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Picturing the Past 19: Shelbyville rocks!Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 10:18 AM
The Fabulous Playboys in a mid-1960s publicity photo. Bottom row, from left, are Don Baker (bass), Tony Gregory (vocals) and Sonny Smotherman (rhythm guitar) and, top row from left, Mark Tate (drums), Jerry Woodward (lead guitar) and Gary Petty (keyboards). (Photo submitted by Jerry Woodward)
Bottom row, from left, are Don Baker (bass), Tony Gregory (vocals) and Sonny Smotherman (rhythm guitar) and, top row from left, Mark Tate (drums), Jerry Woodward (lead guitar) and Gary Petty (keyboards).
Jerry Woodward brought by this photo and a brief bio of the band a few weeks ago.
He says the Playboys formed in 1963 and drew crowds of over 1,000 at dances at the American Legion Center as well as at Middle Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt fraternity parties, officers and NCO clubs at military bases and country clubs and Moose Lodges in Tennessee and Alabama through 1967.
The band was eventually reorganized and became The Vicars, who had at least one 45 rpm release on Varsity Records, a small Nashville label.
Hear them sing "Love Has A Way" on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RILhTEohDJ8.
"Love Has A Way" is available on a Bear Family label import CD titled "Wyld Sydes #9," part of a series of releases of American "garage bands" singles of the 1960s.
"Tony Gregory became extremely popular with endless material of Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, James Brown and countless others, " Woodward said. "He was endless in his showmanship while performing.
The original drummer, Mackey Brasher, left due to a shift change on his job and was replaced, Woodward said, and Sonny Smotherman joined due to demand for Ventures music. (The Ventures were a guitar-driven instrumental band with several major hits in the 1960s, just in case a few younger readers may not be familiar with them.)
James Arnold, a tenor horn player, left due to travel with a major construction company and Gary Petty replaced him.
But, like most bands, they eventually broke up, even though their music lives on in listeners' memories.
Woodward lives in Shelbyville and is retired. He says Mark Tate owns an insurance company in Dalton, Ga.; Petty worked for Ray Stevens' production company for years (is this the same Gary Petty known as "Gary Lynn" for years on the old WMTS-AM radio in Murfreesboro?); Gregory died some 20 years ago and Don Baker died several years ago.
Interested in other Middle Tennessee bands you may have rocked to during the 1960s? Check out http://nashlinks.com/sixties.htm for more. And look around on the other Nashlinks memories pages to get a feel for Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s. Fascinating site.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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