western Canada
Dovermen on stage at the Winnipeg Auditorium at the CKY Fall Festival of Stars.
Also on the bill were the Newbeats, Roger Miller and The Everly Brothers.
The Dovermen backing Larry Henley and the Newbeats on stage
at the Winnipeg Auditorium at the CKY Fall Festival of Stars.
Headliners on the Roger Miller Show, coming to the Auditorium Nov. 16, are the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, (above) of Bye Bye Love fame. Sharing the billing are the Newbeats and the Chug-A-Lug Band. The Everly Brothers rendition of Bye Bye Love sold one and one-half million records.
EVERLY BROTHERS SCORE GREAT HIT
Don and Phil Everly, the original long-hair boys, sang their hearts out to the near capacity audience. Harmony and perfect tune was made for these two brilliant young performers. Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie were some of their great hits on the record charts not long ago.
The Everly Brothers haven't been heard from in a long time. Teen-agers thought they had died out, but their performance left a solid impression on the audience. They still have appeal.
The audience, for the first time this season, sang along with the performers. Never before has the audience sung for performers of the Rock and Roll era.
Roger Miller, a relatively new singer on the teen scene, was another wonderful performer. He combined wit, and a sparkling, friendly personality.
Mr. Miller has showmanship and a rare talent. Chug-a-lug and Dang Me are two of his current hits.
He was behind the scenes for many years as a successful song writer and only recently has he made his debut as a singer. If Mr. Miller were not a success as a singer he could quite easily become a top comedian. He has a mind like a bear trap that snaps decisively on things of humor. On stage he clowned with the members of his group and made the crowd roar with his antics.
The Newbeats, three slick-looking gentlemen in powder-blue suits, sang their hit tunes Bread and Butter and Pink Delarus. Dean, Mark and Larry supplement their good looks with great hits, such as Tell Him No. Larry Henley, the lead singer, has tremendous range to his voice. This strange quality has brought the Newbeats recognition in the recording world.
Rounding out the performance was the Dover Men from Brandon, a group of three guitarists and a drummer. This group backed the Newbeats after only 15 minute's playing and turned in a great performance.
The surprise of the night was the audience participation which, at such performances is usually apathetic. The chorus could be heard along the avenue for some time after the show was over.
THE READERS WRITE: Dear Andy: I noticed an item in your column some time ago about the past appearance of the Everly Brothers in Winnipeg. I can add one more to your list. On Monday, November 16, 1964, my band, The Dovermen, appeared on a Fall Festival of Stars in the Winnipeg Auditorium. We opened the show with half a dozen numbers and then backed the Newbeats. The Everly Brothers were the hit of the show, and their performance was stopped numerous times while fans who were packed around the stage were ordered back to their seats. It is with great enthusiasm that my wife and I await their appearance this week. Best regards, Bill Hillman, Strathclair, Manitoba.
The Everlys along with warm-up act Sam Neely will be at the concert hall tomorrow and Friday for 8:30 p.m. shows.