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Larry Blasingaine Interview

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Hi. Today on my radio show I interviewed legendary Chicago guitarist Larry Blasingaine. Larry started to learn to play guitar at age 7 as therapy in order to recover from a car accident. In a few years he formed a band called the Four Dukes and began to play the Teens with Talent shows on the west side of Chicago. The band became the backing band for the Baby Miracles, playing together as one of the main "four acts" of the teens with talent shows.

The Baby Miracles / Four Dukes were discovered at a show and signed a contract with One-Der-Ful records, changing their name to the Young Folk. The Young Folk released one record, "Joey", an excellent mid-tempo Chicago teen sound, in 1967. The group had to change their name due to a dispute with another group of the same name and One-Der-Ful expressed interest in the lead singer, Madeline, as a solo artist. The label released one more record, "Behave yourself", as by Miss Madeline, actually not backed by the Young Folk.

The Four Dukes, although still in their early teens, became house musicians for One-Der-Ful records, backing many artists on their records. The group was initially billed as "the Registers" on Alvin Cash' records and soon was renamed as "Larry and the Hippies". In the interview, Larry even tells the story of adding extra guitar on "Big Boy", the first Jackson Five record. Larry and the Hippies soon had their first record released on Toddlin' Town records -- Gimme some of yours / Enough for everybody. The record got some play in Chicago, especially by DJ Butterball Crane. The Hippies also soon began to get bookings by Perv Staples, who took them on his live tours backing the Emotions, and who had the band as the house band at his many local clubs.

The Hippies were managed by Tommy Dark (formerly of the Ideals) who also managed Gene Chandler. Tommy introduced Larry to Jackie Wilson, and the Hippies backed Jackie on a show. The Hippies soon became Jackie Wilson's touring band and Larry became Wilson's personal guitarist and touring producer. Larry soon became the live show producer for all Brunswick touring artists, doing the charts and backing such artists as the Artistics, Barbara Acklin, etc. Larry also joined his own group at Brunswick, Channel 3. Although the group wrote and recorded many songs, they only released one single.

Although he continued to work with Jackie Wilson as his personal guitarist, Larry soon left Brunswick records to work as a record producer with Clarence Johnson. He was initially called in to help finish producing and mixing the Brighter Side of Darkness LP. He produced other material for Chicago artists on 20th Century / GEC, for such artists as Pat and Pam, North, South, East, West, Betty Jean Plummer (who later recorded as Jean Plum on Hi records), etc. 20th Century even flew in artists from other cities (such as Chuck Walker) to be produced by Larry for the label. Larry also released a record

by Keanya Collins on his own Forever label.

After the death of Jackie Wilson, Larry ceased his production work, but has continued to play in local bands and is beginning to produce new music again. You can check out my interview on my interviews page at:




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