The summer is gone and fall is setting but it was very heavy on the hearts of the members and ex-members of The Fatback Band. We lost some very dear friends of the band this summer, people that helped to make us who we’re today. Some were behind the scenes. On behalf of all the members, I would like to pay tribute to them and let the world know how much we appreciated their help and how greatly we will miss them…
This Newsletter might be a little lengthy, and may be boring to some, but I must acknowledge them.
Clarence Davis We called him “Love Man,” Clarence was a buddy of mine long before I had the band. I met him when I was with Clyde McPhatter. He was Clyde’s right hand man. When Clyde left the scene, Clarence went to work at the Post Office. When I decided to hit the road with my band, I called Clarence to be our Road Manager. He ran the band with an iron glove. In the history of the band, we never missed a gig and were never late in our forty years. He taught me a lot of things about people and life. He was a no nonsense man… the same all the time. I will never forget the time I was late for the bus and Clarence left me. Yes! I had to catch a plane to the gig. One more thing about him, if you didn’t carry your weight on the stage and off the stage, you had to go. He watched the show every night. He passed down to me his work ethics. Thank you “Love Man,” for a job well done. R.I.P. 07/14/31- 08/16/2010
Wesley “Wally Gator” Watson Drummer
Wesley “Wally Gator” Watson A New York musician and an unsung giant of the music world. You had to be an insider to know of him. One of swingiest drummers I ever met. Big band, Combo, Session, Pit drummer, he did it all and was a musician, community activist, TV Host and Dj’ed his own Show “The Groovemaster”. More than that, he was a very good friend of mine! He was also a member of the Fatback Band for a few years, playing drums while I was doing the percussion work. Two things I always admired about Wally were his professionalism and his zest for life. Here are a few of the many big names he worked with: Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Wilson Picket & Whitney Houston. Some of the Broadway Show’s he worked included The Wiz, Fosse & Dancing Dancing. I could go on and on about Wally Gator. These are just few of the highlights of his life. I almost forgot, songwriter/producer, in
our lost album for Spring Records “With Love”. Wally wrote and produced Baby You Got a ”Wide Glide” which you can hear him singing. One thing more I will mention about Wally, he loved sushi and spoke Japanese, could hold conversation, (a little). Wally, you left a standard for all drummers to live up to, may you rest in peace, my dear brother.
Kenneth (Ron) Anderson Bassist
Kenneth (Ron) Anderson I met Ron in Queen, NY. I don’t know how or when. We’ve been friends so long it seems like a life time. He was a part of my New York music life. When I couldn’t get work around NY, Ron hired me in his Big Band. During the time I join the band he was at the top of the game. He had most of the gigs locked up. He mostly hired session musicians… who did sessions during weekdays and played cabaret and society gigs on weekends. That was one of the reasons he had one of best bands in town, he had the best of the best musicians. A lot of great names came out his band: Erie Gale, Buddy Lucas, Willie Bridges, Trevor Lawrence, Gerry Thomas, George Baker, and Artie Hampton, just to name a few. To give you a little more background on Ron, a lot people didn’t know he was a product of Fort Greene in Brooklyn and started his music career as a bass vocalist with the Doo Wop group, The Cavalivers, in 1952. They later renamed themselves The Fi- Tones. A lot of guys in that group didn’t do so bad; there was Cecil Holmes, Lloyd Davis, Gene Redd, Lester Gardner& Reggie Barnes. I think their big hit was “I Belong to You” on Atlas Records out of Harlem. They disbanded in 1959, I believe. Right after that he started putting together his group, The Versatiles. For 40 years his was the most sought-after band in NY. I patterned my early Fatback band after his group and we shared the same market together. Ron made a few recordings with the Band but he never had the time to really work them or find a label. If they had a local Hall of Frame for musicians in NY, Ron Anderson would be enshrined as one of the pioneers of live dance music in the New York area. This was one of the most loved bands in the Black Tri-State community. His popularity extended nationally. Ron Anderson and the Versatiles - Big Band Funk R.I.P. 02/05/36—09/07/2010
Thank you for being a friend Traveled down the road and back again Well, your heart is true You’re a pal and a confidante Thank you for being a friend - A. Gold
Free MP3: “Wide Glide”
Wally wrote and produced Baby You Got a ”Wide Glide”, which you can hear him singing here.
Have to reply , once again.......my wife and I went to the Rib America Fest yesterday (Mon) at Indianapolis' Military Park. Was 'mildly' interested inseeing one act-The Pat Travers Band- who came on approx @ 2:15 PM.
The crowd was pretty much lackluster, regarding their repsonse to the music! Several around us were MORE interested in consuming (not the music) the overpriced food served at the festival.
And of course there were others who were more interested in their texting adventures along with several other rudees (as I call em) who pull out their cell phones and talk ever so louldy over the music. One guy had this (what looked like) a radio like cell phone wanting 'to hear his messages' from the day before! Another was calling his pal and telling whomever was on the other end, about these sale prices in a local circular!!!!
Interestingly, Pat and the group, performed three new songs(inc 'Josephine' and 'Ask Me Later') from this most recent disc. The new stuff was performed earlier in the set-4th and 5th numbers with the other toward the end of the show-3rd song from the finale.
The familar was received in a luke warm manner and the new toons ever less!!!! It gets me why people come out to these events and havent a clue as to what's going on stagewise.
Folks near the stage(not overly too many though) were into the set-usually 'the fans' who know/have the artists' music will do so anyways!
Its 'something' to do-whatever that means to that person (usually to be part of an 'adult babysitter' scenerio!)
Yes Bill , people have 'lost interest' in paying attention to good music. They would rather chow up heartily like many seem to happily do at the Rib Fest event! (OR for the matter get that other 'playtoy'- the almighty 21st plastic horn devil-the highly embraced cell phone!)
Like I alluded to previously, here in Indy, the folks in general would rather gravitate to a Colts game and Peyton Manning! Oh you should have seen these fanatics who were at the Colts 'training' ventures (last month) in Anderson. (Amazing what the local tv station showed!!!) Some of these crazy people would come HOURS earlier to get a good seat and catch their fav rav football 'heroes' toss and throw that damn football around. (Believe me, we had some VERY HOT weather too-with these people coming out 4-5 hours sitting in that blazing hot heat......but to passionately do the same at an outdoor music event and TOTALLY appreciate and absorb the proceedings on the bandstand-hardly!!!!)
You know Bill, I honestly believe these same 'indifferent' musically inclined people, weren't 'trained' to appreciate music and its wonderful attributes in their 'upbringings.' SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS were OBVIOUSLY drilled into their skulls! WHY? Parents were the same way and did the same things! UGH!
That's why your group is more appreciated oversees and abroad. Sure folks injoy their sporting events there, but in moderation. Music to them is as or if not MORE IMPORTANT in their lives. And yes they want it that way too. Here in this country-this shit with sports is unbelieveable. ITs their in their 'daily waking hours and then some!'
What's weird too Bill, is that with all these 'internet radio stations' supposedly 'happening today' (not counting whats on the 'dial' either), its NOT increasing the listening appreciation, let alone any 'significant' interest' in the music idion-whether it be funk/jazz/rock/r&b/etc.
I remember a time (when it was just am&fm radio), when you go by a car on the highway, music was blasting full throttle- out of the next car!!!
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