Tulsa to Memphis: Lonnie Lee & the Big Beats, The Shadow Lake 8, and the Jades

Lonnie Lee and the Big Beats, circa late 1960
from left: Dale Roark (bass), Lonnie Lee Edens (guitar), Jerry Woods (drums), and Archie Barnes (guitar)
“I had just turned 17 when this picture was taken. I believe Archie was 14!
It was taken at the Starlite club in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.” – Dale Roark

Dale Roark of the Escapades sent these songs and recollections of his start in music in the town of Bartlesville, forty miles north of Tulsa:

These recordings chronicle three musicians from Bartlesville, Oklahoma from 1961 until 1966.

The area around Tulsa in the late 50’s and early 60’s was a hotbed of musicians. David Gates (later ‘Bread’), Johnny Cale (later J.J. Cale), Tommy Crook (local guitar legend that stayed put), Leon Russell plus traveling Arkansas bands such a Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (later ‘The Band’), Charlie Daniels and the Jaguars (yes, that Charlie Daniels), and the McClellan brothers (The Five Emcees) out of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, all put their mark on the local music community. The Paradise Club in particular was a venue where musicians would casually approach the bandstand with “hey man, can I sit in?”. It was always fun but occasionally Tommy Crook, Roy Clark, or some of the other professionals would just blow you away. Any musician could request and it was understood that you would let them. It was competitive but also an inspiration.

Dale Roark (bass), Archie Barnes (guitar), and Denny “Zoot” Freeman (drums) formed a group called The Ravens in late 1959 and played local YMCA and high-school gigs for about a year. I was a high school junior. Archie and Denny were both in the 8th grade. A year later we joined up with Lonnie Lee Edens and formed Lonnie Lee and the Big Beats. We played the local night-clubs and did pretty well for a bunch of high schoolers.

During my senior year Dale Smith, my high school choir director, approached the group about backing him up on an original song he had written. As you will see, he had a beautiful Perry Como-type voice. He rented time a Tulsa TV station studio and me, Archie, and Denny plus Richie Dickerson (9th grade – piano) backed him up. When you listen to Archie’s solos, keep in mind that he was in the 9th grade! Let’s Fall In Love (Mr. Smith’s original) and Canadian Sunset Twist were the result.

I went off to Oklahoma State University and wasn’t active in music my freshman year but right before the end of the winter semester I was approached by Kent Washburn to join the “Shadow Lake 8” for the summer gig in Noel, Missouri. The band had been a staple at OSU for years with graduating members being replaced by new, younger talent. They also needed a guitarist so I introduced him to Archie and his mother agreed to let the young sixteen year old join the band. The drummer quit the first week there and Denny was contacted and drove out the next day.

The band at that point consisted of:

Kent Washburn – Tenor Sax and Band Leader
Amos Ming – Alto and Baritone Sax plus flute
Terry Mead – Trumpet and Valve Trombone
Bing Vasser – Trumpet
Bill Schooler – Piano
Archie Barnes – Guitar
Denny Freeman – Drums
Dale Roark – Electric Bass

During the winter of 1963, Kent’s younger brother, Gary, replaced the piano player with his brand new Hammond B-3 organ and the dynamics of the group started to change. A demo tape was made at the Tulsa University ballroom. Single mike, no mixing, direct to tape and later cut as a demo. It is 45 years old and has a lot of pops and scratches so I only included a couple of snippets to help contrast with later recordings.The last 30 seconds of “Splankie” show Denny’s mastery of big band jazz. The last two minutes of “From the Heart” (a Ray Charles number from his “Genius Plus Soul = Jazz” album) show off Archie and Denny’s 10th grade musician skills. Denny was a huge jazz fan and his talents are present in his kicks and comping abilities. Archie shows a sophistication that few rock and roll musicians could conceive at such a young age. It also allows comparison between Gary’s “All Skate” tone to the later recordings as he finally mastered the tone controls of his B-3. He was also in high-school at the time.

That next summer we played at Rockaway Beach, Missouri. It is a resort town of about a hundred people just a few miles from Branson. It predated the Branson we know now and was the “in” place for college kids from Kansas City, Springfield, Memphis, Saint Louis etc. to go. The club was huge by that day’s standard and probably held a couple of thousand people. The group tightened up quite a bit but I quit the following fall for personal reasons. I was replaced by Bill Hieronymus and the following summer they toured the Florida night club circuit as “The Jades”.

“South Parkway” / “Power” on Em-Kay – [this repeats Dale’s comment, below]:

The Shadow Lake 8 – South Parkway
The Shadow Lake 8 – Power

I believe it is the only released record the Shadow Lake 8 / Jades ever cut. These two sides were made after I left the band. “South Parkway” was a major street in Tulsa at the time so that’s what they called the first cut. I am pretty sure that was Amos speaking “g’wan to South Parkway” at the start and Archie counting then Kent speaking on “Power”.

Kent gave me a copy and I took it into Stax records and played it for Steve Cropper the very week I moved to Memphis but Steve wasn’t interested in either the record or the group because of their own in-house musicians. I lost my copy somewhere between Memphis and a half dozen other places over the past 45 years.

I don’t hear any trumpets so I guess it is:

Kent – Tenor Sax
Amos – up front and center on Baritone Sax
Gary – Organ and Piano
Archie – Guitar
Bill – Bass
Zoot (Denny) – Drums

Maybe one of the guys can acknowledge or correct me. Archie’s solos are typical of Tulsa area guitarists at that time . . . speed, speed, speed . . . It wasn’t the most melodic but the dancers loved it!

Both songs by M. Kent Washburn. Rite Pressing #12877/12878 which dates it to 1964.
The band pretty much stayed together for several more years. I had moved to Memphis and was the leader of a group called The Escapades. We were under contract with Sun records and Kent contacted me during the summer of 1966 about cutting a record at Sun. The following four Jades tunes were the result:

Rainbow Riot – A Bill Doggett tune the band used as their theme song
High Heel Sneakers – Kent and Archie doing the vocals
I Got a Woman – Gary Washburn rockin’ on his B-3 including the bass pedals
Come and Take Me Baby – An original with Archie Barnes vocal and local Memphis back up singers

Bing Vasser had left the band prior to this but the rest of the musicians were together. I substituted on bass for Bill who couldn’t make the session. The group stayed together a little while longer but then went their separate ways. To the best of my recollection, with some help from Bing Vasser:

Amos Ming– became an accountant in Nashville with Brenda Lee as one of his clientsKent Washburn – moved to the West Coast and became a Christian Record Producer

Gary Washburn – became a music professor at the University of Hawaii

Bing Vasser – obtained a Masters degree in music from Tulsa University and taught music in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He then returned to Tulsa University to graduate with a Masters degree in mathematics and music computation. His computer music programs were used to produce synthesized music in one of the early computer music conferences held in Tulsa featuring Aaron Copeland.

Dale Roark – formed The Escapades in Memphis, was drafted into the Army, then earned a degree in Computer Science and had a 30 year high-tech career. He now lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah within 1 mile of his 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

Terry Mead – joined Brenda Lee’s back-up band then moved to Nashville for a successful music career. He played on the live TV show “Nashville Now” for several years until ill health caused his retirement. Terry died May 13, 2007.

Archie Barnes – joined Brenda Lee’s back-up band then moved to Toronto

Denny (Zoot) Freeman – joined Brenda Lee’s back-up band then moved to California. He passed away in 2000.

Bill Hieronymus – went back to school and earned a degree in geophysics from the University of Houston. He became a consultant with several major oil companies and was well respected for his analytical expertise. He was also cited by Downbeat Magazine as one of the premier jazz bass players in America. He died on Thanksgiving day, 2008.

Dale Roark, April 2009 (Original Text)
Bing Vasser, (Update and corrections)

Dale and Ken Washburn have created their own website for the Shadow Lake 8 at ShadowLake8.com with more information and photographs.

57 thoughts on “Tulsa to Memphis: Lonnie Lee & the Big Beats, The Shadow Lake 8, and the Jades”

  1. this story is full of misstatements, for 1 thing Archie Barnes played in the band” Lonnie Lee and the Big Beats: from 1961 to 1963, I know because I was a member playing bass in the band. I was drafted into the US Army on March 4, 1963. Archie had left the band just a few months prior to that. There never was a Dale Roark playing in that band during that time.

  2. My name is lonnie lee. I formed the big beats in 1958 not 1960. the orginal band was jerry adams on drums, jeff goosby on piano, bob williams on bass, ray frick and my self on guitar and I did the vocals. we play all over kansas and okla..we were probably the second rock band in northeast okla. north of tulsa with bobby poe and big al downing being the first. I was offered a recording contract with White Rock records in 58, who were recording Poe and Downing but they would not take the band so I turned them down.
    Ray and I joined the army reserves in jan of 1960, when I got out in aug of 60 I formed my old band with jerry woods on drums, dale on bass and archie on guitar.
    Dale did not last long due to wanting to date girls and not tying up his week ends…archie wanted to play music and was one of the best I have worked with.
    When dale left so did jerry woods and was replace with Ronnie Mason on drums and Bob Showler on bass and added Vaughn Quinby on sax…I went to playing piano. we recorded with the Amco record lable. We stayed together until 62-63 and Vaughn went on the road play with different groups Archie went to college and recorded with the ShadowLake 8, and then with brenda lee.
    In 64 I play with various groups and in 65 to around 1970 played clubs with John Holly on bass and Rod Baughman on drums and I went back to playing guitar…in or around the last of 69 or the first of 70 the club we were playing was blown up and destoryed….that got my attention and said enough.
    The record companies were all small and payed little or nothine in those days, the distrubution was local at the best…any money went into their pockets but to say you were on a lable made more money for shows and dances..this was a great era for bands with a lot of places to play your music and to say that you were a part of rock and roll..

  3. I studied with Bing Vassar in Idaho Falls. At the time I was about 7 or 8, and he taught me ear training. I would love to find him to thank him. Do you know where he is? Thanks!

  4. I posted this in the hope that more of the history of the Northern Oklahoma music scene would be documented and I am glad Lonnie made the corrections. I believe Lonnie Lee and the Big Beats deserves their own posting. I posted based on my 45 year old recollections and I was wrong about Denny being in the Big Beats. I certainly agree with you that Archie was one of the best guitarist around Bartlesville at the time and he improved considerably once he, Denny, and I joined The Shadow Lake Eight in the summer of 1962. Archie was not only a very good guitarist but he also had a wonderful Tom Jones like voice as came across in his singing on “Come and Take Me Baby”. I believe that Archie and I merged with Lonnie and Jerry Woods in late 1960 forming the latest incarnation of Lonnie Lee and the Big Beats. Lonnie purchased and electric piano and sang. I thought I stayed with Lonnie until I left for college in the fall of 1961 but he could be correct that I left earlier. He certainly knew about my dating because my semi-steady girl friend was a close friend of his wife! My interest in posting was to create some interest in the Oklahoma music scene in the ’60s and to chronicle the musical relationship between Archie, Dennie, and myself. It was nice to hear from you Lonnie! It’s been a long time. Rather than just being an add on to my post, The Big Beats deserves their own separate section. I would like to hear your records and make contact with you. I really appreciate this website because I have been able to contact almost all of the living members of The Shadow Lake 8 except for Archie and Amos Ming along with all the living members of The Escapes in Memphis. Thank you Chris.

  5. Gosh . . . I don’t want to turn this into an argument about what happened. “This story is full of misstatments” is a little strong. Read Lonnie’s comments . . . I believe they are pretty accurate. I was wrong about Denny being in the Big Beats but I know for a fact that Archie left in June of 1962 to join The Shadow Lake 8 because that was the summer after my Freshman year at Oklahoma State. It is hard to verify your corrections because you didn’t use your real name but based on Lonnie’s post I assume you are Bob Showler. Your statement that “There never was A Dale Roark playing in that band during that time” is incorrect. I stated that we joined up with Lonnie a year after the Ravens were formed so that would make it 1960. I believe it was in the fall. I thought I left Lonnie sometime between the late spring or summer of ’61. You can probably recall the approximate time in ’61 that you joined them. That would be when I left the band. Best regards – Dale

  6. Lonnie your aunt June sent me a page on your band with a pic. of you and some other boys. we’re you’re mother’s sisters and i always liked your music, i remember going to a club with your aunt Phyllis and uncle Leroy when i was a teenager more than once and i would like to hear more of your music and also more from you, i think you had a beautiful voice and i’m sure still have, do you still play at all my son is into music and is very good and he liked what he heard, would you please send more thank you mary my email on myspace page is aaabrighteyes@hotmail.com, right now i’m using your aunt June’s page because i don’t have your email address

  7. Just discovered this great 45 by the Shadow Lake 8 on Em-Kay, “South Parkway” / “Power”. Both sides are rocking blues instrumentals with brief spoken bits. Both songs by M. Kent Washburn. Interestingly, someone attempted to cover the word ‘Orchestra’ on each side.

    This is a Rite Pressing #12877/12878 which dates it to 1964 and Rite account #218, which was from Tulsa. Seems to be a rare 45, as it doesn’t show up on the Rite pressing database at 45rpmrecords.com.

    The Shadow Lake 8 – South Parkway
    The Shadow Lake 8 – Power
  8. I have been looking for that 45 for years. I believe it is the only released record the SL8/Jades ever cut. These two sides were made after I left the band. “South Parkway” was a major street in Tulsa at the time so that’s what they called the first cut. I am pretty sure that was Amos speaking “gwan to South Parkway” at the start and Archie counting then Kent speaking on “Power”. Kent gave me a copy and I took it into Stax records and played it for Steve Cropper the very week I moved to Memphis but Steve wasn’t interested in either the record or the group because of their own in-house musicians. I lost my copy somewhere between Memphis and a half dozen other places over the past 45 years. I don’t hear any Trumpets so I guess it is:
    – Kent on Tenor Sax
    – Amos on up front and center on Baritone Sax
    – Gary on Organ and Piano
    – Archie on guitar
    – Bill on Bass
    – Zoot (Denny) on Drums.
    Maybe one of the guys can acknowledge or correct me. BTW, Archie’s solos are typical of Tulsa area guitarists at that time . . . speed, speed, speed . . . It wasn’t the most melodic but the dancers loved it!

  9. Greetings from a fellow Bartlesville garage band member. I was in the same grade as Archie (College HIgh Sr ’63) and had the pleasure of knowing him personally. My “band” consisted of myself on piano, Billy Ware on guitar, Gary Reese on bass and Johnny McBride on drums. We got a few gigs playing for “Teentown” (basement of the YWCA) and for a few private dances and birthday parties, and I even got the opportunity to fill in on bass for one of Archie’s bands, don’t remember which one but it was in the basement of the YMCA (next door to the YWCA). Archie even rode with me one time to Tulsa to buy a bright red Gretsch he’d fallen in love with, after which he loaned me his Rickenbacker (I think it was like a Model #325) for a month or two.

    One question: Wasn’t the name (or one of the names) of Lonnie’s band in the late 50’s called “THE SATINS?” (Seems like everybody mispronounced it as “The Satans”). But I could be wrong.

    Anyway, great to know what happened to us early musicians.

    Bill Campbell

  10. Hey, Dale —

    Weren’t Archie, Lonnie, Zoot and yourself known for a time as “The Satins?” Seems like I remember it being so, because Archie and especially Lonnie got upset when everyone (mistakenly) called them the “Satans?”

    Bill Campbell, College High Sr ’63

  11. Bill . . . It’s nice to hear from you. I don’t believe we were ever called “The Satins” and I don’t believe that Zoot (Denny) ever played with Lonnie. “The Ravens” broke up so that Archie and I could join Lonnie. I believe Denny was invited but declined . . . most likely because it was beneath him! I don’t say this in a derogatory manner. His love of jazz drove him to excel as a drummer. Archie and I were elated when he joined the Shadow Lake 8 after Bill Carter quit to join the 5 Emcees. Bill was only with the group for a couple of weeks. – Dale (College High Class of ’61)

  12. I remember his red Gibson but not the Gretsch. It was the B. B. King type EB 325 (I think!)

    I heard your group once at the . . . I believe it was called “The Civic Center”. It was next to the library. What I remember the most was McBride’s drumming. He had adopted the syncopated base drum style of Paul (I believe that is the correct first name) Cuban who had the hit “Look Out For The Cheater”. Zoot started experimenting with that style also. It was pretty funky.

    I responded to your previous post that I don’t recall being called “The Satins” – Dale

  13. I played from 1958 until 1964 and layed off a few months, played lead guitar w/Ronnie Spencer and the Ramrods for a while, and then started ‘THE STATINS” which was the band that I worked Clubs with until early 1970. ‘THE BIG BEATS’ Band started in 9/58 and ended in 8/64…Archie bought the “Rickenbacker” as soon as he saved up the money working for me….I played Gretsch and still do…I was surprised Archie would ever give up the Ricky…..

  14. Hi Lonnie, great to hear from you. Archie didn’t give up his Ricky; he just loaned it to me for a month or so then showed up at my house one day to take it back, which is fine since it was his anyway. (Arch never could seem to find the “right” axe when I knew him.) Anyway, concerning the “Satins” I’m glad to know my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me.

  15. Hi again, Dale — You may be right about Archie’s red guitar — I could have sworn it was a red Gretsch Jet Firebird, but it’s only been 40 years or so. As for Johnny McBride, he only lived a block west of me and had always wanted to play drums so he scraped together enough money to buy a 4-piece Slingerland “big band” (huge 3-foot bass drum)and used it until he could afford something better. He attended Northeastern State College in Tahlequah for 2 years and then joined the USAF and I lost track of him.

    As for the posting by “Pops Rubbertoe,” perhaps the confusion stems from the period where you put away your axe for a time to serve your church. (Long live Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney and Dr. Stephen R. Covey, by the way.)

  16. Wow . . . this is fun! I have tried multiple times to contact Archie through his son but haven’t had any luck. Evidently, he had a heart attack or stroke almost two years ago and was recovering in Canada where he lived after leaving the SL8. I haven’t been able to find out if he passed on or has fully recovered. NOW about his guitar. I am ALMOST positive that Archie’s original guitar was a Sears and Roebuck Silvertone (made by Danelectro). That is the guitar in the picture with the Big Beats. Perhaps we can all look at the picture again and see if we can ascertain if it was a Rickey or Silvertone. Some Rickey’s had triangular inlays – See the picture of Bennie’s Rickey here – https://www.garagehangover.com/?q=Escapades. He was very enamored by “Peaches” Gibson EB 325 every time we went to see Rodney and the Blazers at the Nowatta VFW and he sold his Silvertone/Rickey/Gretch to purchase the EB 325 prior to joining the SL8. I know it was a Gibson because it had “Varitone”, a dial that had 10 or so tone selections. Of course I have the same disclaimer that we all share – “These statements are all based on 45-50 year old memories”! I thank all of you for your comments and support. – Dale – “Those were the days!” – Archie Bunker

  17. Dale, ya got it right, it was a silvertone, Archie did’t buy the Ricky until around the late spring of 1961. What he paid for it at the time was a lot of money. Today his Ricky would be worth a fortune……..

  18. I talked to Archie last week after Bing sent me his phone number. He has been out of the hospital for about a year after a year rehabbing from a heart attack. He is living in Toronto with David, his son, and sounded great. I don’t know what it is about those friends we form in our teens and early twenties but there are those cherished few that we alway carry in our hearts. Archie is one of those for me. Now, to settle the conversation about his guitars . . . was it a Silvertone, Gibson, Gretsch, Rickenbacker? The bottom line is he has owned all four at various times plus a few more, so we were all correct. However, the most important thing is he is alive and well and is loving living in Toronto.

    1. Okay, I was wrong. It only too me 5 years to figure it out. I just saw a picture that was posted on another website that featured Lonnie, Ron Mason, Archie, and myself with the Big Beats and guess what guitar Archie was holding? Yep . . . it was a Rickey! I was wrong . . . sooo . . . the progression was Silvertone with the Ravens and initially with the Big Beats, then the Rickey followed by the Gibson played with The Shadow Lake 8. It’s not important at this point but I want to be accurate before my memory is totally shot.

  19. This must be some kind of sign from up above. I’m one of David’s best buddies, and live a few houses down from them. I’m not sure where to start! I picked up my guitar and was strumming a few chords, and played a G. I looked at my fingers on the fretboard and smiled. Archie was my one and only guitar teacher, and after he taught me how to play a proper G, he showed me his “cheating way” which I’ve used ever since. Looking down at my fingers I remember him telling me about his shadow lake 8 days (“shadalake 8” in his Okie-Tulsa accent).I also remember trying to look for you guys on the net years ago, but found nothing. Something inside of me told me to look you all up again and to my surprise, I found this page! He used to tell stories about Denny, Zoot, and everyone else for hours when I was a kid. From an outside perspective, I want you all to know that this band has always had a special in his heart. It’s always been one of the things he’s been genuinely proud of as long as I’ve known him (about 20 years now). I’ve been dying to hear a track of him playing when he was younger. I’ve gotta tell ya, I wasn’t expecting him to singe the guitar neck every solo! There are a few mannerisms in his playing on these old tracks that made me sure it was him. It was such a beautiful thing to listen to, for me anyways. I’m beggining to figure out other reasons why he wanted to teach me the pentatonic blues scale after I learned all my chords- probably because it’s what he had the most fun with during his time playing 🙂 I didn’t picture you guys to be so cool! It’s like a fusion of jazz and surf-rock with other influences in there too. This band definitely had more balls (excuse my french) than Brenda Lee (Archie played with her for a little bit there too). Archie taught me almost everything I know! (minus all the new-age metal stuff us kids are listening to these days). He also got me into BB King and gave me a “Best of” tape for my birthday one year. He’s a great man, and a great dad too 🙂 Jeez, I wonder if he’s heard the tracks off here yet? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen him. I’m going to download these, burn them for him and make a visit over the holidays after my finals if it’s okay with you all. PS – I didn’t know he played a rickenbaker! – The others I knew about. If you’re wondering what he plays now, it’s an old ernie ball music man, but has a tele-shaped body and a super-fast neck and really low action (It all makes sense now haha!) He also has a high-end yamaha classical-electric which plays like butter too. Thanks alot for these tracks, this definitely made my week. Cheers, Anthony

  20. Anthony, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments. I only knew Archie in his Teens and early twenties. Perhaps you can con Archie into allowing you to record a few tunes for us. Vocals would be a huge plus. My wife and I had the privileged of hearing Archie, Zoot, and Terry in Toronto backing Brenda. When Archie sang “That Lucky Old Sun” he sent chills all over my body due to his soul and delivery. He had total command of the audience anytime he sang. Thanks – Dale

  21. Just thought I would toss in my 2 cents worth….

    The name of the group that did “Look Out For The Cheater” was by Bob Cuban and The InMen.

    And yes, Bob Cuban had a very distinct Drumming Style.


    1. song the cheater sang by walter scott with bob Cuban band Cuban still playing in st Louis walter is deceased

  22. I so enjoy this web site. I am Archie Barnes sister-in-law and he is aware of the site and enjoys it as well. He was very ill for about 9 months and we weren’t sure he was going to make it but he is back on his feet and working on his guitar again.

    I write a nostalgia column for the Bartlesville, Oklahoma newspaper and have for the last ten years. I’ve written about the Shadow Lake 8 and have requested permission to do a story about this web site which I hope the site administrator will grant me.

    This great old music, the super talented people, the wonderful times they provided us and the memories they helped us make can never be taken away. The heritage they will leave behind will be carried on through the music of many of our children and grandchildren who were so impressed with the music of the 50’s and 60’s that they continue to play it and listen to it today.

    If my story does get to be written about the Bartlesville/Stillwater/Rockaway Beach connections, it should come out in the Bartlesville paper on a Sunday in April 2011. The story will also be on the online version of the newspaper as well. The paper address is http://www.examiner-enterprise.com and my email address is RitaThurmanBarnes@swbell.net if you should have reason to contact me.

    Rock On!

  23. Like many others, I’m sure, I truly enjoyed reading your posts and the great memories from the local and area bands in NE Oklahoma. I’m not a musician so I can’t add much to the conversation. My reason for writing is to ask if any of you remember The Fabulous Flippers of this same time period. Along with Shadow Lake 8, they were legends in our minds. Also, Bill Ware was my best friend in the 10th grade (he would have been a junior). I would enjoy catching up with him someday before the plug is pulled.

    Bill and I drove up to Smith Center, KS one summer so he could audition with a band called Spider and the Crabs. My recollection is that they offered him the job but I don’t think he played with that group after that particular weekend. Anyone remember that group?

    I’ve attended a couple of College High reunions including an all class grand reunion a few years ago where Bill Campbell, Steve Elliott (do you remember Steve’s band called The Limits?) and The Red Dogs performed at the Community Center in B’ville. What a great moment! With those guys playing…the memories…it MADE the reunion. Unbelievable!!!

  24. First I’d like to ditto Paul’s credit to Rita for the wonderful job she does preserving and passing along so many of those memories of people, groups, places & events that had such a vital impact on all of us who weathered our own adolescent turbulance in that time and place. As for me, well, I can’t claim any significant contributions to the music scene back then or since, although I did bang on a piano off & on, for a few of those years with Billy Ware (who I’ve known since grade school & who lived down the street from me from junior high on). The other guys who played with us during our “garage band” days (even tho’ we mostly practiced in the den of my folks’ house on Robin Rd) included Gary Reese (guitar), Don Brown (drums), Bob Neptune (vocals), Terry Potts (trumpet & later, guitar) & Buzz Johnson (guitar – and a fascination for reverb that made Billy nuts). Also, Larry Malick played bass with us quite a bit, which was kind of ironic since he actually became the most accomplished guitarist of any of our group – flamenco, no less – until his untimely death in Spain in 1968 or 9.
    As has been said in many of the previous posts, I have many fond memories of the SL8 and have been trying for years to locate any kind of recorded material they may have produced – so far without any success. But some of the other groups mentioned – The Fabulous Flippers and The Red Dogs in particular – I have been able to catch up on somewhat recently. I missed the all-years Col-Hi reunion you mentioned, Paul, but about 4 years ago my mom sent me an article from the B’ville newspaper about The Red Dogs and how they were to be inducted into the Kansas Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Lawrence, KS. I called Bob Neptune, who lives in Kansas City, told him about it and asked if he thought he would like to go – and maybe even get us both advance tickets. He said yes & yes, so sometime in January I think – seems like it was 2006 – I drove up and met Bob for the event taking place in Liberty Hall, formerly known as the Red Dog Inn. I got there a little late so I missed most of the set by (I think) Spider & The Crabs, but got to hear & see all the rest, which just about made my teenage rock & roll heart jump right out of my geezer chest. The “headliners” of the event & show were the Fab Flippers joined by co-inductee, the legendary Mike Finnigan. Preceding them on stage were The Red Dogs, who flat filled up the entire stage and very nearly blew the roof off the old building. The other group inducted that night, who took the stage before the Red Dogs, said they were a little nervous about this since they hadn’t played together in 30 years or so. In fact, I think quite a few folks in attendance that night had come for The Flippers and didn’t really know much of anything about these old guys called Rodney & The Blazers. But from the first note of their first number, everyone in the house knew these guys were the real deal. Personally, I thought I must have died and gone to rock & roll heaven because R&TB had been bona fide superstars to me since grade school & junior high. When they played at the roller rink across the street from Highland Park Elementary School, usually on a school night, Billy Ware and I were both ready to ask, beg or con our folks into letting us go – or sneak out if they said no. Because we didn’t just want to go hear & see them – we HAD to. I ran across Rodney’s website, with a terrific bio of R&TB, including their magnificent promo photo with Rodney wearing what looks like a gold lame suit, The Blazers all wearing matching bright red blazers – and all of them wearing Wayfarer-style sunglasses, with their hair sprayed silver. Gotta love it! At the Kansas Rock & Roll Hall of Fame show, several of them were sporting silver hair but it clearly wasn’t sprayed on and none of them were decked out in shades & red blazers – but once they started playing, it brought the crowd to their feet and new meaning to the chant, “ROCK & ROLL WILL NEVER DIE!”

    (Here’s the URL for the page on Rodney & The Blazers: http://www.rodneylay.com/rodneyblazers.html)

  25. Of all the bands around Bartlesville, Rodney and the Blazers had the biggest impact on my initial music career. It seemed like half of the Bartlesville high schoolers would travel to the Nowatta VFW every Saturday night to dance to R&TB from 9 until midnight. Most of us danced without ever sitting down except during the two intermissions. I was able to play there once along with playing at the B’ville Civic Center with the SL8. It was special for Archie, Zoot, and I because it was somewhat of a homecoming and a lot of our friends would show up to watch us perform. Back to Rodney . . . his guitarest, “Peaches”, had an impact on Archie and I, and the whole group had an impact on “The Big Beats”. We would us the side-to-side footwork that Rodney popularized in the area for some of the songs we played at the Starlight club in Bartlesville. Thank you for the link to Rodney’s website. I used to watch him every week on “Hee Haw” reacting to how he “Made it big!” – Dale

  26. Hey Paul, do you remember working with “The Soul Seekers” from Bartlesville in the mid 60s. You did a great job introducing us at most of our shows. We later went to Tulsa and played at The Machine for a year as “Steamer’s Trunk”. We got to play with all of the really good Tulsa players like Tom Tripplehorn, David Teegarden, Skip Knape, Ann Bishop (Ann Bell), Bill Davis, Jamie Oldaker, Carl Radle,etc. The most fun I ever had was sitting in Archie’s bedroom when I was about twelve or thirteen and learning to play the guitar. Dale Smith sent me to Archie and I was always amazed at the depth of knowledge that Archie had of the great artists like Freddy King, Bobby Bland, James Burton, Ray Charles and so on. Archie even introduced me to licks that he learned from Johnny Cale in Tulsa. One would be hard pressed to find a better rock and roll guitar player than Archie Barnes. One day he announced that he was going to be playing away from B-ville that summer (probably Noel, MO. or Rockaway Beach). He said I should go to Tulsa and take lessons from a guy named Tommy Crook. He said Tommy was the best guitarist he around…..what an understatement! Tommy was teaching at the guitar house with Eldon Shamblin. Wow! that was like taking pitching lessons from Don Drysdale and Nolan Ryan. Tommy and I have remained friends through the years and it is such a treat to be able to go to a little restaurant or club in Tulsa and see him play. I don’t know if Archie even remebers me, but I would love to talk to him on the phone for even a few minutes. John McBride played with us for a couple of years off and on. I have a poster of a gig we staged at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa in ’68 and Johnny is pictured with us on that sheet. Johnny is a fine drummer. Someone mentioned Larry Malick. His younger brother Chris played piano with us for years.

  27. Paul;My name is Greer Gambill.I was the original sax player with The Centuries. I do indeed remember The Fabulous Flippers. In fact I played a new years gig ,this year 2010/11 with their lead singer and keyboard player Dan Hines. Also have known for several years Gary Claxton another member of the group. Gary lives in Eureka Springs AR and Dan lives in Bella Vista AR. I lived in Fayeteville AR are since 1990 and it is my understanding that another member of that group lives in that area also although I didn’t run into him. Dan told me that the Flippers still perform from time to time.

  28. Yes, it finally happened. Kent Washburn has been collecting information, recordings, and pictures for several years now and we have been working together for the past couple of month to bring this to reality. There are 14 pages of information, pictures, and over 60 recordings from 1960 through 1968 including vocals by The Del-Chiffons, Vicki Beck, Archie Barnes, and a duet by Archie and Kent. The address is simply:


    If you have any pictures or recordings of the band please send them to dale@shadowlake8.com or kent@shadowlake8.com and we will try to add them to the scrapbook page. We don’t have a blog so keep posting your comments here and please let your friends know about the new website.

    I am so appreciative of what Chas has accomplished. He is the one responsible for bringing all of us together through this website.


  29. Paul – Do you know if Jerry Yount lives in the Fayeteville or Bella Vista area? He was a fantastic finger picker and I have always wondered what happened to him along with the wild drummer Bill Carter from Oklahoma. Just curious. – Dale

  30. Wow. My dad is Jerry Spray who played trumpet with the Shadowlake 8 from, I believe ’59-’61. It’s always great to hear the old stories and listen to the music. In fact, Dad is still tooting the horn in Daphne, AL. What some of you may not know is that their lineup (most of them, anyway) got together in the late 90’s for 3 reunions in Noel, Missouri, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Orange Beach, Alabama. They played full sets, and I am almost certain all three were recorded. If anybody is interested in hearing about the reunions I can probably put you in touch with Jerry and see what the status is on those recordings. Needless to say, those guys were still rockin’ 35 years later!

  31. I think my dad took over trumpet after yours. Terry Mead was his name and IIRC he was there until late ’63 or early ’64 when he went on the road with Brenda Lee. I’m sending my number out to a select few here. I’ve been hunting down old stories about Dad since his passing May 13th, 2007. Of course Mom (Sharon Rhoades/Mead) was around in those days too. To all of you that knew her she sends her best.

    CS Mead

  32. Sharon was always such a sweetheart. Maria and I met her and Terry again in August 1999 when Brenda was playing in Toronto. Maria was thrilled to meet Brenda because Brenda was the only person she had met who was shorter than she was (5’9″ vs 5’10”)! Sharon was a close confident of Brenda and the entire experience of hearing Terry, Archie, and Zoot again was very special. I was very sad to hear of your fathers passing. Send my best to Sharon as well. – Dale

    1. I can’t believe it took me this long to catch the typo in the post about Brenda Lee and my wife Maria. Brenda was 4’9″ and Maria 4’10 instead of 5’9″ and 5’10”. Now it might make more sense to the readers. Oh well! – Dale

  33. Hello everyone, I’m not sure if I’m the right person for this, but I think it would be in your best interest to know that Archie Barnes passed away yesterday. I know he loved you all. I’m not sure about any arrangements, but if I get the chance to come back here, I’ll let you all know. He was truly a great man, and may he rest now.

  34. Archie passed away on Father’s Day, June 19, 2011 of a blood clot on his lung in a Toronto, Ontario hospital. His son David called us about an hour after it happened. He had fought a long hard fight to recuperate from failing health and a 9 month hospitalization in Toronto and had been home for several months still trying to get his strength back.

    He did the best he could. He missed his music and being able to play his beloved guitars. He missed Oklahoma and his friends and family and I think may have come home to grow old if he’d had the strength to do so. He didn’t and he died.

    Everyone loved Archie – his big heart, his rowdy laugh, his sense of humor and especially his music. He lived for his music until he had a son and then he lived for his son and for his guitar in that order. He will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him – both him and his music.

    His guitar is silent for a while on this side of the veil but somewhere on the other side Archie and Denny are making music again and I bet they’re having a wonderful, wonderful time.

    I am Archie’s sister in law. I have created a Facebook group called “Remembering Archie Barnes” where you may come and share and remember him and his music and look at the photos that we’ll be posting. There are tons of photos.

    Don’t be sad for Archie however. He wouldn’t want that. He loved a good time and good friends and easy sailing and that’s what we wish for him now. To never hurt again, to never be lonely or alone and to always hear the music.

    Rest in Peace Archie.
    You deserve the best.

  35. My best friend, my brother Archie

    I would like to thank you, for all the great times, we spent over the Past 40 years.
    The bands that we played in such as Pilot, Night Beat,Split Shift and Tortes Flats and many pick up gigs we did together, were magic.
    Archie made them magic because of his wonderful talent. His caring generosity and sense of humour showed no bounds. Archie always looked for the good in people and this was another of his talents.
    Thanks for the stories,of Brendalee, The Shadow Lake 8. All the musicians he came to know and love. I feel that I know them all without meeting them.
    My friend, I know that you are feeling the loving hand of God.
    You will always be treasured in Donnalee and my heart
    May God truly bless your soul.

    Your Friend ” Brother” Peter Weller

  36. Peter – Do you have access to any recordings Archie made after he left Brenda and moved to Toronto? Everything posted here and on http://www.shadowlake8.com are during his formative years. I would love to hear anything from the past forty years he lived in Toronto. Thanks in advance – Dale

  37. played with many bands in bartlesville and tulsa in the late 50s 60s and early 70s and played drums with archie in lonnie lee and the big beats in 62 63. band at that time was lonnie keyboards/guitar, vaughn quimby sax ,archie barnes guitar ,bob showler bass myself drums.archie quit to join the eight and was replaced by tommy day from t-town.we played many high school proms etc and frat gigs at osu.archie called once to see if I would be interested in joining the eight.they had a drummer named bill carter at that time who was quitting.I would like to have joined but there was no way not wanting to leave my day job with my obligations at that time.archie was a really great guy and a highly accomplished musician.

    ron mason

    1. I remember JD was so excited that you played drums for Lonnie’s band. Those were sure good times.

      Dave Surguy

  38. Dale, Thanks for the kind words. You probably already know, but I thought I’d pass it on anyway. Pete “Peachies” Williams died about a month ago due to complications from diabetes. For me, and those that heard him play guitar, the music died a little. He is missed.

  39. I happened upon your website while searching the internet for a Christmas gift for my Dad. My Dad and Denny were cousins. Dad has expressed many times that he wished he had a video of Denny playing the drums, so I’ve been searching and ended up here. I have REALLY enjoyed reading about “Uncle Zoot” on here. He was such a special person in my life growing up. I didn’t see him much other than Christmas time, but wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. Thanks again for this website. It has been a pleasure reading things I never would have known otherwise.


  40. Hey Ron,
    This is Nick in London.
    How are you?
    I might go to the Woodyfest in Okemah in July.
    Stop by Bartlesville- see you ?
    I’m singing alot, playing blues harp.
    yes, Nick

  41. Hi again – I’m the late Archie Barnes’ sister in law. He’s been gone a number of years now and had lived in Canada so long that sometimes it seems now the only memories we have left of him are of his marvelous singing voice and his ever so gentle strumming of his guitar. I think often of him and his love of music and wonder how in the world he didn’t make it to the real big time as a single performer. He was such a talented person and so creative and so much fun. I went to grade school with him and he was two years older so we didn’t really know one another except for me knowing his music at a very early age. By 9th grade (for Archie) the band he was in at the time used to set up at play during lunch hour in the auditorium of the junior high school and everyone would hurry through their lunch and race to the auditorium to listen to the band. I really don’t know where his talent for music came from. I have known his family now for way more than 50 years and I don’t know a single soul from the family with any musical ability except for Archie. I guess I’m writing all of this just to say I miss him and his music. I got an email this evening from a classmate of mine who taught Archie a lot about music and he remembers him so fondly from Rockaway Beach. I do have a Facebook page dedicated to Archie and anyone who remembers him is welcome to like the page. Long live good music and the great folks who made it.

    1. Rita – I believe for the most part that musical ability is not an inherited trait like hair color. It is the result of desire, tenacity, and attention to detail. Archie would spend most of his available time listening to records, figuring out songs/riffs/solos, and practicing what he learned over and over developing his muscle memory until he could play without having to think about what he was doing. Of course there are exceptions i.e. the musical prodigy but for most of us success in music is the result of hard work and attention to detail; exactly the same as for success in other fields like computer programming.

      1. Wow! I just came across this website – does it ever bring back memories! I was in a “garage band” we called the “Earthquakes” during my junior-senior years (1959-61) at College High in Bartlesville. Other band members included Steve Elliot (guitar), Doug Cunningham (tenor sax), Larry Stockard (bass guitar) and a drummer whose name I am embarrassed to admit I forget ( …OK – I know – it’s only been 57 years!). We played various dances and proms around the Bartlesville area for a couple of years, and then broke up when Larry and I graduated and went our separate ways. But it sure was fun while it lasted! Dale – you might be interested to know that I still have my copy of Dale Smith’s old Bil-Gil 45. Also have a pretty good photo of you and Archie Barnes, plus myself and a couple of others, taken in the spring of 1961. You might recall that Dale Smith got us together as a pick-up band to back him at one of his performances. I don’t see any way to post jpg images on this website, but contact me and I’ll email you a copy.
        It’s good to link up & remember the good ole days after all these years!

  42. My father was lead singer for the resort 55 to 58 ish.
    Many stories from him over the years.
    His name is Jerry Cook.
    They used to put him on the local radio stations to get the word out.

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