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Dave Thorley

Tommy & The Derby's Of Kansas City

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-------------- The Group Behind The Sound ----------------------





Tommy & The Derby's of Kansas City were the 'Go To' musical unit in the city back in the day if you wanted a super tight group of musicians on your session. They were another case of 'The group you never knew you'd heard'

Not to be confused with the group of the same name that recorded 'Don't Play The Role' on Swing records, which was Tommy Tate's group from Jackson, Ms.


The group included the two Gadson brothers Tooty aka Tommy & James, Walter Chisolm (sax), Harold Rice (bassist), Harry Wilkins (drums), Tommy (guitar) & James (vocals). At first they recorded several 45's on Federal as The Carpets and one on KC. They then changed their name to Tommy & The Derby's and passed The Carpets name onto another KC group. This was the group that recorded on VJ & Show Me.


But Tommy and the boys kept the connection by providing instrumentation for these tracks. At some stage they ended up in Houston and recorded 'I'm going back to Houston' on the eclectic Kool label. 

By the 70's the group had split up. James had honed his skills as a drummer and join Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and then joined Motown and played on The Temptations '1990' LP and the Miracles 'City Of Angles' masterpiece. Along with this he also tried his hand as a solo artists, recording a couple of sides for the Cream label. Tooty also went out to the west coast and recorded a number of 45's out there.

Another KC group that they backed was The Idols, they can be heard on their U.S.A. 45 'Check her out'


Thanks to James Trotter of Kansas City who confirmed that the group also had release on KC, Ty-Tex, Central and George Redman's Bluelight imprint.



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