The Blue Chords circa 1960-61 at a TV studio in Bluefield, W. VA.
From left; Steve Epperly (drums), David Epperly (keyboard /tenor sax), John Laughter (tenor & bari sax), unidentified Bluefield College student (tenor sax) and Roger ? (guitar). Arnold Smith played bass but was unable to make it in time for the photo. He presently performs with The Emeralds. (Caption by John Laughter)
The Blue Chords cut this cool bit of soul-garage with horns for the Reverb label of Roanoke. Steve Epperly wrote “The Mini Movement”, which runs all of 1:28! At Steve Epperly’s request I’ve added the A-side, “So Far Away”, which is really a very well-played and recorded ballad.
Since first posting about the band, Steve Epperly wrote to me:
The Blue Chords were from the Bluefield, VA area, who played from 1958 to 1978.
The Blue Chords were especially known in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk area where they played in The Top Hat and other club venues from 1959-1962. The Blue Chords opened for many nationally known artists including but not limited to The Del Vikings, The Gladiolas (later known as Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs), Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ricky Nelson, Art Neville, The Delfonics, Percy Sledge, Bill Deal and the Rhondells, and The Okaysions.
The Blue Chords recorded “So Far Away” and “The Mini Movement” in May, 1967 in the basement recording studio of James E. Parcell who owned Associated Recording Service in Roanoke, VA. The musicians were Arnold Smith who played bass and provided lead vocal on “So Far Away”; Larry Frost and Ron Sagady on horns: Jack McCormick- guitarist; David Epperly -organist, vibes, and saxophone; and Steve Epperly- drums and lead vocalist on “The Mini Movement”. The Blue Chords made other recordings in that studio, but “So Far Away” and “The Mini Movement” were the only ones ever pressed.
John Laughter sent in the great photo of the band at the top of the page. His comment about Blue Chords around 1960 is worth repeating here in the main article:
I was fortunate to have played sax with the “Fabulous Blue Chords” for about two years before moving to Florida. I recall 1959-1960 or maybe it was 1960-1961. We played in various dance halls and frat houses in and around the Bluefield, West Virginia and Virginia area.
But the real good times were spent during the summer months at Virginia Beach in the Top Hat Club. The club had two stages and two bands six nights a week so when we kicked into our break song the other band picked it up to keep the music going. On an hour, off an hour.
The door next to our stage opened onto the boardwalk where a lot of the underage college kids would stand or dance. When the club was packed some of the patrons would dance on the table tops after consuming the 3.2 beer. And those summer night were HOT! We would sweat and play the new hits of the day.
I remember a drummer with one of the guest bands, “T & T” Braggs. What he could do with only a bass, snare, hi-hat and ride cymbal was fantastic! Another band was from Philly. They also brought down the house.
We would visit the local music store on Saturday and pick up the latest 45 rpm’s to learn on Sunday. Then to the Neptune restaurant at the corner for First Street and Atlantic Blvd. for a seafood dinner in the 56 two tone green Ford station wagon with the band’s name on the side.
One of the apartments that we lived in was on the south end of town next to an all night doughnut/coffee house. I would go down and listen to the jukebox until the hours of the morning. And as with several of the other members, we are still rockin’ to this day!