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13 Jun 2017

The Rhythm Dukes"Flashback" 2005 recorded in 1970 Westcoast Psych Rock





April 3, 1970  Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, CA Rhythm DukesSnailJoint Possession


Big Brother & Rhythm Dukes 20.21. February 1970



June 27, 1970 Gym, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA Elvin BishopRhythm DukesSnail

Lee Michaels,  The Rhythm Dukes and Robert M. Savage at The Family Dog On The Great Highway, March 6-8, 1970)

March 4, 1970 High Street Local, (Santa Cruz), CA Rhythm Dukes

May 1, 1970 Gym, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA Rhythm DukesPotter’s Wheel



The Rhythm Dukes  "Flashback" 2005 recorded in 1970 Westcoast Rock  Psych Rock 

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The Rhythm Dukes was a short-lived band featuring Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson of Moby Grape, subsequently joined by Bill Champlin, of the Sons of Champlin, and later of Chicago.

Recorded April 16th, 1970 at the Church, San Anselmo, Marin County, Engineer Bruce Walford.

In 1970 after Moby Grape had broken up and the Sons of Champlin were on indefinite hiatus members of the two bands-- Jerry Miller from Moby Grape and Bill Champlin from the Sons of Champlin teamed up with Fuzzy Oxendine and John Barrett to form the Rhythm Dukes.

Primarily a live band, the Rhythm Dukes were fixtures at Bill Graham's various venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1970 they headed into the studio and recorded an album that would not see the light of day for 35 years!

Some of the songs on the album-- For Joy, Hey Children & I'd Like to Get to Know You-- were later re-recorded by the Sons of Champlin (albeit in substantially different forms than those heard on Flash Back) but most of the material on this album remained unheard for 35 years.

The material on the album bears the fruit of the influences of both Moby Grape and the Sons of Champlin. The Sons of Champlin influence is considerably more prevalant than the Moby Grape influence as Bill Champlin was not only vocalist and keyboardist, but he wrote 6 out of the 10 songs that appear on the album.

The album starts out with the Jerry Miller penned Love Your Daddy All Night Long which is an amusing musical selection considering this album was recorded in a church. Not exactly the type of material one might expect to hear recorded or performed inside a church.

While the lead vocal performances featuring Champlin are the strongest the vocal harmonies leave a bit to be desired. There's a somewhat over-relaxed looseness to them drawing attention away from otherwise strong material and instrumental performances and shifting the focus to the mediocre garage band-esque feel that the harmony vocals give the material.

Perhaps one of the strongest overall performances on the album is their cover of the blues classic, Kansas City. Champlin totally cooks. His B3 playing and his soulful vocals are a perfect fit for the song.

For Joy stretches out to a 14+ minute jam that Champlin would later trim to under five minutes when he re-recorded the song with the Sons of Champlin for their Welcome to the Dance album. The Rhythm Dukes version seems excessive but it does allow the band to stretch out and show off their musical talents.

In short this collection is not for the casual listener-- although fan completists of the works of Moby Grape or the Sons of Champlin may want to pick this album up as it provides an interesting snapshot of where members of the respective bands were in 1970 it's merely a curiousity for the more casual listeners of either group... That being said even for the casual listener this album is almost worth picking up for the cover of Kansas City alone.

Currently the CD is only available directly from the Rhythm Dukes website . The packaging is rather amateur-ish, however this is encouraging as most of the money paid for the CD actually goes to the guys who performed the music on it and not suits in the recording industry. ....................

The Rhythm Dukes was created in the late summer of 1969. Before, there was a trio called The Boogie with Barry Bastian, John Barrett and John "Fuzzy" Oxendine. Fuzzy had replaced Kilos Kowalski (aka Mike Kowalski), who had left to play with the Beach Boys. Before Kilos left, The Boogie was called The California Memorial Band and included two sax players named Goose and Crow. Crow went on to play in the Silver Fox Band and Goose moved to L.A.

Barry had a brush with the law and had to do 90 days. Subsequently John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine were 'loose' and after Barry left for good (he later formed the already mentioned Silver Fox Band in Northern California.), John and Fuzzy decided to do something else as a rhythm section. As a matter of fact Moby Grape broke up around that time.
Jerry Miller who had been with Moby Grape wanted to start a new band and called Fuzzy and John. Jerry was living in Boulder Creek and John and Fuzzy were living in Marin County. So both packed up and moved to Santa Cruz to an old stagecoach stop called 1906 Glen Canyon. A great place for a band, away from the road on 80 acres of meadows and redwoods.

The house was funky, but they fixed it up real nice, built a rehearsal room and started writing and playing music. The original Rhythm Dukes members were Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson from Moby Grape, plus John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine.

Don Stevenson left the band after a short while, though. He probably prefered to play drums instead of guitar as John Barrett recalls. Subsequently the Rhythm Dukes played all over the place as a trio, but soon yearned for more substance in the music. Right around that time the Sons of Champlin disbanded for a while and Bill Champlin joined up with the Rhythm Dukes trio adding his voice, guitar and his B-3. Along with Bill came faithful roadies Charlie Kelly and Hog Steve. The Rhythm Dukes trio added their own Bill Leidenthal to the crew and they were ready to rock.

Barry had a brush with the law and had to do 90 days. Subsequently John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine were 'loose' and after Barry left for good (he later formed the already mentioned Silver Fox Band in Northern California.), John and Fuzzy decided to do something else as a rhythm section. As a matter of fact Moby Grape broke up around that time.
Jerry Miller who had been with Moby Grape wanted to start a new band and called Fuzzy and John. Jerry was living in Boulder Creek and John and Fuzzy were living in Marin County. So both packed up and moved to Santa Cruz to an old stagecoach stop called 1906 Glen Canyon. A great place for a band, away from the road on 80 acres of meadows and redwoods.

The house was funky, but they fixed it up real nice, built a rehearsal room and started writing and playing music. The original Rhythm Dukes members were Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson from Moby Grape, plus John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine.

Don Stevenson left the band after a short while, though. He probably prefered to play drums instead of guitar as John Barrett recalls. Subsequently the Rhythm Dukes played all over the place as a trio, but soon yearned for more substance in the music. Right around that time the Sons of Champlin disbanded for a while and Bill Champlin joined up with the Rhythm Dukes trio adding his voice, guitar and his B-3. Along with Bill came faithful roadies Charlie Kelly and Hog Steve. The Rhythm Dukes trio added their own Bill Leidenthal to the crew and they were ready to rock.
The band was very popular - by some rated as one of the best West Coast bands in 1970 - and played lots of venues before disbanding in 1971. Jerry Miller had contract obligations with Columbia Records and was not available a lot of the time. That did not go well, as the band's income was suffering, and they had to cancel some big gigs on very short notice. When Bill Champlin went back to the Sons of Champlin the Dukes had other members for a while, i.e. Russell Dahneke, a fine guitarist from the club scene in San Francisco and Ned Torney from the Chocolate Watch Band.

Eventually Moby Grape was trying to make a comeback, so it was the end of the Rhythm Dukes.

Due to the fact that some tapes and the studio recording made in Marin County survived, the Rhythm Dukes' music has become available for the first time now. The album is entitled "FlashBack" and highly recommended as it not only includes members of Moby Grape and The Sons of Champlin but some cool West Coast music as well. Some of the tracks were later even recorded by the Sons of Champlin on their albums "Follow Your Heart" (1971) and "Welcome To The Dance" (1973).............

In the late summer of 1969, following the release of Truly Fine Citizen, Moby Grape's last album for Columbia, Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson joined with John Barrett (bass) and John "Fuzzy" Oxendine (drums) to form The Rhythm Dukes. Don Stevenson played guitar, rather than drums. It is speculated that he left the band shortly after its formation for that reason, preferring to remain a drummer.

The band came together at Jerry Miller's initiative, at a time when the future of Moby Grape was uncertain. Moby Grape members had been shocked by Bob Mosley's abrupt departure to join the Marines, shortly after the release of Moby Grape '69. This added to uncertainties that commenced at the time of the 1968 departure of Skip Spence from the band, as the result of a six month involuntary psychiatric committal during the course of recording Wow/Grape Jam. The recording of Truly Fine Citizen in 1969 had been similarly strained, in that Columbia Records had imposed a three day limit on recording time, thus demonstrating little support for Moby Grape's future.

The band lived together in Santa Cruz and, following Stevenson's departure, was joined by Bill Champlin on organ and vocals. The future of Champlin's band, The Sons of Champlin, was at that time uncertain, similar to the situation which Miller and Stevenson had faced. Champlin, along with Miller, became the group's principal songwriters. The Rhythm Dukes shared the stage with such artists as Albert Collins, Lee Michaels, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Canned Heat, The Grateful Dead and Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, generally being second-billed. They recorded one album in 1970, which saw release in 2005 as Flashback[4]

The band existed from 1969-1971. Despite Columbia's attitude towards Moby Grape, Miller was still subject to contractual obligations to Columbia, which were disruptive to Rhythm Dukes commitments. Champlin consequently left the band, to continue with the Sons of Champlin. Miller, Barrett and Oxendine continued the band for a short period thereafter, with such musicians as guitarists Russell Dahneke and Ned Torney, the latter being a founding member of the Chocolate Watchband. Miller would later rejoin Stevenson and the other original members of Moby Grape to record 20 Granite Creek, (1971), which effectively ended The Rhythm Dukes. Champlin would continue playing and recording with The Sons of Champlin for the balance of the 1970s, prior to commencing a solo career and later joining Chicago.

Bill Champlin - guitar, piano, vocals
Jerry Miller - guitar, vocals
John (Fuzzy) Oxendine - drums, vocals
John (JB) Barrett - bass, vocals
Additional vocals - Sons of Champlin 

1. Love Your Daddy All Night (Miller) 6:28
2. Hey Children (Champlin) 7:00
3. Children pt. 2 (Champlin) 5:03
4. She's a Woman (Champlin) 5:06
5. Can't Make It That Way (Miller) 6:35
6. Kansas City (McShan) 5:42
7. If I Was Right (Miller) 3:22
8. Get to Know You (Champlin) 9:07
9. For Joy (Champlin) 14:21
10. Seven Four (Champlin) 5:01


Discography

2005 FlashBack

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..