December 7, 2004

SJP


Artist: Stampeders




Rich Dodson (lead guitar, vocals)
Len Roemer (rhythm guitar)
Kim Berly (drums, vocals)
Brendan Lyttle (bass; quit in 1968)
Race Holiday (lead vocals; quit in 1968)
Ronnie King (rhythm guitar, vocals; replaced Roemer 1965)
Van Louis (rhythm guitar; joined 1965; quit in 1968)

In 1964, drummer Kim Berly (born Kim Meyer) answered an ad in a Calgary newspaper to join a band called the Rebounds, which consisted of lead guitarist Rich Dodson, bassist Brendan Lyttle and rhythm guitarist Len Roemer; Berly also brought his brother Al (who went by the name Race Holiday) into the fold to sing lead. In January of 1965, they changed their name to the Stampeders, after signing a managerial contract with Mel Shaw. At this point Roemer decided to call it quits and was replaced with Cornelius Van Sprang (stage name Ronnie King) and his brother Emile (stage name Van Louis) whose band The Echo Tones had just split up.

The six-man group started wearing assorted-coloured denim outfits and cowboy hats with the idea of promoting a group of cowboys playing rock 'n roll. During their first year as a band in Calgary, they had one single release on the SOTAN label entitled "House of Shake" b/w "Don't Look At Her."

Anticipating better things to come, The Stampeders decided to move to Toronto in 1966. At the invitation of Bigland booking agent, Ron Scribner, the six-man group, along with Mel Shaw and his family, loaded up their $800, used, '62 Cadillac limousine and U-Haul trailer, and left Calgary heading east to the 'big lights' of Toronto. Though most of the members were under the legal drinking age, they managed to beg, borrow and work their way across Canada, playing bars and various one-nighters. Upon their arrival in Toronto, the Western-Canadian band, with their yellow denim T-Kays, cowboy boots and hats, became an immediate curiosity in the folk-oriented, hippie clubs of the Yorkville district. Though the first year was an extremely lean one, the band managed to survive the six-month, Toronto Musician's Association's initiation and find work in the bustling Toronto club scene.

The Stampeders finally had a breakthrough late in '68 with a single they recorded while on a sight-seeing trip to New York. Released on manager Mel Shaw's Music World Creations independent label and distributed by Caravan, "Morning Magic" b/w "All The Time" wasn't much of a sales success, but critical acclaim earned the group a BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) Award.

The first major-label single release, "Be A Woman" b/w "I Don't Believe," came in 1968 on the MGM label in the U.S. Though the record was done with a studio rhythm section and only featured the band's vocals, it was to be The Stampeders' final release as a six-member group. Late in 1968, the three oldest members - Lyttle, Louis and Race Berly - left the band, leaving the line-up of Dodson, Kim Berly and King.

They would still where cowboy boots, but the colored T-Kay denim outfits and cowboy hats became history. During this period from 1968 to 1970, the band toured around Ontario and Quebec developing their stage show .

The Stampeders' only release during 1969 was "Cross-Walk" b/w "I Don't Know Where I'm At Sometimes" on the Melbourne label, distributed by London Records. Soon, Quality Records became interested in the band. By mid-1970, The Stampeders were in the studio working on their first album.

"Carry Me", the first single from this session, quickly hit the top of the Canadian charts, garnering the band its first gold record. Simultaneously released on Polydor in the U.S., the single received plenty of airplay but failed to make the charts. Canadian success, however, allowed the band to complete the album with Terry Brown. The resulting LP, "Against the Grain," was concurrently released with the next single, "Sweet City Woman”."

The summer of 1971 saw "Sweet City Woman" go to No.1 on radio stations across Canada, catching the attention of the American label, Bell Records. The band was signed immediately and Bell rush-released the single in the U.S. "Sweet City Woman" climbed the Billboard charts, reaching the No.8 spot on September 11, 1971. Bell Records renamed the album "Sweet City Woman" for the U.S. market to capitalize on the success of the single.

Next up for the band was Juno Awards for 'Best Vocal Instrumental Group,' 'Best Producer,' 'Best Single' and 'Best Composer'. In 1972, at the request of their U.K. label, EMI, The Stampeders toured the United Kingdom and Europe. Upon their arrival, they discovered that their American hit, "Sweet City Woman," had already been covered by The Dave Clark Five. Dates included the Marquee in London, the Hard-Rock Theatre in Manchester and appearances on BBC Radio and "Top of the Pops."

In Holland, The Stampeders received the prestigious Edison Award for ‘Most Promising Group’, along with Ry Cooder and Beach Boy, Carl Wilson. During this visit, The Stampeders had the privilege of staying at Amsterdam's Hotel Weichman with the Eagles.

1972 also took The Stampeders to Los Angeles to perform at the legendary bar The Whisky A-Go-Go and tape their appearances on ‘Don Kirshner's Rock Concert’ and ‘The Dating Game’. While hanging out at The Troubadour in Hollywood, Ronnie King met Keith Moon, drummer of The Who. Moon invited the band to his birthday party at The Beverly Hills' Wiltshire Hotel the next night where The Stampeders jammed with Hollywood's rock elite including Keith Moon.

The Stampeders signed with U.S. booking agency, Premier Talent, in 1971 which led to American tour appearances with Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas, Santana, Joe Cocker, Steve Miller, The James Gang, Robin Trower, Steely Dan, Sonny and Cher, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Earth, Wind And Fire, Mountain, America, Tower Of Power, Blood, Sweat and Tears and Genesis. Establishing themselves as a good concert draw in the US, The Stampeders played everywhere from New York to Hawaii, including Los Angeles, Reno, Disneyland and the much-sought-after southern-college circuit.

Heavy airplay and extensive touring, coupled with many guest appearances on the popular Canadian TV shows of the time (Anne Murray, Miss Teen Canada, Kenny Roger's ‘Rollin' On The River’ and The Ian Tyson Show), eventually led to The Stampeders' starring in their own CBC-TV special, ‘A Short Visit to Planet Earth’.

1972 saw the release of The Stampeders' second album ‘Carryin' On’,’ featuring the lead-off single, "Devil You". Although it was the last record released in the U.S. on Bell, the album gained a release in Europe on Regal Zonophone. It also featured hard rocker "Wild Eyes”.

The Stampeders' busy schedule also took them to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil in South America. They were asked to represent Canada in the Rio de Janeiro Song Festival, in front of a live audience of 30,000 and a television audience of 90-million.

In 1973 the did cross-Canada tours, coupled with the release of their albums ‘Rubes, Dudes and Rowdies’ and ‘From The Fire’. In Canada, the singles "Oh My Lady" and "Minstrel Gypsy” went gold, while follow-up singles, "Running Wild" and "Johnny Lightning", garnered heavy airplay and another JUNO Award nomination.

The release of The Stampeders' fifth gold album, ‘New Day’, spawned the radio hit "Ramona." Their live-album, ‘Backstage Pass’, was recorded at Ontario Place in Toronto before a sold-out crowd of 17,000 fans. This was soon followed by ‘Steamin’ which contained a cover version of "New Orleans" and "Hit The Road Jack" featuring a special appearance by legendary disc jockey Wolfman Jack.

The Stampeders met Wolfman Jack, and became good friends, while taping a television special for NBC at the ‘Saratoga Springs Song Festiva’l in 1975. On April 4, 1976, "Hit the Road Jack" went Top40 in the US, reached No.1 in Canada, and hit Top10 in Holland. The success of the single led to the release of The Stampeders' final gold album, ‘Hit the Road’, and another JUNO Award nomination.

Dodson left the band in 1977 to start his own 24-track recording studio and independent record label, Marigold. The final three singles with Dodson, "Playing In The Band," "Sweet Love Bandit," and "San Diego" were released in 1976.

With the release of "Platinum" in 1977, the new band's line-up included original members, Ronnie King and Kim Berly, along with back-up musicians Gibby Lacasse (drums and percussion), Ian Kojima (tenor and baritone sax and flute), David Norris-Elye (tenor and soprano sax), Doug Macaskill (guitar) and Gary Scrutton (guitar and vocals). Single releases included the horn-basedR&B track, "Bring The House Down." Following "Platinum," TeeVee International released a "Best of The Stampeders" hit package. The failure of the new jazzier, funky-sounding Stampeders to gain critical and commercial acceptance, along with the increased cost of supporting the large band, eventually led to the departure of drummer, Kim Berly. Also gone was the band's recording deal with Quality records.

Ronnie King tried to keep the flame burning with a new album on Apex called "Ballsy." The new line-up included Ronnie's youngest brother, Roy Van Sprang, Bob Allwood and Gary Storin. Lack of sales, high overhead and disappointed fans led to the band's final break up in 1980 and the departure of manager, Mel Shaw.

Dodson continued recording other acts; Kim Berly was signed to Orient/RCA in 1979 as Kimball Fox under the handle of a new band called The Cry.

In 1992, the original three-piece edition of the Stampeders reunited, released an album and toured as a New Country act.




Singles
1965 House Of Shake/Crosswalk (Sotan/Melbourne) GT-3314
1968 Be A Woman/I Don't Believe (MGM) 13970
1968 Morning Magic/All The Time (MWC/Caravan) MWC-2001
1970 Carry Me/I Didn't Love You Anyhow (MWC) MWC-1003
1971 Sweet City Woman/Gator Road (MWC) MWC-1004
1971 Sweet City Woman/Oui Tu Es Mon Ami (MWC) MWCF-1005X
1971 Devil You/Giant In the Street (MWC) MWC-1007
1971 Blue Suede Shows/Devil You (MWC) PR1X
1971 Monday Morning Choo Choo/Then Came The White Man (MWC) MWC-1008
1971 Wild Eyes/Carryin' On (MWC) MWC-1009
1972 Johnny Lightning/Today Is The Beginning of the Rest of Your Life (MWC) MWC-1011
1973 Oh My Lady/No Destination (MWC) MWC-1012
1973 Minstrel Gypsy/Mumbo Jumbo  (MWC) MWC-1013
1973 Keep Me Running Wild/Ride In The Wind (MWC) MWC-1014
1973 Me And My Stone/Goodbye Goodbey (MWC) MWC-1015
1974 Ramona/Running Out of Time (MWC) MWC-1016
1975 Hit The Road Jack [Long Version]/Hard Lovin' Woman (MWC/Quality)  MWC-1017
1975 New Orleans/Summer In The City (MWC/Quality) MWC-1018
1975 Playin' In The Band/Rock And Roll Line (MWC/Quality) MWC-1019
1976 Sweet Love Bandit/Let It Begin (MWC/Quality) MWC-1021
1976 Everybody/Move On Up (MWC/Quality) MWC-1025
1979 Are You Coming To Your Senses/Got My Mojo Working (Apex/MCA) AP-95557
1979 Here To Rock And Roll/Within You (Apex/MCA) AP-95561
1981 Lookin' Back/John Lennon Remembered (Marigold) M-705

Albums
1971 Against The Grain (MWC) MWCS-701
1972 Carryin' On (MWC) MWCS-702
1973 Rubes Dudes And Rowdies (MWC) MWCS-704
1974 From The Fire (MWC) MWCS-705
1974 New Day (MWC) MWCS-706
1975 Backstage Pass (MWC) MWCS-707
1975 Steamin' (MWC) MWCS-708
1976 Hit The Road (MWC/Quality) MWCS-709
1977 The Stampeders Story: A Legend In Their Own Time Zones (Quality) MSP-1
1977 The Best of The Stampeders (TeeVee) TV-1072
1978 Platinum (MWC) MWCS-710
1979 Ballsy (Apex/MCA) APL-1601
1984 Greatest Hits (MWC) CGM-1012
1998 Sure Beats Working (Marigold)
2001 Over 70 Minutes With... (Marigold) 2006 Rock The Road Again (Marigold)
2011 Live At The Mae Wilson (Marigold)
Video


Compilation Tracks
1966 "You Never Know Until You Try" on 'International Master Discovery Series' [7"] (IMDS) NU-19661
1972 "Wild Eyes" on '22 Explosive Hits - Volume II' (K-Tel) TC-206
1973 "Sweet City Woman" on 'Today's Super Greats' (K-Tel) TC-211
1973 "Minstrel Gypsy" on 'Fantastic' (K-Tel) TC-212
1974 "Ramona" on 'Out Of Sight' (K-Tel) TC-220
1975 "Hit The Road Jack" on 'Canada Gold - 22 Karat Hits' (K-Tel) TC-225
1975 "Johnny Lightning" and "Wild Eyes" on 'Heavy Canada' (Mercury) 9299-807
1976 "Playing In The Band" on 'Canada's Finest' (K-Tel) TC-232





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