| THE SWINGIN
The "Swingin Lampliters" were formed in January 1964. They played engagements in the Birmingham area from 1964 to early 1969. In 1967 they recorded one 45 rpm single entitled "Get Away" on Vaughn LTD Records.
The members on the record were:
Other members of the band that played at one time or another were:
This band was so much
fun from beginning to end. Every member was a great guy and a good musician,
even at such a young age.
THE ROYAL CAROUSEL
The Royal Carousel was formed in the fall of 1967 and were together for just a few months.
The band members were:
This band played some cool copy material such as "Live" by The Merry Go Round and "Holiday" by the Bee Gees.
After a few months,
Tommy and Gary went back to the Swingin Lampliters.Al Lovoy joined
a group called The Wyld Vybrations. Jimmy Whitt and Al Pettinato
performed with various groups around Birmingham.
The Brass Button/Rainwater
The Brass Button hailed from Jasper, Alabama playing engagements in that region. The band was formed and stayed together through most of the members' High School years.
In late 1968/early 1969, some of the members began to leave the band for college or the army (Tim Townley). It was around December of 1969 that Ross Roberts (guitarist) introduced Tommy Calton (who had come from Birmingham to attend Walker College) to Marc Phillips and Mark Herndon.
It was the beginning of a 19 year partnership and lifetime friendship for Marc and Tommy. The boys added Mike Patton (from Jasper's most popular group at the time, "The Carousel" ) on drums and changed the bands name to Rainwater. Rainwater traveled all over Alabama and parts of Georgia doing mostly copy material ranging from The Beatles, Three Dog Night to Crosby, Stills & Nash.
In 1970 they recorded a Marc Phillips song " Morning Dew", but no record was ever made from the demo tape. In early 1971 the band members began to go separate ways. Ross Roberts joined a band in Birmingham (Black Mountain), Marc Phillips moved to Atlanta for a very short while and Tommy Calton went back to Birmingham and formed an acoustic group, which Marc would quickly join.
Rainwater members were:
Wooden Music began
in February of 1970. Tommy Calton got together with two high school friends,
Roy Reeder and Robin Behee, to form an acoustic group. Roy had been a
major folk and rock influence on Tommy, not to mention one of his best
friends. Robin had played numerous times at Birmingham's most popular
folk nightclub - the Lowenbrau. Roy suggested they add Beverly Raspberry
to the fold - they would not be disappointed. Beverly had a beautiful
voice and complemented it well with her smooth fingerstyle acoustic guitar.
The members in Wooden Music were:
This photo was taken
for the booking agency in 1971. The members in the photo are: John Bean,
Bo Crowe, Marc Phillips, Beverly (Raspberry) Owen and Tommy Calton.
In 1972 Marc Phillips and Tommy Calton decided it was time to become full time musicians. They went to their agency (Southeastern Attractions) & asked to be considered for one of the nightclubs they booked. The agency called back about a brand new club "Knights of the Round Table" in Homewood. Marc and Tommy asked Beverly (Raspberry) Owen to join them for an audition with hopes of becoming the house band for the new club.
The audition was a success - the owners suggested they add a drummer and bass player, so Van Neff (drums) and Joe Breckenridge (bass) were added to the fold. By early February 1973, the new band was rehearsed and ready to go. All they needed was a name. Once again they asked their friend Bo Crowe. Bo suggested the name Tumbrel", and at the same time Marc Phillips suggested the name Hotel. So, in the beginning they were called Tumbrell Hotel. The Band played The Round Table for about a year. They also did a "Yellow Pages" Tour for South Central Bell in the southeast.
The first person to leave the band was Beverly. She andher husband, Larry Owen, moved to Auburn. Alice Catanzano replaced her for a short while and then moved to New Orleans. The next person to leave the band was Van Neff, who was replaced with Jim Pollard on drums. Marc, Joe, Jim, and Tommy kept the band at four pieces for a while - still playing the Round Table and having musician friends come by and sit in - and also playing a new club "Joe Namaths" in downtown Birmingham backing up vocalist Vickie Hallman.
In early 1973 Marc auditioned at Boutwell recording studios for producer Don Mosley. Don was impressed with Marc's talent and started using him for some jingles andletting him record some original material. Marc introduced Tommy to Don and he (Don) started using Tommy for jingles also.It was around this time that Dennis Yost of The Classics 4 decided to record the Marc Phillips song - "Losing my Mind".
In Spring of 1974 Joe Breckenridge received an offer to play bass for a popular group in Alabama called Cross. Joe accepted and was replaced with Mark Smith. Also, Marc Phillips' good friend from The Brass Button Tim Townley was added on guitar and vocals. With the new lineup, Hotel began to hit the road and returned to Birmingham to record. They were making a living off mostly 'copy' material but the original material was beginning to take shape. Don Mosley had purchased Sound of Birmingham studios from Neal Hemphill and Hotel began to do demos there.
In 1975 the band was invited to play a new club in Birmingham called The Cobblestone. The Cobblestone was located on Morris Avenue, downtown Birmingham's oldest street, which had been refurbished with several nightclubs and restaurants. The Cobblestone and Hotel began to draw sizeable crowds. In 1976 Tim Townley and Jim Pollard left the band, and were replaced with Michael Reid on guitar and vocals, and John Nuckols on drums.
In 1976, Dain Eric (an A&R man with Capitol Records) was introduced to the band by Buddy Causey - a great singer and friend of the band. Dain (who was looking for a band to produce) booked some recording sessions in Nashville at Creative Workshop. When not playing engagements, the band would use what spare days they had to commute from Birmingham to Nashville and record tracks. After a few of the recordings had been made, John Nuckols (with marriage on the way) decided to leave the band. He was replaced with Michael Cadenhead (of Cross) on drums. Because of all the multi-track overdubs Hotel was doing in the studio (popular at the time) another band member would have to be added in order to perform the songs live.The band drafted the multi talented Lee Bargeron. Marc and Tommy knew Lee from Sound Of Birmingham studios where he had engineered some of their early demos. Lee was already soundman for the band when the opportunity to perform with the band came. He added keyboards, guitar,and background vocals to the mix and also co-wrote several songs with Marc.
By 1977, Hotel signed their first recording contract with Mercury Records for a 45 single called "You'll Love Again". Thanks mostly to Dain Eric's efforts, the song charted. Even though the band showed promise, Mercury was noncommittal when it came a possible LP release. Hotel asked out of their contract and Mercury accepted.Once again the band was free to shop for a record company. In 1978, Dain Eric secured a deal for Hotel with the Scotti Brothers in Los Angeles. The Scotti Brothers were best known for their promotions of records within the industry. They could also secure a record deal for Hotel with a major label - which they did - with MCA. Hotel's debut album "Hotel" was released in the summer of 1979 with the first single "You've Got Another Thing Coming" followed by the Marc Phillips/Barry Mann song "Hold on to the Night."
Hotel hit the road to promote the album in September of that year with the help of Dain Eric and their manager Tony Ruffino (Tony was, and still is, responsible for any of the arena concerts in Birmingham and was the co-owner of Brothers Music Hall with Dan Nolen). They secured the Southeast leg of The Little River Bands tour, also opening for The Atlanta Rhythm Section & Louisiana's Leroux. By October of 1979 they were writing material for their next LP. They began recording early 1980 (the new album was produced by Dain Eric, Debbie Towsley and Hotel). By late spring the album was finished, and by the summer of 1980 "Half Moon Silver" was released. The first single was "Cold Blooded Red Hot Love" a song by Tom Kimmel and Eddie Setser, followed by "Half Moon Silver".
The follow-up LP didn't sell as well as the first, and as a result, MCA dropped the band. The band was released from The Scotti Brothers and they parted ways with Dain Eric .They spent the next the next two years playing around the southeast, writing material and doing demo recordings but no more records. George Creasman was the first to give notice in the spring of 1982. He was replaced for a short time with Eddie Usher (bass). Lee Bargeron gave notice next and the writing was on the wall. In the summer of 1982, Hotel, with the aid of Manager and attorney Michael Trucks, disbanded.
George Creasman played with various bands in Birmingham and still resides there. Michael Cadenhead went on a short tour with Pam Tillis and joined The Extras. He now resides in Atlanta. Michael (Mikal) Reid went on the Pam Tillis tour, moved to LA and joined Wang Chung. He has a long list of achievements as guitarist, writer, engineer and producer in the Los Angeles area. He still resides there.
Lee Bargeron joined The Extras and over the past 25 years has established himself as one of Birmingham's best engineers. Lee has his own studio at home and still resides in Birmingham. Eddie Usher joined Marc and Tommy in the Calton Phillips Group - which became Split The Dark. He later joined the recording group Witness with guitarist Damon Johnson and subsequently joined Lovebang with Eric Dover. He resides in Gainsville, GA.
Marc Phillips went to LA to co-write some songs with Tom Snow and Jay Gruska and returned to join forces with Tommy in the Calton Phillips Band/Split The Dark. In 1988, he formed a group with Lee Bargeron and Randy Hunter called Boardgames. In 1989, he co-founded Airwave Productions/Studios. From then to the present he has played on, sang on and produced numerous recordings and jingles and has proven himself to be a music treasure for the state of Alabama. As of 2003 he has launched his own website (www.marcphillips.com) and released his first solo CD - "Color Me His". Marc still resides in Birmingham.
The members of Hotel were:
The members on the MCA Albums 'Hotel' and "Half Moon Silver" were:
Crew members for the The Little River Tour included:
The Calton Phillips Group/ Split The Dark
In September of 1981 Tommy Calton and Marc Phillips formed a new band with Eddie Usher (Hotel) on bass and Steve Sample Jr. - drummer extraordinaire. The band played a mix of cover material ranging from Genesis to Squeeze to The Police. The bands first engagement was at Nitetown - a very popular club in Destin, Florida. The Group played all over the southeast and by 1982 established a strong following at Louie Louies in Birmingham and Cajuns Wharf in Little Rock Arkansas.
All seemed to be going well except for one problem. The venues were having problems with the spelling of Tommy's last name. Everywhere the band went, they were either The Carton Phillips Group or The Clayton Phillips or Cotton Phillips. Finally, Barbara Hallerman, the agent from Southeastern Attractions asked Tommy if he would mind changing the name. Marc Phillips suggested the new name, Split The Dark, having seen a flashlight commercial. The group also decided to add Lolly Lee to the band - on vocals and rhythm guitar.
The bands first engagement with a new name and a new member was at "Solomon Alfred's" in Memphis - the band was accidentally billed as Split The Dog. By 1983, the band was pretty well established doing "cover material" but Marc and Tommy had not spent as much time on 'original' material since Hotel. They had recorded a few demos of Marc's in the studio and also had done a few jingles for Marc's and Conrad Raefield's jingle company - Concept Company. They approached their manager and friend, Michael Trucks and laid out the plans for a new EP Keep it to Yourself. The new EP contained 6 songs written by Marc, Tommy and Lolly Lee.
Steve Sample was the first member to leave Split The Dark. Steve (the best musician in the band and the most defined sideman) wanted to pursue different types of music and play with different types of bands as opposed to doing everything in one band. Lolly Llee also left the band to have her first child. Lolly had been very popular in Birmingham before joining Split The Dark as a solo artist and with a group called The Mortals. Steve Sample was replaced on drums with David James, and Lolly was replaced with keyboardist Jeff Florreich who left after a short time and was replaced with keyboardist extraordinaire Scott Macdavid.
day in 1984,Tommy was visiting a guitar player, engineer friend Tommy
Petros at Air Mobil - a video facility in Birmingham - to get some audio
copies made of Keep it to Yourself. After making the audio copies
Tommy (Petros) introduced Tommy to Steve Ashlee - one of the directors.
Tommy suggested the possibility of shooting a video and Steve arranged
a meeting between the band and his staff.
A few weeks before the video was to be released, the band received an urgent call from Conrad Raefield (who was co-managing the band with Michael Trucks). Conrad put on the bands new video - with the sound off on the TV - and at the same time played one of the band's other audio tracks, Always A Chance, on the stereo, which worked better with the video. So the band and Air Mobile's crew made the necessary changes and Always A Chance won an MTV Basement tapes competition in 1986 by a large percentage of the votes.
the band had the Basement tapes win, they weren't generating any interest
from record companies. They recorded another four tracks in Nashville
with James Stroud producing and Bill Deaton engineering, but, the results
still produced no interest. In 1987, Scott Macdavid left the band and
was replaced with Damon Johnson - one of Alabama's finest and most popular
The members of the Calton/Phillips Group / Split The Dark were:
The crew members were:
The New Orleans Years - Rumboogie/Johnny
Vindigni/Nora Wixted/George Porter Jr. The Running Pardners
In 1988, Marc Phillips and Tommy Calton took different paths after having been partners for 19 years. Marc hooked up with Lee Bargeron and Randy Hunter to form Boardgames. Tommy found himself on the road south to New Orleans, thinking it could well be the end to his music career, and went to work at a music store (Rock & Roll Music) on the recommendation of Nora Wixted to the store owner, John Autin. John, a (great keyboard player) and Tommy quickly became friends. John recommended Tommy to Kirk Steen, the leader of Rumboogie a local horn band. Kirk offered Tommy the guitar chair in the band by asking him "Do you want to play?"
Rumboogie played 'Saints'on Sundays at The Hyatt across from the Superdome, as well as clubs in New Orleans and Mandeville (the north shore), weddings and private parties. Rumboogie's stars were the horn players - musician extraordinaire and trombonist - Mark Mullins, the versatile Brian Graber, who played trumpet or sax, Richard Lavelle on sax, lead singer Johnny Vindigni - a soulful veteran of The Jackson Brewing Company and Pat O'Briens, and John Autin on keys and bass.
The band covered several Ray Charles tunes, Steve Winwood, Fire by Jimi Hendrix and an instrumental version of Eight Miles High arranged by Mullins (you can tell he was working on that Bonerama idea way back when). Tommy's time with the band was short-lived because Johnny Vindigni started his own band and asked him, along with John Autin, to join his band with Paul Garrudy on drums.
The Johnny Vindigni Band covered material by Ivan Neville, Simply Red,Terrence Trent D'arby and Paul Carrack. They played mostly local clubs and private engagements in the New Orleans area with many Saturdays on the Riverboat Natchez. The band did some recording of Randy Heber and Louie Ludwig tunes but no records. Occasionally, Nora Wixted would ask John and Tommy to play with her at Tricou House - the upstairs club at 711 Bourbon, usually during Mardi Gras. Nora was a very popular singer who knew everybody in New Orleans. She played the downstairs piano bar at 711 Bourbon for years and was the reason Tommy Calton hooked up with anybody. Nora covered R&B material and performed several of her own tunes.
George Porter Jr. walked into Rock & Roll music one day, and asked Tommy what he was doing that evening. He invited Tommy on (John Autins recommendation) to play at Tipitinas. Tommy had heard about George from Nora and John declaring him to be one of the greatest bass players in the world. He had played with a group Tommy had never heard of, The Meters. He was about to be awakened. They performed that evening at Tipitinas - lots of Meters songs - then they backed up a traveling blues saxman, Joe Houston. A few months later George asked Tommy to play on a couple of tracks of his at John Autin's studio.
One of the tracks was called Running Pardners, which would become part of a local release and the name of his new band. George invited Tommy to travel and perform with him in Stockholm, Sweden in the summer of 1989 with a group called A Taste of New Orleans. They played the same venue the following year backing New Orleans gospel/blues singer Marva Wright. Back in New Orleans George began work on his first album since The Meters. In the spring of 1990, Rounder Records released "Runnin Pardners" on which George had Tommy play on four of the tracks. Early in the summer of 1990 Tommy informed George he was moving to Orlando Florida. George invited Tommy to make one more trip overseas in November of that year to Holland. In November 1990, Tommy played his last gig with one of the greatest bass players in the world. George Porter made Tommy realize that music comes from the heart and soul - first.
In August of 1990,
Tommy Calton told Zak Cardarelli that he was moving to Orlando. Zak (the
bassist for Charmaine Neville) said "When you get to Orlando, call
my brother, Cadillac, he's a great drummer". Tommy called James Cardarelli
(Cadillac) as soon as he arrived and met who was to become one of his
To Tommy's disbelief, Cadillac was playing in about 7 bands. The business of making a living in music in Orlando required diversity. Therefore, a musician had to join more than one group. Cadillac invited Tommy to his house to jam and introduced him to bassist Jim Lucas (another of Tommy's favorite musicians and best friends). Jim and Cadillac were well established in the Orlando area. They had played with a very popular "Smooth Jazz" group called Crystal. Crystal had two albums, "Uncut" and "Clear". Their crowning achievement had been an invitation to the Montreaux Jazz Festival, and they also displayed their talent in several musical venues . The one style of music they longed for was New Orleans music. They both had prior experience playing that style because Cadillac had lived and played in bands in New Orleans for a while. When Tommy arrived in Orlando he played an engagement at The Downtown Jazz and Blues Club with New Orleans musician Gary Hirstius.
Tommy had met Gary in New Orleans just before moving to Orlando. Gary told Tommy he had a gig booked in Orlando and invited him to play. On Gary's first trip to Orlando he used New Orleans musicians. On his second trip, he used Tommy, Jim, Cadillac, Dawn Catron (who had just relocated from New Orleans) and Charlie Brent - the original guitarist for Wayne Cochran & The CC Riders - who had also relocated from New Orleans. The band went over very well with the audience but didn't have a working chemistry for longevity.
Jim, Tommy, Cadillac and Charlie teamed up with a friend of Jim's and Cadillac's (Charlie Morris) to form Quasimojo. They played New Orleans music mixed with Steely Dan. They played a few gigs, but at the time, "Desert Storm" was going on and the work in the Orlando area was not good. Charlie Brent moved to Naples, Florida, to join "The Mambo Brothers" and Charlie Morris got very busy with his 'day' job.
Tommy asked Jim and Cadillac if they would be interested in forming an acoustic trio. The three agreed to blend New Orleans material with "Folk". Jim Lucas (who was always good with one-word names coined the name 'Woodfellas'.
The Woodfellas played Mondays at "The Mill" in Winter Park, FL, for about a year for low money and beer. They did some recordings but no records. Sometimes, musician friends like Steve Sienkiewicz, Charlie Dechant, Warren King, Juanita Marie Franklin, Wendy Benson Rick Birkbeck and Alex Taylor would drop by and sit in.
Eventually all three musicians had to do different venues to make money, and the Woodfellas quit playing The Mill in spring of 1993. Today -13 years later-the boys are still the best of friends and play together whenever possible.
The Implications originally formed as a duo with the collaboration of Kayonne Riley (guitarist/vocalist) and Laura Freeman (vocalist.) The original songwriting duo began in Texas around 1990. Laura and Kayonne added a percussionist soon, essentially for live performances - Bongo Beth Weissinger - and had much success playing Central and East Texas Venues as the Implications.
Upon relocating to Orlando in 1992, Laura and Kayonne added a local percussionist - Bongo Dave DiBona - and began performing again as the Implications (trio) in the Central Florida area.
As the group gained popularity the idea to expand the band size led to the addition of a full band roster. The original Implications "band" included: Kayonne Riley (guitar/vocals), Laura Freeman (vocals), Beth Schaffer (electric guitar), John Marsden (piano), Kevin Bruner (bass), and Pat Hughes (drums.) The band members were all a part of Full Sail Recording Studios staff, so the band's communication and closeness was enhanced through this other connection.
After the release of the first Implications CD in early 1993 the band toured all over Florida and the lower East Coast. The original band members (Schaffer, Marsden, Bruner and Hughes) departed the project in late 1993.
At this point Kayonne
and Laura decided to go with professional full-time musicians only - that
is - hired musicians. Upon placing an ad in Jam Magazine we found drummer
Fred Domulot. Fred was in turn responsible for bringing guitarist Tommy
Calton to the project. Bass players at this time included: Greg
Reserve players were added to the lineup - since professional musicians are not available for every gig - so additional lead guitar players included Frank Feranda and Greg Pakstis. Additional drummers included Cadillac Cardarelli, Gary Rohe, and Ray Stuart.
The Implications are not actively playing as a group anymore. However both Kayonne Riley and Laura Freeman are still actively writing and composing, and entertaining as solo acts.
Listen to music by The Implications.