THEY COULD HAVE BEEN
THE NEXT BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS.
THEY WERE THE GREAT...
Welcome back to Part 6 of
my exclusive interview with The Soul Clinic. This is the
first in depth conversation
with the late 60s York, PA
R&B band and I am delighted
to be presenting it here on Shady Dell Music & Memories.
I'd like to begin today's session as I did Wednesday's, with
a video that reminds us that horns were happening during
the late sixties, the period during which The Clinic formed, recorded and toured. Please listen to this mini tutorial on horn band popularity from Music Mike, followed by a great horn driven recording by one of my favorite late 60s bands, the Twin Cities' own... Crow!
"Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me" - Crow
(December 1969, highest chart position #19)
S.D. KNIGHT: Alright, when we left off last time the date was May 6th, 1968. The Clinic's record "So Sharp" had just been released. Mike Eads, what was the reaction the first time the band members heard the finished recording? Was everybody happy with the way it turned out?
I think so. We really
didn't know any better
then. I think we were
just happy to have a
record and hear it on
the radio, plus the live
work that came with it.
S.D. KNIGHT: After the "So Sharp" single hit the street, was there any second guessing among members of the band? Did anybody wish that you had chosen a different song for the A side or suggest that your original composition "No One Loves Me Anymore" might have become a bigger hit had it been released as the plug side?
MIKE EADS: Not to my knowledge. I think we felt that
'a cover song', done well, would get more and quicker
S.D. KNIGHT: Mike Leash said he remembers Tony Scott nailing the Five Stairsteps' number "You Waited Too Long."
In addition to that and the two sides of your record, which other songs did The Soul Clinic routinely perform at shows?
MIKE EADS: Geezz...... the old standards. 'Mustang Sally',
'My Girl' and others by the Temptations, some early Blood,
Sweat & Tears. I remember one about an ugly woman by
Joe Tex, I believe.
"Skinny Legs and All" - Joe Tex (December 1967,
highest chart position #10)
S.D. KNIGHT: As the spring of 1968 rolled on The Soul Clinic kept busy with gigs and promotional appearances, riding the wave of popularity generated by "So Sharp." Rick Dillman, I believe you have another Tony tale to tell.
I remember us playing at a
senator's re-election cam-
paign BBQ in Baltimore to
to promote the record.
Lyndon Johnson's personal
chef cooked the food.
Funny story, after we
played, Tony went around
to the tables in his full
Soul Clinic tuxedo
carrying a box and
collecting half eaten ribs
over the shoulders of
supporters. The ribs were supposedly for his dog. Tony had
no dog. He kept it up till our manager, Steve Kranich, saw
him and pulled him aside. One of the many crazy things
Tony did. He was always a source of consternation.. lol.
LARRY SMITH: The artsy picture below of Bruce and me is
believed to have been taken at York College on Saturday,
May 11th, 1968, less than a week after the release of
The Soul Clinic played at a York County Youth Council
affair and we shared the stage with The Magnificent Men.
S.D. KNIGHT: Less than three weeks after the release of your single, The Soul Clinic was part of a mega soul show
in Harrisburg. Which acts were there and what do you remember about it?
RICK DILLMAN: It was the biggest show of our careers.
We opened for Wilson Pickett.
"Ninety-nine and a Half" - Wilson Pickett (June 1966,
highest chart position #53)
It was the only other time that
I recall us being on the same
bill with the Magnificent Men.
That night with Wilson Pickett
and the Mag Men was at the
Harrisburg Farm Show Arena
on Friday, May 24, 1968 in
front of 5000 people, the
largest venue we had played.
The Mag Men went on after us
and told us later that we were so
good that night, they didn't want to follow us!
S.D. KNIGHT: In case there are any Doubting Thomases out there who think Larry is exaggerating, there's someone in the house who will lay those suspicions to rest. Back with us to corroborate Larry's testimony...and then some...is my special guest Mr. Dave Bupp!
DAVE BUPP: Shady, I got to tell you. That night
The SOUL CLINIC came armed and ready to take names
and kick ass. And they did just that. They opened the show
with "A LOVE THAT'S REAL" (The Intruders). You could tell
right from the beginning of that song that THE CLINIC WAS
ON FIRE!!! The Mag Men had to follow them that night.
We played with all the big names back then. That night,
it was the hardest act to follow I ever encountered in my
many years of performing. I’d have to say, they kicked
our asses. GOOD FOR THEM!!!! Seeing how professional
the Clinic was that night really made me feel happy for
them and proud of them as well.
RICK DILLMAN: We burned that night. Closed the show
with a rendition of "Old Man River" in four part harmony ala
the Temptations. Killed, absolutely killed. Got a standing O.
S.D. KNIGHT: Dave, I understand there's a peculiar twist to the story. That super soul show in The Burg nearly wound up being a two-way battle of the bands between The Mag Men and The Soul Clinic because, for a while, it looked like the headliner, The Wicked Pickett, wouldn't even take the stage. Tell us what happened.
DAVE BUPP: As I remember it, the show was not sold out
and Wilson Pickett was worried that he wouldn't get paid.
The start of Pickett's show was delayed because he
refused to go on until he collected his money. The show
was further delayed when the audience became agitated
and a fight broke out. Eventually, Farm Show security
restored order, Wilson Pickett got paid, and the show
went on, although later than scheduled.
S.D. KNIGHT: Ricky D, that account offered by Dave Bupp might help explain what happened to Larry that night after The Clinic finished playing.
RICK DILLMAN: I remember seeing the beginning of the
Mag Men's show and they sounded great. At some point
Larry went up to the mezzanine to get a hot dog and got
ambushed and mugged by rowdy teens. He escaped..
running down the ramp with broken glasses and bloody
ear. Larry's yellow Baracuta was also bloodied during the
scuffle which killed me cuz I loved that jacket. I don't
remember us being there at the start of the Pickett show.
Right after Larry got jumped I helped him clean his "cuta"
and we promptly left the building never knowing about
the problem with Pickett or the crowd disturbance.
RICK TERLAZZO: I remember seeing Wilson Pickett's band
coming on stage just as we were leaving. Pickett's band
included The Allman Brothers, Dwayne and Gregg, who
were wearing bell bottoms.
S.D. KNIGHT: Larry, you were a real trouper that night. Bloodied, bruised and with broken glasses, you still managed to play a second gig, didn't you?
LARRY SMITH: When we left the Farm Show we headed
to a high school after-prom party from 12:30- 4:40am.
It was odd to play, cause I couldn't see a thing.
"The show must go on!"
S.D. KNIGHT: Looking at your old log book, I notice that
The Clinic also played at Frederick, Maryland High School's
prom around that time.
S.D. KNIGHT: During the month of June the band's schedule was busier than ever, wasn't it?
LARRY SMITH: We were on the go much of the time.
On June 1st we did a record promotion at WMID radio
in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
MIKE EADS: We also did the Kerby Scott Show
out of Baltimore and one other TV show.
S.D. KNIGHT: Let me add some background, Mike. Yorkers might remember Kerby Scott aka Kirby Scott as a top 40 DJ on WSBA, The Mighty 9-10, in the early 60s.
A few years later he was hosting a 90 minute televised dance program for teenagers called The Kerby Scott Show every Friday afternoon on WBAL-TV, channel 11 in Baltimore. Does anybody remember the exact date of The Soul Clinic's appearance on Kerby Scott?
LARRY SMITH: It was a live TV appearance on Kerby Scott
and it took place on June 14th, 1968.
RICK DILLMAN: We played "So Sharp" through for taping
and then lip synched to it on live TV in the studio with
dancers all around us. I remember it being very weird
because they had the sound down so low that we could
actually hear the dancers' feet shuffling. We were in our
blue tuxes, I think, and performed it like we did on stage
with dance steps.
LARRY SMITH: The other TV show that Mike was thinking
of was the one we did two days after our appearance on
Kerby Scott. It was another live TV broadcast, this time
in Philadelphia on the Channel 10 WCAU Telethon.
S.D. KNIGHT: While we're on the subject of Baltimore and Philadelphia television shows, I want to show you guys a performance video produced at WKBS-TV, Channel 48 in Philly and telecast on one of my favorite music and dance programs, The Hy Lit Show. It's a great instrumental workout by a funky horn band called The Interpretations.
"Snap Out" - The Interpretations (April 1969, uncharted/
Performance clip broadcast on WKBS The Hy Lit Show)
S.D. KNIGHT: Okay, back to the timeline. As spring turned
to summer the hectic pace of the Soul Clinic's promotional appearance schedule continued unabated. What were the highlights of the summer of 1968?
LARRY SMITH: We were jammed. We kicked off the
summer with gigs four days in a row. On Thursday,
June 20th we played at the Starlight Ballroom in
Hershey. On Friday the 21st we were at the York
YMCA. On Saturday the 22nd we played at the
Mad Hatter Club in Allentown and on Sunday the
23rd we appeared at Saylors Lake north of Allen-
town, an outdoor show sponsored by WAEB Radio.
RICK DILLMAN: Just a reminder that The Soul Clinic's
appearance at the York YMCA was at that weekly
youth dance called "The Gig".
Larry Smith and I were
in charge of The Gig.
In fact, we are the ones
who came up with the
name "The Gig" for the
"Y" dances. We also
hired the bands and
helped with promoting
The Gig. Of course,
The Soul Clinic was one
of the regular bands to
RICK DILLMAN: As I mentioned before I played at The Gig
a few times when I was with The Conchords.
I think this show was the only time I played there in
The Soul Clinic. It was like a triumphant return to York
after playing out in the bigs for so long.
S.D. KNIGHT: Around that time The Soul Clinic also made an appearance at York's famous department store The Bon-Ton. What do you remember about that experience?
RICK DILLMAN: We played a short set on the mezzanine
between clothing racks. Very strange! Afterward we did a
meet and greet and signed autographs.
LARRY SMITH: It was a good turnout. We felt waaaay cool
having chicks ask for our autographs. They sold the 45s for
FIFTY-NINE CENTS!! How the hell did anybody make any
money? We sure didn't make squat from record sales!
I found this
Top 60 survey
issued by WLAN
in Lancaster, PA
for the week of
June 29th, 1968.
It indicates that
"So Sharp" by
The Soul Clinic
that week at #55.
S.D.KNIGHT: Do you remember how high your record went
on radio station surveys in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or any other market?
MIKE EADS: I think it did OK. I know in Carlisle, at W100,
it got into the local Top 10 ... I think. :) Most singles from
an unknown group, especially a cover single from an un-
known group, didn't 'ride' that long back then. After all,
Dyke and The Blazers had already recorded it, released
it, and made a hit out of it first. Our version never became
a 'hit', ie, gold/platinum. Just got some good airplay in the
Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey area and a bit
S.D. KNIGHT: York's top 40 station WSBA, The Mighty 910, ruled the airwaves until Lancaster's WLAN powered up and offered a Top 60 survey and a more music per hour format. Some say L-A-N was hipper than S-B-A.
In mid July The Soul Clinic was hosted by two of WLAN's most popular DJ's, Chuck Raymond and Jamie Rowley, at
the 421 Club, a popular showcase for local bands located
on Lancaster's Strasburg Pike.
The picture above shows the Lancaster band The Couriers performing at the 421 Club. Incidentally, Couriers guitarist Harry Strother, aka Hoagie, went on to play lead guitar for Jay and the Techniques. Does this pic trigger any memories about The Soul Clinic's appearance at the club?
RICK DILLMAN: No specific memories. We played so many
different places that it's hard to remember every single one
of them. I remember us going into a club that looked like
that and saying "How are we going to fit on this stage"?
It might have been the 421.
LARRY SMITH: I have the 421 Club in my old log book
as a July 13th, 1968 gig and we still have the poster but
unfortunately I'm drawing a blank same as Rick.
S.D. KNIGHT: According to the newspaper clipping below, nine days after playing the 421 Club, The Soul Clinic was back in Hershey.
RICK DILLMAN: Right. Monday, July 22nd was WSBA Day
at Hershey Park and we did a big outdoor stage show,
once again backing up The Fantastic Johnny C.
"Hitch It to the Horse" - Fantastic Johnny C (July 1968,
highest chart position #34)
RICK DILLMAN: I remember WSBA Day as being one of our
best shows. The audience was chanting for us and girls
were trying to grab us from the front of the stage. One girl
got Clark's shoe..lol....
LARRY SMITH: We were doing our show, and the horns
were doing "steps" with high kicks. Suddenly, CLARK'S
SHOE FLYS OFF INTO THE CROWD!! Some babe caught it
AND THROWS IT BACK TO HIM! AND NOBODY MISSED A
S.D. KNIGHT: I'm confused. I always thought it was the other way around. The girls are supposed to throw their clothing at the band.
One of my favorite memories of
playing in the band was singing
"Yesterday," the song by the
Beatles. In the later days of
the band we branched out
from strictly Soul music into
some rock. I played trombone
and sang background vocals,
so I rarely got to be the lead
singer. But on this one song,
I was it. I sang my heart out, with just the right inflections,
and just the right amount of pain. That song was written
for me, and the girls went nuts! After all, that’s what it
was all about, right?
S.D. KNIGHT: Did the Soul Clinic have groupies?
MIKE EADS: Well, there were some 'Groupies' around, but
I don't know if it was because we were THE SOUL CLINIC.
I think they were there for any band...as they are now. :)
LARRY SMITH: There were certainly some groupies and
fans at places we played often. But we did a lot of gigs in
small towns just once.
RICK DILLMAN: Two days after WSBA Day we were back
at the Starlight Ballroom. We had played the WIOO Radio
Day at Williams Grove Park in the afternoon and drove over
to the Starlight that evening and played for 1800 people.
It was pouring rain and we came in at the end of the first
band's set. We asked if we could use their instruments
and they said no. We ended up having audience members
carrying our instruments to the stage. I remember the
Soulville Allstars kind of pissed because we got the star
treatment and they were kind of ushered off the stage.
can and do go sideways.
Just ask The Clinic about
the tour that never happened.
Bad trips and gigs of glory...
the ups and downs of
a band on the run
coming up next time.